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Senate confirms William Barr as attorney general

Washington D.C., Feb 14, 2019 / 12:45 pm (CNA).- William Barr was confirmed as United States attorney general on Thursday by a 54-45 vote in the Senate.

 

Barr, a practicing Catholic, previously served as  attorney general under President George H. W. Bush from November of 1991 until January of 1993. He has since been employed in private legal practice.

 

President Donald Trump announced Barr’s nomination for the roll on Dec. 7 to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned from the post following the November 2018 midterm elections.

 

Matt Whitlock has served as acting attorney general during the confirmation process.

 

When Barr was first confirmed as attorney general in 1991, he was approved by unanimous voice vote. That was not the case in 2019.

 

Barr’s nomination advanced out of committee on a 12-10 party-line vote.

 

A practicing Catholic and a member of the Knights of Columbus, Barr said in his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not believe his faith would hinder his ability to serve as an effective attorney general.

 

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Barr about his religious faith, and questioned whether or not he thought this “disqualified” him from the position. Kennedy said that “some of (his) colleagues think it might,” referencing questioning by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) attacking a Catholic judicial nominee for his membership in the Knights of Columbus.

 

Barr told Kennedy that he planned to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” if he were to be confirmed as attorney general.

 

Other recent candidates before the Senate Judiciary Committee have faced questions about their religious beliefs, concepts of sin, and membership in charitable and fraternal organizations.

 

Prior to the full confirmation vote on the floor of the Senate, several senators, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), announced that they intended to vote against his confirmation.

 

Paul cited his opposition to Barr’s views on surveillance as reasons for voting against him. Paul was the sole Republican senator to vote against Barr on Thursday.

 

“He's been the chief advocate for warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens,” Paul told POLITICO, adding that he believed the Fourth Amendment protects privacy rights.

 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), however, announced prior to the vote that he supported Barr’s confirmation “because he is well-qualified and I am confident that he will faithfully execute the duties of the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America.”

 

Manchin, along with Sens. Doug Jones (D-AL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined the rest of the Senate Republicans in voting in favor of Barr.

 

All other Democrats, as well as independent Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted against confirmation.

Texas chapel fenced off from border wall funding

Washington D.C., Feb 14, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- A congressional budget compromise that would fund the construction of physical barriers along parts of the southern border of the United States includes an explicit provision that excludes La Lomita Park from the funding. The park is the site of a chapel at the center of a court case between the Diocese of Brownsville and the government.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, the text of which was released Feb. 13, would provide $1.3 billion in funding for the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border but contains a list of five specific places where these funds cannot be used to build a wall, the third of which is the site of La Lomita Chapel. 

According to section 231 of the bill, “None of the funds made available by this Act or prior Acts are available for the construction of pedestrian fencing [...] (3) within La Lomita Historical park.” 

The bill is slated to be considered by the House of Representatives on February 14.

La Lomita Park in Mission, TX, is home to La Lomita Chapel. Constructed in 1865 by missionaries, the chapel is located close to the U.S. border with Mexico. While there are no regularly scheduled religious services held at the chapel, it is used for weddings, funerals, and other cultural events. 

The chapel is maintained partly by the city of Mission, as it is located in a park, and is affiliated with Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, located a 10-minute drive away.

If the border wall were to be built as planned, the chapel would be on the southern side of the wall, limiting parishioner access to it from the north.

The Diocese of Brownsville, which includes Mission, filed suit against the federal government arguing that the construction of a border wall restricting access to the chapel would be a violation of religious freedom.

Last week, a District Court decision cleared the way for the land to be surveyed. 

On Feb. 6, Judge Randy Crane ruled that allowing the federal government to survey the land surrounding the chapel to determine if a wall could be built would not interfere with the exercise of religious freedom rights. 

An attorney representing the diocese told CNA that she was pleased La Lomita Park was included in the compromise bill, and that she hoped the bill would be passed by Congress.

“We are of course glad that the authors of this bill have recognized the significance of La Lomita Chapel to the Catholic community in the Rio Grande Valley, and we hope that Congress and the president pass the spending bill with these protections for La Lomita and other local landmarks,” Amy Marshak, an attorney at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP), told CNA.

ICAP is representing the Diocese of Brownsville in its suit against the government.

