(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/)
September 19, 2023
Pope Francis Accepts Resignations of Two Auxiliary Bishops
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation, having reached age 75, of the Most Reverend Joseph N. Perry, from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. Pope Francis has also accepted the resignation, for health reasons, of the Most Reverend Andrew P. Wypych, from the Office of Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago.
The resignations were publicized in Washington on September 19, 2023, by Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
September 18, 2023
Pro-Life Chairman Asks for “Radical Solidarity” in Respect Life Month Statement
WASHINGTON — Since 1973, the Catholic Church in the United States has observed October as “Respect Life Month.” This year, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities invites Catholics to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Respect Life Month by embracing “radical solidarity” with women facing difficult or challenging pregnancies.
Bishop Burbidge echoes Saint John Paul II, who coined the term “radical solidarity” in reference to the care owed to vulnerable pregnant women: “In firmly rejecting ‘pro-choice’ it is necessary to become courageously ‘pro woman,’ promoting a choice that is truly in favor of women. … The only honest stance, in these cases, is that of radical solidarity with the woman.”
While our efforts must remain strong to end legalized abortion, Bishop Burbidge affirmed the personal responsibility of all Catholics to “thoroughly surround mothers in need with life-giving support and personal accompaniment.”
Read Bishop Burbidge’s full statement, “Living Radical Solidarity” here
September 15, 2023
National Migration Week Highlights “Overlooked Right” Not to Migrate
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States will observe National Migration Week from September 18-24. Each year, this week-long celebration culminates with the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, established by the Holy See over 100 years ago and commemorated by Catholics across the globe. Throughout this week, the faithful and others of good will are encouraged to reflect on the challenges facing migrants, refugees, and others impacted by the complex phenomenon of forced displacement, the ways these newcomers enrich welcoming communities, and how we are each called to respond to them as members of the same human family.
For this year’s observance, Pope Francis selected the theme “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay,” underscoring the natural right not to emigrate from one’s homeland. While frequently overlooked within the U.S. immigration debate, this right has long been an integral part of the Catholic Church’s social teaching on migration. Emphasizing the intersection between this right and the root causes of forced displacement, the Holy Father observed in his annual message
“The decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even in our day, it is not. Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one’s native land is forcing millions of persons to leave.... Migrants flee because of poverty, fear or desperation. Eliminating these causes and thus putting an end to forced migration calls for shared commitment on the part of all, in accordance with the responsibilities of each.”
Ahead of National Migration Week, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“For millennia, people have been forced to flee their homelands, seeking safety and security, because of factors beyond their control. Pope Francis reminds us that Sacred Scripture reveals the Holy Family’s own flight into Egypt was not the result of a free decision, nor were many of the migrations that marked the history of the people of Israel. Through our belief in Jesus Christ, we are compelled to respond with charity toward those who must uproot their lives in search of refuge, but efforts to manage migration—even when predicated on the common good—require that we also address the coercive forces driving people to migrate. Only through collective efforts to alleviate these forces and by establishing the conditions required for integral human development can people truly avail themselves of the right to remain in their country of birth. May God, through the intersession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, sustain us in these pursuits and protect those whose lives depend upon their success.”
August 31, 2023
Pope Francis Names Bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Rev. Robert M. Pipta as bishop of the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Parma. Bishop-elect Pipta is a priest of Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix, and currently serves as rector of Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on August 31, 2023, by Monsignor Séamus P. Horgan, chargé d’affaires, ad interim at the apostolic nunciature in Washington, in the temporary absence of Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Father Pipta was born on April 7, 1967, in Anaheim, California. He studied at the University of California at Irvine (1985-1990) and earned a bachelor’s degree in music. He attended the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1990-1994). He was ordained to the priesthood on April 21, 1994, for the Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Van Nuys.
