Browsing News Entries

Browsing News Entries

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Jacob Angadiath of the Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago; Appoints Bishop Joy Alappatt as Successor

WASHINGTON - Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Jacob Angadiath, 76, from the pastoral governance of the Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago, and has appointed Bishop Joy Alappatt, currently auxiliary bishop of Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago as his successor.

The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 3, 2022, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

The Saint Thomas Syro-Malabar Diocese of Chicago ministers to 49,183 Syro-Malabar Catholics in the United States.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for Domestic Justice and Human Development on Supreme Court’s Climate Regulation Ruling

WASHINGTON - On June 30, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 6-3 decision in a case that limits the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its power to regulate greenhouse gases. In response to the Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development issued the following statement:

“The Catholic bishops of the United States have long-supported the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in order to address climate change. As we said in 2018, the EPA has ‘both the statutory authority and responsibility to take regulatory action… It is hard to foresee a scenario, under current economic and technological conditions, in which the EPA faithfully carries out its mandate to protect the public health from greenhouse gases without significantly affecting political and economic realities.’ 

“We are, therefore, disappointed today that following the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act the EPA will have significantly restricted authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants. Both reasonable regulation and legislation are critical for addressing the threat and challenges of climate change. We call upon Congress to give the EPA the necessary authority to meaningfully regulate greenhouse gases.” 

For more on USCCB advocacy on climate change regulation, please see:

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Catholic Leaders Welcome Supreme Court Ruling in Biden v. Texas

WASHINGTON - Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 5-4 decision in Biden v. Texas, finding that the Secretary of Homeland Security’s termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) was lawful.

On March 21, 2022, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) filed an amicus curiae brief in Biden v. Texas, supporting the Secretary’s decision to terminate the program. The brief argued that MPP is immoral because it disregards the God-given dignity of those enrolled, contrary to Catholic social teaching, and illegal because it violates the United States’ non-refoulement obligations under U.S. and international law. The widely accepted principle of non-refoulement prohibits the practice of returning refugees and asylum seekers to any territory where they are likely to face threats to their life or freedom based on certain characteristics.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, president and CEO of CCUSA, and Anna Gallagher, executive director of CLINIC, issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision recognizes and preserves the executive branch’s ability to reverse untenable, illegal, and immoral policies, regardless of who is in office. The implementation of MPP has obstructed due process and subjected people to the very dangers that forced them to seek refuge in the United States in the first place. With this ruling, we welcome the end of MPP.

“Ours is both a nation of laws and a beacon of hope for many throughout the world. This should inspire us to work toward just and humane responses to forced migration, not embrace failed policies of the past. As Pope Francis has warned, we cannot limit ourselves to building ‘walls of fear’ and supporting ‘vetoes dictated by nationalist interests’ if we are to achieve meaningful progress in addressing these challenges.

“While this ruling helps pave the way forward, it does not resolve the ongoing challenges at our country’s southwest border. We remain committed to supporting immigration policies that produce more sustainable solutions, respect the God-given dignity of migrants, and better reflect Christ’s call to welcome the stranger.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Express Concern with U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Revisions to the Title IX Regulations

WASHINGTON - Last week, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education proposed revising its regulations implementing Title IX - a law intended to promote women’s equality and opportunity. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement in response:

“The 701-page proposed rule issued last week contains many provisions of concern to the Church and her ministries, to the faithful and the common good. The full meaning and impact of these provisions is not entirely clear and will require more careful study.

“But even at this early stage, it is apparent that the rule’s provisions on discrimination based on ‘pregnancy or related conditions,’ which include ‘termination of pregnancy,’ are intended to have implications for abortion, and therefore, life in the womb. And by adding self-asserted ‘gender identity’ to the prohibition against sex discrimination, the rule may foreshadow a threat to women’s athletics, sex-separate spaces, and the right of students, parents, and teachers to speak the truth about the nature of the human person. 

