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Anti-Catholicism: “the last acceptable prejudice”

By Bishop Arthur Serratelli

In The Innocents Abroad, published in1869, Mark Twain humorously narrates his travels thorough Europe and the Holy Land. He goes out of his way to praise the great hospitality that Catholic priests offered to any pilgrim traveling through 19th century Palestine. They readily welcomed all, whether they came “in rags or clad in purple.” Twain was pleasantly surprised by this, because, as he readily confesses, he had been “educated to enmity toward everything that is Catholic.” Enmity toward everything Catholic! Not a thing of the past.

Most recently, the hatred was aimed at one of the most charitable and benevolent group of individuals in this country, the Knights of Columbus. During the Senate Judiciary Committee’s review of Omaha-based lawyer Brian C. Buescher for the position of judge on the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, Senators Mazie Hirono, a democrat from Hawaii, and Kamala Harris, a democrat from California, grilled Buescher on his membership in the Knights of Columbus. In their questions, they boldly gave voice to an anti-Catholic prejudice in our society.

Hirono accused the Knights of having “taken a number of extreme positions.” And, what are those extreme positions to which she is so vehemently opposed? The Catholic teaching on marriage as a union established by God. The sanctity of human life. The rights of a child in the womb to take his or her place at the banquet of life. For many, when it comes to birthing a child, only a woman has rights. And, when it comes to marriage, only what an individual wants matters. In their eyes, God’s design for his creation cannot limit the freedom of anyone to choose as they wish. 

Holding to what the Catholic Church has always taught, according to their line of questioning, now disqualifies someone from public office. In effect, both senators were applying a religious test as a qualification for public office. Responding to this blatant attack on a man’s religion, on January 17, 2018, the United States Senate unanimously passed the resolution that disqualifying a member of the Knights of Columbus for a federal office actually violates the Constitution of the United States. Article VI of the Constitution states that “no religious test shall ever be required as qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Sadly, this recent attack on Catholicism is not an isolated incident. Last September, Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed serious concern about the qualifications of Amy Barrett for a judgeship on the 7th Circuit. Feinstein is an unflinching supporter of abortion. It was no surprise that she zeroed in on Barrett’s position on Roe v. Wade. Because Barrett is a practicing Catholic who faithfully holds to Catholic teaching on this and other hot button issues, Feinstein remarked “in your case, professor…the dogma lives loudly within you, and that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this country.” Clearly, the Senator sees no place for what the Catholic Church teaches on major moral and societal issues. 

It is becoming more and more obvious that the Catholic Church is being targeted as the public enemy of our society. Talk shows and news media attack the Catholic position on the right to life as misogyny and the Catholic teaching on marriage as intolerance and hatred. One can only wonder why those States that are investigating the Catholic Church on its record of protecting children are not looking into other public institutions. Why is there not a comparable investigation into their own school systems or other religious groups? Is the terrible crime of child abuse limited only to Catholics? Today’s media would even have people believe that abuse of minors is becoming more frequent within the Church. Patently false. But, too often facts do not matter when a villain is needed.

Those who advocate for the radical autonomy of the individual find in the Church an indomitable opponent. The Catholic Church stands firm in her teaching on contraception, abortion, stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization, marriage and divorce. The Church teaches that every choice that touches on the gift of life and the beauty of marriage is judged by a law higher than the autonomy of the individual. And, for this reason, today’s secularists judge Catholics as public enemies to the good of the society they wish to construct. A society without God. A society without a future.

Almost every day, a politician or teacher or public speaker is lambasted for a statement that is judged to be homophobic, misogynistic, racist or anti-Semitic. In some cases, not even an apology can save their careers. Yet, a free pass is given by society to any anti-Catholic view or statement. Someone can make an insulting or slanderous remark about Catholics, Catholic teachings or the Church herself and emerge unscathed. In his essay on The Significance of Jacksonian Democracy, historian and Harvard professor Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., himself not a Catholic, made the often cited assertion that anti-Catholic prejudice is “the deepest bias in the history of the American people.” According to Baylor University professor Philip Jenkins, anti-Catholic prejudice is “the last acceptable prejudice.”
 

Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Chairman Urges Senate Vote and Passage of Born -Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

WASHINGTON–Last night, the Senate failed to adopt by unanimous consent the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act—legislation that would ensure that a child born alive following an abortion would receive the same degree of care to preserve her life and health as would be given to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.
 
