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Bishops’ Conference Committee Chairman Welcomes Governor of California’s Declaration of Moratorium on Death Penalty

WASHINGTON—After California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on executions, Bishop FrankJ. Dewane of Venice, FL, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed gratitude for the decision as a step to further the recognition of the inherent dignity of all human life.

The full statement follows:

"We join the California Catholic Conference and all people of good will in welcomingCalifornia Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaration issuing a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in his state. We are grateful and urge California lawmakers to take the next logical step to repeal the death penalty to bring a permanent end to this practice.  

“In his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, Pope Francis called for 'the global abolition of the deathpenalty,' as he explained, 'I am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. . . . [A] just andnecessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.' Today’s decision is a wise step in better orienting the criminal justice system to recognize the inherent dignity of all human life.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee onDomestic Justice and Human Development, Governor Gavin Newsom, California Catholic Conference, death penalty, moratorium, U.S. Congress, Pope Francis, human person, inalienable dignity, rehabilitation, criminal justice system, inherent dignity

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

USCCB Migration Chairman and CRS President Issue Statement Supporting Texas-Mexico Border Bishops’ Statement on Recent U.S. Government Asylum Policy

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Sean Callahan, President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services issue the following statement in solidarity with the March 4th statement of the Texas and Mexico Border Bishops.

The full statement follows:

“Consistent with the Texas-Mexico Border Bishops’ March 4th statement, we oppose U.S. policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while waiting to access protection in the United States. We urge the Administration to reverse this policy, which needlessly increases the suffering of the most vulnerable and violates international protocols. We steadfastly affirm a person’s right to seek asylum and find recent efforts to curtail and deter that right deeply troubling. We must look beyond our borders; families are escaping extreme violence and poverty at home and are fleeing for their lives. Our staff and partners in Central America witness the suffering there and fight against it. Our government must adopt policies and provide more funding that address root causes of migration and promote human dignity and sustainable livelihoods. Like the Texas-Mexico Border Bishops, we recommit to Pope Francis’s call to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate our immigrant brothers and sisters in Christ.”

For more information on the U.S. government’s Migration Protection Protocol policy which requires certain asylum seekers to wait in Mexico please click here.
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, Committee on Migration, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services, Texas-Mexico, Border Bishops, migrants, asylum, Immigration, Central America.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Co-Chair of USCCB dialogue with National Council of Synagogues Issues Statement Regarding Opening of Vatican Archives

WASHINGTON— Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and Co-Chair of the USCCB’s dialogue with the National Council of Synagogues, praised Pope Francis’ recent announcement regarding the opening of the Vatican Archives from the wartime pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

“I am grateful to His Holiness for taking this welcome step and allowing scholars to examine the records of Pope Pius XII’s pontificate during the Second World War,” commented Cardinal Dolan. “Along with our Jewish partners and colleagues, I have previously called for access to these files. Today, we look forward to the 2020 opening of the Archives.”

In a March 4 audience with Vatican officials, Pope Francis announced his intention to permit access to the Secret Archives of Pius XII’s pontificate. The Pope set the date of March 2, 2020 for the official opening.

Pius XII’s papacy began in 1939, just months before the outbreak of the Second World War. Scholars, particularly those interested in Catholic-Jewish relations, have been anxious to examine Vatican files, especially those related to the war years and the fate of the Jewish community in Rome.

As a U.S. leader in Catholic-Jewish relations, Cardinal Dolan has actively called for the release of these documents since becoming Archbishop of New York in 2009. “Whatever is needed to complete this project, even in phases rather than only as a whole, I suggest must be explored,” His Eminence said in a speech at Jewish Theological Seminary in 2011.

“I echo Pope Francis’ sentiment that sincere historical research will present an opportunity to grow in public understanding,” reflected Cardinal Dolan. “I pray it will bring about a new era in which Catholic and Jewish scholars, who have deepened their trust and friendship, can continue working together to examine this important new material.”

