Browsing News Entries

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Expresses Solidarity with Maronite Church

WASHINGTON - News of the detention in Lebanon of Maronite Archbishop Moussa El-Hage, O.A.M. last month, as he was returning from a routine visit to his Episcopal See in Haifa and the Holy Land, has caused great concern. In solidarity with Patriarch Bechara Boutros Cardinal Raï and the Maronite Church, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“The arbitrary detention and interrogation of Archbishop Moussa El-Hage, the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land, by Lebanese security, is cause for alarm. The archbishop was returning from one of his regular visits to the Holy Land and bringing much needed aid that the Lebanese diaspora in Israel wanted to send to family members in Lebanon. All this was confiscated by Lebanese security forces, along with his cell phone and passport.

“The Permanent Synod of Maronite Bishops, at a July 20 meeting convened by Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, condemned what happened to Archbishop El-Hage, saying the incident ‘brought us back to the times of occupation and rulers in the previous centuries, when the invaders and occupiers were trying to undermine the role of the Church in Lebanon and the East and its brotherhood between religions.’ The apostolic nuncio in Lebanon, Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, has also described the detention as ‘a dangerous precedent.’

“As Lebanon goes through difficult times and crises, we renew our stand in solidarity with Cardinal Raï and the Synod of Bishops. We also pray for the protection of the Church in Lebanon and its charitable work as it comes under increasing pressure. We further support the call of Patriarch Raï for the ‘active neutrality’ of Lebanon, so that it will remain a place of conviviality between Christians and Muslims and a beacon of hope for all Christians of the Middle East. May Lebanon prosper again and enjoy total sovereignty and lasting peace.”

###


Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Shares Statement from Catholic Co-Chairman of National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue: “Catholics in the United States Stand in Solidarity with Our Muslim Neighbors”

WASHINGTON – Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has shared the statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Catholic co-chairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue.

Full text of Cardinal Cupich’s statement, “Catholics in the United States Stand in Solidarity with Our Muslim Neighbors,” follows:

“In light of the tragic loss of four Muslim lives in Albuquerque this past week, I affirm the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s statement that ‘the Catholic community stands in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters during this time of crisis.’ As chairman of the national Catholic-Muslim dialogue, I have been blessed to walk on the journey of dialogue and friendship with our Muslim neighbors from around the United States. We join you in your sorrow and promise you a remembrance in our prayers. 

“In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis highlighted an important observation of the Bishops of India: ‘The goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace and harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love’ (271). May all people of good will work together to deliver our communities from all forms of violence so that we might enjoy the gift of God’s peace.”

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

 

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Calls for Swift Passage of Afghan Adjustment Act

WASHINGTON - Earlier this week, the Afghan Adjustment Act (S. 4787/H.R. 8685) was introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, this legislation would provide newly arrived Afghans with an opportunity to become lawful permanent residents in the United States, require the President to establish an Interagency Task Force on Afghan Ally Strategy, and increase support for those who assisted the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, sent a letter to Congress endorsing the Afghan Adjustment Act and urging both chambers to pass it without delay, stating:

“This bipartisan bill would lift the cloud of legal uncertainty currently faced by tens of thousands of Afghans relocated to the United States in recent months and promote their full integration within American communities.

“Many of those who would benefit from this legislation served alongside U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan or are the family members of those individuals. This service comes at a great personal sacrifice, as they now face the threat of persecution and even death if returned to their native Afghanistan. Unfortunately, their ability to remain in the United States permanently is severely limited under current law, even after an unprecedented effort to secure their relocation. The Afghan Adjustment Act would address this defect, fulfilling our nation’s promise to these families, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to its allies, and reaffirming the importance of humanitarian protection.”

The USCCB, through its Department of Migration and Refugee Services, has assisted over 13,000 Afghans with resettlement since August 2021, together with Catholic Charities agencies and other community-based partners. Through this work, the Catholic Church in the United States answers Christ’s call to welcome the stranger and carries out the Church’s commitment to protecting the life and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception to natural death.

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Domestic Justice and Human Development Welcomes Legislation on Environment, Drug Prices

WASHINGTON - On Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, previously wrote to Congress in June regarding the moral issues at stake in addressing climate change, and again earlier this month welcoming various environmental and some health provisions in the Act. In response to the passage of the bill in the Senate, Archbishop Coakley issued the following statement:

“I am grateful to the Senate for their efforts to support the environment and lower drug prices through the Inflation Reduction Act. It is also prudent that this legislation contains revenue provisions to offset the investments when concerns around inflation and the economy are high. Climate change is a global challenge that requires courageous, long-term action from Congress, and I am grateful for the many substantial climate provisions that bring the United States closer to honoring its emissions reductions goals under the Paris Agreement, which Pope Francis has strongly encouraged us to meet. This is a meaningful effort to care for our common home. Provisions in this package will help to curb greenhouse gas emissions while seeking to safeguard the economy and give preference to the poor.

“I am also grateful for provisions in the bill that will lower prescription drug costs for those who rely on Medicare, and continue to call on lawmakers to ensure all healthcare policy respects the inherent dignity and right to life of every human being.”

