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Browsing News Entries

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Calls for De-escalation of Conflict with Iran

WASHINGTON—In a June 18 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, noted that escalating tensions between the United States and Iran increase the risk of conflict in the Middle East, a region that is already extremely volatile. Reiterating the Bishops’ Conference’s support for the P5+1 agreement with Iran, Archbishop Broglio stated that the U.S. unilateral withdrawal from that agreement and imposition of added economic sanctions has also “exacerbated tensions with close allies and other world powers.” Archbishop Broglio expressed the hope that “the United States will initiate sustained dialogue with allies, world powers and Iran, in order to deescalate the current situation that is a danger to both the region and the world.”

The full text of the letter follows: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/iran/letter-to-secretary-of-state-pompeo-on-iran-2019-06-18.cfm

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, Committee on International Justice and Peace, de-escalation, Iran, conflict, Middle East, economic sanctions

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Catholic Young Adult Leaders to Take Part in Vatican Post-Synod Dialogue

WASHINGTON—The Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life will convene in Rome on June 19-22 for an International Post-Synodal Forum of young adults to discuss the impact of Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit.

This International Forum will feature interactive discussions on the synodal process and Christus Vivit, including a brief visit with the Holy Father, Pope Francis. According to the Dicastery, “the Forum will be a space for community discernment [and] maintaining the synodal missionary style promoted by the Synod.”

Brian Rhude from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Brenda Noriega from the Diocese of San Bernardino are two of the young adult leaders who will be representing the United States. They will join the forum discussions with other young Catholic leaders from around the globe.  

Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia and chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, said, “We are grateful to the Holy Father for continuing these conversations begun during the synodal process last year, and we are happy to have Brian and Brenda representing our nation’s young people in Rome for this important dialogue.”

Brian Rhude is a student at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C., where he is studying theology, and works as a project coordinator for the Catholic Apostolate Center. He studied at the CUA campus in Rome during the Fall 2018 semester, which coincided with the Synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” where he was a media correspondent for the Catholic Apostolate Center. Brian also has a background in music and culinary arts.

Brenda Noriega is the Coordinator of Young Adults Ministry for the Diocese of San Bernardino and serves on the USCCB’s National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry. She was the co-leader of the bishop and young adult encounter at the V Encuentro national event in Texas in September 2018. Brenda previously worked in the Diocese of Fresno. In January 2019, she attended World Youth Day in Panama, where she represented North America at a luncheon with Pope Francis.

Mr. Rhude and Ms. Noriega will offer feedback in small and large groups discussions on how the exhortation is being received by young people across the United States. Paul Jarzembowski, Assistant Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and Lay Ecclesial Ministry for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ will present to Forum participants on Christus Vivit and its impact on pastoral leaders in parishes, dioceses, and national organizations in the U.S.

More information about the Forum can be found at www.laityfamilylife.va.
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, Christus Vivit, Brian Rhude, Archdiocese of Baltimore. Brenda Noriega, Diocese of San Bernardino, Paul Jarzembowski, USCCB Office of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Shaft

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Migration Expresses Support for Mexican Bishops Concerns Regarding Recent Agreement Between Mexico and the United States

WASHINGTON— Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration has issued a statement in support of Catholic Bishops of Mexico who have expressed concern regarding a recent agreement between Mexico and the United States which will restrict the flow of migrants at the U.S./Mexico Border.

On June 10, the Catholic Bishops of Mexico stated:

"We express our concern for the lack of a truly humanitarian reception for our brother migrants, which reflects our conviction regarding the protection of the rights of all human beings equally," the bishops further stated, "Our brother migrants must not be a bargaining chip. No negotiations should be placed above what the church and civil society have defended for years: not criminalizing migrants nor the defenders of human rights.”

Bishop Joe Vásquez responded with the following statement of support:

“We stand in solidarity with our brother bishops in Mexico. We implore the Administration not to confuse economic issues with the humanitarian issues of forced migration. Families fleeing violence, persecution and extreme poverty must be treated with love and compassion and not be used as a tool for negotiations.