It is not yet clear if the compromise bill will be accepted by President Donald Trump, who had requested $5.7 billion to build a wall along parts of the U.S. border with Mexico.

Trump indicated Thursday that he was pleased with parts of the compromise, and congressional leaders have expressed cautious optimism that the president could sign the bill and avoid another partial government shutdown.

On Thursday afternoon, the president tweeted that he was reviewing the bill with his staff. 

In addition to funding the border wall, the bill also includes funds for international aid to Central America, and a reduction in the number of beds available to detain undocumented immigrants away from the border. 

Offices for the Diocese of Brownsville were closed on Thursday for an all-staff retreat. 

If passed, the Consolidated Appropriations Act would also prevent funds from going to construction of a border barrier within the National Butterfly Center or within the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge.

Liturgy is not 'styles, recipes, trends,' pope tells Divine Worship congregation

Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 11:13 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The liturgy, Pope Francis said Thursday, cannot be reduced to a matter of taste, becoming the subject of ideological polarization, because it is a primary way Catholics encounter the Lord.

There is a risk with the liturgy of falling into a “past that no longer exists or of escaping into a presumed future,” the pope told members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments Feb. 14.

“The starting point is instead to recognize the reality of the sacred liturgy, a living treasure that cannot be reduced to styles, recipes and trends, but should be welcomed with docility and promoted with love, as irreplaceable nourishment for the organic growth of the People of God,” he continued.

Francis also emphasized that the liturgy is not a “do-it-yourself” zone and urged the Vatican officials, “as in other areas of ecclesial life,” to avoid “ideological polarizations” and an attitude of “perpetual dialectics” against those with differing ideas about the liturgy.

He also recalled his statement in Evangelii gaudium “that reality is more important than the idea.”

“When we look back to nostalgic past tendencies or wish to impose them again, there is the risk of placing the part before the whole, the 'I' before the People of God, the abstract before the concrete, ideology before communion and, fundamentally, the worldly before the spiritual,” Francis asserted.

Meeting the congregation during their Feb. 12-15 plenary assembly, Pope Francis addressed the importance of the Church’s liturgy, of having good collaboration between the Vatican congregation and bishops’ conferences, and of developing a proper liturgical sense in Catholics.

“The liturgy is in fact the main road through which Christian life passes through every phase of its growth,” Francis said. “You therefore have before you a great and beautiful task: to work so that the People of God rediscovers the beauty of meeting the Lord in the celebration of his mysteries.”

The pope noted that the plenary falls 50 years since St. Paul VI reorganized Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments “in order to give shape to the renewal desired by the Second Vatican Council. It was a matter of publishing the liturgical books according to the criteria and decisions of the Council Fathers, with a view to fostering, in the People of God, 'active, conscious and pious' participation in the mysteries of Christ.”

He asserted that “the praying tradition of the Church needed renewed expressions, without losing anything of its millennial wealth, even rediscovering the treasures of its origins,” and noted that it was also in 1969 that the General Roman Calendar was changed and the new Roman Missal was promulgated, calling them “the first steps of a journey, to be continued with wise constancy.”

Francis added that “it it is not enough to change the liturgical books to improve the quality of the liturgy.”

He argued that proper liturgical formation of both clergy and laity is fundamental, and quoted from Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council's 1963 constitution on the sacred liturgy.

Though necessary, just providing information about liturgical books is not an adequate liturgical education, he continued, even with a view toward preserving the dutiful fulfillment of the ritual disciplines.

“In order for the liturgy to fulfill its formative and transforming function, it is necessary that pastors and the laity be brought to grasp its meaning and symbolic language, including art, song and music at the service of the celebrated mystery, even silence,” he stated.

He pointed to mystagogy as a suitable way to enter into the mystery of the liturgy, “in the living encounter with the crucified and risen Lord”; he pointed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church as an example of a book that illustrates the liturgy in this manner.

Referencing the title of the congregation’s plenary assembly, “the liturgical formation of the People of God,” he said the task awaiting them is “essentially that of spreading the splendor of the living mystery of the Lord, manifested in the liturgy, in the People of God.”

“To speak of the liturgical formation of the People of God means first of all to become aware of the irreplaceable role that the liturgy plays in the Church and for the Church,” he stated.

“And then concretely help the People of God to better internalize the prayer of the Church, to love it as an experience of meeting with the Lord and with the brothers and, in light of this, to rediscover its contents and observe its rites.”

