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Help People Connect with Christ Through the Catholic Communication Campaign, June 1-2

WASHINGTON—The annual collection for the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC) will take place in many dioceses across the United States on the weekend of June 1-2, coinciding with World Communications Day. This annual national appeal supports efforts in the United States and around the world to use the media, internet, and print publications to help people connect with Christ.

“The mission to proclaim the Gospel, entrusted by Jesus to the apostles, has been carried to us today through our baptism. We continue to share the Good News and help one another encounter Christ through all available means - whether it be through the internet, radio, television, or another form of communication,” said Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., chairman of the USCCB Committee on Communications' Subcommittee on the Catholic Communication Campaign. “Thanks to the generosity of the faithful in the United States, the Catholic Communication Campaign helps people around the world connect with Christ.”

Fifty percent of funds collected remain in each diocese to support local communication efforts. The other half is used to support national projects in the United States and in developing countries around the world.

For example, the Catholic Communication Campaign supports the production of daily video scripture reflections featured on the USCCB website that are viewed daily by millions of people and a YouTube channel that has 23,000 subscribers. The USCCB’s website served 17.5 million users last year and is also supported by the CCC.

Also, on the island of Samar in the Philippines, home to nearly two million people about 90% of whom are Catholic, many live in remote villages outside the reach of television and the Internet. Instead, radio is a critical source of information. The Catholic Church provided the people of Samar with spiritual programming through a dedicated radio station for 20 years, until Typhoon Haiyan hit the island in 2013 and destroyed it. The community was unable to fund a new station, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without access to spiritual messages. The Catholic Communication Campaign is helping the local diocese to rebuild the station, so people can once again have access to radio programs that deepen their faith.

The Subcommittee oversees the collection and an annual grants program as part of the USCCB Committee on Communications. Shareable resources for the collection are available online. More information about the Catholic Communication Campaign can be found atwww.usccb.org/ccc.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, National Collections, Catholic Communication Campaign

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Directivos de USCCB se pronuncian sobre el plan de reforma migratoria propuesto por el presidente Trump

El Cardenal Daniel DiNardo, de Galveston-Houston, Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos (USCCB), y el Obispo Joe S. Vásquez, de Austin, Presidente del Comité de Migración, emitieron la siguiente declaración en respuesta a los comentarios del Presidente Trump en su propuesta de plan de reforma migratoria.

La declaración completa es la siguiente:

"Si bien apreciamos que el Presidente esté tratando de resolver los problemas en nuestro sistema de inmigración, nos oponemos a las propuestas que buscan reducir la inmigración basada en la familia y crear un sistema de inmigración en gran parte" basado en el mérito ". Las familias son la base de nuestra fe, nuestra sociedad, nuestra historia y nuestro sistema de inmigración. Como señala el Papa Francisco: “La familia es el lugar en el que nos formamos como personas. Cada familia es un ladrillo que construye la sociedad. 

 "También nos preocupa profundamente que esta propuesta no parece incluir a los " Soñadores" (dreamers) y los beneficiarios der Estatus de Protección Temporal, ni les proporcione un camino a la ciudadanía para asegurar su plena integración en la vida estadounidense. Finalmente, asegurar nuestras fronteras y garantizar nuestra seguridad es lo más importante, pero esto no se logrará al aumentar la miseria humana y restringir el acceso a la protección legal en un intento de disuadir a las familias y niños vulnerables que buscan asilo.

 En cambio, debemos enfrentar las causas fundamentales de la migración y buscar soluciones humanas y pragmáticas, como como mejorar nuestros tribunales de inmigración, ampliar las alternativas a la detención y erradicar las redes criminales. Instamos a los legisladores a que pongan a un lado las diferencias y participen en acciones significativas para lograr una reforma migratoria humanitaria y justa"  .  