Archbishop Coakley’s previous letters addressing climate provisions and reconciliation:

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Father Jorge Torres Appointed Executive Director of Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON - Father Jorge Torres a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, has been appointed as the next Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV). Father Torres has served in the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis in primary support of the Eucharistic Revival initiative since June 2021. Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, made the appointment, which takes effect January 1, 2023.

The CCLV office assists bishops on issues concerning the life and ministry of bishops, as well as in promoting, supporting, and educating about the Church’s pastoral needs and concerns for the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life.

Father Torres holds an undergraduate degree from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and a Master’s in Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Ordained to the priesthood in 2005, he has served as a parochial vicar and a pastor. Father Torres’ priestly ministry includes service as chaplain for campus ministry at the University of Central Florida, vocation director of the Diocese of Orlando, and secretary of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

Father Luke Ballman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta has been executive director of CCLV since December 2019. Both he, and Father Dan Hanley, the present associate director will be leaving their roles at the end of the year. Father Ballman will be returning to archdiocesan responsibilities, and Father Hanley, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, will work in the formation leadership program at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.

“Father Torres understands and supports priestly ministry and religious life, vocations, and cultural diversity in our Church. He also brings to these areas a timely enthusiasm for the bishops’ national Eucharistic Revival,” said Father Fuller. “I am grateful to both Father Ballman and Father Hanley for their tireless service to the bishops over these last several years, and to Father Torres for his continued service to the Conference in his new role. I also want to express my gratitude to Archbishop Hartmayer, Bishop Burbidge, and Bishop Noonan for allowing these three fine priests to serve the greater Church in this way.”

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Responds to Executive Order Facilitating Abortion

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, the President of the United States signed an executive order facilitating abortion, the second such action from President Biden in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response: 

“Even preceding the Dobbs decision, my brother bishops and I have implored the nation to stand with moms in need, and work together to protect and support women and children. Continued promotion of abortion takes lives and irreparably harms vulnerable pregnant mothers, their families, and society. It is the wrong direction to take at a moment when we should be working to support women and to build up a culture of life. I continue to call on the President and all our elected officials to increase support and care to mothers and babies, rather than facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings. Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of our nation, intercede for us as we advocate to protect human life and work toward solutions that will help every mother and child flourish.”

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

After "Dobbs," Congress Must Come Together to Protect Life and Promote the Common Good

WASHINGTON - Since the release of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Congress has been taking up legislative proposals that are harmful to the common good. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed, and the Senate may soon consider, a series of such bills, including the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Respect for Marriage Act, and the Right to Contraception Act, and is advancing appropriations bills that exclude longstanding provisions prohibiting federal taxpayer funding for abortion and protecting the conscience rights of healthcare providers.

Meanwhile, Congress has taken no action since Dobbs on any of the following measures, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has previously endorsed and continues to support, and which would help to build up a culture of life: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act; an expanded child tax credit, including for pregnant moms; the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act; the PFAS Action Act; and a federal paid family leave policy.  On a positive note, it is encouraging that there is meaningful consideration of needed investments in care for our common home in a possible reconciliation framework.

In light of this situation, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life & Youth, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:

“The Dobbs decision presents a historic opportunity to reshape society for the better. The injustice of abortion has loosened its grip on our nation’s Constitution. We call on Congress to seize this hopeful moment by coming together around the dignity of every human person and the common good.

“This begins with the recognition that every human life is an inestimable gift from God with an inalienable right to life deserving of full legal protection. We must also recognize that the family - founded upon the love and mutual self-gift of husband and wife - is the first building block of society, and that raising children is both a great gift and a lifelong responsibility.

“The health, safety, and support of the family should be the focus of all good policymaking. A principled commitment to being pro-life entails a commitment both to protecting all human life, especially the most vulnerable, and to advancing policies that help families to flourish. As we accompany every family with prayer and support, those led by single or adoptive parents are close to our hearts.

“Since Dobbs, too many in Congress have ignored bills that would advance these worthy goals and have focused instead on bills that would attack them. Such legislation places no value on the lives of children until their moment of birth, severs sex and marriage from their meaning, promotes using people as means to ends, and would strip rights of conscientious objection from those who oppose these hallmarks of the throwaway culture. Instead, we ask all our elected officials to take action to reach consensus and pass an expanded child tax credit, a refundable adoption tax credit, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a federal paid family leave policy, further supports for the health and wellbeing of pregnant and parenting women, assistance with nutrition and affordable housing, environmental restrictions on chemicals that cause birth defects, and provisions to assist low-income families. These are building blocks of our vision for Standing with Moms in Need.

“Care for creation is also integral to care for human life, and we encourage continued efforts to advance proposals that will protect our common home and promote the well-being of human life and the environment for years to come. For more on this point, see the USCCB’s letter on the new framework for environmental investment currently before Congress. 

“Families and individuals, civil society, businesses, non-profits, and religious groups, government officials at all levels - and especially members of Congress - should ask themselves how they are supporting families at this moment, particularly around welcoming new life and raising children through adulthood.

“Catholic social teaching shows the way to a better place - a society marked by justice, mutual support, civility, friendship, mercy, and love - than where Congress is now leading. We pray that Congress will rise to meet this generational moment.”

