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Catholic News

WASHINGTON - Responding to the proclamation signed by President Trump announcing a temporary reviewable immigration halt, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chair of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), issued the following response:"In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever. The virus is merciless in its preying upon human life; it knows no borders or nationality. Pope Francis teaches us that to live through these times we need to employ and embody the 'creativity of love.' The President's action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity. While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity ...

WASHINGTON - Responding to the proclamation signed by President Trump announcing a temporary reviewable immigration halt, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Migration, and Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and chair of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), issued the following response:

"In this moment, our common humanity is apparent more now than ever. The virus is merciless in its preying upon human life; it knows no borders or nationality. Pope Francis teaches us that to live through these times we need to employ and embody the 'creativity of love.' The President's action threatens instead to fuel polarization and animosity. While we welcome efforts to ensure that all Americans are recognized for the dignity of their work, the global crisis caused by COVID-19 demands unity and the creativity of love, not more division and the indifference of a throw-away mentality. There is little evidence that immigrants take away jobs from citizens. Immigrants and citizens together are partners in reviving the nation's economy. We must always remember that we are all sons and daughters of God joined together as one human family.

"We are extremely concerned about how the proclamation will impact immigrant families looking to reunify, as well as religious workers. The proclamation prevents certain immigrant family members from reuniting with their loved ones living in the United States. Additionally, it bars religious workers seeking to come to the United States as lawful permanent residents from supporting the work of our Church, as well as many other religions, at this time. This will undoubtedly hurt the Catholic Church and other denominations in the United States, diminishing their overall ability to minister to those in need."

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, Bishop Jaime Soto, President Trump, Migrants, Immigration.

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WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Baker, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Birmingham and has named Bishop Steven J. Raica of Gaylord to succeed him.The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 25, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.Bishop Raica was born on November 8, 1952 and ordained to the priesthood on October 14, 1978. He was named Bishop of Gaylord in 2014.The Diocese of Birmingham is comprised of 28,091 square miles in the State of Alabama and has a total population of 3,073,473 of which 104,837 are Catholic.---Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Steven J. Raica, Diocese of Birmingham, Diocese of Gaylord.###Media Contacts:Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte202-541-3200 

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert J. Baker, 75, from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Birmingham and has named Bishop Steven J. Raica of Gaylord to succeed him.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 25, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Bishop Raica was born on November 8, 1952 and ordained to the priesthood on October 14, 1978. He was named Bishop of Gaylord in 2014.

The Diocese of Birmingham is comprised of 28,091 square miles in the State of Alabama and has a total population of 3,073,473 of which 104,837 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Robert J. Baker, Bishop Steven J. Raica, Diocese of Birmingham, Diocese of Gaylord.


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WASHINGTON- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following announcement on the 25th anniversary of The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae).Archbishop Naumann's full statement follows:As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, we also mark the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II's prophetic encyclical, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae). Here, this saint provides a clear challenge to us: "With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth" (EV 95).With this, Pope St. John Paul II invites each of us to ask ourselves how we are assisting women in need who are pregnant or have young...

WASHINGTON- Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities has issued the following announcement on the 25th anniversary of The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae).

Archbishop Naumann's full statement follows:

As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25, we also mark the 25th anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II's prophetic encyclical, The Gospel of Life (Evangelium vitae). Here, this saint provides a clear challenge to us: "With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our Dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify the steps we are called to take in order to serve life in all its truth" (EV 95).

With this, Pope St. John Paul II invites each of us to ask ourselves how we are assisting women in need who are pregnant or have young children. He challenges us to open our hearts even wider, and to improve our responses where needed, especially at the local level—in short, to truly accompany each pregnant or parenting woman in need.

This past November, the bishops enthusiastically embraced an initiative entitled Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service to celebrate the anniversary by assessing and expanding our help to mothers in need. I am very excited to see dioceses and parishes across the country making plans to join in the Year of Service in their own unique ways. It is capturing the imagination of our people.

As Pope Francis reminds us, our parishes are called to be "islands of mercy in the midst of a sea of indifference." Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service commences on March 25, 2020. Parish resources for the Year of Service are being posted at www.walkingwithmoms.com.

