- Massive Nationwide Pro-Life Postcard Campaign Underway
February 4, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has launched a national postcard campaign urging Congress to maintain widely-supported pro-life policies and to oppose the federal funding and promotion of abortion. Launched on January 24-25, the campaign is being coordinated through the USCCB's partner organization, the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA).
To date, tens of millions of cards have already been distributed across the country—to parishes, schools, non-Catholic churches, and civic organizations—with orders continuing to come in. The majority of Catholic dioceses are participating.
- President of U.S. Bishops Says Holocaust Denial
'Deeply Offensive and Utterly False'
February 3, 2009
WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has called remarks denying the Holocaust by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, "deeply offensive and utterly false."
The assessment came in a February 3 statement by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, USCCB President.
- Gallup Poll: Most Americans Disapprove of
Mexico City Policy Reversal
February 3, 2009
WASHINGTON—A USA Today/Gallup poll on actions taken by President Obama showed the least support for his January 23 decision to reverse the Mexico City Policy and restore U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for policy and communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, commented on the January 31-February 1 survey:
"Cardinal Justin Rigali, Chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, has said that the bishops find the recent decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy 'very disappointing.' Most Americans seem to agree.
- Consecrated Life Day to be Marked in United States Feb. 8
January 30, 2009
WASHINGTON—The celebration of the annual World Day for Consecrated Life, February 2, will be marked in the United States Feb. 8. The event was inaugurated by the Vatican in 1997. The occasion is celebrated in the United States on the Sunday following Feb. 2 to enable as much participation in parish, diocesan and religious order celebrations as possible.
World Day for Consecrated Life marks an opportunity to highlight the extraordinary contributions of the men and women religious in this country as well as a time to pray for vocations to the consecrated life.
- 'Life of Bees,' 'The Visitor,' 'Wall-E'
Make USCCB Office for Film, Broadcasting Top Ten List
January 30, 2009
WASHINGTON—The Secret Life of Bees, The Visitorand Wall-E stand among 2008 movies on the top ten list of the Office for Film and Broadcasting (OFB) of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Top family films include Bolt, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
The OFB reviews mainstream movies from a Catholic perspective and classifies them based on overriding spiritual and moral values, presentation of ethical choices and artistry.
- Bishops Urge Congress to Make the Poor a Priority in Economic Recovery Legislation
January 28, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops urged Congress to make poor families and vulnerable workers central priorities as Congress adopts an economic recovery legislation. Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), made the call in a January 28 letter to both houses of Congress.
"Low-income families and individuals are experiencing the greatest hardship and have the least capacity to cope in this time of economic crisis," Bishop Murphy said in the letter, adding that these people are also more likely "to use these new resources quickly to purchase the essentials of life and to help move our economy forward."
- Pro-Life Expert Richard Doerflinger Among Winners of First-Ever "Life Prizes"
January 27, 2009
WASHINGTON—Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, was among six people awarded with the inaugural Life Prizes in Washington, DC on January 23. The event gathered over 1,200 people from across the country including pro-life leaders, their guests, and hundreds of student activists in town for the March for Life and the Students for Life of America annual conference.
Given by the Gerard Health Foundation, the awards honor six individuals or groups that have made unsurpassed strides in preserving and upholding the sanctity of human life. These winners have demonstrated their leadership in areas such as public advocacy, legal action, outreach, and public discourse activities.
- Rabbi Leon Klenicki Mourned as 'Pioneer' in Jewish-Catholic Relations
January 27, 2009
WASHINGTON—Rabbi Leon Klenicki, who died January 25, was a "pioneer" in Jewish-Catholic relations, said Cardinal William H. Keeler, Moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Cardinal Keeler, who is archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore, extolled Rabbi Klenicki's contributions to interfaith understanding in a January 26 letter to Rabbi Klenicki's wife, Myra.
- Central, Eastern Europe Collection Slated for Ash Wednesday
January 27, 2009
WASHINGTON—Believe in the Power of the Spirit of Love! is the theme of the 2009 Collection for the Church in Central and Eastern Europe slated for February 25, Ash Wednesday.
This call of Pope Benedict XVI at the World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, echoes the testimonies of the faithful in Central and Eastern Europe. Despite a devastating history, Catholics there saw God's love sustain them to create a new generation of believers and energize those who clung to their faith through the darkest times.
- President Obama's Reversal of Mexico City Policy 'Very Disappointing,'
Says Pro-Life Committee Chair
January 23, 2009
WASHINGTON—The decision by President Barack Obama to reverse the Mexico City Policy is "very disappointing," said Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.
He made the statement January 23, after President Obama issued the executive order restoring U.S. funding to organizations that perform and promote abortion in developing nations. Cardinal Rigali's statement follows.
- Bishops Urge Congress to Improve and Expand
Children's Health Insurance Program
January 23, 2009
WASHINGTON—National efforts to provide health care coverage should be improved and expanded, said Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Bishop Murphy called access to adequate health care a "basic human right" and protector of both human life and dignity in a letter to both houses of Congress.
