Vie de l'église

Religious groups in Brazil step up to help influx of Afghan refugees

Mohammad Zaman Sahil, a 29-year-old engineer from the Afghan city of Ghazni, came to Brazil with his wife and two children. (Courtesy of Mohammad Zaman Sahil)

Mohammad Zaman Sahil, a 29-year-old engineer from the Afghan city of Ghazni, came to Brazil with his wife and two children. (Courtesy of Mohammad Zaman Sahil)

Sao Paulo — As one of the few countries in the world issuing humanitarian visas for Afghans since the Taliban took control of Kabul in 2021, Brazil has been welcoming hundreds of refugees every month, many of them members of the Hazara people, a persecuted ethnic Afghan minority.

The possibility of obtaining a visa has been drawing thousands of Afghans to the Brazilian embassies in Tehran, Iran; Ankara, Turkey; Islamabad; and Moscow. It is seen by people in need as a great chance to rebuild their lives elsewhere.

But the potential visa is not accompanied by any national program to give refugees a place to live, financial aid or a job. The Brazilian Catholic Church has been among a number of entities stepping into the breach to help refugees secure basic needs.

« Since the Taliban took control, we warned the national council for refugees that something had to be done. The only reaction of the government was to concede the humanitarian visa, » Fr. Marcelo Maróstica, director of the São Paulo Archdiocese’s Caritas charity network, told NCR.

Brazil has issued visas for about 6,000 Afghans, with about half of that number arriving in the country. Since February, the weekly number of arrivals has been growing — and nobody in the South American country seems to be really prepared to properly deal with them.

Fr. Marcelo Maróstica, director of the São Paulo Archdiocese's Caritas charity network (Courtesy of Marcelo Maróstica)

Fr. Marcelo Maróstica, director of the São Paulo Archdiocese’s Caritas charity network (Courtesy of Marcelo Maróstica)

« We have been helping them to regularize their documents, we provide health care assistance, and we have a welcome center where they can stay for a few weeks until the government finds a more stable shelter for them. But the country should really offer more, » said Marostica.

A crisis erupted in September, when Brazil’s lack of infrastructure for incoming Afghans led to some 100 refugees establishing a camp at the São Paulo international airport. The situation spurred outrage among Brazilians and prompted authorities from the judiciary, the São Paulo city government and the federal government to coordinate help, taking the refugees to a hotel.

Social worker Rafaela Barroso, who volunteers at a ministry program for migrants at a parish in the city of São José do Rio Preto, in São Paulo state, told NCR she has helped more than 100 Afghans to obtain a Brazilian visa and get into the country since March. She said that most of them are unemployed and living at hotels, paid for with savings that are dwindling.

« Among them there are journalists, prosecutors, engineers. But there are no jobs for them, » she said.

She added, « Some of them have been working for a halal slaughterhouse, but it is hard work and salaries are low, so many end up giving up. »

Esmatullah Hassanzada, a 31-year-old software engineer, is one of the Afghans assisted by Barroso. He told NCR he has been in Brazil with his brother for a month and has yet to get a single job interview.

Hassanzada and his brother are Hazaras, an ethnic group that has suffered oppression from the Taliban, which is largely made up of ethnic Pashtuns. Hassanzada said he and his brother are trying to help their two other brothers and a cousin get a visa to come to Brazil, but have not yet had success.

« I had been accepted to continue my studies in Poland and my brother in Japan, » he said. « But we chose to come to Brazil because we thought we would be able to bring our family here. »

Hassanzada may have to wait much longer. Due to the overwhelming number of visa requests, the Brazilian embassies in Tehran and Islamabad had to freeze scheduling new interviews. In Iran, only demands made before June 13 are being processed.

Esmatullah Hassanzada, a 31-year-old software engineer now living in Brazil, is a Hazara, an Afghan ethnic group that has suffered oppression from the Taliban. (Courtesy of Esmatullah Hassanzada)

Esmatullah Hassanzada, a 31-year-old software engineer now living in Brazil, is a Hazara, an Afghan ethnic group that has suffered oppression from the Taliban. (Courtesy of Esmatullah Hassanzada)

Brazil’s foreign ministry has said that more than 1,200 interviews are scheduled to happen between now and January in Islamabad, while almost 4,900 requests had been made in Tehran prior to June 13.

