News and Press

Information and Announcements About The Diocese

Geri Christ Landry was named “Woman of the Year” by the National Catholic Daughters of the Americas at their National Convention held this past July in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Mrs. Landry is a member of the Court Lady of the Lake #695 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles and has served in active ministry as a Catholic Daughter for more than 50 years.

Disaster recovery continues in the Diocese of Lake Charles as it recently marked the second anniversary of Hurricane Laura on August 27, 2022. This is the third in a series of monthly snapshots highlighting the ongoing recovery in the Diocese of Lake Charles. The data provided is as of August 31, 2022.

(USCCB News Archives can be accessed at www.usccb.org/news/) 

September 23, 2022
Catholic and Pentecostal representatives meet for dialogue
WASHINGTON — Delegations representing the Catholic Church and the Pentecostal Charismatic Movement met September 14-16, 2022, for ecumenical dialogue. The meeting, hosted by Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was attended by representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Pentecostal Charismatic Churches of North America (PCCNA), and was a continuation of a theological exchange that began last year between the two faith groups.
 
The three-day meeting carried the theme of “healing,” which had been developed by the co-chairs for the meeting, Rev. Dr. Harold Hunter of the PCCNA and Fr. Walt Kedjierski of the USCCB with the intent to engage in exploratory dialogue on issues related to ritual, liturgy, and sacraments. The dialogue included the offering of two papers, the first by Dr. Andrew Prevot of the Department of Theology at Boston College on “Varieties of Healing: A Catholic Perspective,” and Rev. Dr. David Han, dean, Pentecostal School of Theology on “Healing in the Pentecostal Tradition.” Both papers explored aspects of Catholic and Pentecostal healing rituals and the call to healing in the lives of individuals and wider communities.
 
In addition to having an opportunity to gather and pray in the Oral Roberts University chapel, the theme of the meeting was enhanced with visits to Greenwood Rising, a museum of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that destroyed what was considered the wealthiest African American community in the country and known as “Black Wall Street,” and to the Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park. Participants of the dialogue also had the opportunity to meet with Rev. Dr. Billy Wilson, president of Oral Roberts University over lunch, and with Dr. Hal Reed, head of the Global Environmental Sustainability Program at ORU, who offered further insights Pentecostal engagement for climate justice.
 
Participants attending the meeting included:
  • Dr. Kimberly Belcher, University of Notre Dame
  • Rev. Dr. Tammy Dunahoo, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
  • Dr. Martin Mittelstadt, Evangel University
  • Rev. Dr. Leonardo Gajardo, St. Paul Catholic Community (Indiana)
  • Rev. Dr. Andrew Menke, Executive Director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
  • Rev. Dr. Frederick L. Ware, Associate Dean of the Howard University School of Divinity
Observers at the meeting included:
  • Rev. Mike Donaldson, Ph.D. student at Oral Roberts University
  • Rev. Allison Jones and Mr. Wesley Samuel of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church
  • Mr. Nathan Smith of Glenmary Missioners
The next meeting will be hosted by the USCCB at the University of Notre Dame in September 2023.
 
The PCCNA represents 40 million Christians through its member denominations and organizations serving in Canada, the United States, and Mexico (www.pccna.org). The USCCB is the assembly of the hierarchy of Catholic bishops who jointly exercise pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (www.usccb.org). The provisional dialogue is sponsored by the PCCNA’s Christian Unity Commission and the USCCB’s Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
 
September 23, 2022
Bishop Malloy condemns threats to use nuclear weapons
WASHINGTON — Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace condemned threats made during the current 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly to use nuclear weapons in the Russia-Ukraine war.
 
“As tensions grow at the UN General Assembly, growing rhetorical gestures threatening the use of nuclear weapons must be condemned. A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Any threat made to use nuclear weapons reminds us of their heinous nature and disastrous consequences for all of humanity. Let us continue to pray for the leaders of the world — that the hopes and dreams we share in common for our peoples will triumph over the tempers and injustice wrought by this war in Ukraine.”
 
September 21, 2022
Respect Life Month chance to join in "radical solidarity' with pregnant mothers
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States observes October as “Respect Life Month.” This year, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities invites Catholics to “practice radical solidarity and unconditional love” for pregnant and parenting mothers.
 
