The USCCB Media Blog is previewing the upcoming visit by Pope Francis to the Holy Land. Yesterday they carried a piece by me on the visit deepening the friendship between Catholics and Jews. Today, Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines blogs on bringing hope to a hopeless situation. They will have more entries in the days to come. Stay tuned!
Posts Tagged ‘USCCB’
Healthcare in our country is in a state of turmoil. While there are many areas of concern, what troubles me the most is the inaccurate perception that Catholic healthcare in our country and, especially here in New York, is in retreat.
True, we have seen the closings of numerous Catholic hospitals in our area, and, sadly, just a few weeks ago another Catholic facility, Saint Francis Hospital in Poughkeepsie, filed for bankruptcy after a long financial struggle. While Saint Francis was not affiliated with the archdiocese, the potential loss of yet another Catholic institution is still troubling to us as Catholics. I am sure this is a very difficult time for the wonderful Sisters of St. Francis, who have so ably tended the sick there for nearly a century.
These negative headlines should not obscure all the great things that are happening in Catholic healthcare across the Archdiocese of New York. Our archdiocesan healthcare ministry, ArchCare, today is serving more people than ever, and has grown in ways we never could have imagined just a few years ago, when changing health policy and plummeting government reimbursements made the outlook far from certain.
The genius of the Church is that we have always been able to adapt our ministry to meet the needs of society. In the last two years alone, ArchCare has modernized and expanded its rehabilitation centers and opened two new community-based care centers that deliver all the services needed to keep seniors out of nursing homes. We introduced an array of healthcare plans that coordinate members’ every care need, created a new Assisted Living Program, and took steps to expand our palliative care and hospice services. Through its sponsorship of Empire State Home Care, one of the region’s oldest and most respected home care providers, ArchCare now provides top quality home care for infants through elders throughout the five boroughs and Westchester. As part of our efforts to bring still more of our Catholic services to the northern counties, we have already expressed interest in acquiring Saint Francis’ home care unit.
Our healthcare ministry continues to care for nearly 2,000 elders in five nursing homes. In addition, we care for the elderly in nine religious orders, significantly reducing their financial burden of caring for retired members and freeing funds to reinvest in their Catholic missions. And ArchCare’s renowned centers for people with HIV and Huntington’s disease, children with profound neurological impairments, and developmentally disabled children and adults all were established to fill critical gaps in care in our community. Where others said, “We can’t,” we as Catholics said, “We can, and we will!”
As our society continues to struggle with all the changes taking place in healthcare, I am pleased to tell you that the Catholic health ministry of the Archdiocese of New York is strong. While there have been changes in some of our programs, our creative care of the sick in the name of Jesus, the Divine Physician, will continue in fresh, innovative ways long into the future. I encourage you and your families to explore all that ArchCare has to offer.
Congratulations to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who were elected as president and vice president, respectively of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I would like to share with you the following press release that was issued today by the USCCB.
Archbishop Kurtz Elected President of U.S. Bishops, Cardinal DiNardo Elected Vice President
Bishops elect chairman of Catholic Education Committee Chairmen-elect chosen for five other USCCB committees New CRS, CLINIC board members chosen
November 12, 2013
BALTIMORE—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) during the bishops’ annual fall General Assembly, November 12, in Baltimore. Archbishop Kurtz has served as vice president of USCCB since 2010. Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston was elected USCCB vice president.
Archbishop Kurtz and Cardinal DiNardo are elected to three-year terms and succeed Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Archbishop Kurtz, respectively. The new president and vice president’s terms begin at the conclusion of the General Assembly, November 14.
Archbishop Kurtz was elected president on the first ballot with 125 votes. Cardinal DiNardo was elected vice president on the third ballot by 147-87 in a runoff vote against Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap., of Philadelphia.
The president and vice president are elected by a simple majority from a slate of 10 nominees. If no president or vice president is chosen after the second round of voting, a third ballot is taken between only the top two vote getters on the second ballot.
