Tag Archives: USCCB

Anglican Ordinariate For U.S, To Be Established January 1; Bishop Kevin Vann, Delegate

Kevin W. Vann.jpgAt the general assembly of the US Bishops today, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, DC, announced the Vatican appointment of Bishop Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Fort Worth Texas, to be the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision (in effect since 1981). Vann succeeds Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark. Vann will oversee the  the formation and admittance of former Anglican clergy to the Roman Church. He will work closely with Cardinal Wuerl who has oversight of the temporary church structure of the Anglican Ordinariate in the USA.

Bishop Vann writes about the work on his blog.
January 1, 2012 is the date slated for the establishment of the new American, Personal Ordinariate for former Anglican Clergy and people coming into full communion with the Rome Church. The official name of the Ordinariate has not been announced.
You may be interested in “Anglicanorum Coetibus: Questions and Answers.” It is quite helpful in terms of defining meaning, significance and timeline of events.
I’ve known Bishop Vann for some time and he’s an excellent choice for the good shepherd who will help the former Anglican clergy.

USCCB Religious Liberty committee and consultants finalized

The USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty headed up by Bishop William Edward Lori announces the bishops and consultants:

Ten bishops and 10 consultants were named to the committee in early November.

New members are Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa.; Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta; Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and
Minneapolis; Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix; Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill.; Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi of Mobile, Ala.; Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle; and Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington.

Consultants include Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus; attorneys Kevin Baine, Philip Lacovara and L. Martin Nussbaum; Father Raymond J. de Souza, a columnist and priest of the Archdiocese of Kingston, Ontario;
Richard Garnett, associate dean and professor of law and political science at the University of Notre Dame; John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America; Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law School professor; Judge Michael
McConnell, Stanford University Law School professor; and Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference.

Lori said we need to have “a new appreciation for religious liberty and a renewed determination to defend it.”

As mere commentary, the lay members of this committee are impressive.

Claim the Truth of Christ, says Archbishop Dolan in USCCB address November 14, 2011

You can read Archbishop Dolan’s presidential address in its entirety elsewhere; here I offer a few points from the address to reflect upon:

our most
pressing pastoral challenge today
is to reclaim that truth, to restore the
luster, the credibility, the beauty of the Church “ever ancient, ever new,”
renewing her as the face of Jesus, just as He is the face of God. Maybe our
most urgent pastoral priority is to lead our people to see, meet, hear and embrace
anew Jesus in and through His Church.

Because, as the chilling statistics we
cannot ignore tell us, fewer and fewer of our beloved people — to say nothing
about those outside the household of the faith — are convinced that Jesus and
His Church are one. As Father Ronald Rolheiser wonders, we may be living in a
post-ecclesial era, as people seem to prefer

a King but not
the kingdom,

a shepherd with
no flock,

to believe
without belonging,

a spiritual
family with God as my father, as long as I’m

the only child,
without religion

faith without
the faithful

Christ without
His Church.

Read more ...

USCCB’s Committee on Religious Liberty detailed

Since its establishment there’s been little concrete news on the make up of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. The President of the USCCB, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, established the committee to address the concerns surrounding the reduction of religious freedom in a variety of arenas, not least government and culture. Dolan named Bridgeport Bishop William E. Lori as the chairman, the member bishops and consulters have yet to be named. A group of bishops will meet, however, Sunday, 13 November, in advance of the annual general assembly of the US bishops.

Lori told CNA that the goal “…is first of all to lift the whole area of religious freedom, beginning with the teaching of the Church in Dignitatis Humanae [1965]– the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on religious freedom” and the exposition of “…the vision of the Founding Fathers of the United States.”
Read David Kerr of CNA’s post on the developments here or here.

