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Browsing News Entries

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Statement on Abortion Funding in Build Back Better Act

WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce advanced portions of the reconciliation bill without removing abortion funding provisions or including the Hyde Amendment to prohibit taxpayer funding of abortion. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement following markup of the Build Back Better Act by the two House committees.  

“Catholic bishops have been strong advocates for proposals at both the federal and state level that ensure all people will have access to affordable healthcare, including Medicaid expansion proposals. We are encouraged by several healthcare provisions in portions of the Build Back Better Act that will improve healthcare coverage for those in need, including enhanced postpartum coverage and other investments to address the high rates of preventable maternal deaths in the United States, expanded access to in-home care for family members, support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and pre-release Medicaid coverage for returning citizens.

“However, the legislative text advanced by the two House committees also funds abortion, the deliberate destruction of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters - those in the womb. This cannot be included. Congress can, and must, turn back from including taxpayer funding of abortion, in the Build Back Better Act. We urge all members of Congress and the Administration to work in good faith to advance important and life-saving healthcare provisions without forcing Americans to pay for the deliberate destruction of unborn human life.”  

On September 7, five USCCB chairmen wrote to Congress outlining their priorities for the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Reconciliation bill. In this letter, the bishops reiterated that if this bill expands taxpayer funding of abortion the USCCB would oppose it.

Below are the letters that USCCB has sent to Congress on Budget Reconciliation: 

  • Letter to Congress on Federal Budget Reconciliation, September 7, 2021
  • Letter from Bishop Dorsonville to House Judiciary on Immigration Provisions in the Build Back Better Act, September 12, 2021
  • Letter from Archbishop Coakley and Archbishop Naumann to House Energy and Commerce Committee on Healthcare Provisions in the Build Back Better Act, September 13, 2021

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

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Commends Inclusion of Legalization Provisions in House Judiciary Committee Reconciliation Measure

WASHINGTON—On September 13, 2021, the House Committee on the Judiciary approved language to be included in the forthcoming budget reconciliation bill that, if enacted, would provide legalization with a pathway to citizenship for millions of Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries, undocumented agricultural workers, and other undocumented essential workers. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate will need to incorporate these provisions into the budget reconciliation bill and both chambers will need to pass the bill before these provisions can become law. This action by the Judiciary Committee follows a letter sent last week by five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which outlines the USCCB’s broad range of priorities for the full reconciliation bill, as well as a letter sent earlier this week by Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, in which he endorses the Judiciary Committee provisions.

In response to the Judiciary Committee’s passage of the legalization provisions, Bishop Dorsonville issued the following statement:

“We are pleased that the House Committee on the Judiciary has taken this important step, setting up an opportunity for many undocumented persons to receive legal status and a pathway to citizenship. Undoubtedly, Catholic social teaching will be implicated by many aspects of this budget reconciliation bill, but this is a welcome milestone for many families and the common good.

“For decades, the bishops of the United States have been proponents of such reforms, which promote integration and family unity. We cannot persist in relegating these members of our society to the margins, especially when we simultaneously depend on so many of them for our collective wellbeing.

“As we continue to work toward a more comprehensive reform of our immigration system—one that acknowledges and respects the God-given dignity of every person—we welcome this crucial step. We call on both the House and Senate to include these provisions in the final reconciliation bill and for Congress to pass a bill that helps all those on the margins of our society, strengthens families, protects religious freedom, promotes care for creation, and respects the rights and dignity of every human life, from conception to natural death.”

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

USCCB President on the Twentieth Anniversary of the September 11 Terrorist Attacks

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on the eve of the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The full text of Archbishop Gomez’s statement follows:

"As we remember the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, our hearts are with all those who lost loved ones on that day. We pray for the innocent lives that were lost, and we pray for those who grieve, and for the many who still bear the wounds from these attacks, physical, emotional and spiritual.

"It was a dark day of destruction and death, but we remember also the heroes — first-responders, firefighters, police, emergency medical and rescue teams. Many gave their lives in the service of their neighbors. This violence, borne of the worst evil in the human heart, also brought out the best in our humanity. We think today of the courage and generosity of countless ordinary people and the spirit of unity and authentic patriotism we saw in the days after these attacks.

"We honor the dead by the way we live. And today we pray for a new spirit of national pride and unity. May God inspire in all of us to seek fellowship, reconciliation, and common purpose.

"We ask God to bring comfort to those who mourn and peace to every heart that is consumed by hatred, and may he bring peace to our troubled world.