Barroso said that many Afghan refugees that fled to Iran after the Taliban takeover are dealing with their Iranian visas now expiring, and are looking for new places to go.

Tahira Khademi, a 27-year-old former Afghan military member now in Iran, told NCR she herself has gotten a Brazilian visa, but she is still waiting for her twin sister to obtain one.

« I used to teach other women at the military academy. The Taliban do not approve the participation of women in the armed forces, so I had to leave the country, » she told NCR.

Her brother was also in the army and ended up being arrested by the Taliban for a few days, like many Hazaras — who are persecuted not only for their ethnicity, but also due to the fact that most of them are Shiite, while the Taliban is a Sunni movement.

« He had to bribe them in order to be released, » Khademi recalled.

Mohammad Zaman Sahil, a 29-year-old engineer from the Afghan city of Ghazni, also wishes to get humanitarian visas for his family. He said he used to work at the Afghan embassy in Iran and managed to come to Brazil with his wife and two children.

« But my seven siblings and my parents are in Afghanistan in danger. One of my brothers is undocumented in Iran. I tried to discuss his case with the Brazilian embassy, but I could not do anything for him, » he told NCR.

Sahil has been helped by Abuna, a nongovernmental organization connected to Protestant missionaries, and has been living at the house of a Brazilian family in Maringá, in Paraná State.

« They are very good people and they have been helping me a lot. I love them and I love Brazilians in general. But it is not easy to live in Brazil, » he said.

Sahil said that learning Portuguese is often difficult for Afghans — and the language barrier stops them from getting a job.

Rosemeire Casagrande, a Scalabrinian lay missionary who works at Mission Peace, a Scalabrinian-run center for immigrants in São Paulo, said the lack of work opportunities for Afghans in Brazil leads many of them to plan to move to the United States or Canada — something they do in dangerous conditions through a land route that goes from Peru through Central America and Mexico.

« They tell us that they need to send money to their families in Afghanistan, so there is no other way. In Brazil, if a refugee gets a minimum-wage job, that person can barely survive here, » she said.

Casagrande emphasized that many Afghan refugees are highly qualified professionals who could contribute to the Brazilian economy. But often they have trouble validating their diplomas or university credentials.

Casagrande argued that the Brazilian government should do a better job to support refugees, and offer them shelter.

One of the current efforts of São Paulo’s Caritas network is to help Afghan refugees build a sense of community in the city. The organization hired a Hazara woman to serve as a cultural mediator, something that required some refugees to deal with deeply rooted prejudices.

Marostica, the network’s director, said one non-Hazara Afghan family refused to speak with the mediator upon arrival in Brazil.

« They said they would not talk to a woman, especially to a Hazara woman who is Shia, » said the priest. « But here they have to work together, there is no way around it. »

Sorab Kohkan, a 65-year-old Hazara immigrant who has been living in São Paulo for more than 10 years, said Brazil is a good place for his people, despite the language barrier and the economic hardships.

« Here we can walk freely. Nobody will bother us due to the shape of our eyes or because our heads are not covered, » he told NCR.

Kohkan runs a small Afghan and Indian restaurant in Liberdade, a neighborhood where thousands of Asian immigrants and their descendants, including a large Japanese Brazilian population, live and work.

« If the Japanese are totally integrated to Brazilian society, Hazara can also do it, » he said. « Here, nobody will kill us. »

Vie de l'église

Editorial: Time for more transparency in Vatican handling of sex abuse

Vatican City is seen in this April 10 photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Vatican City is seen in this April 10 photo. (CNS/Paul Haring)

A Nobel Peace Prize-winning bishop alleged to have abused teenaged boys during the 1990s was sanctioned by the Vatican, which limited his movements and prohibited him from contact with minors or with his home country of East Timor. Meanwhile in Yakima, Washington, after a whistleblower raised concerns about the previous bishop’s handling of sexual abuse allegations, the now-retired bishop received a formal reprimand from the Vatican.