Many areas of the country have had to temporarily suspend gatherings and Masses due to the coronavirus concern. In light of current events, dioceses and parishes are encouraged to adjust their schedules for the Year of Service according to what is pastorally and practically appropriate for everyone's safety. In the meantime, we can still pray, wherever we are on March 25, that this Year of Service will help us increase our outreach, so that every pregnant and parenting mother in need may know she can turn to her local Catholic community for help and authentic friendship.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Walking With Moms in Need, The Gospel of Life, pro-life.


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202-541-3200

 

 

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WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv. of Savannah, as Archbishop of Atlanta. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.Archbishop-designate Hartmayer was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1979 as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Conventual Franciscans). He was named bishop of Savannah in 2011. His full biography may be accessed here.The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been a vacant see since April 2019. The archdiocese is comprised of 21,445 square miles in the State of Georgia and has a total population of 7,480,000 of which 1,170,000 are Catholic.---Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv., Archdiocese of Atlanta.###Media Contacts:Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte202-541-3200 

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has named Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv. of Savannah, as Archbishop of Atlanta. The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

Archbishop-designate Hartmayer was ordained to the priesthood on May 5, 1979 as a member of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (Conventual Franciscans). He was named bishop of Savannah in 2011. His full biography may be accessed here.

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been a vacant see since April 2019. The archdiocese is comprised of 21,445 square miles in the State of Georgia and has a total population of 7,480,000 of which 1,170,000 are Catholic.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, O.F.M., Conv., Archdiocese of Atlanta.

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WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Edward M. Grosz as Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo. Bishop Grosz has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.The resignation was publicized in Washington on March 2, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.---Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Buffalo.###Media Contacts:Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte202-541-3200    

WASHINGTON—Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend Edward M. Grosz as Auxiliary Bishop of Buffalo. Bishop Grosz has reached the retirement age for bishops of 75.

The resignation was publicized in Washington on March 2, 2020 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Pope Francis, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio, Bishop Edward M. Grosz, auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Buffalo.

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WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the res...

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.' We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child's educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state's largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration's Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

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WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the res...

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.' We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child's educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state's largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration's Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Full Article

post a comment

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the res...

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.' We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child's educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state's largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration's Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


 ---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Full Article

post a comment

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the res...

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.' We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child's educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state's largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration's Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


 ---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

Full Article

post a comment

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the res...

WASHINGTON - Today, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ of Oakland, chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, expressed appreciation for the Administration's commitment to parental choice in education following a visit by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, to Saint Francis de Sales Catholic School in Philadelphia. The officials highlighted the success of parental choice programs across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Administration's parental choice proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships. The two bishops issued the following joint statement:

"The right of parents to exercise freedom of choice in education is firmly rooted in the teachings of our Catholic faith. As our brother bishops wrote fifteen years ago in Renewing our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 'Advocacy is not just the responsibility of parents and teachers, but of all members of the Catholic community. As the primary educators of their children, parents have the right to choose the school best suited for their children. The entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.' We applaud the goals of Education Freedom Scholarships and hope to one day see the opportunity for all families to have the freedom to select a school according to their conscience."

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania offers two scholarship tax credit programs for low income families to gain access to the school that best fits their child's educational needs. The first program was enacted nearly twenty years ago in 2001, and today there are currently hundreds of scholarship organizations in Pennsylvania whose donors receive a state tax credit of up to 90 percent of their donation. In Philadelphia, Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) is the state's largest scholarship program raising over $25 million last year and offering over 16,000 scholarships to low income families. In the 2017-2018 school year, over 50,000 children received scholarships across Pennsylvania.

During his visit, Vice President Pence discussed expanding this successful state model to the federal level with the administration's Education Freedom Scholarships proposal. The proposal would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


 ---
Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Bishop Michael C. Barber, Bishop Michael J. Fitzgerald, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, Catholic schools, Education Freedom Scholarships, BLOCS.

###
Media Contacts:
Chieko Noguchi or Miguel Guilarte
202-541-3200

 

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