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Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, Offers Condolences and Solidarity to the Church in Burkina Faso after multiple terrorist attacks on Churches

WASHINGTON— In a letter to Archbishop Ouédraogo Paul Yembuado, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace said:

“I write to express our condolences and solidarity with the people and the Catholic Bishops Conference of Burkina Faso as you struggle with the ongoing wave of violent terrorist attacks. It is tragic these attacks have increased…and have taken the lives of approximately 400 Burkinabe people since 2015. I join the Holy Father in his statements and expressions of condolences and support in reaction to these church attacks and add my own following the most recent attack on a Catholic church 26 May in Toulfé that killed four people.

Burkina Faso has struggled to build a democratic country where Christians and Muslims have lived side by side in peace [which is now] being tested to the extreme. It is my hope the Burkinabe people will persevere and protect [their] liberty, democracy, and the right to freedom of religion.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Burkina Faso

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Strongly Commends Trump Administration for Discontinuing Fetal Tissue Research at NIH

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will discontinue research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involving the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortion and it will ensure that efforts to develop ethical alternatives are funded and accelerated. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement strongly commending the Trump Administration for this important pro-life action.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“We strongly commend the Trump Administration for taking actions to move our tax dollars away from research using body parts from aborted babies and toward ethical alternatives. Scavenging and commodifying the body parts of abortion victims for use in research gravely disrespects the bodies of these innocent human beings. Their remains deserve the same respect as that of any other person. To subsidize this degrading practice with our taxpayer dollars is deeply offensive to millions of Americans. Further, the use of fetal tissue procured from aborted babies also can lead to legitimizing the violence of abortion by suggesting that body parts procured in abortion are necessary for research. In truth, research using fetal tissue from aborted babies is neither ethical nor necessary. Researchers have demonstrated the ability to pursue excellence in medical research without collaborating with the abortion industry to further victimize aborted babies.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Abp. Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Trump Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH), human fetal tissue, elective abortion, medical research, commodifying, ethical alternatives, abortion industry

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman Expresses USCCB’s Concern that the Strengthening of the Embargo Against Cuba is Counterproductive to the Development of Civil Society on the Island

WASHINGTON— In response to the Administration’s recent policy modifications on Cuba—restricting travel to the island and thus further scaling back the rapprochement between the two countries—Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., of the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, and Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, expresses USCCB’s concern that the strengthening of the embargo against Cuba is, ultimately, counterproductive to the development of civil society on the island.

Archbishop Broglio’s full statement follows:
 

“In light of the Administration’s recent policy modifications on U.S. citizen travel to Cuba, I reiterate our longstanding support for safeguarding religious travel to the island under general license, as well as ensuring the ability of the Church in Cuba to receive religious donative remittances. The very survival of the Church in Cuba is dependent on the freedom of religious travel and donations from abroad. Thanks to the generosity of American Catholics, for decades USCCB has supported the work of the Church in Cuba, providing her with financial, pastoral, and advocacy assistance. The Holy See and USCCB have long held that the key to Cuba’s transformation depends not on isolation, but on greater cultural exchange between freedom-loving people on the island and the United States. A half century of rigid isolation has consolidated only one thing: the very political structures U.S. Government policy seeks to change”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archdiocese of the Military Services USA, Administration, policy, Cuba, Committee on International Justice and Peace, embargo, civil society, island.

Media Contact:                                                                                                                                                       Judy Keane                                                                                                                                            202-541-3202                                                                        

 

 

 

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Applauds House for Passing Legislation That Gives Permanent Legal Protection to Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Holders

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, applauds the House of Representatives for passing the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers and TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.

“This is a big step for Dreamers and TPS holders who have called the United States home but have been working and living in uncertainty for years.” said Bishop Vásquez. “Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are working to make our communities and parishes strongand are vital contributors to our country. We welcome today’s vote and urge the Senate to take up this legislation which gives permanent protection to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.”

In March, the USCCB Committee on Migration penned a letter of support that can be seen here.

