PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Applaud Senator Rand Paul’s Opposition to Drone Use

Posted March 06, 2013

In speaking against the use of unmanned vehicles in targeted killings, Sen. Paul honors human dignity

WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt made the following statement today, upon hearing of Senator Rand Paul’s strong statements against drone use:

“By speaking out against the use of drone strikes, Senator Paul is honoring human dignity and respecting the value of all human life. Our elected leaders must recognize the damaging and dehumanizing effect the use of drones has had in our prosecution of wars. We thank Senator Paul for fighting for the Common Good.”

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.

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PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Calls on All Cardinals Tarnished by Scandal to Recuse Themselves from Upcoming Papal Conclave

Posted February 26, 2013

In response to Cardinal O’Brien’s decision to skip papal conclave, lay Catholics call on other cardinals involved in scandals to follow his lead

WASHINGTON – Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the most senior member of the Catholic hierarchy in the United Kingdom, announced Monday he would be stepping down from his post as administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, and would recuse himself from the upcoming papal conclave to replace Pope Benedict XVI.

This announcement came after allegations from several priests of inappropriate sexual advances made years ago by O’Brien while he administered a seminary in the UK. This marks the unusual circumstance of a cardinal recusing himself voluntarily after a scandalous event. Catholics United members delivered a petition Saturday to the North Hollywood, Calif., residence of legally-embattled Cardinal Roger Mahony asking that he, and any cardinal with a scandal on his conscience, recuse himself from the conclave.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics, Abuse Victims Deliver Petition to Cardinal’s North Hollywood Residence

Posted February 25, 2013

Catholics United to church leaders: hear the cries of your flock

LOS ANGELES – Joined by allies from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Catholics United today delivered a lay-led petition of 10,000 signatures to the North Hollywood parish residence of Cardinal Roger Mahony, asking that he recuse himself from the upcoming papal conclave to find a replacement for Pope Benedict XVI.

Chris Pumpelly, Catholics United’s communications director, was joined by Joelle Casteix of SNAP and Andrea León-Grossmann, CU’s Los Angeles lay leader, in giving statements to the media before delivering the petition to church staff at St. Charles Borromeo.

Cardinal Mahony was not on site for the delivery, and is believed to have already departed for Rome. He was deposed for nearly four hours this morning by attorney Anthony De Marco for his part in an alleged cover-up of child sex abuse that occurred under his watch as leader of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Respond to Tone-Deaf Statement from Archdiocese

Posted February 15, 2013

Archbishop Gomez endorses Cardinal Mahony’s church-sponsored trip to Vatican despite growing call to stay home

WASHINGTON – The Archdiocese of Los Angeles released a statement this afternoon supporting Cardinal Roger Mahony’s participation in the upcoming papal conclave, despite recent revelations of child sex abuse cover-ups that occurred under his tenure as leader of the archdiocese. Catholics United is leading a nationwide effort to encourage Cardinal Mahony to do the right thing for the victims of child sex abuse and recuse himself from the conclave.

The petition can be found at

CU Executive Director James Salt released the following statement:

“Archbishop Gomez’s support for Cardinal Mahony’s participation in the papal conclave demonstrates the crisis of leadership within American Catholicism. Instead of defending the dignity of abuse victims, Archbishop Gomez has chosen to protect the hierarchy first. He clearly does not understand the pervasive hurt and anger within his flock.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Urge Disgraced Cardinal: Don’t Vote in the Papal Conclave

Posted February 14, 2013

Not appropriate for Cardinal shamed by sex abuse cover-up to choose next pontiff
WASHINGTON – After the stunning news that Pope Benedict XVI will be stepping down effective Feb. 28, Catholics in Los Angeles are urging Cardinal Roger Mahony to stay home instead of participating in the election to determine the next pope. Mahony was recently stripped of his public duties for his part in a sex abuse cover-up while he led the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The College of Cardinals, made up of just fewer than 120 men under the voting eligibility cutoff age of 80, will meet at the Vatican in a closed door conference, known as a “conclave,” to determine the next leader of the worldwide Catholic church. Mahony, who participated in the 2005 gathering to elevate Joseph Ratzinger to the papacy, is 76 and still eligible to participate in the conclave.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Statement on Pope Benedict XVI’s Announcement of Resignation

