April 1, 2021

Situation at the U.S.-Mexico Border

The Bishops along the border of the United States and Northern Mexico have issued a joint statement on the situation at the border of the two countries. Their joint statement follows…

 

As U.S. and Mexican Bishops along the border, we witness daily the dilemma that our migrant sisters and brothers face. For most, the decision to migrate is not motivated by an indifference toward their homeland or the pursuit of economic prosperity; it is a matter of life or death. The situation is all the more difficult for children.

 

Challenges such as these require humanitarian solutions. Undoubtedly, nations have the right to maintain their borders. This is vital to their sovereignty and self-determination. At the same time, there is a shared responsibility of all nations to preserve human life and provide for safe, orderly and humane immigration, including the right to asylum.

 

For that reason, we renew our appeal to our governments, to political leaders and civil society, that they work together to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate migrants in accordance with their intrinsic dignity, as well as work with other countries in the region to eliminate conditions that compel their citizens to resort to dangerous and irregular migration, producing long-term solutions. “Unlike disagreement and conflict,” Pope Francis reminds us, “persistent and courageous dialogue does not make headlines, but quietly helps the world to live much better than we imagine.”

 

Conscious of the importance of public health and safety, we encourage policies supported by sound scientific rationales. We maintain that family unity must be a vital component of any response. We ask that special attention be given to particularly vulnerable populations, such as children. We strongly urge that structures be put in place and reforms in our laws be made to both promote a welcoming culture for our sisters and brothers and respect the sovereignty and safety of our countries.

 

We pledge our support to continue helping our respective governments’ efforts to protect and care for families, as well as individuals who feel compelled to migrate. To accomplish this we commit to the ongoing work of Catholic organizations at the border and elsewhere, which are generously tended to by lay people, consecrated persons and the clergy.

 

One year ago, on the eve of Easter Sunday, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death.” As we once again enter into Holy Week, in which we experience the power of love in Christ’s Death and Resurrection, we feel encouraged to keep going, helping migrants, conscious that while the way ahead is long and arduous, it is not impossible if we journey together.

 

U.S. Bishops:

  • Most Reverend Mario E. Dorsonville

Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Chairman, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration

  • Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz

Bishop of El Paso

  • Most Reverend James A. Tamayo

Bishop of Laredo

  • Most Reverend Edward J. Weisenburger

Bishop of Tucson

  • Most Reverend Daniel E. Flores

Bishop of Brownsville

  • Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino

Bishop of Las Cruces

  • Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy

Bishop of San Diego

  • Most Reverend Michael J. Sis

Bishop of San Angelo

  • Most Reverend Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS

Archbishop of San Antonio

 

Mexican Bishops:

  • Monsignor José Guadalupe Torres Campos

Bishop of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

Encargado de la Dimensión Episcopal de Pastoral de la Movilidad Humana (DEPMH)

  • Monsignor Jesús José Herrera Quiñones

Bishop of Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua

  • Monsignor Alonso Garza Treviño

Bishop of Piedras Negras, Coahuila

  • Monsignor Enrique Sánchez Martínez

Bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

  • Monsignor Eugenio Andrés Lira Rugarcía

Bishop of Matamoros, Tamaulipas

  • Monsignor Hilario González García

Bishop of Saltillo, Coahuila

 

March 30, 2021

Annual Liturgical Celebration of Youth and Young Adults Moved from Palm Sunday to Christ the King

In March 2021, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Administrative Committee voted to align its nationwide liturgical celebration of youth and young adults, which was traditionally celebrated on Palm Sunday, with the new universal date, the feast of Christ the King. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, San Francisco and Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth issued the following statement:


“The Holy Father asked Catholic churches around the world to renew their celebration of youth and young people on Christ the King Sunday, to help connect younger generations with “the Mystery of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of Man” (Homily, Nov. 22, 2020).”


“We welcome this opportunity to join Pope Francis in lifting up youth and young adults, in particular those on the margins who feel disconnected from our faith communities. In his apostolic exhortation, Christus Vivit, Pope Francis told young people, ‘Christ is alive, and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you, and he never abandons you… he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope.’ This celebration will allow our local churches to once again communicate this important pastoral message to the young on a day focused on Jesus as our Lord and King, the one who invites all generations into his loving embrace.”


