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Chairmen of U.S. Bishops’ Migration Committee and Religious Liberty Committee Express Disappointment with Supreme Court’s Ruling in Travel Ban Case
Posted on 06/27/2018 06:07 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Trump v. Hawaii, which involves a challenge to President Donald Trump's Proclamation No. 9645 restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim-majority countries. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling upheld the travel ban.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following joint statement:
"The travel ban targets Muslims for exclusion, which goes against our country's core principle of neutrality when it comes to people of faith. We are disappointed in the Court's ruling because it failed to take into account the clear and unlawful targeting of a specific religious group by the government. The Catholic Church takes a strong stand against religious discrimination, and we will continue to advocate for the rights of people of all faiths, as well as serve migrants and refugees through our various ministries."
The USCCB, Catholic Charities USA, and Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court advocating that the travel ban be struck down as a violation of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. The full text of the brief is available online: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/usccb-scotus-amicus-brief-20180330-as-filed.pdf
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Trump v. Hawaii, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Migration Committee, Religious Liberty Committee, Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), U.S. Constitution, First Amendment, Free Exercise Clause, travel ban, Muslim ban, Proclamation No. 9645
Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee Praises Supreme Court’s Respect for Free Speech in NIFLA v. Becerra Decision
Posted on 06/26/2018 08:22 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra. This case challenges a California law forcing pro-life pregnancy centers to provide free advertising for the abortion industry. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of NIFLA under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement praising the ruling:
"In an important victory for the free speech rights of pro-life organizations, the Supreme Court today has affirmed that that the First Amendment protects the right of all organizations to choose for themselves not only what to say, but what not to say. This includes allowing pro-life pregnancy care centers to continue providing life-affirming support to both mother and child without being forced by governments to provide free advertising for the violent act of abortion in direct violation of the center's pro-life convictions. The decision is an important development in protecting pro-life pregnancy centers from future efforts to compel speech in violation of their deeply held beliefs."
The USCCB and several other groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief before the Supreme Court supporting the pro-life pregnancy centers in this important free speech case. The other groups are the California Catholic Conference, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Christian Legal Society and Agudath Israel of America. The full text of the brief is available online: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/NIFLA-Amicus-2018-01-13F.pdf
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, Pro-Life Activities Committee, Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), California Catholic Conference, Catholic Health Association, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Christian Legal Society, Agudath Israel of America. Free Speech clause, First amendment, U.S. Constitution, pro-life organization, free speech rights, pro-life pregnancy centers, pregnancy care centers
Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Most Reverend Robert Muench from the Diocese of Baton Rouge; Appoints Most Reverend Michael Duca of Shreveport as Bishop of that Same See
Posted on 06/26/2018 02:00 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Muench from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and has appointed as Bishop of that same See, the Most Reverend Michael Duca, up until now Bishop of Shreveport. Bishop Muench has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington on June 26, 2018, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Most Reverend Robert William Muench was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on December 28, 1942 and three years later moved with his family to New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 1956, he began studies for the priesthood at St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana, graduating from its high school in 1960. After two years of junior college study, he went on to attend Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for two years, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy.
From 1964 to 1968 he completed his theological seminary studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, and also earned an M.A. degree in Education (Guidance and Counseling). He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, May 18, 1968. On December 15, 2001, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Muench to be the Fifth Bishop of Baton Rouge. Bishop Muench was installed as Bishop of Baton Rouge at St. Joseph Cathedral on March 14, 2002. Since assuming the office of bishop in Baton Rouge, Bishop Muench paid special attention to the Church's ministry to young people. A particular concern for Bishop Muench was collaboration with the Archdiocese of New Orleans during the fall of 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Most Reverend Michael Gerard Duca was born on June 5, 1952 in Dallas, Texas. Bishop Duca attended Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas from 1970 to 1978. He was ordained a priest on April 29, 1978 for the Diocese of Dallas.
He served the Diocese of Dallas as vocations director and chaplain at Southern Methodist University from 1985 to 1992.