"We entrust our prayers and our nation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and the mother of each one of us."

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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Bishops Conference Announces Emergency Collection for Natural Disasters in Wake of Hurricane Ida

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking them to consider taking up a voluntary special collection in their dioceses for the Bishops Emergency Disaster Fund. Donations to the special collection will assist with the humanitarian, long-term recovery, and significant Church needs stemming from Hurricane Ida which made landfall in the Gulf Coast and made its way inland as a tropical storm, causing damage across several states. Archbishop Gomez’s request follows another request he made several weeks ago to the bishops where he asked them to consider a voluntary special collection for Haiti in the aftermath of the August 14 earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace.

In his letter sent to bishops, Archbishop Gomez detailed that the funds collected in this special appeal would be used to support the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church, as well as the efforts of Catholic Charities USA and/or Catholic Relief Services. These official relief agencies of the U.S. Catholic Church along with their local agencies respond to immediate emergency needs and recovery efforts.

“Funds will be used in response to the hurricane and the impact of subsequent flooding and tornados and any other disasters that occur and will be distributed where they are most needed. However, if such purpose(s) become unnecessary, impractical, or impossible to fill, USCCB may use such contributions for other emergency disaster relief where it is most needed as determined by the Committee on National Collections using its emergency response protocol,” he said in his letter.

Recognizing the financial challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on parish and diocesan activities, but also acknowledging the great need for supporting the recovery efforts from the natural disasters that have hit the dioceses, Archbishop Gomez expressed hope in the generosity of the faithful and their care for those in need.

More information about the Office of National Collections and its support of emergency relief efforts can be found at https://www.usccb.org/committees/national-collections.  

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

 

USCCB Releases Updated Edition of National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released the second edition of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States. First promulgated in November 2004, the directory outlines the guidelines and directives to be used by dioceses in preparing or updating a diaconate program and formulating policies for the ministry and life of deacons.

According to the most recent available data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, there are 18,075 permanent deacons in the United States; it is also reported that 97 percent of the world’s permanent deacons live in the Americas and Europe. The updated directory reflects on the wisdom gleaned from a broad spectrum of deacons and their formators. With a focus on the identity of the deacon as a “living icon of Christ the Servant within the Church,” and a minister of Word, Liturgy, and Charity in the community, the new edition reflects poignantly on fifty years since the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the United States. Developed by the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV), the second edition includes norms that will take effect on June 9, 2022.

In a recent meeting with permanent deacons and their families in Rome, Pope Francis described the spirituality of deacons as “availability inside and openness outside…available inside, from the heart, ready to say ‘yes,’ docile, without making one’s life revolve around one’s own agenda; and open outside, looking at everyone, especially those who are left out, those who feel excluded.” The Holy Father reminded those present that the Church should have “a heart that burns with love and serves with humility and joy.”

Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations expressed gratitude for the update of the document. “I am grateful for the good work of the CCLV committee that has led to the publication of the updated National Directory. This document will serve as an instrumental resource for dioceses as they work to strengthen their permanent diaconate programs. It is my hope that permanent deacons and those who accompany them will be encouraged by the new edition of the Directory and be inspired to continue in their faithful service to the Church in imitation of Christ the Servant.”

The National Directory, 2nd edition is available for purchase on the USCCB store: https://store.usccb.org/products/national-directory-for-the-formation-ministry-and-life-of-permanent-deacons.

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

Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman on Supporting Pregnant and New Mothers

WASHINGTON – Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued a statement on supporting pregnant and new mothers.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“As chairman of the Pro-Life Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to echo the words of the Texas Catholic bishops who expressed gratitude for the growing network of support for pregnant mothers and their families in Texas. Recently, the Texas legislature increased support for low-income mothers by 25 percent through their Alternatives to Abortion program, in addition to expanding Medicaid coverage for new mothers.  

“Another new Texas law, which has elicited far more controversy, seeks to use civil rather than criminal law to protect the lives of vulnerable children in the womb. Tragically, the President, Speaker of the House, and other public officials have responded with statements that ignore our nation’s sacred interest to protect the life and health of both mothers and their unborn children, instead responding with radical pledges to mobilize the full force of the federal government to block all efforts to protect the life of the child in the womb. And they seek to enshrine into federal law the failed policy of Roe v. Wade, which pits the welfare of mothers against their children.  

