June 21, 2017 // National
USCCB: Briefts from the spring meeting in Indianapolis
Dewane: Church ‘committed to ensuring fundamental right’ to health care
INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — As the country awaits the U.S. Senate’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in the coming weeks, the U.S. bishops made it clear June 15 during their annual spring assembly in Indianapolis that their efforts are focused on “ensuring the fundamental right of medical care” for all people. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also reinforced its stand that the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House May 4 needs major reform — to provide quality health care for the “voiceless,” especially children, the elderly, the poor, immigrants and the seriously ill. “We find ourselves in a time marked by a deep sense of urgency and gravity,” said Bishop George L. Thomas of Helena, Mont., in his remarks to his fellow bishops. “Within two weeks, we may see a federal budgetary action with potentially catastrophic effects on the lives of our people, most especially children and the elderly, the seriously ill, the immigrant and our nation’s working poor.” Referring to the House bill, known as AHCA, and its plan to “eliminate $880 billion from Medicaid over the next decade,” Bishop Thomas continued, “If left unchallenged or unmodified, this budget will destabilize our own Catholic health care apostolates, take food from the mouths of school-aged children and the homebound, and deny already scarce medical resources to the nation’s neediest in every state across the land.”
Holy Cross priest presents reflection on immigration issues for bishops
INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Holy Cross Father Daniel Groody stood before the U.S. bishops June 14 and held up a chalice. It was not special in appearance, but rather in the story it told. The chalice was handcrafted primarily with wood from a refugee boat that landed upon the beaches of Lampedusa, the Mediterranean island from which Pope Francis cast a wreath into the waters to remember the thousands of refugees who lost their lives there, attempting to flee persecution. The base of the chalice was formed from mesquite, a common wood along the U.S.-Mexico border crossed by immigrants seeking better lives in America. Together, he said, the materials of the chalice speak to the plight of immigrants, a topic addressed during the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ spring assembly in Indianapolis. “Migration is an incredibly, incredibly complex issue, and those who don’t realize its complexity either aren’t listening, or they don’t understand,” said Father Groody, an associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame and director of immigration initiatives at the university’s Institute for Latino Studies. “And second, migration is an incredibly, incredibly simple issue, and those who don’t realize its simplicity either aren’t listening, or they don’t understand,” he said.
Conversation, listening essential for upcoming synod on youth, vocations
INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — At a time when an estimated 50 percent of Catholics 30 and younger no longer identify with their religion, the U.S. bishops June 14 discussed the need to reverse that trend and why the consultation process for the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth and vocations is crucial to that effort. On the first day of the bishops’ spring meeting in Indianapolis, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, N.J., and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia opened the discussion with a presentation on the consultations and questions for the bishops to consider in preparing for the synod. “The synod indeed comes at a critical time,” Cardinal Tobin told his fellow bishops in his opening remarks. “We know that there are both challenges and opportunities here in the U.S. The increased amount of disconnected millennials is certainly a concern for us, as is the decline and the delay of marriage among young people. Still there are various positive signs to build upon.” Those signs, he said, include “the high interest among millennials during the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent” and “the continued importance in our ministries and outreach to young people which have a positive effect on vocational discernment.”
U.S. bishops urged to be vigilant, never complacent, in stopping abuse
INDIANAPOLIS (CNS) — Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, urged the U.S. bishops June 14 during their spring meeting in Indianapolis to continue to keep their commitment to stopping clergy sexual abuse and supporting victims of abuse “at the forefront” of their ministry. He said sexual abuse of minors by clergy is “not a thing of past” and stressed the bishops have to always be vigilant and be sure to not “let complacency set in” in their efforts to stop it. The review board is a group working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address and prevent sexual abuse of minors in the U.S. by clergy and other church personnel. Cesareo pointed out there was still work to be done in this area but he also praised the bishops for what they’ve accomplished and stressed that dioceses in the United States are among the safest places for children and are also models for rest of the world. In his report to the bishops, he presented some of the key points of the recently issued 14th annual report on diocesan compliance with the U.S. Catholic Church’s “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
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