Though the details of these two cases differ, what they share in common is that the consequences to the church leader under investigation — and even the fact of the investigation itself — were kept secret. That is, until news media shared the truth.

In the case of Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 with current East Timor President José Ramos-Horta for their nonviolent resistance to Indonesia’s occupation, the Dutch publication De Groene Amsterdammer last week (Sept. 28) published the stories of two alleged victims, who said Belo gave them money after sexual abuse. The paper also reported that other victims were afraid to come forward.

Only then did a Vatican spokesperson reveal that the then-Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed disciplinary restrictions on Belo in 2020, after having received allegations in 2019. In November 2021, these measures were modified and reinforced. Both times the bishop formally accepted the restrictions.

Similarly, in Yakima, whistleblower Robert Fontana, a former diocesan director of evangelization who had requested an investigation into Bishop Carlos Sevilla, was told about the « reproof » of the prelate during a private meeting in which Fontana says he was not allowed to see the document from the Vatican or take notes. The Yakima Herald-Republic first reported this story, and NCR’s Katie Collins Scott recently took an in-depth look at this case.

Fontana alleges that Sevilla, who led the central Washington diocese from 1996 until retiring in 2011, poorly handled numerous abuse allegations, including a case involving possible abuse of altar servers and another involving a priest who allegedly downloaded child pornography. Sevilla contests the allegations.

Both the Belo and Sevilla cases were handled by the Vatican under the norms of Vos Estis Lux Mundi (« You Are the Light of the World »), Pope Francis’ system to evaluate reports of abuse or cover-up by bishops issued in the wake of the exposure of abuse by former cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2019.

East Timorese Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo sprinkles holy water during an outdoor Mass in Dili in this file photo. The bishop, now retired, has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. (CNS/Reuters)

East Timorese Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo sprinkles holy water during an outdoor Mass in Dili in this file photo. The bishop, now retired, has been accused of sexual abuse of minors. (CNS/Reuters)

At the time, NCR’s editorial expressed concern about the system’s reliance on self-policing, since investigations are the responsibility of a brother bishop, rather than review boards that include laypeople (although laypeople can be consulted in the investigations). Reactions from others in the church mirrored those concerns, saying Vos Estis was a necessary, though not final step.

A year into Vos Estis, an NCR report raised questions about whether the process had an appropriate level of transparency about bishops who were being investigated. A year later, another NCR report found similar criticisms.

Vos Estis was initially adopted for a three-year period « ad experimentum, » which ended June 1. There has been no announcement since then, but the assumption is that the law will become permanent. It’s possible the pandemic has delayed any announcement.

As the experimental period ended, Anne Barrett Doyle of warned that Vos Estis wasn’t working: « Too few bishops have been found guilty, they’ve been punished too lightly, and next to no information about their misdeeds has been disclosed. »

Doyle suggested multiple changes, but the one that seems to be a no-brainer is the need for less secrecy and more transparency. Under Vos Estis, there is no requirement that the Vatican inform the faithful about an investigation or its conclusions. Likewise, victims or whistleblowers are not guaranteed communication.

The argument against more transparency is that public accusations could hurt the reputations of bishops who are later exonerated. Others argue for the need for confidentiality in ongoing legal processes.

But surely there is some threshold at which the people of God have the right to know: just as in our legal system, in which grand jury proceedings are secret, but once credible evidence moves toward an indictment, the rest of the proceedings—and their conclusions—are public.

As the Belo case proves, many allegations eventually become public anyway, at which point the church appears defensive and unwilling to trust its people with the truth in the first place.

But this is not about public relations for the church. More transparency is the only way to heal after decades of this scourge of sex abuse and cover-up. Now is the time for more of it.

Vie de l'église

Teach me to pray

« Father, hallowed by your name … » (Luke 11:2).

 Gal 2:1-2, 7-14; Luke 11:1-4

The setting for this gospel account has Jesus praying while his disciples observe him. We can only imagine what it was about Jesus that moved them to ask him to teach them how to pray, but there must have been something in his posture, gestures and demeanor that struck them.

