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USCCB Committee Chairmen Commend Administration for Actions Enforcing Conscience Law on Abortion

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced yesterday that it is taking corrective action against the University of Vermont Medical Center for forcing a nurse to participate in an elective abortion against the nurse’s beliefs, in violation of the federal Church amendment. The Church amendment, enacted in 1973, prohibits recipients of various federal health program funding from forcing health care personnel to perform or participate in abortions against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement in response to this enforcement action:

“It is a grotesque violation of civil rights, and of federal law, to force someone to perform or participate in an abortion against their beliefs. The action by the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), forcing a nurse to participate in the killing of a defenseless unborn child under threat of job loss, and other coercive pressure, is abhorrent. We commend and thank the Administration for taking corrective action to enforce the law. Sadly, such violations of federal conscience laws are not infrequent. We hope that today’s action, and future actions by this Administration, will help ensure that no one is forced to participate in an abortion against their beliefs.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, University of Vermont Medical Center, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Committee for Religious Liberty, Church Amendment, pro life, abortion
 
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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

President of the USCCB and Committee Chairmen of International Justice and Peace and Domestic Justice and Human Development issue a statement of concern regarding the fires in the Amazon

WASHINGTON- The President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace issue the following statement regarding the fires in the Amazon:

“Last Sunday, after his Angelus prayer, Pope Francis expressed concern for the fires that have developed in the Amazon, stating, ‘Let us pray that, with everyone’s commitment, they may be tamed as soon as possible.’ As bishops of the United States, we join in these heartfelt prayers and urge the faithful of our nation to support, through their petitions and concern, these efforts. As our Church begins a “Season of Creation,” culminating on October 4th, the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, let us all consider spiritual and corporal acts of mercy towards our common home and all those living in it. We express solidarity with our brother bishops in Latin America who, through the Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano (CELAM), have expressed their desire for a prompt extinguishment of these fires, and welcome the decision by the Group of Seven (G7) to extend financial support for these efforts.”  

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Amazon fire
 
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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Chair of USCCB’s Committee on Migration Denounces New Rule Undermining Existing Protections for Immigrant Children

WASHINGTON— Today, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, condemned the final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relating to the care and custody of immigrant children under the Flores Settlement Agreement. The agreement sets forth foundational principles and critical protections regarding the care, custody, and release of immigrant children who are in federal custody, including the general requirements that they be housed in the least restrictive setting and in licensed facilities for childcare.

The rule will drastically undermine existing Flores protections for immigrant children in federal custody.

“This rule will have heartbreaking consequences for immigrant children – those whom Pope Francis has deemed ‘the most vulnerable group’ among migrants,” said Vásquez. “It is an attempt by the Administration to circumvent existing obligations and undermine critical protections for these children. This rule will jeopardize the well-being and humane treatment of immigrant children in federal custody and will result in children suffering long-lasting consequences of being held for prolonged periods in family detention. We oppose this rule that we believe is unlawful and inhumane. Countless children will be harmed by this new rule and this is simply not acceptable.”  

USCCB also opposed this rule when it was initially proposed by DHS and HHS by submitting comments detailing concerns with the rule and urging it be rescinded.

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Keywords: USCCB, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, Committee on Migration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, Immigration, Flores

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Media Contact:
Mark Priceman
202-541-3064

 

USCCB Appoints Chieko Noguchi as Director of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON—The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has appointed Chieko Noguchi as Director of the Office of Public Affairs. She begins work on September 9.  

Ms. Noguchi spent the last ten years with the Archdiocese of Washington, serving as director of media and public relations since 2011. In 2016, she received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis in recognition of her dedication to the Church. Prior to joining the Archdiocese, Ms. Noguchi worked for global public relations agencies Porter Novelli and Ketchum. She began her career on Capitol Hill, working for then Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in both his congressional and political offices. Ms. Noguchi is a graduate of American University in Washington and is raising her family in Virginia.  

Upon making the appointment, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, General Secretary of the USCCB, said, “Chieko brings an extensive blend of Church and private sector experience to the Conference’s communications mission. We look forward to working with her to carry the bishops’ Gospel witness into the public square.”
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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Chieko Noguchi, Director of Public Affairs, Archdiocese of Washington, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, General Secretary
 
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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Chairmen Applaud Proposed Regulations Preventing Government Discrimination Against Faith-Based Federal Contractors

WASHINGTON— Bishop chairmen of three committees of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) expressed support for proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) clarifying religious protections that may be invoked by federal contractors, including faith-based organizations.

Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, FL, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, issued the following statement:

“Faith-based groups should have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field as they seek to partner with the federal government to provide critical social services. These proposed rules protect religious liberty, a core constitutional right, by clarifying existing religious exemptions consistent with federal law and recent Supreme Court precedent. We are grateful to the Administration for taking this step, and we look forward to filing more detailed public comments with OFCCP.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Robert J. McManus, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Bishop James D. Conley, religious freedom, religious liberty, federal contractors, Department of Labor, OFCCP

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Media Contact:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200