“It is a sad irony that these rules could effectively erase women and girls from the very law meant to serve them.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Mourns Migrant Deaths in Texas

WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, nearly fifty migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas. Additional migrants were rescued from the truck, including children, and several of the survivors have since died. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“This is a tragic loss of life and a harrowing depiction of the extreme risks assumed by migrants out of sheer desperation. With deep sadness, I join Archbishop García-Siller in praying for strength, mercy, and understanding during this difficult time, especially for the survivors of this horrific incident. I also unite with Pope Francis in asking the Lord to ‘open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.’

“Unfortunately, this disregard for the sanctity of human life is all too common in the context of migration. As a Church called to build a culture of life, we cannot tolerate this injustice. Instead, we must recognize that we are brothers and sisters, each imbued with God-given dignity. To prevent further loss of life, we urge governments and civil society to promote access to protection, including asylum, develop new pathways for those compelled to migrate, and combat human trafficking in all its forms.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Bishop Chairman Welcomes Passage of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

WASHINGTON – Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, commended members of Congress for passing the bill.

Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:

“I welcome the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will take meaningful action to prevent gun violence and protect lives. The investments in mental health services and reasonable measures to regulate guns included in this bill are positive initial steps towards confronting a culture of violence. This agreement, born of dialogue and compromise to advance the safety and well-being of all, embodies the work Pope Francis calls us to in his encyclical, Fratelli tutti, ‘Good politics combines love with hope and with confidence in the reserves of goodness present in human hearts.’ I commend members of Congress for their work thus far and encourage them to continue working to confront the plague of gun violence in our nation.”  

The USCCB has consistently supported the sensible regulation, sale, and use of firearms. On June 3, the USCCB sent a letter to all members of Congress urging lawmakers to “unite in their humanity to stop the massacres of human lives” and to advance life-saving legislation to address gun violence. On June 23, the USCCB sent a letter to all members of Congress in support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson

WASHINGTON - In response to the Supreme Court of the United States issuing its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.

America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision. We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Our first thoughts are with the little ones whose lives have been taken since 1973. We mourn their loss, and we entrust their souls to God, who loved them from before all ages and who will love them for all eternity. Our hearts are also with every woman and man who has suffered grievously from abortion; we pray for their healing, and we pledge our continued compassion and support. As a Church, we need to serve those who face difficult pregnancies and surround them with love.    

Todays decision is also the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies that truly support families. We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good in our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be numbered among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nations history. 

Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.

As religious leaders, we pledge ourselves to continue our service to Gods great plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill Americas promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Reflecting on World Refugee Day, USCCB’s Migration Chairman Encourages Proactive Response to Forced Displacement

WASHINGTON - World Refugee Day, observed in the United States and around the world on June 20, was established by the United Nations to increase awareness of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. Catholic dioceses, parishes, and organizations across the globe commemorated this annual event, celebrating the positive contributions of refugees and the efforts of communities to welcome them.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“Almost seventy years ago, in his apostolic constitution Exsul Familia, Pope Pius XII boldly proclaimed that the ‘Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, is the archetype of every refugee family.’ In the aftermath of World War II, that image of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph seeking safety had been the lived reality of millions. Today, that number has grown to surpass any other point in history, propelled by the ravages of war, persecution, famine, and other tragedies. This is the persistent nature of forced displacement, and it requires a proactive response.

“As we work now to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine, we continue to urge a more robust use of the Refugee Admissions Program, which is designed to ensure the long-term integration and self-sufficiency of newly arrived refugees. Consistent with those same goals, we renew our appeal for Congress to pass legislation that would provide a pathway to permanent legal status for our new Afghan neighbors. Finally, we reaffirm the importance of asylum as a vital mechanism for humanitarian protection.

“May the Holy Family serve as a source of hope and strength for all those seeking safety, and may we who are called to know, love, and serve God recognize him in those displaced.”

