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U.S. Bishops Welcome Bipartisan Bill that Seeks Climate Solutions

WASHINGTON— Bishop Frank J. Dewane and Bishop Oscar Cantú voiced their support for the Climate Solutions Commission Act of 2017, a bill that would establish a bipartisan National Climate Solutions Commission.

"This bill has the potential to inspire positive and concrete solutions towards protecting our common home," said Bishops Dewane and Cantú. They urged legislators to support H.R. 2326, a bill introduced by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) who is a member of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

Bishop Dewane is the Bishop of Venice, Florida and chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Bishop Cantú is the Bishop of Las Cruces, and chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the USCCB.

The chairmen, in a joint letter of support to each of the sponsors, noted that this would be "an important bipartisan step for protecting the environment and mitigating the harmful effects of climate change." There is a need, said the bishops, for "courageous actions and strategies aimed at promoting an integral ecology that considers together the protection of nature, the need for equitable economic development and the promotion of human dignity, especially that of the poor."

The full letter can be found at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/letter-to-congress-on-climate-solutions-commission-act-2017-09-15.cfm.

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Keywords:  Bishop Oscar Cantú, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Bishop Frank Dewane, Venice, Florida, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Pope Francis, USCCB, U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, climate change, creation, environment, Laudato Si'.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops Conference Statement on Hurricane Maria

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the impact of Hurricane Maria. The storm has devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica. Now downgraded to Category-3 winds, the storm is expected to bring more heavy rain and flash floods as it makes landfall later today in the Turks and Caicos.

Full statement follows:

"Just as we begin to assess the material and emotional damage of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the devastation of yet another storm, Hurricane Maria, has struck the U.S. Virgin Islands and Dominica, and has battered Puerto Rico with catastrophic effects unprecedented in the island's modern history. I exhort the faithful to solidarity in this time of great need for our brothers and sisters in harm's way—many of whom have been hit repeatedly by the successive hurricanes.

"Casting aside any temptation to despair, and full of hope in the loving Providence of God, we pray that our Father may receive unto his loving presence those who have lost their lives, may he comfort the grieving, and may he fortify the courage and resilience of those whose lives have been uprooted by these disasters. May he extend the might of his right hand and bid the sea be 'quiet' and 'still' (Mark 4:39)."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Dominica, Turks and Caicos Islands, solidarity.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Recognize Harm to Poor and Amend “Graham-Cassidy” Bill Say U.S. Bishop Chairmen

WASHINGTON—On September 21, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin called on the U.S. Senate to "think of the harm that will be caused to poor and vulnerable people" by provisions contained in the "Graham-Cassidy" health care legislation. They urged Senators to "amend the legislation while retaining its positive features."

"The Graham-Cassidy bill includes a Medicaid 'per capita cap' that was part of previous bills which have been rejected," said the Bishops. "The Medicaid caps will fundamentally restructure this vital program which supports the medical needs of those most in need. Over time, these modifications will result in deep funding cuts and lost coverage for millions of people," the chairmen cautioned. "Our nation must not attempt to address its fiscal concerns by placing an insufferable health care burden on the backs of the poor."

The Bishop-chairmen called on the Senate to keep protections found in Graham-Cassidy that ensure that no federal funds are used for abortion or go to plans that cover it. "This improvement is praiseworthy, and it is essential that any improved final bill retain these key provisions which would finally address grave moral problems in our current health care system," they said. "We also applaud that Graham-Cassidy redirects funds from organizations that provide abortion."

Cardinal Dolan is chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Lori chairs the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Dewane heads the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop Vásquez is the USCCB chairman of the Committee on Migration.

The Bishops urged the Senate to work together to address looming health care problems for the good of all. "Decisions about the health of our citizens—a concern fundamental to each of us—should not be made in haste simply because an artificial deadline looms. The far-reaching implications of Congress' actions are too significant for that kind of governance," they said. "Instead, the common good should call you to come together in a bi-partisan way to pass thoughtful legislation that addresses the life, conscience, immigrant access, market stability and affordability problems that now exist."

The full letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/health-care/upload/Senate-Cassidy-Graham-Letter-multiple-chairman-2017-09-21.pdf



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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Graham-Cassidy, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop William E. Lori, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Joe S. Vasquez, USCCB Committee on Migration, Affordable Care Act, respect for life, human dignity, health care, affordability, abortion, poverty, immigration, conscience.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Statement from President of U.S. Bishops Conference - Mexico Earthquake

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement to the people of Mexico following yesterday's powerful earthquake that struck southeast of Mexico City. The death toll has now surpassed 200. As the desperate search for survivors continues, Cardinal DiNardo calls for prayers for those suffering from the catastrophic earthquake.

Full statement follows: 

"Once again, our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters in Mexico, who yesterday suffered yet another catastrophic earthquake, on the anniversary of the 1985 earthquake that claimed the lives of thousands of people. The states principally affected were Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico State, and the capital, Mexico City.  

