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Updated: 12 min 39 sec ago

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Emphasize Human Beings All Made in the Likeness of God

01/12/2018 - 9:42am
The following statement has been issued by James Rogers, Chief Communications Officer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), emphasizing the USCCB position that all human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore deserving of our respect and compassion.

Full statement follows:

"Reports of recent disparaging remarks about African countries and Haiti have aroused great concern. As our brothers and sisters from these countries are primarily people of color, these alleged remarks are especially disturbing. All human beings are made in the image and likeness of God, and comments that denigrate nations and peoples violate that fundamental truth and cause real pain to our neighbors. It is regrettable that this comes on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and could distract from the urgent bipartisan effort to help Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status. As a vigorous debate continues over the future of immigration, we must always be sure to avoid language that can dehumanize our brothers and sisters."

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Keyword: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; USCCB; Chief Communications Officer; James Rogers; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; DACA; Temporary Protected Status; TPS; Dreamers; Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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Media contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

National Prayer Vigil for Life in Nation’s Capital, January 18-19; Plenary Indulgence May be Obtained by Those Taking Part in “Sacred Celebrations” Surrounding March for Life

01/12/2018 - 6:23am

WASHINGTON—The National Prayer Vigil for Life will be held from Thursday afternoon, January 18 to Friday morning, January 19, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Over 20,000 pilgrims from around the nation will pray there for an end to abortion before the annual March for Life. The Vigil marks the 45th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions legalizing abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. Since those decisions, over 58 million abortions have been performed legally in the United States.

The principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Opening Mass will be Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities. His fellow cardinals and many of the nation's bishops and priests will concelebrate with him in the Basilica's Great Upper Church from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Vigil continues overnight in the Crypt Church with confessions, a National Rosary for Life, Byzantine Rite Night Prayer, and Holy Hours led by seminarians from across the country from 11 p.m.- 6 a.m.

"This year, pilgrims have been given a special spiritual gift. A plenary indulgence may be obtained under the usual conditions by participating in the National Prayer Vigil for Life or the other sacred celebrations surrounding the March for Life," said Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

For those seeking Sacramental Reconciliation while on site, confessions will be heard in the Our Lady of Hostyn Chapel of the Crypt Church over the course of nine hours before and after the Opening Mass. See www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/national-prayer-vigil-for-life-schedule.cfm for additional details.

"We also invite all the faithful nationwide to be in solidarity with the bishops during their annual pro-life novena, 9 Days for Life, from January 18-26," McQuade continued. "May our prayers, combined with acts of love, help build a culture that cherishes every human life."

On the day of the March for Life, Friday, January 19, the Basilica will once again host Eucharistic Adoration in the Crypt Church at 6:00 a.m., with Morning Prayer/Benediction following at 6:30. The Vigil's Closing Mass will take place at 7:30 a.m. in the Great Upper Church, with Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas as principal celebrant and homilist.

The National Prayer Vigil for Life is co-sponsored by the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and The Catholic University of America.

Media are welcome to attend the Opening Mass and interview pilgrims throughout the 14-hour Vigil.

Media should check in at the Basilica's Great Upper Church sacristy and present press credentials to Jacquelyn Hayes or a designated Basilica press representative to receive a press pass. Advance registration is preferred. Footage from the Mass may also be obtained by satellite feed courtesy of the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). For coordinates, or to register, contact Jacquelyn Hayes, director of communications for the Basilica, at 202-281-0615 or jmh@bnsic.org.

For more details on the overnight National Prayer Vigil for Life and some of the other pro-life events in the Washington, DC area, visit www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events. To join -- and help spread the word about -- 9 Days for Life, visit www.9daysforlife.com.

