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U.S. bishops speak out on current events - July 2022

Following are some of the most recent statements issued by the U.S. bishops on topics of interest to the nation and the world. You can follow the actions and statements of the bishops at usccb.org; or on social media @usccb: twitter.com/usccb; facebook.com/usccb; and instagram.com/usccb/.

Condemn harmful health care regulations forcing gender ideology, potentially abortion 

July 27, 2022 | On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued proposed revisions to its regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which would force health care workers to perform gender transition procedures, require health insurance issuers to cover them, and entertain a mandate to perform elective abortions.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement in response:

“Catholics have been called to care for the sick since the earliest days of our faith. Today, the various agencies and social service ministries of the Catholic Church taken together are equivalent to the largest nonprofit health care provider in the country. We do this work in fulfillment of the direct command of Jesus Christ and in imitation of his divine ministry here on Earth.

“Catholic health care ministries serve everyone, no matter their race, sex, belief system, or any other characteristic. The same excellent care will be provided in a Catholic hospital to all patients, including patients who identify as transgender, whether it be for a broken bone or for cancer, but we cannot do what our faith forbids. We object to harmful procedures, not to patients.

“Sadly, Monday’s proposed regulations threaten our ability to carry out our healing ministries, and others’ to practice medicine. They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts. Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate. This is a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine.

“The proposed regulations announce that HHS is also considering whether to force health care workers to perform abortions against their will or lose their jobs. We call on HHS to explicitly disavow any such intent. “We will continue to review these proposed regulations and will file more thorough comments at the appropriate time.”

Further information about the USCCB's response to a series of harmful regulations from the current Administration impacting religious charities and individuals can be found at www.usccb.org/do-no-harm.

 A renewed call to solidarity with Africa

July 26, 2022 | The 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) has gathered for their plenary assembly in Accra, Ghana. Upon addressing the assembly today, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace expressed his solidarity with the Church in Africa and announced the release of A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa.

Photographer:

“Two decades ago, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a landmark document to declare our bonds of solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Africa in their pursuit of justice and peace in service of helping men along the path of salvation. Today, with joy and hope, we renew those bonds. On behalf of bishops of the United States, I am pleased to issue the statement of our Committee, A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa. This Renewed Call highlights our progress of solidarity, articulates today’s ecclesial, economic, and political hopes and challenges as well as puts forth strategies for future collaboration. Our committee recommits itself to stand alongside the Church in Africa, knowing we are mutually enriched and edified as we do so.”

Auxiliary Bishop Peter L. Smith of Portland, chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Church of Africa, added his praise and support, saying: “This Renewed Call, reinvigorates the bishops’ vision for the Subcommittee’s Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa that directly supports the pastoral capacity of the local Church in Africa. I commend the reading and study of this document to the faithful and all those who wish to further our Christian solidarity with the Church across Africa.”

A Renewed Call to Solidarity with Africa is available in English, French, and Spanish, along with a practical resource for prayer and action.

 

Welcome Supreme Court ruling in Biden v. Texas

June 30, 2022 | Today, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a 5-4 decision in Biden v. Texas, finding that the Secretary of Homeland Security’s termination of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) was lawful.

On March 21, 2022, the U.S. bishops, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) filed an amicus curiae brief in Biden v. Texas, supporting the Secretary’s decision to terminate the program. The brief argued that MPP is immoral because it disregards the God-given dignity of those enrolled, contrary to Catholic social teaching, and illegal because it violates the United States’ non-refoulement obligations under U.S. and international law. The widely accepted principle of non-refoulement prohibits the practice of returning refugees and asylum seekers to any territory where they are likely to face threats to their life or freedom based on certain characteristics.

Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, Dominican Sister Donna Markham, president and CEO of CCUSA, and Anna Gallagher, executive director of CLINIC, issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision recognizes and preserves the executive branch’s ability to reverse untenable, illegal, and immoral policies, regardless of who is in office. The implementation of MPP has obstructed due process and subjected people to the very dangers that forced them to seek refuge in the United States in the first place. With this ruling, we welcome the end of MPP.

“Ours is both a nation of laws and a beacon of hope for many throughout the world. This should inspire us to work toward just and humane responses to forced migration, not embrace failed policies of the past. As Pope Francis has warned, we cannot limit ourselves to building ‘walls of fear’ and supporting ‘vetoes dictated by nationalist interests’ if we are to achieve meaningful progress in addressing these challenges.

“While this ruling helps pave the way forward, it does not resolve the ongoing challenges at our country’s southwest border. We remain committed to supporting immigration policies that produce more sustainable solutions, respect the God-given dignity of migrants, and better reflect Christ’s call to welcome the stranger.”

 

Decry passage of House bill imposing 'abortion on demand' nationwide

July 18, 2022 | Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, H.R. 8296, by a vote of 219 to 210. This bill would impose abortion on demand nationwide at any stage of pregnancy and would eliminate pro-life laws at every level of government — including parental notification for minor girls, informed consent, and health and safety protections specific to abortion facilities. H.R. 8296 also would compel all Americans to support abortions here and abroad with their tax dollars and would likely force health care providers and professionals to perform, assist in, and/or refer for abortion against their deeply-held beliefs, as well as force employers and insurers to cover or pay for abortion. 

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:

“The majority in the House of Representatives voted last Friday to pass the most unjust and extreme abortion on demand bill our nation has ever seen. Answering the needs of women by promoting taxpayer-funded elective abortion, as this bill would do, is a grave evil and a failure to love and serve women. Offering free or low-cost abortions, instead of increasing the resources women need to care for themselves and their children, is not ‘choice’ but coercion and callous abandonment. Simply repeating the mantra that abortion is healthcare doesn’t make it so. Deliberately ending the lives of defenseless and voiceless human beings is the antithesis of healthcare.  

“We implore those who see abortion as a legitimate ‘solution’ to the needs of women to abandon this path of death and despair. Instead, we invite all to join us in pursuing a vision we presented in Standing with Moms in Need, a vision that upholds the truth that every human life is sacred and inviolable—a society in which the legal protection of human life is accompanied by profound care for mothers and their children. We exhort our nation to prioritize the well-being of women, children, and families with both material resources and personal accompaniment so that no woman ever feels forced to choose between her future and the life of her child.”