"Today Pope Francis at his General Audience expressed his solidarity with the Mexican people, and implored 'Almighty God to welcome all those who lost their lives.' The Mexican bishops expressed their condolences to all those affected, and highlighted the generous fraternal affection the nation is witnessing in the response and rescue efforts: 'Once again, we are witnessing the solidarity of the Mexican people, who sees a brother and sister in those who are suffering.'

"We join them in prayer and solidarity, and together invoke the maternal protection of our Lady of Guadalupe, Comforter of the Afflicted and Mother Most Merciful."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Mexico City, earthquake, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Mexico State, Pope Francis, solidarity, condolences, suffering, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Comforter of the Afflicted, Mother Most Merciful. 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Statement from President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON—Following this morning's bulletin from the Holy See that a Vatican diplomat based in Washington had been recalled to face an investigation for alleged violation of child pornography laws, the President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston has issued the following statement:

"This is a serious issue. We hope the Holy See will be forthcoming with more details. While we don't know all the facts, consistent with our Charter, we reaffirm that when such allegations occur, an immediate, thorough, and transparent investigation should begin in cooperation with law enforcement and immediate steps be taken to protect children. The protection of children and young people is our most sacred responsibility."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Holy See, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Bishops Conference President Announces Emergency Collection for Those Impacted by Hurricane Irma for Week of September 23-24

WASHINGTON—The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has invited his brother bishops to take up an emergency collection the weekend of September 23-24 on behalf of those devastated in parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States by Hurricane Irma. In the letter sent to bishops today, Cardinal DiNardo says the emergency collection is greatly needed to help victims of Hurricane Irma rebuild their lives and also help support reconstruction needs of churches destroyed or severely damaged in the U.S. and Caribbean.  

Cardinal DiNardo's letter to the bishops follows:   

"In the past few days Hurricane Irma devastated significant parts of the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. While emergency outreach was immediate, we know that the road to recovery and the rebuilding of communities will be long and additional support will be needed.

"I write to you today and ask that you take up an emergency collection for those impacted by Hurricane Irma. These funds will be used in the affected areas to support humanitarian aid, assistance with long-term efforts to restore communities after widespread destruction, and for the pastoral and reconstruction needs of the Church in US and the Caribbean.  

"I am aware that this call comes on the heels of the emergency collection for Hurricane Harvey. That storm, which hit Texas and Louisiana and held on for days before moving inland, caused catastrophic damage and compelled us to respond. Likewise, Hurricane Irma has been devastating and our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean, especially the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, and the southern US need our help.

"The Church is a channel for grace and solidarity in the wake of natural disasters as it offers solace and support in their aftermath. However, as is so often the case, the Church itself in these regions is both a long-standing provider of aid and now is in need of tremendous assistance itself. So many of the Church's structures have been damaged and their resources depleted which makes it even more challenging to provide assistance and pastoral outreach to those in need."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, emergency collection, Hurricane Irma, Caribbean, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, southwestern U.S., community, reconstruction, humanitarian aid, Texas, grace, solidarity.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops Executive Committee Release Statement on Administration’s DACA Decision; Calls on Catholic Faithful to Urge Congress to Pass DREAM Act

WASHINGTON—The Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement asking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend DACA renewal deadlines in hurricane impacted states. The statement also urges Congress to find a durable and permanent solution on behalf of DACA youth and urges the Administration to allow 75,000 refugee admissions into the United States in 2018. The full statement from the USCCB Executive Committee follows:

"The Executive Committee of the USCCB, meeting this week, makes its own the Statement of the USCCB President and others on September 5th, which expressed extreme disappointment with the administration's decision to end DACA with a six month wind-down period, and committed the USCCB to redouble its efforts to help find a permanent legislative solution in Congress.

"In light of many years of failure by Congress, whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, to address the situation, the Committee urges the Catholic faithful and all people of good will to contact their representatives in Congress to urge the passage of the DREAM Act or similar legislation as a prompt, humane, and durable solution to this problem of greatest urgency. The Executive Committee also notes the tremendous contributions of the DACA youth to date as extraordinary, including the fact that many serve in our military.

"In the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the devastation left behind, the Executive Committee requests that the Department of Homeland Security extend the October 5, 2018 deadline for the DACA renewals that fall within the October 5- March 5, 2018 renewal period for those living in hurricane-affected zones. As Texas and Florida have some of the largest populations of DACA youth, we ask that you ensure that these individuals receive fair access to renew and are not unduly punished due to natural disaster. We fear that they cannot adequately do so at this time given the physical damage on the ground.

"The Committee is further troubled and deeply concerned, as the President nears a final decision to reduce the number of refugees welcomed in the United States by 50%, that the administration will unduly restrict our reception of those in search of safety for their families. The USCCB proposes that 75,000 refugees, already a reduction of over 25% from the previous determination, be the goal for welcoming refugee admissions for 2018. Going further down to 50,000 or below, as proposed in previous Executive Orders by the President, is simply inhumane, particularly when our great nation has the resources and ability to do more.

