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Bishops Applaud Final Rules Providing Expanded Moral and Religious Exemptions to HHS Mandate

WASHINGTON–The final rules announced Wednesday by the federal government regarding the HHS mandate “allow people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based schools, and others to live out their faith in daily life,” according to leaders of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, are applauding the Trump Administration’s decision to finalize regulations providing expanded religious and moral exemptions from the mandate requiring health insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions.

Cardinal DiNardo and Archbishop Kurtz offered the following joint statement in response:

“We are grateful for the Administration’s decision to finalize common-sense regulations that allow those with sincerely held religious or moral convictions opposing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception to exclude such drugs and devices from their health plans. These final regulations restore free exercise rights in accordance with the First Amendment and long-standing statutory protections for religious freedom. The regulations allow people like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based schools, and others to live out their faith in daily life and to continue to serve others, without fear of punishing fines from the federal government.”

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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS mandate, Little Sisters of the Poor, abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, contraception, religious liberty, religious freedom

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

 

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement Following Deadly Shooting in California

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting early this morning in Thousand Oaks, California, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for the enactment of reasonable measures to end gun violence.

The full statement of Cardinal DiNardo follows:

"Many of us learned at dawn today that at least a dozen people died early this morning in a shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, CA, outside of Los Angeles. Early reports indicate that the bar was filled with college students, and among the dead are a law enforcement officer as well as the shooter himself.

We must bring this tragedy to the Lord in prayer. This new incident of gun violence strikes just as the funerals are barely complete from the last mass shooting. More innocent lives are lost because of one individual and his ability to procure weapons and commit violence. The bishops continue to ask that public policies be supported that would enact reasonable gun measures to help curb this mad loss of life.

Only love can truly defeat evil. Love begets love, and peace begets peace, but anger, hatred and violence breed more of the same. Today we pray for the victims and their loved ones and all those impacted by this senseless violence. Let us pray that "In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace." Lk. 1:78-79.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president, violence,

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Media Contact:  

Judy Keane  

202-541-3200

 

Annual Collection Helps Religious Communities Address Retirement Shortfall

WASHINGTON—The Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held in most U.S. Catholic parishes on December 8-9. Now in its 31st year, the collection is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO). Proceeds are distributed to eligible religious communities to help underwrite retirement and health-care expenses for senior members. Some 31,000 elderly Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests benefit.

Catholic bishops of the United States initiated the national collection in 1988 to help address the significant lack of retirement funding among U.S. religious congregations. Almost 94 percent of donations directly support senior religious and their congregations.

Donations to the 2017 appeal totaled just over $28 million, and the NRRO distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities across the country. Communities utilize these funds to bolster retirement savings and to subsidize necessities such as prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for communities with critical needs and for resources on retirement planning and eldercare.

“Since the collection began, Catholics have donated $844 million to help religious communities care for aging members,” said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO’s executive director. “We are humbled and profoundly grateful for this generosity.”

Despite ongoing support for the national appeal, the need remains profound. For each of the last 10 years, the total cost of care for senior women and men religious has exceeded $1 billion. At the same time, most religious communities lack adequate retirement savings because older members served for little to no pay. Historically low compensation also impacts current income. Based on NRRO data, the average annual Social Security benefit for a religious is just $6,453.45.

In addition to direct financial aid, collection proceeds underwrite efforts to help religious communities prepare for long-term needs. Special programming offers fiscal and one-on-one support to communities with critical funding shortages. Partnerships with various organizations maximize the impact of donations by furnishing tools for enhancing eldercare and stretching retirement dollars. For example, in conjunction with the Avila Institute for Gerontology, the NRRO offers a free webinar series on senior-related topics. In 2017, funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation underwrote the creation of online videos to promote effective property planning.

“Thanks to the annual appeal, we are able to offer an array of resources to help religious communities meet immediate needs, enhance eldercare, and plan for the future,” said Sister Still.

More information is available at www.retiredreligious.org.

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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops, Sister Stephanie Still, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Collection

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development Collection to be held on World Day of the Poor

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) will be held in most parishes the weekend of November 17-18 to coincide with the Second World Day of the Poor.  

Nearly 40 million people live in poverty in the United States. This collection supports the work of groups that allow low-income people to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Projects supported by CCHD include expanding access to affordable housing, developing worker-owned businesses and protecting worker rights, and reforming the immigration system.
 