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Palabras clave: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, USCCB, Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Obispo Joe Vásquez, Presidente Trump, Papa Francisco, inmigración, reforma, sistema basado en méritos, plan de reforma de inmigración
 
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Contacto de prensa:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3202

   

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Respond to U.S. House Vote on Equality Act

WASHINGTON—Five chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have responded to the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the Equality Act (H.R. 5) on May 17, 2019. The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” as well as “pregnancy […] or a related medical condition,” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws; expand the types of entities covered under those laws; and exempt itself from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Upon the bill’s passage by 236 to 173 in the House, the bishops said:

“Our faith calls us to uphold every individual’s dignity and rights against unjust discrimination – including in employment, housing, and services – regardless of characteristics or background. Rather than offering meaningful protections for individuals, the Equality Act would impose sweeping new norms that negatively impact the unborn, health care, charitable services, schools, personal privacy, athletics, free speech, religious liberties, and parental rights. The Act’s unsound definitions of ‘sex’ and ’gender identity’ would erase women’s distinct, hard-won recognition in federal laws. Its sex-based nondiscrimination terms would end women’s shelters and many single-sex schools. It would close faith-based foster care and adoption agencies that honor children’s rights to a mother and father. The bill would even act as an abortion mandate. We must pursue justice and equality for anyone denied it; but this is a regrettable approach. We are gravely disappointed with the Act’s passage in the U.S. House.”

The statement was jointly issued by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; some of whom had sent or cosigned letters to Members of Congress in opposition to the Equality Act in the months leading up to Friday’s vote.
 
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, U.S. Congress, U.S. House of Representatives, Equality Act (H.R. 5), LGBT, civil rights laws


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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Father Luke Ballman Appointed Executive Director of Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—Father Luke Ballman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, has been appointed as Executive Director of the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV). Father Ballman has served as Associate Director of CCLV since July 2016.

The new appointment will take effect December 1, 2019. Monsignor Brian Bransfield, USCCB General Secretary, made the appointment.

Prior to his work at the Conference, Fr. Ballman served as Parochial Vicar, Pastor, Vocation Director, and Vicar for Clergy in the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He later served as Director of Apostolic Formation at the Pontifical North American College.

“Father Ballman has supported seminarians in their studies, pastors in their ministry, and formators in their essential work of training priests. His insights and experience have greatly benefitted the Secretariat,” said Msgr. Bransfield. “ I remain grateful to Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory for allowing Fr. Ballman to serve in this capacity.”

Fr. Ralph O’Donnell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha has been Executive Director of CCLV since July 2015. He previously served as Parish Pastor, Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, Director of the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Omaha, and Vice Rector/Dean of Students for Conception Seminary College. Fr. O’Donnell has now been appointed to serve as pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish in Omaha.  

“I am grateful to Fr. O’Donnell for his service to the Conference as well as to Most Reverend George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, for having made Fr. O’Donnell available to assist the work of the Bishops of the United States,” said Msgr. Bransfield.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Fr. Luke Ballman, Monsignor Brian Bransfield, Father Ralph O’Donnell, Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop George J. Lucas, Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

President of U.S. Bishops and Chairman of Migration Issue Statement on President’s Proposed Immigration Reform Plan

WASHINGTON— Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, Texas, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, issued the following statement in response to the President’s remarks today on his proposed immigration reform plan. Full statement follows:
 
“While we appreciate that the President is looking to address problems in our immigration system, we oppose proposals that seek to curtail family-based immigration and create a largely “merit-based” immigration system. Families are the foundation of our faith, our society, our history, and our immigration system. As Pope Francis notes: “Family is the place in which we are formed as persons. Each family is a brick that builds society.
 
"We also are deeply troubled that this proposal does not seem to address Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders, nor provide them a path to citizenship to ensure their full integration into American life. Lastly, securing our borders and ensuring our safety is of the utmost importance, but this will not be achieved by heightening human misery and restricting access to lawful protection in an attempt to deter vulnerable asylum-seeking families and children. Instead, we must confront the root causes of migration and look to humane and pragmatic solutions, such as improving our immigration courts, expanding alternatives to detention, and eradicating criminal networks. We urge lawmakers to put aside differences and engage in meaningful action on humane and just comprehensive immigration reform.”
 