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health this past June returned the responsibility of limiting abortion from the judiciary to the legislature. For those of us who have prayed for this moment to arrive, says Archbishop Lori, “it is the time for a renewal and rededication of our efforts to build a culture of life and civilization of love.” He explains that “justice requires that the basic protections of the law against violence be extended to the preborn child” while explaining that building “a world in which all are welcome requires not only justice, but compassion, healing, and above all, unconditional love.”
 
Moving from law to culture, Archbishop Lori asks Catholics to “shift the paradigm to what Saint Pope John Paul II described as ‘radical solidarity,’ making the good of others our own good, including especially mothers, babies (born and unborn), and families throughout the entire human lifespan.” He reminds the faithful that “Our Church understands that parents, children, and families need help not just during pregnancy, but throughout the whole of life’s journey because millions of Catholics already accompany their neighbors in such circumstances.”
 
Read Archbishop Lori’s full statement, “Building a Culture of Life in a Post-Roe World” here.
 
September 19, 2022
Statement on death of Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, former USCCB president
WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement on the passing of Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston, at the age of 91.
 
Archbishop Gomez’s full statement follows:
 
“It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of His Excellency, Joseph Fiorenza, the archbishop emeritus of Galveston-Houston. Archbishop Fiorenza led the bishops’ conference from 1998-2001 as president, and those who worked with him have expressed that his leadership embodied his love, dedication, and tireless service to the Church. I offer my prayers and sympathy to Archbishop Fiorenza’s family, friends, and the many people whose lives he touched through his ministry over the years as a priest, and then as bishop. May the Lord grant him eternal rest.”
 
September 16, 2021
National Migration Week and World Day of Migrants and Refugees
WASHINGTON — The Catholic Church in the United States marks National Migration Week (September 19-25) as an opportunity for the faithful to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, refugees, and victims of human trafficking, among others. The week-long observation customarily concludes with the Vatican’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) on the last Sunday of September. 
 
Instituted in 1914, WDMR is an occasion for the world’s Catholics to express concern for vulnerable persons on the move, to join together in prayer, and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration can provide. National Migration Week has been observed by the Catholic Church in the United States since 1980 - the same year the landmark Refugee Act was enacted into law. From its inception, National Migration Week has coincided with WDMR out of solidarity with the Holy See and the Universal Church. Catholic dioceses, schools, and other institutions will mark the week with special Masses, interfaith services, educational opportunities, advocacy efforts, and more.
 
The theme chosen by Pope Francis for this year’s WDMR is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees,” and this same theme will be used for National Migration Week. In his annual message, the Holy Father underscores that no one can be excluded from the work of construction that leads to God’s Kingdom. “God’s plan,” he says, “is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking.”
 
Ahead of National Migration Week, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
 
“There has never been a more critical moment to reflect on the issue of migration, as we witness, for the first time in history, over 100 million forcibly displaced persons in the world. This week provides a special opportunity for encounter, accompaniment, and prayer, as well as a chance for Catholics and others of good will to join together in support of those who depend on our collective voice. I am especially mindful of Dreamers, our new Afghan neighbors, Ukrainians fleeing conflict in their homeland, those with temporary protections who have made a home in the United States, and undocumented agricultural workers, all of whom have an important role to play in building the future of our country—just as they have a role in building the Kingdom of God. May this week help us to experience a renewed sense of what it means to live as brothers and sisters, traveling together on the same journey.”
 
Educational materials, advocacy opportunities, and other resources for National Migration Week are available on the Justice for Immigrants website. The Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section also has resources related to WDMR on its website.
 
September 8, 2022
Call issued for progress in nuclear disarmament
WASHINGTON — The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Review Conference concluded on August 26 without consensus on a final document. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, expressed lament at the failure of international agreement upon the conclusion of the conference.
 