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:
 
“Last night, the United States Senate had an opportunity to unanimously declare to the nation that infanticide is objectively wrong. That they failed to do so is unconscionable. No newborn should be left to suffer or die without medical care. It is barbaric and merciless to leave these vulnerable infants without any care or rights. Congress must take up and pass this bill and ensure that the legacy of Roe v. Wade does not extend itself from killing unborn children to killing newborn babies.”
 
The Archbishop also sent a letter to the U.S. Senate today urging the body to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor for a vote and to pass it this week. In his letter, Archbishop Naumann asked the Senate to support the “common-sense legislation” that would protect infants who survived abortion attempts.
 
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann , Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protections Act, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, abortion, born alive, infants, human being, child, individual, person, abortionists, accountable, preservation of life and health
 
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ International Justice Committee Statement on INS Treaty Withdrawal

WASHINGTON—Most Reverend Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:
 
“I regret to learn of the U.S. government’s intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that has served for over thirty years to reduce nuclear arsenals between the U.S. and Russia significantly. Coupled with the news of the Russian reaction to this decision I am concerned for the potential of a new arms race created by these decisions. I ask all Catholics and people of good will to join in prayer for renewed, earnest dialogue among world leaders. May efforts on the part of all of us foster hope and encourage the aspiration of all peoples to live in peace and security.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Military Services, USA, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, nuclear arsenal reductions, Russia, peace, security

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Religious Liberty Chairman Asks Senate Judiciary Committee to End Religious Tests on Nominees

WASHINGTON–Today, ahead of the U.S. Senate’s consideration of nominees for the federal judiciary in the coming weeks, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asking senators not to impose a religious test for public office. The letter states, in part, as follows:

“In recent months, multiple nominees to the federal judiciary have been interrogated about their membership in the Knights of Columbus, with the implication that participation in the largest Catholic fraternal organization in the country – a respected organization that has accomplished so much good for over a century – could be disqualifying. Not only are religious tests unconstitutional and unjust, they are an attack on all people of faith and those with no faith at all. Religious tests tell not only Catholics, but all Americans, that they cannot both serve their country and live out their convictions.”

Archbishop Kurtz concluded, “I implore you: end these discriminatory questions and refrain from further imposing religious tests on judicial nominees.”

The full letter can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Abp-Kurtz-Letter-to-Senate-No-Religious-Test-for-Judicial-Nominees-February-2019.pdf

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Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, USCCB, Senate Judiciary Committee, judicial nominees, religious tests, religious liberty, religious freedom, Knights of Columbus

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

“This Legislation is Evil, Pure and Simple,” Says Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Activities Committee; Calls All Catholics to Fight with Renewed Vigor for Unborn  

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement in response to several states moving forward with legislation that would permit a baby to be aborted at nine months.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:

“Abortion has always been built on a lie. Today, the lie is switching from 'abortion is a choice' to 'abortion is healthcare.' A law recently passed in New York not only legalizes abortion essentially for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy but removes any protection for children born alive after abortion. A similar bill was proposed in Virginia along with several other states, all in the name of women’s health. 

This legislation is evil, pure and simple. And it shocks the conscience to see such evil legislation greeted with raucous cheers and standing ovations. Most grieving to our Lord of Life is that those who advocate for abortion put their eternal souls in jeopardy.  

It is sickeningly dishonest to claim that women’s lives or health depend on intentionally killing their children. This is especially true for late-term abortion, which always involves the purposeful destruction of a child which could have been born alive, with much less risk to the mother, had they both received real healthcare.  

Now is the time for all Catholics—bishops, priests, and laity—to fight for the unborn with renewed vigor. We must educate family, friends, legislators, and fellow citizens about how it is never necessary to intentionally kill unborn children in order to save their mothers. Local action is especially important. Though ending Roe v. Wade is a central goal of the pro-life movement, if the decision were overturned, only eleven states would immediately ban abortion; the other thirty-nine states would still allow it.  

I urge Catholics, and thoughtful Americans of all religions or none at all to advocate for local change. Sign up for your State Catholic Conference or diocesan pro-life advocacy network, which can help you communicate to elected officials. Or seek out state and local pro-life groups, including parish respect life groups, that are making a difference at the state level.  

Though we live in very dark days, we know that the Lord has already triumphed over death. But we must use this time on earth to be His hands and feet. This means each of us rededicating ourselves to prayer, and fighting for the most vulnerable among us, especially unborn children and their mothers.”  

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, abortion, nine months, New York, Virginia, conscience, late-term abortion, purposeful destruction, legislators, local action, Roe v. Wade, bishops, priests, laity, State Catholic Conferences, pro-life advocacy, elected officials, pro-life groups, parish respect life groups, individual states, dark days, death, unborn children, mothers

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

 

 

 

One in a million: reflections on NY's Reproductive Health Act

By Katie Trudeau

Has anyone ever told you in life, “you’re one in a million”? For me, that sentence has a whole new meaning after last week.

