Humanitarian needs going unmet in Iraq, Catholic leaders tell Congress

IRAQ DEVASTATION—Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre visited a refugee camp in Dawodiya, Iraq, April 10, 2016. (Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.)
IRAQ DEVASTATION—Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre visited a refugee camp in Dawodiya, Iraq, April 10, 2016. (Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.)

Given new and expanded humanitarian crises in Iraq and elsewhere, Congress should respond generously to a request to approve additional aid funding, the US bishops and Catholic Relief Services leaders have said in a letter.

“As we have already learned in Iraq, individuals, communities, and countries divided by war face significant challenges amidst their suffering. They must rebuild their communities, and establish inclusive governance that protects majorities and minorities,” the letter said. Read more

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After ‘Catholic Spring’ Email leak, US bishops warn American ideals at risk

The United States capitol building. (Photo by trekandshoot via Shutterstock)
The United States capitol building. (Photo by trekandshoot via Shutterstock)

Following a leaked Email from prominent political actors about a possible “Catholic Spring” movement to plant “seeds of the revolution” within the Church, the US bishops’ conference has rebuked interference in the Church and a political discourse that marginalizes the faithful and demeans women.

“There have been recent reports that some may have sought to interfere in the internal life of the Church for short-term political gain,” said Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, the US bishops’ conference president. “If true, this is troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country.”

“In our faith and our Church, Christ has given us a precious gift. As Catholics, we hold onto our beliefs because they come to us from Jesus, not a consensus forged by contemporary norms,” he said Oct. 13. Read more

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Labor Day statement invites us to replace fear with a fuller vision


LaborDayStatementArt

The lack of jobs that can support families, particularly among those without access to higher education, has placed heavy burdens on families and communities across the country. This Labor Day, the Church draws close to these families and expresses words of hope, said A​bp. Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the ​US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development in the 2016 Labor Day statement. In the statement, attention ​is drawn to Pope Francis’ recent address to the US Congress, in which he highlighted the connection between economic pressures and stresses on the family. While the United States is undergoing a difficult time with political tensions, fear, and anxiety, A​bp. Wenski challenges people to respond with faith and action. “For our dynamics to change, we must replace fear with a fuller vision that can be powerfully supported by our faith…the Church’s history is filled with communities that took seriously the call to be their ‘brother’s keeper’ (Gn 4:9), faced challenges together, and lifted up the ‘cry of the poor’ (Ps 34:7).” To those who are experiencing isolation and feel left behind in today’s economy, A​bp. Wenski offers assurance of the Church’s solidarity. He said, “For those who feel left behind today, know that the Church wants to walk with you, in the company of the God who formed your ‘inmost being’ and who knows that you are ‘wonderfully made’ (Ps 139:13-14).”

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National Day of Prayer for Peace: Sept. 9

WE ARE ALL BROTHERS—This prayer card depicts St. Peter Claver, SJ, the missionary Spanish Jesuit priest often referred to as the Apostle to the Blacks and seafarers. Considered a patron of human rights, the US bishops have called for a Day of Prayer for Peace and Healing on his feast day, Sept. 9, 2016. (Public domain)
WE ARE ALL BROTHERS—This prayer card depicts St. Peter Claver, SJ, the missionary Spanish Jesuit priest often referred to as the Apostle to the Blacks and seafarers. Considered a patron of human rights, the US bishops have called for a Day of Prayer for Peace and Healing on his feast day, Sept. 9, 2016. (Public domain)

In light of recent incidents of violence and racial tension in communities across the US, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has invited all dioceses across the country to unite in a Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities.

The day of prayer will be celebrated on the feast of St. Peter Claver, Sept. 9, and will serve as a focal point for the work of a special task force Abp. Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KY, appointed to promote peace and healing during this time of great strain on civil society. Read more

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US bishops call for legal protection of doctors who won’t perform abortions

CONSCIENCE PROTECTION— The United States capitol building. (Credit: Flickr)
CONSCIENCE PROTECTION— The United States capitol building. (Credit: Flickr)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop William Lori are once again calling on the House of Representatives to enact the Conscience Protection Act to defend the rights of health care workers.

Back in March, the chairmen of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty sent a letter to the House asking for their support.

According to the letter, the Conscience Protection Act would make sure people providing health care would be able to do so “without being forced by the government to help destroy innocent unborn children.”

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US bishops find widespread compliance in abuse prevention audit

Audit

In their annual report on nationwide measures for the protection of minors, the US bishops found extensive diocesan cooperation with recommended standards, including within the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau. The Church in Southern Missouri remains in compliance and is slated for its on-site audit for 2016.

“When the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, we made a pledge to heal and a promise to protect. These promises remain essential priorities for our Church,” said Abp. Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, KY, president of the USCCB. Read more

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