Archbishop Kurtz was born August 18, 1946, and ordained a priest of Allentown, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1972. He previously served as bishop of Knoxville, Tennessee from 1999-2007 before being appointed to Louisville. Cardinal DiNardo was born May 23, 1949, and ordained a priest of Pittsburgh on June 16, 1977. He previously served as bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, from 1998-2004 before being appointed to coadjutor bishop, then archbishop, of Galveston-Houston. Pope Benedict XVI named him a cardinal in 2007, making him the first cardinal from Texas.
The bishops also elected Archbishop George J. Lucus of Omaha chairman of the Committee of Catholic Education in a 141-93 vote over George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Ohio. Archbishop Lucas, who has served as interim chair of the committee since the May 2013 death of Bishop Joseph P. McFadden, will begin his term at the conclusion of this week’s bishops’ meeting.
The bishops chose chairmen-elect of five other USCCB committees. The chairmen-elect will begin their three-year terms in one year, at the conclusion of the bishops’ fall 2014 General Assembly. These were:
- Coadjutor Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of Newark, New Jersey, to the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance in a 167-70 vote over Bishop Joseph N. Perry, auxiliary bishop of Chicago.
- Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore, to the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in a 130-105 vote over Bishop Arthur L. Kennedy, auxiliary bishop of Boston.
- Archbishop-designate Leonard P. Blair of Hartford, Connecticut, to the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis in a 135-98 vote over Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
- Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, to the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a 126-110 vote over Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois.
- Bishop Edward J. Burns of Juneau, Alaska, to the Committee on Child and Youth Protection in a 118-114 vote over Bishop Robert J. Cunningham of Syracuse, New York.
On November 11, the following bishops were elected to the board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS): Bishop William P. Callahan, OFM Conv., of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice, Florida, and Bishop Cirilo B. Flores of San Diego.
Also on November 11, the following bishops were elected to the board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC): Bishop Richard Garcia of Monterey, California, and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami.
I would like to share with you the following press release that was issued today by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on pursuing a peaceful political solution in Syria instead of a military intervention.
CARDINAL DOLAN, BISHOP PATES URGE CONGRESS TO PURSUE POLITICAL SOLUTION IN SYRIA, NOT MILITARY OPTION
Bishops make appeal same day Pope Francis urges G20 nations to pursue peace
Affirm Congressional finding that only negotiated political settlement will work
Assure Congress of their prayers
WASHINGTON—On the same day that Pope Francis asked the G20 nations to “lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution” in Syria, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace, wrote to every member of Congress, urging them not to resort to military intervention, but instead work to end the violence in Syria through a political solution.
In their September 5 letter, Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates affirmed the finding of a proposed Congressional resolution that acknowledges that “the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement,” and questioned military intervention. The bishops also condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria, declaring these “indiscriminate weapons have no place in the arsenals of the family of nations.” They noted that more than 100,000 Syrians have lost their lives, more than 2 million have fled the country as refugees, and more than 4 million within Syria have been driven from their homes by the ongoing conflict.
“Our focus is on the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria and on saving lives by ending the conflict, not fueling it,” the bishops wrote. They echoed the appeals of Pope Francis and bishops in the Middle East who “have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences.”
“We ask the United States to work urgently and tirelessly with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities,” they wrote. The bishops also assured Congress of their prayers in the midst of this complex situation.
Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates wrote to President Obama September 4, also urging a political solution in Syria.
Today the Archdiocese of Milwaukee released documents related to how they responded to the evil of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. One of the documents they released was my deposition from this past February that was part of their on-going bankruptcy proceeding. I thought you might like to see the statement I issued today, as well as read the full deposition.
“I welcome today’s voluntary release of documents by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee that contain information and details related to sexual abuse by clergy, and how the Archdiocese of Milwaukee responded to it. I am especially grateful that my deposition of February 2013, given as part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, is one of the documents being released.
Responding to victim-survivors, taking action against priest-abusers, and working to implement policies to protect children, were some of the most difficult, challenging, and moving events of the 6 ½ years that I served as Archbishop of Milwaukee. One of the principles that guided me during that time was the need for transparency and openness, which is why I not only welcomed the deposition as a chance to go on-the-record with how we responded to the clergy sexual abuse crisis during my years in Milwaukee, but also encouraged that it be released.
