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U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to House Vote to Force Taxpayers to Fund Abortion Overseas 

WASHINGTON- On Wednesday evening, the House voted 217 to 212 in favor of H.R. 4373, the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs (SFOPs) appropriations bill. H.R. 4373 excludes the Helms Amendment, which says that “no foreign assistance funds may be used to pay for the performance of abortion as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”   

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:    

"By eliminating the Helms Amendment, H.R. 4373 could force recipient countries that have strong legal and cultural opposition to abortion to embrace it in order to receive desperately needed help for their people. Pope Francis has referred to this type of situation as ideological colonization. Moreover, this legislation pays for abortions and abortion advocacy with the hard-earned tax dollars of Americans—75 percent of whom say their tax dollars should not be used to pay for abortion overseas. While this legislation contains many positive provisions that provide assistance to the poor and vulnerable worldwide, including protection of refugees, increases to humanitarian assistance, and protection of the environment, nothing can justify subsidizing the taking of innocent human life.  

We call on the Senate to stand against the coercive pro-abortion policies of H.R.4373 and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that respect conscience and the lives of all the vulnerable, both here and abroad.”  

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

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to House Vote to Force Taxpayers to Fund Elective Abortions

WASHINGTON - Today, the House voted 219 to 208 in favor of H.R. 4502, a package of appropriations bills that currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions like the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and would have the effect of forcing health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as forcing employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion. 

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement:  

“The House has voted in a way that is completely out of step with the will of the American people who overwhelmingly oppose taxpayer-funded abortion. The Hyde Amendment has saved at least 2.4 million lives since its enactment. Without it, millions of poor women in desperate circumstances will make the irrevocable decision to take the government up on its offer to end the life of their child. 

“To be certain, this bill includes provisions that help vulnerable people, including pregnant moms. As we have said before, ‘being “right” in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life.’ In truth, ‘the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the “rightness” of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community.’[i]

“The injustice in HR 4502 extends to removing conscience protections and exemptions for healthcare providers who believe abortion is wrong, or whose faith drives them to serve and heal lives, instead of taking them.  

“Funding the destruction of innocent unborn human lives, and forcing people to kill in violation of their consciences, are grave abuses of human rights. We call on the Senate to redress this evil in H.R. 4502, and for Congress to ultimately pass appropriations bills that fully support and protect human dignity, and the most vulnerable among us.”


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Media Contacts:

Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200


[i] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life, #22 (1998)

Statement on USCCB General Secretary

WASHINGTON - On Monday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops became aware of impending media reports alleging possible improper behavior by its general secretary, Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill.

What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors. However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, Monsignor Burrill has resigned, effective immediately.

The Conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will pursue all appropriate steps to address them.

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Randolph Calvo of the Diocese of Reno; Appoints Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Randolph R. Calvo from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Reno and has appointed Bishop Daniel H. Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, as Bishop of Reno. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 20, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Mueggenborg’s biography may be found here.

The Diocese of Reno is comprised of 70,852 square miles in the State of Nevada and has a total population of 734,093 of which 89,838 are Catholic.

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

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Congress to Act After Court Ruling on DACA

WASHINGTON—On July 16, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be unlawful. DACA allows certain undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children—known as Dreamers—to remain in the country. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and grants work authorization; it does not create a pathway to citizenship. Not all Dreamers are eligible for DACA, nor have all DACA-eligible individuals received protection through the program. Today, there are approximately 650,000 active DACA recipients in the United States and around 3.6 million Dreamers total.

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 in response to the court’s ruling:

“While we are disappointed with this ruling, we know that DACA was never meant to be a permanent solution for Dreamers. This ruling is simply the most recent development in a long list of events warranting action by Congress. The Senate currently has multiple bills before it that would grant permanent relief to Dreamers, including the American Dream and Promise Act passed by the House of Representatives in March.

“Dreamers contribute to our economy, serve in our armed forces, and raise American families, but they are prevented from becoming full members of our society. All Dreamers, not just those receiving DACA, deserve the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential in the only country most of them have ever known. This is not only a matter of human dignity but also family unity, considering the 250,000 U.S.-citizen children with Dreamers as parents. Current DACA recipients continue to receive protection, but for how long?

“My brother bishops and I urge the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing legislation that would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for all Dreamers. In doing so, we recall the words of Pope Francis: ‘Immigrants, if they are helped to integrate, are a blessing, a source of enrichment and new gift that encourages a society to grow.’”

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

U.S. Bishops’ President and International Justice and Peace Chairman Respond to Recent Events in Cuba

WASHINGTON – In response to the recent events in Cuba, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:

“As protests continue in Cuba and among the diaspora in the United States, we would like to express our solidarity, as well as that of our brother bishops in the United States, with our brothers in the Cuban episcopate, and with all men and women of goodwill in Cuba.

“As the Cuban bishops declared in their July 12 statement, ‘A favorable solution will not be reached by impositions, nor by calling for confrontation, but through mutual listening, where common agreements are sought and concrete and tangible steps are taken that contribute, with the contribution of all Cubans without exception, to the building-up of the Fatherland.’

“In the same spirit as the Cuban bishops, we urge the United States to seek the peace that comes from reconciliation and concord between our countries. For decades, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in conjunction with the Holy See and the Cuban bishops, has called for robust cultural and commercial engagement between the United States and Cuba as the means to assist the island in achieving greater prosperity and social transformation.

