The News
Heal Divisions on Migration PDF Print E-mail

On September 19, the United Nations General Assembly held a summit level meeting of Heads of State and government officials to discuss the large movement of refugees and migrants in the world today. As Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., auxiliary bishop of Seattle, issued the following statement:

When Pope Francis addressed the United States Congress last September, he called on all Americans to “seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.” His words are prescient to our situation today, in which we find ourselves immersed in an environment that lays bare divisions and disagreements that undermine solidarity and authentic community. As Catholics, we are called to overcome the partisan divides that separate us and instead focus on the moral teachings of the Church that will help us build a vibrant public square.

The Catholic Bishops of the United States recognize the responsibility of nations to control their borders. Maintaining secure and reliable procedures that effectively manage the flow of people entering the United States is an important component of our immigration system. In addition, we will continue to underscore the right of people to migrate who are unable to find the means to support themselves and their families in their home countries, or who are fleeing persecution and violence. Sovereign nations should find a way to accommodate this right.

But it is not enough that we welcome the migrants into our communities. The political and religious leaders of this great nation must work with the leaders of other countries to help create the conditions so people do not feel compelled to migrate in the first place. We must promote the common good everywhere, so that people in all nations can live a life where their human dignity is protected. We must nurture a culture that prioritizes family unity and which rejects situations where families are forced apart because economic opportunities are not available where they live. We must seek a world in which everyone has access to the economic, political, and social opportunities to live in freedom and dignity, and to achieve a full life through the use of their God-given gifts.

 
2016 Labor Day Statement PDF Print E-mail

The lack of jobs that can support families, particularly among those without access to higher education, has placed heavy burdens on families and communities across the country. In this year’s USCCB Labor Day statement, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, drew attention to Pope Francis' recent address to the U.S. Congress, in which he highlighted the connection between economic pressures and stresses on the family. Archbishop Wenski in particular lamented the struggles of those in communities with elevated rates of poverty, substance abuse, and the dissolution of the family. "The Church weeps with all of these families, with these children, whose homes and worlds are broken," Archbishop Wenski said.

While the United States is undergoing a difficult time with political tensions, fear, and anxiety, Archbishop Wenski challenges people to respond with faith and action. "For our dynamics to change, we must replace fear with a fuller vision that can be powerfully supported by our faith…the Church's history is filled with communities that took seriously the call to be their 'brother's keeper' (Gen. 4:9), faced challenges together, and lifted up the 'cry of the poor' (Psalm 34:7)."

To those who are experiencing isolation and feel left behind in today's economy, Archbishop Wenski offered assurance of the Church's solidarity. He said, "For those who feel left behind today, know that the Church wants to walk with you, in the company of the God who formed your 'inmost being' and who knows that you are 'wonderfully made.' (Psalm 139:13-14)."

The full text of the 2016 Labor Day statement is available online in English and Spanish.


 
New Respect Life Program PDF Print E-mail

“Moved by Mercy” is the theme of the 2016-2017 Respect Life Program, sponsored annually by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). In addition to the bilingual bulletin insert, the program materials include six full-color pamphlets on topics such as post-abortion healing, suicide, God’s creation and accompanying expectant mothers considering adoption. The 2016-2017 Resource Guide includes homily helps for Respect Life Sunday (Oct. 2, 2016), additional resources for the six pamphlets, and suggestions for participating in the 9 Days for Life – an annual period of prayer and action surrounding the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children on January 22 (also the anniversary of Roe v. Wade).

To find details on all of the USCCB’s Respect Life Program materials, click here.


 
Mercy for Our Common Home PDF Print E-mail

On September 1, the Vatican marked the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. Pope Francis in celebrating the occasion:

“Global warming continues, due in part to human activity: 2015 was the warmest year on record, and 2016 will likely be warmer still. This is leading to ever more severe droughts, floods, fires and extreme weather events. Climate change is also contributing to the heart-rending refugee crisis. The world’s poor, though least responsible for climate change, are most vulnerable and already suffering its impact.

“As an integral ecology emphasizes, human beings are deeply connected with all of creation. When we mistreat nature, we also mistreat human beings. At the same time, each creature has its own intrinsic value that must be respected. Let us hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (Laudato Si’, 49), and do our best to ensure an appropriate and timely response.

After inviting people to an examination of conscience and repentance, Pope Francis challenges everyone to adopt “concrete ways of thinking and acting that are more respectful of creation. For example: ‘avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices’ (Laudato Si’, 211). We must not think that these efforts are too small to improve our world. They ‘call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread” and encourage “a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, one capable of deep enjoyment free of the obsession with consumption’ (Laudato Si’, 212, 222).”

To read the entire text of this message, visit the Vatican website.

 
Jump in Assisted Suicides PDF Print E-mail

According to the Washington State Department of Health annual report, 166 people committed physician-assisted suicides during 2015. The total is a roughly 30% increase over the 126 people who died from assisted suicide in 2014. Since the legalization of assisted suicide in Washington, at least 651 people have committed assisted suicide in Washington State. The Department of Health reports may not provide adequate information for all of those who obtained a lethal prescription. Doctors are not required to report nor are there any penalties for failing to report. Furthermore, physicians are not required to be present when the person takes the lethal dose and rarely are. Of those who ingested a lethal dose in 2015, 100 of them had known the prescribing physician for less than six months. To read the assisted suicide report for 2015 and previous years, click here.

 
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