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Keywords: National Prayer Vigil for Life, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, abortion, Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton, U.S. Supreme Court, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Bishop Burns, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Secretariat, The Catholic University of America, cardinals, bishops, seminarians, Byzantine rite, rosary, adoration, benediction, 9 Days for Life, prayer, #9daysforlife, #ourprayersmatter, March for Life, #whywemarch, #marchforlife2018, #lovesaveslives, Project Rachel, post-abortion healing, hopeafterabortion.com, plenary indulgence

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200

USCCB Chairman Expresses Support for Finding a Legislative Solution for Dreamers; Ready to Work with Congress and White House

01/10/2018 - 11:46am

WASHINGTON—On Jan 9th, congressional members met at the White House with President Trump to discuss immigration reform. In response to this important bipartisan meeting, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), issued the following statement:

"We are encouraged by the consensus that emerged from yesterday's White House meeting that Congress and the President should move expeditiously to craft and enact legislation that would provide urgently needed relief for Dreamers. For years, these young people have been living in and enriching the United States in many ways. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes and communities. They and their families deserve certainty, compassion, generosity, and justice.

We also are pleased to see the mutual understanding that ensuring protection for these young people should be the first step in the systematic reform of our outdated immigration laws. We believe in measures that improve the security of our nation. Our teaching acknowledges and respects the right of sovereign nations to control their borders. Such measures should be financially sound, effective, and should not harm the vulnerable. However, we caution against introducing unrelated, unnecessary, or controversial elements of immigration policy—especially those that jeopardize the sanctity of families or unaccompanied children—into the bipartisan search for a just and humane solution for the Dreamers.

As a nation, we have a moral and humanitarian obligation to Dreamers. These young people have steadfastly worked to improve themselves and our country and attempted in good faith to comply with the law as it stood. Their futures hang in the balance. We stand ready to work with the President and with Congress in the coming days to help fashion a just solution that meets their needs, ensures our nation's safety and security, and sets the stage for the larger debate on immigration reform that is so urgently and desperately needed."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; USCCB; United States Congress; Homeland Security; Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo; Bishop Joe S. Vasquez; Committee on Migration; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; DACA; Dreamers; legal status; youth; deportation; immigration; border security; legislative solution.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

U.S. Catholics Prepare for Bishops’ Launch of “9 Days for Life” Respect Life Campaign on January 18th

01/10/2018 - 7:38am
WASHINGTON—On January 18, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will launch the national "9 Days for Life" campaign calling Catholics and the faithful together for a 9-day "digital pilgrimage" focusing on cherishing the gift of human life from conception to natural death. The campaign surrounds the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which occurs on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States. The overarching intention of the centerpiece novena is the end to abortion, and each day highlights a different intention related to respect for human life: end of life care, human trafficking, healing after abortion, the death penalty, and more. Participants are called to both prayer and action unified around each day's specific intention and can subscribe to receive daily messages at www.9daysforlife.com. Leaders' resources, including a press kit, are available at www.usccb.org/9-days-for-life-toolkit.

WHO: The U.S. bishops are calling Catholics, parishes, schools, organizations, and all people of good will to participate in the nationwide "9 Days for Life" campaign. Through our unified prayer and action, we can help create a culture that cherishes the gift of every human life.

WHEN
: "9 Days for Life" will run from Thursday, January 18 – Friday, January 26, 2018.

WHAT
: 9daysforlife.com is the dedicated website for joining the novena and for accessing resources to share and go deeper into this "digital pilgrimage." Participants can receive the novena by downloading the free "9 Days for Life" app, or by subscribing to daily emails or text messages. (A printable version is also available online.) Those who join the campaign are invited to:

  1. Pray with a multi-faceted novena that includes a new intention, brief reflection, bonus information, and suggested actions each day.
  2. Gather in prayer and fellowship with others. (Suggestions are provided.)
  3. Share a culture of life online! #OurPrayersMatter #9DaysforLife

WHERE: For additional information and updates on ways to get involved, please visit 9daysforlife.com and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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About the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. The purpose of the Conference is to promote the greater good which the Church offers humankind, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place. This purpose is drawn from the universal law of the Church and applies to the episcopal conferences which are established all over the world for the same purpose. For more information, visit www.usccb.org and www.usccb.org/prolife. Follow the USCCB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, 9 Days for Life, Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, Roe v. Wade, culture of life, end of life care, human trafficking, healing after abortion, Project Rachel, death penalty, pro-life, novena, prayer, abortion, #OurPrayersMatter, #9DaysforLife

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

USCCB President Calls for Courage and Commitment on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

01/10/2018 - 4:00am

WASHINGTON— The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has issued the following statement in relation to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"In recent years—including last summer in Charlottesville—we have glimpsed an appalling truth that lurks beneath the surface of our culture. Even with all the progress our country has made on the issue, racism remains a living reality. As our nation celebrates the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are given an important time to recommit ourselves to the Gospel message he preached, that the sin of racism can be defeated by active love and the light of faith.

