Archbishop Kurtz elected president of US bishops’ conference

BALTIMORE, MD., November 12 (CNA/EWTN News) .- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has elected Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville as its next president, giving national prominence to a prelate with significant experience in Catholic social services.

Archbishop Kurtz, 67, has served as the conference vice president since 2010. He was elected conference president at the conference’s fall assembly in Baltimore the morning of Nov. 12. He will serve a three-year term.


Ongoing church scandal: 24% of organizations funded by USCCB’s CCHD program still involved in anti-Catholic work.

The report documents that, of the 218 organizations funded by CCHD, 14 are directly involved in activities contrary to Church teaching and 40 are actively involved in coalitions with such activities. Thus, 54 groups (24%) funded by CCHD are involved in anti-Catholic work.

The number, and percentage, of offending organizations has actually INCREASED in the last year —from 51 to 54 groups and from 21% to 24%.

These 54 organizations received a total of $1,863,000 of the $7,608,000 distributed in CCHD grants in 2010-2011.

Visit the Reform CCHD site

US bishops elect NYC Archbishop Timothy Dolan as leader in upset

(AP) – 5 hours ago

BALTIMORE (AP) — New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan was elected Tuesday to be president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in an upset victory over an Arizona bishop with a moderate style who is the sitting vice president.

It is the first time since the 1960s that a sitting vice president was on the ballot for conference president and lost. The outcome is the latest sign that the American bishops — divided over how best to uphold Roman Catholic orthodoxy — favor a more aggressive approach.

Dolan received 54 percent of the vote to 46 percent for Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., on the third round of balloting. Kicanas has served as vice president for the last three years. Dolan said he shook hands with Kicanas after the vote and thanked him for his service. At a news conference, Dolan said he was surprised by the vote and noted it was “hardly a landslide.” Kicanas issued a short statement saying he respected the choice of his fellow bishops and praised Dolan for his “exceptional leadership qualities.”

Archbishop Dolan Chided Biden, Pelosi on Abortion

Local dad’s cry of the heart became memo that helped change the Catholic Church

From November 2001, when Bishop Wilton Gregory was elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, he was known as a good listener. At the time, he was the shepherd of the small 107,425-member Belleville Catholic diocese. He had served in Belleville since 1994 when Pope John Paul II had dispatched him to clean up a sex abuse cesspool involving 10 percent of the Belleville diocese’s priests.

Today the Beacon is making public a 10-page memo, a cry from the heart, read aloud to Gregory on Feb. 22, 2002, by a Catholic father of three children.

This influential document laid out ideas that evolved into the church’s wider protection policy; it has never been publicly acknowledged or published. Its author is David R. Spotanski, 47,  the Belleville chancellor for all matters except canonical issues that require an ordained priest. Before he worked in Belleville, Spotanski had worked for the St. Louis archdiocese.

A father’s plea

Every evening when I arrive home from the chancery, my kids race to the door vying to be the first to declare, “I missed you most!” Once we’ve established which of the three has taken the day’s honors, I try to always stop for a moment to consider whether I’ve left our Church better for them than I found it that day or worse. For over fifteen years I’ve been able to answer that question honestly, confidently, and with the satisfaction of knowing I’d played some small part in building the Church in which my children will one day raise my grandchildren. Too many nights recently, though, I’ve awakened at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning and agonized over that question. Is it enough to do my job, to take care of the business of the day and keep quiet about things I know are already sources of anguish for you, or am I somehow complicit by not speaking out? Too many nights I wake up and wonder if an institution that can be this insensitive to the physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing of its most precious members – its very future – is even worthy of my three children’s innocent faith.

You went out on a limb, Wilton, as Bishop O’Donnell had in the Archdiocese of St. Louis before you, when you placed a lay person in a traditionally clerical job, I went out on a limb when I accepted it. I have happily tagged along as you’ve restored faith, hope and pride in the traumatized families of the Diocese of Belleville, and I never balk at an opportunity to share with people that you exude the same pastoral presence away from the crowds and the cameras as you do before them. For whatever reason I have found myself in a special place at a unique and difficult time in the Church, and I do not take that lightly. I have been blessed with the freedom (and, I believe, the obligation) to share daily with the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops a perspective to which he cannot relate. I can speak as a parent.

You should know by now that our children are more important to Sharon and me than anything in the world. Let me repeat that in bold Italics: Our children are more important to Sharon and me than anything in the world. With all due respect, though you probably come as close to understanding the significance of that statement as any bishop in the Church, you don’t. You can’t. No priest, no religious, no lay person who is not a parent can truly appreciate the incredible weight of that single sentence any more than I could before Erin was born. Three children later, I’m not sure I fully grasp it yet, and I know I can’t adequately articulate it for you in a simple memorandum. Similarly, I could never hope to fully comprehend how your pastoral ministry is the most important thing in the world to you. I can witness your vocation and try to appreciate the extraordinary commitment you have made to the Church, but I am not and will likely never be a priest. I may work in your chancery, but I am, above all else, Sharon’s husband and Erin, Jonathan and James’ dad.

As such, just as you are deeply wounded and even angered when I make a comment you believe is not supportive of a Church position or one of Her pillars, so too am I wounded and angered when the Church we both love (and to Whom we have both, in distinctly different degrees, dedicated our working lives) chooses to disregard the wellbeing of Her children — my children — to protect Her own icons and Her image.

To read the entire letter, click here (pdf).

Read the entire article here

Catholic Bishops Oppose New Senate Health Bill

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of the most important anti-abortion voices in the country, announced its opposition to the Senate health care bill despite additional restrictions included to segregate taxpayer money from abortion services coverage.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., won those provisions, along with several other perks for his state, before committing to support the health care bill Saturday. But the abortion compromise has drawn the ire of both sides of the debate, with pro-life and pro-choice groups condemning the new bill as inadequate.

“The Senate health reform bill should not move forward in its current form,” the bishops’ conference said in a written statement Saturday, adding that the legislation should be “opposed” until the conference’s concerns are addressed.

The new abortion language would ensure that one plan in the so-called insurance exchange — a network of regulated plans — would have no abortion coverage. For others, it would require that insurance companies segregate any federal subsidies so that only private funds from customers are used to pay for abortion coverage. The plan would have companies charge a specific fee dedicated for abortion coverage. States would still be able to exclude abortion coverage from their exchanges.

But the Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed concern that individuals would not be able to “opt out” of paying abortion coverage in most of the subsidized plans.

“Instead it will require purchasers of such plans to pay a distinct fee or surcharge which is extracted solely to help pay for other people’s abortions,” the organization said.” Further the government agency that currently manages health coverage for federal employees will promote and help subsidize multi-state health plans that include elective abortions, contrary to longstanding law governing this agency.”

That was just the start of the complaints.

Read more at Fox News