Unfortunately, we have already seen how the release of these documents will cause some to raise old and discredited attacks – like priest-abusers having been “paid” to apply for laicization, (like it or not, bishops do have a canon law obligation to provide basic support like health care and room and board for their priests until they have finally moved on) or that establishing a perpetual care fund from money belonging to cemeteries and designated for that purpose – as required by state law and mandated by the archdiocesan finance council – was an attempt to shield it from the bankruptcy proceedings. While certain groups can be counted-upon to take certain statements or events out of context, the documents released show plainly that the bishops have been faithful to the promises made over a decade ago: permanent removal from ministry of any priest who abused a minor; complete cooperation with law enforcement officials; and, strict child-safety requirements.
The sexual abuse of minors is a crime and it is a sin. The Church must remain rigorous in our response when an allegation of abuse is received, and ever-vigilant in maintaining our safeguards to do all that we can to see that children are protected. It is my hope that the release of these documents will also help to show how the Catholic Church in the United States has become a leader in dealing with the society-wide scourge of sexual abuse, and help other groups and organizations who are also seeking combat this evil.”
In my role as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I sent a letter to Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City yesterday. I expressed my thoughts and prayers with those who are injured, with those who died, and with the families who lost loved ones. I would like to share this letter with all of you.
Cardinal Dolan Pledges Prayer, Support For Archdiocese Of Oklahoma City
May 21, 2013
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, pledged prayers and support for the people of the Archdiocese Oklahoma City, struck by tornadoes May 20.
He promised the support of the U.S. bishops and Catholics in the United States in a letter to Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City.
The letter follows.
Dear Archbishop Coakley,
Our hearts ache with you as we learn of the terrible tornadoes that struck your archdiocese yesterday in the town of Moore outside Oklahoma City. As I expressed in our telephone call earlier today, the deaths of so many, especially beloved children in their school, call us to join you and the faithful of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City in prayer for the consolation of all who feel this terrible loss.
The experience of loss of family members, homes, neighborhoods, and even the local hospital, shows a devastation that impels us to stand with you and all the good people of Moore both in prayer for comfort and in efforts for disaster relief to ease the suffering of those whose lives have been affected by this dreadful disaster.
May the words of Jesus, “Behold I am with you always,” and who calmed the storms, bring hope and comfort at this sensitive moment in the history of your diocese which sadly has known great tragedy before from other natural disasters, but which has always united in courageous and loving efforts to restore hope to all.
May all those affected by such pain feel the strength God offers them and the compassionof all who stand with them, be it in their hometown or miles away.
Fraternally yours,Timothy Cardinal DolanArchbishop of New YorkPresident, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Continuing the Catholic Church’s longstanding commitment to immigration and immigrants, Archbishop Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles and the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, released a statement of welcome for the immigration reform legislation introduced in the Senate today, and pledged that the bishops would carefully examine the bill and work with Congress to ensure that any final measure respects the dignity and basic human rights of migrants.
Here is an excerpt:
The introduction of U.S. Senate bipartisan legislation to reform the U.S. immigration system was welcomed by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, April 17. Archbishop Gomez also pledged that the U.S. bishops would carefully examine the legislation and work with Congress to ensure that any final measure respects the basic human rights and dignity of migrants.
“I welcome the introduction of legislation today in the U.S. Senate,” Archbishop Gomez said. “The U.S. bishops look forward to carefully examining the legislation and working with Congress to fashion a final bill that respects the basic human rights and dignity of newcomers to our land—migrants, refugees, and other vulnerable populations.”
Click here to read the whole press release on the USCCB website.
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities, also released a statement to the press today.
Here is his statement:
“We are hopeful that the filing of a bipartisan Senate bill on immigration seems, after many years, to make comprehensive immigration reform a real possibility. We appreciate the hard work of the group of Senators and others that has made this possible. We note with special pride and recognition the work of so many Catholic organizations and the leadership of the Bishops on this issue. While we are hopeful and supportive, the bill is complex and requires careful analysis. There will be opposition. We look forward to making suggestions for improving the bill to even better reflect our longstanding concerns for family unification, a fair, legal immigration system, protections for temporary workers, effective, yet humane border security and due process in enforcement. We look forward to working in partnership with many to ensure that this reform happens for a straightforward reason—concern for the common good of the nation and the well-being of individual immigrants and their families.”
