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U.S. Bishops’ Domestic Anti-Poverty Program Supported by the Upcoming Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection

WASHINGTON— For more than fifty years, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has supported organizations that combat poverty and improve the lives of people in communities across the United States. As the U.S. bishops’ domestic anti-poverty initiative, organizations supported by CCHD help expand access to affordable housing and education, develop worker-owned businesses, train neighborhood advocates, and empower essential workers to advocate for workplace safety. The goal of the CCHD is to help people who are poor or disadvantaged develop the skills and create the opportunities necessary to make a living and to build stronger families and stronger neighborhoods as they do so.

When Catholics give to the annual CCHD collection, they are supporting the bishops’ call to fraternity, social friendship, and solidarity that Pope Francis presents in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti. Parishioners are invited to be part of this mission by supporting the collection at Mass, or through parish online giving platforms. #iGiveCatholicTogether also accepts funds in support of CCHD.

The collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which most parishes will take up on the weekend of November 20-21, supports grassroots-level organizations that equip poor and marginalized people to access education and job training, raise families in safe neighborhoods, and exercise community leadership. A quarter of all gifts given to diocesan collections for CCHD remains in the diocese to support local anti-poverty initiatives.

“In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis writes that ‘when the good of others is at stake, good intentions are not enough.’ That same vision has inspired the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for more than a half century. CCHD is about helping those who are poor, marginalized, or wounded to achieve their dreams,” said Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. “The work of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development helps people help themselves at the local community level through advocacy, engagement with their neighbors, and cooperation with local religious and government leaders. CCHD empowers those in poor communities to make a living and to create change that builds stronger neighborhoods and healthier communities.”

More information on the history and impact of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development can be found at www.usccb.org/committees/catholic-campaign-human-development. Easy-to-use promotional resources are available at www.usccb.org/cchd/collection. Find more information on poverty, including fact sheets and stories about how gifts to this collection have changed people’s lives in the United States, at www.povertyusa.org.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

 

 

 

 

U.S. Bishops Approve Updated Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines

BALTIMORE - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) convened their November General Assembly in Baltimore this week. During their meeting, one of the action items voted on and approved by the bishops was the formal statement, “Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines.” The full body of bishops approved it by a two-thirds majority vote of 216 to 10 with 5 abstentions.

The bishops’ working group on revising the guidelines was led by Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee of Budget and Finance and included the input of multiple Conference committee chairmen to obtain input from various perspectives. The working group was guided by Christian Brothers Investing Services, Inc. and seventeen different subject matter experts representing a wide variety of focus areas, from investment firms, religious, accounting/financial experts, and notable collegiate experts. The working group also convened two Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) research providers. 

The Conference first issued investing guidelines in 1991 and last updated in 2003. The guidelines build and expand upon earlier guidelines developed and used by the USCCB for its financial investing and are intended to provide clear policies to guide the Conference’s investments and other activities related to corporate responsibility. Recognizing its leadership role in establishing principles for Catholic investing, the document acknowledges that many dioceses, eparchies, and religious communities will also seek to apply these guidelines through their own policies on corporate responsibility. The guidelines provide an accessible framework for Catholic institutions and dioceses that want to make investment decisions.

“Overall, the guidelines see a three-pronged investment strategy based on the defense and promotion of life: avoid doing harm, actively work for change, and promote the common good,” said Bishop Parkes. “Collectively, these form our investment strategy and are the lens through which any individual investment opportunity is evaluated. The key is that we invest if we can affect positive change and divest or don’t invest where we can’t,” he continued.

Some of the significant changes in the update of the text include incorporating the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis; extending all five sections of policies, with significant updates to areas concerning the common good and the environment; and adding new areas such as media, telecommunications, and impact investing. The updated investment guidance, in addition to its emphasis on shareholder engagement, includes expansions on environmental issues. The investing guidelines, which offer a Catholic perspective on ethical and socially responsible investing, build on the Conference’s historical work proclaiming the Gospel in the midst of a complex economic world.

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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U.S. Bishops Approve Action Items on Their Agenda at the Fall General Assembly

BALTIMORE— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gathered for the 2021 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore this week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bishops’ June 2020 spring meeting was canceled, and the November 2020 fall meeting and June 2021 spring meeting were held in a virtual format. This was the first in-person meeting of the full body of bishops since November 2019.  

The meeting agenda included more than a dozen action items that were up for a vote: 

  • By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed their support for the advancement of the causes of beatification and canonization for three lay individuals at the diocesan level: Charlene Marie RichardsAuguste Robert Pelafigue, and Joseph Dutton.  

