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USCCB Chairmen Applaud Supreme Court’s Respect for Religious Liberty in Masterpiece Cakeshop Decision

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case involves a Christian baker named Jack Phillips who declined in 2012 to create a custom wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. State officials sought to compel Phillips to create such cakes under Colorado's public accommodations law. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Phillips under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following joint statement:

"Today's decision confirms that people of faith should not suffer discrimination on account of their deeply held religious beliefs, but instead should be respected by government officials. This extends to creative professionals, such as Jack Phillips, who seek to serve the Lord in every aspect of their daily lives. In a pluralistic society like ours, true tolerance allows people with different viewpoints to be free to live out their beliefs, even if those beliefs are unpopular with the government."

The USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief supporting Masterpiece Cakeshop, which can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/amicus-briefs/upload/16-111-tsac-USCCB.pdf.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archbishop Charles Chaput, Bishop James Conley, Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop, Colorado Civil Rights Commission, religious freedom, religious liberty, freedom of conscience, marriage

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

David Spesia Named as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—David Spesia has been appointed as Executive Director of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB Secretary General, made the appointment, which will take effect July 2, 2018.

Since 2010, Dr. Spesia has served as Secretary of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Diocese of Joliet. Prior to his most currently role, he was principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Joliet from 2007-2010. From 1998-2007, he served as a Theology teacher and department chair at the Joliet Catholic Academy and additionally served as Managing Editor for Communio: International Catholic Review for five years. Throughout each role, Dr. Spesia has demonstrated a firm understanding of and deep personal commitment to evangelization. He has also overseen numerous programs and personnel along with inspiring students in his witness to the beauty of the Church and its teachings.

"Dr. Spesia brings to the Conference a wealth of both academic knowledge and lived experience in the realms of missionary discipleship, collaborate leadership, and evangelization," said Msgr. Bransfield. "I am grateful to him for accepting this important position in service to the bishops and to the Conference."

David Spesia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame in 1988. He earned his Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago—Divinity School in 1991. He also earned a Master of Arts in Education in 2005, a Master of Science in Educational Leadership in June 2008, and a doctorate of education in August 2016, all from the University of St. Francis.

For more information on the USCCB Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, please visit: http://www.usccb.org/about/evangelization-and-catechesis/.

If you would like a photo image of Dr. Spesia, please contact media-relations@usccb.org

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis, David Spesia, PhD., Msgr. Brian Bransfield

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Franciscan Caring and Love

Bishop Callahan talks about the making of a saint and Franciscan thinking.  Air Date 6/02/18

U.S. Bishops’ Migration Chairman Urges Administration to Keep Families Together

WASHINGTON—The Department of Homeland Security has recently acknowledged implementation of the policy of separating families arriving at the U.S./Mexico Border. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response:

"Forcibly separating children from their mothers and fathers is ineffective to the goals of deterrence and safety and contrary to our Catholic values. Family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system and a foundational element of Catholic teaching. 'Children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.' (Psalm 127:3) Children are not instruments of deterrence but a blessing from God.

Rupturing the bond between parent and child causes scientifically-proven trauma that often leads to irreparable emotional scarring. Accordingly, children should always be placed in the least restrictive setting: a safe, family environment, ideally with their own families.

My brother bishops and I understand the need for the security of our borders and country, but separating arriving families at the U.S./Mexico border does not allay security concerns. Children and families will continue to take the enormous risks of migration—including family separation—because the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle remain: community or state-sanctioned violence, gang recruitment, poverty, and a lack of educational opportunity. Any policies should address these factors first as we seek to repair our broken immigration system."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, MRS, Department of Homeland Security, migrants, migrant children, safety, family unity, border security, U.S./Mexico border,

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Media Contacts:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Release 2017 Annual Report on the Protection of Children and Young People

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2017 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The 2017 report for audit year July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017, states that 654 adults came forward with 695 allegations. Compared to 2015 and 2016, the number of allegations has decreased significantly due to fewer bankruptcy proceedings and statute of limitations changes. Also, it notes that 1,702 victim/survivors received ongoing support. All dioceses and eparchies that received an allegation of sexual abuse during the 2017 audit year reported them to the appropriate civil authorities.