Bishop-elect Pipta’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Stephen Byzantine Catholic Cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona (1994-1997); administrator of St. Garbiel Byzantine Catholic Church in Las Vegas, Nevada (1997-2004); and pastor at Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Church in San Diego, California (2004-2014). Since 2014, Father Pipta has served as rector of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh.
Bishop-elect Pipta has held numerous appointments within the eparchy: member of the Intereparchial and Eparchial Music and Liturgy Commissions (1994-present); ecclesiastical notary for the eparchy (1994-1997); a member of the advisory council for the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius (1998-2012); vocations director (1994-2014); member of the Eparchial Review Board (2008-2014); and the Eparchial College of Consultors (2008-2014). He has also served as director of an eparchial youth camp, “Eparchial Alive in Christ” (2003-2014).
August 30, 2023
Labor Day 2023 Statement Focuses on “Radical Solidarity” with Working Families
WASHINGTON — In preparing for the observation of Labor Day in the United States on September 4, Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukranian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued a statement calling for radical solidarity with working families.
The statement calls attention to the need for policy solutions that enable families to thrive, the power of community organizing to create positive change in the lives of families, and the role unions can and often do play to support healthy, thriving families. Archbishop Gudziak calls us all to action, writing that “[e]ach of us is called to follow the Lord and bring glad tidings to the poor. There is still urgent work needed to exercise radical solidarity with mothers, children, and families. Let us pray and act towards this end, always listening to the Lord who fulfills glad tidings in our hearing his word each day.”
Archbishop Gudziak’s full Labor Day statement is available here
August 29, 2023
Reflection on World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
WASHINGTON — Each year on September 1, the Catholic Church commemorates the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
. This day of prayer also marks the beginning of a month-long ecumenical awareness initiative known as the “Season of Creation,” which concludes on October 4 with the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.
The theme chosen for this year’s Season of Creation is “Let Justice and Peace Flow,” and it calls on the faithful to reflect on the relationship between justice and creation. Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Archeparchy of Philadelphia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace issued a reflection which may be found here
August 22, 2023
Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Bishop Michael Warfel
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael W. Warfel from the Office of Bishop of Great Falls-Billings. Bishop Jeffrey M. Fleming, up until now coadjutor bishop of the same diocese, will succeed him as bishop of Great Falls-Billings.
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on August 22, 2023, by Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop Fleming’s biography may be found here
The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings is comprised of 94,158 square miles in the State of Montana and has a total population of 433,562 of which 29,607 are Catholic.
August 8, 2023
Pro-Life Chairman Rejects Distortion of Pregnant Workers’ Protection Law
WASHINGTON — On Monday, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released proposed regulations implementing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, responded with the following statement:
“We supported the bipartisan Pregnant Workers Fairness Act because it enhanced the protection of pregnant mothers and their preborn children, which is something that we have encouraged Congress to prioritize. The Act is pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-life. It is a total distortion to use this law as a means for advancing abortion, and the complete opposite of needed assistance for pregnant mothers.
“The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposed interpretation of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to include accommodations for obtaining an abortion is wrong and contrary to the text, legislative history, and purpose of the Act, which is to help make it possible for working mothers to remain gainfully employed, if desired, while protecting their health and that of their preborn children. We are hopeful that the EEOC will be forced to abandon its untenable position when public comments submitted on this regulation demonstrate that its interpretation would be struck down in court.”
August 7, 2023
Chairman for International Justice and Peace Calls for Global Leaders to Ensure Food Security
WASHINGTON — In 2022, an estimated 258 million people in 58 countries experienced crisis-level acute hunger, according to the World Food Programme (WFP), the global humanitarian organization addressing food security. Russia’s recent decision no longer to allow Ukraine to export tons of grain means more people are likely to go hungry. In response to the rising concern, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, calls on global leaders to do more to ensure food security for all. Bishop Malloy’s full statement follows:
“Globally, food insecurity has risen in the last few years due to the impacts of the pandemic, natural disasters, economic downturns, but especially due to conflict. Ukraine, prior to the Russian invasion, was considered ‘Europe’s breadbasket,’ shipping significant amounts of wheat, corn and barley, and almost half of the world’s sunflower oil through ports on the Black Sea. When Russia invaded Ukraine, those ports were blocked.
