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WASHINGTON—Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, decried the opening of a 2,400-bed detention center in Dilley, Texas, constructed to house, among others, families fleeing persecution in Central America.

The detention center, located southwest of San Antonio and operated by a private, for-profit group, was inaugurated Dec. 15.

“It is inhumane to house young mothers with children in restrictive detention facilities, as if they are criminals,” Bishop Elizondo said December 16.  “Already traumatized from their journey, these families are very vulnerable and need care and support, not further emotional and psychological harm.”

Studies have shown that detention has a harmful psychological impact on children.  (more…)

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By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service

cns-logoBALTIMORE (CNS) — For three and a half years, members of several U.S. bishops’ committees have been trying to pinpoint what Catholics in the pew are thinking and why they accept or reject church teachings.

To this end, they have conducted multiple surveys and interviews of various groups of Catholics: fervent believers, Latinos, singles, parents, priests and church leaders. Although responses have varied, one of the takeaways is that Catholics by and large want to learn more about what it means to be Catholic.

Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, introduced the findings to the bishops Nov. 11 during their annual fall assembly in Baltimore.

He said the research was initially conducted to determine how to better communicate with Catholics and why they accept or disregard church teachings on the value of human life. (more…)

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To celebrate the 50 anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on African American Affairs will release a series of resources to highlight the achievements of the Civil Rights era and its connections to the Catholic Church

“The Civil Rights era was an important time in the history of our country. In constructive ways, many priests, religious sisters, religious brothers and lay Catholic faithful were involved in the struggle for Civil Rights,” said Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, chairman of the Subcommittee. (more…)

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WASHINGTON–Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is issuing an additional set of interim final rules to implement its requirement that health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, provide for sterilization, contraception, and drugs that can cause an abortion. In response, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), provided the following statement: (more…)

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WASHINGTON—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.” (more…)

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By Carol Zimmermann Catholic News Service

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., USCCB president, and Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, pray June 11 during the annua l spring meeting of the U .S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., USCCB president, and Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, pray June 11 during the annua l spring meeting of the U .S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in New Orleans. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

NEW ORLEANS (CNS) — The U.S. bishops, gathered in New Orleans for their spring general assembly June 11-13, were urged to promote and support Catholic families.

At the close of the morning’s session June 11, the bishops were advised to pay close attention to the Vatican’s extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family Oct. 5-19 and to promote the World Meeting of Families September 2015 in Philadelphia.

The bishops, by their applause, also showed support for a letter to be sent to Pope Francis, inviting him to the Philadelphia meeting.

Read by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the letter said that the pope’s presence would “add significance” to the gathering and “deepen the bonds of affection” many Catholics feel for the Holy Father.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, described the Philadelphia gathering as a key factor in promoting family life, which he said is currently in crisis.

“The family today is living out a paradox,” he told the bishops. “On the one hand, great value is given to the bonds of family, everywhere in the world,” but today’s families are weakened and often “lose their way.”

The archbishop said he hoped the Philadelphia gathering would provide a “new spring” for families.

“Please believe and preach to your flocks” the importance of families, he added. (more…)

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By Catholic News Service

usccb-logoWASHINGTON (CNS) — Echoing the appeal of Pope Francis and Catholic prelates in Syria, two leaders of the U.S. bishops’ conference urged President Barack Obama to seek a political solution in Syria.

“We have heard the urgent calls of the successor of St. Peter, Pope Francis, and our suffering brother bishops of the venerable and ancient Christian communities of the Middle East. As one, they beg the international community not to resort to military intervention in Syria,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Richard E. Pates chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace in a letter released by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Sept. 4. (more…)

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