Source: www.usccb.org

Latest News Releases from USCCB
  1. U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to U.S. House Vote on Equality Act

    WASHINGTON—Five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have responded to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as “pregnancy […] or a related medical condition,” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws; expand the types of entities covered under those laws; and exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Upon the bill’s passage by 236 to 173 in the House, the bishops said:

    “Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”

    The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; some of whom had sent or cosigned letters to Members of Congress in opposition to the Equality Act in the months leading up to Friday’s vote.
     
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    Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, U.S. Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Equality Act (H.R. 5), LGBT, civil rights laws


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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Judy Keane
    202-541-3200

     

  2. Father Luke Ballman Appointed Executive Director of Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

    WASHINGTON—Father Luke Ballman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, has been appointed as Executive Director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV). Father Ballman has served as Associate Director of CCLV since July 2016.

    The new appointment will take effect December 1, 2019. Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment.

    Prior to his work at the Conference, Fr. Ballman served as Parochial Vicar, Pastor, Vocation Director, and Vicar for Clergy in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He later served as Director of Apostolic Formation at the Pontifical North American College.

    “Father Ballman has supported seminarians in their studies, pastors in their ministry, and formators in their essential work of training priests. His insights and experience have greatly benefitted the Secretariat,” said Msgr. Bransfield. “ I remain grateful to Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory for allowing Fr. Ballman to serve in this capacity.”

    Fr. Ralph O’Donnell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha has been Executive Director of CCLV since July 2015. He previously served as Parish Pastor, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and Vice Rector/Dean of Students for Conception Seminary College. Fr. O’Donnell has now been appointed to serve as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha.  

    “I am grateful to Fr. O’Donnell for his service to the Conference as well as to Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, for having made Fr. O’Donnell available to assist the work of the Bishops of the United States,” said Msgr. Bransfield.

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    Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Fr. Luke Ballman, Monsignor Brian Bransfield, Father Ralph O’Donnell, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop George J. Lucas, Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations

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    Media Contact:
    Judy Keane
    202-541-3200

     

  3. President of U.S. Bishops and Chairman of Migration Issue Statement on President’s Proposed Immigration Reform Plan

    WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, Texas, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response to the President’s remarks today on his proposed immigration reform plan. Full statement follows:
     
    “While we appreciate that the President is looking to address problems in our immigration system, we oppose proposals that seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely “merit-based” immigration system. Families are the foundation of our faith, our society, our history, and our immigration system. As Pope Francis notes: “Family is the place in which we are formed as persons. Each family is a brick that builds society.
     
    "We also are deeply troubled that this proposal does not seem to address Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders, nor provide them a path to citizenship to ensure their full integration into American life. Lastly, securing our borders and ensuring our safety is of the utmost importance, but this will not be achieved by heightening human misery and restricting access to lawful protection in an attempt to deter vulnerable asylum-seeking families and children. Instead, we must confront the root causes of migration and look to humane and pragmatic solutions, such as improving our immigration courts, expanding alternatives to detention, and eradicating criminal networks. We urge lawmakers to put aside differences and engage in meaningful action on humane and just comprehensive immigration reform.”
     
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    Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Joe Vasquez, President Trump, Pope Francis, immigration, reform, merit-based system, immigration reform plan
     
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    Media Contact:
    Judy Keane
    202-541-3200

     

  4. Pope Francis Names the Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino as Bishop of Las Cruces

    WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino as the new Bishop of Las Cruces. The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, on May 15, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

    Bishop Baldacchino, 58, was born on December 5, 1960 in Sliema, Malta. He attended the University of Malta, where he earned a diploma in science and chemistry. He attended Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Kearny, N.J., from 1990-1996 and also earned a bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity degree from Seton Hall University.

    He was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark on May 25, 1996. On Feb. 20, 2014, he was named auxiliary Bishop of Miami, and Titular Bishop of Vatarba, and was ordained to the episcopacy, March 19, 2014.

    Up until now, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, had been the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces after being appointed by Pope Francis on September 28, 2018.  

    The Diocese of Las Cruces is comprised of 44,483 square miles and has a total population of 558,454 of which 139,322 or 25 percent, are Catholic.  

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    Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop Peter Baldacchino, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Diocese of Las Cruces

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    Media Contact:
    Judy Keane
    202-541-3200

  5. U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Join Coalition Voicing Religious Freedom Concerns with the Equality Act (H.R. 5)

    WASHINGTON—Four chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have cosigned a coalition letter highlighting key religious freedom concerns with the Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788). The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws and have wide-reaching consequences for both employment and delivery of service standards in religiously-affiliated schools, shelters, foster care and adoption agencies, potentially houses of worship, and other facilities and ministries.
     
    “[T]he Equality Act would devastate the core ministries of a wide range of religious groups, especially those ministries that serve the most vulnerable,” the signees cautioned. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, joined representatives of numerous denominations, schools, and charities of faith in their letter to members of Congress.
     
    Among other concerns, the signers pointed out that “[t]he Equality Act amends Title VI of the Civil Rights Act so that any recipient of any federal funds, even a small amount for a subsidiary service” would be affected and that “[b]y way of example, this includes thousands of Catholic, Jewish and other parochial schools with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program, which helps poor children whose families have selected these specific religious schools.”
     
    They concluded that the Act “regulates a huge new swath of religious activity and facilities as ‘public accommodations’ and transforms the conditions by which hundreds of thousands of faith-based entities partner with the federal government to serve the common good. It accomplishes these goals while bringing the daunting power of the federal government to bear against religious people and groups with non-conforming views about marriage, sexuality, and gender.”
     
    The letter to Congress is available online at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/2019-Coalition-Letter-to-Congress-Equality-Act.pdf.
     
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    Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education, Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; U.S. Congress, Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788), LGBT, civil rights laws, religious liberty
     
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    MEDIA CONTACT:
    Judy Keane
    202-541-3200