“From July 2022, the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), the UN-brokered agreement between Russia and Ukraine, allowed Ukraine to export about 33 million tons of grain and other agricultural products. Russia’s decision to withdraw from the BSGI and its bombing of grain storage facilities in Ukraine will greatly impact the availability of food supplies at a time when more people are in dire need of food. With the number of forcibly displaced people at a record high, the World Food Programme estimates 345 million people will face acute hunger this year, with 129,000 potentially facing famine in places like Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and Myanmar.
“Recognizing this critical need, Pope Francis has said
, ‘The blocking of grain exports from Ukraine, on which the lives of millions of people depend, especially in the poorest countries, is of great concern. I make a heartfelt appeal that every effort be made to resolve this issue and to guarantee the universal human right to food. Please do not use wheat, a staple food, as a weapon of war!’
“The food crisis is intertwined with persistence of conflicts. I join with our Holy Father in calling on global leaders to look beyond narrow national interests, focus on the common good, and join in ensuring that critical food supplies can flow to those most in need. The most vulnerable are crying in hunger. With the compassion of Christ, we need to heed their cries and help.”
August 1, 2023
Call for Remembrance and Support of Nuclear Arms Control
WASHINGTON — In July 1945, as a key part of the Manhattan Project, the first nuclear weapon was detonated in the desert in New Mexico. Three weeks later the world witnessed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Upon the anniversary of these events, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace issued the following statement:
“About 78 years ago, we soberly recall, the United States conducted its first nuclear detonation in New Mexico, paving the way for the development of atomic bombs that would be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Sadly, the development of nuclear weapons and threat of nuclear war has continued while arms control architecture is dissolving.
“The Cold War ended over 30 years ago, yet for those who remember, the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 brought us to the brink of nuclear annihilation. And only a precious few today remember those fateful events that brought an end to World War II in the Pacific. With the wars and threat of wars today, the menace of over 10,000 nuclear weapons in our world must not recede further from the public consciousness of today’s generation.
“The scourge of the Russia-Ukraine war continues unabated and has included threats of using nuclear weapons. In our emergent multipolar world, state and non-state actors are capitalizing on rapidly developing cyber technologies that are bringing forth weapons systems of increasing sophistication and lethality, compounding the risks of destabilization and miscalculation. New START, the last remaining major nuclear arms control treaty between the U.S. and Russia, continues to unravel. The billions of dollars spent on these weapons’ development are precious resources thereby unavailable for other critical needs of human and economic development.
“We must remain vigilant never to lose sight of the extraordinary dangers these weapons pose to humanity. In our efforts to support arms control, we must always be attentive
to the differences between just and unjust considerations of statecraft.
“On May 19 of this year, the Holy Father wrote
to Bishop Alexis-Mitsuru Shirahama of Hiroshima, on the occasion of the G7 Summit. Recalling his 2019 visit to Japan, Pope Francis reiterated that ‘the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is, today more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings, but against any possible future of our common home.’
“It has been said before, and it bears repeating, that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. I call on the Catholic faithful and people of goodwill to pray that the leaders of our nation, and those around the world who govern the control of such weapons, will earnestly seek to make critically needed progress on arms control. Knowing the horrors that can be unleashed in a nuclear war, beseeching Our Lady of Fatima, may these leaders discover new pathways to peace heretofore unseen.”