Pope Francis names Cardinal Kevin Farrell camerlengo

Vatican City, Feb 14, 2019 / 05:41 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis Thursday nominated a new camerlengo, Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Joseph Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, and a former bishop of Dallas.

The responsibilities of camerlengo include overseeing the preparations for a papal conclave and managing the administration of the Holy See in the period between a pope's death or renunciation and the election of a new pope.

Farrell was one of several bishops about whom questions were raised last summer regarding prior knowledge of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's misdeeds in the dioceses of Metuchen and Newark.

Farrell had served as an auxilary bishop under the former cardinal in Washington, DC, as well as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role to the disgraced archbishop.

Farrell lived together with McCarrick in a renovated parish building in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood for six years, and many have characterized McCarrick as a mentor to the cardinal.

Last July, Farrell denied having any knowledge of accusations of sexual abuse or harassment against McCarrick.

A former member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell had also previously denied having prior knowledge of sexual abuse on the part of the Legion of Christ's founder and former general director, Marcial Maciel.

Farrell also caused controversy last summer after he suggested in an interview with the Irish Catholic magazine Intercom that priests lack the necessary experience to provide adequate marriage preparation to engaged couples, saying, "priests are not the best people to train others for marriage." The comment echoed a statement of his from September 2017, that priests have "no credibility when it comes to living the reality of marriage."

The office of camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, which is situated within the pontifical household, has been vacant since the death of Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran last July.

To take office, Farrell, 71, will take an oath before Pope Francis, who will give him a scepter, a symbol of the authority of the camerlengo. The current scepter, covered in red velvet, dates to the papacy of Benedict XV.

Born in Ireland and ordained a priest in 1978 as a member of the Legion of Christ, Farrell eventually relocated to Washington, DC, serving as director of Washington’s Spanish Catholic Center, before becoming the archdiocese’s finance officer in 1989.

In 2002, he became an auxiliary bishop of Washington, serving as moderator of the curia and vicar general, a chief advisory role, to then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

He was named Bishop of Dallas in 2007, where he served until his appointment as the first prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life in August 2016, which put him in charge of the planning of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018 and World Youth Day in Panama in January 2019.

Farrell became a cardinal in November 2016.

The camerlengo is one of two head officials of the Roman Curia who do not lose their office while the papacy is vacant. The position of camerlengo, which is regulated by the apostolic constitutions Pastor bonus and Universi dominici gregis, administers Church finances and property during the interregnum.

Paragraph 17 of Universi dominici gregis establishes that “the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church must officially ascertain the Pope’s death” and “must also place seals on the Pope’s study and bedroom,” and later “the entire papal apartment.”

The camerlengo is also responsible for notifying the cardinal vicar for Rome of the pope’s death, who then notifies the people of Rome by special announcement. He takes possession of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican and Palaces of the Lateran and of Castel Gandolfo and manages their administration.

“During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church has the duty of safeguarding and administering the goods and temporal rights of the Holy See, with the help of the three Cardinal Assistants, having sought the views of the College of Cardinals, once only for less important matters, and on each occasion when more serious matters arise,” the constitution states.

Only the pope may choose the cardinal to fill the position of camerlengo, though he may also leave it vacant, in which case, the College of Cardinals would hold an election to fill the office at the start of a sede vacante.

 

This story was updated at 8:03 am MST.

A bloody secret still haunts the diamond industry

Washington D.C., Feb 14, 2019 / 03:26 am (CNA).- Imagine being woken up in the middle of the night by a dark figure in your room. He presses a gun to your head and demands that you get up. You and your family are dragged out of bed and led to a mining field, where you are forced to dig for hours on end.

They may be the proverbial “girl’s best friend,” but diamonds are far from friendly for many of those involved in the mining process.

With abuses ranging from forced labor to the funding of child soldiers, many diamonds still carry the shadow of blood and conflict, even decades after the first attempts to address some of the more troubling practices in getting the stones from their rocky deposits to a glittering setting.

What – if anything – can Catholics do to counter the immense human cost still attached to some of these gems?

Plenty, according to Max Torres, director of management and professor at The Catholic University of America's business school.

“In this economy, the consumer is king,” he told CNA. “The day that consumers want to get worked up over diamonds, this will stop, whatever abuse it is we’re trying to eradicate, it will stop.”