Click here to learn how Catholic Charities is helping immigrants and their families.
Today I delivered my remarks to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, Maryland. I would like to share a copy of my text with you.
My brother bishops,
Yes, we have “a lot on our plate” as we commence our meeting, urgent issues very worthy of our solicitude as pastors — the suffering in vast areas not far from here caused by the Hurricane of two weeks ago, the imperative to the New Evangelization, the invitation offered by the Year of Faith, and our continued dialogue, engagement, and prophetic challenge to our culture over urgent issues such as the protection of human life, the defense of marriage, the promotion of human dignity in the lives of the poor, the immigrant, those in danger from war and persecution throughout the world, and our continued efforts to defend our first and most cherished freedom — all issues calling for our renewed and enthusiastic commitment.
But I stand before you this morning to say simply: first things first. We gather as disciples of, as friends of, as believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, “the Way, the Truth and the Life,” who exhorted us to “seek first the Kingdom of God.” We cannot engage culture unless we let Him first engage us; we cannot dialogue with others unless we first dialogue with Him; we cannot challenge unless we first let Him challenge us. The Venerable Servant of God, Fulton J. Sheen, once commented, “The first word of Jesus in the Gospel was ‘come’; the last word of Jesus was ‘go’.”
Fifty years ago, on October 11, 1962, Blessed John XXIII courageously convened the Second Vatican Council “the greatest concern of which,” he insisted, “is that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.” (Allocution on the occasion of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudet mater ecclesia). We gather for our plenary assembly in our nation’s premiere see, at the close of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops, still near the beginning of the Year of Faith. Both occasions have the same origin, the same goal expressed by Blessed John XXIII: the effective transmission of the faith for the transformation of the world.
A year ago we began our visits ad limina Petri et Pauli. I know you join me in expressing deep gratitude for the extraordinary affection, warmth and fraternal care with which our Holy Father welcomed us.But Pope Benedict did not stop with his gracious hospitality. No. He also gave us plenty of fatherly advice — for our ministry as pastors of the Church and our personal role in the New Evangelization.Here’s an especially striking example from his first ad limina address:
“Evangelization,” the Successor of St. Peter noted, “. . . appears not simply a task to be undertaken ad extra; we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization. As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, we know that the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ’s truth.”
As we bishops at the just concluded Synod of Bishops confessed in our closing message: “We, however, should never think that the new evangelization does not concern us as Bishops personally. In these days voices among the Bishops were raised to recall that the Church must first of all heed the Word before she can evangelize the world. The invitation to evangelize becomes a call to conversion.”
“We Bishops firmly believe that we must convert ourselves first to the power of Jesus Christ who alone can make all things new, above all our poor existence. With humility we must recognize that the poverty and weaknesses of Jesus’ disciples, especially us, his ministers, weigh on the credibility of the mission. We are certainly aware – we bishops first of all – that we can never really be equal to the Lord’s calling and mandate to proclaim His Gospel to the nations. We. do not hesitate to recognize our personal sins. We are, however, also convinced that the Lord’s Spirit is capable of renewing His Church and rendering her garment resplendent if we let Him mold us.” (Final Message of the Synod of Bishops to the People of God, October 28, 2012)
The New Evangelization reminds us that the very agents of evangelization – you and me — will never achieve that abundant harvest Blessed John XXIII described unless we are willing and eager to first be evangelized themselves. Only those themselves first evangelized can then evangelize. As St. Bernard put it so well, “If you want to be a channel, you must first be a reservoir.”
I would suggest this morning that this reservoir of our lives and ministry, when it comes especially to the New Evangelization, must first be filled with the spirit of interior conversion born of our own renewal. That’s the way we become channels of a truly effective transformation of the world, through our own witness of a penitential heart, and our own full embrace of the Sacrament of Penance.
II. “To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance,” declared the council fathers in the very first of the documents to appear, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. (SC, n. 9) To be sure, the sacraments of initiation – - Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist – - charge, challenge, and equip the agents of evangelization. Without those sacraments, we remain isolated, unredeemed, timid and unfed.