For more information and resources on the bishops’ teachings related to nuclear disarmament, visit www.usccb.org/nuclear
July 31, 2023
2023 “People of Life” Awards Recognize the Work of Pro-Life Cause
WASHINGTON — Three champions of the pro-life cause were honored on July 17 at the 2023 People of Life awards during the annual Diocesan Pro-Life Leadership Conference in Toledo, Ohio. This year's honorees are Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, Ph.D., Aurora Tinajero, and Dr. Kathryn Moseley. Approximately 80 diocesan Catholic pro-life leaders and guests attended the private awards dinner, including Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Also in attendance was Bishop Daniel E. Thomas of Toledo, and Bishop Earl K. Fernandes of Columbus.
The People of Life award recognizes Catholics who have answered the call outlined by Saint John Paul II in The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae, 1995) by dedicating themselves to pro-life activities and promoting respect for the dignity of the human person. It is bestowed in honor of their significant and longtime contributions to the culture of life.
Awardee Margaret H. (Peggy) Hartshorn, Ph.D., is current Chairman of the Board of Heartbeat International, and co-founder of Heartbeat International’s Option Line. Since 1973, she and her husband have been dedicated to the pro-life movement, not only working with the educational, political, and legislative arm of the movement, but also began housing pregnant women in their home in 1974, and additionally opened the first pregnancy help center in Columbus, Ohio, in 1981. Peggy is the recipient of many awards for pro-life work, including the President’s Volunteer Service Award under President George H.W. Bush, the Defender of Life Award from Students for Life, the Cardinal John J. O’Connor pro-life award from Legatus International, and the Catholic Woman of the Year Award from the Diocese of Columbus.
Awardee Aurora Tinajero started her pro-life ministry in the Diocese of Dallas in 1984. When the Catholic Pro-Life Committee was founded in 1993, she was invited to join the board to represent the Spanish-speaking community. Beginning in 2003, Aurora also worked as Spanish Ministry Director at the Catholic Pro-life Committee of North Texas (CPLC). In 2008, Aurora organized the first Spanish Congress with pro-life leaders from 14 Spanish-speaking countries and 17 states to train Spanish-speaking clergy and lay leaders to develop parish pro-life initiatives. In 2011, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted invited Aurora to help organize the second Bi-National Hispanic Congress in Phoenix. Aurora has been invited to assist with the expansion of parish and diocesan pro-life programs speaking throughout the United States, Latin America, and Spain. Aurora has also served as the respect life leader of her parish for 18 years. She is the mother of 5 daughters and grandmother of 24 grandchildren.
Awardee Kathryn Moseley, MD, MPH, who passed away at the age of 70 in June 2023, was honored as a life-long pro-life health care advocate. She was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Emerita at the University of Michigan and was a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist. During her career as a medical professional, she sought to address race-based disparities in health care especially concerning African American unborn babies and their mothers. Dr. Moseley received training in Catholic bioethics at the Center for Health Care Ethics at St. Louis University Medical School and later added secular bioethics training at the University of Chicago’s MacLean Center for Clinical Ethics. Dr. Moseley is a past chair of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) of the American Medical Association. She additionally served on the national ethics committees for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Board of Pediatrics. She was the National Secretary for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities and was a member of the original taskforce evaluating standards for ethics consultation.
The awardees join 40 other People of Life
award recipients since the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities established the award in 2007. To learn more about People of Life
, the bishops’ pro-life action campaign in the United States, please visit: https://www.usccb.org/prolife/people-life
July 24, 2023
More than 28,600 Youth, 60 Bishops from USA Traveling to Lisbon for World Youth Day
WASHINGTON — More than 1,300 groups comprised of more than 28,600 individuals from across the United States, will travel to Lisbon, Portugal, for the thirty-seventh World Youth Day (WYD) gathering with Pope Francis. While registration numbers are still continuing to rise, the United States is among the five largest delegations participating in WYD, which is taking place August 1-6, 2023. Most U.S. pilgrims to WYD are young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
“Our country is very much looking forward to this pilgrimage,” said Bishop Robert E. Barron of Winona-Rochester, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, which oversees the U.S. involvement in WYD. Bishop Barron, along with 60 other U.S. bishops, will be accompanying young people to Lisbon. He went on to say, “This is a wonderful occasion for young adults to have a significant encounter with Jesus Christ in the company of the universal Church. It is also a moment when the Holy Father and the Church’s leadership get an opportunity to listen to the young people present, teach and form them in the Gospel, and ultimately send them towards their vocation and mission in the world.”