Additionally, he studied in Rome from 1994 to 1996 at the University of St. Thomas Angelicum where he received his Licentiate in Canon Law.
On December 20, 2004, the Prelate of Honor was conferred to him by His Holiness John Paul II of the Title of Reverend Monsignor. He was called to the order of bishop on April 1, 2008, for service in North Louisiana. On May 19, 2008, he was ordained and installed as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Shreveport. From 1996 to 2008, he served as Rector at Holy Trinity Seminary in Dallas.
During his active ministry as priest and prior to his appointment as diocesan bishop, Bishop Duca served in many different parishes in the Dallas area, including: All Saints Catholic Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church and St. Luke Catholic Church. He also previously served the Diocese of Dallas as Vocations Director, was a member of the Personnel Board, Campus Minister at Southern Methodist University, member of the Presbyteral Council, member of the College of Consultors, and Director of Ongoing Formation of Priests. Bishop Duca previously served for two years as President of the National Association of College Seminaries.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge is comprised of 5,513 square miles in the state of Louisiana and has a total population of 991,335 of which 225,477 or 22.75 percent are Catholic.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert Muench, Bishop Michael Duca, Diocese of Baton Rouge
Peter’s Pence Collection 2018 to be held June 30-July 1; Funds Support Pope Francis’s charitable outreach to the suffering and marginalized
Posted on 06/25/2018 08:49 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON— The annual Peter's Pence collection will be taken in many dioceses across the United States the weekend of June 30 – July 1. Funds from this collection support Pope Francis's charitable outreach to the suffering and marginalized around the world.
"The Peter's Pence collection is a sign of our communion with the Holy Father," said Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Alabama, chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. "We join our brothers and sisters in the United States and around the world to support Pope Francis as he cares for those most in need."
The Peter's Pence collection 2018: Be a witness of charity, is taken up worldwide to help Pope Francis provide relief to victims of war, religious persecution, and natural disasters. More information about the collection can be found at www.usccb.org/ppc and shareable resources for the collection can be accessed at www.usccb.org/ppc/collection
Keywords: Peter's Pence, National Collections, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Pope Francis, pope, Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, charity, poor, suffering, war, oppression, natural disaster
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Releases New Edition of Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services
Posted on 06/22/2018 07:11 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is publishing the sixth edition of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, a revision that implements modifications regarding collaborating with non-Catholic partners.
The health care system in the United States is marked by both extraordinary challenges and immense possibilities for good.
In these revised Directives, approved by majority vote during the USCCB Spring General Assembly 2018, the bishops reaffirm the Church's commitment to Catholic health care ministry, in faithful imitation of Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician. The Directives aim to reaffirm ethical standards of behavior and provide authoritative guidance on moral issues that face health care today.
This new edition offers a helpful update of Part Six, "Collaborative Arrangements with Other Health Care Organizations and Providers." This section offers background and guidelines for collaborative arrangements between Catholic and non-Catholic health care institutions.
The Directives are especially relevant to institutionally based Catholic health care services, and they are directly addressed to "sponsors, trustees, administrators, chaplains, physicians, health care personnel, and patients or residents" of Catholic health care institutions. The Directives are also useful as a teaching tool to give sound guidance to students and faculty at Catholic medical schools, Catholic medical associations, Catholic hospitals and medical facilities, and to all pastors, administrators, doctors, nurses, and staff involved in the health care ministry and related pastoral care.
″ General Introduction
″ Part One: The Social Responsibility of Catholic Health Care Services
″ Part Two: The Pastoral and Spiritual Responsibility of Catholic Health Care
″ Part Three: The Professional-Patient Relationship
″ Part Four: Issues in Care for the Beginning of Life
″ Part Five: Issues in Care for the Seriously Ill and Dying
″ Part Six: Collaborative Arrangements with Other Health Care Organizations and Providers
The USCCB has made the book available for order online at: http://store.usccb.org/searchresults.asp?Search=ethical+and+religious
Keywords: Ethical and Religious Directives, Catholic Health Care Service, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, health care system, health care organization, health care providers, social responsibility.