The prayer he taught them was more than words. He invited them to step into his own relationship with the Abba, his intimate name for God. The prayer is short and reflects all the elements of the most basic prayer every Jew said each day: « Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your spirit and all your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. » Likewise, the « Our Father » commits us to a total surrender to God, then demands reconciliation with neighbor as the sign we are one with God.

The essence of the prayer is an intimate union with God and with one another. The whole thrust of the Good News is that God is inviting us into the divine life, unconditional love received and shared. This is the life of Christ, the communion we are incorporated into at baptism. This is the life of every disciple: We are the children of God, and our mission is to extend the Beloved Community Jesus initiated by our love and service of others. We pray the Our Father together at every Mass, right before we receive Communion, the sign of our identity and mission.

To say the Our Father frequently is to remind ourselves of who we are and why every day holds meaningful ways to deepen our relationship with God and one another. As a kind of Christian GPS built into our hearts, this prayer will keep us the path through life to eternity. For when we pray it, we are standing right next to Jesus in a face-to-face moment of love with our Abba, our merciful Father.

Vie de l'église

Head of Miami Catholic Charities helps coordinate statewide response to Ian

The U.S. Coast Guard in Matlacha, Fla., loads water and other supplies on a boat to be delivered to Pine Island Oct. 2, 2022, after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction. (CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters)

The U.S. Coast Guard in Matlacha, Fla., loads water and other supplies on a boat to be delivered to Pine Island Oct. 2, 2022, after Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction. (CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters)

Miami — The world heard about Hurricane Ian’s devastation along coastal southwest Florida, but the Catholic Charities network of agencies also will focus on lesser known but equally stricken communities and devastated farmworker enclaves in the region.

That was the reassurance given by Miami’s director of Catholic Charities following a fact-finding mission he made Oct. 1-2 to the greater Fort Myers region, and following preliminary conversations with seven Catholic Charities agency heads in Florida.

« As we continue to do these assessments in all these pockets of low-lying areas that are 6 to 8 feet under water — in places like Bonita Springs, Arcadia and Wauchula — that is where Catholic Charities will help: in these pockets you are not hearing anything about, » said Peter Routsis-Arroyo.

He served as CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Venice before moving to Miami. He also still owns a home in the greater Fort Myers region, which is in that diocese.

Hurricane Ian plowed into southwest Florida on the afternoon of Sept. 28 as a strong Category 4 storm. The top gust recorded by a National Weather Service station was 155 mph at Punta Gorda airport north of Fort Myers.

Gusts in the suburban area of Cape Coral, north of Fort Myers, reportedly reached 140 mph.

Although Tampa and Sarasota were expected to suffer the greatest impact from Ian, the storm came ashore further south and dealt its most powerful blow near Port Charlotte, north of Fort Myers.

Winds and storm surge wreaked havoc on coastal island communities such as Sanibel and Pine Island and all the way south to Naples, all within the Diocese of Venice.

Flooding and coastal surge also were reported in the Lower Florida Keys in the Archdiocese of Miami, and most every diocese in the state to a lesser extent experienced some flooding and tornadoes, according to Routsis-Arroyo.

The reported water level overall in Fort Myers was about 8 feet above normal. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called Ian « basically a 500-year flood event. »

By late Oct. 3, the Florida death toll had reached at least 100. It was expected to climb higher as door-to-door rescue operations continued, including in coastal islands such as Sanibel that are now only accessible by boat or helicopter.

With its statewide network of hurricane and disaster response experience, Catholic Charities is positioned to help Ian’s survivors who find themselves desperate at this time, including migrant farmer communities further inland, where search and rescue operations were still underway.

« Even if you have a few feet of water in your house and everything on the floor is damaged and you are dealing without water or electricity, you are traumatized, » Routsis-Arroyo told the Florida Catholic, Miami’s archdiocesan newspaper.