But, the Sacrament of Reconciliation evangelizes the evangelizers, as it brings us sacramentally into contact with Jesus, who calls us to conversion of heart, and allows us to answer his invitation to repentance — a repentance from within that can then transform the world without. What an irony that despite the call of the Second Vatican Council for a renewal of the Sacrament of Penance, what we got instead was its near disappearance.
We became very good in the years following the Council in calling for the reform of structures, systems, institutions, and people other than ourselves.That, too, is important; it can transform our society and world. But did we fail along the way to realize that in no way can the New Evangelization be reduced to a program, a process, or a call to structural reform; that it is first and foremost a deeply personal conversion within? “The Kingdom of God is within,” as Jesus taught.
The premier answer to the question “What’s wrong with the world?” “what’s wrong with the church?” is not politics, the economy, secularism, sectarianism, globalization or global warming . . .none of these, as significant as they are. As Chesterton wrote, “The answer to the question ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ is just two words:’I am,’”
I am! Admitting that leads to conversion of heart and repentance, the marrow of the Gospel-invitation. I remember the insightful words of a holy priest well known to many of us from his long apostolate to priests and seminarians in Rome, Monsignor Charles Elmer, wondering aloud from time to time if, following the close of the Council, we had sadly become a Church that forgot how to kneel. If we want the New Evangelization to work, it starts on our knees.
Remember a few years back, when Cardinal Cahal Daly led us in our June retreat? Speaking somberly of the Church in his home country, he observed, “The Church in Ireland is in the dirt on her knees.” Then he paused, and concluded, “Maybe that’s where the Church is at her best.”
We kneel in the Sacrament of Penance because we are profoundly sorry for our faults and our sins, serious obstacles to the New Evangelization. But then we stand forgiven, resolute to return to the work entrusted to us – as evangelizers of the Gospel of Mercy.
I recall a conversation about a year ago with one of our brother bishops, newly ordained, attending his first plenary assembly. I asked his impressions of the meeting. “Well organized, informative, enjoyable,” he replied, but he went on to observe that it was one moment in particular that had the greatest impact on him. It was during our closing Holy Hour, as he entered the large room next to the chapel, to see dozens and dozens of bishops lined up to approach the Sacrament of Penance. This new Bishop told me that he felt that moment had more of an influence upon him than anything else at the meeting.
Who can forget the prophetic words of repentance from Blessed John Paul II, during the Great Jubilee, as he expressed contrition – publically and repeatedly – for the sins of the past? He mentioned the shame of the slave trade, the horrors of the holocaust, the death and destruction wrought by the crusades, the injustices of the conquest of the new world, and the violence of religious wars, to name only a few.
I remember during the celebration of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland last June, when Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Papal Legate, expressed this so forcefully as he spoke on behalf of the Holy Father at the penitential shrine of St. Patrick’s Purgatory: “I come here with the specific intention of seeking forgiveness, from God and from the victims, for the grave sin of sexual abuse of children by clerics. . . In the name of the Church, I apologize once again to the victims, some of which I have met here in Lough Derg.”
And so it turns to us, my brothers. How will we make the Year of Faith a time to renew the Sacrament of Penance, in our own loves and in the lives of our beloved people whom we serve? Once again, we will later this week approach the Sacrament of Penance.
And we’ll have the opportunity during this meeting to approve a simple pastoral invitation to all our faithful to join us in renewing our appreciation for and use of the Sacrament. We will “Keep the Light On” during the upcoming Advent Season!
The work of our Conference during the coming year includes reflections on re-embracing Friday as a particular day of penance, including the possible re-institution of abstinence on all Fridays of the year, not just during Lent. Our pastoral plan offers numerous resources for catechesis on the Sacrament of Penance, and the manifold graces that come to us from the frequent use of confession. Next June we will gather in a special assembly as brother bishops to pray and reflect on the mission entrusted to us by the Church, including our witness to personal conversion in Jesus Christ, and so to the New Evangelization.
