Browsing News Entries

White House silent on forcing doctors to perform abortion (CNA)

At a White House briefing, press secretary Jan Psaki declined to answer a reporter’s question about whether the Biden administration would require doctors to perform abortion under the terms of the Equality Act, if that proposed legislation becomes law. When pressed to address the “conscience concerns” of pro-life doctors, Psaki said only that Biden supports the Roe v. Wade decision.

U.S. Bishops’ Chairman for International Justice and Peace Expresses Solidarity with People in Myanmar Following Coup

WASHINGTON - In response to the military coup in Myanmar, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace expressed solidarity with the people of Myanmar.

Bishop Malloy’s statement follows:

“On February 1, the military in Myanmar took control of the country, arresting many democratic political leaders and activists, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Since the coup, protesters have gathered peacefully around the country, calling for a return to democracy. Pope Francis has condemned the coup and expressed his solidarity with the people of Burma and called on its leaders to work for the common good. I echo the call by the Holy Father and the bishops of Myanmar on the need for dialogue as a way forward toward peace and reconciliation.

“On behalf of the Committee on International Justice and Peace, I wrote a solidarity letter to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Myanmar and have asked U.S. government officials to carefully consider the insights the local Church can offer towards achieving a just resolution to the current crisis. As protests continue in Myanmar, I call on all Catholics and people of good will to pray for the people and leaders of this land.”

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Doctrine and for Pro-Life Address the Use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 Vaccine

WASHINGTON– On March 2, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the United States. 

“The approval of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in the United States again raises questions about the moral permissibility of using vaccines developed, tested, and/or produced with the help of abortion-derived cell lines.

“Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines raised concerns because an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them, but not in their production.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, however, was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines raising additional moral concerns. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has judged that ‘when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available … it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.[1] However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.  

“While we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the world-wide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”

For further details, we refer people to our earlier December 2020 statement, to our Answers to Key Ethical Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines, to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s Note, and to the statement of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Life

 


[1] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines” (17 Dec 2020), no. 2.


###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Names Father Jerome Feudjio as Bishop of Saint Thomas

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Msgr. Jerome Feudjio as Bishop of Saint Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Bishop-elect Feudjio is a priest of the Diocese of Saint Thomas and currently serves as a vicar general and chancellor of that See, and rector of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 2, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Monsignor Feudjio was born September 30, 1955 in Fonakeukeu, Dschang, Cameroon. He graduated from St. Albert Catholic School in Dschang in 1967 and attended St. John College of the Christian Brothers of Quebec in Mbanga, Cameroon (1968-1972) and received a degree in Bookkeeping (1972). He was postulant for the religious order, the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) in 1972 and attended Saint Apostles Seminary of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart in Otelé, Cameroon (1972-1975), and the Major Seminary of Nkolbison in Yaoundé, Cameroon (1975-1979).

In 1980, while he was at the Sacred Heart Novitiate, Monsignor Feudjio travelled to the United States and he met in Washington then-Father Seán O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap. who invited him to stay at San Francisco House, run by the Spanish Catholic Center of the Archdiocese of Washington. He attended Oblate College which was then part of the Washington Theological Consortium, where he completed his studies in Philosophy and Theology for the priesthood. In 1987, he joined the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and made his temporary religious profession. He enrolled in the Administration of Justice Program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, where he completed his graduate program with an internship at a local transitional house that helped former inmates re-adjust to society.

Following the appointment of Bishop O’Malley to the Diocese of Saint Thomas (1984-1992), Monsignor Feudjio was invited to work as a campus minister at Saints Peter & Paul School in 1988. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Saint Thomas on September 29, 1990. In 2002, he was named by Pope John Paul II a Chaplain of His Holiness, a recognition that carried the honorary title of Monsignor. In 2004, Monsignor Feudjio returned to Southern Illinois University to pursue graduate studies in Rehabilitation Administration at the request of Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., who was bishop of Saint Thomas from 1999-2007.

Monsignor Feudjio’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral and Saint Anne Chapel (1990-1997); French and religion teacher (1992-1997) and assistant principal at Saints Peter and Paul School (1995-1997); diocesan finance officer (1996-2004); director of vocations (1996-2020); administrator (1997-2000) and rector (2000-2001) of Saints Peter & Paul Cathedral; vicar for clergy and religious (2001-present). Father Feudjio also served as chancellor for the Diocese of Saint Thomas (2002-2004); pastor of Holy Family Parish (2004-2008). He has been rector and vicar general of the Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral since 2008.

Bishop-elect Feudjio’s pastoral ministry also includes assignments such as diocesan consultor, member of the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities, member of Diocesan Finance Committee, moderator of the curia, and vicar for communications.

