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U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Mourns Migrant Deaths in Texas

WASHINGTON – Earlier this week, nearly fifty migrants were found dead in an abandoned tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas. Additional migrants were rescued from the truck, including children, and several of the survivors have since died. Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“This is a tragic loss of life and a harrowing depiction of the extreme risks assumed by migrants out of sheer desperation. With deep sadness, I join Archbishop García-Siller in praying for strength, mercy, and understanding during this difficult time, especially for the survivors of this horrific incident. I also unite with Pope Francis in asking the Lord to ‘open our hearts so these misfortunes never happen again.’

“Unfortunately, this disregard for the sanctity of human life is all too common in the context of migration. As a Church called to build a culture of life, we cannot tolerate this injustice. Instead, we must recognize that we are brothers and sisters, each imbued with God-given dignity. To prevent further loss of life, we urge governments and civil society to promote access to protection, including asylum, develop new pathways for those compelled to migrate, and combat human trafficking in all its forms.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishop Chairmen Express Concern with U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Revisions to the Title IX Regulations

WASHINGTON - Last week, on the 50th anniversary of Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education proposed revising its regulations implementing Title IX - a law intended to promote women’s equality and opportunity. Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement in response:

“The 701-page proposed rule issued last week contains many provisions of concern to the Church and her ministries, to the faithful and the common good. The full meaning and impact of these provisions is not entirely clear and will require more careful study.

“But even at this early stage, it is apparent that the rule’s provisions on discrimination based on ‘pregnancy or related conditions,’ which include ‘termination of pregnancy,’ are intended to have implications for abortion, and therefore, life in the womb. And by adding self-asserted ‘gender identity’ to the prohibition against sex discrimination, the rule may foreshadow a threat to women’s athletics, sex-separate spaces, and the right of students, parents, and teachers to speak the truth about the nature of the human person. 

“It is a sad irony that these rules could effectively erase women and girls from the very law meant to serve them.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Memorial of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr

Reading I Am 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Hear this word, O children of Israel, that the LORD pronounces over you,
over the whole family that I brought up from the land of Egypt:

            You alone have I favored,
                        more than all the families of the earth;
            Therefore I will punish you
                        for all your crimes.

            Do two walk together
                        unless they have agreed?
            Does a lion roar in the forest
                        when it has no prey?
            Does a young lion cry out from its den
                        unless it has seized something?
            Is a bird brought to earth by a snare
                        when there is no lure for it?
            Does a snare spring up from the ground
                        without catching anything?
            If the trumpet sounds in a city,
                        will the people not be frightened?
            If evil befalls a city,
                        has not the LORD caused it?
            Indeed, the Lord GOD does nothing
                        without revealing his plan
                        to his servants, the prophets.

            The lion roars—
                        who will not be afraid!
            The Lord GOD speaks—
                        who will not prophesy!

            I brought upon you such upheaval
                        as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah:
                        you were like a brand plucked from the fire;
            Yet you returned not to me,
                        says the LORD.

            So now I will deal with you in my own way, O Israel!
                        and since I will deal thus with you,
                        prepare to meet your God, O Israel.

Responsorial Psalm 5:4b-6a, 6b-7, 8

R.        (9a)  Lead me in your justice, Lord.
At dawn I bring my plea expectantly before you.
For you, O God, delight not in wickedness;
            no evil man remains with you;
            the arrogant may not stand in your sight.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.
You hate all evildoers;
            you destroy all who speak falsehood;
The bloodthirsty and the deceitful
            the LORD abhors.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.
But I, because of your abundant mercy,
            will enter your house;
I will worship at your holy temple
            in fear of you, O LORD.
R.        Lead me in your justice, Lord.

 

Alleluia Psalm 130:5

R.        Alleluia, alleluia.
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
R.        Alleluia, alleluia.

 

Gospel Mt 8:23-27

As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Monday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading I Am 2:6-10, 13-16

Thus says the LORD:
For three crimes of Israel, and for four,
I will not revoke my word;
Because they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.

Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them,
who were as tall as the cedars,
and as strong as the oak trees.
I destroyed their fruit above,
and their roots beneath.
It was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and who led you through the desert for forty years,
to occupy the land of the Amorites.

Beware, I will crush you into the ground
as a wagon crushes when laden with sheaves.
Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong man shall not retain his strength;
The warrior shall not save his life,
nor the bowman stand his ground;
The swift of foot shall not escape,
nor the horseman save his life.
And the most stouthearted of warriors
shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD.

