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Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Issues Invitation to Celebrate Annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

WASHINGTON--Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, invites all to celebrate the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place January 18-25, 2019. This week provides an opportunity to join together and pray as Jesus did “that they may all be one.” (John 17:21) The practice, originally called the Christian Unity Octave, was first observed in 1908 by Fr. Paul Wattson and Sr. Lurana White, co-founders of the Society of Atonement. Today, it is a collaborative project by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches.

This year’s theme is “Justice, Only Justice, You Shall Pursue.” (Deuteronomy 16:20). It was chosen by Christians from Indonesia, highlighting the unique opportunity the call for justice plays in our ecumenical efforts. According to Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute (GEII) who promotes the Week of Prayer in the United States, Christian communities "become newly aware of their unity as they join in a common concern and a common response to an unjust reality. At the same time, confronted by these injustices, we are obliged, as Christians, to examine the ways in which we are complicit. Only by heeding Jesus’s prayer 'that they all may be one' can we witness to living unity in diversity. It is through our unity in Christ that we will be able to combat injustice and serve the needs of its victims."

Further information and other resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are available at http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/events/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity.cfm
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pro-Life Committee Chairman’s Roe v. Wade Anniversary Statement Encourages Faithful to be “Witnesses of Merciful Love”

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City called on the faithful "to pray for an end to the human rights abuse of abortion, and for a culture of life, where through God’s grace all will come to know they are made in His Divine Image.”

His statement on January 18 marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states. Archbishop Naumann, who gave the opening prayer at the March for Life the same day, chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Protecting the life of the unborn children is the pre-eminent human rights issue of our time, not only because of the sheer magnitude of the numbers, but because abortion attacks the sanctuary of life, the family,” wrote Archbishop Naumann. “Every abortion not only destroys the life of an innocent child, but it wounds and scars mothers and fathers...in reality, the welfare of parents and their child are always intimately linked.”

Naumann also made it clear that pro-life Catholics “are concerned about the life and dignity of the human person wherever it is threatened or diminished,” and highlighted the sexual abuse crisis within the Church as an example of “grave injustice” to this dignity. “The abuse of children or minors upends the pro-life ethic,” the Archbishop explained, because it is an “egregious offense against the dignity of the human person.”

The Archbishop spoke of a Church “devastated by the scandal of sexual misconduct by clergy and of past instances of the failure of bishops to respond with compassion to victims of abuse and to protect adequately the members of their flock.” He urged the Church and the faithful to “seek justice for all of God’s children.”
“We must do all we can to be God’s witnesses of merciful love in the world,” the Archbishop continued. “We know and give thanks for the great dignity God has given to us from the moment of conception, to be made in his image. We also must pray for the grace to remind others of this inherent dignity, in our words and in our actions.”

The Archbishop encouraged all Catholics to take part in the National Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of the Unborn on January 22: “Let us pray that we can be great and effective witnesses for life, witnesses for love, witnesses for mercy.”

The full text of Archbishop Naumann's message is available online at http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/january-roe-events/2019/2019-statement-on-the-anniversary-of-roe-vs-wade.cfm
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Keywords: USCCB, Pro-Life, Abortion, Archbishop Naumann, March for Life, protection of life, human person, mercy, human dignity, National Day of Prayer
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

President Trump Announces Commitment to Uphold Pro-Life Laws

WASHINGTON— Today, President Trump reiterated his enduring support for pro-life laws or policies. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities responded with the following statement:

“As Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I commend President Trump for announcing at today’s March for Life that he will oppose repealing or weakening any existing pro-life laws or policies. These pro-life laws and policies reflect the convictions of millions of Americans, many of whom attended today’s March, that taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions, or organizations that promote abortion, or participate in any way in the deliberate destruction of unborn human life.

We are deeply grateful for the President’s pro-life commitment, and for all the actions this administration has taken to protect unborn children and their mothers from the violence of abortion. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to advance policies that value human life and dignity from conception to natural death.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB, Pro-Life

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

USCCB President Says Society Needs “Artisans of Peace” by Following Dr. King’s Example

WASHINGTON— The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has issued the following statement in relation to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 21.

Cardinal DiNardo's full statement follows:

“Today more than ever, our societies need ‘artisans of peace’ who can be messengers and authentic witnesses of God the Father, who wills the good and the happiness of the human family.”
Pope Francis’ words, given in his 2019 World Day of Peace address, remind us how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such an artisan of peace. Dr. King was a messenger and true witness to the power of the gospel lived in action through public life. This year, as we again mark the anniversary of his life, and reflect upon the 51st anniversary of his death, we are thankful for the path forged by Dr. King and the countless others who worked tirelessly and suffered greatly in the fight for racial equality and justice.
As a nation and as a society, we face great challenges as well as tremendous opportunities ahead.