The Diocese of Saint Thomas is comprised of the islands of Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Saint John, and Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands and has a total population of 110,000 of which 30,000 are Catholic.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Say Equality Act Would Discriminate Against People of Faith and Threaten Unborn Life

WASHINGTON—Five committee chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) wrote a letter to members of Congress opposing the recent reintroduction of the Equality Act (H.R. 5), which is scheduled to be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The bishops warned of the threats posed by the proposed legislation to both people of faith and of no faith, with respect to mandates impacting charities and their beneficiaries in need, health care and other conscience rights, taxpayer funding of abortion, freedom of speech, women’s sports and sex-specific facilities, and more. Their letter explained:

“[E]very person is made in the image of God and should be treated accordingly, with respect and compassion. This commitment is reflected in the Church’s charitable service to all people, without regard to race, religion, or any other characteristic. It means we need to honor every person’s right to gainful employment free of unjust discrimination or harassment, and to the basic goods that they need to live and thrive. It also means that people of differing beliefs should be respected.”

Furthermore, the bishop chairmen asserted, “The [Equality Act] represents the imposition by Congress of novel and divisive viewpoints regarding ‘gender’ on individuals and organizations. This includes dismissing sexual difference and falsely presenting ‘gender’ as only a social construct. As Pope Francis has reflected, however, ‘“biological sex and the socio-cultural role of sex (gender) can be distinguished but not separated.” … It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality.’ Tragically, this Act can also be construed to include an abortion mandate, a violation of precious rights to life and conscience.”

“Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they concluded.

The letter was jointly signed by Bishop Michael C. Barber, S.J., of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and  Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

The letter is available at https://www.usccb.org/resources/Letter_to_Congress_on_Equality_Act_Feb_23_2021.

More information and resources related to the USCCB’s stance on the Equality Act may be found at https://www.usccb.org/equality-act. 

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Two Young Professionals at the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Chosen for “Faith Communication in the Digital World” Project

WASHINGTON – Two young professionals on staff at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have been chosen by the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communications to be part of a unique digital media project. As the Catholic Church seeks to embrace new and effective ways of communication during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media and mobile applications have been utilized as key tools in communicating the Gospel message. Recognizing the vital role of digital media, the dicastery announced “Faith Communication in the Digital World” and invited candidates to apply for a 12-month project with the opportunity to sharpen their digital media skills and develop skills useful for work in Catholic organizations, institutions, congregations and in their local dioceses to better serve the mission of the Church.

Alexandra Carroll, communications manager for social mission for the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and John Lilly, communications specialist for the USCCB’s Office of Public Affairs were among sixteen individuals under age thirty-five from a dozen countries across the globe who were chosen to be part of this project. Through her work at the Conference, Alexandra engages Catholics in the work of the grassroots organizations supported by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the domestic anti-poverty program of the U.S. bishops. Previously, Alexandra served as the director of communications for Catholic Mobilizing Network where she inspired Catholics to end the use of the death penalty and promote a more restorative criminal justice system. Alexandra received a Masters of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) with a focus in Theological Ethics and Human Rights from Boston College, where she also served as a volunteer with the Catholic prison ministry at the Suffolk County House of Corrections. John has worked in digital communications for the Catholic Church for the last six years, including several positions at parishes and schools in the Diocese of Arlington. For the last year and a half, John has worked for the USCCB managing the Conference’s social media and digital presence. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in media production and criticism at George Mason University, where he was also involved in Catholic Campus Ministry as a student leader. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.

“Communication is integral to the Church and her mission,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Communications. “Over the last year, we have been physically distanced from one another with the coronavirus, but we have also experienced a powerful moment of evangelization where we have had the opportunity to remain close spiritually and pastorally. The communications technology and tools available to us have helped the greater Catholic community remain united with the Lord during this difficult time, and so it is with great joy to learn of the Holy See’s project to equip those who work for the Church become more effective communicators.”

The young professionals will participate in weekly virtual meetings, which include lectures by internationally renowned experts and individual coaching on specific topics related to digital communication and social media. The group will engage in individual and group work assignments throughout the project. The program also includes two week-long trips to Rome where the group will gather in person.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ President Urges Prayer and Support for All During Extreme Winter Weather and Storms

WASHINGTON—Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) urges prayer and support for all those who have died and been injured in the recent winter storms, and encourages hope and generous support at the beginning of the Lenten season.

Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:

"I join my brother bishops in praying for all those who have died and been injured in the recent winter storms. We pray especially for those without power and heat and for first responders who are offering assistance to those with urgent needs. In our Lenten almsgiving, let us find concrete ways to help our brothers and sisters. I entrust those who are suffering to the Immaculate Heart of our Blessed Mother Mary. May she grant them all comfort and peace.”