Being in utero in New York in 1995, my life was somewhat protected under statutes if my birthmother was killed, as by a weapon or in a vehicular accident. Nearly two decades later, a unborn baby in the state is completely unprotected at any stage. In fact, women and unborn babies are in even more danger. From the moment of conception until one minute before being born, an unborn baby can be wiped from existence in the world due to the passage of the Reproductive Health Act.

I used to be proud to say I was adopted from New York. As of last week, I have nothing but sorrow for my home state.

At the age of 23, I may never know the circumstances that brought my birth mother to a delivery room, but I do know that she chose life under difficult circumstances. She seemed to have been the perfect candidate to procure an abortion: a young, middle-class, well-educated, white woman.

I survived her thought of a deadly procedure to stop my heart from beating, or to halt another brainwave, just after six weeks. I survived her enduring thoughts and pressures from society for a young woman to make her situation easier by erasing my existence, and never telling a soul.

One in a million odds seems rare, right? A miracle if anything.

In 1995, I survived both U.S. and New York state law on abortion. These laws took 1.2 million unborn children that same year, according to the CDC. Abortions have only increased in New York since Roe v. Wade with 239 unborn babies stripped of the dignity of life each day.

A procedure that was once intended to be safe, legal, and rare, has now more dangerous (with respect to late-term abortions) and more frequent.

New York state law isn’t all that shocking to most involved in the pro-life movement. New York has always been the sanctuary abortion state, whether the mothers were minors traveling across state lines or desperate third-trimester seekers. In 2003, partial-birth abortion was condemned by federal law and surrounding progressive states, yet New York maintained a voice for so-called “choice”. Between 1975 and 1995, the number of adoptions dramatically dropped by roughly 60,000 adoptions each year.

The root problem with legislation like New York’s new allowance of late-term abortions de-regulation comes from a larger division in today’s political climate. In 1971, Massachusetts' Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy spoke against legislation such as this: “Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized – the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.”

Today, some Democrats support the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion and fist-bump each other on state and federal Senate floors, blocking the right to life of an unborn baby at the gestational age of 20 weeks — even when scientists have overwhelmingly told us “they feel pain!”

Not only do some support late-term abortion, they also believe that if an infant is breathing after a failed abortion, literally born through natural delivery, they should be left to die on a stainless tray in a back room or closet of a hospital.

No longer is it a universal belief that if a human being survives an abortion procedure, their life is worth saving. Our civilized neighbors in some states stand against hospitalization and adoption or foster-care protocol. Instead, like ancient Romans, they lawfully choose to leave the infant, anywhere above 20 gestational weeks old, to suffer and die on a cold stainless tray like an animal of lesser worth than something wanted in this world.

If you want to offer real “choice”, why leave a human baby on a tray to starve or suffocate to death? After procuring, or attempting to procure, an abortion, nobody is faulting a woman for feeling overwhelmed, scared, lonely, or ashamed. However, someone will be faulted leaving a living baby on a tray to die slowly, painfully, by itself in a dark room.

Do we really want to be the type of people who kill our own kind, at viability, strictly based on whether the baby is “wanted”?

No law will change the emotions overwhelming an unwed woman (or married woman with a handful of kids already) who finds herself holding another positive pregnancy test crying on the bathroom floor, locked, with the shower running to drown out her tears. Some women will continue to have abortions. Some will choose adoption.

But how can we choose to impact our families and communities to choose life?

First and foremost, we must love our neighbor. The shame a woman feels in this position is traumatic. Love her (be she your daughter, sister, mother, aunt, best friend, or a stranger). Support her (offer encouragement, a hand to hold). Help her (financially or spiritually).

Mother Teresa used to say: “May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”

Maybe it’s time your heart truly broke for a woman in need, because love requires sacrifice.

After all, you may just save the next child who grows up to realize they were the lucky one in a million.

USCCB Chairmen Renew Support for Inclusion Act to Protect Freedom of Faith-Based Foster Care and Adoption Providers

Religious freedom is important for all, including child welfare providers
Inclusion Act protects religious freedom and excludes no one
A birth mother’s choice in adoption is important and deserves protection

 
WASHINGTON—Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) are offering their strong support for the bipartisan Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2019. The Act would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that declines to conduct its services in a manner that would violate its religious or moral principles.  
 
"Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children," wrote 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; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; in letters of support to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bipartisan bill.
 
