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Chair of USCCB Committee on Migration Urges Rescission of New Rule that Undermines our Asylum System and Puts Vulnerable Individuals and Families at Risk

WASHINGTON— Recently, the Trump Administration issued an “interim final rule” that would nearly eviscerate our current asylum system. A 30-day period was given to submit comments to the government about the rule. The move would allow the Administration to block most individuals arriving at our southern border from gaining access to asylum in the U.S. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops submitted comments on August 9th and called the rule “unlawful, unjust, and unwise.”

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“We have grave concerns about the Administration’s interim final rule, issued on July 16, 2019, that greatly limits U.S. asylum eligibility at the southern border,” said Bishop Vásquez. “The rule would turn our back on the vast majority of asylum seekers, requiring them to apply for protection in almost any other country through which they transit, leaving access to U.S. asylum exceptionally rare. Not only do we believe that this rule is unlawful, but it also jeopardizes the safety of vulnerable individuals and families fleeing persecution and threatens family unity. Further, the rule undermines our nation’s tradition of being a global leader providing and being a catalyst for others to provide humanitarian protection to those in need. We remind the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security that how we respond to asylum seekers arriving at our border is a test of our moral character and strongly urge the Administration to rescind this rule.”

Please find a copy of the comments here.

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Keywords: USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, immigration, asylum

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Media Contact:
Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

 

In Wake of Horrific, Hate Filled Violence in El Paso, USCCB Migration Chairman, Domestic Social Development Chairman, and Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Racism Call for Change in Language and Rhetoric of All Americans

WASHINGTON— Today, Bishops from three committees at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed their deep concern about racism and xenophobia that apparently motivated this weekend’s massacre in El Paso and that have motivated numerous other recent mass shootings in the United States. The Chairmen called on our elected officials to exert leadership in seeking to heal the wounds that these shootings have caused and to deal with the scourges of racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry, including refraining from expressing hurtful, painful, and divisive rhetoric that dehumanizes and polarizes people on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.  

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the Committee on Migration, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of Venice, FL, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Social Development, and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism offered the following comments.

“The tragic loss of life of 22 people this weekend in El Paso demonstrates that hate-filled rhetoric and ideas can become the motivation for some to commit acts of violence. The anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, and anti-Semitic sentiments that have been publicly proclaimed in our society in recent years have incited hatred in our communities. Hatred and harsh rhetoric were echoed in the El Paso shooter’s explanation about why he committed this weekend’s shooting, as well as being evident in the motivation of the shooters who attacked the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last year and the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. We, therefore, renew our call to all to act swiftly to stop using hate-filled language that demeans and divides us and motivates some to such horrific violence. Instead, we ask our leaders and all Americans to work to unite us as a great, diverse, and welcoming people.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, El Paso, Shooting, Cielo Vista Mall

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Media Contact:
Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

 

El Cardenal Joseph W. Tobin, Presidente del Comité de Clero, Vida Consagrada y Vocaciones expresa su gratitud por la carta del Papa Francisco a los sacerdotes en el 160 aniversario de la muerte de San John Vianney

WASHINGTON. El 4 de agosto de 2019, el Papa Francisco conmemoró el 160 aniversario de la muerte del Cura de Ars, San Juan Vianney, el Santo Patrón de los Párrocos, dirigiendo una carta a todos los sacerdotes del mundo. En la carta, el Santo Padre reconoce el dolor y sufrimiento que la Iglesia ha experimentado debido a los escándalos por abuso sexual por parte del clero y el encubrimiento; el Sumo Pontífice igualmente expresó en la carta su solidaridad con los sacerdotes que podrían sentirse enojados y tentados a la desesperación.

El Papa Francisco también manifestó su gratitud por los sacerdotes fieles, aquellos que continúan siendo la imagen de Cristo, buenos pastores en su trabajo y sacerdocio diario. Asimismo, Su Santidad instó a sus hermanos a permanecer esperanzados y animarse unos con otros con la esperanza basada en el sacrificio redentor del Señor en la Cruz y unidos en oración con María, la Madre de todos los sacerdotes, quien siempre está intercediendo por sus hijos.