Rabbi David Straus, Senior Rabbi of Main Line Reform Temple in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and co-chair of the National Council of Synagogues dialogue with the USCCB, echoed the Cardinal’s sentiments, saying, “We look forward to this new moment of openness, which will only build upon our previous work together, and, we pray, continue to strengthen our relationships, friendships, understandings of each other in our important work together. Our shared commitment to making the facts known can only serve to demonstrate the mutuality of respect and concern that is reflected in Pope Francis’s decision.”

For more information, please visit our website: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/index.cfm.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, National Council of Synagogues, Pope Francis, Pope Pius XII, Second World War, Secret Archives, Catholic-Jewish relations, Jewish community in Rome, Rabbi David Straus, Main Line Reform Temple

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Bishops’ sends letter to Chairman of Catholic Relief Services following deadly plane crash

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a letter to the Most Reverend Gregory John Mansour, Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Brooklyn, following the tragic plane crash yesterday. Bishop Mansour serves as the chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services. Of the 157 lives lost, four were employees of Catholic Relief Services.
The full letter is below:

Dear Bishop Mansour,

It was with great sadness that I learned of the deaths of four of our esteemed colleagues from Catholic Relief Services who were on the airplane that crashed on Sunday, March 10, 2019.

I, along with my brother bishops of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, join together with the entire CRS family, especially CRS Ethiopia and our EARO colleagues, in mourning the tragic loss of Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku, and Mulusew Alemu. Their service to the poor and their accompaniment of the marginalized stand as a great witness to Christ and His love for us all.

Please know that I have asked all our brother bishops here in the United States to pray for the repose of the souls of Sara, Getnet, Sintayehu, and Mulusew, and we will especially do so at the upcoming meeting of the USCCB Administrative Committee this week. May the consolation of the Savior’s embrace be now a source of comfort to their loved ones and co-workers on this difficult and painful day.

United in prayer and vigil for the Risen Lord, I remain,

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Gregory Mansour, Eparchy of Brooklyn, Catholic Relief Services
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishes Revised Translation of the Rite for Blessing the Holy Oils

WASHINGTON—The publishing division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has recently made available a revised translation of the rite for blessing the holy oils, entitled the Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism.

The book is used at the Chrism Mass, which is one of the highlights of the year in a diocese, normally held on Holy Thursday morning or on an earlier day of Holy Week. At that Mass the bishop, surrounded by a great number of clergy, religious, and faithful, blesses new holy oils for the coming year. The oils will be used for various ceremonies, such as for the preparation and celebration of baptism and for the celebration of the sacraments of confirmation, holy orders, and the anointing of the sick. They are used in some of the most majestic Catholic ceremonies, such as the dedication of a new church, and also in some of the simplest, like an anointing in a hospital room.

“USCCB Publications has produced an attractive book that is worthy of a ceremony as important as the Chrism Mass. The use of the holy oils is a striking part of the Church’s prayer in various moments of a person’s life and in important moments in the life of a parish,” explains Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Divine Worship. “All of these ceremonies throughout the diocese are linked together through those oils blessed by the bishop.”

The Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism is intended primarily for bishops in the United States and for their diocesan worship offices, but will also be a useful reference for seminaries, theological libraries, and for those interested in the Roman liturgy. It may be ordered online at http://store.usccb.org/order-of-blessing-the-oil-p/7-624.htm. Please also click on the following link for a cover image of the revised translation: http://www.usccb.org/about/marketing/products/images/usccb-7-624-blessing-oils-cover.jpg

Additional books and resources pertaining to marriage and family life, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican, ministry and more can be found by visiting the USCCB’s online bookstore at https://store.usccb.org.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Order of Blessing the Oil of Catechumens and of the Sick and of Consecrating the Chrism, Chrism Mass, Holy Thursday, Holy Week, holy oils, anointing of the sick, Catholic ceremonies, Father Andrew Menke, Secretariat of Divine Worship

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

Bishops’ Conference President and Domestic Justice Committee Chairman Express Sorrow, Urge Prayer and Support, After Deadly Tornadoes Hit Alabama and Damage Other States in the Southeast

WASHINGTON—After tornadoes killed more than 20 people in Lee County, Alabama, and caused destruction in Georgia and surrounding states over the weekend, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, FL, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, expressed sorrow for those in mourning and encouraged hope and generous support at the beginning of the Lenten season.