Our challenge is to bring Dr. King's message into the present moment in a way that inspires lasting change. In a pivotal 1958 essay, he wrote that: 'Along the way of life, someone must have the sense enough and the morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.'

Breaking the chain of hate requires both courage and commitment. Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary and the first African-American sister to march with Dr. King in Selma, exemplified these qualities. She told those gathered that: 'I'm here because I'm a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness.' Sister Antona passed away on November 11 last year at the age of 93. She remained a bold and dedicated champion of civil rights throughout her lifetime, and her witness should inspire our own.

We pray in confidence that Jesus Christ will remind us all that he is the most powerful means to break the chains of hate that still bind too many hearts, a truth which lies at the center of Dr. King's legacy."

USCCB racism resources and information about the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., observance, Charlottesville, racism, Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, Selma, civil rights 

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Migration Chairman Deeply Disappointed by Termination of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador; Calls for Congress to Find a Legislative Solution

01/08/2018 - 8:18am

WASHINGTON — On January 8th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it is terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador. TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized humanitarian migration program that permits individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home. The vast majority of TPS recipients in the U.S. are Salvadoran.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration (USCCB/COM), issued the following statement:

"The decision to terminate TPS for El Salvador is heartbreaking. As detailed in our recent delegation trip report to the region, El Salvador is currently not in a position to adequately handle the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadoran TPS recipients. Today's decision will fragment American families, leaving over 192,000 U.S. citizen children of Salvadoran TPS recipients with uncertain futures. Families will be needlessly separated because of this decision.

We believe that God has called us to care for the foreigner and the marginalized: 'So you too should love the resident alien, for that is what you were in the land of Egypt' (Deut. 10:19). Our nation must not turn its back on TPS recipients and their families; they too are children of God.

DHS has provided an 18-month period (through September 9, 2019) during which TPS recipients from El Salvador can legally stay in the United States and prepare for their departure. While we recognize and appreciate this extra time, it will not remedy the underlying protection and family unity concerns that remain for Salvadoran TPS recipients.

We renew our call to Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to find a legislative solution for long-term TPS recipients, and we stand ready to support such efforts. TPS recipients are an integral part of our communities, churches, and nation. Without action by Congress, however, recipients' lives will be upended and many families will be devastated. As with DACA, we strongly urge Congressional members and leadership to come together and address this issue as soon as possible.

To Salvadoran TPS recipients, we promise to continue to stand in solidarity with you and pray for you and your families, and all those who are displaced or forced to flee from their homes."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vasquez, Committee on Migration, Migration and Refugee Services, Temporary Protected Status, TPS recipients, TPS beneficiaries, Department of Homeland Security, DHS, Congress, Honduras, El Salvador, refugees, migration, prayers, legislative solution

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200

A Message from the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops During National Migration Week, January 7-13

01/05/2018 - 10:24am

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), offers a National Migration Week message to the nation with special gratitude for the gift of immigrants and refugees.

Cardinal DiNardo's statement as follows:

"On Sunday, the Catholic Church across the United States will celebrate the beginning of National Migration Week. For nearly 50 years, this week has been a time of prayer and reflection on our history as a migrant Church and nation. In these five decades, the face of the immigrant may have changed – European, Asian, South American, and elsewhere -- but their faces reveal a common desire to secure the great blessings of American opportunity.

Pope Francis, in his statement on the World Day of Peace on January 1, 2018, advises us that if we view the situation of migrants and refugees through the wisdom of our faith 'we discover that they do not arrive empty-handed. They bring their courage, skills, energy and aspirations, as well as the treasures of their own cultures; and in this way, they enrich the lives of the nations that receive them.'

