News Releases

Statement from the Catholic Bishops of NYS on Abortion Expansion

Date posted: January 17, 2019

Printable PDF

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


Governor, legislators praised on abuse reporting legislation

Date posted: December 10, 2018

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

Date posted: November 16, 2018

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

Date posted: August 14, 2018

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

Date posted: June 5, 2018

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.

[READ THE FULL ANALYSIS HERE.]

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


Fatal Flaws in Assisted Suicide Legislation

Date posted: April 20, 2018

Photo by Jonathan Perez on UnsplashPrintable PDF Here

Proponents of the so-called “Medical Aid-in-Dying Act” argue that it contains safeguards which protect vulnerable patients. Yet a close examination of the bill’s language reveals inadequate protections for patients most at risk of abuse, and lower medical standards than elsewhere in the Public Health Law. The bill lacks transparency and accountability, and contains extremely weak conscience protections for both health care professionals and health care institutions. In short, it is unsafe for all involved. More


NYS Catholic Charities Directors to honor two at annual convening in Albany Feb. 5

Date posted: January 26, 2018

Sister Mary McCarrick, OSF, the retiring diocesan director of Catholic Charities of Buffalo, and Emmie Glynn Ryan, general counsel, chief corporate compliance officer and senior vice president of Catholic Charities Brooklyn Queens, will be honored by the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors at a reception on Monday, February 5, at 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Albany. The reception is part of the Council’s two-day convening February 5-6, in which Catholic Charities personnel from throughout New York State advocate with elected and state agency officials on important issues of concern to the poor and vulnerable. More


Catholic Conference statement on the death of JJ Hanson

Date posted: December 30, 2017

James “JJ” Hanson, an outspoken advocate for patients rights and against physician-assisted suicide, died of brain cancer today at the age of 36. Mr. Hanson, a Hudson Valley resident, retired Marine and a one-time member of the administration of former Gov. David A. Paterson, leaves behind his wife, Kristen, and two young sons, James and Lucas. More


Statement on veto of nonpublic school aid bill

Date posted: December 19, 2017

Last night, the New York State Catholic Conference was informed that Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation (S.6089) that would have averted cuts in state reimbursements to Catholic and other nonpublic schools. The cuts are based on the state changing a nearly four-decade-old formula for calculating reimbursement.

“The Bishops of New York State are extremely disappointed in Governor Cuomo’s veto of this bipartisan bill,” said James D. Cultrara, director for education of the New York State Catholic Conference. “The governor’s action will have serious impact on our schools and to the tuition-paying families who must absorb cuts in reimbursement aid, even as public school funding soars to new record heights every year. More


Statement on Court of Appeals decision in assisted suicide case

Date posted: September 7, 2017

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

“We are pleased and grateful for today’s unanimous Court of Appeals ruling in Myers vs. Schneiderman. The Court has wisely determined that New York’s law prohibiting assisted suicide applies to everyone, including those physicians who may wish to assist in their patients’ deaths. ‘There are no exceptions, and the statutes are unqualified in scope…,’ the Court said. More