“At the beginning of the recently concluded Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference,  Pope Francis delivered his message to the distinguished delegates imploring them to ‘move with determination from a perspective of competition to one of cooperation,’ reminding all that ‘international peace and stability cannot be based on a false sense of security, on the threat of mutual destruction or total annihilation…’
 
“Article VI of the NPT commits states-parties to ‘pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.’ We lament the failure of the states-parties after four long weeks of negotiation to reach consensus on a final document. We advocate for the acceleration and strengthening of the implementation of the NPT and call on all states-parties to recommit to dialogue and demonstrate progress toward the elimination of nuclear weapons everywhere.
 
“No corner of our world is untouched by growing hostilities and war. Compounded by asymmetrical warfare, cyber technologies, and the intertwined nature of our world we are one miscalculation away from catastrophe. Fundamentally it is the enmity found in the human heart that is at the root of such conflict and hostility to which the Church proclaims Christ Jesus as the remedy to humankind. We pray that all nations will work to foster trust over suspicion and to bring about immediate and measurable progress towards disarmament and lasting peace.”
 
September 1, 2022
Chairmen issue reflection on World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
WASHINGTON — Each year, Pope Francis invites the Church to commemorate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on September 1. This day of prayer begins a month-long “Season of Creation” which concludes on October 4 with the feast of Saint Francis. Calling on all Christians to pray and work together to care for our common home, the theme for this year’s Season of Creation is, “Listen to the voice of creation.”
 
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, 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 for the World Day of Prayer for Creation which may be found here.
 
August 31, 2022
Labor Day reflection focuses on promoting welfare of working families
WASHINGTON — As Americans prepare to mark Labor Day on September 5, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued an annual reflection on the world of work and the importance of upholding the dignity of all laborers.
 
“This Labor Day, let us reflect on how we can build a more just economy by promoting the welfare of working families through both charitable works and through advocacy for improved policies such as expanding the Child Tax Credit and passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Advancing these two policies would have a profound impact on family stability, especially for families who are financially vulnerable,” said Archbishop Coakley.
 
In considering the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, he continued, “This unique moment necessitates a society and an economy that supports marriages, families, and women; it demands that all of us reach across political aisles and work diligently to reframe social policies in ways that are pro-woman, pro-family, pro-worker and, thus, authentically pro-life.”
 
Archbishop Coakley’s full Labor Day statement is available here.
 
August 20, 2022
Pope Francis accepts resignation of Bishop Samra
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Nicholas James Samra, 78, from the pastoral governance of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton (Massachusetts), and has appointed Reverend François E. Beyrouti, a priest of the Melkite Eparchy of Newton his successor. Father Beyrouti currently serves as pastor of Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church in Placentia, California.
 
The resignation and appointment were publicized in Washington, D.C. on August 20, 2022, by Monsignor Séamus P. Horgan, chargé d’affaires, ad interim at the apostolic nunciature in Washington in the temporary absence of Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.
 
Father Beyrouti was born July 3, 1971, in Hadeth-Beirut, Lebanon. His family immigrated to Canada in 1976 and Father Beyrouti was raised in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He studied at the Seminary of Christ the King in Mission, British Columbia (1989-1993) and received a Bachelor’s degree with concentrations in history, English and philosophy; and a baccalaureate in theology at Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies, Ontario (1996). He also received a Master’s degree in theology (1997), a licentiate in theology (1998), and a doctorate in theology (2012) from Saint Paul University. He was ordained to the priesthood on October 4, 1998.
 
After ordination, Bishop-elect Beyrouti served as associate pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Melkite Catholic Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (1998-2010). From 1998-2010, he was a member of the College of Consultors for the Eparchy of Saint Sauveur (Montreal) for the Melkite Catholics in Canada, and from 2004-2010, he was vocations director for the Eparchy of Saint Sauveur. He has been pastor at Holy Cross Melkite Catholic Church in Placentia, California since 2012. He has also served as a member of the Eparchy of Newton’s presbyteral council, and as president of the Eastern Catholic Pastoral Association. Bishop-elect Beyrouti speaks English, French, German, and Arabic.
 
The Melkite Eparchy of Newton ministers to 21,691 Melkite Greek Catholics in the United States.
 