This week, I invite everyone to reflect on the Holy Father's words as well as on your own family's immigration story. Please also join me in prayer for all families, as together, we 'Share the Journey' toward a better life."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, National Migration Week, immigrants, refugees, Pope Francis, World Day of Peace, immigration, Share the Journey

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

National Migration Week 2018 to be Celebrated January 7-13th

01/05/2018 - 6:16am
WASHINGTON—National Migration Week 2018 will take place January 7-13th. This year's theme is "Many Journeys, One Family." The theme coincides with the Caritas Internationalis migration campaign entitled "Share the Journey". National Migration Week provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the contributions of migrants, including refugees, and victims of human trafficking in our communities.

With over 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes globally, the world is increasingly affected by migration. National Migration Week offers a time to educate Catholic communities about migration and to come together to encounter immigrants and refugees in parishes, dioceses, and communities.

"National Migration Week allows for reflection upon the biblical teaching concerning welcoming the newcomer and allows us to share the journey with our brothers and sisters who have been forced from their homes." said Bishop Joe Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration.

As part of the 2018 National Migration Week celebration, USCCB/MRS will be participating in an event at The Catholic University of America with the Institute for Human Ecology entitled "On the Margins: At the Intersection of Catholic Thought and Migration" on January 11th. To register for the event in person, visit www.marginsevent.org, to view livestream of the event visit  https://livestream.com/CatholicUniversity/events/8001597.

The US bishops began the observance of National Migration Week nearly 50 years ago to give Catholics an opportunity to honor and learn about the diverse communities of the Church, as well as the work that the Church undertakes to serve immigrants and refugees. The week serves as a time for both prayer and action in support of migrants and refugees.

Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.justiceforimmigrants.org/take-action/national-migration-week.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, refugees, migrants, immigrants, human trafficking, National Migration Week. #ShareJourney

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

USCCB President Offers Condolences on the Death of Latter-Day Saints President

01/03/2018 - 6:35am

Today, President Thomas S. Monson, leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah. President Monson as the church's 16th president presided over a faith community that now numbers 15.8 million members. Known for his hands-on approach and concern for the poor, he also presided over a church confronting challenges and change, within and without.

His Eminence, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement on receiving the news of President Monson's death:

"The Catholic Church in the United States wishes to extend to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints community our prayers and condolences on the death of President Monson. During his tenure as president, understanding and friendship developed between our two communities on national and local levels. As we engage important questions on family and the dignity of the human person, Catholics and Mormons work together and support each other. Today, Catholics join their Latter-day Saints brothers and sisters in commending his soul to the mercy and love of God."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Thomas S. Monson, prayers, condolences

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane 
202-541-3200

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Chairman Calls for Renewal of Prayers for Coptic Brethren After Latest Attacks in Egypt

12/29/2017 - 11:44am

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of the Diocese of Scranton and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs has issued the following statement on this morning's deadly attack on a Coptic Church and nearby bookstore in Egypt.

Bishop Bambera's full statement follows: 

"This morning, at least ten people were killed as armed men attempted to enter Mar Mina Church in Helwan City, south of Cairo and a nearby bookshop. Among the dead are two policemen. The assault took place as a gunman tried to breach the church's security cordon. It is estimated that over 2000 attacks on Coptic Christians by extremists have occurred in the last three years alone.

One week ago, on December 22, hundreds of Muslim demonstrators attacked an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people. Demonstrators chanted anti-Christian slogans and called for the church's demolition. The interior of the church was completely destroyed.

Earlier this year, on May 26, masked militants opened fired on a bus packed with Coptic Christians, including children on their way to the monastery of St. Samule the Confessor in Maghagha, in Minya governorate. In that attack, 28 people were killed and 22 were wounded.

On Palm Sunday, April 9, twin suicide bombings struck churches in the coastal city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta. At least 43 people were killed and many others were injured. One of the bombings narrowly missed a Palm Sunday service which was to be presided over by His Holiness Pope Tawadros II.

These attacks represent only some of the many attacks that have occurred over the past several years, targeting faithful of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who account for almost 10% of Egypt's population. In the course of such rampant attacks, Muslims have also been targeted as well as police, military and members of the news media. On November 24 of this year, terrorists detonated a bomb at a mosque in Bir al-Abd in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt killing over 300 worshipers and spraying gunfire on those escaping. Sadly, attacks such as these represent countless numbers of ongoing acts of violence that continue to burden the Egyptian nation.