We work at giving our people good examples of humble, repentant pastors, aware of our own personal and corporate sins, constantly responding to the call of Jesus to interior conversion. Remember the Curé of Ars? When a concerned group of his worried supporters came to him with a stinging protest letter from a number of parishioners, demanding the bishop to remove John Vianney as their curé, claiming he was a sinner, ignorant, and awkward, St. John Vianney took the letter, read it carefully … and signed the petition!
III. As I began my talk this morning, my brothers, so I would like to end it, with Blessed John XXIII.
It was the Sunday angelus of October 28, 1962.The message the Holy Father delivered on that bright Roman afternoon never even mentions the phrase New Evangelization.But it strikes right at the heart of the mission entrusted to each of us as shepherds.
“I feel something touching my spirit that leads to serenity,” Good Pope John remarked. “The word of the Gospel is not silent.It resonates from one end of the world to the other, and finds the way of the heart. Dangers and sorrows, human prudence and wisdom, everything needs to dissolve into a song of love, into a renewed invitation, pleading all to desire and wish for the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. A kingdom of truth and life; a kingdom of holiness and grace; a kingdom of justice, love and peace.”
How could we not see it alive in those holy men and women of every time and place, the heroic evangelizers of our faith, including most recently St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Marianne Cope?
We have beheld it in the Church’s unrelenting corporal and spiritual works of mercy, in the heroic witness of persecuted Christians, in the Church’s defense of unborn human life, the care of our elders and the terminally ill, advocacy for the unemployed, those in poverty, our immigrant brothers and sisters, victims of terror and violence throughout our world, of all faiths and creeds, and in our defense of religious freedom, marriage and family.
And, I have suggested today, that as we “come and go” in response to the invitation of Jesus, we begin with the Sacrament of Penance.This is the sacrament of the New Evangelization, for as Pope Benedict reminds us, “We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire to conversion.” (Homily for the Opening of the XIII Ordinary General Synod of Bishops).
With this as my presidential address, I know I risk the criticism. I can hear it now: “With all the controversies and urgent matters for the Church, Dolan spoke of conversion of heart through the Sacrament of Penance. Can you believe it?”
To which I reply, “You better believe it!” First things first!
Steve Wagner, president of the Renewal Forum and former HHS official, and Kim Daniels, religious-liberty attorney and coordinator of Catholic Voices USA, submitted a well written op-ed to the New York Daily News on human trafficking. They write about how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services no longer receives funding from the Obama administration because the program does not provide abortion-related services. I would like to share this op-ed with you.
Here is an excerpt from the op-ed:
For years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ well-regarded office of Migration and Refugee Services has helped lead the charge against human trafficking. The global reach of the Catholic Church makes MRS well positioned to serve victims of this international affliction. Through its top-rated Anti-Trafficking Services Program, MRS has helped human-trafficking victims from some 64 countries, providing immediate assistance wherever they’re suffering.
Yet the administration placed abortion politics ahead of this important work. In May 2011, the federal Department of Health and Human Services decided its human trafficking grant-making process would prioritize those who would provide “family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”
Translation: Unless you offer abortion and contraception, you’re not welcome. Meaning the Catholic service provider — whose model program has received some $15 million in federal funds since 2006 — did not receive any of the $4.5 million in HHS funding for trafficking victims this year.
I would like to share with you the following press release that was issued yesterday by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on President Obama’s Remarks On Marriage.
CARDINAL DOLAN: PRESIDENT OBAMA’S REMARKS ON MARRIAGE ‘DEEPLY SADDENING’WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement:President Obama’s comments today in support of the redefinition of marriage are deeply saddening. As I stated in my public letter to the President on September 20, 2011, the Catholic Bishops stand ready to affirm every positive measure taken by the President and the Administration to strengthen marriage and the family. However, we cannot be silent in the face of words or actions that would undermine the institution of marriage, the very cornerstone of our society. The people of this country, especially our children, deserve better. Unfortunately, President Obama’s words today are not surprising since they follow upon various actions already taken by his Administration that erode or ignore the unique meaning of marriage. I pray for the President every day, and will continue to pray that he and his Administration act justly to uphold and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman. May we all work to promote and protect marriage and by so doing serve the true good of all persons.-30-