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USCCB Launches National Civility Effort through 2020 Election

WASHINGTON - One year ahead of the 2020 national elections, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is launching a year-long initiative that invites Catholics to model civility, love for neighbor, and respectful dialogue. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate will ask Catholics to pledge civility, clarity, and compassion in their families, communities, and parishes, and call on others to do the same.  

The initiative, which many dioceses are launching in parishes this weekend (November 2-3), is built on the recognition that every person—even those with whom we disagree—is a beloved child of God who possesses inherent dignity. Supporting materials for the initiative include ideas to help Catholics and others of good will to engage in and model respect and compassion, as well as resource materials to assist in the effort. Civilize It is the invitation to imitate the example of Jesus in our daily lives, including in our encounters with one another through civil dialogue.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, of Venice, and chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development emphasized the importance of Civilize It in the context of the current divisive climate:

“Conversation in the public square is all too often filled with personal attacks and words that assume the worst about those with whom we disagree. We are in need of healing in our families, communities, and country. Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate is a call for Catholics to honor the human dignity of each person they encounter, whether it is online, at the dinner table, or in the pews next to them. I invite all Catholics to participate in Civilize It. In doing so, they can bear witness to a better way, approach conversations with civility, clarity, and compassion, and invite others to do the same.”

Civilize It builds on a similar effort implemented in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in previous election years. It is being offered in concert with a wider ecumenical effort, Golden Rule 2020, which invites all Christians to model our shared values of dignity and civility and pursue dialogue instead of division.

Together with the USCCB, dioceses around the country are being called to utilize Civilize It to help Catholics put our faith in action by honoring human dignity through civil conversation this upcoming election year. Resource materials supporting the initiative include: a pledge to civility that can be taken by individuals and communities; resources for prayer and reflection including a pastoral aid and prayer for civility; tips for civil dialogue; and more. More information on the initiative as well as promotional materials, resources, and other tools may be found on CivilizeIt.org.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate,

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Pro-Life Chairman Urges Congress to Support Dignity for Aborted Children Act Legislation calls for dignified treatment of human remains

WASHINGTON - On October 31, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities sent a letter to Members of Congress supporting S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the recent discovery of careless retention of fetal remains in the state of Illinois by a recently deceased abortion doctor, as well as other instances of shameful and disrespectful disposal of bodies discarded in toilets or cardboard medical waste boxes.

Such actions make “people on both sides of the abortion debate uncomfortable, sad, angry,” he said, and that this is not surprising, given every culture and religious tradition has customs and practices surrounding how to care for and dispose of the dead. “For Catholics, the Church has long taught that 'the human body shares in the dignity of ‘the image of God’,’ that our bodies are a reminder of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and of that resurrection, which we too will experience after death, and burying the dead is taught as one of the seven corporal works of mercy.”

“Other faiths and belief systems likewise promote dignified treatment of the deceased and respectful disposal of their remains,” he continued, and health regulations, ethical guidance for medicine and science, trauma and emergency response, and religious and moral belief all point towards the need for a society to respectfully dispose of each human body. He urged Members of Congress to support the Dignity for Aborted Children Act, saying, “Whether you support or oppose legalized abortion, I hope you will agree that these human bodies should not be wantonly discarded as medical waste or preserved at the whim of the abortion doctor. Such basic courtesy is in keeping with society’s treatment of all other deceased persons including cadavers, donated organs and tissues, remains that are recovered after traumatic incidents, and so on. As a nation, we can at least come together to ensure all human remains are treated with basic human dignity.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Pro-Life, Dignity for Aborted Children Act  

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

USCCB Chairman of Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Issues Statement of Concern Regarding the Fires in California

WASHINGTON- Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement regarding the wildfires in California:

“I join in the heartfelt prayers offered by the bishops in the state of California in response to the terrible wildfires that have affected approximately thirty counties in that state. The faithful of our nation are urged to support, through their petitions and concern, the efforts at extinguishment and recovery taking place throughout California in response to these fires. It is in solidarity with our brother bishops in California, who have voiced their desire for prompt relief, that I encourage all appropriate public parties and the faithful to be generous in their financial support of these recovery efforts. Let us all pray for the safety of those affected and their property.”

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Frank J. Dewane, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, California fires
 
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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

U.S. Bishops Allocate $9.9 Million in Grants to Aid Dioceses in Pastoral Outreach and Evangelization Efforts

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions met in El Paso, Texas last month to consider grant applications for 2020. The Subcommittee approved $9.9 million in grants to aid 77 dioceses and eparchies in the United States and its territories that face significant challenges to their evangelization efforts due to geography, low populations, and poverty.

Financed through the Catholic Home Missions Appeal, a special national collection held each year in dioceses across the country, the grants support a wide range of pastoral outreach and ministries in the communities that are designated awardees. Recipients for 2020 include the Diocese of Kalamazoo’s well-established migrant ministry outreach, which has been supported for two decades by Subcommittee grants. This program includes ministry staff as well as more than 100 volunteers from 15 parishes. Last year, the diocese’s Hispanic Migrant Team visited more than 300 migrant farmworker camps and ministered to 15,000 people, providing access to the liturgy, sacramental preparation, catechetical classes, and various social services.

The 2020 funds will help the diocese continue this effort. For the Diocese of Colorado Springs, funding from the Subcommittee means youth and young adults will continue to have access to critical faith formation programs, equipping them with knowledge of their Catholic faith through catechesis and evangelization. In the Diocese of Dodge City, the Subcommittee’s grant will support a lay ministry formation program for leadership development in more than 10 parishes. In the Diocese of Juneau, the grant will help to minister to people who live in remote regions scattered along 500 miles of islands, peninsulas, and fjords.

During the visit to the Diocese of El Paso, the Subcommittee had the opportunity to meet with the staff who carry out the ministries in west Texas that the grants would support and heard firsthand about the challenges and successes of meeting the needs of their faith community. Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, of Jefferson City and Chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions shared his sincere gratitude for the commitment and dedication diocesan and parish personnel have shown in the face of difficulties.

“The Diocese of El Paso, along with many other dioceses throughout the United States struggle to meet the basic pastoral needs of the faithful. Thanks to the generosity of Catholics throughout the United States, dioceses in need can apply for grants that will help them with evangelization and pastoral ministry efforts,” said Bishop McKnight. “These dioceses otherwise might not be able to engage as robustly in the evangelization and outreach programs that foster the community and fraternity needed to enrich the faithful who long to grow closer to Christ,” he said.

The Subcommittee oversees the Catholic Home Missions Appeal and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. Most of the requests received by the Subcommittee are to support programs of evangelization, Hispanic ministry, seminary education, lay ministry formation, and other essential pastoral ministries.

The national date for the Catholic Home Missions Appeal is April 26, however, some dioceses opt to host the appeal at other times during the year. More information on Catholic Home Missions and the projects it funds can be found online at www.usccb.org/home-missions. Join the conversation at #1church1mission.

CHM’s annual report provides a presentation of the use of collection funds and the scope of its reach and impact, and the most recent issue of the CHM newsletter “Neighbors” may be read here.

Parish resources for the collection may be accessed at http://www.usccb.org/catholic-giving/opportunities-for-giving/catholic-home-missions-appeal/collection/index.cfm.

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Keywords: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Shawn McKnight, Subcommittee on Catholic Home Missions, Committee on National Collections, Catholic Home Missions Appeal, CHMA

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Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
[email protected]
202-541-3200