U.S. pilgrims will be staying in parishes, campuses, homes, and hotels around Lisbon during the week of WYD, taking part in prayer and liturgies, daily catechesis, concerts, presentations, dialogue, service, and networking with young adults from around the world. More than 35 bishops from the U.S. will also serve as lead bishops for the daily catechetical sessions called “Rise Up!”
Pope Francis will join the WYD pilgrims on August 3, for a Welcome Ceremony in the city center. He will also preside at a Way of the Cross on August 4, a prayer vigil on August 5, and the WYD Closing Mass, with an anticipated crowd of a million or more, on August 6.
The USCCB is planning a National Pilgrim Gathering for all U.S. pilgrims on August 2, at 7:00 p.m. local Lisbon time, in Parque da Quinta das Conchas, an open park in the city. After time of music and testimony by young adults, Bishop Barron will offer a keynote address and, with Bishop Edward Burns of Dallas, lead a Holy Hour as part of the National Eucharistic Revival initiative.
World Youth Day began in 1986 as an initiative, inaugurated by St. John Paul II, to bring young people from around the world together to encounter Christ and the universal Church. WYD officially takes place every year as a Global Celebration of Young People (now celebrated on Christ the King Sunday); however, every 2 to 4 years, a major international event is held in a different location around the world. Past WYDs have included Buenos Aires (1987), Santiago de Compostela (1989), Czestochowa (1991), Denver (1993), Manila (1995), Paris (1997), Rome (2000), Toronto (2002), Cologne (2005), Sydney (2008), Madrid (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2013), Krakow (2016), and Panama (2019).
For more information, please visit the USCCB's web page for WYD: www.wydusa.org
. All are invited to follow the U.S. pilgrims on Twitter
, and Facebook
and with #JMJLisboa23 and #wydusa.
July 18, 2023
Pope Francis Names New Auxiliary Bishops of Los Angeles
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Msgr. Albert M. Bahhuth, Rev. Matthew Elshoff, OFM, Cap., Rev. Brian Nunes, and Rev. Slawomir S. Szkredka, as auxiliary bishops of Los Angeles.
The appointments were publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 18, 2023, by Cardinal-designate Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Bishop-elect Bahhuth is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and currently pastor of Holy Family Church in South Pasadena. Bishop-elect Elshoff is a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a religious order, and a member of Our Lady of Angels Province, currently serving as pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church in Los Angeles. Bishop-elect Nunes is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, currently serving as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese. Bishop-elect Szkredka is a priest of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, currently serving as formator and professor at Saint John Seminary in Camarillo.
Bishop-elect Albert M. Bahhuth
Monsignor Bahhuth was born October 6, 1956, in Beirut, Lebanon. He came to the United States with his family at a young age and is now a U.S. citizen. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Missouri and earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi in 1983. He attended St. John Seminary in Camarillo, California, and earned a master of divinity in theology (1996). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1996.
Bishop-elect Bahhuth’s assignments after ordination include: parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great parish in Whittier, 1996-2000; parochial vicar, Holy Family Catholic Church in Glendale, 2000-2002; pastor of St. Finbar parish in Burbank, 2002-2013; pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha parish in Santa Clarita, 2013-2015; and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 2015-2020. He was named a Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Monsignor in 2017. Since 2021, he has served as pastor of Holy Family parish in Pasadena. Bishop-elect Bahhuth speaks English, Arabic, and Spanish.
Bishop-elect Matthew Elshoff, OFM, Cap.
