News from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
U.S. Supreme Court ruling preserves religious liberty of Little Sisters of the Poor
On July 8, in a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court again recognized the right of the Little Sisters of the Poor not to cooperate in the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act. The USCCB statement on the ruling said, in part:
“The Little Sisters of the Poor is an international congregation that is committed to building a culture of life. They care for the elderly poor. They uphold human dignity. They follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Church. We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision.”
The president of the USCCB issues statement on U.S. Supreme Court decision on gender discrimination
Expressing “deep concern,” the president of the USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, responded to the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision on June 15 prohibiting discrimination based on “sexual orientation” and “transgender” status.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.
“By erasing the beautiful differences and complementary relationship between man and woman, we ignore the glory of God’s creation and harm the human family, the first building block of society. Our sex, whether we are male or female, is part of God’s plan for creation and for our lives.
“Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and, without exception, must be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature.”
U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection releases annual report
The USCCB’s Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection released the 2019 Annual Report – Findings and Recommendations on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People on June 25.
The 2019 audit by StoneBridge Business Partners (for audit year July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019) found that 4,220 adults reported 4,434 allegations. The report noted that this was a substantial increase compared to 2018, in part due to additional allegations received as a result of lawsuits, compensation programs and bankruptcies. The audit reported 37 allegations made by current minors, of which 8 were substantiated, 7 were unsubstantiated and 6 were unable to be proven. Twelve are still under investigation, 3 others were referred to religious orders and 1 was referred to another diocese.
This is the 17th 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 a promise to protect and a pledge to heal.