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Bishop Joe Vasquez, President Trump, Pope Francis, immigration, reform, merit-based system, immigration reform plan
 
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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Pope Francis Names the Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino as Bishop of Las Cruces

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named the Most Reverend Peter Baldacchino as the new Bishop of Las Cruces. The appointment was publicized in Washington, DC, on May 15, 2019 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Baldacchino, 58, was born on December 5, 1960 in Sliema, Malta. He attended the University of Malta, where he earned a diploma in science and chemistry. He attended Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Kearny, N.J., from 1990-1996 and also earned a bachelor of Arts and a Master of Divinity degree from Seton Hall University.

He was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Newark on May 25, 1996. On Feb. 20, 2014, he was named auxiliary Bishop of Miami, and Titular Bishop of Vatarba, and was ordained to the episcopacy, March 19, 2014.

Up until now, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, had been the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Las Cruces after being appointed by Pope Francis on September 28, 2018.  

The Diocese of Las Cruces is comprised of 44,483 square miles and has a total population of 558,454 of which 139,322 or 25 percent, are Catholic.  

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Bishop Peter Baldacchino, Bishop Gerald Kicanas, Diocese of Las Cruces

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Join Coalition Voicing Religious Freedom Concerns with the Equality Act (H.R. 5)

WASHINGTON—Four chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have cosigned a coalition letter highlighting key religious freedom concerns with the Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788). The Act would add the new terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the definition of “sex” in federal civil rights laws and have wide-reaching consequences for both employment and delivery of service standards in religiously-affiliated schools, shelters, foster care and adoption agencies, potentially houses of worship, and other facilities and ministries.
 
“[T]he Equality Act would devastate the core ministries of a wide range of religious groups, especially those ministries that serve the most vulnerable,” the signees cautioned. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty; Bishop Michael C. Barber of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education; and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, joined representatives of numerous denominations, schools, and charities of faith in their letter to members of Congress.
 
Among other concerns, the signers pointed out that “[t]he Equality Act amends Title VI of the Civil Rights Act so that any recipient of any federal funds, even a small amount for a subsidiary service” would be affected and that “[b]y way of example, this includes thousands of Catholic, Jewish and other parochial schools with students who participate in the National School Lunch Program, which helps poor children whose families have selected these specific religious schools.”
 
They concluded that the Act “regulates a huge new swath of religious activity and facilities as ‘public accommodations’ and transforms the conditions by which hundreds of thousands of faith-based entities partner with the federal government to serve the common good. It accomplishes these goals while bringing the daunting power of the federal government to bear against religious people and groups with non-conforming views about marriage, sexuality, and gender.”
 
The letter to Congress is available online at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/2019-Coalition-Letter-to-Congress-Equality-Act.pdf.
 
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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, Committee for Religious Liberty, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Committee on Catholic Education, Bishop James D. Conley, Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; U.S. Congress, Equality Act (H.R. 5 / S. 788), LGBT, civil rights laws, religious liberty
 
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MEDIA CONTACT:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

El Presidente de USCCB emite un comunicado con relación al Motu Proprio del Papa Francisco en el que ordena una respuesta mundial al mal de los abusos sexuales

WASHINGTON— El Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Arzobispo de Galveston-Houston y Presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos emitió hoy un comunicado en relación al Motu Proprio del Papa Francisco publicado esta mañana.

El Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (“Tu eres la luz del mundo”), es una orden mundial para la Iglesia del Papa, en respuesta al mal de los abusos sexuales. Esta nueva ley se promulga después de una reunión en Roma que congregó a los presidentes de todas las conferencias episcopales del mundo para discutir la crisis de abuso sexual en la Iglesia.

A continuación, el comunicado completo del Cardenal DiNardo:

“Hoy, el Papa Francisco ordenó una respuesta mundial al mal de los abusos sexuales. En ella se exige el establecimiento de sistemas de informes de fácil acceso, estándares claros para el apoyo pastoral de las víctimas y sus familias, puntualidad y minuciosidad de las investigaciones, protección para los denunciantes y participación activa de los laicos. También deja espacios para que las conferencias nacionales de obispos, como la USCCB, puedan explicar y tratar más específicamente sus circunstancias locales. Nosotros recibimos Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi (‘Tu eres la luz del mundo”) como una bendición que va a empoderar a la Iglesia en todas partes para llevar a los abusadores ante la justicia, sin importar cuál rango ellos ocupen en la Iglesia. La ley también permitirá a la Iglesia la oportunidad y tiempo para brindar la sanación espiritual.

