Updated statement from Bishop Parkes (August 17, 2018).
“I am saddened and angry to learn of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that spans a 70-year period and details tragic incidents by priests accused of abusing and exploiting children.
In response to this report and also the recent allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, I recommit my efforts to protecting youth and vulnerable adults from any type of abuse.
In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, we comply with the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People (Charter), which was adopted in June 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that requires background screening and Safe Environment Program training for all who may have the care, responsibility, and/or supervision of Children and young people. Our diocese responds promptly to all credible allegations of abuse and removes the abuser from ministry. Additionally, we list the names of priests of the Diocese of St. Petersburg who have been accused of abuse on the Diocesan website.
I urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a member of the clergy or any representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505. Also, I urge anyone who is aware of abuse by a member of the clergy or representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505.
I pray for all victims of abuse around the nation and around the world. I also pray that the Church will learn from past mistakes to be able to safeguard the people we serve and to be authentic witnesses of charity, justice and truth.” (Bishop Gregory Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg)
Also: Statement from Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Doherty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, August 14, 2018.
Beginning Friday, August 3rd and continuing each Friday through September 28th, Bishop Parkes and all U.S. bishops urge participation from all the faithful in a nationwide novena, with prayer and fasting, in the hope of legislative change resulting in the protection of all human life. Certainly the confirmation hearings for the new Supreme Court Justice will bring the dialogue to a national level.
Will you be part of a powerful prayer movement? Individuals are urged to sign up for the Novena as part of the USCCB Call to Prayer. Those who sign up will receive weekly email or text message reminders to pray and fast along with a fact about Roe v Wade to share with others. In addition to the current invitation to fast on Fridays, participants are encouraged to pray one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intention of the novena.
A Statement from Bishop Gregory L. Parkes The ongoing practice of separating children from their parents has already, as of May, left nearly 2000 children separated from their parents. As Bishop Parkes reminds us, as a nation and people of faith, we can and must do better.
FIVE WAYS TO HELP STOP FAMILY SEPARATION
Pray: You can find a prayer for migrant children here. On Wednesday, June 20th, 2018, at 8:00 p.m., we will show our solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters by praying together during a special Mass followed by a prayer service at San Jose Mission in Dover. We invite all to attend. If you cannot join us in person, please join us spiritually in prayer. Remember, we are called to live courageously by standing up for ALL vulnerable populations – the unborn, the disabled, the elderly, the imprisoned, the immigrant, and the refugee.
Speak Up: Sign our Action Alert and share with your networks. Also consider contacting your senators and representative directly by phone to voice your concern. You can find the number for your representative here and your senators here.
For many years, the USCCB has supported a federal ban on assault weapons, limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, further criminalizing gun trafficking, certain limitations on the purchase of handguns, and safety measures such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using guns without permission.
In the aftermath of the tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, once again urge national leaders to finally come together and address the crisis of gun violence in a comprehensive way. Their comments are below:
Please participate in the Call-in Day to Congress on Monday, February 26th. Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6, unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them. Bishop Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and your own Franciscan Friars urge you to be part of this “call to action.”
As Franciscans, our approach to social issues is always to seek deep solidarity with those who are vulnerable or on the margins of society. This stance was embodied by our founder, St. Francis of Assisi, who ignored the norms of his society and made direct encounter with the most despised and vulnerable of his time a priority. When we embrace our world, we seek to repair broken relations that lead to a variety of social issues and maladies: turning away the stranger/the immigrant; the challenge of climate change; lack of care for the elderly and disabled – both physically and mentally; a dis-ease with the dying process; the death penalty; and, as we mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, a particularly tragic one, abortion. Our approach is in line with the leadership of the Catholic church in that we utilize the rubric of the consistent ethic of life.
Another one of our thriving ministries under Franciscan Care is Hands of Hope, which is an outreach ministry serving the poor and homeless of our community. Each weekend, a meal is prepared and then served to our neighbors in need. Throughout the day, we share fellowship and resources of hope and healing for the physical, mental, and personal needs of our guests.
As followers of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of peace, we, the Franciscans Friars of the United States join with the many public and religious leaders and fellow-citizens who have condemned the recent violence in Charlottesville, VA.
We hold that all forms of racism, white supremacy, neo-nazism, xenophobia and hatred are wrong.
In flurry of activity, President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States” (you can read the full text here). The key points of the Executive Order are:
90-day ban on entry into the US from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan
120-day suspension of the refugee resettlement program
Indefinite suspension of the arrival of Syrian refugees
64% decrease for refugees admitted into the US in 2017
Prioritization of refugees who are religious minorities suffering religious persecution
Mandated review of stricter vetting procedures for refugees and immigrants.
The Franciscan OFM friars of the United States have issued a joint Franciscan Statement on the Immigration Ban:
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25.35).