"We implore the administration to show mercy and compassion for those seeking refuge, and to advance the American value of freedom through providing safe harbor to those fleeing tyranny and religious persecution.

"In this moment of moral decision, we look to Pope Francis, who in his address to Congress stated: 'We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' (Mt 7:12). To this end, we believe that deporting exemplary young people who were brought here as children and who know only the United States as their home – or failing to do all we can to help refugees and their families, who are often driven to exile by war and extreme exploitation – is not in our interests as a moral and generous people. Our country has the right and responsibility to regulate its border. We ask that it be done humanely."

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Executive Committee, Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals, DACA, United States Congress, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Department of Homeland Security, Texas, Florida, refugees, Executive Order, Pope Francis, mercy, compassion.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

A Statement of Support for the New Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism from the Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—The following is a statement released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Executive Committee in support of the new Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. The committee focuses on addressing the sin of racism in our society and the urgent need to come together to find solutions. Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio has been named chairman of the committee by Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the USCCB. The committee was formed upon the unanimous recommendation of the U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB's Committee on Priorities and Plans.

Full statement follows:

"Racism has rightly been called America's original sin. It remains a blot on our national life and continues to cause acts and attitudes of hatred, as recent events have made evident. The need to condemn, and combat, the demonic ideologies of white supremacy, neo-Nazism and racism has become especially urgent at this time. Our efforts must be constantly led and accompanied by prayer - but they must also include concrete action.

"The Executive Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expresses full agreement with His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB President, in creating the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism. We also pledge our enthusiastic support to the new committee and its chairman, Bishop George Murry, SJ, as he leads the committee in its work. May God give you, Bishop Murry, the members of the committee, and all those who will support you, the grace and courage to combat this manifestation of evil in our time. May He grant success to the work of your hands. And, through your work and that of many others, may He bring healing and peace to our nation."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Executive Committee, Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Committee on Priorities and Plans, white supremacy, neo-Nazism, racism, healing, peace.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


U.S. Bishops Conference Executive Committee Issues Statement in Wake of Catastrophic Hurricanes; Encourage Faithful to Respond with Prayers and Support

WASHINGTON—In the wake of two devastating hurricanes in just two weeks, the Executive Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following statement:

"With lives and livelihoods still at risk in Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean, we pray for the safety and care of human life in the wake of two catastrophic hurricanes. The massive scale of the dual disasters and the effect it has on communities, families and individuals cannot be fully comprehended or adequately addressed in the immediate aftermath of the storms.

At this time of initial recovery, we mourn the loss of life, homes and other property, and the harm to the natural environment, and we pray for all those affected and in need of assistance. We also pray for the safety of, and in thanksgiving for, the first responders who are risking their lives at this very moment in care for their neighbors, especially those who are elderly, sick, homeless, or otherwise already in need of special assistance.

We share Pope Francis's trust that the Catholic faithful here in the United States will respond to the needs presented by these disasters with a 'vast outpouring of solidarity and mutual aid in the best traditions of the nation.' We encourage the faithful to respond generously with prayers, financial support, and for those who have the opportunity, the volunteering of time and talents in support of those in need."

For more information on how you can help, please go to: http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/emergency-collections-and-disaster-relief.cfm

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

USCCB President Calls for Prayers, Perseverance as Hurricane Irma Approaches Mainland

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued the following statement as Hurricane Irma makes its way toward Florida. In his statement, Cardinal DiNardo calls for prayer for all those who are in the path of Irma as well as first responders and those who have been evacuated.   

Full statement from Cardinal DiNardo follows: 

"As the people off the Gulf Coast just begin to sift through the damage brought by Hurricane Harvey, our nation, tragically, must attempt to comprehend the approach of Hurricane Irma. People in the Caribbean and U.S. Virgin Islands have already felt Hurricane Irma's full force. Florida is now in the grips of this approaching devastating storm.

As Irma moves rapidly toward Florida, we lift up in prayer all of those who may be impacted, asking almighty God to guide the steady hands of first responders and to widen the hearts of all who are able to be generous to neighbors facing danger, grief, or displacement of any kind due to the disaster.

St. Paul referred to our journey of faith as a race to be run (1 Cor. 9:24-27). At a time like this, when our endurance is tested, we implore God to direct us to yet unknown reserves of strength and human compassion for those suffering so deeply. May our manifestations of love and solidarity be lasting signs in the midst of this crisis. 

As with Hurricane Harvey, the USCCB will be working closely with affected local dioceses, Catholic relief entities and with other organization to assess the needs on the ground and offer assistance. More information about how best to direct material support will be forthcoming.

Let us join in prayer for those who are in the path of Hurricane Irma and may God bless and protect you."


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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, crisis, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey, Florida, St. Paul, natural disaster.


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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200