More information about Dreamers and TPS can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Bishop Mario Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Committee on Migration, refugees, Dreamers, TPS, DACA, immigration reform

 

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Media Contact:  
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

 

Pope Francis Names Rev. Douglas Lucia as New Bishop of Syracuse; Accepts the Resignation of Bishop Robert Cunningham

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Syracuse and has named the Rev. Douglas Lucia to succeed him. Father Lucia is a priest of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, June 4, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Douglas Lucia, 56, was born on March 17, 1963 in Plattsburgh, New York. He attended Wadhamns Hall Seminary College, followed by Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York. He then attended the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 20, 1989 for the Diocese of Ogdensbugh.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar of St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown; parochial vicar of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg; administrator, St. Mary Canton; associate secretary to the tribunal and chaplain at Gouverneur Correctional Facility; secretary to the bishop, vocation director, director of seminarians; pastor of St. John Morristown; St. Peter, Hammond; and St. Patrick in Rossie; He has also served as episcopal vicar for worship and priestly formation. Father Lucia was most recently pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Waddington and St. John the Baptist in Madrid, New York as well as judicial vicar for the diocese.

Bishop Cunningham was ordained a priest in 1969. He was appointed the thirteenth bishop of Ogdensburg by Pope Saint John Paul II and has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75. Bishop Cunningham was appointed the tenth bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse on April 21, 2009.

The Diocese of Syracuse is comprised of 5,479 square miles in the state of New York and has a total population of 1,199,000 of which 231,621 or 19.3 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, Rev. Douglas Lucia, Diocese of Syracuse

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS' DOMESTIC JUSTICE CHAIRMAN ISSUES STATEMENT FOLLOWING SHOOTING IN VIRGINIA BEACH

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has issued the following statement in response to the tragic shooting at the municipal building in Virginia Beach.

The full statement follows:

“This past Friday afternoon, an horrific act of gun violence took place at the municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There are reports of at least twelve fatalities, and numerous critical injuries. This shooting reminds us yet again that something is fundamentally broken in our society and culture when ordinary workplaces can become scenes of violence and contempt for human life. As Americans we must deeply examine why these horrific occurrences of gun violence continue to take place in our communities, in order to root out the causes of such evils. Action is needed to attempt to reduce the frequency of these abhorrent acts through legislation and training. I call on Catholics around the country to pray for the dead and injured, as well as for healing in the community.

May Jesus, whose victory over death we celebrate during this Easter Season, bring consolation and healing at this time of great sorrow.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Virginia Beach, shootings, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

U.S. CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS RELEASE 2018 ANNUAL REPORT ON THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2018 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organization nation-wide.

A survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate is also included as part of the report. The 2018 report for audit year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 states that 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations. Compared to 2017, the number of allegations has increased significantly due to the additional allegations received in five New York State dioceses as a result of the implementation of their Independent Reconciliation and Compensation programs.

Additional data on allegations provided by CARA’s annual survey shows that more than nine in ten alleged offenders (92 percent) identified during the survey year were already deceased, already removed from ministry, already laicized or missing. Most abuse reported occurred between 1960 and 1990, with a peak in the 1970's.

Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were reported during the audit period. As of June 30, 2018, three were substantiated and the clergy were removed from ministry. These allegations came from three different dioceses. Seven allegations were unsubstantiated as of June 30, 2018. Three were categorized as "unable to be proven" and investigations were still in process for six of the allegations as of June 30, 2018. For the remaining seven allegations involving minors, two were referred to a religious order, two were reported as unknown clerics, and three were not claims of sexual abuse, but were boundary violations.

During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 472 victims/survivors and their families who reported during this audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,542 victims/survivors and their families who reported abuse in prior audit periods. Support may include counseling, spiritual assistance, support groups, and other social services.
The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2018, over 2.6 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2018 over 2.6 million adults and 3.9 million children and youth have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.

Regarding Charter Compliance, the report noted the following:
StoneBridge Business Partners, the auditor, visited 72 dioceses/eparchies and collected data from 122 others.
All dioceses/eparchies were found compliant except for the Diocese of Lincoln, who was found non-compliant with Article 7 of the Charter.
Three eparchies did not participate including the Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace, the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Eparchy of Phoenix

The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People continues to emphasize that the audit and maintaining zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church's broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.

This is the sixteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, making a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.