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Announces the Publishing of a New Book, Pope Francis: Embrace of Hope - Compassion in Times of Illness
Posted on 06/22/2018 05:59 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is making available a new book, Pope Francis: Embrace of Hope - Compassion in Times of Illness. The book is filled with the Pope's insight and inspiration for all who face the test of sickness and illness.
In this book, Pope Francis shows how hope is found in seeing and experiencing illness in the light of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Holy Father reveals how grace grows in times of illness when:
*Christians bring the peace of Christ to the sick through service and care.
*Difficult moments become the path to forge stronger relationships with family, communities, and with Christ.
*Men and women in science cultivate and apply God's gift of creation for the treatment and cure of diseases, setting free the oppressed.
*Christ sets one free, helps one endure, and allows suffering for the sake of a greater joy yet to come.
This work is a collection of Pope Francis's most significant words to the sick. It is a series of valuable reflections, considerations, and prayers taken from his speeches, messages, homilies, and Angeluses over a period of about four years, from his election to the See of Peter to June 2017.
This easy-to-read book has the best of Pope Francis's reflections on this challenging human experience. Presented in an elegant design, this small book is easy to take with you and an important read for all those facing illness, for caregivers, health care professionals, as well as health care professionals, educators and researchers.
The USCCB has made the book available for order online at http://store.usccb.org/pope-francis-embrace-of-hope-p/7-584.htm
Keywords: Pope Francis, Embrace of Hope, Compassion in Times of Illness, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, sickness, illness, Jesus Christ, Holy Father.
$4.1 Million Approved in Grants to the Church in Latin America Including Emergency Disaster Assistance and Pastoral Care for Migrants
Posted on 06/21/2018 10:50 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America awarded $3.39 million in funding in the form of 206 grants to support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, and $580,950 in three grants funding emergency disaster and recovery assistance to areas affected by the Mexican Earthquakes and Hurricanes Matthew (2016), Irma and Maria (2017). In addition, the Subcommittee approved a design-phase request of $150,000 for the eventual reconstruction of the national major seminary devastated by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The grants were approved at the Subcommittee's meeting on June 11 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Projects that received funding for pastoral activities include the following:
Haiti and Uruguay: Support for several families to participate in the 9th World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland, August 21-26, 2018.
Nicaragua and El Salvador: Support for several delegates from the National Commission of Youth Ministry to participate in World Youth Day in Panama City, Panama, January 22-27, 2019.
Mexico: Support for "The Year of Mexican Youth -- A Moment of Grace," a national event that will include a celebration at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe with an anticipated 13,000 participants.
Brazil: Pastoral support for Venezuelan refugees. This project will help implement and develop a migrant ministry in the diocese of Roraima and provide pastoral support to the recent influx of Venezuelan migrants to the area. The project aims to welcome and orient vulnerable migrants upon arrival, assist with access to services, provide language instruction and job training, strengthen women's groups, support the migrants' faith lives, and form local pastoral leaders and parishes to assist with immigrant integration.
"Through the Collection for the Church in America, Catholics from the United States express their solidarity with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean. I thank them for their generosity and am humbled by the impact their support has on countless lives in the region, particularly for young people and those living in areas ravaged by recent natural disasters," said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Other areas of funding include lay leadership training, catechesis, seminarian and religious formation, environmental justice, prison ministry, and youth and family ministries. Grants are funded by the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America, taken in many dioceses across the U.S. on the fourth Sunday in January. The emergency and reconstruction grants are awarded from the special collections the USCCB calls for after a disaster.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Collection for the Church in Latin America as grants across Latin America and the Caribbean. More information about the Collection for the Church in Latin America and the many grants it funds, as well as resources to promote it across the country, can be found at www.usccb.org/latin-america.