In his statement for this year’s celebration of the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis called on the faithful to “make tangible the Church’s response to the cry of the poor, to experience this World Day as a privileged moment of new evangelization.”
 
“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is one of the many ways that the Church hears the cry of the poor and recognizes their needs. This collection empowers low-income people to work to break the cycle of poverty in their communities, helping them to live life anew in dignity,” said Bishop David P. Talley of Alexandria chairman of the CCHD Subcommittee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.
 
CCHD is the official domestic anti-poverty program of the US Catholic bishops. This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s community and economic development grants and education programs aimed at fostering hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects.
 
Easy-to-use resources for the collection can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/collection/collection-resources.cfm
 
Additional resources to learn about poverty in the United States can be found at https://povertyusa.org/. Materials include Poverty Facts, a Poverty Map, and Stories of Hope from groups supported through the annual collection. A pastoral aid for the second World Day of the Poor is also available on the USCCB website.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Catholic Campaign, Human Development, Pope Francis, World Day of the Poor, Bishop David P. Talley, poverty.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops To Meet Nov. 12-14 in Baltimore; Will Address Abuse Crisis and Action Items; Assembly to be Live Streamed, Live Tweeted, Carried Via Satellite

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2018 Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, November 12-14.  

The assembly will begin with an address by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the USCCB and also an address by the Papal Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The body of bishops will then adjourn to an on-site chapel for a full day of spiritual discernment and prayer. This will be followed by a Mass celebrated Monday evening at the site of the assembly.  

During the assembly the bishops will discuss and vote on a series of concrete measures to respond to the abuse crisis, including those approved for the agenda at the September meeting of the Administrative Committee, such as a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse. The bishops will also hear reports from the National Advisory Council and National Review Board.  

The assembly will also vote on the Pastoral Letter Against Racism and will also hear a report on the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. The bishops will also vote on the 2019 budget.

The bishops will also vote for a Conference Treasurer-elect, new chairmen of the Committee on Catholic Education, and new chairmen-elect of the following five USCCB committees: Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, Committee on Divine Worship, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, and the Committee on Migration.

There will also be a voice vote on the cause for canonization for Sr. Thea Bowman, FSPA.

Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes as well as portions of the day of spiritual discernment will be available via livestream at: http://www.usccb.org/live

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to this page: www.usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible.

Those wishing to follow the meeting on social media can use the hashtag #USCCB18 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/usccb).

Media outlets interested in taking the meeting's satellite feed may request coordinates by email. Live stream and satellite feed is expected to run Monday, 12, 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, November 13, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern and Wednesday, November 14, 11a.m.-6p.m. The assembly will be live streamed on the Internet and will be available via satellite for broadcasters wishing to air it. The live stream will be available at: http://www.usccb.org/about/leadership/usccb-general-assembly/usccb-general-assembly-live-stream.cfm.

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Fall General Assembly, November meeting, Baltimore, #usccb18, live stream.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane  
202-541-3200

U. S. Bishops to Vote for Conference Treasurer-Elect, Chairman and Chairmen-Elect of Five Committees at Fall General Assembly in Baltimore, Nov. 12-14

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will be voting for the conference treasurer-elect, chairman of the catholic education committee, and chairmen-elect of five additional standing committees at the upcoming annual 2018 General Assembly taking place November 12-14 in Baltimore, Maryland. The five committee chairmen will serve for one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the bishops' 2019 Fall General Assembly.

Nominees for the Conference Treasurer, Chairman of the Committee for Catholic Education, and Chairman-elect of each committee are as follows:

Conference Treasurer-elect:

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

For Chairman:

Committee on Catholic Education:

Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., Bishop of Oakland

Bishop David J. Malloy, Diocese of Rockford

For Chairman-elect:

Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations:

Bishop James F. Checchio, Diocese of Metuchen

Bishop Michael F. Olson, Diocese of Fort Worth

Committee on Divine Worship:

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, Archdiocese of Hartford

Bishop David L. Ricken, Diocese of Green Bay

Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development:

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Archbishop John C. Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe

Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth:

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archdiocese of San Francisco

Bishop John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette

Committee on Migration:

Bishop Mario E Dorsonville-Rodriguez, Archdiocese of Washington

Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Diocese of Lexington

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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, November meeting, Fall General Assembly, Baltimore, committees, elections, conference secretary, committee chairmen-elect

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration and Presidents of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA Issued Statement Urging Humane Action Towards Those Seeking Protection

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Sister Donna Markham OP PhD, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA issued the following statement urging all people of goodwill to speak and act with compassion towards those migrating north and seeking refuge from violence and poverty.