Father Elshoff was born September 24, 1955, in Cincinnati, Ohio. He began his priestly formation at St. Albert’s Priory in Oakland, California (1976-1978) as well as the Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology in Berkeley, California (1978-1982) where he earned a master of divinity and a master of theology. Father Elshoff attended the California Family Study Center where he received his master’s in marriage and family therapy (1984-1986), and a license in marriage and family therapy (1990). Father Elshoff made his perpetual profession as a Capuchin on September 22, 1979, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 18, 1982.
Bishop-elect Elshoff’s assignments in Our Lady of Angels Province after ordination include: vocation director (1982-1985), campus minister/administrative director/teacher/counselor (1985-1989), alumni director (1992), and president (1993) at St. Francis High School in La Cañada; assistant novice master/vicar of San Lorenzo (1989); provincial minister at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Burlingame (2008-2014); and pastor of Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang (2015-2018). He has served as pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi in Los Angeles since 2018. Bishop-elect Elshoff speaks English and Spanish.
Bishop-elect Brian Nunes
Father Nunes was born October 26, 1964, in Los Angeles, California. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola Marymount University (1986). He attended St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and received a bachelor’s in philosophy and a master of divinity in 2008. Father Nunes was ordained to the priesthood on May 31, 2008.
Bishop-elect Nunes’s assignments in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles include: associate pastor (2008-2012) and administrator (2012-2014) at Mary Star of the Sea parish in San Pedro (2008-2012); administrator of St. Gregory the Great parish in Whittier (2014-2015); priest secretary to the archbishop (2015-2019); and vice chancellor of the archdiocese (2018-2020). He has served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese since 2020. Bishop-elect Nunes speaks English, Tagalog, and Spanish.
Bishop-elect Slawomir S. Szkredka
Father Szkredka was born May 12, 1974, in Czechowice, Poland. He attended St. Cyril and Methodious Seminary in Orchard Lake, Michigan and received a bachelor’s in philosophy and a master of divinity in theology in 2002. He also undertook advanced studies in Rome, Italy from 2008-2015 and received a doctorate in sacred scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 2016. Father Szkredka was ordained to the priesthood on January 12, 2002.
Bishop-elect Szkredka’s assignments in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles include: associate pastor at St. Genevieve parish in Panorama City (2002-2006); and associate pastor at St. John the Baptist parish in Baldwin Park (2006-2008). Since 2015, he has served as formator and professor of biblical studies at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo. Bishop-elect Szkredka speaks English, Polish, and Spanish.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is comprised of 8,636 square miles in the State of California and has a total population of 11,291,951 of which 4,011,257 are Catholic.
July 14, 2023
U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection Releases Annual Report
The report is based on the audit findings of StoneBridge Business Partners, a specialty consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, New York, which provides forensic, internal, and compliance audit services to leading organizations nationwide. A survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University regarding allegations of abuse of minors is also included as a part of the report.
This is the twentieth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People
, a comprehensive framework of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and establish protocols to protect children and young people.
The 2022 report for audit year July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2022, states that 1,998 victim survivors came forward with 2,704 allegations. The number of allegations is 399 less than that reported in 2021 and 1,548 less than that reported in 2020. This decrease is due in large part to the resolution of allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs, and bankruptcies. Of the allegations received, 2,217 (83%) were first brought to the attention of the diocesan/eparchial representative by an attorney. Allegations involving current minors account for 16 reports. All other allegations were made by adults alleging events that occurred when they were minors.
During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 254 victim survivors and their families who reported during the audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,589 victim survivors who had reported in prior audit periods. The report notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2022, the Church conducted 2,144,161 background checks on clergy, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2022, over 2.1 million adults and over 2.9 million children and youth were trained in how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs. These numbers had decreased significantly during the previous two years but are now increasing as society returns to activities enjoyed prior to the COVID pandemic.
The audit process included in-depth evaluation of 62 of 196 dioceses and eparchies by StoneBridge Business Partners and data collection from 132 dioceses and eparchies. Additionally, 194 dioceses and eparchies participated in a study conducted by CARA.