El Cardenal Joseph W. Tobin, Arzobispo de Newark, y Presidente del Comité de Clero, Vida Consagrada y Vocaciones de la Conferencia Episcopal de Estados Unidos, emitió el siguiente comunicado en respuesta a la carta del Papa Francisco:

“La carta del Papa Francisco a todos los sacerdotes es un regalo muy bien recibido, al llegar en un momento particularmente difícil para la Iglesia. En medio del dolor, la fealdad y la ira, es posible que la Iglesia, y especialmente aquellos que son sacerdotes, caigan en la desesperación, que es lo opuesto a la esperanza. En cambio, el Santo Padre nos recuerda que nunca debemos perder de vista esos ‘momentos luminosos cuando experimentamos el llamado del Señor a dedicar nuestras vidas a su servicio’. Esas memorias nos recuerdan los múltiples momentos de gratitud y aliento ofrecidas a nosotros por el Señor y por otros. Mientras trabajamos para proteger a todo el pueblo de Dios, especialmente a los inocentes y vulnerables, del mal del abuso del poder, no debemos cegarnos sobre cómo la alegría y la esperanza de Cristo ‘nacen constantemente de nuevo’. Hablando como sacerdote y obispo en los Estados Unidos, le agradezco al Santo Padre por su maravillosa carta dirigida a todos nosotros".

La carta del Papa Francisco a los sacerdotes puede ser leída en su totalidad en los siguientes enlaces:

En inglés: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190804_lettera-presbiteri.html

En español: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190804_lettera-presbiteri.html

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Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Papa Francisco, Cardenal Joseph W. Tobin, Comité de Clero, Vida Consagrada y Vocaciones, muerte de San John Vianney  

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Contacto de prensa:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations Expresses Gratitude for Letter from Pope Francis to Priests on the 160th Anniversary of the Death of St. John Vianney

WASHINGTON-On August 4, 2019, Pope Francis marked the 160th anniversary of the death of the Curé of Ars, St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, by addressing a letter to all priests throughout the world. In the letter, the Holy Father acknowledges the pain and suffering that the Church has experienced because of the sexual abuse scandals and cover-up, while expressing his solidarity with priests who may find themselves angry and tempted to despair.  

Pope Francis also underscores his gratitude for faithful priests, those who continue to image Christ, the Good Shepherd in their everyday work and ministry. The Holy Father urges his brothers to remain hopeful and encourage one another with hope grounded in the Lord’s redemptive sacrifice on the Cross and united in prayer with Mary, the Mother of all Priests, who is always interceding for her children.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, issued the following statement in response to Pope Francis’ letter:

“The Holy Father’s letter to all priests is a most welcome gift, coming, as it does, at a particularly difficult time for the Church. Amid the pain, ugliness, and anger, it is possible for the Church, and especially those who are priests, to fall into despair – the opposite of hope. Instead, the Holy Father reminds us that we must never lose sight of those “luminous moments when we experienced the Lord’s call to devote our lives to his service”. That sort of memory recalls the many moments of gratitude and encouragement offered to us from the Lord and from others. While working to protect all of God’s people, especially the innocent and vulnerable, from the evil of the abuse of power, we should not become blind to how the joy and hope of Christ “are constantly born anew.” Speaking as a priest and bishop in the United States, I thank the Holy Father for his wonderful letter to us.”

Pope Francis’ letter to priests can be read in its entirety at the following links:

English: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190804_lettera-presbiteri.html

Spanish: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/es/letters/2019/documents/papa-francesco_20190804_lettera-presbiteri.html
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Death of St. John Vianney  

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation Has Released a New Agreed Statement on the Vocation and Mission of the People of God

WASHINGTON— The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation has released a new agreed statement entitled, The Vocation and Mission of the People of God: “A Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation”. The document was finalized at the most recent meeting of the Consultation which took place in late May of this year at the Saint Methodios Faith and Heritage Center in Contoocook, New Hampshire. The Consultation is co-chaired by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, the Catholic Archbishop of Newark, and by Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Methodios of Boston. 
 
More than five years in the making, this new text is an example of a different approach to ecumenical dialogue: instead of addressing together an issue that has prevented full communion between the churches, here the Catholic and Orthodox theologians examine together challenges that affect both churches, in this case the role of the laity in the two traditions and the problem of clericalism.

