Category Archives: USCCB

Archbishop Wenski, Catholic Charities’ Father Snyder Ask Senate To Support Smarter Sentencing Act

March 27, 2014

WASHINGTON—The Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410) is a “modest first step in reforming our nation’s broken sentencing policies,” said the chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and the president of Catholic Charities USA in a March 27 letter to the U.S. Senate supporting the bill.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami and Father Larry Snyder called “one-size-fits-all” sentencing policies “inadequate in addressing the complexities of crime and community safety.” They urged the Senate to vote for the bill that, “though imperfect,” would expand options for judges handing down sentences for non-violent drug offenses and allow for reduced mandatory minimum sentences in certain circumstances.

“Rigid sentencing policies for non-violent offenses are costly, ineffective and can be detrimental to the good of persons, families, and communities,” wrote Archbishop Wenski and Father Snyder. “Prolonged incarceration often contributes to family instability and poverty. Those who finally leave incarceration face significant challenges upon reentering society, such as finding housing and stable employment, high rates of substance abuse, and physical and mental health challenges.”

They noted that the United States imprisons more people than any other nation and that the overall incarceration rate has increased 500 percent during the past 30 years. They also called the addition of three new categories of mandatory minimums in the amended bill “counterproductive.”

Archbishop Wenski and Father Snyder reiterated Catholic social teaching that the justice system should promote healing and restoration, rather than merely punishment, and echoed the words of Pope Francis that “God is in everyone’s life,” even those “destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else.”

“We continue to urge that instead of directing a vast amount of public resources to imprison more people and build more prisons and jails, the government should support effective programs aimed at crime prevention, rehabilitation, education efforts, substance abuse treatment, as well as programs of probation, parole and reintegration,” they wrote.

The full text of the letter is available online here.

This article is from the USCCB.

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Bishops Express Thanks On First Anniversary Of Pope Francis, Highlight Concern For Poor, Reform Of Curia, Outreach To Alienated

March 11, 2014

Pope Calls on Catholics To Renew Gospel Values
Wants Church To Be for the Poor, Reach Out to Marginalized
Emphasis on Mercy, Humanity Inspires People Around the Globe

WASHINGTON—The first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, March 13, is a time to give thanks, said the U.S. bishops’ Administrative Committee, meeting in Washington, March 11-12. The Administrative Committee is the highest ranking body of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when the bishops are not in plenary session.

“He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society,” the bishops said in the statement issued March 11. “He has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured.”

The entire statement follows.

STATEMENT OF THE USCCB ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE ELECTION OF POPE FRANCIS

Gathered together in Washington, DC, for their annual March meeting, the members of the Administrative Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have noted with thanksgiving the first anniversary of the election of His Holiness Pope Francis as the 266th successor of the Apostle Peter.

In his first year in office, Pope Francis has consistently called upon Catholics to look again at the fundamental values of the Gospel. He has encouraged us to be a Church of the poor and for the poor, reaching out to the marginalized and being present to those on the periphery of society. He has set an example by choosing a personal simplicity of life, by washing the feet of prisoners, and by taking into his hands and kissing the badly disfigured. His Holiness has also set in motion a process that will lead to the reshaping of the Roman Curia in a way that will enhance the effectiveness of his ministry and better serve the needs of the Church in our present day.

In this way the Holy Father has brought to light new dimensions of the Petrine Ministry and added new life to the office he holds. His constant outreach to the alienated, his emphasis on mercy and his sheer humanity have served as an inspiration not only to Catholics but also to other Christians and people of good will around the globe. On this first anniversary of his election, the Administrative Committee invites the prayers of all the faithful that Christ our Lord will bless Pope Francis and grant him many years of fruitful ministry as Bishop of Rome, as the Servant of the Servants of God.

This content was produced by the USCCB was originally posted here.