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Browsing News Entries

U.S. Bishops Chairman Urges Prudence and Thoughtful Deliberation on Tax Reform

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, urged the U.S. House of Representatives toward prudence, ensuring that they and the nation understand fully the impacts of tax reform proposals before voting on them.

The full statement follows:

"The USCCB is currently studying the U.S. House of Representatives' 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,' which was released yesterday, and will be releasing a more detailed statement soon. The changes proposed in this bill are significant and complex, affecting the entire nation. Current information indicates that the House is planning to move this bill quickly through the legislative process. However, prudence requires that members of Congress and the people of the country have adequate time to fully understand and debate the consequences of any tax bill so that decisions serve the dignity of the human person and the common good. This is not a moment for hurried action, but thoughtful deliberation.

It is imperative, too, that lawmakers consider the tax bill through the lens of the moral principles outlined in our letter of one week ago:

  • Caring for the poor;

  • Strengthening families;

  • Maintaining progressivity of the tax code;

  • Raising adequate revenue for the common good;

  • Avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform;

  • Incentivizing charitable giving and development.

A clear understanding and careful consideration of the impacts of these tax proposals is essential for the sake of all people, but particularly the poor."

Bishop Dewane's October 25 letter can be found at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/upload/Tax-Reform-Principles-Letter-Congress-2017-10-25.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, U.S. House of Representatives, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, tax reform, common good, moral principles.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Hindus and Catholics Meet for Third Time; Apostolic Nuncio to Give Keynote Address

WASHINGTON—Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will deliver a keynote address for the third Hindu-Catholic meeting to be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Sri Siva Vishnu Temple in Lanham, MD. The theme for the gathering is "Love of Neighbor in the Catholic and Hindu Traditions: Reflections on Nationalism, War & Poverty." The meeting is co-sponsored by the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The bishops' ecumenical and interreligious committee is in the process of building stronger relations with the Hindu community in the United States. Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, chair of the committee, affirmed that continued opportunities for encounter and reflection on areas of mutual concern are precious in these socially divisive times.

"As the conversation around nationalism, economic inequality, and the proliferation of state-sanctioned violence grows increasingly fraught, driven by fear and often willful misinformation, the Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and good will," said Bishop Rozanski. "Our hope is to advance the goals of greater understanding, mutual esteem and collaboration between Hindus and Catholics, and continue to grow in true friendship and respect. I am grateful to Archbishop Pierre for supporting the foundations of fruitful dialogue between Hindus and Catholics in the United States."

Dr. Abhaya Asthana, President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), one of USCCB's dialogue partners stated, "These dialogues, over the past two years, continue to bring our communities together with a deeper understanding of each other's traditions, thoughts and practices. The theme this year is both meaningful and pragmatic."

The dialogue members will continue to meet yearly, as together they strive to deepen their friendship and build a vibrant network of collaboration on topics of mutual concern.

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Keywords: Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Hindu-Catholic Dialogue, USCCB, US bishops, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, nationalism, dialogue, Hinduism

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

Statement on the Emerging Crisis in Puerto Rico and the Response by the Catholic Church

WASHINGTON—In a November 2 statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Anchorage, Alaska, Chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, called on Catholics and people of good will across the United States to remember those who continue to suffer in Puerto Rico and surrounding islands in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The full statement follows:

"Since the immediate statements of His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, USCCB President, in response to the initial impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it has become clear that the people of Puerto Rico face an unprecedented level of need as a result of those devastating storms. Meaningful action must address both the immediate and long-term needs of the Puerto Rican population. The Island is in the midst of a public health crisis, and food security, health care access, and sustainable alleviation of the island's debt are challenges that must be resolved in a comprehensive way. These will require great effort and significant contributions of financial resources and material assistance.

In addition, the people of other islands in this region, including the United States Virgin Islands, also face dramatic consequences to their economies, which are predicated on an active tourist industry. The enormous and adverse impact of the storms for the livelihood of the Virgin Islands is evident.

In addition to these human costs, the Church in Puerto Rico's physical plant, including parish buildings and schools, has been grievously damaged by the hurricanes. As the Archbishop of San Juan noted, virtually every church structure on the island has been affected by these storms. This need is particularly compelling considering the central role that parishes perform as natural centers in providing pastoral outreach to impacted individuals and families in times of crisis. Aid and financial resources are necessary to restore the physical settings where the Church heals through its ministries those most desperately in need.

The people of Puerto Rico have been facing serious problems for many years: economic upheaval and scarcity, persistent joblessness, and other social problems resulting from the financial crisis gripping the Commonwealth's economy. They bear little responsibility for the island's financial situation yet have suffered most of the consequences. Now, the recent devastation has made the circumstances, especially for those in need, unbearable.

As pastors, we share in the suffering borne by our brother bishops and the people they shepherd in Puerto Rico. We stand ready, through legislative advocacy as well as by means of the emergency funds set up in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, to support with compassion our brothers and sisters in such dire need. We urgently beseech all Catholics in the United States to join with all people of good will in supporting these crucial initiatives at this critical point in time for the people of Puerto Rico."

Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane                         Most Rev. Paul D. Etienne

Bishop of Venice                                            Archbishop of Anchorage

Chairman,                                                       Chairman,

Committee on Domestic Justice                Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions
and Human Development                  

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To learn more about relief for the people of Puerto Rico, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/emergency-collections-and-disaster-relief.cfm.

Bishop Dewane letter of October 12, 2017 to all members of Congress urging "meaningful action" in helping to "alleviate the intense burden in Puerto Rico, particularly for the most vulnerable.": http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/latin-america-caribbean/letter-to-congress-on-puerto-rico-2017-10-12.cfm.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Paul D. Etienne, Subcommittee of Catholic Home Missions, Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. House of Representatives.

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President on Dialogue Within the Church

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement on the nature of dialogue within the Church today.

Full statement follows:

"The departure today of Fr. Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., as a consultant to the Committee on Doctrine and the publication of his letter to Pope Francis gives us an opportunity to reflect on the nature of dialogue within the Church.  Throughout the history of the Church, ministers, theologians and the laity all have debated and have held personal opinions on a variety of theological and pastoral issues. In more recent times, these debates have made their way into the popular press. That is to be expected and is often good.  However, these reports are often expressed in terms of opposition, as political – conservative vs. liberal, left vs. right, pre-Vatican II vs Vatican II.  These distinctions are not always very helpful.

Christian charity needs to be exercised by all involved. In saying this, we all must acknowledge that legitimate differences exist, and that it is the work of the Church, the entire body of Christ, to work towards an ever-growing understanding of God's truth.

As Bishops, we recognize the need for honest and humble discussions around theological and pastoral issues. We must always keep in mind St. Ignatius of Loyola's "presupposition" to his Spiritual Exercises: "…that it should be presumed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor's statement than to condemn it." This presupposition should be afforded all the more to the teaching of Our Holy Father.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a collegial body of bishops working towards that goal. As Pastors and Teachers of the Faith, therefore, let me assert that we always stand in strong unity with and loyalty to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful" (LG, no. 23)."   

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200


 

For Immediate Release: Consultant Steps Down from Committee on Doctrine

WASHINGTON—James Rogers, chief communications officer for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released the following statement this afternoon.

"After speaking with the General Secretary of the Conference today, Father Thomas Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., has resigned, effective immediately, from his position as consultant to the USCCB Committee on Doctrine. The work of the Committee is done in support of, and in affective collegiality with, the Holy Father and the Church in the United States. Our prayers go with Father Weinandy as his service to the Committee comes to a close."

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane

202-541-3200