While there are many steps in the process and levels of moral responsibility from consumers to the diamond exporters themselves, Torres maintained that ordinary people can still work to change large-scale moral problems in the industry.

“Do not underestimate the power of the consumer to move supply-chain decisions throughout the economy,” he stressed.

Clear stones; Blood-red controversies

Despite the 2006 hit film “Blood Diamond,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, many consumers are still unaware of the controversy surrounding the diamond industry. Meanwhile, the need for accountability and higher ethical standards is still sorely felt by many working to mine the precious gems.

In recent decades, the conversation surrounding diamond mining has focused on the so-called “blood diamonds” – those mined in conflict areas whose profits are used to fund the bloody war efforts.  Also called “conflict diamonds,” these previous stones are most associated with the illicit industries backing of civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Liberia.

These countries all now have, at least in theory, legitimate diamond mining industries subject to international standards.

The most well-known international standard, the Kimberley Process, was set up in 2003 following a United Nations resolution against the sale of blood diamonds, to ensure that any given shipment of diamonds does not finance rebel groups. Certified shipments of rough diamonds must be transported in tamper-resistant containers and must be accompanied by a government certificate verifying their compliance.

But many advocates say the process is inadequate at addressing the problems underlying the diamond industry. For starters, there is no guarantee beside the exporting government’s assurance that a given shipment of diamonds is, in fact, conflict-free. Issues of corruption and bribery surrounding some governments’ certification, and a lack of transparency has led some key groups to pull out of the process altogether.

The 2003 National Geographic special “Diamonds of War” found that despite the early efforts of the Kimberley Process to regulate the industry, illegal transactions at the time were still rampant in some areas. A Sierra Leone official said that some 60 percent of the diamonds exported from the country were smuggled rather than going through officially regulated channels. One expert in the documentary estimated that 20-40 percent of the global rough diamond trade at the time was done illicitly.

Another complaint about the Kimberley Process is that while it works to combat funding of conflicts, it does not deal with other issues in the diamond industry, including forced labor and violence against workerssubstandard and exploitative working conditions, the use of child labor and environmental concerns.

These problems show that the current definition of “conflict-free” is “far too limited in scope,” said Jaimie Herrmann, director of marketing for Brilliant Earth, a San Francisco-based jeweler that focuses specifically on providing ethically-sourced diamonds, gemstones and metals.

What the Kimberley Process “doesn’t include is human rights abuses, violence, sexual abuses, and severe environmental degradation, as well as corruption,” Herrmann continued.

“For that reason, we go above and beyond the Kimberley Process’s definition of conflict free,” she said. Brilliant Earth gets its diamonds from select sources in Canada, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Russia. “We feel like those diamonds really do go above and beyond that guarantee and they are untainted by human rights abuses.”

The chance to establish a legitimate and ethical source of diamonds has also been an economic opportunity for some countries. In Botsawna, the government and DeBeers diamond company each own half of the Debswana mining company, and the nation has seen a rapidly growing economy and increasing economic freedom thanks in part to its booming mining industry and trusted industry standards.

Canada too has invested heavily in its mining infrastructure and increased production, quickly becoming a key diamond-producing country since the discovery of large diamond deposits in the 1990s.

Synthetic diamonds too offer promise for more ethically-produced diamonds, though currently the lab-produced stones comprise only two percent of the diamond gemstone market, with the remainder of the synthetic stones used in industrial settings.

The Ethics of Luxury and Necessity

Dr. Christopher Brugger, professor of moral theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, Colorado, told CNA that in the diamond industry, as in any other work, Catholic social teaching instructs employers that “people come before profit.”

For businesses, he said, this means “pay employees a fair wage; respect the integrity of the marriages and families of employees; respect the faith of employees; permit labor to organize in socially constructive ways; work for fair access for all to goods and services necessary to living a dignified life.”

“Do producers who use their profits to fund conflicts or who use forced labor fulfill those duties?” he asked. “Emphatically no.”

Sustained abuses ranging from the funding of bloody conflicts to mining practices that exploit and demean workers not only fail to fulfill the moral duties of employers, Brugger said. The unjust practices also affirm that the high profits coupled with neglect for moral obligations have been “attracting scoundrels” to the industry.

But business leaders are not the only people with moral stakes in the diamond industry, he continued.