I ask Catholics and men and women of faith and good will to pray for peace in Egypt and the Middle East and for all victims of religious and political hatred. I especially ask Catholics to renew their support, love and prayers for our Coptic brethren who are enduring martyrdom for the sake of Christ. May all continue to receive from heaven the grace to witness to what is good and noble in the human spirit, recovery for all those who have been injured, and eternal rest for those who have died."

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Keywords:  U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Coptic Christians, Coptic Church, Cairo, Egypt, anti-Christian, Coptic Orthodox Church, terrorists, violence, peace, martyrdom.  

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Catholic Partners Urge 18-month Extension of Temporary Protected Status for El Salvador

12/21/2017 - 8:58am

WASHINGTON—On December 20, 2017, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, was joined by Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), and Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN) in sending a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, urging an 18-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for El Salvador.

TPS is a temporary, renewable, and statutorily authorized immigration status that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for nationals of that country to return home.

El Salvador's current TPS designation extends through March 9, 2018, however, the Department of Homeland Security is required to make a decision to terminate or extend TPS for the country by January 8, 2018. In their letter, the Catholic partners urged Secretary Nielsen to extend TPS for El Salvador, noting that "terminating TPS for El Salvador would likely destabilize this key strategic, regional partner, undermining the tremendous investments of the U.S. government."

As discussed in the USCCB/MRS trip report, Temporary Protected Status: A Vital Piece of the Central American Protection and Prosperity Puzzle, El Salvador is currently in no position to safely accommodate the return of the roughly 200,000 Salvadorans who have TPS. Noting the concerning country conditions, the Catholic partners urged Secretary Nielsen to "show compassion and patience as El Salvador continues to improve its citizen security and humanitarian capacity for reception, protection, and integration."

The letter also reiterated the Church's commitment to stand "ready to support measures to protect the well-being and dignity of Salvadoran families here and abroad."

Read the full letter here:

https://justiceforimmigrants.org/2016site/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Catholic-Partner-Letter-to-DHS-Requesting-ES-TPS-Extension_12.20.17-FINAL.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Migration and Refugee Services, Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA, Center for Migration Studies, Department of Homeland Security, Temporary Protected Status, TPS recipients, TPS beneficiaries, Congress, Honduras, El Salvador, refugees, migration, prayers, families, legislative solution

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President Should Work with Congress Toward Acceptable Tax Bill, Says U.S. Bishops Chairman

12/20/2017 - 7:52am

WASHINGTON— After the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, drew attention to unacceptable problems that remain, and called on President Trump to insist that Congress fix them before he signs a bill into law.

The full statement follows:

"Today, Congress passed its tax reform legislation, The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, and it has been sent to the President to consider. The legislation achieves some laudable things, like doubling the standard deduction, which will help many struggling families avoid tax liability, expanding the use of 529 education plans, and increasing the child tax credit.

However, the Act contains a number of problematic provisions that will have dramatic negative consequences, particularly for those most in need. Among other things, the Joint Committee on Taxation indicates that the bill will eventually raise taxes on those with lower incomes while simultaneously cutting taxes for the wealthy. This is clearly problematic, especially for the poor. The repeal of the personal exemption will cause larger families, including many in the middle class, to be financially worse off. The final bill creates a large deficit that, as early as next year, will be used as a basis to cut programs that help the poor and vulnerable toward stability. The legislation is also likely to produce up to a $13 billion drop in annual charitable giving to nonprofits that are relied upon to help those struggling on the margins.  This will also significantly diminish the role of civil society in promoting the common good.

As the President considers the tax bill before him, we ask that he take into account the full consequences of its provisions and work with Congress to remedy them before signing a tax bill into law."

Bishop Frank J. Dewane's December 6, 2017, letter analyzing the Senate and House bills prior to reconciliation can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/Tax-Conference-Letter-Congress-2017-12-06.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, tax reform bill, The Tax Reform and Jobs Act, U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, tax cuts, Standard Deduction, child tax credit, Affordable Care Act (ACA), charitable giving, tax payers, health care reform, families, poor

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

USCCB PRESIDENT ON THE PASSING OF CARDINAL LAW

12/20/2017 - 5:12am

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement this morning upon the death of Cardinal Bernard Law. If you have been abused or know of someone who has been abused, contact the local diocesan victims assistance coordinator and, where you may have knowledge of a crime, local law enforcement. As we reflect on the legacy of Cardinal Law, it will likely bring back painful memories for survivors. The Church seeks to always respond as supportive pastors.