August 19, 2022
USCCB chairman expresses solidarity with Church in Nicaragua
WASHINGTON — As threats to the Catholic Church in Nicaragua grow amidst the local social and political crisis, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace, issued the following statement:
 
“In 2018, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio travelled to Nicaragua to express USCCB’s solidarity with our brother bishops in that country. In his homily at the Cathedral of Managua he memorably said, ‘I see the commitment of your bishops as a sign of God’s love.’ In the last few weeks, the Nicaraguan bishops have, once again, heroically demonstrated the enduring validity of that sentiment.
 
“In light of the growing crisis, Monsignor Juan Antonio Cruz Serrano, the Holy See's Permanent Observer to the Organization of American States, recently stated that ‘the Holy See cannot fail to express its concern,’ and he appealed ‘to the parties to find ways of understanding, based on respect and mutual trust, seeking above all the common good and peace.’
 
“Today, I express our continued steadfast solidarity with our brothers in the Nicaraguan episcopate, along with their priests and foreign missionaries, in their calling to freely proclaim the Gospel and live the faith. The faith of the Nicaraguan people, who stand in solidarity with their bishops and priests, is an inspiration for us all.” 
 
August 11, 2022
Statement: Catholics in the U.S. Stand in Solidarity with Our Muslim Neighbors"
WASHINGTON – Bishop David P. Talley of Memphis, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, has shared the statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago, Catholic co-chairman of the National Catholic-Muslim Dialogue.
 
Full text of Cardinal Cupich’s statement, “Catholics in the United States Stand in Solidarity with Our Muslim Neighbors,” follows:
 
“In light of the tragic loss of four Muslim lives in Albuquerque this past week, I affirm the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s statement that ‘the Catholic community stands in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters during this time of crisis.’ As chairman of the national Catholic-Muslim dialogue, I have been blessed to walk on the journey of dialogue and friendship with our Muslim neighbors from around the United States. We join you in your sorrow and promise you a remembrance in our prayers. 
 
“In his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis highlighted an important observation of the Bishops of India: ‘The goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace and harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love’ (271). May all people of good will work together to deliver our communities from all forms of violence so that we might enjoy the gift of God’s peace.”
 
August 10, 2022
Migration chairman calls for swift passage of Afghan Adjustment Act
WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, the Afghan Adjustment Act (S. 4787/H.R. 8685) was introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. If passed, this legislation would provide newly arrived Afghans with an opportunity to become lawful permanent residents in the United States, require the President to establish an Interagency Task Force on Afghan Ally Strategy, and increase support for those who assisted the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
 
Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, sent a letter to Congress endorsing the Afghan Adjustment Act and urging both chambers to pass it without delay, stating:
 
“This bipartisan bill would lift the cloud of legal uncertainty currently faced by tens of thousands of Afghans relocated to the United States in recent months and promote their full integration within American communities.
 
“Many of those who would benefit from this legislation served alongside U.S. servicemembers in Afghanistan or are the family members of those individuals. This service comes at a great personal sacrifice, as they now face the threat of persecution and even death if returned to their native Afghanistan. Unfortunately, their ability to remain in the United States permanently is severely limited under current law, even after an unprecedented effort to secure their relocation. The Afghan Adjustment Act would address this defect, fulfilling our nation’s promise to these families, demonstrating the United States’ commitment to its allies, and reaffirming the importance of humanitarian protection.”
 
The USCCB, through its Department of Migration and Refugee Services, has assisted over 13,000 Afghans with resettlement since August 2021, together with Catholic Charities agencies and other community-based partners. Through this work, the Catholic Church in the United States answers Christ’s call to welcome the stranger and carries out the Church’s commitment to protecting the life and dignity of every human person, from the moment of conception to natural death.
 
August 9, 2022
USCCB chairman welcomes legislation on drug prices, environment
WASHINGTON — On Sunday, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act. Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, previously wrote to Congress in June regarding the moral issues at stake in addressing climate change, and again earlier this month welcoming various environmental and some health provisions in the Act. In response to the passage of the bill in the Senate, Archbishop Coakley issued the following statement:
 
“I am grateful to the Senate for their efforts to support the environment and lower drug prices through the Inflation Reduction Act. It is also prudent that this legislation contains revenue provisions to offset the investments when concerns around inflation and the economy are high. Climate change is a global challenge that requires courageous, long-term action from Congress, and I am grateful for the many substantial climate provisions that bring the United States closer to honoring its emissions reductions goals under the Paris Agreement, which Pope Francis has strongly encouraged us to meet. This is a meaningful effort to care for our common home. Provisions in this package will help to curb greenhouse gas emissions while seeking to safeguard the economy and give preference to the poor.
 