This past November, the entire body of Catholic bishops approved Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love— A Pastoral Letter Against Racism. The letter’s goal is to again name and call attention to a great affliction and evil that persists in this nation, and to offer a hope-filled Christian response to this perennial sickness. Racism is a national wound from which we continually struggle to heal. As we wrote in the pastoral letter, “Racism can only end if we contend with the policies and institutional barriers that perpetuate and preserve the inequality—economic and social—that we still see all around us.”

Today, remembering how Dr. King contended with policies and institutional barriers of his time, many which persist today, we renew our pledge to fight for the end of racism in the Church and in the United States. We pledge our commitment to build a culture of life, where all people are valued for their intrinsic dignity as daughters and sons of God. We encourage Catholics and all people of good will to study the pastoral letter, and to study and reflect upon Dr. King’s witness against the destructive effects of racism, poverty and continuous war.  

We call on everyone to embrace our ongoing need for healing in all areas of our lives where we are wounded, but particularly where our hearts are not truly open to the idea and the truth that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. As Dr. King said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."  
USCCB Pastoral Letter on racism and other information about the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Racism

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Italian bishops refine anti-abuse guidelines without victim input (Crux)

Francesco Zanardi, head of an Italian organization of clerical abuse victims, said, “You would think that pedophile priests don’t exist in Italy! ... 18 years after the scandals broke, the problem is still unresolved.”

Pope, Council of Europe's leader discuss sexual abuse of minors (Council of Europe)

The human rights organization has 47 member states; the organization’s leader, Thorbjorn Jagland said he and the Pope discussed efforts to combat the sexual abuse of minors.

The Word of God is not an ideology, Pope preaches at weekday Mass (Vatican News)

At a Mass celebrated in the chapel of Domus Sanctae Marthae on January 17, Pope Francis warned against stubbornness of heart.

Canadian humanitarian activist meets with Pope, discusses child soldiers (Dalhousie University)

Roméo Dallaire, a former Canadian general and senator who was in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, met with Pope Francis to discuss their mutual opposition to child soldiers. “The Dallaire Initiative stands proudly with Pope Francis on his call for a more peaceful world and the elimination of the use of children in conflict worldwide,” his organization tweeted after their January 17 meeting.

Holy Land 2019 Coordination Communiqué: Christians in Israel – Challenges and Opportunities

WASHINGTON—Representatives of bishops' conferences from several countries, including Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Chairman of the International Justice and Peace Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met in the Holy Land January 12-17, 2019. Together, they have issued their annual communiqué in which they acknowledge the challenges and opportunities that Christians face in Israel. In the communiqué, the bishops call for prayer, pilgrimage and practical solidarity on behalf of Christians in Israel to help keep hope for the future alive.

Noting that Israel was founded on the principle of equality for all citizens, representatives of bishops’ conferences from several countries, including the United States, acknowledged that Christians in Israel face challenges and opportunities. In the final communiqué of the Holy Land Coordination, the bishops called for prayer, pilgrimage and practical solidarity to help Christians in Israel keep their hope for the future alive.

Nineteen bishops from Europe, the United States, Canada and South Africa made the annual solidarity visit which included time spent in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, and villages meeting with Christian mayors, villagers, and migrants to hear of their stories of living and working in Israel.
In their communiqué, the bishops note that many Christians, along with Palestinian Arabs and migrants, face systematic discrimination and are marginalized. In particular they noted that Israel’s Nation State Law passed in 2018 creates “a constitutional and legal basis for discrimination” against minorities and supported “all those challenging discrimination.”

After visiting a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) camp and school in Jenin, the bishops also called for their governments to help fund health care, education and other basic services for Palestinian refugees. This was in response to the U.S. government’s decision to withdraw funding for the Palestinians and call for the closing of UNRWA.

The bishops expressed admiration for their sisters and brothers in the Holy Land for not losing hope and committed themselves to help keep that hope alive.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops along with bishops from other nations on this solidarity visit continue to decry violence as a way to resolve conflict but instead strongly support a two-state solution in which the two democratic sovereign states of Israel and Palestine exist in peace.

The Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land has met every January since 1998 to pray and act in solidarity with the Christian community in the Holy Land.
The bishops’ 2019 communiqué is available at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/holy-land-coordination-communique-january-2019.cfm
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Holy Land Coordination, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Holy Land, Israel, Christians, pilgrimage, solidarity, communiqué, United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Palestine, sovereign states

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Archbishop Lori announces system to report allegations against Baltimore bishops (National Catholic Register)

“I pray this step and our continued commitment to child protection will send a clear message to the faithful of this local Church that abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and that those in positions of authority, namely bishops, will be held accountable for keeping the Church safe, especially for children and others who may be vulnerable,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore said.