He noted that the Florida governor’s Volunteer Florida office has committed $1 million in funding to Hurricane Ian relief, with $75,000 going to local Catholic Charities agencies. Financial assistance drives following Ian also have been set up around the region.

Routsis-Arroyo spent the weekend of Oct. 1-2 assessing damage, making stops in downtown Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Cape Coral and North Port, all hard-hit regions.

He also joined conversations aimed at helping Catholic Charities and civic authorities, including the National Guard, establish distribution stations in what will become a patchwork of 17 sites for food and supplies throughout southwest Florida.

Those will include some Catholic parishes, Catholic Charities locations and community centers, he said.

It remained unclear how or when some 10,000 permanent residents of Pine Island, and more on Sanibel Island, will be able to access their homes after bridges linking the islands were destroyed by Ian.

« We ask for people to be as generous as they can be and for a lot of prayers; there will be a lot of pain over the next month and a lot of suffering, » Routsis-Arroyo said.

« There are so many pockets of low-lying residential areas and trailer parks that have been destroyed or inundated with 8 to 10 feet of water; and then you have the whole Peace River flooding problem in the town of Arcadia, and the Myakka River in the town of North Port, which is why you have the National Guard there. »

« Where Catholic Charities shines is by being right there as a trusted presence in migrant communities and at Catholic Charities sites, » he added.

The Tallahassee-based Florida Catholic Conference’s disaster response office, along with the Knights of Columbus and myriad other individual parish and charitable efforts, will help fill needs in concert with the Diocese of Venice’s recovery plans, he added.

Transportation efforts were hampered over the Oct. 1-2 weekend by flooded highways. Prepositioned emergency supplies had been staged further north since Hurricane Ian made landfall further south than expected.

« When it’s a disaster of this magnitude, everybody is doing something, » Routsis-Arroyo said, adding that he estimates he has personally been involved in some 15 major hurricane or disaster response efforts in over 30 years with Catholic Charities, including 2004’s Hurricane Charley and 2017’s Hurricane Irma, both impacting southwest Florida.

Thankfully, Routsis-Arroyo said, the home he still owns in the Diocese of Venice suffered only minor damages.

The church in downtown Fort Myers was not so lucky, he added. St. Francis Xavier Church suffered extensive roofing and water damage, and it is believed that Catholic churches on Sanibel and Pine Island suffered catastrophic damages.

Meanwhile, all the local airports remain closed and large swaths of communities from Naples to Port Charlotte and beyond remain without power and water.

Most of the material aid is expected to come in through the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando and Miami areas for the short term.

Catholic Charities USA is likely to begin planning a response that will include logistical support, distribution sites, case management and on-site sanitation and laundry services made possible through mobile units that have been deployed following similar floods and tropical storms around the country.

Vie de l'église

Vatican marks ecology saint's feast day with film premiere, climate accords

Pope Francis and global activists are pictured in a banner for the new YouTube Originals film on the pope's encyclical, "Laudato Si', on Care for Our Common Home." (CNS photo/YouTube Originals)

Pope Francis and global activists are pictured in a banner for the new YouTube Originals film on the pope’s encyclical, « Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home. » The film launched Oct. 4, feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the same day the Holy See acceded to the Paris Agreement. (CNS photo/YouTube Originals)

Vatican City — The Vatican hosted the global premiere of a new documentary on the urgent need to address climate change on the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the same day the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 2015 Paris Agreement entered into force for the Holy See.

The two events Oct. 4 helped mark the feast of the patron saint of animals and ecology, and the namesake of Pope Francis.

The Vatican became a formal party to the U.N. convention in July and declared at the same time that it intended also to formally join the 2015 Paris Agreement.

« Both documents will enter into force for the Holy See, in the name and on behalf of the Vatican City State, on 4 October 2022, the Solemnity of St. Francis, » said a joint statement by the pontifical academies of Sciences and Social Sciences and the Vatican Secretariat of State’s section for relations with states.

