Posted on 06/19/2018 11:55 AM (USCCB News Releases)
WASHINGTON—Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB/COM) Committee on Migration, sent a letter to every Member of the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday in response to two immigration bills that are expected to be taken up later this week by the full House. Bishop Vasquez had previously written in opposition to the first of the two bills (H.R. 4760), introduced in January of this year. The Bishop's June 18 letter focuses most of its attention on a second, yet-to-be-numbered House Republican Leadership alternative bill.
In his letter to Congress, Bishop Vásquez wrote, "While we truly want a legislative solution for Dreamers, we cannot, in good faith, endorse large structural changes to the immigration system that detrimentally impact families and the vulnerable, such as those that are contained in this legislation. We welcome the opportunity to dialogue with lawmakers and to discuss possible opportunities for further compromise, particularly with respect to effects on families and the vulnerable."
Bishop Vásquez added, "My brother bishops and I appreciate the effort by Representatives to find a legislative solution for Dreamers by bringing immigration measures before the House of Representatives. We believe that any such legislation must be bipartisan, provide Dreamers with a path to citizenship, be pro-family, protect the vulnerable and be respectful of human dignity with regard to border security and enforcement." Bishop Vásquez reminded Members of the House that the Administration can end family separation without legislation through executive discretion.
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, U.S. House of Representatives, immigration, H.R. 4760, Dreamers, families, path to citizenship, border security, humane treatment, families, executive discretion
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Posted on 06/14/2018 08:48 AM (USCCB News Releases)
FORT LAUDERDALE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved several action items today at their Spring General Assembly taking place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 13-14.
The full body of bishops voted to approve the revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People by a vote of 185-5-1. The revisions are a culmination of work by the USCCB Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, the National Review Board, the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, General Counsel, and the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. The revisions seek to build upon the work of dioceses in the United States to prevent the sexual abuse of minors, and to provide outreach and healing to victims/survivors of abuse.
The bishops also voted to approve the formal statement Encountering Christ in Harmony: A Pastoral Response to Our Asian and Pacific Island Brothers and Sisters by a two-thirds majority vote of 187-2-2. The pastoral response provides a framework that dioceses and parishes can use as guidelines to create or integrate into their own pastoral plans addressing the pastoral ministry to and among Asian and Pacific Island (API) Catholics in the United States. The vote will now allow for publication and implementation of Encountering Christ in Harmony by the bishops' Cultural Diversity Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Island Affairs. The committee will begin distributing the pastoral response widely throughout Catholic dioceses of the United States.
The Latin Church members today also approved by a two-thirds majority vote of 177-4-2 in favor of the ICEL Gray Book translation of the 2014‐2016 Roman Missal and Liturgy of the Hours Supplement for use in the dioceses of the United States. The Latin Church members of the USCCB also voted 175-6-2 in favor of the ICEL Gray Book translation of the Liturgy of the Hours: Proper of Time for use in the dioceses of the United States. The vote required two-thirds of the Latin Church members with subsequent confirmation by the Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
The bishops also approved by majority vote, the revised text of Part Six of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services by a vote of 183-2-2. The vote will implement modifications to Part Six of the Ethical and Religious Directors for Catholic Health Care Services regarding collaborating with non-Catholic partners.
The bishops also authorized the production of two new and additional elements: (1) a short letter to inspire prayer and action regarding public life and (2) a short video and other secondary resources—to complement, rather than to replace, the existing Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document and to apply the teaching of Pope Francis to our day. The authorization passed with a simple majority vote of 144-41-2.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, General Assembly, Fort Lauderdale, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Encountering Christ in Harmony, Roman Missal, Liturgy of the Hours, Ethical and Religious Directives, Catholic Health Care Service, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.
Posted on 06/13/2018 10:52 AM (USCCB News Releases)
FORT LAUDERDALE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), gathering June 13-14 in Fort Lauderdale, for their annual Spring General Assembly heard reports today on a variety of topics including updates on the V National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry and the Share the Journey campaign. The full body of bishops also heard presentations on the Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, as well as World Youth Day taking place in 2019.
Bishop Nelson Pérez of
Cleveland, Chairman of the USCCB's Cultural Diversity Subcommittee on Hispanic
Affairs, offered the bishops an update on the V National Encuentro, that will
take place September 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.