"We strongly support significant increased funding to provide health care coverage to millions more low-income children, reducing the number of uninsured children by nearly half," Bishop Murphy said. "The legislation should maintain and expand coverage, reduce enrollment barriers, and expand outreach."
- Bishops Welcome Obama Executive Order Banning Torture
January 22, 2009
WASHINGTON—An executive order banning torture signed by President Barack Obama was welcomed by Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
"Based upon the teachings of the Catholic Church, our Conference of Bishops welcomes the executive order," Bishop Hubbard said. "Together with other religious leaders, we had pressed for this step to protect human dignity and help restore the moral and legal standing of the United States in the world."
- Pope Names Long Island Priest Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina
January 26, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Robert E. Guglielmone, 64, rector of the Cathedral of St. Agnes in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, as Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina.
The appointment was announced in Washington, January 24, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-elect Guglielmone succeeds Bishop Robert Baker, who headed the Charleston Diocese before he was named Bishop of Birmingham, August 14, 2007.
- Bishops Urge New President to Keep Laws on Conscience Rights,
Foreign Aid for Abortion, Embryonic Stem Cell Research
January 19, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops urged President-elect Barack Obama not to rescind current policies that protect conscience rights of health care workers, prevent foreign aid to organizations promoting abortion, and ban funding of stem cell research that encourages destruction of human embryos.
They made the request in a January 16 letter from Cardinal Francis George, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, shortly before President-elect Obama's inauguration. The letter followed by less than a week a previous letter outlining the bishops' broad policy agenda as the new Administration and Congress begin their work.
Cardinal George said some would expect the new president "to take executive action soon to reverse current policies" that uphold people's rights to follow their consciences and that respect innocent human life. Giving in to these expectations, he said, could be "a terrible mistake -- morally, politically, and in terms of advancing the solidarity and well-being of our nation's people."
- Methodist-Catholic Dialogue Discusses Care for God's Creation
January 16, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Methodist-Catholic Dialogue launched a new five-year round of meetings, December 16-18, 2008, at St. Paul's College in Washington, discussing environmental stewardship. The dialogue, which had not met since 2005, brought together new delegations of scholars from the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The focus on the environment reflects the prominence of this topic among religious leaders across the world, said Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop of Spokane, Washington, and Catholic co-chair of the dialogue. "Stewardship of our environment and ecumenism fit very well together as a project in which we can work together in solidarity and common responsibility," Bishop Skylstad said.
- National Prayer Vigil for Life Expected to Draw Thousands to National Shrine
January 15, 2009
WASHINGTON—Thousands of Catholics will gather in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to pray for an end to abortion at the National Prayer Vigil for Life Opening Mass at 7 p.m. on January 21, the eve of the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Over 16,000 worshipers—many of them youth from schools around the nation—are expected to attend the opening Mass and all-night prayer Vigil and then join tens of thousands more the following day to participate in the national March for Life. Chair of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, will be the principal celebrant and homilist at the Vigil Mass, concelebrated by his fellow cardinals and hundreds of the nation's bishops and priests.
- USCCB, Other Episcopal Conferences Issue Communique
Calling for End to Violence in the Holy Land
January 15, 2009
WASHINGTON—Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tuscon, Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined with Catholic bishops from Europe and Canada in issuing a communiqué called "Stop the Violence, Start Building Peace" on behalf of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land. This communiqué was issued at a January 15 press conference at the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, at the end of Episcopal Conferences' ninth annual visit to the Holy Land.
"There can be no peace unless people believe in peace. There can be no security unless there is security for all. There can be no justice unless there is justice for everyone in this land," said the bishops in the communiqué. They added, "We are pastors, not political leaders, but the religious voice is vital to the search for peace. The reality that every human person is created in the image of God demands dignity for all."
- USCCB Calls ACLU Suit against Health and Human Services Meritless,
Affront to Religious Liberty
January 15, 2009
WASHINGTON—An American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for awarding an anti-human trafficking contract to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services is without merit and an affront to religious liberty, said Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee for Migration and Refugee Services.
The ACLU of Massachusetts on January 12 filed the federal lawsuit against HHS, arguing that HHS violates the separation of church and state by not funding abortion and contraception as a part of its provision of services to victims of human trafficking. MRS is a contractor in this program. Bishop Wester's statement follows.
- Bishops Address Opportunities, Challenges for New President, Congress
January 15, 2009
WASHINGTON—The U.S. bishops addressed opportunities and challenges in January 13 letters to President-elect Barack Obama and Congress and promised "to make this period of national change a time to advance the common good and defend the life and dignity of all."
The letter, which outlined "an agenda for dialogue and action," was signed by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. A corresponding letter was sent to Vice-President Joseph Biden and each member of Congress.
- Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty
Collaborates with U.S. Bishops, Abolition Groups
January 13, 2009
WASHINGTON—The launch of the Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Death Penalty will be announced at a news conference on Sunday, January 25, at 11 a.m., at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg East, 4751 Lindle Road, Harrisburg, Pa., at the conclusion of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty training conference, which is being held at that location.
