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President of U.S. Bishops' Conference and Committee Chairman Response to Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is hosting a series of meetings this week responding to the broader issue of safe environments within the Church. An update will be offered upon their conclusion.

In response to today's Pennsylvania grand jury report, Cardinal DiNardo joins Bishop Timothy L. Doherty of Lafayette in Indiana, in issuing the following joint statement. Bishop Doherty is Chairman for the USCCB's Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The full statement follows:

"The report of the Pennsylvania grand jury again illustrates the pain of those who have been victims of the crime of sexual abuse by individual members of our clergy, and by those who shielded abusers and so facilitated an evil that continued for years or even decades. We are grateful for the courage of the people who aided the investigation by sharing their personal stories of abuse. As a body of bishops, we are shamed by and sorry for the sins and omissions by Catholic priests and Catholic bishops.

We are profoundly saddened each time we hear about the harm caused as a result of abuse, at the hands of a clergyman of any rank. The USCCB Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People and the office of the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection will continue to offer avenues to healing for those who have been abused. We are committed to work in determined ways so that such abuse cannot happen.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report covers a span of more than 70 years. In 2002 the U.S. Catholic bishops adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which commits us to respond promptly and compassionately to victims, report the abuse of minors, remove offenders and take ongoing action to prevent abuse. This Charter was revised and updated in 2011 and again in 2018. We pledge to maintain transparency and to provide for the permanent removal of offenders from ministry and to maintain safe environments for everyone.  All policies and procedures regarding training and background check requirements are made publicly available by dioceses and eparchies. 

We pray that all survivors of sexual abuse find healing, comfort and strength in God's loving presence as the Church pledges to continue to restore trust through accompaniment, communion, accountability and justice."             

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, Pennsylvania, Grand Jury Report, sexual abuse, clergyman, U.S. bishops, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, prevention, accompaniment, accountability, justice.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Domestic Justice Chairman Welcomes Change in Catechism Calling for Abolition of the Death Penalty

WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the revised section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church regarding the death penalty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, welcomed the change and echoed the call to end the death penalty in the United States.

The full statement follows:

"Today, we welcome the Holy Father's decision to revise the Catechism and its explanation of the Church's teaching on the death penalty. All human beings are created in the image and likeness of God, and the dignity bestowed on them by the Creator cannot be extinguished, even by grave sin, such that all persons, from conception until natural death possess inalienable dignity and value that points to their origin as sons and daughters of God. The new section in the Catechism is consistent with the statements of Pope Francis' teaching on the death penalty, including his 2015 address to the U.S. Congress, as well as the statements of his predecessors.  Pope Benedict the XVI urged 'the attention of society's leaders to the need to make every effort to eliminate the death penalty,' and Pope St. John Paul II observed that 'Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God himself pledges to guarantee this."

"For decades the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for the end of the death penalty in the United States.  As the revised Catechism states, 'more effective systems of detention…which ensure the due protection of citizens' exist, ones that also maintain the human dignity of all. It is our hope that today's announcement will bring new attention to this critical issue, and speed along the end of this practice, which, as Pope Francis has said in the light of the Gospel, is 'inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.'"

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Pope Francis, Catechism, death penalty, inalienable dignity, U.S. Congress, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope St. John Paul II

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

President of U.S. Bishops Conference Issues Statement on Course of Action Responding to Moral Failures on Part of Church Leaders

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement noting the steps the U.S. Bishops Conference will take in addressing the failures of the Church in protecting the people of God.   

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"The accusations against Archbishop Theodore McCarrick reveal a grievous moral failure within the Church. They cause bishops anger, sadness, and shame; I know they do in me. They compel bishops to ask, as I do, what more could have been done to protect the People of God. Both the abuses themselves, and the fact that they have remained undisclosed for decades, have caused great harm to people's lives and represent grave moral failures of judgement on the part of Church leaders.

These failures raise serious questions. Why weren't these allegations of sins against chastity and human dignity disclosed when they were first brought to Church officials? Why wasn't this egregious situation addressed decades sooner and with justice? What must our seminaries do to protect the freedom to discern a priestly vocation without being subject to misuse of power?

Archbishop McCarrick will rightly face the judgement of a canonical process at the Holy See regarding the allegations against him, but there are also steps we should be taking as the Church here in the United States. Having prayed about this, I have convened the USCCB Executive Committee.  This meeting was the first of many among bishops that will extend into our Administrative Committee meeting in September and our General Assembly in November. All of these discussions will be oriented toward discerning the right course of action for the USCCB. This work will take some time but allow me to stress these four points immediately.

First, I encourage my brother bishops as they stand ready in our local dioceses to respond with compassion and justice to anyone who has been sexually abused or harassed by anyone in the Church. We should do whatever we can to accompany them.