This year, the Feast of Christ the King falls on Sunday, November 21, 2021.

 

More information will be posted on the Youth and Young Adult Ministries page of the USCCB website at USCCBYouthYoungAdultMinistries.

 

 

January 20, 2020

Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America

Most Reverend José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

My prayers are with our new President and his family today.

I am praying that God grant him wisdom and courage to lead this great nation and that God help him to meet the tests of these times, to heal the wounds caused by this pandemic, to ease our intense political and cultural divisions, and to bring people together with renewed dedication to America’s founding purposes, to be one nation under God committed to liberty and equality for all.

Catholic bishops are not partisan players in our nation’s politics. We are pastors responsible for the souls of millions of Americans and we are advocates for the needs of all our neighbors. In every community across the country, Catholic parishes, schools, hospitals, and ministries form an essential culture of compassion and care, serving women, children, and the elderly, the poor and sick, the imprisoned, the migrant, and the marginalized, no matter what their race or religion.

When we speak on issues in American public life, we try to guide consciences, and we offer principles.  These principles are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social teachings of his Church. Jesus Christ revealed God’s plan of love for creation and revealed the truth about the human person, who is created in God’s image, endowed with God-given dignity, rights and responsibilities, and called to a transcendent destiny.

Based on these truths, which are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, the bishops and Catholic faithful carry out Christ’s commandment to love God and love our neighbors by working for an America that protects human dignity, expands equality and opportunities for every person, and is open-hearted towards the suffering and weak.

For many years now, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has tried to help Catholics and others of good will in their reflections on political issues through a publication we call Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The most recent edition addresses a wide range of concerns. Among them: abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, immigration, racism, poverty, care for the environment, criminal justice reform, economic development, and international peace.

On these and other issues, our duty to love and our moral principles lead us to prudential judgments and positions that do not align neatly with the political categories of left or right or the platforms of our two major political parties. We work with every President and every Congress. On some issues we find ourselves more on the side of Democrats, while on others we find ourselves standing with Republicans. Our priorities are never partisan. We are Catholics first, seeking only to follow Jesus Christ faithfully and to advance his vision for human fraternity and community.

I look forward to working with President Biden and his administration, and the new Congress. As with every administration, there will be areas where we agree and work closely together and areas where we will have principled disagreement and strong opposition.

Working with President Biden will be unique, however, as he is our first president in 60 years to profess the Catholic faith. In a time of growing and aggressive secularism in American culture, when religious believers face many challenges, it will be refreshing to engage with a President who clearly understands, in a deep and personal way, the importance of religious faith and institutions. Mr. Biden’s piety and personal story, his moving witness to how his faith has brought him solace in times of darkness and tragedy, his longstanding commitment to the Gospel’s priority for the poor — all of this I find hopeful and inspiring.

At the same time, as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.

Our commitments on issues of human sexuality and the family, as with our commitments in every other area — such as abolishing the death penalty or seeking a health care system and economy that truly serves the human person — are guided by Christ’s great commandment to love and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.

For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the “preeminent priority.” Preeminent does not mean “only.” We have deep concerns about many threats to human life and dignity in our society. But as Pope Francis teaches, we cannot stay silent when nearly a million unborn lives are being cast aside in our country year after year through abortion.

Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.

Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families. My hope, too, is that we can work together to finally put in place a coherent family policy in this country, one that acknowledges the crucial importance of strong marriages and parenting to the well-being of children and the stability of communities. If the President, with full respect for the Church’s religious freedom, were to engage in this conversation, it would go a long way toward restoring the civil balance and healing our country’s needs.

President Biden’s call for national healing and unity is welcome on all levels. It is urgently needed as we confront the trauma in our country caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the social isolation that has only worsened the intense and long-simmering divisions among our fellow citizens.

As believers, we understand that healing is a gift that we can only receive from the hand of God. We know, too, that real reconciliation requires patient listening to those who disagree with us and a willingness to forgive and move beyond desires for reprisal. Christian love calls us to love our enemies and bless those who oppose us, and to treat others with the same compassion that we want for ourselves. 

