Bishops Statements

A statement on the Dobbs decision by the Catholic Bishops of New York State

Date posted: June 24, 2022

En español, aqui

‘We Give Thanks to God’

We give thanks to God for today’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This just decision will save countless innocent children simply waiting to be born.

On this historic day, our gratitude extends to the millions of heroic Americans who have worked tirelessly toward this outcome for nearly a half-century. Women and men, children and adults, believers and non-believers, people of every culture and background have advocated for life. They have been a charitable and compelling voice for the voiceless, and today, their voice has been heard.

As Catholics, we have prayed and fasted, held vigils, offered Masses, and peacefully witnessed in these last five decades. We have joined others in educating schoolchildren, opening pregnancy care centers, walking with mothers, offering post-abortion counseling, and marching, year after year, to the United States Supreme Court to witness for life. Today, our voice has been heard.

With the entire pro-life community, we are overjoyed with this outcome of the Court. However, we acknowledge the wide range of emotions associated with this decision. We call on all Catholics and everyone who supports the right to life for unborn children to be charitable, even as we celebrate an important historical moment and an answer to a prayer.

We must remember that this is a judicial victory, not a cultural one. The culture remains deeply divided on the issue, which will be evidenced by the patchwork of state statutes pertaining to abortion across the country. To change the culture and build a culture of life, we need to enact family-friendly policies that welcome children, support mothers, cherish families and empower them to thrive. We outlined our vision for a pro-life New York in our recent statement, available here, and we rededicate ourselves to helping every expectant mother to carry her baby to term.

Building a culture of life is not solely the responsibility of the government or those heroic individuals working on the front lines, in crisis pregnancy centers and other ministries. All of us need to respect the dignity and sanctity of human life in everything we do: in how we treat our children, spouses and parents; in the way we behave in our place of work; in sum, how we live Jesus’ two great commandments to love God and love our neighbor.

Love, charity and reverence for human life from the moment of conception through natural death – these will build and sustain a culture of life.

Millions of Americans have worked tirelessly for almost 50 years towards this outcome. We thank them with every fiber of our being. Their vital work continues, and we commit ourselves to it.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

Archbishop of New York

Most Rev. Edward B. Scharfenberger

Bishop of Albany

Most Rev. Robert J. Brennan

Bishop of Brooklyn

Most Rev. Michael W. Fisher

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. Douglas J. Lucia

Bishop of Syracuse

And the Auxiliary and Emeritus Bishops of NYS

Declaración de los Obispos Católicos del Estado de Nueva York sobre el fallo Dobbs

Date posted:

“Damos gracias a Dios”

Damos gracias a Dios por la decisión tomada por la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en el día de hoy en la causa Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Esta justa decisión salvará a infinidad de niños inocentes que tan solo esperan nacer.

En este día histórico, extendemos nuestra gratitud a los millones de estadounidenses heroicos que, durante casi medio siglo, han trabajado incansablemente para lograr este resultado. Mujeres y hombres, niños y adultos, creyentes y no creyentes, personas de todas las culturas y orígenes han abogado por la vida. Todos ellos han sido una voz caritativa y convincente que ha hablado por los que no tienen voz, y hoy, su voz ha sido escuchada.

Como católicos, a lo largo de estas últimas cinco décadas, hemos rezado y ayunado, nos hemos unido en vigilia, hemos ofrecido Misas y hemos dado nuestro testimonio pacíficamente. Hemos colaborado con otros en la educación de niños en etapa escolar, hemos abierto centros de atención a la mujer embarazada, hemos acompañado a madres y ofrecido contención tras el aborto y hemos marchado, año tras año, hasta la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos para dar testimonio a favor de la vida. Hoy, nuestra voz ha sido escuchada.

Junto con toda la comunidad provida, nos alegramos infinitamente por esta decisión de la Corte. Sin embargo, reconocemos la amplia gama de emociones asociadas con este resultado. Pedimos a todos los católicos, y a todos aquellos que defienden el derecho a la vida de los niños por nacer, que sean caritativos, incluso mientras celebramos un momento histórico importante y una respuesta a nuestras oraciones.