The document begins with a summary of earlier statements by the Consultation on these and similar themes. It goes on to develop an ecclesiology that sees the sacrament of Baptism as the foundation of the vocation and ministry of every Christian, clergy and laity alike. Thus all the People of God together constitute a single community. Some members have received a special role of leadership within the community, but all of the members have received specific charisms that are to be exercised for the building up of the whole body. Within this context, the ordained clergy are set apart from the body of believers but are not above or separate from that body. All of this is expressed most clearly in the celebration of the Eucharist where the diversity of gifts and roles is made clear in the gathered community’s single act of praise.  

The document goes on to reflect on the mission of the laity in the Church, and the implications of this ecclesiology for the practice of synodality at all levels of the Church’s life.  In a final section, the agreed statement considers certain challenges to the People of God, namely clericalism, individualism and ecumenical reunion. The Consultation concludes that “our focus in thinking about the Church, and in celebrating its reality, must be on the unity of the People of God that is grounded in our common baptism and on a corresponding understanding of the diversity of roles and charisms within that radically united people.”

Like most dialogue agreed statements, this new text does not speak officially for either Church. However, it has been drafted by a highly competent group of theologians from both traditions and submitted to all the members of both Churches for their prayerful reflection and discussion. The full text can be found here http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/vocation-and-mission.cfm
   
The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation is sponsored jointly by the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the USCCB, and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since its establishment in 1965, the Consultation has issued some 30 agreed statements on various topics. All these texts are available on the website of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops at: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/index.cfm and on the web site of the Orthodox Assembly of Bishops at http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/ministries/dialogue/orthodox-catholic/

Another body, the Joint Committee of Orthodox and Catholic Bishops, has been meeting annually since 1981 to discuss pastoral issues between the two churches.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, The Vocation and Mission of the People of God, Committee For Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs,

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Honorees receive the People of Life award at Diocesan Pro-Life Conference for their contribution to the pro-life cause

WASHINGTON- Three champions of the pro-life cause were honored on August 5 at the 2019 People of Life awards for their lifetime contributions to the movement.

The awards were presented during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference taking place in Louisville, Kentucky. This year's honorees are Cheryl Holley, Marian Desrosiers, and Chuck Donovan. Approximately 125 diocesan Catholic pro-life leaders and guests attended the private awards dinner, including Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Pope Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.

Over the past three decades, awardee Cheryl Holley has led the way in uniting pro-life communities through ecumenical and multicultural efforts. Holley is the Director of the Josephite Pastoral Center and she is a board office of the Gabriel Network, serving pregnant women and children throughout Maryland and Washington, DC. Holley says her passion is “to work with teenage pregnant mothers and to share with them their God-given dignity.” She believes that “education and the knowledge of God’s unending love are the keys to eliminating abortions and sexually transmitted diseases,” which has led her to coordinate two conferences on women’s sexuality and life issues with the Archdiocese of Washington.

Awardee Chuck Donovan—a native of Louisville—is the President of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the education and research arm of pro-life PAC Susan B. Anthony List. Donovan has been a guiding force in the pro-life movement for four decades, as Legislative Director of the National Right to Life Committee from 1979-1981, in leadership at the Family Research Council, and as co-chair of the Heritage Foundation’s Religious Liberty Working Group. Donovan, a prolific author and speaker, was honored for his tireless dedication to developing critical public policy protections for conscience rights and the rights of unborn children.

Awardee Marian Desrosiers was honored for her joyful and dedicated pro-life service in the Diocese of Fall River. In addition to her time as the diocesan pro-life director, she also spent 25 years leading the diocese’s Project Rachel Ministry, which provides pastoral care for individuals who have been involved in an abortion. Desrosiers today is the Director of Advancement at Bishop Connolly high school and continues to serve women and their children in her diocesan Women’s Transitional Home.

The awardees join 34 other People of Life award recipients since the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities established the award in 2007.

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Keywords: Pro-Life, Secretariat of Pro-Life, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, People of Life Award, Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference,

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice Issued a Statement After a Tragic Shooting in Dayton, Ohio

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, and President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development have issued the following statement in response to the tragic shooting last night in Dayton, Ohio.

