Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates


In order to promote a deeper understanding of the Church’s social teaching in this time of global economic crisis, the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development will begin release of a series of messages on poverty and today’s economy.



Hope In A Time Of Poverty, Reflections on Poverty Prepared by the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development


In order to promote a deeper understanding of the Church’s social teaching in this time of global economic crisis, the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development will begin release of a series of messages on poverty and today’s economy. 

Do Farmers Believe in Climate Change?

climatechangeimage-300x1851Catholic Rural Life is part of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, so our sentiments clearly fall in line with those who are deeply concerned about the consequences of global warming on vulnerable populations – and truly all of us. We realize, however, that other groups in our broad network are not yet ready to accept the political and economic changes that would have to happen if most citizens agreed that climate change is indeed quickened by human activities and requires the end of fossil fuels as we know it. So we read with interest articles about the general attitudes of U.S. farmers when it comes to climate change. Our bulletin readers might be interested in a recent article appearing on the online current affairs journal SLATE, “Why don’t farmers believe in climate change?”

Adam, Where Are You? Where is Your Brother?

Lampedusa3“‘Adam, where are you?’ ‘Where is your brother?’ These are the two questions which God asks at the dawn of human history, and which he also asks each man and woman in our own day, which he also asks us. But I would like us to ask a third question: “Has any one of us wept because of this situation and others like it?” Has any one of us grieved for the death of these brothers and sisters? . . . We are a society which has forgotten how to weep, how to experience compassion – “suffering with” others: the globalization of indifference has taken from us the ability to weep! . . . let us ask the Lord for the grace to weep over our indifference, to weep over the cruelty of our world, of our own hearts, and of all those who in anonymity make social and economic decisions which open the door to tragic situations like this. ‘Has any one wept?’ Today has anyone wept in our world?” (Pope Francis, Homily during Visit to Lampedusa,7/8/13). 

Now Available in Spanish! Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples

The bishops’ new resource on Sacraments and Social Mission: Living the Gospel, Being Disciples, is now available for order in Spanish! This color, 32-page booklet can help all Catholics to better understand the connections between the celebration of the sacraments and our social mission as followers of Jesus and members of the Body of Christ. The booklet includes attractive, double-sided handouts on Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick, suggestions for use in a parish setting, and a guide for small group study sessions. Order the booklet now!  Order 10 or more and get a discount. It is also available for download.

Final Call for Nominations – Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award 

CCHD is making a final call for nominations for the 2013 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (deadline July 31).  This award honors a Catholic young adult (age 18-35) engaged in efforts to end the root causes of poverty in the United States. The winner receives $1,000 and is honored at an annual reception attended by dozens of bishops. Get more info here.

Recent Social Justice News

Here are some recent stories about the Church’s work on life and dignity:

  • Bishops Urge Protection of Voting Rights in Wake of Supreme Court Decision. Bishop Blaire stated that the Supreme Court decision striking down part of the Voting Rights Act “necessitates legislative action to assure that no one is denied their right or obligation to participate in public life by voting or speaking out.” Read more.  
  • Bishop Blaire in Congressional Testimony: Living Wage Essential to Society, Foundational Part of Catholic Teaching. In his testimony, Bishop Blaire noted that “”We can begin the process of fixing our economy by returning the worker to the center of economic life.” Read more.
  • HHS Final Rule Still Requires Action in Congress and by Courts. Cardinal Dolan noted three areas of concern, including the narrow definition of “religious employers” that are exempted, the “accommodation” of religious ministries excluded from that definition, and the treatment of businesses run by people who seek to operate their companies according to their religious principles. Read more.
  • USCCB Chairman Commends Senate for Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation. Archbishop Gomez commended the Senate and urged theHouse of Representatives to immediately consider bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform. Read more.
  • Bishops Pates and Kicanas Urge Secretary Kerry to Work for Syria Ceasefire. Bishop Pates and Bishop Kicanas urged Secretary of State Kerry to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire in Syria, initiate negotiations, provide humanitarian assistance, and protect the rights of all citizens, including Christians and other minorities. They noted that Syrian needs a political solution, not more arms.  Read more.
  • Bishop Pates Urges Defense Secretary Hagel to Conduct Review, Take Action For Guantanamo Detainees. Bishop Pates called on Defense Secretary Hagel to review detainees conditions, release the 85 detainees who were cleared for release several years ago but who remain in prison, and close the facility at Guantanamo. Read more.
  • Gratitude for U.S. Leadership on Two Peace Issues.Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Pates thanked President Obama for his leadership on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and on Israeli-Palestinian peace, noting that challenges remain for both issues. Read more.
  • Bishop Pates Participates in Solidarity Visit to Colombia and Peru. During a solidarity visit in June, Bishop Pates, Bishop Kicanas, and Bishop Cisneros met with Church and government representatives, visited impoverished communities, and explored ways of supporting peace negotiations, regulating the extractives industry, recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, and reducing the cultivation of narcotics. Findings will be shared with the U.S. government and others. Read more.