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News Release (USCCB): Archbishop Kurtz to President Obama: Plight of Religious Minorities in Iraq Requires Increased Support

USCCB President thanks Obama for aid, protection already provided
Repeats call of Pope Francis for international community to help
Notes U.S. dioceses have set aside August 17 as day of prayer for Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 14, 2014)—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged President Obama to answer the call of Pope Francis for the international community “to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities” in Iraq. Archbishop Kurtz made the appeal in an August 13 letter, in which he assured President Obama of the prayers and support of the U.S. bishops in these efforts.

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News Release (USCCB): 2014 Labor Day Statement Focuses on Unemployment Among Young People

Archbishop Wenski reiterates Pope Francis’ call for an inclusive economy
Says college debt, lack of stable jobs keeping young people from starting families
Calls for increased solidarity, more and better jobs, immigration reform

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 13, 2014)—The high unemployment rate of young adults, both in the United States and around the world, is the focus of the 2014 Labor Day Statement from the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami. The statement, dated September 1, draws on Pope Francis’ teaching against an “economy of exclusion” and applies it to the millions of unemployed young adults in the United States.

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News Release (USCCB): Bishop Pates Asks Bishops, Parishes to Offer Special Prayer on August 17 for Peace in Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 7, 2014)—The chairman of the Committee of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) asked the U.S. bishops to invite the people of their dioceses to pray for peace in Iraq on Sunday, August 17. Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, made the request, August 6, sending the bishops the text of a prayer written by the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako.

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News Release (USCCB): ‘More Respect for Religious Freedom’ Needed After Failed Senate Vote to Curtail It

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 16, 2014)—Today the U.S. Senate voted against considering S. 2578, a bill empowering the federal government to override the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal conscience laws when it mandates including any “item or service” in health plans.

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News Release (USCCB): USCCB President, Diverse Religious Leaders Come Together To Urge Congress To Protect Religious Freedom Restoration Act

RFRA passed in 1993 with overwhelming bipartisan support
All religious faiths, including the most vulnerable, protected by federal law
Americans should be free to live and work according to their faith

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 1, 2014)—A coalition of leaders of diverse U.S. religious denominations and faiths, including Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced that they “are united in [their] staunch support” for protecting the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which passed with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in 1993. The coalition sent a letter to Congressional leadership June 30 asking that they “not amend or repeal RFRA, one of our nation’s most vital legal protections for the religious freedom and rights of conscience of every person of every faith.”

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Media Statement (USCCB): Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby

A Great Day for the Religious Freedom of Family Businesses

June 30, 2014
Americans can follow faith in running closely held businesses
Court leaves open whether ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties means “justice has prevailed,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. The Court ruled that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “preventive services” mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as applied to these employers to the extent that it would have forced them to provide insurance coverage for drugs and devices that violate their religious convictions on respect for human life.

The statement follows:“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to recognize that Americans can continue to follow their faith when they run a family business. In this case, justice has prevailed, with the Court respecting the rights of the Green and Hahn families to continue to abide by their faith in how they seek their livelihood, without facing devastating fines. Now is the time to redouble our efforts to build a culture that fully respects religious freedom.“The Court clearly did not decide whether the so-called ‘accommodation’ violates RFRA when applied to our charities, hospitals and schools, so many of which have challenged it as a burden on their religious exercise. We continue to hope that these great ministries of service, like the Little Sisters of the Poor and so many others, will prevail in their cases as well.”

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MEDIA CONTACT: Sr. Mary Ann Walsh / O: 202-541-3201

News Release (USCCB): Bishop in House Committee Testimony: Nation ‘Must Not Turn Our Back’ on Unaccompanied Children Crossing Border

Children are targeted with violence, seek safety
Says root causes of violence and insecurity must be addressed
Urges for bipartisan cooperation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 25, 2014)—Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, stated in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, June 25, that the rise of the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border represents a “test of our moral character” of the nation. “We must not fail this test,” he added. “We must not turn our back on them.”

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News Release (USCCB): Heading into U.S. bishop’s General Assembly, USCCB President urges Congress To Reform Nation’s Immigration System

Time to act is now
Unjust system should no longer be tolerated
Reform must balance human rights with the rule of law

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 5, 2014)—Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), called upon Congress to reform our nation’s immigration system. “The time to act is now,” said Archbishop Kurtz in a June 5 statement. He spoke in advance of the spring meeting of the U.S. bishops, to be held June 10-13, in New Orleans.

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News Release (USCCB): USCCB Subcommittee Chairman Calls Decisions in Oregon and Pennsylvania Travesties of Justice

Archbishop Cordileone says marriage, democracy, children deserve better

Says state attorneys general were derelict in their duties

Reiterates that authentic marriage is the union of one man and one woman

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2014)–Responding to the ruling by the federal court in Oregon striking down the state’s voter-approved marriage amendment and the ruling by the federal court in Pennsylvania striking down portions of that state’s domestic relations code, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, said, “We stand in solidarity with the Oregon and Pennsylvania Catholic Conferences and all the people of both states. These court decisions are travesties of justice.”

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News Release (USCCB): Bishops to Travel to Capitol Hill May 29, to Urge House of Representatives to Act on Immigration Reform

Bishops who celebrated border Mass to continue ‘Mission for Migrants’
Message to House: Now is the time to act
Mass on behalf of immigrant families to be celebrated on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D. C. (May 12, 2014)—Members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, including those who celebrated Mass at the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona April 1, will travel to Capitol Hill, May 29, to urge lawmakers in the House of Representatives to act on immigration reform legislation.

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