“As Catholics, we are committed to working and praying for the conversion of minds and hearts so all people will respect the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. Our national outreach, Walking with Moms in Need, helps parishes to identify and help provide the full range of needs for mothers and their unborn children, not only during pregnancy, but for years to come. We stand with Pope Francis, who reminds us that killing a child is never a solution to a problem. We advocate for surrounding both mother and her child with love and practical support as the humane response to a difficult pregnancy.”  

To learn more about the Walking with Moms in Need nationwide initiative to serve pregnant and parenting mothers, please visit www.walkingwithmoms.com.  

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

 

USCCB Launches Initiative Inspired by Fratelli Tutti to Counter Polarization and Division

WASHINGTON – The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a new initiative today aimed at addressing polarization in society. Based on Pope Francis’ call in his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti for “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good” (no. 154), the new initiative, Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics asks Catholics to respond to this invitation with charity, clarity, and creativity. 

The initiative, which many dioceses throughout the country will be participating in locally, will aid efforts of evangelization to shine the light of our faith on the often challenging area of politics. At CivilizeIt.org, participants can take a pledge and access supporting materials including an examination of conscience, short reflections, prayers, and a guide that will empower individuals, families, and communities to be bridgebuilders across perspectives. Based on chapters 5 and 6 of Fratelli Tutti and on other reflections by the Holy Father, the materials aim to help Catholics and others of good will to cultivate a culture of encounter, root perspectives in truth, justice and solidarity, and seek collaborative action for the common good. 

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development reflected on the importance of the initiative at this time:

Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics aims to equip Catholics to address the division and polarization in society that are at times also reflected in the Church. Such division among the faithful compromises the Church’s ability to effectively witness to the life and dignity of the human person in the family, parish, workplace, and political sphere. In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis offers a different way forward based on Gospel values, justice and truth. My hope is that this initiative will assist all of us as we seek to ‘become neighbors to all,’ as the Holy Father calls us to do, and take up the challenges of encounter, dialogue, truth-seeking, and creative problem-solving, in order that all Catholics can work together for the common good.”

Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics builds on an initiative of a similar name implemented during the 2019-20 election season that sought to help Catholics model love of neighbor by honoring human dignity through civil conversation during the election year.

More information on the initiative as well as the pledge, resources, and other tools may be found on CivilizeIt.org.

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3200

In Labor Day Statement, Bishop Chairman Echoes Pope Francis’ Call to Build Economy Without Exclusion

WASHINGTON — For Labor Day, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, released a statement observing that there are both encouraging signs of economic recovery and ongoing hardships related to COVID-19.

Archbishop Coakley echoes Pope Francis’ call from the encyclical, Fratelli Tuttito rise out of this crisis with an economy that expresses universal fraternity. He writes, “It is our task not only to reflect on the present ills of our economy, but also to build consensus around human dignity and the common good, the bedrocks of Catholic social teaching, and to answer the Pope’s call to propose new and creative economic responses to human need, both locally and globally.”  Archbishop Coakley also calls attention to the Holy Father’s Economy of Francesco initiative, as well as the responses of the Churches’ many ministries to the increased needs of the pandemic.

The full statement may be found here.

The Spanish translation of the statement will be posted here shortly.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Bishop Chairmen Emphasize Ecological Conscience in Statement for World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

WASHINGTON - Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, released a statement on the Holy Father’s World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.  The bishops emphasized developing an ecological conscience, informed by faith, science, and reason that leads to prayer, sound judgment, and action. 

The full statement can be found here.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ President Offers Prayers in Solidarity with Those Impacted by Hurricane Ida

WASHINGTON —Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement praying for the lives and safety of all those impacted by Hurricane Ida which has made landfall in the Gulf Coast and has moved inland as a tropical storm, continuing to cause damage across several states:

“Hurricane Ida has hit the Gulf Coast and brought with it catastrophic damage with wind, rain, storm surges, and flooding. As the storm moves inland, it continues to hit communities in several states and causing damage. Multiple dioceses of the Church in the United States have been affected. I call on people of good will to join me in praying for the safety, well-being, and protection of everyone in these impacted areas. We also pray in a special way for the first responders, health care workers, and emergency personnel who bring relief, comfort, and healing. I urge our Catholic faithful and all people of good will across the country to stand in solidarity with these impacted communities. We entrust all our brothers and sisters in harm’s way to our Blessed Mother, and we ask for her continued protection and for her intercession in comforting the those who are suffering.

“Catholics and all people of good will may help our brothers and sisters in their recovery by supporting the work of Catholic Charities USA at https://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org/2021-priorities.

 

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Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi 
202-541-3200