Donations can be made to Catholic Charities USA at www.CCUSA.online/weather.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed the Rev. Gary W. Janak as auxiliary bishop of San Antonio. Bishop-elect Janak is a priest of the Diocese of Victoria and currently serves as rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory and vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of Victoria. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on February 15, 2021 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Janak was born March 22, 1962 in El Campo, Texas. He graduated from Palacios High School in 1980 and attended Wharton Junior College and the University of Texas, Austin (1980-1982) and received a Bachelor of Arts in history from The College of Santa Fe in New Mexico (1982-1983). He received a Master of Divinity from Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas (1983-1988) and a Licentiate in Canon Law (JCL) from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. (1993-1995). He received a Master of Education in counseling from University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas (1995-1997) and is a Licensed Professional Counselor for the State of Texas (2000 to present). He attended Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Santa Fe, New Mexico and Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas, and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Victoria on May 14, 1988.

Assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory, Victoria, Texas (1988-1990); priest in residence at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Victoria, Texas (1990-1994); pastor at St. Joseph Church, Yoakum, Texas (1994-2003); pastor at St. Philip the Apostle Church, El Campo, Texas (2003-2013); and parochial administrator, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, Nada, Texas, and St. John Nepomucene Church, New Taiton, Texas (2005-2006). Father Janak has also served as chancellor for the Diocese of Victoria since 2012, and as rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory since 2013. From April to June 2015, he served as diocesan administrator, and since 2015 has been vicar general for the Diocese of Victoria.

Other assignments include: defender of the bond for the appellate court of the dioceses of Texas (1993); director of the diocesan permanent diaconate program (1990-1995); vocations director and director of seminarians (1990-1996). From 2004 to 2016, he served as diocesan co-coordinator of pastoral care and outreach, and vicar forane of the El Campo deanery from 2007 to 2013.

Bishop-elect Janak’s ministry also includes serving as a judge and advocate for the marriage tribunal of the Diocese of Victoria since 1988; membership on the Diocesan Review Board since 2002; the diocesan College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, and the Priest Personnel Board since 2007; and the Diocesan Finance Board since 2012. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio is comprised of 23,180 square miles in the state of Texas and has a total population of 3,038,857 of which 1,216,499 are Catholic. Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS is the current archbishop of San Antonio.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

"Catholics and United Methodists Together" is a Collaborative Publication Resulting from Decades of Dialogue

WASHINGTON - Representatives of the United Methodist Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced the release of the results of its latest round of dialogue in the form of a two-part publication. This eighth round of dialogue was co-chaired by Bishop David P. Talley of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and Bishop Peggy Johnson, resident bishop of the Philadelphia Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church.

The work entitled Catholics and United Methodists Together is being released today. Both parts are available on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (here) and the website of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church (here).

The first book subtitled “We Believe, We Pray, We Act,” emphasizes the importance of our shared recognition of one another’s baptisms, and pastoral commentaries on the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the commandment to love God and neighbor.

The second book subtitled “Shared Prayers and Resources,” offers a practical guide for Methodists and Catholics to learn, pray and worship together. It describes shared traditions of prayer and worship and includes models for ecumenical prayer services. It also includes accessible teaching on conducting dialogue, a description of our mutual and divergent sacramental practices, and a summary of the results of all of our past fifty years of official dialogues.

The collaborative project is the product of the sincere desire of the dialogue committee that the deep spiritual communion shared within the group over the decades be shared among United Methodists and Catholics everywhere. The episcopal co-chairs of the dialogue conclude their introductory letter with this commendation: “It is now time for the dialogue to take on new life within and between our respective communions. The unity of Christ’s church must take root in our hearts and bear fruit in shared learning, prayer, worship, and service within our faith communities.”

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Catholic Leaders Urge Temporary Protected Status and Foreign Assistance for Central American Countries Devastated by Recent Hurricanes

WASHINGTON—Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, and Sean Callahan, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), have formally requested that the Biden Administration provide an 18-month designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for foreign nationals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua—four Central American countries recently devastated by Hurricanes Eta and Iota in November. Under U.S. law, TPS is a temporary and renewable immigration protection that allows individuals to remain and work lawfully in the U.S. during a period in which it is deemed unsafe for them to return to their home country due to certain conditions, including environmental disaster.

In their letter dated February 10, 2021, Bishop Dorsonville, Bishop Malloy, and Mr. Callahan stated:

“Recent hurricanes Eta and Iota have devastated communities across Central America. In addition to providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to populations in need, the U.S. has a moral responsibility to provide foreign nationals from these countries currently present in the U.S. temporary humanitarian protection. . . .

“Undoubtedly, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala are facing the aftermath of an environmental disaster. Therefore, we strongly urge [the Administration] to designate TPS for these countries for a period of 18 months. Current conditions prevent foreign nationals from returning safely and managing their return would only add to existing challenges. This is compounded with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which further strains limited resources on the ground and imposes an added layer of complication for return.

“As Americans, we know such a response to be supported by the values, laws, and ideals that this country holds dear; and as Christians, we are called in a special way to make this plea. We therefore join with people of faith all across the U.S. in praying for a swift recovery from these devastating storms and a humane response to those impacted by them.”

Read the text of the full letter.

Learn more about TPS on the Justice for Immigrants website.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi and Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200