News Release Archive

Statement on Recreational Marijuana Legalization


In its rush to legalize so-called “recreational” marijuana usage, we believe that our state’s elected officials are preparing to open a Pandora’s Box that will have multiple deleterious effects on individuals, families, and all of society.

While the Governor and some legislators see enhanced revenues for the state’s coffers through a new taxable marijuana industry, we are more concerned with consequences ranging from increased teenage and childhood usage, harmful effects on developing brains, addiction, natural progression to harder drug use, increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths, and other potential public health and safety issues.


Legislative Votes on Abortion Expansion

On January 22, 2019, the solemn anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, both the State Senate and the Assembly voted on and passed the radical “Reproductive Health Act,” numbered S.240. The Governor immediately signed and celebrated the new law. This law goes well beyond Roe in its permissiveness and aggressive promotion of abortion. For a full analysis, go HERE.

To see how every legislator voted go HERE. A “NO” vote is a pro-life vote. A “Yes” vote is a vote for abortion expansion. The Assembly vote is listed first; the Senate vote is second.

Finally, go HERE to send a message to your elected officials about their vote. Our advocacy tool will automatically send your Senator and Assembly Member the correct message based on their vote.

NYS Bishops Statement on Passage of Child Victims Act

We pray that the passage of the Child Victims Act brings some measure of healing to all survivors by offering them a path of recourse and reconciliation. The legislation now recognizes that child sexual abuse is an evil not just limited to one institution, but a tragic societal ill that must be addressed in every place where it exists.

Sadly, we in the Church know all too well the devastating toll of abuse on survivors, their families, and the extended community. Every Catholic diocese in New York has taken important steps to support survivors of child sexual abuse, including the implementation of reconciliation and compensation programs. We are proud that these pioneering programs have not only helped well more than a thousand survivors of clergy abuse in New York, but have also become a model for how to help survivors in other states and in other institutions. More

Statement on Passage of Jose Peralta NYS DREAM Act

Today’s passage of the Jose Peralta DREAM Act is a strong example of legislation that nurtures real progress, based on respect of human life and the dignity of each person, compassion, service, community and opportunity for everyone.  This legislation will open doors to education that will transform lives and help individuals, families and communities thrive. As we honor and pay tribute to the memory of Senator Jose Peralta, we also pay tribute to the long history of Latino legislators y activists of all backgrounds, who worked tirelessly for many years, so that this day could become a reality.

La aprobación hoy de la Ley José Peralta para Los Soñadores en el Estado de Nueva York, es un sólido ejemplo de legislación que fomenta el progreso real, basada en el respeto a la vida humana y la dignidad de cada persona, la compasión, el servicio, la comunidad y las oportunidades para todos. Esta legislación abrirá puertas a la educación que transformará vidas y ayudará a personas, familias y comunidades a prosperar. Al honrar y rendir homenaje a la memoria del senador José Peralta, también rendimos homenaje a la larga historia de legisladores hispanos y activistas de todos los orígenes, que trabajaron incansablemente durante muchos años para que este día se convierta en una realidad.

Statement on passage and signing of abortion expansion legislation

Following is a statement of the New York State Catholic Conference on the passage and signing of the Reproductive Health Act:

Today, New York State has added a sad chapter to this already solemn date of January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. With the legislature’s passage, and Governor Cuomo’s signing of the Reproductive Health Act, our beloved state has become a more dangerous one for women and their unborn babies.

Many of the state Senators and Assembly Members who voted for this abortion expansion are mothers themselves, who felt their child toss, turn and kick in their womb, and delighted in the progress of their pregnancy. Many others, as well as our governor, are fathers, who held their partner’s hand as they viewed the ultrasound videos, watched their child squirm and rejoiced at the first sound of a heartbeat. Many of these same officials were themselves born into less-than-perfect conditions – poverty, health problems, disabilities, broken families. All overcame these issues to rise to leadership in our state, because their parents chose life for them.

We thank all of our partners in the 12-year-long fight to stop this horrendous policy, and all pro-life New Yorkers who made their voices heard in an effort to stop it. Let us all pray for the conversion of heart for those who celebrate this tragic moment in the history of our state. And we pray in a special way for the lives that will be lost, and for the women of our state who are made less safe under this law.

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

Statement from the Catholic Bishops of NYS on Abortion Expansion

Printable PDF

En Español

Words are insufficient to describe the profound sadness we feel at the contemplated passage of New York State’s new proposed abortion policy. We mourn the unborn infants who will lose their lives, and the many mothers and fathers who will suffer remorse and heartbreak as a result.

The so-called “Reproductive Health Act” will expand our state’s already radically permissive law, by empowering more health practitioners to provide abortion and removing all state restrictions on late-term procedures. With an abortion rate that is already double the national average, New York law is moving in the wrong direction.

We renew our pledge to offer the resources and services of our charitable agencies and health services to any woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, to support her in bearing her infant, raising her family or placing her child for adoption. There are life-affirming choices available, and we aim to make them more widely known and accessible.

Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress. This is not progress. Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death. Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Bishop of Albany

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Richard J. Malone
Bishop of Buffalo

Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Bishop of Ogdensburg

Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

Most Rev. John O. Barres
Bishop of Rockville Centre

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse

And the Auxiliary and Retired Bishops of New York State

En Español

Mensaje de los obispos católicos de Nueva York

Las palabras no son suficientes para describir la profunda tristeza que sentimos ante la aprobación contemplada de la nueva política propuesta para los abortos en el Estado de Nueva York. Estamos de luto por los infantes aún por nacer que perderán sus vidas, y por las muchas madres y padres quienes sufrirán el remordimiento, y dolor como resultado.

