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RELEASE: Catholics United Calls on President Obama to Discuss Conservation, Climate Change at Thursday Meeting with Pope Francis
Posted March 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The nonprofit Catholics United today called on President Obama to address the moral responsibility to act on climate change and conserve our natural and cultural heritage at his March 27 meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
“This state visit with the Pope provides President Obama a unique opportunity to highlight his significant environmental accomplishments amongst a highly receptive audience at the Vatican, and launch an international conversation about our shared moral responsibility to protect God’s Creation,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United.
Salt points to the Administration’s success in reducing carbon emissions and protecting natural landmarks, most recently Point Arena-Stornetta in Northern California, as relevant topics for discussion. The environment is a personal issue of concern for Pope Francis. He took the name Francis, the patron saint of nature, in part because of this deep commitment. This past January, the Vatican confirmed that Francis is currently writing his first encyclical on ecology.
Posted March 13, 2014
In the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis has made great strides in restoring the moral credibility of the Catholic church. However, if his pontificate is to succeed in the long term, important work still lies ahead.
Pope Francis has repaired the credibility of the Catholic church by unequivocally prioritizing the needs of the poor, by ending discriminatory policy towards gay people, and by removing right-wing clerics from positions of power within the curia.
However, there is one important question Pope Francis has failed to answer; how can the church elevate the role of women within the decision making process of the church. If Pope Francis wants to restore the credibility of the Catholic faith for future generations, he must find a way to demonstrate that women are equal partners in the apostolic life of the church.
The most importants steps Pope Francis can take to demonstrate his commitment to empowering women are:
Posted January 24, 2014
WASHINGTON – Media sources have confirmed Vatican reports that Pope Francis intends on visiting the United States in September 2015. In addition to a planned visit to the eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, it’s been speculated the Holy Father may address the General Assembly of the United Nations during his trip.
Catholics United Executive Director James Salt made the following statement in response to the news:
“American Catholics are thrilled Pope Francis wants to visit the United States next year. Francis has inspired the world with his simple lifestyle, heartfelt concern for the poor and non-judgemental approach towards gay people. His voice is needed in America more than ever before, especially in Pennsylvania.
“Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput will be the host of the
Posted January 16, 2014
Group asks new bishop to restore funding for defunded immigrant rights group
WASHINGTON -- Monsignor Stephen Berg, Catholic vicar for the Diocese of Fort Worth, was today named bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo. Monsignor Berg replaces Bishop Fernando Isern who retired early from his assignment for unspecified health reasons. Bishop-designate Berg is one of the first bishops Pope Francis has appointed since the recent reorganization of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, which vets potential candidates.
In 2012, Bishop Isern made international headlines when he withdrew funding from Compeñaros, an immigrant rights organization working in Durango, Colo. Compeñaros lost its funding for its association with the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, or CIRC. CIRC offers statewide technical support services for immigrants-rights organizations and had embraced a non-discrimination policy for members of the LGBT community. Because of this association, Compeñaros was deemed unfit for funding.
Posted December 17, 2013
The permanently irascible, offensive pundit is a relic of a bygone era
WASHINGTON – Bill Donohue, president of the The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, has been president of the group for 20 years. The stated purpose of this organization is to defend the rights of Catholics in public life, yet when right-wing media commentators call the Pope a “Marxist,” or espousing anti-religious redistributionist views, Donohue is silent.
Beyond this stunning omission, his nearly incessant string of embarrassing statements in the media, wherein he defames and degrades whole swaths of people, represents a thankfully dying era in Catholicism. He claims his organization’s purpose is to “defend the Catholic Church,” but his behavior has only hurt it.
Posted December 10, 2013
After Holy Father prays Nelson Mandela's life would inspire generations to act for justice, Tobin chooses to divide
WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt made the following statement after reading Providence, R.I., Bishop Thomas J. Tobin's remarks on Nelson Mandela:
"In a time when we should be seeking true moral leadership, and honoring those who fight for justice, Pope Francis has been a shining example of why Catholics are proud to be Catholic. On the passing of Nelson Mandela, the Holy Father prayed that 'the late president's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations.' We share the Holy Father's prayers.
"Regrettably, Catholics are leaving the Church in droves because of divisive political statements, and we desperately need more leaders like Pope Francis. It's sad Bishop Tobin appears he'll never have the moral authority of either Pope Francis or Nelson Mandela.
Posted December 09, 2013
Private equity firm accepts letter asking it honor divestment pledge; work remains
NEW YORK – This morning, nearly a year after Cerberus Capital Management pledged to divest from assault weapons manufacturing, members of NYC faith communities gathered outside the international headquarters of the private equity firm on Third Avenue. After a short silent vigil and statements from faith leaders, representatives delivered a letter calling for Cerberus CEO Stephen Feinberg to honor his firm’s unfulfilled promise.
Carrying crosses, Stars of David and Islamic crescents representing those lost to gun violence since the 2012 school massacre at Newtown, Conn., vigil holders presented the letter to a Cerberus representative. The Campaign to Unload, a national coalition dedicated to assault weapon divestment, was the principal organizer.
“Investors in the gun industry are beginning to see these interests as toxic. This gathering was a reminder to gun investors like Cerberus that advocates for gun safety are not going away,” said Jennifer Fiore, executive director of the Campaign to Unload. “It’s been nearly a year and we’re just getting started.”
Posted September 19, 2013
In startlingly honest interview, Pope confirms he believes the “imbalance” caused by the far right is damaging to the reputation of the church
WASHINGTON—Today, lay Catholics across the world are celebrating a wide-ranging interview given by Pope Francis to 17 Jesuit-affiliated periodicals. In the interview, published in English by the Catholic magazine America, Francis articulates his vision of moving the priorities of the Catholic faith away from divisive social issues, like what he calls an “obsession” with gay marriage, abortion and contraception, while refocusing on core Gospel teachings relating to poverty.
In the interview, found at America’s website, americamagazine.org, Pope Francis makes a number of statements that provide hope to lay Catholics who want a church more rooted in social justice values:
On treatment of gay people:
Posted August 08, 2013
Inspired by Holy Father’s support of gay people, Catholics United wonders where Altoona priest found motivation to discriminate against gay kids in Boy Scouts
WASHINGTON – Fr. Derek Sakowski of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Altoona, Wis., recently became the latest member in a small group of Catholic priests who have chosen to ignore Catholic teaching on proper pastoral care of gay people when he issued a warning to his parish’s affiliated Boy Scout troop that he would disaffiliate the group if they chose to allow gay kids to join.
Despite strong statements in support of the new Boy Scout policy allowing gay kids from the likes of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, several bishops and, indeed, Sakowski’s own Diocese of La Crosse, the priest has chosen to disband the parish troop instead of allowing gay kids access to Scouting programs.
Catholics United’s Executive Director James Salt said he was in disbelief, especially after Pope Francis’ recent comments about treating gay people with dignity.
Posted July 29, 2013
Pope also calls for greater inclusion for women; Catholics United responds
WASHINGTON – Media outlets around the world are reporting on Pope Francis’ declaration that gay people who seek holiness, including priests, should be accepted with love and compassion:
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” the pope said. “You can't marginalize these people.”
The pontiff went on to call for a greater role for women’s leadership in the Church, though he stopped short of allowing for women’s ordination.
Catholics United’s Executive Director James Salt made the following statement in response to Pope Francis’ comments:
Bigotry doesn't belong in church
I'm With the Nuns
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