El Santo Padre dijo que ‘se necesita una conversión continua y profunda de corazones, atestiguada por acciones concretas y efectivas que involucren a todos en la Iglesia'. El Papa Francisco tuvo claro que esta responsabilidad 'recae, sobre todo, en los sucesores de los Apóstoles'. Como parte de esta responsabilidad, los obispos también serán responsables bajo la autoridad de este Motu Proprio, que abarca el abuso sexual de menores o personas vulnerables, los actos sexuales obligados por el abuso de autoridad y cualquier encubrimiento de tales delitos.

Al publicar esta nueva ley, que es aplicable a la Iglesia en todo el mundo, el Papa Francisco ha dejado claro que la protección y la sanidad deben llegar a todos los hijos de Dios. Luego de la reunión hace sólo dos meses de todos los presidentes de las conferencias episcopales, el Motu Proprio muestra que el Papa Francisco espera un progreso rápido y completo. Para la Iglesia en Estados Unidos, la tarea que tenemos ante nosotros ahora es establecer lo que sea necesario para garantizar la implementación efectiva del Motu Proprio. Nuestros comités ya han comenzado el trabajo de preparar medidas de implementación para la deliberación en la Asamblea Plenaria de la USCCB que se realizará en junio.

Estoy agradecido por la oportunidad de construir sobre la excelente base de la Carta de la USCCB para la Protección de Niños y Jóvenes, las Normas Esenciales para Políticas Diocesanas/Eparquiales sobre el Abuso Sexual de Menores por Sacerdotes o Diáconos, y la Declaración de Compromiso Episcopal, todos los cuales se remontan al 2002.
El marco existente en Estados Unidos, incluido el alcance a las víctimas, la tolerancia cero, la presentación de denuncias a las autoridades civiles y la experiencia de los comités de revisión, entre otras medidas, nos permite llevar las instrucciones del Santo Padre a la acción. Al compartir las dolorosas experiencias de los sobrevivientes y trabajar en estas nuevas protecciones, oremos para que sigamos convirtiéndonos en una Iglesia más fuerte".

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Palabras clave: Papa Francisco, Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (Tu eres la luz del mundo), Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos, abuso sexual por parte del Clero, respuesta mundial, sucesores de los Apóstoles, menores, personas vulnerables, Asamblea Plenaria de la USCCB, Carta para la Protección de Niños y Jóvenes, Normas Esenciales para Políticas Diocesanas/Eparquiales sobre el Abuso Sexual de Menores por Sacerdotes o Diáconos, Declaración de Compromiso Episcopal

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Contacto de prensa:
Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

Preguntas y respuestas sobre el Motu Proprio del Papa Francisco “Tu eres la luz del mundo”

¿Qué hace el nuevo Motu Proprio?
El nuevo “Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundo” (Tu eres la luz del mundo) es un avance significativo para la Iglesia universal, que refleja muchas de las prácticas establecidas en las Normas Esenciales de los Obispos de Estados Unidos y la Carta para la Protección de Niños y Jóvenes que han estado en vigencia en Estados Unidos desde el 2002. Por ejemplo, afirma la existencia de:
•  Compromiso de proporcionar el bienestar espiritual y emocional de las víctimas / sobrevivientes y sus familias;
•  Deber de cumplir con todas las leyes civiles aplicables con respecto al reporte de las denuncias de abuso sexual de menores a las autoridades civiles;
•  Derecho de cualquier persona a denunciar tales delitos;
•  Garantía de una investigación pronta y objetiva;
•  Garantía de participación laica.