“It seems to me that morally conscientious people have an increasing responsibility to ‘shop ethically,’ i.e., to keep in mind where things come from, the conditions of those who supply things, the processes by which they are supplied,” Brugger suggested.

While it may not be possible to know the sourcing behind every product in every store, he said, it could be easier to find information on larger suppliers and specific industries.

Furthermore, he elaborated, there is a “greater responsibility on a person who is buying luxury items not to cooperate in the immoral actions of suppliers than there is on persons who are purchasing products for basic subsistence.”

“Ordinarily I do not need diamonds or chocolate,” Brugger said. “If we are dealing with luxuries, I think our obligations are still pretty strong to avoid purchasing from sources that do really bad things.”

“As one becomes aware of the ethical conditions surrounding an industry, one's duty to factor that knowledge into one's moral decision making becomes greater,” he added, noting that not everyone has the same access to the facts on abuses in a given industry.

“As knowledge of the ethical deficiencies become more widely known and the knowledge becomes easily available, our responsibility to use that knowledge in our shopping becomes greater,” he said. Knowledgeable customers should “inquire into the origins of the diamond they purchase; if shopkeepers are coy and not forthcoming about their sources, consumers ordinarily should look elsewhere.”

A Good Place to Start

Lack of information is “a big part of the problem,” according to Herrmann. She recommended that jewelers seek to trace the origin of their diamonds to countries and mines known for more ethical practices.

“Most jewelers know that their diamond is certified as conflict-free by the Kimberley Process, but do not know any more information about where their diamond is coming from,” she said.

Stephen Hilbert, a foreign policy adviser specializing in Africa and Global Development for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, seconded the suggestion that people looking at diamonds ask where they come from. He added that customers should also ask electronics dealers to check for conflict minerals, which face many of the same concerns as the diamond mining industry. 

“Dealers may not be able to tell you whether their devices have been checked, but at least this raises the profile of the issue and this may trickle up,” he told CNA.

Consumer instance could be the force that leads to tighter standards and improved processes aimed at preventing abuse.

Still, Torres insisted, “no process is perfect.”

The Kimberley Process is a reputable starting point that could “be broadened and be brought more into line with human rights,” he said, and asking about the origin of diamonds “seems to be a rather painless method of at least garnering some amount of accountability.”

But in the end, the moral issues surrounding the industry are fundamentally a problem of human sin, which no process or regulations can erase.

“The only thing that can ensure moral behavior is the heart is human beings,” Torres said. Ultimately, “Jesus Christ is the answer.”

This article was originally published on CNA July 5, 2015.

U.S. Bishops’ Chairmen Condemn Decision Preventing Muslim Man from Receiving Appropriate Spiritual Care at Execution

WASHINGTON–On February 7, 2019, the State of Alabama executed Domineque Ray, a Muslim man whose request to have an imam present at his execution was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court by a vote of 5-4. Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, have issued a statement, which reads:

“The execution of Domineque Ray deeply troubles us. The death penalty itself is an affront to human dignity, and the Church has long called for its abolition in the United States and around the world. Mr. Ray bore the further indignity of being refused spiritual care in his last moments of life, in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Alabama law. This unjust treatment is disturbing to people of all faiths, whether Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or otherwise. People deserve to be accompanied in death by someone who shares their faith. It is especially important that we respect this right for religious minorities. As Pope Francis said during his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates, ‘What we are called to do as believers is to commit ourselves to the equal dignity of all.’ Let us make this commitment today.”

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Keywords: Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Bishop Frank Dewane, USCCB, Domineque Ray, Supreme Court, death penalty, religious liberty, religious freedom, First Amendment, U.S. Constitution

Media Contact:

Judy Keane

202-541-3200

Pro-Life Committee Chair for U.S. Bishops’ Responds to SCOTUS Ruling Temporarily Blocking Louisiana Abortion Law

WASHINGTON–Late yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked Louisiana from implementing a law requiring doctors at abortion facilities to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of the Louisiana law. While the petition on the merits of the law has yet to be filed and ruled upon by the Supreme Court, it ruled 5-4 on an application for a stay in the case of June Medical Services, LLC v. Gee. 

Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response:

“The fact that abortionists and their facilities cannot or will not meet basic health standards exposes the lie of their clever slogan that abortion is health care. The abortion industry’s objection to such a reasonable law, and this Court’s decision to temporarily prevent it from going into effect, is further evidence of how abortion extremism actively works against the welfare of women.

“Regardless of this disappointing ruling, the pro-life movement will continue to work and pray for the day when every legislature and court recognizes the brutal injustice of abortion—to women and their children alike—and our society sees abortion as unthinkable.”

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Catholic Chair of National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue and Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Statement on Joint Statement of Pope Francis and Grand Imam Ahmad A

WASHINGTON—H.E. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago and Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, PA issued the following statement:

 
“In our increasingly hostile world in which violence too often predominates between Christians and Muslims—violence that has led to tragic consequences for the most vulnerable humans—we welcome with great joy this historic joint statement on human fraternity by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb. The statement, which represents the culmination of the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula and marks the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in Egypt, is a clarion call for robust dialogue that leads to peace. We commend it to all people of good will, especially leaders of nations and religious groups, in the hope that it might serve as a resource to overcome division through a renewed commitment to dialogue and the establishment of goodwill.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Pope Francis, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue, Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue, Al-Azhar, Christian-Muslim dialogue,

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace Expresses Solidarity with Venezuelan Bishops’; Urges Administration to Provide Humanitarian Aid

WASHINGTON— Timothy P. Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services USA and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace has issued the following statement expressing solidarity with the Bishops’ of Venezuela.

The Archbishop’s full statement follows:

“On behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I express our solidarity with the Bishops of Venezuela, and with all those working for a peaceful and just resolution to the crisis there. The humanitarian situation is dire. Severe malnutrition and death from treatable illnesses afflict a growing number of Venezuelans.
 
I am grateful for the United States Government’s pledge to provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans. I urge the administration to help facilitate the provisioning of humanitarian assistance, and, where necessary, help coordinate safe migration options, in order to avoid more suffering. The Church in Venezuela, as its bishops stated on February 4th, acts ‘according to principles of independence, impartiality, and humanity,’ and stands ready to help distribute assistance justly and equitably.
 
May Our Lady of Coromoto, Patroness of Venezuela, watch over all Venezuelans as they strive for peace and prosperity in their country.”

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, Military Services USA, Committee on International Justice and Peace., Venezuela, humanitarian assistance, safe migration, independence, impartiality, human dignity  
 
Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200

 

National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day Highlights the Meaning of Marriage

WASHINGTON—February 7-14 marks the annual celebration of National Marriage Week USA. World Marriage Day is celebrated annually on the second Sunday of February. This year, World Marriage Day is Sunday, February 10.

National Marriage Week USA and World Marriage Day are opportunities for “building a culture of life and love that begins with promoting and defending marriage and the family,” wrote Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in a letter to his brother bishops.

The USCCB offers resources to the faithful for the promotion and defense of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman through its dedicated websites ForYourMarriage.org, PorTuMatrimonio.org, and MarriageUniqueForAReason.org. Additional resources specifically for the celebration of National Marriage Week, including a preaching resource, poster, and prayer intentions, can be found on the USCCB website: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/national-marriage-week.cfm.

Starting February 7, a daily virtual marriage retreat for couples will be made available on the ForYourMarriage.org website and via the For Your Marriage social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. The seven-day retreat will focus on the theme “Marriage: Made for a Reason.” A rosary for married couples and for families in need of healing will be live-streamed from the chapel at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC via the USCCB Facebook page and Twitter feed on Friday, February 8 at 3:00 pm EST. A conversation about marriage will be livestreamed on the USCCB Facebook page Wednesday, February 13 at 2:00pm EST.

A wide array of prayer cards, books and pamphlets on marriage and family can be ordered online through the USCCB store.

National Marriage Week USA, launched in 2010, is part of an international event seeking to mobilize individuals, organizations, and businesses in a common purpose to strengthen marriage in communities and influence the culture. For information and resources, visit: NationalMarriageWeekUSA.org. World Marriage Day was started in 1983 by Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

For the Spanish version of this release, please click here http://www.usccb.org/news/2019/19-030sp.cfm

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Keywords: Archbishop Charles Chaput, National Marriage Week USA, World Marriage Sunday, marriage, family, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, For Your Marriage, Por Tu Matrimonio, Marriage Unique for a Reason

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Media Contact:
Judy Keane
202-541-3200