As always, we recognize the right of a nation to secure its borders.  However, the Gospel teaches us to love our neighbor. This is the imperative we must follow in treating our migrant brothers and sisters with compassion and dignity. We should be working with the governments of the Northern Triangle and the Mexican Government to eradicate violence and improve the local economies from which families are being forced to migrate.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Catholic Bishops of Mexico, migrants, U.S./Mexico Border, migrants, human rights, Administration

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Media Contacts:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

Miguel Guilarte

202-541-3202

 

U.S. Bishops Vote in Favor of Three Additional Bishop Accountability Measures During Baltimore General Assembly

BALTIMORE— Today, U.S. Catholic Bishops have approved three additional measures to address abuse and bishop accountability during their annual Spring General Assembly in Baltimore. The measures expand upon the Pope Francis’s Motu proprio and the U.S. Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The reforms are designed to hold bishops accountable for instances of sexual misconduct against minors and vulnerable adults.

The first vote, Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops, passed by 212 to 4 with 1 abstention. This form of accountability provides protocols for imposing limitations on former bishops who were removed from office for grave reasons. It also empowers the USCCB president to restrict bishops removed or resigned for reasons related to sexual abuse or abuse of power.

A second vote, Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments passed by 217 to 1 with 2 abstentions. This accountability measure implements a bishop code of conduct, including the affirmation that the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is expanded to include bishops as well as priests and deacons.

The third vote, Directives for the Implementation of the Provisions of Vos estis lux mundi Concerning Bishops and their Equivalents, presents a plan for optimal implementation of Pope Francis’s recent Motu proprio in the United States, including an outline for lay involvement. It passed by 218 to 1 with 2 abstentions.  

Yesterday, the body of bishops passed another bishop accountability reform, voting for the establishment of a Third-Party Reporting System for receiving confidentially, by phone and online, reports of possible violations by bishops of Vos estis lux mundi. The action item commits to activating the system no later than May 31, 2020.

To view the full action item documents pertaining to bishop accountability voted on yesterday and today, please visit: www.usccb.org/meetings
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, General Assembly, Motu proprio, Vos estis lux mundi, Protocol, Acknowledging Our Episcopal Commitments, Provisions Concerning Bishops and their Equivalents, Directives, Third-Party Reporting System, abuse crisis, bishop accountability, votes

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S Bishops Approve the Revised Passage on the Death Penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the revised passage on the death penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults.

The full body of bishops approved the revised passage by a vote of 194 to 8 with 3 abstentions at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Baltimore, June 11-14.
 
On August 2, 2018, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released the Holy Father’s revision to the teaching on the death penalty in the universal Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2267). In response, the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis of the USCCB prepared a new section on the death penalty for the U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults (USCCA).

Following collaboration with the Committee on Doctrine, they placed the revised statement on the death penalty for the USCCA before the body of Bishops for approval by two thirds of the members, with subsequent recognitio from the Holy See.

The revised statement on the death penalty would replace the current text in the USCCA (pp. 394-395).

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, death penalty, Baltimore, Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, Committee on Doctrine, Catechism of the Catholic Church.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200                                                                                                                                                                       

 

U.S. Bishops’ Vote in Favor of Moving Forward on Third-Party System for Reporting Abuse Allegations Against Bishops

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have taken three separate votes that will lead to the establishment of a third-party reporting system designed to receive confidentially, by phone or online, reports of possible violations by bishops per Pope Francis’s Vos estis lux mundi.  

The bishops voted overwhelmingly in favor of each of the elements necessary to establish a third-party reporting system yesterday.

By a vote of 205 to 16 with 3 abstentions, the General Assembly voted to authorize the design of a third-party system for receiving confidentially, by phone or online, reports of possible violations by bishops of Vos estis lux mundi.

By a vote of 200 to 21 with 2 abstentions, the bishops voted to authorize the Executive Committee to develop a more detailed proposal for a third-party reporting system, including financial, structural, and other necessary adjustments to account for Vos estis lux mundi, for review and approval by the Conference’s Administrative Committee at its September and November 2019 meetings.  

Additionally, the bishops voted in favor of committing to activate the third-party reporting system by no later than May 31, 2020 by a 220 to 4 vote with 1 abstention.  