  • The bishops received an update on the Eucharistic revival initiative and voted on moving forward with a National Eucharistic Congress in the summer of 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The bishops approved the national event with 201 votes in favor, 17 against, and 5 abstentions.  

  • Through the USCCB’s Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines, the Conference exercises faithful, competent, and socially responsible stewardship in how it manages its financial resources. The updated guidelines were presented to the body of bishops and this action item was approved with 216 votes in favor, 10 against, and 5 abstentions. 

  • The bishops discussed the draft of a statement that is meant to be a reflection on the transformative beauty of the Eucharist that invites each of us into a deeper relationship with Christ. The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church was approved with 222 votes in favor, 8 against, and 3 abstentions. 

  • The Latin Church members voted to approve the revised National Statutes for the Catechumenate for use in the dioceses of the U.S. by a vote of 222 - 1 with 0 abstentions. It was followed with a vote to approve the Estatutos Nacionales para el Catecumenado for use in the dioceses of the U.S. with 224 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention. 

  • The Conference’s longstanding commitment to promote financial accountability in the pastoral governance of the diocesan bishop is affirmed through the Resolution on Diocesan Financial Reporting, which encourages the adoption of a voluntary financial reporting system by the dioceses as a means of offering further evidence of their compliance with canon law (Church law) pertaining to fiscal administration. Since its original passage in 2000, the resolution has been renewed by the bishops approximately every five years. It was approved by the bishops with 233 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention.  

  • Each year, the USCCB publishes the Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America which lists each day’s celebration, rank, liturgical color, citations for the Lectionary for Mass, and Psalter cycle for the Liturgy of the Hours. In a vote of 213 votes in favor, 0 against, and 1 abstention, the bishops approved the proposal to inscribe Saint Teresa Calcutta as an optional memorial on September 5. 

  • The Latin Church members of the Conference voted to approve the translation by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery Outside Mass for use in the dioceses of the United States, which was approved with 200 votes in favor, 14 against, and 4 abstentions. 

  • The Latin Church members of the Conference approved the revised English edition of the Order of the Christian Initiation of Adults with 215 votes in favor, 6 against, and 2 abstentions. It was followed by a vote on a revised Spanish edition of the Ritual para la Iniciación cristiana de adultos, which was likewise approved with 218 votes in favor, 3 against, and 1 abstention. 

  • The full body of bishops authorized the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People to begin a review of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults in advance of the June 2025 mandated review date. The proposal was approved with 230 votes in favor, 5 against, and 0 abstentions. 

  • The bishops accepted the recommendations of the USCCB’s Committee on Budget and Finance to approve the 2022 budget by a vote of 223 - 4 with 5 abstentions. 

Recordings of the bishops’ general assembly and the press conferences may be accessed at www.usccb.org/meetings

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Media Contacts: 
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte 
202-541-3200 

 

U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard

BALTIMORE— At their annual fall Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard, lay woman.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette in Louisiana, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.

Charlene Marie Richard was born January 13, 1947, and died August 11, 1959, at the age of twelve years old. She was from the rural community of Richard, Louisiana, and the second oldest of ten children born to Joseph Elvin and Mary Alice Richard. In May 1959, after reading a book about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, the young Charlene Richard asked her grandmother whether she, too, could become a saint by praying like Saint Thérèse.

After reporting appearances of a tall woman in black who would vanish, and her teacher observing that the young girl was not herself, Charlene’s mother took her to a physician where she was diagnosed with acute lymphatic leukemia and hospitalized at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana. At the request of her family, the hospital chaplain, Reverend Joseph F. Brennan, was called to her bedside to deliver the news of her terminal diagnosis.

Though the illness was painful, Charlene remained cheerful, meekly accepted her fate, and offered up her suffering to God. Father Brennan was deeply impressed by her faith and visited her daily. While dying, the young girl prayed for other individuals to be healed or to be converted to Catholicism. The Director of Pediatrics at the hospital, Sister Theresita Crowley, OSF, also witnessed her calm acceptance of suffering and prayers for others. Father Brennan and Sister Theresita maintained that those for whom Charlene Richard prayed recovered from their illnesses or became Catholic. Richard died on August 11, 1959, about two weeks after meeting Father Brennan. She was later buried in her community of Richard, Louisiana.

In 1975, a series of articles about Charlene Richard in the newspaper of the Diocese of Lafayette increased interest in her story and were republished in a booklet, Charlene, A Saint from Southwest Louisiana, in 1979. Testimonials by individuals who believed that they had benefited by prayer to Charlene were added and then published as a book in 1988 entitled, Charlene: The Little Cajun Saint. A widespread belief formed in the area that Charlene would intercede in heaven in answer to the prayers directed to her.