We are all under the watchful eye of God, who alone knows and can judge the intentions of our hearts. I pray that God will give our new President, and all of us, the grace to seek the common good with all sincerity.

I entrust all our hopes and anxieties in this new moment to the tender heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ and the patroness of this exceptional nation. May she guide us in the ways of peace and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.

 

Spanish

20 de enero de 2021

Comunicado sobre la Toma de Posesión de Joseph R. Biden Jr., Como 46º Presidente de Estados Unidos de América

Reverendísimo José H. Gomez, Arzobispo de Los Ángeles, Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos

Mis oraciones están hoy con nuestro nuevo presidente y su familia.

Oro para que Dios le conceda sabiduría y valor para liderar a esta gran nación y para que le ayude a superar los retos de estos tiempos, a curar las heridas causadas por esta pandemia, a aliviar nuestras intensas divisiones políticas y culturales y a unificar a las personas con una renovada dedicación a los propósitos que motivaron la fundación de Estados Unidos, una nación bajo Dios y comprometida con la libertad y la igualdad para todos.

Los obispos católicos no somos actores partidistas activos en la política de nuestra nación. Somos pastores responsables de las almas de millones de estadounidenses y defensores de las necesidades de todos nuestros vecinos.

En todas las comunidades del país, las parroquias, escuelas, hospitales y ministerios católicos forman una cultura esencial de compasión y protección al servicio de las mujeres, los niños y los ancianos, los pobres y los enfermos, los presos, los migrantes y los marginados, sin importar su raza o religión.

Cuando nosotros hablamos sobre problemas de la vida pública estadounidense, tratamos de formar conciencia y aportar principios. Estos principios se basan en el Evangelio de Jesucristo y las enseñanzas sociales de su Iglesia. Jesucristo reveló el plan de amor de Dios por la creación y la verdad sobre la persona humana, que fue creada a su imagen y semejanza, dotada de la dignidad, los derechos y las responsabilidades dadas por Dios y llamada a un destino trascendente.

Basados en estas realidades, que se reflejan en la Declaración de la Independencia y la Declaración de los Derechos, los obispos y los fieles católicos cumplen el mandamiento de Cristo de amar a Dios y amar a nuestro prójimo, al trabajar por un Estados Unidos que proteja la dignidad humana, aumente la igualdad y las oportunidades para todas las personas, y sea de corazón abierto hacia los que sufren y los débiles.

Por muchos años, la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos ha tratado de ayudar a los Católicos y otras personas de buena voluntad en sus reflexiones sobre aspectos políticos a través de la publicación de Formando la Conciencia para ser Ciudadanos Fieles. La más reciente edición aborda una amplia variedad de aspectos que nos preocupan. Entre ellos: aborto, eutanasia, pena de muerte, inmigración, racismo, pobreza, cuidado del medio ambiente, reforma de la justicia penal, desarrollo económico y paz internacional.

Con respecto a estos y otros temas, nuestra responsabilidad de amar y nuestros principios morales nos llevan a establecer juicios y posiciones prudenciales que no se alinean perfectamente con las tendencias políticas de izquierda o derecha, o con las plataformas de nuestros dos principales partidos políticos. Trabajamos con todos los presidentes y todos los congresos. En algunos temas nos ubicamos más del lado de los demócratas, mientras que en otros nos encontramos más del lado de los republicanos. Nuestras prioridades nunca son partidistas. Somos católicos en primer lugar, y solo buscamos seguir fielmente a Jesucristo y promover su visión de la fraternidad y la comunidad humanas.

Espero trabajar con el presidente Biden, su administración y con el nuevo Congreso. Como ocurre con todas las administraciones, habrá áreas en las que estaremos de acuerdo y en las que trabajaremos juntos con estrecha colaboración, pero también habrá áreas en las que tendremos desacuerdos de principios y una fuerte oposición.