"Entrusting his soul to the mercy of Christ, I echo the statement released by Cardinal Seán O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston and offer my prayers and condolences to the family and friends of Cardinal Law. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord. At this time especially we keep close in our prayer the brave survivors of sexual abuse.  Their witness would lead to a comprehensive response from the Church in the United States to protect and heal the deep wounds of abuse. I pray they may find strength and peace in the mercy of Christ."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Bernard Law, Cardinal Seán O'Malley, Archdiocese of Boston, sexual abuse, prayers, condolences

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering February 3-6, Will Focus on Racism, Environment, Immigration

12/18/2017 - 6:33am

WASHINGTON—The 2018 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will take place February 3-6, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The Gathering, organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and 16 collaborating organizations, attracts more than 500 participants from around the country and seeks to equip Catholic leaders and emerging leaders to bring the voice of faith to the public square.

The theme for this year's Gathering is "Building Community: A Call to the Common Good." "The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering seeks to help Catholics respond to Pope Francis' call to be missionary disciples who work together to promote the common good and protect the life and dignity of God's children at home and around the world," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development.

Joining the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development in organizing the Gathering are numerous other USCCB departments and national Catholic organizations, including Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, and others.

Bishop Dewane will celebrate a Welcome Mass on Saturday, February 3, and USCCB's president, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, will celebrate the Sending Mass on Tuesday, February 6. Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Auxiliary Bishop of Seattle, will deliver the Keynote Presentation on "Where is your brother?".

Bishop George V. Murry of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism will address the ramifications of racism in society and the Church, and Mauricio López, Executive Secretary of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), will lead a panel presentation on the experiences of indigenous and rural communities and their connection to environmental matters in anticipation of the 2019 Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon announced recently by Pope Francis.

A Plenary and Dialogue on "Moving from a Throwaway Culture to a Culture of Encounter" will include Sr. Patricia Chappell, Kim Daniels, Dr. Maryann Cusimano-Love, Dr. R.R. Reno, and Fr. Matt Malone.

Workshops include: Best Practices in Responding to Racial Unrest: Lessons Learned from Ferguson; Restorative Justice in Parish Life; the V Encuentro; a Catholic Response to Migration Policy; Nuclear Threats to the Common Good: Disarmament, North Korea and Iran; a Catholic Response to the Opioid Abuse Crisis; Common Ground on Climate Policy; Developing Affordable Housing for the Vulnerable; and others.

Coverage of the meeting is open to credentialed media. Reporters interested in covering the gathering can download a credential application form and submit it by email no later than January 12.

More information is available online: www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org/.

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Keywords: Catholic Social Ministry Gathering; U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB; Bishop Frank J. Dewane; Committee on Justice, Peace and Human Development; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo; Bishop Eusebio L. Elizondo; Catholic Relief Services, CRS, Catholic Charities USA, CCUSA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic Rural Life, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities; racial unrest, racism, immigration, restorative justice, Ferguson, environment, migration policy, V Encuentro, nuclear threat, opioid abuse, affordable housing

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Faith Leaders Affirm the Inherent Beauty and Dignity of Being Created Male or Female

12/15/2017 - 5:52am

WASHINGTON—Following the USCCB General Assembly in November 2017, a group of ecumenical and interfaith partners gathered with bishops of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage to discuss gender ideology. As a result of this discussion, faith leaders today issued an open letter entitled "Created Male and Female".

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs signed the letter.

"We hope this letter communicates to the public our shared understanding of the goodness of the creation of humanity as male or female and underscores our commitment to service of this truth with both clarity and compassion," said Bishop Conley.

The religious leaders stressed the importance of acknowledging the reality of sexual identity, noting, "Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can 'change' their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of 'first, do no harm.'"

The leaders close with a hope: "We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity."