The report also notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2017, over 2.5 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees, and volunteers. Over 2.5 million adults and 4.1 million children have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.

Twenty-four new allegations came from minors. As of June 30, 2017, six were substantiated and the clergy were removed from ministry.  These allegations came from three different dioceses.  Four of the six allegations were against the same priest.  Eight allegations were unsubstantiated as of June 30, 2017.  Three were categorized as "unable to be proven" and investigations were still in process for five of the allegations as of June 30, 2017.  

Regarding Charter Compliance, the report noted the following:

  • Two eparchies and one diocese did not participate in the audit this year.
  • 191 dioceses were found compliant with the Charter.
  • All diocese/eparchies participating in the 133 data collection audits were found compliant with the data collection process.
  • Of the sixty-one dioceses/eparchies participating in the on-site audits, all were found compliant except for three eparchies.
  • All three eparchies were found non-compliant with Article 2 for the 2017 audit period.
  • One eparchy was also found non-compliant with Articles 12 and 13.

The Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People continues to emphasize that the audit and the maintaining zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church's broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.

This is the fifteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops approved the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, making a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.

The full Annual Report can be found here: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/child-and-youth-protection/upload/2017-Report.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, 2017 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations, children, young people, vulnerable adults, dioceses/eparchies, sexual abuse, religious orders, Charter compliance, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, safety, protection, healing.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Pope Francis Names the Most Reverend Milan Lach, SJ, as Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma

 WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has appointed as Bishop of the Ruthenian Eparchy of Parma, the Most Reverend Milan Lach, SJ, who up until now served as apostolic administrator of the Eparchy.

The Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma is the Catholic eparchy governing most Ruthenian Catholics in the mid-western United States. It is headquartered in Parma, Ohio.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, June 1, 2018 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Lach, 44, was born in Kežmarok, Slovakia in 1973. In 1992, he was admitted to the Greek-catholic seminary in Prešov and in 1995 entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Trnava, Slovakia. He continued his studies at Trnava University and also studied at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, where he obtained a master's degree from the Eastern Church Sciences and later, a doctorate degree. In 2009, he began working at the Center of Spirituality East – West of Michal Lacko in Košice, Slovakia.

He was ordained a deacon of the Society of Jesus on November 11, 2000 and was ordained a priest on July 1, 2001. He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Prešov and titular bishop of Ostracine on April 19, 2013. He was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Prešov and titular bishop of Ostracine, June 1, 2013.  On June 24, 2017, Pope Francis named Bishop Lach as apostolic administrator of the sede vacante (vacant see) of the Epharcy of Parma for the Ruthenians.

The Eparchy of Parma for the Ruthenians was erected February 21, 1969. Currently, the Eparchy of Parma encompasses the geographical area of Ohio (except the eastern border counties), Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Byzantine Catholics living in those states are members of the local Church of Parma.

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Milan Lach, SJ, Eparchy of Parma for the Ruthenians, Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma, Ruthenian Catholics.

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200


May 29, 2018 – Officials

The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, D.D., Bishop of La Crosse, makes the following announcement: The Reverend Douglas C. Robertson, Pastor of St. Leo the Great Parish in West Salem and St. Mary Parish in Bangor, is appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Marshfield, with residence at the parish rectory, effective July […]

The post May 29, 2018 – Officials appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

A busy retirement helping others

Sue Tienor isn’t your typical retired registered nurse.  As a member of Newman Catholic Parish in Eau Claire, Tienor leads a very active life. Born in Gillette, Wisc., she, along with four brothers, grew up in a faith-filled family. Living across the street from the Catholic church made it convenient for parish involvement to begin […]

The post A busy retirement helping others appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

Memorial Day

This show for Memorial Day weekend is filled with appropriate stories and music.  Airdate 5/26

How are sacraments personal encounters with the living God?

Well into my adult life, I would say my prayers, but didn’t understand that I could have an actual experiential relationship with God. I never considered that Christ knew me and that I could come to know Him as a living, breathing person. Eventually, through the help of God’s grace, and with ongoing formation and […]

The post How are sacraments personal encounters with the living God? appeared first on Catholic Life - The Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.