John Carr, Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will participate in the news conference. Also scheduled to participate are Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of the book "Dead Man Walking" on which the feature film of the same name is based, and Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
- Cardinal George Hails Work of the Late Father Neuhaus
January 13, 2009
WASHINGTON—Father Richard John Neuhaus, whose funeral was slated for January 13, was remembered as leader in ecumenism by Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Father Neuhaus, a noted Lutheran theologian who converted to Catholicism, died January 8 at the age of 72.
Cardinal George's statement follows.
- Bishops Urge President-Elect Obama, Mexican President Calderon,
to Protect Rights of Migrants, Address Root Causes of Migration
January 12, 2009
WASHINGTON—Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, Utah, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, urged President-elect Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon to work together to end abuses against migrants—both in the United States and Mexico—and to address "push" factors that compel migrants to undertake dangerous journeys to the United States. President-elect Obama and President Calderon were scheduled to meet in Washington on Monday, January 12.
"The issue of illegal immigration transcends borders and must be addressed on a regional, if not hemispheric, level. The United States and Mexico must cooperate to ensure that policies are adopted that permit migrants to migrate and work in a safe and controlled manner," Bishop Wester said. "Today, they are subject to abuse and exploitation by unscrupulous employers and human smugglers and other criminal elements, as well as to lengthy and unnecessary detention in substandard jails."
- 009 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering Will Be February 22-25
January 9, 2009
WASHINGTON—The 2009 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering will be held February 22-25, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill. This annual event brings together over 600 leaders of Catholic social ministry from across the United States to discuss issues of justice and peace, including the food crisis, healthcare and economic stability. The theme of this year's gathering is "Christ Our Hope: Healing a Broken World."
Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), will preside at the opening Mass. Following Mass, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will give the opening plenary address on the place of Catholic social teaching in the life and ministry of the Church.
- Collection for Church in Latin America,
January 24-25, to Emphasize Need to Form Disciples with Missionary Spirit
January 8, 2009
WASHINGTON—Disciples, Missionaries, Leaders, is the theme of the 2009 Collection for the Church in Latin America to be taken in most Catholic dioceses, January 24-25.
The proceeds of the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America are distributed to bishops' conferences, dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, seminaries, apostolic movements and other Catholic institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to support the pastoral needs of the Church.
- Advisory: Entre Amigos
January 7, 2009
In response to requests for opinion pieces from the Latino perspective, the USCCB Office of Media Relations will offer "Entre Amigos," a monthly column with a Latino flavor to run in English and Spanish around the 15th of each month. If you would like to receive this free-of-charge column, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the Entre Amigos distribution list. We hope this service benefits not only your Spanish readers but also those interested in looking at Church news and events from a Hispanic perspective.
Attached are a sample column in English, a sample column in Spanish and a jpeg of the author.
- Joyce Jones Named USCCB Chief Financial Officer
January 8, 2009
WASHINGTON—Joyce Jones, a certified public accountant who has worked in finance at George Washington University and in offices of the District of Columbia, has been named chief financial officer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Ms. Jones began her new position December 18.
"I am delighted to welcome Joyce Jones to the USCCB," said Msgr. David Malloy, USCCB general secretary. "Joyce has an impressive background and brings important financial skills to the Conference at a time of fiscal challenges for all organizations in our nation, and for the Church as well," he said.
- Pope Names Pittsburgh Seminary Rector, Msgr. Edward J. Burns, Bishop of Juneau, Alaska
January 19, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Edward J. Burns, 51, Rector of St. Paul's Seminary in Pittsburgh, as Bishop of Juneau, Alaska.
The appointment was announced in Washington, January 19, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
- Pope Names Missouri Pastor, Msgr. Richard F. Stika, Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee
January 12, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI named Msgr. Richard F. Stika, 51, pastor of the Church of the Annunziata, in Ladue, Missouri, as Bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The appointment was announced in Washington, January 12, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
- Diane Knight Named New Chair of The National Review Board
January 8, 2009
WASHINGTON—Social worker Diane Knight of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has been appointed the next chair of the National Review Board (NRB) by Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
The retired Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and member of the National Review Board since June of 2007, Ms. Knight will succeed its current chair, Judge Michael Merz, at the conclusion of his term following the June 2009 meeting of the USCCB. In making the appointment, Cardinal George stated that he is very grateful that Ms. Knight, with her dedication to the mission of the Church and her experience in the protection of children and young people, has agreed to serve as the chair of the NRB.
- Pope Names Bishop Vigneron Archbishop of Detroit,
Names New Auxiliary in Orange,
Accepts Resignations of Cardinal Maida, Bishop McRaith
January 5, 2009
WASHINGTON—Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit and named Bishop Allen H. Vigneron, Bishop of Oakland, California, as his successor. The pope also accepted the resignation of Bishop John J. McRaith of Owensboro, Kentucky, and named a new auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Orange, California, Father Cirilo B. Flores.
The appointments were announced in Washington on January 5, by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.