By 1989, devotion and confidence in Charlene Richard’s intercession had spread outside the southwest of Louisiana with hundreds of people visiting her grave each week. On the thirtieth anniversary of her death in 1989, an outdoor Mass was celebrated by then Bishop Harry J. Flynn and was attended by more than four thousand people. Media coverage of the Mass expanded interest in her to a global audience and thousands visit her grave each year.

In January 2020, at the Immaculata Chapel in the Diocese of Lafayette, Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel officially opened the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Charlene Marie Richard.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Joseph Dutton

BALTIMORE—At their annual fall Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Joseph Dutton, lay man.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop Clarence R. Silva of Honolulu, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.

Ira Barnes Dutton, known as Joseph Dutton or Brother Dutton, was born April 27, 1843, in Stowe, Vermont. His father, Ezra Dutton, was a farmer who also worked as a cobbler and his mother, Abigail Barnes, was a schoolteacher. The family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin in 1847. Dutton was interested in the military and became a member of the Janesville Zouave Corps. With the onset of the Civil War, the cadets of the Janesville Zouave Corps were enrolled, as Company B of the volunteer regiment, which later became known as the 13th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Dutton was soon appointed regimental quartermaster sergeant, later promoted to lieutenant and ultimately captain. After the war, he remained in service as a quartermaster’s agent on cemetery construction duty, which involved the task of disinterring bodies from scattered graves and reinterring them in national cemeteries.

Dutton was married on January 1, 1866, but when his wife left him a year later, it began a period in his life that Dutton later referred to as the “degenerate decade” where he engaged in heavy drinking. In July of 1876, he became “strictly an abstainer.”

Dutton was determined to do penance and make atonement for his “wild years,” and after studying the Catholic faith, he decided that being Catholic would best enable him to lead a penitential life. He was received into the Catholic Church at St. Peter’s in the city of Memphis on April 27, 1883, his 40th birthday, and took the name of “Joseph” as his name.

In 1884, he entered the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where he stayed for 20 months, devoting himself to a life of hard work and silence. However, he realized that the best way for him to do penance was not through a life of contemplation but through a life of action and he left the monastery, with the blessing of the abbot.

The Servant of God Dutton first learned about Father Damien DeVeuster, now Saint Damien of Molokai, and the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement on the island of Molokai in Hawaii when he read the account The Lepers of Molokai, written by Charles Warren Stoddard. With Stoddard’s encouragement, he traveled to Hawaii, and with the approval of the bishop and the Board of Health, he went to Kalaupapa. Father Damien, who had just been diagnosed with leprosy, needed an assistant to help him carry on his work after he was gone. Dutton threw himself into the work and soon became an expert in caring for the patients’ medical needs. He was methodical and accurate in his work and quick to learn the rudiments of medicine and surgery.

Father Damien, who died in 1889 from leprosy, had established homes for the “orphan” boy and girl patients near his church and house. In 1888, Mother Marianne Cope, now Saint Marianne of Molokai, and the Franciscan Sisters had arrived to care for the girls in a new home in Kalaupapa. In 1892, at the request of Mother Marianne, Dutton was received as a Secular Third Order Franciscan and in 1895, he took charge of the Baldwin Home for Boys with a capacity of 120 beds for boys and young men. He labored there for the next 35 years. Joseph Dutton died at St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu on March 26, 1931.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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U.S. Bishops Affirm Advancement of the Cause of Beatification and Canonization of the Servant of God Auguste Robert Pelafigue

BALTIMORE— At their annual fall Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Auguste Robert Pelafigue, lay man and catechist.

Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette in Louisiana, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote, the bishops affirmed support for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.

Auguste Robert Pelafigue was born on January 10, 1888. He was an unmarried man of the Catholic lay faithful who, by his profound simplicity of life and apostolic zeal, spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and participation in the Apostleship of Prayer to well over a thousand men, women, and children in his community.

As a young boy, Pelafigue traveled by boat with his family from France to the United States, settled in Arnaudville, Louisiana, and later he was given the nickname “Nonco.” In 1909, when he was 21, he left home to attend the Louisiana State Normal School in Natchitoches, Louisiana where he studied to become a teacher. It was during that time he became a member of the Apostleship of Prayer League of the Sacred Heart. He returned to Arnaudville and began to teach in public schools. In 1949, he joined the faculty of Arnaudville’s Little Flower Catholic School, the only man amongst a staff of women, all of whom were members of the religious order of the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross.