Defending Our First Freedom, Archbishop José Gomez, decries slowly losing sense of religious liberty in America

José H. Gomez.jpg

On 25 October 2011, Los Angelus Archbishop José H. Gomez, STD,  60, spoke on the slow loss of America’s first freedom. On March 1, 2011, Archbishop Gomez became the Archbishop of Los Angelus, after being the Archbishop of San Antonio; he’s been a bishop for nearly 11 years.  A stellar article follows:

There is much evidence to suggest that our society no longer values the public role of religion or recognizes the importance of religious freedom as a basic right. As scholars like Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon and Michael Sandel have observed, our courts and government agencies increasingly treat the right to hold and express religious beliefs as only one of many private lifestyle options. And, they observe, this right is often “trumped” in the face of challenges from competing rights or interests deemed to be more important.

These are among the reasons the U.S. Catholic bishops recently established a new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. My brother bishops and I are deeply concerned that believers’ liberties–and the Church’s freedom to carry out her mission–are threatened today, as they never have been before in our country’s history.

Catholics have always believed that we serve our country best as citizens when we are trying to be totally faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. And since before the founding of the American Republic, Catholics–individually and institutionally–have worked with government agencies at all levels to provide vital social services, education, and health care.

But lately, this is becoming harder and harder for us to do. Just last week, the federal government declined a grant request from the U.S. bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services agency. We are not really sure why. No reason was given. Our agency has been working well with the government since 2006 to help thousands of women and children who are victims of human trafficking.

Recently, the government had been demanding that our agency provide abortions, contraception and sterilizations for the women we serve. We hope our application was not denied because we refused to provide these services that are unnecessary and violate our moral principles and religious mission.

And this is not an isolated case. Right now, the federal government is also trying to force private employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilizations and contraception–including for medications that cause abortions. This not only violates the consciences of Catholic business owners, it also undermines the religious autonomy of Church employers.

For several years now, it seems that whenever there is a merger or expansion involving a Catholic hospital, some legislator or government agency tries to block it unless our Catholic hospitals and doctors will start providing abortions and sterilizations. So far, these efforts at coercion have failed. What’s troubling is that these efforts continue, without regard to the historic contributions of Catholic health care or to the First Amendment.

More recently, the push to legalize “same-sex marriages” has posed a new set of challenges to our freedoms. Church adoption and foster-care ministries have already been forced to shut down rather than submit to government demands that they place children with same-sex couples or provide benefits for same-sex employees.

And in an ominous development, the U.S. Justice Department went on record this summer as saying that those who defend the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman are motivated by bias and prejudice.

Of course, that is our ancient Catholic belief, rooted in the teachings of Jesus and also the Jewish Scriptures. It is a belief held by many Protestants, the Orthodox, and also by Jews and Muslims, among others. But scholars like Princeton’s Robert P. George warn that this belief might now be labeled as a form of bigotry and lead to new challenges to our liberties.

We are also concerned about the signals the federal government is sending in a case now before the U.S. Supreme Court, Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC. Experts say that if the government’s case prevails, it will have broad new powers to regulate the inner workings of Church institutions–even to possibly interfere in areas of Church practice and doctrine.

All of this is troubling and represents a sharp break with our history and American traditions. Religious liberty has always been “the first freedom” in our Bill of Rights and in our national identity. Our country’s founders recognized that religious freedom is a right endowed by God, not a privilege granted by government. And they respected that what God has given, no one–not a court, a legislature, or any institution–can rightly deny.

In our history, religious freedom has always included the rights of churches and religious institutions to establish hospitals, schools, charities, media outlets, and other agencies–and to staff these ministries and run them, free from government intrusion.

And religious freedom has always included the churches’ rights to engage in the public square to help shape our nation’s moral and social fabric. We see this throughout our history–from the abolitionist movement, to the civil rights movement, to the pro-life movement.

America’s founders understood that our democracy depends on Americans’ being moral and virtuous. They knew the best guarantee for this is a civil society in which individuals and religious institutions were free to live, act, and vote according to their values and principles. We need to help our leaders today rediscover the wisdom of America’s founding. And we need to help believers once more understand the vital importance of this “first freedom.” At stake are not just our liberties but also the future character of our democracy.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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