Keywords: Latin America, youth, clergy, lay formation, Collection for the Church in Latin America, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, catechesis, grants, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo
President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Offers Statement on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Announcement
Posted on 06/20/2018 11:48 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement in response to the announcement regarding Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:
"As clergy in God's Church, we have made a solemn promise to protect children and young people from all harm. This sacred charge applies to all who minister in the Church, no matter the person's high standing or long service. This morning was a painful reminder of how only through continued vigilance can we keep that promise. My prayers are with all who have experienced the trauma of sexual abuse. May they find healing in Christ's abundant love. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (http://www.usccb.org/charter) outlines a process for addressing allegations, holding us accountable to our commitment to protect and heal. I express my gratitude to Cardinal Dolan, who has carried forward with clarity, compassion for the victims, and a genuine sense of justice. With him, I express my deep sadness, and on behalf of the Church, I apologize to all who have been harmed by one of her ministers."
Chairman of U.S. Bishops Committee on Migration Expresses Concern about Immigration Bills Before Congress, Urges Bipartisan Engagement
Posted on 06/19/2018 12:55 PM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB/COM) Committee on Migration, sent a letter to every Member of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday in response to two immigration bills that are expected to be taken up later this week by the full House. Bishop Vasquez had previously written in opposition to the first of the two bills (H.R. 4760), introduced in January of this year. The Bishop's June 18 letter focuses most of its attention on a second, yet-to-be-numbered House Republican Leadership alternative bill.
In his letter to Congress, Bishop Vásquez wrote, "While we truly want a legislative solution for Dreamers, we cannot, in good faith, endorse large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable, such as those that are contained in this legislation. We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise, particularly with respect to effects on families and the vulnerable."
Bishop Vásquez added, "My brother bishops and I appreciate the effort by Representatives to find a legislative solution for Dreamers by bringing immigration measures before the House of Representatives. We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement." Bishop Vásquez reminded Members of the House that the Administration can end family separation without legislation through executive discretion.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, U.S. House of Representatives, immigration, H.R. 4760, Dreamers, families, path to citizenship, border security, humane treatment, families, executive discretion
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Bishops Vote on Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, Revisions to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and Action Items at June General Assembly
Posted on 06/14/2018 09:48 AM (USCCB News Releases)
FORT LAUDERDALE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved several action items today at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 13-14.
The full body of bishops voted to approve the revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by a vote of 185-5-1. The revisions are a culmination of work by the USCCB Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, the National Review Board, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, General Counsel, and the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. The revisions seek to build upon the work of dioceses in the United States to prevent the sexual abuse of minors, and to provide outreach and healing to victims/survivors of abuse.
The bishops also voted to approve the formal statement Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters by a two-thirds majority vote of 187-2-2. The pastoral response provides a framework that dioceses and parishes can use as guidelines to create or integrate into their own pastoral plans addressing the pastoral ministry to and among Asian and Pacific Island (API) Catholics in the United States. The vote will now allow for publication and implementation of Encountering Christ in Harmony by the bishops' Cultural Diversity Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs. The committee will begin distributing the pastoral response widely throughout Catholic dioceses of the United States.
The Latin Church members today also approved by a two-thirds majority vote of 177-4-2 in favor of the ICEL Gray Book translation of the 2014‐2016 Roman Missal and Liturgy of the Hours Supplement for use in the dioceses of the United States. The Latin Church members of the USCCB also voted 175-6-2 in favor of the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time for use in the dioceses of the United States. The vote required two-thirds of the Latin Church members with subsequent confirmation by the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
The bishops also approved by majority vote, the revised text of Part Six of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services by a vote of 183-2-2. The vote will implement modifications to Part Six of the Ethical and Religious Directors for Catholic Health Care Services regarding collaborating with non-Catholic partners.
The bishops also authorized the production of two new and additional elements: (1) a short letter to inspire prayer and action regarding public life and (2) a short video and other secondary resources—to complement, rather than to replace, the existing Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document and to apply the teaching of Pope Francis to our day. The authorization passed with a simple majority vote of 144-41-2.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, General Assembly, Fort Lauderdale, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Encountering Christ in Harmony, Roman Missal, Liturgy of the Hours, Ethical and Religious Directives, Catholic Health Care Service, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.