The letter is available at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/created-male-and-female.cfm and follows three previous open letters: "The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment," issued December 6, 2010, "Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together," issued January 12, 2012, and "The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness," issued on April 23, 2015, which are available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/ecumenical-and-interreligious-activities.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop James D. Conley, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, marriage, religious liberty, gender ideology

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Auxiliary Bishop of Hartford

12/15/2017 - 4:10am

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Christie A. Macaluso from the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on December 15 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Most Reverend Christie Macaluso, D.D., was born in Hartford, Connecticut on June 12, 1945. He attended Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore where he earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's degree in Sacred Theology. He later earned master's degrees in psychology from New York University and in philosophy from Trinity College. In addition, he studied multiple languages and music.

On May 22, 1971, he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Assignments after ordination included assistant pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in West Hartford and St. Joseph Parish, in New Britain. He also served as a faculty member of St. Thomas Seminary College and was appointed dean in 1980. In 1985, he became rector and president of Saint Thomas Seminary. During that time, he also served as a weekend assistant at St. Francis Parish in Torrington and Sacred Heart Parish in Bloomfield. From 1991-1997, he served as pastor of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

In 1995, he was named a prelate of honor, with the title of monsignor, by Pope John Paul II and was also named episcopal vicar for Hartford.

On March 18, 1997, Macaluso was appointed auxiliary bishop of Hartford and titular bishop of Grass Valley. As auxiliary bishop, he has served as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Hartford and moderator of the Curia. 

In 2014, he was appointed rector of St. Thomas Seminary.

The Archdiocese of Hartford comprises 2,288 square miles and has total population of approximately 1,938,914 people of which 537,983 or 27 percent are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Auxiliary Bishop, Most Reverend Christie Macaluso, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nunciature, Archdiocese of Hartford, vicar general, moderator of the Curia.

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Media Contact
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Response to The Chieti Document is Another Step Forward for the Catholic and Orthodox Churches’ Common Understanding in Service of Unity

12/14/2017 - 9:52am

WASHINGTON—The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (NAOCTC) has released its response to the most recent document produced by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Entitled, "Synodality and Primacy During the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church," this work of the international dialogue was released in September 2016. It is often referred to as, "The Chieti Document," because it was finalized during a meeting in Chieti, Italy.

The NAOCTC, which is co-chaired by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Archbishop of Newark and Consultant for the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and by Metropolitan Methodios of Boston, prepared its response during its most recent meeting, which took place in Washington, DC, from 26-28 October. The response praises the Chieti Document "as the fruit of perseverance in fidelity to our one Lord. It is a fruit holding many seeds, potentially yielding a harvest for the countless members of our Churches who experience the division every day in their lives and pray for it to be healed."

The Chieti Document discusses the relationship between primacy and synodality during the first millennium Churches of the East and West. It specifically examines that relationship on three levels: the local, regional and universal. The NAOCTC response reflects upon each of the three levels and offers suggestions for further study and consideration.

The North American dialogue has responded to every agreed statement produced by the International Dialogue including those finalized at Rhodes (1980), Munich (1982), Bari (1987), Valamo (1988), Balamand (1993), and Ravenna (2007).

The Chieti document is posted on the Vatican web site here:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/ch_orthodox_docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20160921_sinodality-primacy_en.html

and on the web site of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople here:

https://www.patriarchate.org/dialogue-with-the-roman-catholic-church/-/asset_publisher/xPOzhhZ0zKIa/content/synodality-and-primacy-during-the-first-millennium-towards-a-common-understanding-in-service-to-the-unity-of-the-church-9-21-16-

The North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation was established in 1965 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in America, now the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States, and by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, now the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Since 1997, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has been a co-sponsor.

More information on the work of the North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation, including links to the full text of Statements and other documents, may be found at the respective sites of:

The Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States:

www.assemblyofbishops.org/ministries/dialogue/orthodox-catholic/

and The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:

www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/index.cfm

The response to the recent document produced by the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, "Synodality and Primacy During the First Millennium: Towards a Common Understanding in Service to the Unity of the Church," The Chieti Document of the international dialogue can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/ecumenical/orthodox/upload/Chieti-Response.pdf

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Keywords: North American Orthodox-Catholic Theological Consultation (NAOCTC), Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue, Catholic Church, Vatican, Orthodox Church, "Synodality, Primacy, common understanding, unity of the Church, international dialogue, The Chieti Document, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, Metropolitan Methodios, dialogue. 