Sin embargo, el hecho de trabajar con el presidente Biden será único, él será nuestro primer presidente en 60 años que profesa la fe católica. En una época de creciente y agresivo secularismo en la cultura estadounidense, cuando los creyentes religiosos enfrentan muchos desafíos, será refrescante interactuar con un presidente que evidentemente comprende, profunda y personalmente, la importancia de la fe y las instituciones religiosas. Observo con mucha esperanza y motivación la experiencia personal y piedad del Señor Biden, su conmovedor testimonio de cómo su fe le ha traído consuelo en tiempos difíciles y trágicos y su compromiso de mucho tiempo con la prioridad que establece el Evangelio para los pobres.

Al mismo tiempo, como pastores, los obispos de la nación tienen el deber de proclamar el Evangelio en toda su verdad y poder, a tiempo y a destiempo, incluso cuando esa enseñanza sea inconveniente o cuando las verdades del Evangelio sean contrarias a las direcciones de la sociedad y la cultura en general. Debo señalar que nuestro nuevo presidente se ha comprometido a seguir ciertas políticas que promoverían los males morales y amenazarían la vida y la dignidad humanas, más seriamente en las áreas del aborto, la anticoncepción, el matrimonio y el género. Es motivo de profunda preocupación la libertad de la Iglesia y la libertad de los creyentes para vivir de acuerdo con sus conciencias.

Nuestros compromisos en aspectos sobre la sexualidad humana y la familia, al igual que nuestros compromisos en todas las demás áreas, como la abolición de la pena de muerte o la búsqueda de un sistema de salud y una economía que realmente sirvan a la persona humana, están guiados por el gran mandamiento de Cristo de amar y solidarizarnos con nuestros hermanos y hermanas, especialmente con los más vulnerables.

Para los obispos de la nación, la continua injusticia del aborto sigue siendo la “prioridad preeminente”. Aunque preeminente no significa “única”. Tenemos una profunda preocupación por las muchas amenazas a la vida y la dignidad humanas en nuestra sociedad. Pero, como enseña el Papa Francisco, no podemos quedarnos en silencio cuando casi un millón de vidas por nacer son terminadas anualmente en nuestro país a través del aborto.

El aborto es un ataque directo a la vida que también lastima a la mujer y socava a la familia. No es sólo un asunto privado, ello genera problemáticas situaciones en aspectos fundamentales como la fraternidad, la solidaridad y la inclusión en la comunidad humana. También es una cuestión de justicia social. No podemos ignorar la realidad de que las tasas de aborto son mucho más altas entre los pobres y minorías, y que el procedimiento se usa regularmente para eliminar a los niños que nacerían con discapacidades.

En lugar de imponer más expansiones del aborto y la anticoncepción, como ha prometido, tengo la esperanza de que el nuevo presidente y su administración trabajarán con la Iglesia y otras personas de buena voluntad. Mi esperanza es que podamos iniciar un diálogo para tratar los complicados factores culturales y económicos que motivan el aborto y desaniman a las familias. Mi esperanza es igualmente que trabajemos juntos para poner finalmente en práctica una política familiar coherente en este país que reconozca la importancia crucial de los matrimonios y crianza sólidos para el bienestar de los niños y la estabilidad de las comunidades. Si el presidente, con pleno respeto por la libertad religiosa de la Iglesia, participara en esta conversación, sería de gran ayuda para restaurar el equilibrio civil y curar las necesidades de nuestro país.

El llamado del presidente Biden por una reconciliación nacional y unidad es bienvenido a todos los niveles. Es algo que se necesita urgentemente mientras enfrentamos el trauma en nuestro país causado por la pandemia del coronavirus y el aislamiento social, que sólo han agravado las intensas y largas divisiones entre nuestros conciudadanos.

Como creyentes, entendemos que la sanidad es un regalo que sólo podemos recibir de la mano de Dios. Sabemos también que la reconciliación real requiere escuchar con paciencia a quienes no están de acuerdo con nosotros y la voluntad de perdonar y superar los deseos de represalia. El amor cristiano nos llama a amar a nuestros enemigos y a bendecir a los que se oponen a nosotros, y a tratar a los demás con la misma compasión que queremos para nosotros.