Second, I would urge anyone who has experienced sexual assault or harassment by anyone in the Church to come forward. Where the incident may rise to the level of a crime, please also contact local law enforcement.

Third, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will pursue the many questions surrounding Archbishop McCarrick's conduct to the full extent of its authority; and where that authority finds its limits, the Conference will advocate with those who do have the authority. One way or the other, we are determined to find the truth in this matter.

Finally, we bishops recognize that a spiritual conversion is needed as we seek to restore the right relationship among us and with the Lord. Our Church is suffering from a crisis of sexual morality. The way forward must involve learning from past sins.

Let us pray for God's wisdom and strength for renewal as we follow St. Paul's instruction: 'Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect' (Romans 12:2)."

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Keywords: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, USCCB Executive Committee, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, moral failure, seminaries, human dignity, canonical process, Holy See, General Assembly

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Mary Pat Donoghue Named as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Mary Pat Donoghue has been appointed as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect August 13, 2018.

Over her 28 years of service to Catholic education, Ms. Donoghue is perhaps best known for her tenure as Principal of St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, Maryland, where she led the effort to move the parish school from near failure to a now-thriving and growing institution.  Before then, she served as a Vice Principal and as a teacher in the classroom; since then, she has consulted nationwide with superintendents, pastors, and principals, sharing her experience in teacher formation and supervision, curriculum implementation, and financial stability, in conjunction with the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education.

"In all of her endeavors, Mary Pat has brought a strong enthusiasm for the special role of Catholic education in the evangelical mission of the Church," said Msgr. Bransfield. "I am grateful to her for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Conference."

"I am humbled and honored to support the vital work of our bishops in the area of Catholic education," said Ms. Donoghue, "and to support diocesan leaders in fulfilling the Church's beautiful vision for the formation of our young people."

Mary Pat holds a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Maryland, and a Master's in Education Administration from Trinity University, Washington, D.C. A native of the Washington, DC area, Mary Pat currently resides in Silver Spring, MD.

For more information on the USCCB Secretariat of Catholic Education, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/index.cfm.

If you would like a photo image of Ms. Donoghue, please contact media-relations@usccb.org. 

Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Catholic Education, Mary Pat Donoghue, Monsignor Brian Bransfield, Catholic education

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Pope Francis Names Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted As Apostolic Administrator of the Byzantine Eparchy of Phoenix

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, as the Apostolic Administrator Sede Plena of the Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic eparchy of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted will also retain his current Office as Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix.

The announcement was publicized in Washington on August 1, 2018 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  

Bishop Olmsted has served as the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix since December 20, 2003.

Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, Bishop Olmsted served as Bishop of Wichita, Kansas from 2001-2003, after being ordained Coadjutor Bishop on April 20, 1999. Before serving in Wichita, he served as the Rector and President of the Pontifical College Josephinum, a Catholic Seminary in Columbus, Ohio. Since 1974, Bishop Olmsted has been a member of the Jesus Caritas ­fraternity of priests. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., July 2, 1973.

For 16 years, Bishop Olmsted lived in Rome, Italy, where he obtained a master's degree in theology and a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1981) and worked more than nine years as an official in the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1979 to 1988.  During his time in Rome, he was also an assistant spiritual director at the Pontifical North American College.

Bishop Olmsted is currently a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix (formerly known as the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys) is the Catholic eparchy (diocese) governing most Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics in the Western United States. The Eparchy's territorial jurisdiction consists of thirteen Western States. Currently, Holy Protection Eparchy of Phoenix has 19 parishes and one mission under its canonical jurisdiction.

The diocese of Phoenix, Arizona comprises 43,967 square miles. It has a total population of 4,734,036 people of which 1,188,243 or 25 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, Holy Protection of Mary, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix, Diocese of Phoenix, Byzantine Ruthenian Catholics.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

President of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Statement on Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Resignation from College of Cardinals

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement upon Pope Francis's acceptance of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals. Pope Francis has also imposed on Cardinal McCarrick, suspension a divinis and has directed him to observe a life of prayer and penance in seclusion until the completion of the canonical process.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"I thank the Holy Father for his leadership in taking this important step. It reflects the priority the Holy Father places on the need for protection and care for all our people and the way failures in this area affect the life of the Church in the United States."

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from College of Cardinals

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, from the College of Cardinals.


Pope Francis has also imposed on Cardinal McCarrick suspension a divinis and directs him to observe a life of prayer and penance in seclusion until the completion of the canonical process.

 

The statement of this resignation and these stipulations was publicized in Rome on July 28, 2018.

 

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Keywords: Pope Francis, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archdiocese of Washington

 

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

National Religious Retirement Office Distributes $25 Million for Care of Elderly Catholic Sisters, Brothers, and Priests in Religious Orders

 WASHINGTON—In June, the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) distributed $25 million to 360 religious communities to aid in the care of senior members. The funds were made possible by the annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection, which benefits elderly Catholic sisters, brothers, and priests in religious orders. The most recent appeal raised just over $28 million and was held in a majority of U.S. Catholic parishes in December 2017.