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Bishop Chairmen Condemn Harmful Regulations Forcing Gender Ideology and Potentially Abortion on Health Care Workers and Religious Hospitals

WASHINGTON – On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which would force health care workers to perform gender transition procedures, require health insurance issuers to cover them, and entertain a mandate to perform elective abortions. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement in response:

“Catholics have been called to care for the sick since the earliest days of our faith. Today, the various agencies and social service ministries of the Catholic Church taken together are equivalent to the largest nonprofit health care provider in the country. We do this work in fulfillment of the direct command of Jesus Christ and in imitation of his divine ministry here on Earth.

“Catholic health care ministries serve everyone, no matter their race, sex, belief system, or any other characteristic. The same excellent care will be provided in a Catholic hospital to all patients, including patients who identify as transgender, whether it be for a broken bone or for cancer, but we cannot do what our faith forbids. We object to harmful procedures, not to patients.

“Sadly, Monday’s proposed regulations threaten our ability to carry out our healing ministries, and others’ to practice medicine. They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts. Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate. This is a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine.

“The proposed regulations announce that HHS is also considering whether to force health care workers to perform abortions against their will or lose their jobs. We call on HHS to explicitly disavow any such intent.

“We will continue to review these proposed regulations and will file more thorough comments at the appropriate time.”

Further information about the USCCB's response to a series of harmful regulations from the current Administration impacting religious charities and individuals can be found at www.usccb.org/do-no-harm.

###

Media Contact: 
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200
 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman on International Justice and Peace Releases "A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa"

WASHINGTON – The 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has gathered for their plenary assembly in Accra, Ghana. Upon addressing the assembly today, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace expressed his solidarity with the Church in Africa and announced the release of A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa.

“Two decades ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a landmark document to declare our bonds of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Africa in their pursuit of justice and peace in service of helping men along the path of salvation. Today, with joy and hope, we renew those bonds. On behalf of bishops of the United States, I am pleased to issue the statement of our Committee, A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa. This Renewed Call highlights our progress of solidarity, articulates today’s ecclesial, economic, and political hopes and challenges as well as puts forth strategies for future collaboration. Our committee recommits itself to stand alongside the Church in Africa, knowing we are mutually enriched and edified as we do so.”

Auxiliary Bishop Peter L. Smith of Portland, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church of Africa added his praise and support, saying “This Renewed Call, reinvigorates the bishops’ vision for the Subcommittee’s Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa that directly supports the pastoral capacity of the local Church in Africa. I commend the reading and study of this document to the faithful and all those who wish to further our Christian solidarity with the Church across Africa.”

A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa, is available in English, French, and Spanish, along with a practical resource for prayer and action.

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

Gifts to the Solidarity Fund Strengthen Church’s Pastoral Capacity Across Africa

WASHINGTON - In August, many Catholic dioceses in the United States will take up a collection in their parishes for the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa, a program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that works in partnership with the Catholic Church in Africa to strengthen pastoral capacity, nurture relationships, and encourage accountability and good stewardship of resources.

Parishioners can give to the annual collection through the offering basket at Mass or parish e-giving platforms. The website #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts donations for the Solidarity Fund.

“Your gift will change lives,” said Bishop Peter L. Smith, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland, and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church in Africa. “While the Church in Africa is the fastest growing part of the Universal Church, it is also the most economically impoverished part of the family of faith. Despite the poverty and conflict that many African Catholics endure, their hope and faith moves them to pour their energy into serving Jesus.”

“Grants from the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa reflect support for pastoral projects and initiatives that demonstrate a truly Catholic approach to promoting pastoral care, peace, and well-being, as it addresses the interwoven demands of Christian faith and social justice. And it is evident from the way the gifts are received that they truly make a difference in the lives of many.”

Grants funded by the collection for the Solidarity Fund support pastoral projects of episcopal conferences and dioceses in Africa. African Church leadership identify their own needs and priorities, design and implement the projects, and are accountable for the transparent use of all funds. Four of the 85 projects from 2021 show the diversity of the pastoral projects assisted by these grants:

  • In Kenya, Catholic youth ministry leaders nationwide learned new ways to teach and evangelize during the COVID-19 pandemic, participating in workshops on topics such as the use of digital tools, responding to people in emotional distress, and best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • In Ethiopia, where civil war rages in part of the country, 95 teachers from 45 Catholic schools will be trained on a newly developed peace education curriculum and new textbooks will be printed and distributed so they can provide peace and moral education for over 31,000 students.
  • In the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, diocesan and parish leaders teach the spirituality of creation care that Pope Francis summarized in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’, mobilizing parish projects such as conserving water and reducing the use of plastics.
  • In Burundi, bishops and lay leaders are learning how to prevent child sexual abuse and respond justly and compassionately to reports of the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

“These examples show how the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa helps Catholics to apply the Gospel to every level of human life: caring for individual souls, caring for communities and caring for humanity’s relationship with God’s creation,” Bishop Smith said.

More information on the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and how a diocese or parish can get involved: https://www.usccb.org/committees/church-africa.

###


Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200