Debemos recordar que esta es una victoria judicial, no cultural. La cultura sigue estando profundamente dividida en este tema, y así lo confirma el mosaico de leyes estatales en materia de aborto a lo largo y a lo ancho del país. Para cambiar la cultura y construir una cultura de la vida, es preciso adoptar políticas en favor de la familia, políticas que acojan a los niños, apoyen a las madres, valoren a las familias y las empoderen para prosperar. En nuestra reciente declaración, aquí disponible, hemos descrito brevemente nuestra visión de un estado de Nueva York provida y hoy renovamos nuestro compromiso de ayudar a todas las futuras madres a llevar su embarazo a término.

Construir una cultura de la vida no es responsabilidad exclusiva del Gobierno ni de esas personas heroicas que trabajan en primera línea, en centros para mujeres embarazadas, en crisis, y otros ministerios. Todos nosotros debemos respetar la dignidad y la santidad de la vida humana en todo lo que hacemos: en el modo en que tratamos a nuestros niños, cónyuges y padres, en el modo en que nos comportamos en nuestro lugar de trabajo y, en resumidas cuentas, en el modo en que cumplimos los dos grandes mandamientos de Jesús que nos llaman a amar a Dios y al prójimo.

El amor, la caridad y el respeto por la vida humana, desde el momento de la concepción hasta la muerte natural, construirán y sostendrán una cultura de la vida.

Millones de estadounidenses han trabajado incansablemente durante casi cincuenta años para lograr este resultado. Se lo agradecemos de todo corazón. Su vital labor continúa y nosotros nos comprometemos con ella.

Cardenal Timothy Dolan

Arzobispo de Nueva York

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Edward B. Scharfenberger

Obispo de Albany

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Robert J. Brennan

Obispo de Brooklyn

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Michael W. Fisher

Obispo de Bufffalo

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Terry R. LaValley

Obispo de Ogdensburg

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Salvatore R. Matano

Obispo de Rochester

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. John O. Barres

Obispo de Rockville Centre

S. E. Rvdma. Mons. Douglas J. Lucia

Obispo de Syracuse

Toward a Pro-Life Future in the Empire State

Date posted: May 12, 2022

A statement by the Catholic Bishops of New York State. Printable PDF for parish distribution in English HERE and in Spanish HERE.

Humanity’s salvation history was forever changed when a poor, devout Jewish girl from Galilee affirmatively said yes to life and set in motion the birth, ministry, sacrificial death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mary’s fiat (“Thy will be done.”) was a gift of love to humanity, given freely in spite of her inability to know all that would entail, but with more faith in the Lord than fear of the unknown. In this month of Mary, we have an opportunity to reflect on her example, even as Americans grapple with gathering societal unrest over the issue of abortion.

Since the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade effectively opened the door to abortion on demand throughout the land, an estimated 63 million unborn babies across the country have been killed in the womb before they could even draw their first breath of air. As we await a decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the recently argued Supreme Court case that could potentially overturn Roe, we pray for a positive outcome even as we acknowledge that abortion in New York would continue unfettered, and even be actively promoted as a social good by many elected officials. Sadly, New York, which legalized abortion three years before the Roe decision, has long been the abortion capital of the country, a tragic and sobering distinction.

Through the years, advocates for legal abortion have skillfully framed the narrative as one of “choice,” and “reproductive freedom,” completely ignoring the biological reality of what abortion is: the intentional killing of an innocent child in the womb. Even as sonogram technology and advances in neonatal medicine clearly show us the truth that what is being “terminated” is a human life, the pro-abortion movement refuses to address the science. The abortion industry has been so successful in its messaging that the right to abortion has become inextricably linked to the notion of women’s rights and equality for a significant portion of the country, which is why the prospect of a nation without Roe has led to fear and anxiety for many people.


Hacia un futuro provida en el Empire State

Date posted:

Declaración de los Obispos Católicos del Estado de Nueva York. Imprimible PDF en inglés aquí y español aquí.

La historia de salvación de la humanidad cambió para siempre cuando una pobre y devota muchacha judía de Galilea dijo sí a la vida y puso en marcha el nacimiento, el ministerio, la muerte sacrificial y la resurrección de nuestro Señor y Salvador, Jesucristo. El fíat de María (“Hágase tu voluntad”) fue un don de amor a la humanidad, entregado libremente, a pesar de la incapacidad de María para conocer todo lo que implicaría, pero con más fe en el Señor que con temor a lo desconocido. En este mes de María, tenemos la oportunidad de reflexionar sobre su ejemplo, incluso en un momento en que los estadounidenses están afrontando una creciente agitación social por el tema del aborto.