“I am also grateful for provisions in the bill that will lower prescription drug costs for those who rely on Medicare, and continue to call on lawmakers to ensure all healthcare policy respects the inherent dignity and right to life of every human being.”
 
Archbishop Coakley’s previous letters addressing climate provisions and reconciliation:
August 5, 2022
Father Torres appointed Executive Director of Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for USCCB
WASHINGTON — Father Jorge Torres a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, has been appointed as the next Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (CCLV). Father Torres has served in the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis in primary support of the Eucharistic Revival initiative since June 2021. Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, made the appointment, which takes effect January 1, 2023.
 
The CCLV office assists bishops on issues concerning the life and ministry of bishops, as well as in promoting, supporting, and educating about the Church’s pastoral needs and concerns for the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated life.
 
Father Torres holds an undergraduate degree from St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami and a Master’s in Divinity from St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida. Ordained to the priesthood in 2005, he has served as a parochial vicar and a pastor. Father Torres’ priestly ministry includes service as chaplain for campus ministry at the University of Central Florida, vocation director of the Diocese of Orlando, and secretary of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.
 
Father Luke Ballman, a priest of the Archdiocese of Atlanta has been executive director of CCLV since December 2019. Both he, and Father Dan Hanley, the present associate director will be leaving their roles at the end of the year. Father Ballman will be returning to archdiocesan responsibilities, and Father Hanley, a priest of the Diocese of Arlington, will work in the formation leadership program at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD.
 
“Father Torres understands and supports priestly ministry and religious life, vocations, and cultural diversity in our Church. He also brings to these areas a timely enthusiasm for the bishops’ national Eucharistic Revival,” said Father Fuller. “I am grateful to both Father Ballman and Father Hanley for their tireless service to the bishops over these last several years, and to Father Torres for his continued service to the Conference in his new role. I also want to express my gratitude to Archbishop Hartmayer, Bishop Burbidge, and Bishop Noonan for allowing these three fine priests to serve the greater Church in this way.”
 
August 5, 2022
Pro-Life chairman responds to executive order facilitating abortion
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, the President of the United States signed an executive order facilitating abortion, the second such action from President Biden in response to the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued the following statement in response: 
 
“Even preceding the Dobbs decision, my brother bishops and I have implored the nation to stand with moms in need, and work together to protect and support women and children. Continued promotion of abortion takes lives and irreparably harms vulnerable pregnant mothers, their families, and society. It is the wrong direction to take at a moment when we should be working to support women and to build up a culture of life. I continue to call on the President and all our elected officials to increase support and care to mothers and babies, rather than facilitate the destruction of defenseless, voiceless human beings. Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of our nation, intercede for us as we advocate to protect human life and work toward solutions that will help every mother and child flourish.”
 
August 1, 2022
Congress must come together to protect life, promote common good
WASHINGTON — Since the release of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Congress has been taking up legislative proposals that are harmful to the common good. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed, and the Senate may soon consider, a series of such bills, including the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Respect for Marriage Act, and the Right to Contraception Act, and is advancing appropriations bills that exclude longstanding provisions prohibiting federal taxpayer funding for abortion and protecting the conscience rights of healthcare providers.
 
Meanwhile, Congress has taken no action since Dobbs on any of the following measures, which the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has previously endorsed and continues to support, and which would help to build up a culture of life: the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act; an expanded child tax credit, including for pregnant moms; the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act; the PFAS Action Act; and a federal paid family leave policy.  On a positive note, it is encouraging that there is meaningful consideration of needed investments in care for our common home in a possible reconciliation framework.
 
In light of this situation, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life & Youth, and Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement:
 
“The Dobbs decision presents a historic opportunity to reshape society for the better. The injustice of abortion has loosened its grip on our nation’s Constitution. We call on Congress to seize this hopeful moment by coming together around the dignity of every human person and the common good.
 
