News Release Archive

Catholic Advocacy in the Palm of Your Hand

Catholic New Yorkers now have the tools to make their voices heard to their elected officials right in the palm of their hand. The Catholic Action Network (CAN) can now text critical alerts directly to users’ smartphones, with links to quickly send messages to their elected officials on urgent issues of the day. To sign up, just text the word CAN to 50457. You’ll immediately receive a one-time link to complete your registration, which is free.

“CAN is a critical tool for everyday Catholics to quickly contact their legislators on all of the major issues of the day, whether it be abortion or assisted suicide, religious liberty, threats to the family, fair funding for Catholic schools, support for the poor and vulnerable, or protection of our environment,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, which operates the network. “And now it’s never been easier to do so quickly and efficiently.” More

Statement on threat of Covid-19-related school closures in ‘hot zones’

Following is a statement of the New York State Catholic Conference on behalf of the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn:

Public officials have indicated that they may pursue the closure of all public and private schools in several COVID-19 “hot zones” in New York City and the Hudson Valley. We strongly urge that any action taken addresses actual problem schools where there is a sustained high rate of infection, rather than a broad-brush approach that penalizes all schools, children, and families needlessly.

The Catholic schools throughout our state and, particular in the densely populated New York City Metropolitan Area, have rightly been held up as a model for safety in these uncertain times. Our Catholic schools opened for full-time, in-person learning weeks before the New York City public schools and have had no significant COVID-19 outbreaks to date. More

Statement on cuts to programs serving poor & vulnerable

Catholic Charities social worker comforts clientWith the Covid-19 crisis that has sickened and killed many thousands of New Yorkers and continues to threaten us, Governor Cuomo faces an unenviable reality. While he must continue efforts to keep New Yorkers safe, at the same time it falls upon him to address a historic budget shortfall caused by the shutdown of the state’s economy and the absence of federal aid to state and local governments.

As the governor considers the steps needed to restore our state to fiscal stability, the New York State Bishops offer prayers for wisdom, as well as a reminder that the state must never balance its budget on the backs of the poor and vulnerable.

Statement on DACA decision

Following is a statement of the New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the Catholic Bishops of New York State in public policy matters:

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Administration’s attempt to immediately end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is a widely supported and hugely successful program that has provided security and stability to thousands of law-abiding, hard-working young immigrants, many of whom have known no other home but the United States. We welcome this decision by the Court and urge the President and Congress to work together to make DACA protections permanent.

Statement on resumption of religious services

Below is a statement from Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, on Governor Cuomo’s announcement that religious services can resume statewide with limits:

“Today brings good news for people of faith, and we’re grateful that Gov. Cuomo has acknowledged the importance of religious faith and practice, especially now in this time of pandemic. Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops of New York State look forward to working with civic and health officials and other interfaith leaders to responsibly plan for resuming public religious services.

“Our Catholic people are hungry for the Mass and are anxious to gather together again in prayer and worship. At the same time, we have a moral obligation to protect our congregations and our clergy from COVID-19, so we will proceed slowly and responsibly and collaboratively.”

Statement on passage of commercial surrogacy

Following is a statement by Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference, on the passage of legal commercial surrogacy in the state:

“The action by the legislature and governor to legalize monetary contracts for surrogate motherhood stands in stark contrast to most other democratic nations across the globe, which have outlawed the practice because of the exploitation of women and commodification of children that inevitably results from the profit-driven surrogacy industry.

“What makes it worse is our state elected officials included this major policy change in a 400-page budget bill in the midst of a pandemic crisis. We simply do not believe that such a critical legal and moral decision for our state should have been made behind the closed doors of a Capitol shut off to the public. The new law is bad for women and children, and the process is terrible for democracy.”

Statement on Commercial Surrogacy Proposal

Following is a statement by Kathleen M. Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference:

“The push by Gov. Cuomo and members of the state legislature to legalize commercial surrogacy is a dangerous policy that will lead to the exploitation of poor, vulnerable women, and has few safeguards for children.

“The surrogacy legislation is designed mainly to benefit wealthy men who can afford tens of thousands of dollars to pay baby brokers, at the expense of low-income women. Ironically, this push is being made precisely at a time when most countries in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere have explicitly banned commercial surrogacy in response to the assault on women’s dignity that occurred in places where it had become an industry. (See hereherehere, and here)


Statement on Buffalo Diocese appointment

Following the announcement by the Holy See that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Bishop Richard J. Malone from the pastoral governance of the Diocese of Buffalo and appointed Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of the Diocese of Albany as apostolic administrator until the appointment of a permanent bishop, NYS Catholic Conference Executive Director Richard E. Barnes made the following statement:

“We trust that Bishop Scharfenberger, with the clergy, religious and laity of Western New York, will move forward with the slow and steady process of healing and renewal.”

2019 End-of-Session Round-Up

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany watches the Assembly debate on the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act from the chamber’s gallery June 19, 2019.
(Franchesca Caputo/The Evangelist)

The New York State Legislature wrapped up the 2019 session in the early morning hours of June 21. The session was among the most active in memory, as the new Democratic majority in the state Senate, joined with the Democratic Assembly majority and the Democratic Governor to take on many issues that had previously been staunchly opposed by Republicans. Below is a synopsis of major issues tracked by the Catholic Conference and their outcome.


Statement on Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act

woman harvesting carrots in a field

Following is a statement of Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference, on the passage of the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act:

“The Bishops of New York State are grateful and relieved that after more than two decades of advocacy, the legislature has passed a version of the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act. For too long, farmworkers have been treated unjustly under the labor laws which protect workers in every other area and industry.