The full statement follows:

“As Catholic agencies assisting poor and vulnerable migrants in the United States and around the world, we are deeply saddened by the violence, injustice, and deteriorating economic conditions forcing many people to flee their homes in Central America. While nations have the right to protect their borders, this right comes with responsibilities: governments must enforce laws proportionately, treat all people humanely, and provide due process.

We affirm that seeking asylum is not a crime. We urge all governments to abide by international law and existing domestic laws that protect those seeking safe haven and ensure that all those who are returned to their home country are protected and repatriated safely.

Furthermore, we strongly advocate for continued U.S. investments to address the underlying causes of violence and lack of opportunity in Central America. Our presence throughout the Americas has convinced us that migration is a regional issue that requires a comprehensive, regional solution. An enforcement-only approach does not address nor solve the larger root causes that cause people to flee their countries in search of protection.

As Christians, we must answer the call to act with compassion towards those in need and to work together to find humane solutions that honor the rule of law and respect the dignity of human life.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services, Sister Donna Markham, Catholic Charities USA, migrants, asylum, Immigration, Central America.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs Statement on Pittsburgh Violence

WASHINGTON—Bishop Joseph Bambera, Bishop chair of the Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, released the following statement regarding the violence in Pittsburgh.

Full statement follows:

“Yesterday morning, death and violence entered a house of worship. The attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, is a cowardly act and to be condemned by all Americans. Those killed and injured represent the best of who we are: people of faith gathered to pray and celebrate the birth of a child and officers responding to the ensuring violence with no concern for their own safety.  

Anti-Semitism is to be condemned and has to be confronted by our nation. The Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops stands with our Jewish brothers and sisters during this time of great distress. May God grant peace to the dead, healing to the injured, and comfort to the families of those hurt and killed and to all the Jewish Community.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joseph Bambera, Committee for Ecumenism and Interreligious Affairs, Tree of Life Synagogue, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, violence, Anti-Semitism, Jewish brothers and sisters, Jewish Community

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops' Conference Issues Statement Following Shooting in Pittsburgh

WASHINGTON—Following the tragic shooting this morning at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement calling for prayer and action to put an end to violence.

The full statement is as follows:

"This morning violence, once again, struck one of our communities, this time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is apparent at least eight souls lost their lives in a shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue. To our brothers and sisters of the Jewish community, we stand with you. We condemn all acts of violence and hate and yet again, call on our nation and public officials to confront the plague of gun violence. Violence as a response to political, racial, or religious differences must be confronted with all possible effort. God asks nothing less of us. He begs us back to our common humanity as His sons and daughters.

I commend to our Lord the victims, including first responders, and for the consolation of their families. May Almighty God be with them and bring them comfort at this tragic time."


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Keywords: USCCB, U.S. Bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pittsburgh, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, gun violence, prayer, peace


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Media Contact:

Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Will Gather for Seven Days of Prayer and Reflection at Invitation of Pope Francis

WASHINGTON— At the invitation of Pope Francis, the Bishops of the United States will gather for a spiritual retreat set to take place at Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The bishops will gather in prayer and unity for seven days, from January 2-8, as brothers in the Episcopacy.


“The Holy Father has kindly offered the preacher to the Papal Household, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., to serve as the retreat director as we come together to pray on the intense matters before us. For this, I am grateful,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “I am also grateful to Cardinal Blase Cupich for his kind offer to use the campus of Mundelein Seminary as the location for this retreat.”


The announcement comes after Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo met with the Pope earlier this month as part of a regularly scheduled Curia visit. The retreat takes place as the U.S. bishops continue their work to address the current U.S. clergy sex abuse crisis. In September, the U.S. bishops Administrative Committee http://www.usccb.org/news/2018/18-152.cfm announced an action plan including a third-party reporting mechanism, standards of conduct for bishops, and protocols for bishops resigned or removed because of abuse.


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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Mundelein Seminary, Archdiocese of Chicago, episcopacy, retreat, prayer, Office of Meetings and Events, USCCB General Secretariat


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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200