The full statement follows:

"It is with heavy hearts that we continue to learn about the destruction in Alabama and Georgia from tornadoes over the weekend. At the time of this writing, there are 23 confirmed dead in Alabama, including three children, many more missing, and miles of destruction of homes and communities. We offer prayers for the victims and their grieving families and friends. Now is the time to offer assistance in any way we can to those facing great difficulties. One way to do this is by donating to Catholic Charities and other organizations that are working to provide emergency needs, and to help rebuild.
Our hope, in this Lenten season, as always, is in the Lord of life who has conquered death. May the Lord grant eternal rest to those who have died, and may the Holy Spirit work through all of us to give comfort to those who are grieving with generosity and love."

Donations can be made to Catholic Charities USA at https://catholiccharitiesusa.org.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Alabama, Georgia, tornado, assistance, Catholic Charities, emergency aid, Lenten season

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Names Msgr. Alejandro Aclan as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles; Accepts Resignation of Bishop Armando Ochoa from the Diocese of Fresno; Appoints Most Reverend Joseph Brennan as Bishop of

WASHINGTON— Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Alejandro
D. Aclan as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. The Pope has also accepted the resignation of Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Fresno and appointed as Bishop of that same See the Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan, up until now Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. Bishop Ochoa has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75. The Pope has also named Bishop David Talley as Bishop of the Diocese of Memphis.

The appointments and resignation were publicized in Washington on March 5, 2019, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Rev. Msgr. Alejandro Aclan is currently serving as priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and most recently served as Vicar for Clergy. He was born February 9, 1951 in Pasay City, Philippines. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology (1971) from University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He also holds a Master of Divinity (1993) from St. John’s Seminary, in Camarillo. Father Aclan was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1993.

Assignments after ordination include: Associate Pastor/St.Finbar, Burbank; St. John of God, Norwalk, 1993-2001; Director of Vocations in Progress (1996-1999). Rev. Msgr. Aclan served as a Pastor/St. Madeleine, Pomona (2001-2012); Member/Regional Pastoral Council, San Gabriel Valley Pastoral Region (2003-2008); Treasurer/Council of Priest (2006-2010); Regional Vocations Director, San Gabriel Valley Pastoral Region (2010-2012); Associate Vicar for Clergy (2015-2018). In July 2018 Monsignor Aclan began a sabbatical year.  

Bishop Joseph V. Brennan was born on March 20, 1954 in Van Nuys, California. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from St. John’s Seminary College (1976) and a Masters in Divinity from St. John’s Seminary Theologate (1980). He was ordained a priest in June 21, 1980.

He was installed as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and Titular Bishop of Trofimiana, September 8, 2015. Bishop Brennan is the Episcopal Vicar of the San Fernando Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Brennan has also served as Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Bishop Armando Ochoa was born in Oxnard, California, in 1943. In 1962 he entered St. John’s Seminary College and having graduated, continued his studies at St. John’s Seminary School of Theology. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on May 23, 1970. He served as Associate Pastor at St. Alphonsus Church in East Los Angeles; St. John the Baptist Church in Baldwin Park; and St. Teresa of Avila Church, Los Angeles. Bishop Ochoa was appointed Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Los Angeles, in December 1984. While an Associate Pastor at St. Teresa of Avila, he was named a Monsignor, Chaplain to His Holiness, in 1982. Bishop Ochoa was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno on February 1, 2012 and served on several U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) committees.

Pope Francis has also appointed Bishop David P. Talley as Bishop of the Diocese of Memphis. Bishop Talley has served up until now as Bishop of Alexandria in Louisiana.

Bishop Talley studied for the priesthood at St. Meinrad School of Theology. He earned his doctorate in canon law from the Pontificia University Gregorian in Rome. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a graduate degree from the University of Georgia. He was ordained on June 3, 1989.