Throughout the community of Arnaudville, Pelafigue was known for his passionate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He organized the League of the Sacred Heart with some 1,200 members and 100 promoters who helped him distribute monthly leaflets in their communities. Pelafigue himself traveled throughout the community on foot to visit with his neighbors and deliver monthly Sacred Heart leaflets. Many people who recalled seeing him on this errand are said to have offered him a ride, but even in the poorest of weather conditions he always declined, saying that it was his way of doing penance for conversions and for the poor souls in purgatory. Pelafigue is said to have lived a life of radical simplicity, reluctantly accepting only the most rudimentary forms of electricity and plumbing. Nevertheless, he would pay the membership dues of the League of the Sacred Heart of his poorest members, making heroic personal sacrifice the measure of his charity.

In 1953, Pope Pius XII awarded Pelafigue with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in recognition for his dedicated and humble service to the Catholic Church. For 24 more years, until he died, Pelafigue continuously spread devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In total, over the 68-year span of his apostolate, he promoted the intentions of 6 popes, until the day he died on June 6, 1977, which was that year the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

On June 6, 2012, the 35th anniversary of his death, the Auguste “Nonco” Pelafigue foundation was born with the mission of providing religious, educational, and charitable programs to continue his work, and to explore the possibility of his beatification and canonization by the Roman Catholic Church in recognition of his tireless commitment to it.

On January 11, 2020, at the Immaculata Chapel in the Diocese of Lafayette, Bishop Deshotel officially opened the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Auguste Robert “Nonco” Pelafigue.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Elect New Conference Treasurer, Committee Chairmen, Board Members for Catholic Relief Services, and a General Secretary at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore

BALTIMORE - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) have convened their November General Assembly in Baltimore, their first in person meeting in two years in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, the bishops elected a new Conference treasurer and chairmen of five standing committees. The elected bishops will serve for one year as the treasurer-elect or as committee chairman-elect before beginning a three-year term that begins at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2022 Fall General Assembly. The bishops also elected 3 members to the Board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and a general secretary for the Conference.

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen as treasurer-elect and chairman-elect of the Committee on Budget and Finance in a vote 135 to 106 over Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle.

Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing as chairman-elect of the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations in a 137-103 vote over Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver.

Bishop Steven J. Lopes of Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter as chairman-elect of the Committee on Divine Worship in a 121-120 vote over Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of St. Louis.

Archbishop Borys Gudziak of Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, as chairman-elect of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development in a 125-116 vote over Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield.  

Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles as chairman-elect of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth in a 140-103 vote over Bishop Edward J. Burns of Dallas.

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso as chairman-elect of the Committee on Migration in a 127-116 vote over Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami.

Reverend Michael J. K. Fuller, STD was elected as General Secretary of the USCCB in a vote over Reverend Daniel Hanley. The general secretary’s term is five years.

Additionally, 3 members of the Board of Directors for Catholic Relief Services were elected from a slate of 4 candidates. They are (alphabetical order):

  • Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio
  • Bishop Donald J. Hying
  • Bishop Oscar A. Solis

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials of the General Assembly are posted at: www.usccb.org/meetings 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Ogechi Akalegbere is 2021 Winner of CCHD’s Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award

WASHINGTON - The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has named Ms. Ogechi Akalegbere of the Archdiocese of Washington as the recipient of the 2021 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award. Each year, this prestigious award from the CCHD recognizes a young adult between the ages of 18 and 40 who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States through community-based solutions. Ogechi will be honored at a reception on November 16 during the U.S. bishops’ annual General Assembly in Baltimore.

Ogechi Akalegbere is a Nigerian-American, Catholic young adult leader who is passionate about the faith call to do justice. With Action in Montgomery (AIM), a CCHD-funded organization in the Archdiocese of Washington, Ogechi trained low-income and immigrant parents to advocate for equitable access to resources in schools so their children could thrive. Now an AIM board member, she continues to help local communities give witness to the needs of their members. Ogechi also leads trainings on equity for parishes with Catholics United for Black Lives. After several incidents of national unrest, Ogechi took inspiration from Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, and founded a small group for young adult women of color to discern their response as people of faith. Ogechi works as the Christian Service Coordinator at Connelly School of the Holy Child, and serves as a catechist, lector, and pastoral council co-chair at St. Rose of Lima parish.

Bishop David G. O’Connell, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development said, “Ogechi embodies CCHD’s mission to empower individuals to become active participants in their lives who transform the systems and structures that perpetuate poverty. We are honored to award Ogechi with the 2021 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award and we hope that her dedication to putting her faith into action proves an inspiration and example for us all.”