Full statement follows:

“We extend our condolences to the families and friends of those murdered in Dayton last night. The lives lost this weekend confront us with a terrible truth. We can never again believe that mass shootings are an isolated exception. They are an epidemic against life that we must, in justice, face. God’s mercy and wisdom compel us to move toward preventative action. We encourage all Catholics to increased prayer and sacrifice for healing and the end of these shootings. We encourage Catholics to pray and raise their voices for needed changes to our national policy and national culture as well. We call on all relevant committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to outline a reinvigorated policy agenda and pastoral campaign to address ways we can help fight this social disease that has infected our nation. The Conference has long advocated for responsible gun laws and increased resources for addressing the root causes of violence. We also call upon the President and Congress to set aside political interests and find ways to better protect innocent life.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Galveston-Houston, Dayton, Ohio, Bishop Frank Dewane, Venice, Domestic Justice

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

 

President of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Domestic Justice Chairman issued a Statement Following Shooting in El Paso

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement in response to the tragic shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas.

The full statement follows:

“This Saturday, less than week after the horrific instances of gun violence in California, yet another terrible, senseless and inhumane shooting took place, this time at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas.

Something remains fundamentally evil in our society when locations where people congregate to engage in the everyday activities of life can, without warning, become scenes of violence and contempt for human life. The plague that gun violence has become continues unchecked and spreads across our country. 

Things must change. Once again, we call for effective legislation that addresses why these unimaginable and repeated occurrences of murderous gun violence continue to take place in our communities. As people of faith, we continue to pray for all the victims, and for healing in all these stricken communities. But action is also needed to end these abhorrent acts.”

 

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal DiNardo, Bishop Dewane, shooting, Cielo Vista Mall, El Paso

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Media Contact:

Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3202

 

 

 

U.S. Bishops’s Chairmen express sadness by the denigration of the City of Baltimore in recent public discourse

WASHINGTON- Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland, Chair of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued an statement to express sadness by the denigration of the City of Baltimore in recent public discourse.

The full statement follows:

“Painfully, for the past several weeks we find ourselves once more discussing how people, even our national leaders, use language that is divisive and disrespectful. Such language is absolutely incompatible with the teaching of Jesus Christ. Like Archbishop Lori, we were deeply saddened by the denigration of the City of Baltimore in recent public discourse, especially given Bishop Fabre’s recent participation in a very powerful and fruitful listening session in that city on the issue of racism. Constructive dialogue requires, first and foremost, mutual respect and the recognition that each and every person shares in the same inalienable human dignity regardless of their race or national origin. If we embrace this vision of public discussion and dialogue, as we state in the bishops' recent Pastoral Letter on Racism, Open Wide Our Hearts, ‘ the headlines we see all too often today will become lessons from the past.’”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank Dewane, Bishop Shelton Fabre, Bishop Nelson Perez, Archbishop William Lori, Diocese of Cleveland, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, Diocese of Venice, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, racism, Baltimore.

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Bishops’ Conference Domestic Committee Chairman Reacts to Gilroy, CA Shooting

WASHINGTON—Following the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, calls for support of the victims and for actions to end gun violence.  

The full statement is as follows:

“It is heartbreaking to learn yet again of a mass shooting that has taken innocent lives, and wounded many others, this time at a food festival in Gilroy, California. At the time of this writing, the reports are of twelve wounded, and three deceased, including a six-year-old boy as well as a thirteen-year-old girl. The Lord calls us to comfort those who mourn and to be peacemakers in a violent world. We pray, and we must, for the victims and their families. The Church should act in ways that heal and support all those affected by gun violence. It is disturbing that our society would seem to allow some to feel comfort in being violent. Our legislators must make changes to our gun policy to prevent the loss of life. As Americans, we must be honest with ourselves that we have a sickness, almost a plague, with the problem of gun violence. As Christians, we must look to the cross, repentant of the ways that have led us to this point and, with God’s grace, abandon such senseless, inhuman acts. Let us resolve to make the sacrifices necessary to end the violent killing that saturates our nation.”        
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Diocese of Venice, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200