He was appointed as auxiliary bishop of Atlanta by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on January 3, 2013 and was consecrated a bishop on April 2, 2013. Pope Francis appointed him Coadjutor Bishop of Alexandria on September 21, 2016 and was installed a bishop of the diocese on February 2, 2017 following the resignation of Bishop Ronald Paul Herzog.  

His assignments include: parochial vicar at St. Jude the Apostle church, officer of the Archdiocese of Atlanta tribunal, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is comprised of 8,636 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 11,541,404 of which 4,039,491 or 35 percent are Catholic.  

The Diocese of Fresno is comprised of 36,072 square miles in the state of California and has a total population of 2,906,023 of which 1,200,000 or 41.29 percent are Catholic.

The Diocese of Memphis comprises 10,682 square miles. It has a total population of 1,553,899 people of which 60,320 or 4% percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Reverend Monsignor Alejandro Aclan, Bishop Joseph Brennan, Bishop Armando Ochoa, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Diocese of Fresno, Bishop David Talley, Diocese of Alexandria in Louisiana

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

Diverse Faith Leaders and Religious Nonprofits Renew Call to Repeal the “Parking Lot Tax”

WASHINGTON–Ecumenical and interfaith leaders renewed their call to urge Congress to repeal a change to the Internal Revenue Code that will imminently tax nonprofit organizations—including houses of worship—for the cost of parking and transit benefits they provide to their employees. Section 512(a)(7) has been commonly referred to as the “parking lot tax”.

Leadership from a variety of nonprofits, religious and educational institutions, and houses of worship sent a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and Ranking Member asking for Congressional action to address this concern.

The letter states, in part: “This provision effectively creates an income tax on churches for the first time in U.S. history,” and it expresses concern “about the troubling precedent this sets by entangling the IRS with houses of worship.” The letter “urge[s] Congress to swiftly pass a bipartisan, full repeal of Section 512(a)(7) before taxes are due this year.”

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, joined signatories from the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The Jewish Federations of North America, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, The Episcopal Church, National Association of Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventist Church North American Division, and other nonprofit organizations concerned about this new tax in signing the letter.

A link to the letter can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Coalition-Letter-Nonprofit-parking-lot-tax-3-1-19.pdf
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Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Frank Dewane, USCCB, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, parking lot tax, Section 512(a)(7), religious freedom, religious liberty

Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Chair of Pro-Life Committee Commends Rule Separating Abortion from Title X Family Planning

WASHINGTON--Last Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it finalized “The Protect Life Rule,” regulations for the federal Title X family planning program. The Rule requires clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement commending HHS:

“I applaud the Trump Administration for reaffirming that abortion is not family planning. Abortion ends the lives of families’ most vulnerable members, as well as damaging the spiritual, mental and physical health of mothers. Although the USCCB continues to have strong objections to government promotion and funding of contraceptives, we have long supported enforcement of the abortion funding restrictions in Title X, and we are pleased to see that the Administration has taken seriously its obligation to enforce those restrictions. We are also grateful that this rule eliminates the requirement that doctors in Title X clinics refer and counsel for abortion, which previously ensured that all Title X clinics and staff had a close connection with abortion.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, President Trump, pro-life, federal funding, abortion, Title X, pregnancy, family planning, women's health, comprehensive care

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Says Senate Rejection of Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act should horrify and anger the American people

WASHINGTON–Monday night, the Senate failed to advance the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act—legislation that prohibits infanticide by ensuring that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age. The Senate rejected a motion to advance the bill on a vote of 53 to 44 with 3 not voting. In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill.

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:

“There should be no bill easier for the Senate to pass than one that makes clear that killing newborn babies is wrong and should not be tolerated. That even one senator, let alone 44 senators voted against the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, is an injustice that should horrify and anger the American people and commit us to decisive political action. A vote against this bill is a vote to extend Roe v. Wade’s license for killing unborn children to killing newborn babies. The American people, the vast majority of whom support this bill, must demand justice for innocent children.”
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, pro-life, abortion
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200