El Motu Proprio también continúa enfocándose en las víctimas al aprovechar significativamente las prácticas locales existentes:
El alcance de los casos incluye:

•  El abuso sexual de una nueva clasificación de “personas vulnerables”;
•  El uso de la violencia u otro abuso de poder para realizar o someterse a actos sexuales;
•  Cualquier encubrimiento de tal conducta por otro;
•  Aquellos que deben ser reportados para tales casos, a saber, cardenales, obispos, otros clérigos, superiores religiosos y otros miembros de institutos de vida consagrada o sociedades de vida apostólica;
•  Obligatoriedad de reportar las denuncias incluyendo los reportes internos;
•  Salvaguardas contra represalias o discriminación al exigir protección para los denunciantes.

Cuándo entrarán en vigencia estas normas?
•  Entrarán en vigencia el 1 de junio de 2019;

•  Serán revisadas por la Santa Sede después de tres años y ajustadas según sea necesario;

•  Cada diócesis y eparquía (individual o colectivamente) debe tener un medio de acceso público para que las personas informen los casos cubiertos por el Motu Proprio antes del 1 de junio de 2020.                En Estados Unidos, mientras que esto ya se ha logrado en casos relacionados con el abuso de menores por parte de sacerdotes y diáconos, los mecanismos de información deberán ser modificados para servir a las categorías más amplias del Motu Proprio.

Qué pasa con los casos de mala conducta sexual que no se incluyen en este Motu Proprio?
•  Estos casos generalmente ya están cubiertos por los códigos de conducta diocesanos o eparquiales existentes. Con la ayuda de expertos laicos y legales, los obispos están trabajando en formas para asegurar la cobertura y para mejorar los mecanismos de sensibilización y presentación de informes para tales casos.

Cómo están cubiertas la transparencia y confidencialidad en este Motu Proprio?

•  Este Motu Proprio aumenta la transparencia al establecer claramente los procedimientos que deben seguirse, reafirmando la obligación de informar a las autoridades civiles, previendo la participación de los laicos en las investigaciones internas, protegiendo de posibles conflictos de interés y asegurando que aquellos quienes informan las quejas a la Iglesia sean también libres de reportar la misma información a otros y estén protegidos contra represalias. Al mismo tiempo, debido a que el Motu Proprio implica la investigación de una queja, equilibra cuidadosamente los derechos de los involucrados. Se necesita confidencialidad para la efectividad de la investigación. Protege a las víctimas y testigos, así como la presunción de inocencia y el secreto de confesión.

¿Este nuevo Motu Proprio interfiere u obstaculiza el derecho civil, como los requisitos de información obligatorios y las investigaciones civiles?

•  De ninguna manera. El Motu Proprio establece los procedimientos canónicos (ley de la Iglesia) que deben seguirse. Sin embargo, en estos procedimientos se incluye la obligación de cumplir con todas las leyes civiles aplicables.

No se menciona la tolerancia cero. Es que ya esa no es una política de la Iglesia Católica?
•  En los Estados Unidos, la tolerancia cero ha sido la política desde 2002, que proviene de la Carta y las Normas Esenciales. El Motu Proprio no deshace esta política. Otras conferencias episcopales en todo el mundo han desarrollado o desarrollarán políticas adecuadas a sus situaciones legales y culturales. La buena noticia aquí es que lo que se pensó primero como un "problema estadounidense" o un "problema occidental" ahora está en el radar de todos.

Por qué el Motu Proprio se centra en el papel del Metropolitano?
•  El Motu Proprio usa el Metropolitano porque es una posición en la Iglesia que se basa en la tradición y la enseñanza del Vaticano II y se rige por la ley canónica existente.

•  Esto también permite que las investigaciones se lleven a cabo a nivel local, donde el Metropolitano tendrá un acceso más directo a la información, documentos y expertos legos para ayudar a investigar, y puede colaborar con las autoridades civiles. El Metropolitano, al ser local, también puede tomar medidas para preservar y asegurar la evidencia.

•  Investigaciones recientes de mala conducta de un obispo, como en West Virginia, han seguido con éxito esta práctica.