“We pray that Our Lady of Charity, our mother, watches over her children in Cuba, and that, together, our countries can grow in friendship in the interests of justice and peace.”


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

 

U.S. Bishops Conference President Responds to Holy Father’s Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio “On the Use of the Roman Liturgy Prior to the Reform of 1970”

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Pope Francis issued an apostolic letter, Traditionis custodes modifying the norms regulating the use of the 1962 Roman Missal issued before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement in response: 

Today Pope Francis published Traditionis custodes, an Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio on the use of Latin liturgical texts approved prior to the reform of 1970. I welcome the Holy Father’s desire to foster unity among Catholics who celebrate the Roman Rite.

“As these new norms are implemented, I encourage my brother bishops to work with care, patience, justice, and charity as together we foster a Eucharistic renewal in our nation.”

 

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

Bishop Chairmen Respond to Extreme Abortion Push in Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON – This week, the House Committee on Appropriations will mark up the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS) appropriations bill, which currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment and other longstanding, bipartisan provisions including the Weldon Amendment. Eliminating these provisions would force taxpayers to pay for elective abortions and force health care providers and professionals to perform and refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover and pay for abortion.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement: 

This is the most extreme pro-abortion appropriations bill that we have seen, effectively mandating healthcare professionals to participate in abortion, and forcing American citizens to pay for abortion with their tax dollars. By eliminating the Hyde Amendment, and other Hyde-like policies, the financial fruits of Americans’ labor would advance the destruction of the smallest, most vulnerable humans. Eliminating the Weldon Amendment would be an egregious violation of conscience rights by forcing individuals and entities to perform, pay for, or otherwise participate in an abortion against their beliefs. Abortion is not healthcare nor a ‘human service’ to anyone.  Rather, abortion is inhumane.  It is a painful death to an innocent baby, and often leaves women physically harmed and emotionally devastated.

“We implore the House Committee on Appropriations to reverse course on these bills that currently expand taxpayer funding of abortion, and to restore the longstanding, bipartisan Hyde provisions and Weldon Amendment that have saved millions of lives and protected conscience rights. These bills include many other provisions and funding for critically-needed services that we support. Americans’ tax dollars should be used for the common good and welfare of all, not to finance abortion or force Americans to violate deeply-held beliefs.  

“Further, we ask all Catholics and all people of good will to contact their legislators and make their voices heard. The lives of millions of vulnerable children, and the well-being of their mothers, depend on our advocacy.”   

The Committee on Pro-Life Activities has sponsored a petition to legislators asking them to preserve the Hyde Amendment. All are encouraged to sign it at NoTaxpayerAbortion.com.

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

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Roger Foys of the Diocese of Covington; Appoints Father John Iffert of the Diocese of Belleville as Successor

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger J. Foys, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Covington and has appointed Father John Iffert, a priest of the Diocese of Belleville as Bishop-elect of Covington. Bishop-elect Iffert currently serves as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 2021, by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Father Iffert was born November 23, 1967. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois (1988). He attended Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, IL, where he earned a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1996 and a Master of Divinity in 1997. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Belleville on June 7, 1997.

Bishop-elect Iffert’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Peter Cathedral in Belleville (1997-2000); administrator and pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Columbia (2000-2003). During that time, he served as a member of the diocesan personnel board, Defender of the Bond for the Tribunal, Spiritual Moderator for both the Belleville deanery CYO and the Diocesan Teens Encounter Christ movement. In August 2003, he entered the novitiate of the Order of Preachers, Province of St. Albert the Great, USA (Dominican, Central Province). He professed simple vows as a Dominican in 2004 which he renewed in 2006. From 2007-2008, he served as parochial vicar of St. Thomas Catholic Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Father Iffert left the Dominicans in 2008 and returned to the Diocese of Belleville.

Father Iffert has served as administrator of St. Mary parish in Mount Vernon (2008-2010); administrator of St. Theresa parish in Salem and at St. Elizabeth in Kinmundy (2009-2010); pastor of St. Mary parish (2010-2020); and pastor of St. Barbara in Scheller (2014-2020). He has served as vicar forane of the North Central Vicarate (2013-2020); diocesan co-vicar for priests (2014-2020); member of the Diocesan Finance Council (2010-present); and as a member of the College of Consultors (2016-present). Since 2020, Father Iffert has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Belleville and since January 2021 he has served as pastor of St. Stephen in Caseyville.

The Diocese of Covington is comprised of 3,359 square miles in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and has a total population of 532,567 of which 91,895 are Catholic.

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

USCCB President Offers Continued Prayers for Holy Father’s Recovery from Surgery

WASHINGTON – As the world awaits to hear updates from the Holy See on the continued recovery of Pope Francis after his surgery last weekend, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued the following statement:

“It is with gratitude that we received the news of the success of the Holy Father’s surgery this past weekend. We continue to offer our heartfelt prayers and good wishes for his recovery. Even as he is recuperating in the hospital, our Holy Father, in his role as our shepherd has selflessly expressed his closeness to those who are sick and in most need of care.

“In solidarity with the universal Church, we offer our prayers for all who are ill and in need of God’s healing touch, and for those who work tirelessly in health care to bring comfort and medical care to the afflicted. Mary, Mother of Healing and Hope, intercede for us!”

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