Some faith-based child welfare providers, including in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Philadelphia, New York, and the District of Columbia, have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers act on their belief that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father. The chairmen said, "The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
 
Stressing that the Inclusion Act respects the importance of a birth mother’s choice, the chairmen remarked, "Women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
 
The letters of support are available online at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/CWPIA-Endorsement-Letter-2019-to-Rep-Kelly.pdf and http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/CWPIA-Endorsement-Letter-2019-to-Sen-Enzi.pdf


A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/CWPIA-Backgrounder-2019.pdf
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, federal court, marriage, adoptions, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop James Conley, Bishop Frank Dewane, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Committee for Religious Liberty, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, religious freedom, religious liberty, House of Representatives, Senate, Congress
 
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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman on Pro-Life Activities Calls All People of Good Will to Stand Up and Protect Unborn and Born Infants

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, KS and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following statement in response to the introduction of a bill in the Virginia legislature that would allow a baby to be aborted at nine months. Although the bill was defeated there, a similar bill was passed by the New York legislature and signed into law by its Governor.

Archbishop Naumann’s full statement follows:
 
“A Virginia lawmaker has introduced a bill which would allow a baby to be aborted at nine months, even if the mother is just about to give birth. This legislation shocks the conscience and is made more egregious by the Governor of Virginia suggesting the permissibility of denying care to infants born alive during the abortion. This senseless disrespect for new human life is horrifying. We join the bishops of Virginia in urging all people of good will to stand up to protect unborn and born infants from legislation that would permit their gruesome deaths.”
 
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Virginia legislation, Governor of Virginia, abortion, birth, human life, protection of unborn, Governor of New York
 
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Frederick Campbell of Columbus; Names Bishop Robert Brennan of Rockville Centre As Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Frederick Campbell, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Columbus, Ohio and has named Bishop Robert Brennan to succeed him. Bishop Brennan is an Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

The resignation and appointment was publicized in Washington, January 31, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Robert Brennan, 56, was born on June 7, 1962 in the Bronx, New York. He attended St. John’s University in Queens, NY, where he earned his undergraduate degree in Math. He earned his Masters of Divinity from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, NY.

He was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1989 for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Bishop Brennan was named Honorary Prelate to His Holiness Pope Saint John Paul II with the title of monsignor on May 27, 1996. He was consecrated as an auxiliary for the Diocese of Rockville Centre on July 25, 2012.

Other assignments included: priest of Church of Saint Patrick; Secretary to the Bishop for the late Bishop John R. McGann, the late Bishop James T. McHugh, and Bishop William Murphy; vicar general and moderator of the curia, pastor of the Church of Saint Mary of the Isle, member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Heath Services of Long Island, member of the Bishop’s Advisory Committee for Catholic Education, chaplain for the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Nassau County.

Bishop Campbell was ordained a priest in 1980. He served as an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1999 to 2004, and then as the eleventh bishop of the Diocese of Columbus since 2004.

The Diocese of Columbus is comprised of 29,282 square miles in the state of Ohio and has a total population of 2,447,972 of which 252,103 or 10.3 percent, are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Most Rev. Bishop Frederick Campbell, Columbus, Most Rev. Robert Brennan, Rockville Centre

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

El Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos hace un llamado a la oración tras el tornado en Cuba que dejó un saldo de muertos y heridos

WASHINGTON— El Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Arzobispo de Galveston-Houston y Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, emitió un comunicado en relación al tornado que azotó La Habana, capital de Cuba, y provincias cercanas el domingo. El fenómeno natural ha dejado al menos cuatro muertos y varias decenas de heridos.

A continuación, el comunicado del Cardenal DiNardo:

"En nombre de mis hermanos obispos en los Estados Unidos, expreso nuestra profunda tristeza por la noticia de un devastador tornado en Cuba que ya se ha cobrado la vida de cuatro personas y dejado más de 170 heridos. Este desastre ha causado grandes daños en La Habana y ha afectado además las provincias de Pinar del Río, Artemisa y Mayabeque. Muchos estadounidenses saben perfectamente la devastación que pueden causar los tornados. En solidaridad, les pido que oremos por las víctimas y sus familias, para que puedan encontrar consuelo y alivio en su fe y entre sus semejantes. Como hijos de la misma madre, invoquemos la protección de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, Patrona de Cuba, para que su abrazo maternal fortalezca al pueblo cubano para salir de este desastre con su resistencia y fuerza acostumbradas".

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Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, La Habana, Cuba, tornado, Pinar del Río, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, oración, alivio.

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Contactos de prensa:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202