¿Qué significa esto para las propuestas que los obispos de Estados Unidos consideraron el pasado noviembre?

•  El trabajo de nuestros comités que ya ha tenido lugar se examinará y adaptará para trabajar en el marco del nuevo Motu Proprio y será la base para la deliberación sobre su implementación en la Asamblea Plenaria de la USCCB en junio.

Fuente: Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de Estados Unidos
Preguntas y Respuestas disponibles en Internet en www.usccb.org

 

President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Issues Statement on Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio Ordering Worldwide Response to the Evil of Sexual Abuse - Q&A Included

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has issued the following statement regarding the release of Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio earlier today. The Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (“You are the light of the world”), is a worldwide order to the Church from the Pope, in response to the evil of sexual abuse. The new law comes after a meeting in Rome that brought together all episcopal conference presidents from across the globe to discuss the Church sex abuse crisis.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“Today, Pope Francis ordered a worldwide response to the evil of sexual abuse. It calls for the establishment of easily accessible reporting systems, clear standards for the pastoral support of victims and their families, timeliness and thoroughness of investigations, whistleblower protection for those making allegations, and active involvement of the laity. It also leaves latitude for national bishops’ conferences, such as the USCCB, to specify still more to account for their local circumstances. We receive the Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi (‘You are the light of the world’) as a blessing that will empower the Church everywhere to bring predators to justice, no matter what rank they hold in the Church. It also permits the Church the time and opportunity to bring spiritual healing.

The Holy Father said a ‘continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church.’ Pope Francis was clear that this responsibility ‘falls, above all, on the successors of the Apostles.’ As part of this responsibility, bishops also will be held accountable under the authority of this Motu Proprio, which covers sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable persons, sexual acts compelled through the abuse of authority, and any coverup of such crimes.

In publishing this new law, which is applicable to the Church throughout the world, Pope Francis has made clear that protection and healing must reach all of God’s children. Following on the meeting just two months ago of all episcopal conference presidents, the Motu Proprio shows Pope Francis expects swift and comprehensive progress. For the Church in the United States, the task before us now is to establish whatever is necessary to ensure the effective implementation of the Motu Proprio. Our committees have already begun the work of preparing implementation measures for deliberation at the USCCB Plenary Assembly in June.

I am grateful for the opportunity to build upon the excellent foundation of the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, and the Statement of Episcopal Commitment, all of which date back to 2002. The existing framework in the United States including victim outreach, zero tolerance, reporting allegations to civil authorities, and lay expertise on review boards, among other measures - positions us readily to bring the Holy Father’s instructions to action. By embracing the painful experience of survivors and working on these new protections, let us pray we continue to grow into a stronger Church.”

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Keywords: Pope Francis, Motu Proprio, Vos estis lux mundi (You are the light of the world), Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, clergy sex abuse, worldwide response, successors of the Apostles, minors, vulnerable persons, USCCB Plenary Assembly, Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Essential Norms for Diocesan/Eparchial Policies Dealing with Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests or Deacons, Statement of Episcopal Commitment

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Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Questions & Answers Regarding Pope Francis’s Motu Proprio

Vos estis lux mundi

 

What does the new Motu Proprio do?

The new Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi is a significant move forward for the universal Church, one that echoes many of the practices established in the U.S. Bishops’ Essential Norms and the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that have been in force in the United States since 2002. For example, it affirms the existing:

    Commitment to provide for the spiritual and emotional well-being of victims/ survivors and their families;
    Duty to comply with all applicable civil laws with respect to the reporting of allegations of sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities;
    Right of any person to report such crimes;
    Guarantee of a prompt and objective investigation;
    Assurance of lay involvement

The Motu Proprio also continues to focus on victims by significantly building upon existing local practices, for example by expanding:

The scope of cases to include:

    The sexual abuse of a new classification of “vulnerable persons,”
    The use of violence or other abuse of power to perform or submit to sexual acts,
    Any cover up of such conduct by other;
    Those who are to be reported for such cases, namely, cardinals, bishops, other clerics, religious superiors, and other members of institutes of consecrated life or societies of apostolic life;
    Reporting obligations to include mandatory, internal reporting;
    Safeguards against retaliation or discrimination by mandating “whistle-blower” protections

When do these norms take effect?

