News Releases

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.


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” (A.2383-A/S.3151-A) 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

NYS Catholic Conference Statement on DACA

Date posted: September 5, 2017

En español, aqui

Take Action Here

Following is a statement by Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference regarding DACA:

“Today’s announcement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the Trump Administration is rescinding the Obama-era Executive Order known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is cause for great concern and anxiety for nearly 800,000 beneficiaries of the program, including an estimated 42,000 of our fellow New Yorkers.

“While the federal government has the right and duty to protect and secure our borders, the individuals who benefitted from DACA have done nothing wrong. The Dreamers were brought to this country as children by their parents. For many, they have known no other home.
“Although the President has signaled that he would like Congress to act to address the matter legislatively, there are no guarantees that this will happen. And, in the meantime, men, women and children who want nothing other than to do their part to make America great are instead being forced back into the shadows, fearful of being deported to a foreign land.

“The Catholic Church in New York State stands with the Dreamers, and we urge our Congressional representatives to take the lead in delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk, so that he can fulfill an earlier promise to deal with this issue with ‘great heart.’”

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

Mensaje de la Conferencia Católica acerca de DACA
Richard E. Barnes, director ejecutivo

“El anuncio de hoy del Fiscal General Jeff Sessions de que la Administración Trump está rescindiendo la Orden Ejecutiva de la era Obama conocida como DACA, es causa de gran preocupación y ansiedad para casi 800,000 beneficiarios del programa, incluyendo a aproximadamente 42,000 de nuestros compañeros neoyorquinos.

“Si bien el gobierno federal tiene el derecho y el deber de proteger, y asegurar nuestras fronteras, las personas que se beneficiaron de DACA no han hecho nada malo. Los Soñadores fueron traídos a este país como niños por sus padres. Muchos de ellos no han conocido ningún otro lugar como su hogar.

“Aunque el Presidente ha señalado que le gustaría que el Congreso actúe para abordar la cuestión a nivel legislativo, no hay garantías de que esto suceda. Y, mientras tanto, los hombres, mujeres y niños afectados que sólo quieren hacer su parte para engrandecer a Estados Unidos, son en cambio forzados de nuevo a las sombras, temerosos de ser deportados a una tierra extranjera.

“La Iglesia Católica en el Estado de Nueva York está de pie con Los Soñadores, e instamos a nuestros representantes del Congreso a que tomen la iniciativa de entregar un proyecto de ley al escritorio del Presidente Trump, para cumplir una promesa anterior de tratar este tema con “gran corazón.”

La Conferencia Católica del Estado de Nueva York representa a los obispos del Estado de Nueva York en asuntos de política pública.

NYS Catholic Charities Directors to honor two at annual convening in Albany Feb. 6

Date posted: January 23, 2017

Joseph Slavik, the recently retired President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Syracuse, and Mary Olsen, director of Disaster Response for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and diocesan liaison for Catholic Relief Services, will be honored by the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors at a reception on Monday, February 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Albany. The reception is part of the Council’s two-day convening Feb. 6-7, in which Catholic Charities personnel from all eight New York Dioceses advocate with elected and state agency officials on important issues of concern to the poor and vulnerable.

Mr. Slavik will receive the Bishop Francis J. Mugavero Award for outstanding contributions to the work of charity and social justice. The award is named for the late Bishop of Brooklyn. Mrs. Olsen will receive the Vincenza DeFazio Award for outstanding contributions to the work of New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors. The award is named for a deceased long-time attorney with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
Mr. Slavik was with Catholic Charities of Syracuse from 1975 until his recent retirement at the end of 2016. He began his career at Catholic Charities in 1975 as director of youth services in Binghamton. Five years later he became director of Catholic Charities of Broome County, and in 2010 he was appointed to president and CEO of the diocesan Catholic Charities.

“Joe Slavik’s tenure as the head of Catholic Charities in Syracuse helped make the organization more efficient and responsive to community needs, whether that took the form of feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, or welcoming the immigrant,” said Vincent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities of Albany and chair of the Council of Catholic Charities Directors. “His work and enthusiastic attitude inspired all of us, and he was a constant source of encouragement and support to the other heads of Catholic Charities organizations through the Council of Catholic Charities Directors. I consider Joe a close friend and a colleague, and an example of service to the less fortunate.”

Mrs. Olsen began her career in Catholic Charities of Albany in 1984, as part of the office staff, rising through the ranks to her current position in 2000, in which she oversees the diocesan administration of Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and disaster response and recovery.

“Mary Olsen has been an integral part of Catholic Charities since first coming to the agency in 1984, and in that time, she’s contributed immeasurably to the efforts and priorities of the Council,” said Colonno. “In her 33 years here she has brought professionalism, a high level of organization, compassion, and humor to each project she has worked on. Over the years, she has built numerous positive relationships with officials here in the Albany Diocese and has advanced the Council’s work and goals in many venues. Those we have served in that regard have benefited from Mary’s dedication, and we are blessed to have her as part of the Catholic Charities family.”

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