There were three instances of non-compliance: Diocese of Birmingham, Diocese of Lubbock, and Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands each had instances of noncompliance related to Article 2 of the Charterand the functioning of the Diocesan Review Board.
Two eparchies did not participate in the audit: the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, and St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy.
The USCCB’s Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People and the National Review Board continue to emphasize that the audit and continued application of zero-tolerance policies are two important tools in the Church’s broader program of creating a culture of protection and healing that exceeds the requirements of the Charter.
June 16, 2023
U.S. Bishops Vote to Advance Cause of “Shreveport Martyrs”
ORLANDO, Fla. — At their annual spring Plenary Assembly, the bishops of the United States held a canonical consultation on the cause of beatification and canonization of the Servants of God Jean Pierre, Isidore Quémerais, Jean Marie Biler, Louis Gergaud, and François LeVézouët, five French-born priests who came to Louisiana during the yellow fever epidemic of 1873. They served in the area in what is today the Diocese of Shreveport. The Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, which oversees the steps and process for canonization, granted that the five causes be considered together as one cause; the priests are referred to locally in the diocese as the “Shreveport Martyrs.”
Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki of Milwaukee, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, and Bishop Francis I. Malone of Shreveport, facilitated the discussion by the bishops. By a voice vote on June 15, the bishops affirmed their support
for the advancement of the cause of beatification and canonization on the diocesan level.
The five French-born priests left their homeland to minister to the people in what was then a newly erected diocese which was in the frontier wilderness of northern Louisiana. As yellow fever hit the community in 1873, they ministered to the locals, assisted at the bedsides of the sick, and anointed the dying. A New Orleans newspaper described the outbreak in Shreveport as “fourfold worse” than anything seen in decades, yet the five priests chose to remain in the community and continue to serve despite the dire conditions, and each succumbed to yellow fever.
In his request to open the diocesan phase of investigation into the lives of the five priests, Bishop Malone cited the benefit to the faithful that the lives and virtues of the priests have to the Church in the United States in light of the recent COVID pandemic.
March 23, 2023
Statement on Proper Disposition of Bodily Remains
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine has issued a statement providing principles for evaluating some newer methods and technologies for disposition of the bodies of the deceased. The USCCB’s Administrative Committee approved the issuance of the statement on March 15.
In their statement, the doctrine committee affirms that every human being has been created in the image of God and has an inherent dignity and worth. Furthermore, since “every man and woman is a unity of body and soul, respect for the person necessarily includes respect for the body.” The Church considers burial to be “the most appropriate way of manifesting reverence for the body of the deceased,” as it “clearly expresses our faith and hope in the resurrection of the body.” While the Church permits cremation unless it is chosen for reasons contrary to the Catholic faith, the preferred method is burial.
Applying the basic principles found in the Instruction regarding Burial of the Deceased and the Conservation of the Ashes in the Case of Cremation (Ad resurgendum cum Christo)
issued by the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2016, the committee evaluates the two most prominent newer methods for disposition of bodily remains that are proposed as alternatives to burial and cremation — alkaline hydrolysis and human composting — and concludes that they fail to satisfy the Church’s requirements for proper respect for the bodies of the dead. After the alkaline hydrolysis process, there are about 100 gallons of liquid into which the greater part of the body has been dissolved and this liquid is treated as wastewater. At the end of the human composting process, the body has completely decomposed along with accompanying plant matter to yield a single mass of compost, with nothing distinguishably left of the body to be laid to rest in a sacred place.
The doctrine committee concludes their statement by recalling that the Catholic faith teaches us that our ultimate destiny as human beings includes our bodiliness: “We are therefore obliged to respect our bodily existence throughout our lives and to respect the bodies of the deceased when their earthly lives have come to an end. The way that we treat the bodies of our beloved dead must always bear witness to our faith in and our hope for what God has promised us.”