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Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Richard Higgins of the Military Services

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Richard Higgins as Auxiliary Bishop for the Military Services.
 
The resignation was publicized in Washington on January 2, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Richard Higgins, auxiliary bishop, Archdiocese for the Military Services.

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

 

U.S. Bishops' Conference President Reflects on the World Day of Peace

WASHINGTON — The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, has issued the following statement marking the 53rd World Day of Peace on January 1, 2020.

Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:

In this holy season, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the living God who comes among us as the Prince of Peace, to bring peace to our hearts and peace on earth.

Yet we are aware always that our world and our lives are far from peaceful. So many of our brothers and sisters are living in countries torn by war and injustice, terrorism and persecution; many suffer violence because of race, religion, ideology or nationality. Many of our brothers and sisters, even children, are being bought and sold and living in slavery; millions in our world have no place to call home because of poverty and instability.

In our neighborhoods and communities, violence and cruelty are a sad and ordinary reality of daily life. Still children in our country are killed each day in the womb, and many of our neighbors do not have what they need to lead a dignified life. Our politics and cultural discourse are often marked by anger and a merciless and unforgiving contempt for others.

This season we note with particular sadness the violent attacks on people of faith. To name just a few incidents: worshippers in a church in Texas are assaulted by a gunman; in New York, a man goes on a stabbing rampage during a Hanukkah celebration in a rabbi’s home. Christians in Nigeria are beheaded and their killers share video of the atrocity worldwide.

It needs to be said that violence in the name of God is blasphemy. The rise of antisemitic violence in this country and around the world must be condemned along with the ongoing persecution of Christians. Protecting religious freedom and freedom of conscience should be among the highest priorities of every government.

Jesus Christ came as a child on Christmas to show us that every person is a child of God, made in his image. He came to show us that all humanity is one family, that we are all brothers and sisters no matter where we are born, the color of our skin or the language that we speak. Jesus suffered and died to show us how precious each one of us is in the eyes of God, and he calls us to love one another as he loves us, with no exceptions.

So, on this World Day of Peace, the Catholic Church in the United States joins our Holy Father Pope Francis and the Church worldwide in praying for peace. We pray for peace in our hearts and peace in our world. We pray for the conversion of every heart that hates and we pray for the courage to overcome evil with good and respond to hatred with love.

We know that peace is God’s gift, and peace begins when we recognize his presence in every person, when we love him and serve him in the poor and defenseless, in those who are ill, in the refugee, the immigrant, and the prisoner, in every person that our society or economy cannot find a place for.

As we begin a new year and a new decade, we entrust ourselves and our nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. We ask her to intercede for us and to help us to walk on the path of peace.
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, World Day of Peace, Pope Francis.
 
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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
[email protected] , (202) 541-3206

 

Richard Coll Named Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON - Mr. Richard Coll has been appointed as Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), based in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Coll began his tenure with the USCCB in 2011, first as a Foreign Policy Advisor for the Office of International Justice and Peace, then as the Director for the Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions. Earlier this year, he was appointed as the Director of the Office of Domestic Social Development where he has led the work of the U.S. bishops on issues of human dignity, development, and poverty.

In announcing the appointment, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary said, “Richard’s experience within the various departments of the Conference, along with his prior experience as an attorney in the areas of international trade, finance, and development, position him uniquely to lead the efforts of Conference staff in service to the poor and to those who suffer violence and persecution, both here and abroad. I am very grateful to Richard for his continued service to the bishops and to the Conference in this new capacity.”

A graduate of Harvard College and Law School, Mr. Coll came to the Conference after a distinguished career in law in both Washington, D.C. and New York, where he worked in banking and international economic policy. He is fluent in Spanish and French and brings an expertise in various policy areas. Mr. Coll is a parishioner at Holy Trinity Church in Washington and is a former member of the parish pastoral council.

The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development provides staff support to the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, the Committee on International Justice and Peace, and the Committee on Religious Liberty, as well as the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Justice Peace and Human Development, International Justice and Peace, Catholic Home Missions, Office of Domestic Social Development, Richard Coll.
 
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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Pro-Life Chairman Commends Final Rule Separating Abortion Payments from Health Care Coverage

WASHINGTON–On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Exchange Program Integrity Final Rule. Among other provisions, the rule ensures that when Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange plans include elective abortion coverage— for which public funding is prohibited by federal law—customers receive separate bills for abortion coverage from their health insurance. The fact sheet additionally noted that “if the policy holder fails to pay the separate bill in a separate transaction as instructed by the issuer, the issuer may not terminate the policy holder’s coverage on this basis, provided the amount due is otherwise paid.”

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), shared the following statement:

“Consumers have a right to know if they are paying for elective abortion. While the Affordable Care Act still allows government-subsidized plans to cover abortion, at least with this rule, Americans can now see and try to avoid complicity by choosing plans consistent with their consciences. I commend the Administration for enforcing the law, for its efforts to ensure transparency in healthcare, and for attempting to respect unborn human life.”

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Keywords: Murry, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS, Affordable Care Act, ACA, Exchange Program Integrity Final Rule.

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

 

Bishop Chairmen Applaud Repeal of “Parking Lot Tax” on Houses of Worship and Nonprofits

WASHINGTON–A recently-passed provision to repeal a section in the U.S. tax code has the support of chairmen of two committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The provision repeals Section 512(a)(7), commonly called the “parking lot tax” because it taxes nonprofit organizations, including houses of worship, for the cost of parking and transit benefits they provide to their employees.

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J. of Youngstown, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, issued a statement in support of the repeal:

“Houses of worship and charitable organizations provide invaluable spiritual care, social services, and support in every community in our country. Especially during this time of year, we remember the ongoing good work happening through these organizations. To impose a new tax on these entities was wrong in the first place. We applaud Congress for amending the Internal Revenue Code to eliminate this burdensome tax. By requiring nonprofits and houses of worship to pay taxes on parking and transit benefits provided for their employees, Section 512(a)(7) entangles the IRS with houses of worship and drains the charitable sector of vital resources. We welcome its repeal.”

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Keywords: Archbishop Paul Coakley, Bishop George Murry, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Justice and Human Development, Committee on Religious Liberty, Congress, House, Senate, parking lot tax, religious liberty, religious freedom.

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