 

Responsorial Psalm 50:16bc-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23

R. (22a) Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“When you see a thief, you keep pace with him,
and with adulterers you throw in your lot.
To your mouth you give free rein for evil,
you harness your tongue to deceit.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“You sit speaking against your brother;
against your mother’s son you spread rumors.
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.
“Consider this, you who forget God,
lest I rend you and there be no one to rescue you.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. Remember this, you who never think of God.

Alleluia Ps 95:8

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 8:18-22

When Jesus saw a crowd around him,
he gave orders to cross to the other shore.
A scribe approached and said to him,
“Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”
Another of his disciples said to him,
“Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”
But Jesus answered him, “Follow me,
and let the dead bury their dead.”

- - -

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

USCCB Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson

WASHINGTON - In response to the Supreme Court of the United States issuing its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities issued the following statement:

This is a historic day in the life of our country, one that stirs our thoughts, emotions and prayers. For nearly fifty years, America has enforced an unjust law that has permitted some to decide whether others can live or die; this policy has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of preborn children, generations that were denied the right to even be born.

America was founded on the truth that all men and women are created equal, with God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This truth was grievously denied by the U.S. Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized and normalized the taking of innocent human life. We thank God today that the Court has now overturned this decision. We pray that our elected officials will now enact laws and policies that promote and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Our first thoughts are with the little ones whose lives have been taken since 1973. We mourn their loss, and we entrust their souls to God, who loved them from before all ages and who will love them for all eternity. Our hearts are also with every woman and man who has suffered grievously from abortion; we pray for their healing, and we pledge our continued compassion and support. As a Church, we need to serve those who face difficult pregnancies and surround them with love.    

Todays decision is also the fruit of the prayers, sacrifices, and advocacy of countless ordinary Americans from every walk of life. Over these long years, millions of our fellow citizens have worked together peacefully to educate and persuade their neighbors about the injustice of abortion, to offer care and counseling to women, and to work for alternatives to abortion, including adoption, foster care, and public policies that truly support families. We share their joy today and we are grateful to them. Their work for the cause of life reflects all that is good in our democracy, and the pro-life movement deserves to be numbered among the great movements for social change and civil rights in our nations history. 

Now is the time to begin the work of building a post-Roe America. It is a time for healing wounds and repairing social divisions; it is a time for reasoned reflection and civil dialogue, and for coming together to build a society and economy that supports marriages and families, and where every woman has the support and resources she needs to bring her child into this world in love.

As religious leaders, we pledge ourselves to continue our service to Gods great plan of love for the human person, and to work with our fellow citizens to fulfill Americas promise to guarantee the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.”

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Bishop Chairman Welcomes Passage of Bipartisan Safer Communities Act

WASHINGTON – Following the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, commended members of Congress for passing the bill.

Archbishop Coakley’s full statement follows:

“I welcome the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will take meaningful action to prevent gun violence and protect lives. The investments in mental health services and reasonable measures to regulate guns included in this bill are positive initial steps towards confronting a culture of violence. This agreement, born of dialogue and compromise to advance the safety and well-being of all, embodies the work Pope Francis calls us to in his encyclical, Fratelli tutti, ‘Good politics combines love with hope and with confidence in the reserves of goodness present in human hearts.’ I commend members of Congress for their work thus far and encourage them to continue working to confront the plague of gun violence in our nation.”  

The USCCB has consistently supported the sensible regulation, sale, and use of firearms. On June 3, the USCCB sent a letter to all members of Congress urging lawmakers to “unite in their humanity to stop the massacres of human lives” and to advance life-saving legislation to address gun violence. On June 23, the USCCB sent a letter to all members of Congress in support of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

 

Supreme Court Rules That Maine Cannot Discriminate Against Religious Schools Because They Teach Religion

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in the case of Carson v. Makin, which challenged a decision by the First Circuit to allow the State of Maine to exclude religious schools from a tuition assistance benefit on the basis that those schools include religion as part of their instruction. By vote of 6-3, the Court ruled in favor of the petitioners. 

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education, issued a statement in response to the Court’s ruling:

“The Supreme Court has rightly ruled that the Constitution protects not just the right to be religious but also to act religious. This common-sense result reflects the essence of Catholic education. Moreover, the Court has again affirmed that states cannot exclude religious schools from generally-available public benefits based on their religious affiliation or exercise. In our pluralistic society, it is vital that all people of faith be able to participate in publicly available programs and so to contribute to the common good.