Posted February 11, 2013

WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt made the following statement today upon hearing Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement he will resign effective Feb. 28:

“Today’s surprising announcement from Pope Benedict XVI is a sign of humility from the aging Holy Father. In light of his decision, we must take the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of this papacy. To many, the Catholic church hierarchy has been seen as an institution overly focused on issues of human sexuality, such as opposition to access to birth control and marriage equality, rather than first serving the poor as Christ commanded.

“The next pope has a unique opportunity to radically shift the agenda of the church. Increasingly, the Catholic church is one that represents interests far removed from Europe or North America. The cardinals can and should consider opening their horizons toward a successor from the global south, such as Latin America or Africa, whose experience represents a vastly different worldview than many church leaders.

PRESS RELEASE: Bishops Insincere in Finding Real Solutions

Posted February 07, 2013

US bishops reject contraceptive workaround and claim HHS accommodation still unacceptable

WASHINGTON – The US Conference of Catholic Bishops today released a statement saying the Feb. 1 compromise offered by the Department of Health and Human Services that completely removed religious employers from dealing with contraceptive services was still unacceptable.

While this announcement is as perplexing as it is disheartening, the deeper story is that the bishops seem more interested in playing to the trumped-up concerns of a far-right political movement rather than the real-world concerns of the faithful and Catholic employers.

“This announcement by the bishops today has zero to do with finding solutions to real problems and everything to do with scoring political points for the far right,” said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. “This displays the sad state of affairs in the hierarchy in America. One is forced to ask the question: where are the adults in the room at the USCCB?”

The move comes as a surprise as the compromise had ameliorated the concerns of several far-right pundits.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Celebrate HHS Mandate Fix as All-Around Victory

Posted February 01, 2013

As predicted last year, the Obama Administration worked successfully to alleviate concerns of religious groups

WASHINGTON – The Obama Administration today announced the long-awaited rule clarifying the Health and Human Services preventative health care regulations, which universally covers women’s access to birth control.

The new proposed rule eliminates the so-called “four part test” for what constitutes an exempted religious employer and broadens the definition of organizations eligible to opt-out of contraceptive coverage to any IRS-designated “religious employer.”

Self-insurers will no longer be expected to provide contraceptive coverage, which will now be covered completely by the coming health care exchanges. Religious employers will see no change, as an employee’s insurer would be wholly responsible for the cost of preventative care.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics Support President Obama’s Immigration Proposal

Posted January 29, 2013

Brings hope to millions living in shadows

WASHINGTON – President Obama today announced his support for the bipartisan Senate proposal released Monday aimed at easing the plight of undocumented immigrants in America, a move long sought for by advocates of Catholic social teaching. In addition, the President laid out his own plan, advocating for a clearer, simpler path to citizenship for the undocumented.

Comprehensive immigration reform, including that path to citizenship for those already in America, is a long-sought goal of politicians and people of all faiths that has eluded Congress for decades. With the election providing a clear mandate for easing suffering and division, observers note the President and the Senate can perhaps find the political will to come together to achieve a major victory for the common good.

PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Applauds President Obama’s Selection of Denis McDonough as New Chief of Staff

Posted January 25, 2013

WASHINGTON – Catholics United Executive Director James Salt released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s selection of Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough as his new chief of staff:

“The appointment of Denis McDonough, a devout Catholic, as chief of staff demonstrates the President’s commitment to placing good people in important positions,” said Salt. “Our nation will be well served by his selection. Throughout his career, Denis has shown a tremendous work ethic and an abiding concern for those who suffer.

“Denis is the kind of person who will open doors for others. I remember in 2009 he helped connect me with then Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina to talk about the concerns of the Catholic community. He didn't have to do this; he went out of his way to help me. In a city like Washington, that sort of kindness is rare and will serve the President well.”

Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.