HOUSE PASSES DREAM ACT

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) on June 4 by a vote of 237-187. Click here for more information on the bill.

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, said, “This is a big step for Dreamers and TPS holders who have called the United States home but have been working and living in uncertainty for years. Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are working to make our communities and parishes strong and are vital contributors to our country. We welcome today’s vote and urge the Senate to take up this legislation which gives permanent protection to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.”

USCCB RELEASES 2018 ANNUAL REPORT ON THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

The USCCB has launched a new website highlighting the importance of prevention, protection and accountability in response to the ongoing effort to eradicate clergy sexual abuse. You can explore the website by visiting: www.usccbprevention.org.

When the bishops gather for their assembly later this week, it is expected that they will vote on accountability measures to respond to the abuse crisis and will also hear reports from the National Advisory Council and an annual progress report by the National Review Board.

In addition, the USCCB’s Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection has released its annual nationwide report.

The 2018 report for audit year July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 states that 1,385 adults came forward with 1,455 allegations. Compared to 2017, the number of allegations has increased significantly due to the additional allegations received in five New York State dioceses as a result of the implementation of their Independent Reconciliation and Compensation programs.

Additional data on allegations provided by CARA’s annual survey shows that more than nine in ten alleged offenders (92 percent) identified during the survey year were already deceased, already removed from ministry, already laicized or missing. Most abuse reported occurred between 1960 and 1990 with a peak in the 1970’s. Twenty-six new allegations involving current minors were reported during the audit period.

The report notes the ongoing work of the Church in continuing the call to ensure the safety of children and vulnerable adults. In 2018, over 2.6 million background checks were conducted on Church clerics, employees and volunteers. In addition, in 2018 over 2.6 million adults and 3.9 million children and youth have also been trained on how to identify the warning signs of abuse and how to report those signs.

NIH TO DISCONTINUE RESEARCH USING TISSUE FROM ELECTIVE ABORTIONS

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will discontinue research conducted within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) involving the use of human fetal tissue from elective abortion and it will ensure that efforts to develop ethical alternatives are funded and accelerated.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEK COMING UP

The chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, encourages Catholics to pray and act in support of religious liberty at home and abroad during Religious Freedom Week 2019 which begins on June 22, the Feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, and ends on June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.

Resources for Religious Freedom Week and other religious liberty resources can be found at www.usccb.org/ReligiousFreedomWeek.

AND FINALLY,

The Iowa Catholic Conference website has been updated with new blog posts and information about the Church’s teaching on matters related to human life and dignity. You can check it out at www.iowacatholicconference.org.