U.S. Mexico Bilateral Relationship and Migration

Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have the opportunity to testify today on this important topic. The United States and Mexico are, more than ever, tied together economically, socially, and culturally. We share a two-thousand mile border region which both unites and divides us; which facilitates the free flow of commerce yet also hosts an ever increasing border enforcement regime; and which shares cultural and social values but divides and separates families. Now, together, our two nations must address these fundamental contradictions and redefine how issues of migration can be addressed in a comprehensive, uniform, and just manner.

Mr. Chairman, on September 6, 2001, Mexican president Vicente Fox addressed a joint meeting of the United States Congress on the issue of migration and called for the “regularization” of undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States. At that time, there was real opportunity for reform in U.S. immigration policy, including a legalization of the undocumented in our nation.

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Catholic Bishops’ Official Applauds President Bush for Signing the Unborn Victims of Violence Act — “Laci and Conner’s Law”

WASHINGTON — Today President George W. Bush signed into law the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, also known as “Laci and Conner’s Law” in memory of Laci Peterson and her unborn child. The law, which passed the House and Senate earlier this year with bipartisan majority votes, recognizes an unborn child as a second victim in a violent federal crime against a pregnant woman.

“We applaud the President for bringing justice to women and their children who are victims of violent crime,” said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., spokesperson for the U.S. Bishops’ Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities. “Thanks to him, and to a bipartisan majority of Congress, a woman who loses her child to a brutal attacker in a federal jurisdiction will no longer be told that she has lost nothing.”

“The new law exempts abortion, but the abortion lobby fought it anyway,” said Ruse, “because it commits the unpardonable pro-choice sin: In the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, it recognizes that a child in utero is ‘a human being.'”

“Abortion activists recoil from any acknowledgment of a child’s existence before birth, whatever the context, and however bizarre the argument, in order to protect the ‘logic’ of Roe v. Wade,” Ruse said. “But a woman who has lost an unborn child in a violent attack deserves the law’s recognition that both she and her child were victims of the crime. Anything less is an affront to women and their children.”

Outside the context of abortion, unborn children are often recognized by the law. Most states allow legal recourse for prenatal injuries and recognize fetal homicide as a crime. Unborn children can inherit property, be represented by a guardian, and sue for a wrongful death if their father is killed. They are considered human subjects protected from harmful research, and can qualify as recipients of state-funded health insurance.

“Abortion advocates hold up Roe as if it were the standard by which all other laws should be judged, forgetting that legal abortion is the uncomfortable exception, not the rule, when it comes to the way the law treats unborn children,” Ruse said. “The ‘logic’ of Roe v. Wade is like the Emperor’s new clothes,” Ruse added, “and the abortion lobby stands in fear of the day when this logic is revealed to be just as insubstantial.”

“Let today’s action be a warning to would-be attackers: If you commit violence against a pregnant woman and her child, your attack against both will be recognized and charged,” said Ruse.

Methodists, Catholics Begin Drafting Report for the Churches

WASHINGTON — The United Methodist-Roman Catholic Dialogue met at the Washington Retreat House, March 22-24. After several years of historical, theological and biblical research on the theme The Church in Each Place and in All Places, the members of the dialogue have begun to draft a report for the churches as a result of their work.

According to participants, years of common ministry around the world have enabled Methodists and Catholics to understand each other more deeply. International dialogues involving the Holy See and the World Methodist Council, regular dialogues between the United Methodist Church and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and local dialogues in dioceses/annual conferences and congregations around the country have enriched common insight and deepened the spiritual commitment to overcome the scandal of division between these two traditions.

Members of the dialogue believe that the contribution of theologians on behalf of their sponsoring churches is a resource for all United Methodists and Catholics in living the Christian life, engaging in mission in the world, and understanding the Church and its unity.

It is anticipated that the statement of the dialogue will contribute a modest step on the road to full, visible unity between Catholics and United Methodists to which both churches are committed. It will examine the theology of communion (Koinonia, Communio) as a perspective through which to look at the mission, structure, sacramental life, and witness of these two communities in their parishes and congregations, conferences and dioceses, and understandings of the Church universal and global. It is hoped that this text will challenge the churches to deepen their life together and to intensify the theological dialogue that will help resolve those issues that continue to hinder full communion.

The dialogue is co-chaired by Walter Klaiber, United Methodist bishop of Frankfurt, and Auxiliary Bishop Frederick Campbell of St. Paul-Minneapolis. The drafting work will continue at the next meeting in October.

National Review Board, Audit Reports

Reports

  • The Nature and Scope of the Problem of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States
    A Research Study Conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States
    Prepared by the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People
  • Child Sexual Abuse: A Review of the Literature
    Prepared by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

Press Conferences

Video of Press Conference for Release of Sex Abuse Studies

Remarks from Bishop Wilton D. Gregory

Remarks of Justice Anne M. Burke from the National Review Board Press Conference

Press Releases

  • 700 Priests Removed Since January 2002
  • Media Advisory: U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops Responds to Reports On Clergy Sex Abuse
    February 24, 2004

Additional Links to National Review Board & John Jay Reports

  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Office of Child and Youth Protection

More Than 150,000 People to Join Catholic Church Holy Saturday

WASHINGTON — More than 150,000 Americans will join the Catholic Church, on Holy Saturday, April 10, through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).

Among them, over 62,000 participated in the Rite of Election with their bishops at the beginning of Lent. About 24,000 of the group will be baptized, confirmed and receive Holy Eucharist for the first time on Holy Saturday, and 36,000, who already have been baptized, will embrace full membership in the Catholic Church.

Another estimated 90,000 men and women celebrated the Rite of Election in their parishes rather than attending the diocesan-wide ceremony, usually held at the cathedral.

“The Rite of Election in my diocese was the highlight of the year,” said Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization. “I worried that the cathedral would be next to empty due to all the scandal news this year, but I was delighted to find that the numbers signing the Book of the Elect were higher than last year. It is great to know that God is in charge.”

The numbers at the diocesan ceremonies are based on an early March survey by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Evangelization. About three-quarters of the dioceses responded by March 25.

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is an ancient rite that was reinstituted in the church following the Second Vatican Council. It is the usual means for adults to come into the Church. Infant baptisms take place in parishes throughout the year. It is estimated there will be more than one million for 2004.

Adults will enter the church in every diocese of the country and in virtually every one of the nation’s nearly 19,000 parishes.

Men and women who come into the church cite many reasons. Some are inspired by other family members, including spouses, who already are Catholic. Others find the Catholic Church during a spiritual search as they explore faith groups until they feel at home. Others seek to become active in the church in which they were baptized but had not practiced the faith.

“People’s stories are moving,” said Paulist Father John Hurley, executive director of the Evangelization Secretariat. “The Rite of Initiation during the Holy Saturday service inspires everyone in the church. Congregants, who observe newcomers being baptized, confirmed and receiving the Eucharist for the first time, recall the precious gift of faith and the union with Jesus to which people are called. This indeed is good news in challenging times.”

“Catholics lucky enough to accompany newcomers on their spiritual journey, for example, by serving as sponsors at baptism or confirmation are especially privileged,” he said.