“It is fitting that this decision concerns a program in Maine, the state that James G. Blaine served as Senator in 1875 when he worked for the passage of the Blaine Amendment – a cynically anti-Catholic measure to amend the U.S. Constitution to ensure that no public aid be provided to ‘sectarian’ schools. While his effort was narrowly defeated, Blaine Amendments were ultimately adopted in some form by 37 states. These laws have nothing to do with government neutrality towards religion. Rather, they are expressions of hostility toward Catholics. We are grateful that the Supreme Court continues to rebuke this harmful legacy.”

The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the petitioners, which may be found here: https://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/Christian%20Legal%20Society%20et%20al%20amicus%20brief.pdf.

Background on Blaine Amendments may be found here: https://www.usccb.org/committees/religious-liberty/religious-liberty-backgrounder-blaine-amendments.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Reflecting on World Refugee Day, USCCB’s Migration Chairman Encourages Proactive Response to Forced Displacement

WASHINGTON - World Refugee Day, observed in the United States and around the world on June 20, was established by the United Nations to increase awareness of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. Catholic dioceses, parishes, and organizations across the globe commemorated this annual event, celebrating the positive contributions of refugees and the efforts of communities to welcome them.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“Almost seventy years ago, in his apostolic constitution Exsul Familia, Pope Pius XII boldly proclaimed that the ‘Holy Family of Nazareth, fleeing into Egypt, is the archetype of every refugee family.’ In the aftermath of World War II, that image of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph seeking safety had been the lived reality of millions. Today, that number has grown to surpass any other point in history, propelled by the ravages of war, persecution, famine, and other tragedies. This is the persistent nature of forced displacement, and it requires a proactive response.

“As we work now to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine, we continue to urge a more robust use of the Refugee Admissions Program, which is designed to ensure the long-term integration and self-sufficiency of newly arrived refugees. Consistent with those same goals, we renew our appeal for Congress to pass legislation that would provide a pathway to permanent legal status for our new Afghan neighbors. Finally, we reaffirm the importance of asylum as a vital mechanism for humanitarian protection.

“May the Holy Family serve as a source of hope and strength for all those seeking safety, and may we who are called to know, love, and serve God recognize him in those displaced.”

The USCCB, through its Department of Migration and Refugee Services, is one of nine national  resettlement agencies supporting the Refugee Admissions Program. Through this work, the Catholic Church in the United States answers Christ’s call to welcome the stranger and carries out the Church’s commitment to protecting the life and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception to natural death.

Resources related to World Refugee Day, Ukraine, and other topics can be found on the Justice for Immigrants website.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests is a Special Moment to Pray for Priests and the Gift of their Vocation

WASHINGTON – On June 24, the Catholic Church will celebrate World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. Established by Saint John Paul II in 2002, this celebration occurs annually on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. On this day, the Church encourages priests to prayerfully reflect upon the gift of their vocation. The faithful are also invited to mark this celebration by praying for all priests that they may live lives of holiness and fidelity to Christ and his Church. Priests were not spared from the effects of the pandemic on their lives, so this year is again a good time to pray for our dedicated priests who creatively reached out to care for the faithful during this challenging time.

Pope Francis has emphasized the importance of initial and ongoing formation in the life of the priest: “Precisely for this reason, it [ongoing formation] cannot be a limited task because priests never stop being disciples of Jesus, who follow Him. Sometimes we proceed with celerity, at other times our step is hesitant, we stop and we may even fall, but always staying on the path. Therefore, formation understood as discipleship accompanies the ordained minister his entire life and regards his person as a whole, intellectually, humanly and spiritually. Initial and ongoing formation are distinct because each requires different methods and timing, but they are two halves of one reality, the life of a disciple cleric, in love with his Lord and steadfastly following Him.”

In conjunction with the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests, Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations said, “The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus gives us a special opportunity to continue our prayers for our priests. May and June are traditionally when ordinations to the priesthood are celebrated. With many priests celebrating anniversaries, this annual day of prayer is significant. This year, it also marks the official promulgation of the sixth edition of The Program of Priestly Formation in the United States of America. I am grateful to all of those who assisted in drafting and reviewing the document for their diligent efforts; this new edition will guide diocesan and religious seminary formation programs for years to come. The CCLV committee is also currently developing the second edition of the Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests to provide priests with rich spiritual and practical insights to benefit them and their sacred ministry and assist in the ongoing renewal of their commitment to lifelong formation as envisioned by Pope Francis. We pray that this will help foster renewal in all our priests.”

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the intercession of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, imbue all priests with his grace, strengthen their hearts, and renew them in their vocation to image Christ, Head and Shepherd, Servant and Spouse. Amen.

Resources for supporting the life and ministry of priests are available on the USCCB website: https://www.usccb.org/committees/clergy-consecrated-life-vocations/priestly-life-and-ministry

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200