“This begins with the recognition that every human life is an inestimable gift from God with an inalienable right to life deserving of full legal protection. We must also recognize that the family - founded upon the love and mutual self-gift of husband and wife - is the first building block of society, and that raising children is both a great gift and a lifelong responsibility.
 
“The health, safety, and support of the family should be the focus of all good policymaking. A principled commitment to being pro-life entails a commitment both to protecting all human life, especially the most vulnerable, and to advancing policies that help families to flourish. As we accompany every family with prayer and support, those led by single or adoptive parents are close to our hearts.
 
“Since Dobbs, too many in Congress have ignored bills that would advance these worthy goals and have focused instead on bills that would attack them. Such legislation places no value on the lives of children until their moment of birth, severs sex and marriage from their meaning, promotes using people as means to ends, and would strip rights of conscientious objection from those who oppose these hallmarks of the throwaway culture. Instead, we ask all our elected officials to take action to reach consensus and pass an expanded child tax credit, a refundable adoption tax credit, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a federal paid family leave policy, further supports for the health and wellbeing of pregnant and parenting women, assistance with nutrition and affordable housing, environmental restrictions on chemicals that cause birth defects, and provisions to assist low-income families. These are building blocks of our vision for Standing with Moms in Need.
 
“Care for creation is also integral to care for human life, and we encourage continued efforts to advance proposals that will protect our common home and promote the well-being of human life and the environment for years to come. For more on this point, see the USCCB’s letter on the new framework for environmental investment currently before Congress. 
 
“Families and individuals, civil society, businesses, non-profits, and religious groups, government officials at all levels - and especially members of Congress - should ask themselves how they are supporting families at this moment, particularly around welcoming new life and raising children through adulthood.
 
“Catholic social teaching shows the way to a better place - a society marked by justice, mutual support, civility, friendship, mercy, and love - than where Congress is now leading. We pray that Congress will rise to meet this generational moment.”
  
 
 
 
July 12, 2022
Annual Report for Child and Youth Protection released
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released their 2021 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 on allegations conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) is also included as a part of the report.
 
This is the nineteenth such report since 2002 when the U.S. bishops established and adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a comprehensive set of procedures to address allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and made a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.
 
The 2021 report for audit year July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021, states that 2,930 victim survivors came forward with 3,103 allegations. The number of allegations is 1,149 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, 2,284 (74%) were first brought to the attention of the diocesan/eparchial representative by an attorney.
 
During this audit year, 30 allegations were made by current minors, six of which were substantiated, nine are still under investigation, nine were unsubstantiated, five were unable to be proven, and one was referred to the provincial of a religious order.
 
During the audit period, dioceses and eparchies provided outreach and support to 285 victim survivors and their families who reported during the audit period. Continued support was provided to 1,737 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 2021, the church conducted 1,964,656 background checks on clergy, employees, and volunteers. In addition, in 2021, over 2 million adults and over 2.4 million children and youth were trained in how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.
 
Despite restrictions experienced due to the pandemic, elements included in the Charter audit process conducted by Stonebridge Business Partners, were not altered:
  • 70 dioceses/eparchies were visited either in-person or via remote technology and data collected from 122 others.
  • There were four instances of non-compliance: the Diocese of Corpus Christi, the Diocese of Lafayette in Louisiana, the Diocese of New Ulm, and the Eparchy of Newton were found non-compliant with Article 2 of the Charter due to inactivity of their Review Boards. Subsequent convening of the respective Review Boards brought each into compliance with Article 2 of the Charter.
  • Three eparchies and one diocese did not participate in the audit: the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Peter the Apostle, the Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy, and the Diocese of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.
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.
 
The full annual report, and all previously published annual reports, may be found on the secretariat’s website, along with the full text of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, along with additional information and resources on diocesan requirements for the protection of children and young people.
 
 

 

 
 
 

MOSS BLUFF — His Excellency, the Most Reverend Glen John Provost, Bishop of Lake Charles, was the celebrant and homilist for the 16th annual Clergy and Religious Recognition Celebration on Wednesday, September 14, at Camp Karol. The Mass took place on the Feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, followed by a luncheon for the honorees.