Vos estis lux mundi, allows until May 31, 2020 for the development of local systems to receive such reports. Accordingly, May 31, 2020 is the earliest date the body can commit to activation of the system without interfering with the varying schedules of the Metropolitans and senior suffragans in developing local capacity to receive and process complaints from that system.  

It is important to note that anyone who has suffered sexual abuse by clergy should not wait for this national reporting system to be in place before reporting abuse. Individuals who may have been abused should contact local civil authorities to file a report as soon as possible, and may also report to Church authorities by existing means, such as Victims’ Assistance Coordinators. After reporting to civil authorities, individuals can also register a complaint with the metropolitan for issues related to sexual abuse or an abuse of power.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Moto proprio, Vos estis lux muni, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Third-Party Reporting System, Administrative Committee, Episcopal Conference, spring general assembly

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Catholic Bishops Approve in a Provisional Vote Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan. Bishops Also Approve the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Perm

BALTIMORE— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved several action items today at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Baltimore, June 11-13.

The full body of bishops approved in a provisional vote of 213 to 8 with 4 abstentions the proposed, provisional Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan.

The Bishops also approved the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, 2nd edition, for use in the dioceses of the United States by a vote of 217 to 5 with 2 abstentions; and a new translation of the ritual book used for the Ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons for use in the dioceses of the United States of America. The Latin Church members of USCCB voted by the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the text.

The USCCB Committee on Priorities and Plans (CPP), based on two recent consultations with the body of bishops and one with the National Advisory Council (NAC), developed the 2021-24 Strategic Priorities. These two consultations with the body of bishops consisted of Regional Meeting questions at the November 2018 General Meeting wherein regions provided inputs on the Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 Strategic Plan; and a Strategic Priorities Survey in January 2019 asking all bishops to further refine and prioritize the November 2018 regional meeting inputs; the National Advisory Council (NAC) also provided their inputs in January 2019 through a similar Strategic Priorities survey. The development of supporting 2021-24 Operational Plans by USCCB Committees, Subcommittees and Departments, which together make up the proximate 2021-24 Strategic Plan, will commence in July 2019.

The National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, 2nd edition, fulfills the prescriptions of canon 236 of the Code of Canon Law and n.15 of the Ratio fundamentalis institutionis diaconorum permanentium to ensure unity, earnestness, and completeness in the formation, life, and ministry of permanent deacons in the United States. In September 2017, the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV) approved the National Directory, 2nd edition, and submitted it for review to the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance (CACG) and the Committee on Doctrine. In June 2018, after adopting the recommendations of the Doctrine and CACG Committees, the CCLV Committee approved the National Directory and recommended to present it to the body of bishops in the General Assembly session in November 2018, but the Administrative Committee decided to postpone the discussion and vote. This year 2019, the Administrative Committee approved the inclusion of the National Directory on the June 2019 General Assembly agenda for discussion and vote.

The Latin Church members of USCCB also voted today by the necessary two-thirds majority to approve the Ordination of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. It now requires a confirmation of the decision (confirmatio) by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments before it can be published and used in the liturgy. Since Bishops in English-speaking countries around the world have been using a variety of translations of this text for their celebrations of Ordination, the Holy See expressed a desire for greater worldwide unity in these important ceremonies.

This new translation was prepared by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) with input from the international community. While the new text is not drastically different from what is currently used in the U.S., it does update the book to some degree, and the positive vote of the Bishops indicates their desire for an up-to-date text and their support for the Holy See’s perspective on the value of worldwide consistency. The bishops of Canada have already approved the same text, and today’s vote of the U.S. body of bishops suggests that the hopes of the Holy See are already bearing fruit. Depending on the speed with which the confirmatio is received, the new book might be in print and available for use as early as 2020, though the approval and publication process could take more time.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Spring General Assembly, Baltimore, Strategic Priorities 2021-2024, Strategic Plan, Committee on Priorities and Plans, National Advisory Council, National Directory, Formation, Ministry, Life, Permanent Deacons, Clergy, Consecrated Life, Vocations, ICEL Gray Book, ordination, bishops, priests, deacons, Divine Worship, liturgy

 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Conduct Canonical Consultation on Cause for Canonization of the Servant of God Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle

BALTIMORE— At their annual spring Plenary Assembly in Baltimore, MD, the U.S Bishops participated in a consultation on the cause for canonization of the Servant of God Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle.
Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Chairman of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop John F. Doerfler, Bishop of Marquette, Michigan, facilitated the discussion. By a voice vote, the bishops indicated support for the advancement of the cause on the diocesan level.