La llamada “Acta de Salud Reproductiva” expandirá la ya radicalmente permisiva ley en nuestro estado, empoderando a más proveedores de cuidado de salud a proporcionar abortos y removiendo todas las restricciones estatales a los procedimientos a largo plazo. Con un índice de abortos que ya es el doble del promedio nacional, la ley en Nueva York se está moviendo en la dirección incorrecta.

Reanudamos nuestro compromiso con proveer los recursos y servicios de nuestras agencias de servicios caritativos y de salud, a cualquier mujer que experimente un embarazo no planificado, para apoyarla hasta dar a luz a su bebé, criar a su familia o ubicar al infante en adopción. Existen opciones de afirmación de vida, y procuramos hacerlas más accessibles y conocidas. Nuestro gobernador y los líderes legislativos elogian esta nueva ley de abortos como progreso. Esto no es progreso. El progreso se logrará cuando nuestras leyes y nuestra cultura una vez más valoren y respeten cada obsequio irrepetible de vida humana, desde el primer momento de la creación hasta la muerte natural. ¿No nos haría eso verdaderamente el estado más progresista en la nación?

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Arzobispo de New York

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger
Obispo de Albany

Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio
Obispo de Brooklyn

Most Rev. Richard J. Malone
Obispo de Buffalo

Most Rev. Terry R. LaValley
Obispo de Ogdensburg

Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano
Obispo de Rochester

Most Rev. John O. Barres
Obispo de Rockville Centre

Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham
Obispo de Syracuse

Y los obispos auxiliares y retirados del Estado de Nueva York

Governor, legislators praised on abuse reporting legislation

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill that requires non-public school administrators to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement. The New York State Catholic Conference, which supported the bill, praised the governor and lawmakers for the new legislation. It followed a series of high-profile scandals involving cover-ups at exclusive independent private schools in various parts of the state.

The bill, sponsored by State Sen. Patrick Gallivan (R-Elma) and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Long Island City), passed unanimously in both houses of the state legislature in the 2018 legislative session, and was delivered to the governor on Nov. 26. It expands an existing law requiring public school superintendents to report abuse. Cuomo signed the bill Dec. 7.

“This legislation is a no-brainer and a critical tool in protecting children. We are grateful to the sponsors and the governor that reporting of such abuse will now be mandated by law,” said Dennis Poust, director of communications for the Catholic Conference, which represents the New York State Bishops in public policy matters.  More

Gov. Cuomo signs bill restoring long-used reimbursement formula for nonpublic schools

After vetoing similar legislation last year, Governor Cuomo has signed a bill that restores a standard for calculating state reimbursement of administrative mandates placed on Catholic and other religious and independent schools. The “instructional time” standard of 5 hours per day for K-6 and 5.5 hours per day for 7-12 had been used for nearly four decades in calculating reimbursements. However, in recent years the state had begun requiring many schools to factor in non-instructional hours as well, thereby reducing reimbursements.

By restoring the instructional time standard, the legislation, which passed unanimously in both the state Senate and Assembly, will save Catholic schools from facing at least a 4 percent reduction in reimbursement in coming years.

“We are grateful to Gov. Cuomo and the entire legislature for their action in averting devastating cuts in reimbursements to our schools,” said James Cultrara, director for education of the New York State Catholic Conference.

Statement on the continuing tragedy of clergy sexual abuse

The catastrophic clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and the continuing revelations about its depth, has been the cause of unimaginable suffering for the many victim-survivors and their loved ones. It has also deeply impacted the lay faithful. Nothing can ever undo the damage that has been done, but the Church has indeed taken many positive steps and made great progress at reform.

Here in New York, the Bishops began the process of rebuilding trust after the initial revelations of 2002, and in recent years, every diocese has undertaken independent reconciliation and compensation programs to offer survivors a chance for both financial compensation and the beginnings of closure that comes with an acknowledgement of what they have suffered. It was this process, in fact, that led directly to the exposure of the abuse by Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, and his removal from ministry and resignation from the College of Cardinals.

The Church in New York State will never abandon those who have been hurt. We urge anyone who has suffered abuse by a member of the clergy or by anyone else in Church ministry to immediately report it to law enforcement, as well as to the victim assistance coordinator in your local diocese:

Archdiocese of New York

Diocese of Albany

Diocese of Brooklyn

Diocese of Buffalo

Diocese of Ogdensburg

Diocese of Rochester

Diocese of Rockville Centre

Diocese of Syracuse

Former Court of Appeals Judge: Child Victims Act Shields Public Entities in Lookback

Judge Susan Phillips Read

The proposed Child Victims Act creates two unequal classes of sexual abuse victims – those who would be granted another opportunity to sue and those who would be granted no such opportunity, according to a former judge of New York State’s top court.

The Child Victims Act (A5885-A/S6575) bill, sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, would shield public schools and municipalities from lawsuits for past sexual abuse claims while holding private schools, religious organizations and charities accountable, according to a new analysis authored by Susan Phillips Read, former Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.


The bill proposes to extend both the prospective civil and criminal statutes of limitations for claims of child sexual abuse. It would also create a controversial one-year window to revive time-barred claims of abuse from decades past. Whether this retroactive window applies to public institutions was the question Judge Read was asked to address in her brief. “My answer is ‘No,’” she stated unequivocally. More