It was the same day a new film was launched at the Vatican for the world premiere of « The Letter: A Message For Our Earth, » based on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical letter, « Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home. »

Presented by YouTube Originals, the film was written and directed by Emmy-winner Nicolas Brown and produced by the Oscar-winning production company « Off the Fence. » It was made in partnership with the Laudato Si’ Movement, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and the Dicastery for Communication.

In the seven years since the pope’s landmark encyclical was published, « the environmental crisis of our common home has worsened drastically, » Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the integral development dicastery, said at a Vatican news conference Oct. 4.

« Clearly, the great treasure of Laudato Si’‘s wisdom needs to become far more deeply known and effectively put into practice, » he said.

Czerny said that the documentary shows how « the ecological crisis is happening now. »

« The time is over for speculation, skepticism and denial, and certainly for irresponsible populism. Apocalyptic floods, mega droughts, disastrous heat waves, catastrophic cyclones and hurricanes have become the new normal. They continue today. Tomorrow, they will get worse, » the cardinal said. 

Czerny said « The Letter » presents a new opportunity for all people, especially those on the peripheries represented by the film’s main protagonists who are typically ignored in global environmental summits, to engage in a dialogue about the environmental challenges facing the planet and possible solutions to them. 

« This beautiful film, heartbreaking yet hopeful, is a clarion cry to people everywhere. Wake up. Get serious. Meet. Act together. Act now, » Czerny said.

At the news conference, Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, called the day « a special day for the alliance between science and faith. »

He praised the pope’s letter, both the encyclical and the film, as being in dialogue with science and emphasized action was urgently needed.

« The scientific community welcomes the opportunity to engage with artists and the people of faith. Both faith and art hold a great convening power and can inspire genuine collective climate action, » he said.

Lee added that he welcomed the Holy See’s entry into the Paris Agreement, an action he said « injects new momentum into the global race to implement solutions to the climate crisis. »

« The IPCC assessments clearly point out that climate impacts and risks are becoming increasingly complex and more difficult to manage, and that accelerated and equitable climate action in mitigating and adapting to climate change is critical to sustainable development, » he said. 

« The next few years will be critical. There are ways to improve our chances of success, » with international cooperation key to achieving the climate goals under the Paris Agreement, Lee said. « The stakes have never been higher, and we should be the source of the solution to this crisis. »

The film « The Letter » features activists representing wildlife, Indigenous peoples, young people and the poor — the voices of those who are least listened to, but are the most impacted by the consequences of climate change, Brown said at the news conference. The film includes their meeting with Pope Francis last year to talk about their national and personal challenges and what needs to be done.

The activists included: Chief Cacique Odair « Dadá » Borari from the Amazon rainforest in Brazil; Ridhima Pandey, a 13-year-old climate activist from India; Arouna Kandé, a climate refugee from Senegal; U.S. scientists Greg Asner and Robin Martin; and Lorna Gold, president of Laudato Si’ Movement.

The film is streaming for free at and YouTube Originals. People were encouraged to host viewings on a large screen at their parish, school or local community in order to encourage dialogue and action.

During the press conference, Gold said a key message in the film is the need « to develop and rediscover the capacity to care for each other to be able to dream that we can build a society in a world where we care for each other and care for the planet. »

Asked about the encyclical’s « patchy » reception within the church in the seven years since its release, Czerny said that « maybe one of the enemies of Laudato Si’ is the word green, » in that categorizing the document in such a way allows people to cast it aside due to preconceived beliefs. He also challenged journalists to report more on the encyclical and the ecological crises facing the world.

« I’m very hopeful that the film will bring Laudato Si’ into places and amongst people who haven’t, as Lorna said, opened the book, » the cardinal said. « But I also hope that the many different factors will come together so that we start taking this more seriously and more deeply and more universally. »

[NCR environment correspondent Brian Roewe contributed to this report.]

Vie de l'église

US Catholic bishops to elect new president at November general assembly

Candidates for the upcoming 2022 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops presidential and vice presidential elections are shown clockwise from top left: Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City; Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Conn.; Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Va.; San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone; Seattle Archbishop Paul D. Etienne; Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio; Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori; and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Ind. (CNS composite/photos by Tyler Orsburn; Archdiocese of Oklahoma City; Gregory A. Shemitz; Bob Roller; Dennis Callahan, Catholic San Francisco; Paul Haring; Bob Roller; Bob Roller; Tyler Orsburn; and Bob Roller)

Washington — During their fall general assembly in Baltimore Nov. 14-17, the U.S. bishops will elect the next president and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from a slate of 10 candidates nominated by their fellow bishops.

