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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

 

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

 

UN investigates Ortega regime for torture, murder of opponents in Nicaragua (Fides)

“The police, the army and the institutions of justice must respect the law, limiting the activities of the military forces to security,” said Archbishop Ivan Jurkovic, who represents the Holy See at UN offices in Geneva. “There must be no mistreatment in prisons.”

Pakistani prelate condemns human trafficking in brides (Fides)

“Christian girls were married to Chinese men, who paid the family, marriage, the priest very well,” said Bishop Samson Shukardin. “After the marriage these girls are brought to China, where they are often mistreated or sold as sex slaves.”

Kenya's bishops decry deaths among young people (Catholic Information Service for Africa)

“We are also confronted with a worrying trend where a number of our people, especially the youth, are taking their own lives, while others have been murdered in bizarre circumstances never heard of,” the East African nation’s bishops said in a recent statement.

Chaldean cardinal slams anti-Christian discrimination in Iraq, calls for respect for rule of law (AsiaNews)

Born in 1948, Cardinal Louis Raphaël I Sako has led the Chaldean Catholic Church since 2013. The church is among the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See.

Chinese Catholics block demolition of shrine (UCANews)

The shrine slated for destruction is located in the northeastern province of Hebei (map).

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

 

Rome diocese's 'Festival of Peoples' celebrates cultural diversity amid rising anti-immigrant sentiment (Crux)

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, will celebrate the opening Mass for the event (Vatican press release) in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, which is Rome’s cathedral.

West Africa's bishops vow to join forces against terrorism (Vatican News)

“The Lord is here with us, and we will win,” said Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. Terrorists have targeted Catholics in the nation of 19.7 million (map) twice in recent days.