    They will take effect on June 1, 2019;
    They will be reviewed by the Holy See after three years and adjusted as needed;
    Every diocese and eparchy (either individually or collectively) is to have a publicly accessible means for people to report cases covered under the Motu Proprio by June 1, 2020. In the United States, while this has already been accomplished for cases involving the sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons, reporting mechanisms will have to be modified to serve the broader categories of the Motu Proprio.

What about cases of sexual misconduct that do not fall under this Motu Proprio?

    These are generally already covered by existing diocesan or eparchial codes of conduct. With the help of lay and legal experts, bishops are working on ways to ensure that coverage and enhance awareness and reporting mechanisms for such cases. 

How are transparency and confidentiality promoted in this new Motu Proprio?

    The Motu Proprio increases transparency by establishing clear procedures that must be followed, reaffirming the obligation to report to civil authorities, providing for lay involvement in internal investigations, protecting from possible conflicts of interest, and ensuring that those who report complaints to the Church are also free to report the same information to others and are protected from retaliation. At the same time, because the Motu Proprio involves the investigation of a complaint, it carefully balances the rights of those involved. Confidentiality is needed for the effectiveness of the investigation. It protects victims and witnesses, as well as the presumption of innocence and the seal of the confessional. 

Does this new Motu Proprio interfere or hinder civil law, such as mandatory reporting requirements and civil investigations?

    In no way. The Motu Proprio establishes the canonical (Church law) procedures that are to be followed. Included in these procedures, however, is the obligation to comply with all applicable civil laws.

Zero tolerance is not mentioned. Is that no longer the policy of the Catholic Church?

    In the United States, zero tolerance has been the policy since 2002, which comes from the Charter and the Essential Norms. The Motu Proprio does not undo this policy. Other episcopal conferences around the world have or will be developing policies appropriate to their legal and cultural situations. The good news here is that what was first thought of as an “American problem” or a “Western problem” is now on everyone’s radar.

Why does the Motu Proprio focus on the role of the Metropolitan?

    The Motu Proprio uses the Metropolitan because it is a position in the Church that is grounded in tradition and the teaching of Vatican II and is governed by existing canon law.
    This also allows investigations to be carried out on the local level, where the Metropolitan will have more direct access to information, documents, and lay experts to help investigate, and can collaborate with civil authorities. The Metropolitan, being local, can also take measures to preserve and secure evidence.
    Recent investigations of misconduct by a bishop, such as in West Virginia, have successfully followed this practice.

What does this mean for the proposals the U.S. bishops considered last November?

    The work of our committees that has already taken place will be examined and adapted to work within the framework of the new Motu Proprio and will be the basis for deliberation over its implementation at the USCCB Plenary Assembly in June.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

DOMESTIC JUSTICE CHAIRMAN ISSUES STATEMENT FOLLOWING SHOOTING AT STEM SCHOOL HIGHLANDS RANCH IN COLORADO

WASHINGTON—Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s tragic shooting at the STEM School Highlands Ranch near Denver, Colorado.

The full statement follows:

“Yesterday, tragically just seven miles from Columbine High School, a shooting took place at the STEM School Highlands Ranch. There are reports of multiple critical injuries including at present, one fatality. This shooting comes just after the community marked the 20th anniversary of the tragic shooting at Columbine. This shooting reminds us yet again that something is fundamentally broken in our society when places of learning can become scenes of violence and disregard for human life. As Americans we must deeply examine why these horrific occurrences of gun violence continue to take place in our communities. Action is needed to attempt to reduce the frequency of these heinous acts. I call on Catholics around the country to pray for the dead, injured and for the loved ones left behind and for healing in the community.
May Jesus who came that we might all have life in abundance, bring consolation and healing at this time of great sadness.”
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Keywords: United States Conference of catholic Bishops, USCCB, STEM School Highlands Ranch, Bishop Frank Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Columbine
 
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