The full Annual Report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/child-abuse-prevention/upload/2018-CYP-Annual-Report.pdf

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People can be found here: www.usccb.org/charter

Additional information on diocesan requirements can be found here:

http://www.usccb.org/about/communications/bishops-resources/upload/cyp-norms-bulletin-insert.pdf
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, 2018 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations, children, young people, vulnerable adults, dioceses/eparchies, sexual abuse, religious orders, Charter compliance, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, safety, protection, healing.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Religious Liberty Chairman Announces Religious Freedom Week from June 22-29, 2019

WASHINGTON— The chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, encourages Catholics to pray and act in support of religious liberty at home and abroad during Religious Freedom Week 2019 which begins on June 22, the Feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, and ends on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul. The theme for this year, Strength in Hope, is taken from the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity: “Among the trials of this life they find strength in hope, convinced that ‘the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that will be revealed in us’ (Rom. 8:18)” (Apostolicam actuositatem, 4).

Archbishop Kurtz stated: “Catholics face challenges both in our current political climate of polarization and within the Church. Christian child welfare institutions and Catholics in public life are encountering significant obstacles to their work, while our brothers and sisters in places like Nigeria suffer violent persecution. We want to build solidarity and to encourage Catholics to persist in the struggle to advance the kingdom of God by finding hope in Jesus Christ.”

Resources for Religious Freedom Week and other religious liberty resources can be found at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek and www.usccb.org/freedom. Video can be found at bit.ly/RFW2019Vid. Social media posts will use the hashtag #StrengthInHope.
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Keywords: Religious Freedom Week, religious freedom, religious liberty, Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, U.S. bishops, dioceses, parish resources, strength in hope, freedom to serve

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

The Devil Is Real. Evil Exists. What Can We Do About It? In a Powerful New Book, Pope Francis Shows Us How We Can “Rebuke the Devil”

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is releasing a commanding new book featuring a survey of Pope Francis’s important teachings on the history of the devil, his empty promises and works, and how we can actively combat him. Written for a wide audience, Rebuking the Devil shows us how to recognize the tricks of the enemy, avoid his traps and defeat his efforts through the power of God in Jesus Christ.  
Rebuking the Devil is available for purchase May 29 through the USCCB’s online bookstore and can be ordered at http://store.usccb.org/rebuking-the-devil-p/7-608.htm

While the text does affirm the reality of the devil, Pope Francis also offers wisdom in following God’s righteous laws and keeping our eyes fixed on the sovereignty of Jesus as we battle evil in our own lives and in the world.  

 “In this important book, Pope Francis tells us how to use powerful tools of spiritual combat against the devil including the Word of God, adoration of God in the Blessed Sacrament, participation in the Sacraments, fasting, prayer and the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, through the Most Holy Rosary,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Chairman of the U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Communications. “We must recognize that there is a devil who is alive and active, but there is also a shield against him through the power of Jesus Christ!”

We are providing a PDF of the book cover as well as a link to the book cover here: http://www.usccb.org/about/marketing/products/images/7-608-rebuking-devil-book-cover.jpg

Additional books and resources pertaining to other topics including marriage and family life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, ministry and more, can be found by visiting the USCCB's online bookstore at https://store.usccb.org/

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Rebuking the Devil, Word of God, adoration, Blessed Sacrament, Sacraments, fasting, prayer, Jesus, Mary, Mother of God, Most Holy Rosary

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Bishop Chairmen Welcome HHS Aligning Health Care Nondiscrimination Regulations with Federal Law

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, have issued a statement welcoming today’s announcement of proposed modifications to regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

 

Their joint statement follows:

 

“We applaud the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for proposing regulations restoring the long-standing position of the federal government that discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ does not refer to ‘termination of pregnancy’ nor ‘gender identity.’ These modifications follow the legislative intent of the Affordable Care Act to ensure nondiscrimination on the basis of sex in health care. The proposed regulations would help restore the rights of health care providers – as well as insurers and employers – who decline to perform or cover abortions or ‘gender transition’ procedures due to ethical or professional objections. Catholic health care providers serve everyone who comes to them, regardless of characteristics or background. However, there are ethical considerations when it comes to procedures. We are grateful for today’s important step.”

A comment letter expressing concern with the original underlying regulations, in which the USCCB joined in 2015, may be found here: http://www.usccb.org/_cs_upload/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/192062_1.pdf.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Department of Health and Human Services, conscience rights, health care providers, abortion, elective abortion, Trump Administration, civil rights laws, White House, discrimination, convictions, sanctity of human life, gender identity, gender transition

 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200