Irving C. Houle was born December 27, 1925 at his family home in Wilson, Michigan. His parents were Peter and Lillian Houle. They were faithful Catholics who raised seven children, six boys and one girl. Irving was the sixth child. All of Irving’s siblings have also died.

As a young child Irving recalled his family praying the rosary together, especially during Lent. Even then he felt a calling to suffer for Jesus. He recalled that his family would remain after Mass to pray the Stations of the Cross. In addition to Mass, the Station of the Cross and the rosary, in later years the Divine Mercy Chaplet was part of his daily prayer.

At the age of 6, Irving was badly injured when he was thrown from the back of a galloping horse. He suffered a severe chest injury. He was taken to a hospital in Escanaba, Michigan, where x-rays revealed the broken ribs and punctured lung. In addition, he was hemorrhaging badly through the nose and mouth. A local newspaper clipping reported the injuries as believed to be fatal.

Irving had an aunt who was a Franciscan Sister by the name of Sister Speciosa. She and the Sisters at the convent prayed an all-night vigil for his recovery. The next morning the doctor at the hospital was amazed to find that Irving had improved significantly and was no longer struggling to breathe. Irving related to his mother and the doctor that a “beautiful man in a white bathrobe” had stood at the foot of his bed during the night and raised his hand over him. Later in life, Irving would tell those close to him that he knows it was Jesus.

He married his wife Gail on November 17, 1948, and they were married for 60 years. They raised five children.

On Good Friday, 1993, it is said that Irving received the stigmata, at which point his healing ministry began. The wounds first appeared on the palms of his hands and he began to experience physical sufferings. He suffered The Passion every night between midnight and 3:00a.m. for the rest of his earthly life. He understood that these particular hours of the day were times of great sins of the flesh. Irving heard the voice of Jesus asking Irving to heal “my children.” Irving spent the last 16 years of his life doing just that, praying over tens of thousands of people.

Many of the people he encountered have spoken of extraordinary physical and spiritual healings they experienced when Irving prayed over them. He always made it clear that the healing came from God. He would simply say, “I don’t heal anybody” and “Jesus is the one who heals.”

Irving died at Marquette General Hospital in Marquette, Michigan, on Saturday, January 3, 2009. He will be remembered for his love of God, his closeness to Jesus and the Blessed Mother, his love for the Eucharist, the Church, prayer, and his care and concern for others.

In the life of Irving Houle, we see the extraordinary grace of God at work in an ordinary, simple man who offered his life in love for the Lord and others. Over the years, Irving’s generous response to simple sufferings disposed his heart to make of his life a generous outpouring of love expressed in prayer and suffering for the conversion of others. In general, the effects of Irving’s ministry, clearly increased greatly the faith of the people with whom he came into contact, and devotion to him continues to grow more and more everyday throughout the Diocese of Marquette.  
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Irving (a.k.a., Francis) C. Houle, Bishop Robert P. Deeley, Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, Bishop John F. Doerfler, Diocese of Marquette, canonical consultation, canonization, Cause for Canonization

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee Applauds AMA’s Action Reaffirming Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates voted by a 2 to 1 margin to affirm its longstanding opposition to physician-assisted suicide. Following the vote, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement:

“We strongly applaud today’s action by the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates to reaffirm its policy against physician-assisted suicide. The practice and promotion of assisted suicide poses grave consequences for our entire society but particularly for persons living with illness, disabilities, or socioeconomic disadvantages. The AMA was right to reaffirm its longstanding view that physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, American Medical Association, House of Delegates physician-assisted suicide, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities

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Media Contact
Judy Keane
202-541-3200