In 1988, Catholic bishops of the United States launched the Retirement Fund for Religious to address the significant lack of retirement funding among religious communities. The NRRO coordinates the annual appeal and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities.

"Traditionally, women and men religious served for little to no pay," said Presentation Sister Stephanie Still, the NRRO's executive director. "Today, hundreds of religious communities lack sufficient retirement savings. Proceeds from the annual collection enable our office to distribute financial assistance that helps communities provide for aging members."

The funding disbursed in June is known as Direct Care Assistance and represents the bulk of financial support distributed by the NRRO. Religious communities combine this assistance with their own income and savings to help meet a wide range of expenses, including prescription medications and nursing care. Throughout the year, additional funding is allocated for religious communities with the greatest needs and for ongoing education in retirement planning and eldercare delivery. Roughly 94 percent of donations directly aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder are used for administration and promotion of the annual appeal.

"Our mission is to provide financial support and educational assistance that enable religious communities to meet eldercare needs while developing long-range retirement strategies," said Sister Still. "We are profoundly grateful to the donors across the nation whose generosity and prayers sustain these efforts."

The NRRO is sponsored by the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Visit https://retiredreligious.org to learn more.

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Keywords: National Religious Retirement Office, NRRO, retirement, eldercare, U.S. bishops, Sister Stephanie Still, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Collection

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

President of U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Statement on 50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae

WASHINGTON— In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Blessed Paul VI's papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement. Originally published in 1968, Blessed Paul VI's letter promotes the whole human person in the context of marital love that respects both the spiritual and physical dimensions of man and woman, which is faithful, generous, and life-giving.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

"Fifty years ago, today, Blessed Paul VI issued the Encyclical Humanae Vitae. In it, he reaffirmed the beautiful truth that a husband and wife are called to give themselves completely to each other. Marriage reflects the love of God, which is faithful, generous, and life-giving. Through their vocation, spouses cooperate with God by being open to new human life.

Blessed Paul VI, who bore the criticism of Humanae Vitae with charity and patience, courageously affirmed that when we love as God designed, we experience true freedom and joy. He has also been proven correct in his warnings about the consequences of ignoring the true meaning of married love.

On this anniversary, I encourage all to read and prayerfully reflect upon this Encyclical, and be open to the gift of its timeless truths.

We wait in joyful anticipation for the canonization of Paul VI in October."

For more information and resources on Humanae Vitae, please visit www.usccb.org/HV50.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Blessed Paul VI, Humane Vitae, papal encyclical, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, 50th Anniversary, marriage, family, life-giving, canonization, human life, #HV50

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Upcoming 2018 People of Life Awards to Recognize Extraordinary Lifetime Achievements

 WASHINGTON—The upcoming 2018 People of Life awards will recognize the extraordinary lifetime achievements of three inspiring individuals: an advocate for persons with disabilities, a diocesan priest involved in abortion healing ministry, and a leader in the effort to oppose assisted suicide.

The awards will be presented during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference taking place July 29 to August 1 in Phoenix, Arizona. This year's award winners are Janice Benton, Monsignor Joseph Ranieri, and James J. Hanson (who will be recognized posthumously). Over 125 diocesan, state, and national Catholic pro-life leaders and guests from across the country will attend the event with the Most Reverend Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, the Most Reverend Brendan Cahill, Bishop of Victoria, and the Most Reverend Eduardo Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Cahill serve on the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Pope Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.

Even before beginning her nearly 15 years as the executive director of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), Janice Benton had already spent 25 years in ministry and advocacy for and with persons with disabilities. Jan has been a prophetic voice in upholding the dignity of every human life, especially the marginalized and those at risk of neglect or assisted suicide.

Msgr. Joseph A. Ranieri is the Coordinator of Pastoral Care of Priests in the Archdiocese of Washington, where he has also served as parish priest, pastor, and in countless other roles throughout his 60 years of priesthood. Monsignor Ranieri assists his diocesan Project Rachel Ministry in many capacities. He is also an active member of the Project Rachel Ministry National Training Team for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Finally, the secretariat will honor James J. Hanson posthumously for his tireless efforts to oppose assisted suicide and for his own personal witness to the dignity of every human person, especially those facing a terminal illness. J.J. Hanson served as president of the Patients' Rights Action Fund, promoting measures that protect patients' civil rights and working against efforts to legalize assisted suicide.

The awardees join 31 other People of Life award recipients since the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities established the award in 2007. More information on previous recipients and on the People of Life campaign is available at www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/people-of-life/people-of-life-award.cfm

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, abortion, assisted suicide, People of Life, terminal illness, Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200