A partir de que la decisión tomada por la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en 1973, en la causa Roe v. Wade, abriera efectivamente la puerta al aborto a demanda en toda la nación, aproximadamente sesenta y tres millones de bebés no nacidos han sido asesinados en el vientre de su madre, en este país, antes de que pudieran siquiera respirar por primera vez. Mientras esperamos una decisión judicial en Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, la causa recientemente tratada en la Corte Suprema que podría anular el fallo Roe, rezamos por un resultado positivo aun cuando reconocemos que el aborto en Nueva York continuaría sin restricciones, y que incluso sería activamente promovido como un bien social por muchos funcionarios elegidos por voto popular. Lamentablemente, Nueva York, donde se legalizó el aborto tres años antes del fallo Roe, ha sido desde hace mucho tiempo la capital nacional del aborto, una distinción trágica y realista.


 Statement of Cardinal Dolan on NYS Public Safety Proposals

Date posted: March 29, 2022

Following is a statement of Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, in his capacity as president of the New York State Catholic Conference.

The Catholic Bishops have long been at the forefront regarding the rights of the accused and the humane treatment of those imprisoned, from our staunch opposition to the death penalty, to our demand for repeal of the destructive 1970s-era Rockefeller Laws, which tied the hands of judges with mandatory minimum prison sentences for even nonviolent drug offenders, to advocacy for passage of last year’s HALT Solitary Confinement Act.

At the same time, just as the Good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable embraced and tenderly cared for the victim of a violent crime, we are all called to do the same. And on a broader level, we are called to stand with all people of good will, especially those in our poorest communities, who rightfully desire a life of peace and safety, and a freedom from the lingering daily fear of murder, rape, assault, robbery, and other violent crimes against them and their loved ones. The safety and well-being of law enforcement officers is also a significant concern in a climate of rising violence.  New Yorkers see with their own eyes a dangerous lack of regard for the sacredness and dignity of human life that seems to be reaching epidemic proportions in many spheres, including in cases of violent crime.

I recognize lawmakers have a difficult task in balancing the real issues of equity and justice for those who are accused with the real rise in gun violence that is plaguing our cities. The Legislature made bail reform a priority in 2019 to address the disparate treatment of people with and without means and the dangerous overcrowding of jails, where people who have not yet been convicted of crimes waste away or worse for months or longer.

Those same lawmakers recognized flaws in the original law and addressed some of those issues the following year. But, clearly, most New Yorkers, including the people our priests, deacons, religious and laity serve in our parishes, believe more needs to be done. And there is no more important role of state and local government than to ensure the safety and security our state’s residents and visitors. In addition, any reform proposals must take into account the urgent need to ensure that there are safe and humane conditions at pretrial detention facilities, and that the accused receive their constitutional right to a speedy trial.

Governor Kathy Hochul recently laid out a multi-point criminal justice reform plan to give judges more discretion related to bail for some serious crimes. Beyond that, she also seeks to increase support and services for those suffering from serious mental health issues, to strike a balance in the handling of repeat juvenile offenders facing gun-related charges who may pose a threat to the community, to help those who have offended and completed their sentence to successfully re-enter society, and more. While we Bishops are hardly experts in criminal justice, her plan seems to me to be balanced and well-reasoned and is a positive contribution to the discussions over the final package of legislation.

I recognize some legislators and advocates will have concerns with some of these proposals. Yet, I am encouraged that both the Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who both must satisfy the legitimate concerns and commitments of their members and constituents, have pledged to keep an open mind in negotiations. They are not wrong to question the plan, and to seek better ways. Collaboration and consultation always lead to better results.

The Governor and the Legislature face a difficult task in ensuring justice and equity for those accused of crimes, while restoring a sense of law and order to the streets of our neighborhoods. I pray that goodwill from all lead to fruitful results, and I urge all parties to negotiate in good faith, with malice toward none and charity toward all, for the benefit of all New Yorkers.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York