Under the theme of "Missionaries Disciples, Witnesses of God's Love", the V Encuentro will seek to establish ways in which the Catholic Church can respond to the Hispanic presence in parishes and promote the New Evangelization. It is also an opportunity to listen carefully to the needs, challenges and aspirations faced by the Hispanic population in everyday life.
In his presentation,
Bishop Pérez recognized all who have been supporting and participating in the
process of the V Encuentro over the past 18 months. The process has led to the
celebration of 145 Diocesan Encuentros, as well as Encuentros in 14 episcopal
regions, with the participation of over 100 bishops and more than 5,500
regional delegates. The Bishops' initiative has motivated unprecedented levels
of engagement and already born much fruit in thousands of parishes, ecclesial
movements and other Catholic organizations and institutions across the U.S.
Bishop Pérez also noted
that more than 2,800 delegates and over 100 bishops are expected to attend the
V National Encuentro gathering. The Apostolic Nuncio to the United States,
Archbishop Christophe Pierre, along with Dr. Guzmán Carriquiry, Secretary of
the Pontifical Commission for Latin America at the Vatican, will be in
attendance. Bishop Juan Espinoza, General Secretary of CELAM (the Latin
American Council of Episcopal Conferences), as well as representatives of more
than 100 U.S. Catholic organizations are also anticipated to participate.
Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of USCCB Committee on Migration; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, of Oklahoma City, representing Catholic Relief Services; and Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, Episcopal Liaison of Catholic Charities USA, offered the U.S. Bishops an update on Share the Journey, a campaign launched by Pope Francis on September 27, 2017.
Share the Journey is a two-year, global campaign to build empathy and awareness on the plight of migrants and refugees through encounters and education. The campaign is managed by Caritas Internationalis and implemented by other Caritas members around the world. The first year of the campaign saw the launch of a new website in support of the campaign, more than 200 media stories and millions of impressions on social media sites.
Highlights of the second
year of the campaign will include a virtual pilgrimage which will encourage
people in their communities to walk a combined 24,900 miles, equivalent to one
trip around the earth, as they share the journey with their brothers and
sisters in need. Dioceses, parishes, universities, and schools will be asked to
pray, walk, and bear public witness to our solidarity with migrants and
refugees. Catholic leaders are encouraged to work in partnership with both
interfaith and ecumenical groups.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark, Archbishop Charles Chaput O.F.M.Cap., of Philadelphia, and Bishop Frank Caggiano, of Bridgeport, also reported on the Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, including sending young adult delegates to the March 2018 Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome. The bishops also heard about plans for the international and stateside celebrations of World Youth Day in Panamá and across the USA in January 2019, as well as the visit of the WYD Cross and Marian Icon to several locations across the United States in August 2018.
The bishops also heard from the three young adult delegates from the Pre-Synod Gathering in Rome: Ms. Katie Prejean McGrady of Lake Charles, Louisiana; Mr. Nicholas López of Dallas, Texas; and Br. Javier Hansen, FSC, of the Lasallian Christian Brothers originally from northern California. The young adults shared their experience interacting with other young people from around the world at the Pre-Synod and meeting with Pope Francis. They also gave highlights from the Pre-Synod Summary Document on the needs and hopes of youth and young adults in the twenty-first century.
Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, V National Encuentro, Share the Journey, World Youth Day (WYD), Marian Icon, Bishop Nelson Pérez, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop Paul Coakley, Bishop David Zubik, Cardinal Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R, Archbishop Charles Chaput O.F.M.Cap., Bishop Frank Caggiano, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio, Dr. Guzmán Carriquiry, Bishop Juan Espinoza.
Posted on 06/13/2018 04:57 AM (USCCB News Releases)
FT. LAUDERDALE — Three new members have been appointed to serve on the National Review Board (NRB) by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The NRB advises the bishops' committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, and the Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection at the USCCB. The NRB was established by the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People, which the bishops adopted in 2002.
As Cardinal DiNardo said in a letter sent to all newly appointed members, "The National Review Board plays a vital role as a consultative body assisting me and the bishops in ensuring the complete implementation and accountability of the Charter… The whole Church, especially the laity, at both the diocesan and national levels, needs to be engaged in maintaining safe environments in the Church for children and young people."