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200


President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Statement on California Fires

12/08/2017 - 10:20am

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, offered the following statement of solidarity with the people of California.

Full statement follows:

"On this holy day of the Immaculate Conception, we commit ourselves to the loving protection of Mary the Mother of God and patroness of America. Let us remember, especially, her sons and daughters in danger from the terrible wildfires in California, both those whose homes are in the fire's path and those courageous first responders and firefighters who are putting their lives at risk. Please find a moment today, whether after Mass or while gathered as a family around the Advent wreath, to pray a Rosary in gratitude for Mary's gifts to humanity and entrusting to her protection our sisters and brothers in the fire's path. I am sure all the faithful join me in saying: we stand ready to help in the recovery."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, California, Mary, Mother of God, Immaculate Conception, Advent wreath, Rosary, humanity, protection, first responders, firefighters, recovery. 

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn, will be Celebrated Around the Country December 12, as Day of Solidarity with Immigrants

12/07/2017 - 8:03am

WASHINGTON— On Tuesday, December 12, the Catholic Church will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas and the Unborn. Celebrations in dioceses across the nation will be held throughout the month of December to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. These events seek to honor the accomplishments, hopes, fears, and needs of all families who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life.

"As we enter the Advent season and Christmas approaches, we are reminded of the unique role and importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a unifier and peacebuilder for communities. We honor her role as protectress of families, including those families separated and far from home," stated Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, and Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration.

Over 55 prayer services, Masses, processions and other events will be held in dioceses across the country as the Catholic Church continues to accompany migrants and refugees seeking opportunity to provide for their families. On December 12, 2017, a Mass honoring our Lady of Guadalupe will be celebrated by the Most Reverend Mario Dorsonville, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, at St. Peter's Church in Washington, DC at 12:10 PM. All are welcome to attend.

For more information, please visit the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) website at https://justiceforimmigrants.org/lady-guadalupe-resource-page/ which has background material and scriptural information on Our Lady of Guadalupe in English and Spanish, a nationwide map of events, and community celebration ideas.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Day of Prayer, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Committee on Migration, unborn, pro-life, migrant and refugee services, Advent, mercy, unity, solidarity.    

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Advance Final Tax Reform Bill Only if it Meets Key Moral Concerns, Says USCCB Chairman

12/06/2017 - 6:24am

WASHINGTON— As Congress prepares to reconcile the House of Representatives and Senate tax reform bills, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, insisted that "Congress should advance a final tax reform bill only if it meets the key moral concerns . . ."

"According to Congress' own nonpartisan analysis, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bills recently passed by the House and the Senate raise taxes on the poor and cut taxes on the rich, violating basic principles of justice," wrote Bishop Dewane. "Congress has proposed a web of wide-ranging and complex changes to the tax code, yet is approaching the process at a pace that makes it difficult even for experts in the impacted areas to analyze effects."

According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the Senate and House bills eventually increase taxes on taxpayers in the lowest brackets, while at the same time maintaining tax cuts for higher earners, including the very wealthy. Bishop Dewane expressed support for positive proposals contained in both the House and Senate bill, such as doubling the Standard Deduction, expansion of 529 savings plans, increases for deductions for educator expenses, and the idea of expanding the child tax credit, though he urged a robust expansion that includes the refundable portions of the credit.

However, the Bishop highlighted serious problems that remain in one or both of the proposed bills:  elimination of personal exemptions, repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual insurance mandate apart from broader health care reform, and failure to include changes that will protect against a steep drop in charitable giving, among others.

"Policy that is good for workers, families who welcome life, families who are struggling to reach (or stay in) the middle class, and the very poor, has by design been a part of our tax code for years," noted Bishop Dewane. "Any modifications to these important priorities of our nation should only be made with a clear understanding and concern for the people who may least be able to bear the negative consequences of new policy."

The full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/Tax-Conference-Letter-Congress-2017-12-06.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, tax reform bill, U.S. Congress, Joint Committee on Taxation, tax cuts, Standard Deduction, child tax credit, Affordable Care Act (ACA), charitable giving, tax payers, health care reform, families, poor

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200