They also will vote on chairmen-elect for six standing USCCB committees.

The president and vice president are elected to three-year terms, which begin at the conclusion of this year’s general assembly. At that time, Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit will complete their terms as president and vice president, respectively.

The candidates for president and vice president are, in alphabetical order:

  • Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.
  • Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia.
  • Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut.
  • Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City.
  • Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco.
  • Archbishop Paul Etienne of Seattle.
  • Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas.
  • Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller of San Antonio.
  • Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.
  • Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.

According to the USCCB bylaws, the president is elected first by a simple majority vote of members present and voting. The vice president is then elected from the remaining nine candidates.

In either election, if a candidate does not receive more than half of the votes cast on the first ballot, a second vote is taken. If a third round of voting is necessary, that ballot is a runoff between the two bishops who received the most votes on the second ballot.

During the meeting, the bishops also will vote for chairmen-elect of six USCCB standing committees on: Canonical Affairs and Church Governance; Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Evangelization and Catechesis; International Justice and Peace; Protection of Children and Young People; and Religious Liberty.

The six bishops will each serve for one year as chairman-elect of their respective committee before beginning a three-year term as chairman at the conclusion of the bishops’ 2023 Fall General Assembly.

The nominees are, in alphabetical order:

  • Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance: Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, and Bishop Alfred A. Schlert of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
  • Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs: Bishop Joseph Bambera of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Auxiliary Bishop Peter L. Smith of Portland, Oregon.
  • Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis: Archbishop Charles Thompson of Indianapolis and Bishop William D. Byrne of Springfield, Massachusetts.
  • Committee on International Justice and Peace: Archbishop Nelson Pérez of Philadelphia and Bishop Abdallah Elias Zaidan of the Maronite Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon.
  • Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People: Bishop Barry Knestout of Richmond, Virginia, and Auxiliary Bishop Elias R. Lorenzo of Newark, New Jersey.
  • Committee for Religious Liberty: Archbishop Cordileone and Bishop Rhoades.

Because the elections for USCCB president and vice president are also taking place at the general assembly, if any of the candidates for committee chairmanship are elected to fill either of those higher offices, the USCCB’s Committee on Priorities and Plans will convene to nominate a new candidate for that committee.

Last November, the bishops voted for chairmen-elect for five standing committees. At the end of this year’s fall assembly, they will take over as chairmen of their respective committees on:

  • Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations: Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing, Michigan.
  • Divine Worship: Bishop Steven Lopes, who heads the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
  • Domestic Justice and Human Development: Archbishop Borys Gudziak of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.
  • Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth: then-Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, who now heads the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
  • Migration: Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso.
La chaine de KOFC

Le Moment qui a changé la vie de Jim Wahlberg / KnightCast Épisode 9

PrésentationPresseDroits d’auteurNous contacterCréateursPublicitéLes DéveloppeursSignalez un contenu haineux conformément à la LCENConditions d’utilisationConfidentialitéRègles et sécuritéPremiers pas sur YouTubeTesteur de nouvelles fonctionnalités


Faith and Integrity

The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary TimeOctober 2, 2022 at the Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia in Rome, Italy; see Habakkuk 1: 2-3; 2:2-4 and Luke 17: 5-10)

Play  » Faith and Integrity« 

La chaine de KOFC

Pas de plus grand amour / KnightCast Épisode 9-Bande annonce

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La chaine de KOFC

Trouver la Foi et la Fraternité sur le Campus

PrésentationPresseDroits d’auteurNous contacterCréateursPublicitéLes DéveloppeursSignalez un contenu haineux conformément à la LCENConditions d’utilisationConfidentialitéRègles et sécuritéPremiers pas sur YouTubeTesteur de nouvelles fonctionnalités