Estamos todos bajo la atenta mirada de Dios, quien es el único que puede juzgar las intenciones de nuestros corazones. Oro para que Dios le dé a nuestro nuevo presidente, y a todos nosotros, la gracia de buscar el bien común con toda sinceridad. 

Encomiendo todas nuestras esperanzas y ansiedades en este nuevo momento al tierno corazón de la Santísima Virgen María, madre de Cristo y patrona de esta nación excepcional. Que ella nos guíe por los caminos de la paz y nos ofrezca la sabiduría y la gracia de un verdadero patriotismo y amor por la patria.

U.S. Bishops’ President Condemns Violent Protests and Prays for Safety as Chaos Threatens U.S. Capitol 

January 6, 2021 

WASHINGTON —Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement in response to today’s violence in the United States Capitol: 

“I join people of good will in condemning the violence today at the United States Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. I am praying for members of Congress and Capitol staff and for the police and all those working to restore order and public safety.  

“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God. I entrust all of us to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May she guide us in the ways of peace, and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.”     

 

U.S. Bishops Approve Three Action Items During 2020 General Assembly 

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved three action items at their 2020 Fall General Assembly that met last week, Nov. 16-17, in a virtual format.

The full body of Bishops approved:

Revised Strategic Priorities for the 2021-24 USCCB Strategic Plan, “Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope” by a vote of 193 – 3 with two abstentions.

Renewal of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism that focuses on addressing the sin of racism. The committee was established in August 2017 upon the unanimous recommendation of the USCCB’s Executive Committee and in consultation with members of the USCCB’s Committee on Priorities and Plans. The vote to renew the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism was 194 – 3 with one abstention.

Recommendations of the Committee on Budget and Finance for approval of the 2021 Proposed Budgets by a vote of 193 – 1 with four abstentions.

News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations, and other materials of the General Assembly can be found at usccb.org/meetings.

November 13, 2020

Revised Schedule and Agenda for U.S. Bishops’ Meeting Today and Tomorrow
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are gathering virtually for their 2020 Fall General Assembly today and tomorrow, Nov. 16-17, in a virtual format. The livestream of the general assembly will run today from 1:30-4:00pm (central) and tomorrow from 12:00-1:45pm (central).

The public portion of the assembly will begin with an address by the Papal Nuncio to the U.S. Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The Bishops will also hear from Archbishop José Gomez, Los Angeles, as he gives his first address as USCCB president. Changes were made in the schedule to accommodate a discussion by the Bishops on the Vatican’s Theodore McCarrick report. Additionally, the Bishops will hear a report from the National Review Board, which advises the Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, specifically on policies and practices. The meeting agenda will include dialogue by the Bishops on a pastoral response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a pastoral response to racism. They will discuss and vote on the revised strategic priorities of the USCCB’s 2021-2024 Strategic Plan, the renewal of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, and the USCCB’s budget for 2021.

Public sessions of general assembly discussions and votes will be available via livestream at usccb.org/live. News updates, vote totals, texts of addresses and presentations and other materials will be posted to usccb.org/meetings as soon as possible. To follow the meeting on social media, please use the hashtag #USCCB20 and follow on Twitter (@USCCB) as well as on Facebook (facebook.com/usccb) and Instagram (instagram.com/usccb).

November 4, 2020

U.S. Bishops’ Anti-Poverty Program Celebrates 50 Years
This month marks 50 years since the first national collection in support of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the U.S. Catholic bishops’ domestic anti-poverty program. This year’s collection to support CCHD will be held in most parishes the weekend of Nov. 21-22, on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe. This national collection is the primary source of funding for CCHD’s community and economic development grants and education programs to foster hope in communities across the nation. Twenty-five percent of the funds collected remain in each diocese to support local anti-poverty projects.

Projects supported by CCHD include expanding access to affordable housing, promoting access to education, developing worker-owned businesses and reforming the criminal justice system. CCHD helps low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities and nurtures solidarity between people living in poverty and their neighbors. Learn more about poverty in the U.S. at povertyusa.org and access fact sheets on poverty, a poverty map and stories of hope from groups supported through the annual collection.

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