The award, bestowed annually, is named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who was archbishop of Chicago from 1982 till his death in 1996. Cardinal Bernardin served as the first general secretary of the U.S. bishops’ conference from 1968-1972, and as the conference’s third president from 1974-1977. More information about the award is available at: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/cardinal-bernardin-new-leadership-award.cfm.

Ogechi’s remarks will be available at www.togoforth.org on November 16, following the award reception.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection Releases Annual Report

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released the 2020 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 organizations nation-wide. A survey on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is also included as part of the report.

This is the eighteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People a comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and made a promise to protect and a pledge to heal. The report, which is typically released in June each year, was delayed due to the health and safety restrictions as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A mid-cycle adjustment was made to extend the time frame of the audit process to accommodate diocesan offices which had closed, diocesan staff who had transitioned to remote work, and for the elements of on-site audits to go virtual. This adjustment did not alter data collected or information garnered from the audit process.

The 2020 report for audit year July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 states that 3,924 adults came forward with 4,228 allegations. The number of allegations is slightly less than that reported in 2019. As noted in the 2019 Annual Report, the number of allegations increased significantly in large part due to allegations received in connection with lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies.

During this audit year, 22 allegations were made by current minors, six of which were substantiated, two were unsubstantiated, three were unable to be proven, seven were still under investigation, and four were categorized as “other.”

The report notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2020, the Church’s investment in protective services increased by 15 percent. This included over 2.5 million background checks conducted on clergy, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2020 over 2.5 million adults and 3.1 million children and youth were trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs. The Church also continues to provide outreach and support to 2,458 victim survivors and their families in the form of counseling, spiritual assistance, and other social services.

Despite restrictions experienced due to the pandemic, evaluation of compliance with the Charter continued. Necessary adjustments to social distancing did not alter elements included in the audit process conducted by Stonebridge Business Partners. The Archdiocese of New Orleans requested a one-year postponement of the audit as the area continues to recover from natural disasters. The report noted the following:

  • 61 dioceses/eparchies were visited either in-person or via remote technology and data collected from 135 others.
  • There were four instances of non-compliance: the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Helena were found non-compliant with Article 2 of the Charter due to inactivity of their Review Boards; St Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy and Our Lady of Deliverance of Newark Eparchy were both found non-compliant with Articles 12 (training of youth and adults) and Article 13 (background checks) of the Charter.
  • Two eparchies did not participate in the audit: the Eparchy of St. Mary Queen of Peace, and the Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle.

The USCCB’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the National Review Board continue to emphasize that the audit and continued application of 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.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
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Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Mark A. Eckman as auxiliary bishop of Pittsburgh. Bishop-elect Eckman is a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and currently serves as pastor of Resurrection parish in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on November 5, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Eckman was born February 9, 1959, in Pittsburgh. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh (1981) and a Master of Divinity from Saint Vincent Seminary in Latrobe (1984). He was ordained to the priesthood on May 11, 1985.

Bishop-elect Eckman’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Resurrection parish in Pittsburgh (1985-1990); Saint Sebastian parish in Pittsburgh (1990-1991); Saint Valentine parish in Bethel Park (1991-1992); Saint Winifred parish in Pittsburgh (1992-1994); and Saint John Vianney parish in Pittsburgh (1994-1998). He served as pastor at Saint Sylvester parish (1998-2009); administrator (2005-2006) and pastor (2006-2009) at Saint Norbert parish in Pittsburgh; pastor (2009-2013) and later as administrator (2020-2021) at Saint Thomas More parish in Pittsburgh. Father Eckman also served as administrator for Epiphany parish (2017-2018), and Saint John Capistran parish (2020-2021), in Pittsburgh. He also served as chaplain of education at Seton-LaSalle Catholic High School (1992-1998), and DePaul School for Hearing and Speech in Pittsburgh (1996-1998).

His priestly ministry has also included service at the diocesan level: the Computer Committee (1990-present), and assessor for the Tribunal (1992-present). From 2013-2020, he served as episcopal vicar for Clergy Personnel, and as a member of the Priests’ Benefit Plan Board, the Priest Personnel Board, the Seminary Admissions Board, the Permanent Diaconate Formation Board, the Priest Council, the Priesthood Candidate Admissions Board, and the diocesan College of Consultors. Bishop-elect Eckman also served on the National Advisory Board for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2014.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh is comprised of 3,754 square miles in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has a total population of 1,893,567 of which 625,490 are Catholic.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200