The USCCB, through its Department of Migration and Refugee Services, is one of nine national  resettlement agencies supporting the Refugee Admissions Program. Through this work, the Catholic Church in the United States answers Christ’s call to welcome the stranger and carries out the Church’s commitment to protecting the life and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception to natural death.

Resources related to World Refugee Day, Ukraine, and other topics can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Supreme Court Rules That Maine Cannot Discriminate Against Religious Schools Because They Teach Religion

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in the case of Carson v. Makin, which challenged a decision by the First Circuit to allow the State of Maine to exclude religious schools from a tuition assistance benefit on the basis that those schools include religion as part of their instruction. By vote of 6-3, the Court ruled in favor of the petitioners. 

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement in response to the Court’s ruling:

“The Supreme Court has rightly ruled that the Constitution protects not just the right to be religious but also to act religious. This common-sense result reflects the essence of Catholic education. Moreover, the Court has again affirmed that states cannot exclude religious schools from generally-available public benefits based on their religious affiliation or exercise. In our pluralistic society, it is vital that all people of faith be able to participate in publicly available programs and so to contribute to the common good.

“It is fitting that this decision concerns a program in Maine, the state that James G. Blaine served as Senator in 1875 when he worked for the passage of the Blaine Amendment – a cynically anti-Catholic measure to amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure that no public aid be provided to ‘sectarian’ schools. While his effort was narrowly defeated, Blaine Amendments were ultimately adopted in some form by 37 states. These laws have nothing to do with government neutrality towards religion. Rather, they are expressions of hostility toward Catholics. We are grateful that the Supreme Court continues to rebuke this harmful legacy.”

The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the petitioners, which may be found here: https://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Christian%20Legal%20Society%20et%20al%20amicus%20brief.pdf.

Background on Blaine Amendments may be found here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/religious-liberty/religious-liberty-backgrounder-blaine-amendments.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests is a Special Moment to Pray for Priests and the Gift of their Vocation

WASHINGTON – On June 24, the Catholic Church will celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. Established by Saint John Paul II in 2002, this celebration occurs annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day, the Church encourages priests to prayerfully reflect upon the gift of their vocation. The faithful are also invited to mark this celebration by praying for all priests that they may live lives of holiness and fidelity to Christ and his Church. Priests were not spared from the effects of the pandemic on their lives, so this year is again a good time to pray for our dedicated priests who creatively reached out to care for the faithful during this challenging time.

Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of initial and ongoing formation in the life of the priest: “Precisely for this reason, it [ongoing formation] cannot be a limited task because priests never stop being disciples of Jesus, who follow Him. Sometimes we proceed with celerity, at other times our step is hesitant, we stop and we may even fall, but always staying on the path. Therefore, formation understood as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister his entire life and regards his person as a whole, intellectually, humanly and spiritually. Initial and ongoing formation are distinct because each requires different methods and timing, but they are two halves of one reality, the life of a disciple cleric, in love with his Lord and steadfastly following Him.”

In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations said, “The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus gives us a special opportunity to continue our prayers for our priests. May and June are traditionally when ordinations to the priesthood are celebrated. With many priests celebrating anniversaries, this annual day of prayer is significant. This year, it also marks the official promulgation of the sixth edition of The Program of Priestly Formation in the United States of America. I am grateful to all of those who assisted in drafting and reviewing the document for their diligent efforts; this new edition will guide diocesan and religious seminary formation programs for years to come. The CCLV committee is also currently developing the second edition of the Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests to provide priests with rich spiritual and practical insights to benefit them and their sacred ministry and assist in the ongoing renewal of their commitment to lifelong formation as envisioned by Pope Francis. We pray that this will help foster renewal in all our priests.”

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the intercession of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, imbue all priests with his grace, strengthen their hearts, and renew them in their vocation to image Christ, Head and Shepherd, Servant and Spouse. Amen.

Resources for supporting the life and ministry of priests are available on the USCCB website: https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/priestly-life-and-ministry

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200