News Release Archive

Statement on leaked draft Supreme Court opinion

Following is a statement by Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s bishops in public policy matters:

“The leaking of an internal draft opinion of the Supreme Court is an egregious breach of trust, and an attack on the integrity of the Judicial Branch of government. When our highest court cannot operate free of political interference or intimidation, it serves as a stark example that nothing is sacred any more. While we fervently pray for legal protections of unborn children, we will not dignify the goals of the leaker by commenting on the contents of the draft document.”

Statement on the Extreme Abortion Bill Failing in the US Senate

Below is a statement from Kristen Curran, director of government relations, on the failure of a radical abortion expansion bill in the US Senate.

Yesterday, the Women’s Health Protection Act failed to advance in the Senate. The measure would have effectively undone pro-life safeguards throughout the country, and legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy nationwide. The New York State Catholic Conference is pleased that the Senate Republicans, joined by Senator Manchin of West Virginia, opposed the bill. We are deeply grateful to those across New York that did the work of contacting legislators to voice their opposition.

The Women’s Health Protection Act serves as a reminder to pro-life citizens everywhere that we must remain ever vigilant. As abortion advocates continually seek ways to expand abortion further and further, we must hold our leaders to account and ensure that dangerous proposals such as this cannot succeed.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

Kathleen Gallagher to Retire as Pro-Life Activities Director

Kathleen M. Gallagher, who for the better part of four decades has served as director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, is retiring at the end of January.

In that time, she has not only represented the New York State Bishops, but has been a national leader in the pro-life movement, advocating against abortion, capital punishment and euthanasia, and in favor of supports for pregnant women in need and people near the end of life.

“No one in New York State or across the country has done more to advocate on behalf of all human life from conception until natural death than Kathy Gallagher,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the NYSCC. “She is a giant of the pro-life movement, who my brother bishops, past and present, have depended on for nearly four decades to fight for the most vulnerable among us. We thank her for her tireless service. While she is moving into retirement, we’re thrilled that Kathy has agreed to serve as a valued consultant on the many issues related to respect for life that we continue to encounter. God knows we need her voice.”
Mrs. Gallagher is a native of Long Island who graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, and joined the Conference in 1984 after a brief stint working in the state legislature. She has served the Conference in that time as its pro-life lobbyist and spokesperson. Among her many other duties, she served as staff liaison to the Catholic prison chaplains. She has received the Diocesan Pro-Vita Award from the Dioceses of Rockville Centre, Brooklyn and Buffalo, and the Bishop Broderick Award from the Diocese of Albany. Her monthly Respect Life column continues to appear in numerous diocesan publications across the state.

“I am grateful to Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops for allowing me to represent them for so long, and blessed beyond measure to have received a salary to advocate for moral principles in which I deeply believe,” Mrs. Gallagher said.

Kristen Curran Named Director of Government Relations

Kristen Curran, an experienced Albany lobbyist and government affairs professional, has been appointed Director of Government Relations for the New York State Catholic Conference, Executive Director Dennis Poust announced today.

In her new role, Ms. Curran will represent the interests of the Conference at the state legislature on a broad range of public policy issues. She comes on board on January 1. 

“I am thrilled to be joining the talented and dedicated team at the New York State Catholic Conference,” Ms. Curran said. “The work of the Catholic Church enriches our communities and lifts up those in need. I’m looking forward to advancing these initiatives so that the Church may serve New Yorkers more effectively and continue to be a voice for the voiceless.”

Mr. Poust said, “Kristen brings a wealth of talent, experience and established relationships to this position, and possesses a deep understanding and appreciation for the breadth of Catholic social and moral teachings. We couldn’t be happier to have her advocating for the Bishops’ public policy priorities at the state Capitol.”

Born and raised in Albany, Ms. Curran is a product of Albany Catholic schools and a graduate of Siena College, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree. An attorney admitted to practice in the Third Department of New York State, Ms. Curran received her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School. She has been a lobbyist for nine years and has extensive experience in organized labor and all levels of government.

She lives in Albany with her husband, James, and their children, Colleen, Clare, and Jack. They are parishioners of St. Pius X Church in Loudonville.

Statement on Appointment of Bishop Robert Brennan as Bishop of Brooklyn

Bishop Brennan

Following is a statement from Dennis Poust, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, on Pope Francis’ appointment of Bishop Robert J. Brennan of Columbus as the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn, succeeding the retiring Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

“We are so grateful to Pope Francis for sending Bishop Robert Brennan home to New York, as the eighth Bishop of Brooklyn. Bishop Brennan, a born-and-bred New Yorker, was an integral member of the New York State Catholic Conference during his time as a priest and auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. To Bishop Brennan, we say, ‘Welcome home!’