The three new NRB members include those with expertise in law, victim advocacy and child protection and they are as follows:
Ms. Stacie LeBlanc is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center and the Director of the Audrey Hepburn Children at Risk Evaluation (CARE) Center of Children's Hospital in New Orleans. She began her career as a child abuse prosecutor and is the former chief of the Felony Child Abuse Division in Louisiana. LeBlanc obtained a master's degree in Early Childhood Development and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University New Orleans. She designed two educational programs, Teens, Sex and the Law, and Painless Parenting, and has trained an average of 8,000 people annually on these and other mandatory reporting programs. To battle child abuse, LeBlanc developed a social media campaign, Dear Parents, and launched No Hit Zones at Children's Hospital and its subsidiaries to raise awareness of the harms of corporal punishment, which is the most prevalent risk factor for child physical abuse. She has been recognized for 11 successful legislative amendments and named the Champion for Children for Policy and Legislation by Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. She has received a Victims and Citizens Against Crime Lifetime Achievement Award, the FBI Directors and Community Leadership Award, Outstanding Prosecutor Award, recognition as Catholic Graduate of the Year and City Business' Health Care Hero Award. LeBlanc is currently the President of the Louisiana Alliance of Children's Advocacy Centers and the Vice President of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC).
Ms. Theresa Simak is an Assistant State Attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit of Florida. She has been with the State Attorney's Office since 2003 and was made a Division Chief in 2009. Simak
has spent most of her career focused on the prosecution of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence offenses. She is active in the community of Jacksonville and serves as chair of the University of Florida Child Protection Team Community Advisory Council and serves on their Operations Advisory Council. Simak currently serves on the State Forensic Interview Protocol Task Force to help develop a standardized protocol for forensic interviews of children suspected of having been abused. She also works closely with the sexual assault and domestic violence centers in Northeast Florida to include Hubbard House, Quigley House and the Women's Center of Jacksonville. Simak received the Mayor's Judicial Victim Advocate Award for outstanding service to victims in 2014 and received the State Attorney's Office Distinguished Service Award for dedication and outstanding performance in 2015. Simak is married, and she and her husband have three children.
Ms. Jan Slattery served as the Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth in the Archdiocese of Chicago from 2003-2015. Previously she was the Director of Ministry in Higher Education for the Archdiocese of Chicago. Prior to working in the Archdiocese, Slattery was an administrator at Loyola University Chicago. She has been a consultant for various religious denominations on child abuse prevention and has been a frequent presenter on child abuse prevention. She gave a presentation on pornography at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 2012 and is co-author of Conversations, a program that addresses loneliness and life issues in diocesan priesthood. She was a member of the USCCB Higher Education Committee and Chairperson of the Jesuit Association of Student Personnel Administrators. While Director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth, she partnered with the Children's' Advocacy Center in Chicago and Prevent Child Abuse America to further awareness of child abuse. Slattery currently serves on the Review Board for three religious communities. She has an MA in Higher Education Leadership and Policy from Loyola University Chicago.
Details regarding the National Review Board, its functions and other members can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/about/child-and-youth-protection/the-national-review-board.cfm
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Review Board (NRB), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, sexual abuse, child and youth protection, Charter for Protection of Children and Young People
Posted on 06/13/2018 04:43 AM (USCCB News Releases)
Fort Lauderdale, FL—"At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General's recent decision elicits deep concern because it potentially strips asylum from many women who lack adequate protection. These vulnerable women will now face return to the extreme dangers of domestic violence in their home country. This decision negates decades of precedents that have provided protection to women fleeing domestic violence. Unless overturned, the decision will erode the capacity of asylum to save lives, particularly in cases that involve asylum seekers who are persecuted by private actors. We urge courts and policy makers to respect and enhance, not erode, the potential of our asylum system to preserve and protect the right to life.
Additionally, I join Bishop Joe Vásquez, Chairman of USCCB's Committee on Migration, in condemning the continued use of family separation at the U.S./Mexico border as an implementation of the Administration's zero tolerance policy. Our government has the discretion in our laws to ensure that young children are not separated from their parents and exposed to irreparable harm and trauma. Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together. While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral."
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Spring General Assembly, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Galveston-Houston, Bishop Joe Vásquez, Committee on Migration, U.S./Mexico border, asylum, families, family separation, children, right to life