“As we rejoice in Bishop Brennan’s homecoming, we also give thanks for the ministry of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, whose  leadership over the last 18 years has been an incredible gift to the people of Brooklyn and Queens. As perhaps the Catholic Church’s foremost expert on migration issues, he has been an invaluable asset on the state and national level in framing the Bishops’ positions on immigration reform, treatment of refugees, and other issues related to new Americans. Our expectation is that we will continue to rely on Bishop DiMarzio’s counsel on these and many other issues for years to come.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is perhaps the most diverse and densely populated diocese in the country. With Mass regularly celebrated in 33 languages throughout its 177 parishes, it is a living witness to the universality of the Catholic Church. It is a diocese that has seen tremendous economic, social and demographic change over the last two decades. We are overjoyed that following Bishop DiMarzio’s historic tenure, this dynamic diocese now will be in the very pastoral and capable hands of Bishop Brennan.”

Statement on resignation of Governor Cuomo

Following is a statement from Dennis Poust, executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference, on the resignation of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo following an attorney general report detailing claims of sexual harassment against multiple women:

“The last several months, and in particular the past week, have been a difficult time for the people of New York State. Our prayers are with the women who came forward to share their stories. This was not easy for any of them, and their example will help other women to feel empowered to speak out and send the strong message that sexual harassment must never be tolerated, wherever and whenever it occurs.

“We pray also for our incoming governor, Kathy Hochul, as well as for her husband and children, as she undertakes her new, enormous responsibilities as the leader of our state as we continue to fight a deadly pandemic.

“Finally, we pray for all those directly impacted by Governor Cuomo’s resignation, including his family, his staff, and Mr. Cuomo himself.”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

Letter to Congress regarding Hyde Amendment

Following is the text of a letter from Dennis Poust, executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference, to the full New York congressional delegation, regarding taxpayer funding for abortion, dated July 7, 2021:

“On behalf of Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the Catholic Bishops of New York State, I write to urge you to reject taxpayer funding of abortion, and to oppose appropriations bills that do not include the long-standing, bipartisan Hyde Amendment and related pro-life policies.

“These consensus provisions have been approved year after year by Congress and Presidents of both political parties. For almost half a century, the Hyde Amendment has protected taxpayers from having abortion imposed upon them by forcing them to pay for an act that destroys unborn human lives. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Hyde Amendment, and has said that government may reasonably favor childbirth over abortion and allocate funding accordingly (Harris v McRae).

“Whatever one’s position on the morality or legality of abortion, we all know it is unique. Indeed, the High Court has said: ‘Abortion is inherently different from other medical procedures, because no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.’ When the federal government subsidizes certain conduct, it encourages the behavior. Through the allocation of their tax dollars, Americans should not be compelled to finance nor encourage the practice of abortion.

“In his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis declared: ‘Among the vulnerable for whom the Church wishes to care with particular love and concern are unborn children, the most defenseless and innocent among us. Nowadays efforts are made to deny them their human dignity and to do with them whatever one pleases, taking their lives and passing laws preventing anyone from standing in the way of this…It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life…’

“I urge you to partner with us in providing support, funding, and programs to assist pregnant women facing challenging situations, and to empower them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity.

“Again, I implore you to oppose any appropriations bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.

“Please know that you and your staff are in my prayers and the prayers of the Bishops as you continue your important work on behalf of our beloved country.


Dennis Poust
Executive Director”

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York State in public policy matters.

Dennis Poust appointed Executive Director of the New York State Catholic Conference 

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the New York State Catholic Conference, with the consent of the other seven diocesan Bishops of the state, has appointed Dennis Poust as Executive Director, effective immediately. Poust, a 20-year veteran of the Conference, has been serving in an interim capacity since January. He succeeds Richard E. Barnes, who resigned late last year to take a position with the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

“My Brother Bishops and I are grateful that Dennis has accepted the position of Executive Director on a permanent basis,” Cardinal Dolan said. “He has brought welcome continuity as the staff navigated the 2021 Legislative Session in Albany. At the same time, we Bishops have been impressed with his vision for the Conference going forward, with a focus on further engaging the Catholic people of our state toward faithful citizenship.” More

Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools in the American Rescue Plan

Following are public comments submitted to the United States Department of Education by Dennis Poust, interim executive director of the NYS Catholic Conference, regarding emergency assistance to non-public schools in the American Rescue Plan Act:

The New York State Catholic Conference (NYSCC) is very grateful to the President and Congress for the two rounds of Emergency Assistance to Non-Public Schools (EANS). Moreover, we applaud the approach of administering the program centrally through State Education Agencies (SEAs) as opposed to the more burdensome and often frustrating approach of having non-public schools work with numerous Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to secure their “equitable share” of services. Administering federal funding for non-public schools through SEAs eliminates much of the administrative burdens that plague public and non-public school administrators alike – and this approach should serve as a model when the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is being considered.


Statement on Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Following is a statement by Dennis Poust, interim executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference:

“The passage of legislation to legalize possession and consumption of marijuana for recreational use in New York State is terrible policy that sends a message to children that marijuana is harmless fun endorsed by the state. The reality is quite different. More