March 6, 2023

His Excellency, Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, announces the following appointment:

Reverend Edison Gregorio Arreaga Arce, from Ministry with the Passionist Congregation, Ecuador, to Parochial Vicar, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Brodheadsville, effective March 6, 2023.


The U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on a resolution that could impose abortion-on-demand nationwide without any limits, require taxpayer funding of abortion, put women’s opportunities and spaces at risk of being opened to men (such as in sports, locker rooms, prisons, and shelters), and undermine the religious freedom of people and organizations of faith to carry out their important missions – potentially even requiring Catholic hospitals and health workers to perform abortions and gender procedures on children. On top of these harms, the Senate’s process for this proposal – which attempts to declare that the misnamed “Equal Rights Amendment” (ERA) is a ratified part of the U.S. Constitution – is unconstitutional. Catholic teaching speaks very clearly and strongly about the equality of men and women, but the far-reaching consequences of the ERA would cause serious harm to women, preborn life, and the common good. 

Please contact your U.S. Senators now and tell them to oppose the resolution to unconstitutionally revive the misnamed “Equal Rights Amendment.” More information from the USCCB on the ERA can be found here.
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Stop the Senate from eliminating Pro-Life protections and harming women and religious freedom!


The U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) has proposed new changes to regulations meant to protect conscience rights in health care. Let HHS know that conscience matters to you! 

Numerous federal laws protect the right of organizations and people working in health care to object, as a matter of conscience, to abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide, gender transition surgery, and other procedures. The enforcement of these laws is governed by HHS regulations, so it is very important for HHS to issue strong regulations and keep them that way. 

HHS has proposed revisions to these regulations, known as the “Conscience Rule,” which implements over a dozen conscience statutes. Under the Trump administration, HHS issued a strong version of the Conscience Rule, but courts struck it down, leaving in place the previous, extremely weak version from the Obama administration. On January 5, 2023, HHS proposed a new version.  
The USCCB supports this new proposed rule as an improvement over the current situation in which the 2019 Rule is not in place, but also urges HHS to strengthen the proposed rule.  Join the USCCB in encouraging HHS to strengthen the Conscience Rule. 

To learn more, read USCCB’s published comments on the rule, Cardinal Dolan’s December 30 statement, and visit the USCCB’s “Do No Harm” webpage on these regulations at the links below. 

Take Action Now

(OSV News) – Among Catholics, the sacrament of matrimony is in freefall. Over 50 years between 1969 and 2019, Catholic marriages declined 69% even as the Catholic population increased by nearly 20 million, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

In 2021, as U.S. Catholics largely emerged from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings were still down more than 30,000 from 2019’s pre-pandemic number of nearly 132,000 marriages celebrated.

However, fueling the decline is a broader cultural crisis of dating that is also leaving single Catholics struggling to meet each other in person, or even online.

A file photo shows a couple holding hands during a late-night Mass at the Benedictine church in Peru, Ill. Catholic weddings have dropped 69% in 50 years in the U.S. and a larger dating crisis is helping to fuel the decline as it’s hard for single practicing Catholics to meet each other. (OSV News photo/CNS file, Nellie Williams, Catholic Post)

A 2021 survey by the Institute for Family Studies asked people under 55 who desired marriage why they were not married: 58% said, “It is hard to find the right person to marry.”

When Roxane, 23, logged onto CatholicMatch, she found very few matches near her home in Maryland. To broaden her scope, Roxane tried the dating app Hinge, and found two men who claimed to be Catholic, “but sitting in church for one hour a week was too much for them,” she told OSV News.

Some in her situation form long-distance relationships; the CatholicMatch Instagram account regularly posts success stories, many about long-distance couples. But that doesn’t appeal to Roxane.

“I feel a connection more when I’m with the person physically so that I can see the expression, the body language, and how he treats other people,” she said.

Matt, 23, also struggles to meet fellow single Catholics in-person. He said the dating scene was pretty good at his Catholic university, but following graduation, it’s hard to find like-minded Catholic women.

“Most of the people I meet in Chicago aren’t interested in having a family anytime soon, let alone having a relationship or life centered around faith,” Matt told OSV News.

He also suspects that many women don’t feel the need for a man, at least until they’re older and financially established. In his experience so far, Matt said, “I’d say a lot of women wouldn’t ever put something like that above their career in this age range: early to mid 20s.”

Elizabeth, 31, established her career in her 20s, but also actively searched for a spouse.

“I didn’t think it would be that difficult since I knew a lot of women who met their husbands very young,” she told OSV News.

She tried online dating, joined a local Catholic young adult group, and told friends and family she was open to meeting anyone they knew. She even employed a matchmaker. While Elizabeth succeeded in meeting people – Catholic and non-Catholic – nothing panned out.

“Most of the Catholic men were initially attracted to me, but lost interest when they learned that I planned to have a career,” she said. “The non-Catholics (and some of the Catholics) stopped seeing me when they realized that I wasn’t going to have sex with them (before marriage).”

She also found that most of the Catholic men she encountered were “rather uninteresting.”

“They didn’t seem to have much to talk about. There was no joking or flirting,” she said. “They tended to have few hobbies and interests, when compared to other men I tried to date.”

Other young Catholics told OSV News the Catholic young adult scene is also posing a challenge to form real connections — including problematic dynamics they do not typically find in non-Catholic peer groups.

“When you walk into an event with evangelicals, someone will say ‘hello’ to you right away, and draw you into their group conversation if they are in one,” Sara Perla, 40, told OSV News.

“I have been invited to things with Catholics in which I walk into the room, not knowing anyone but the host, and no one even looks up … and when you try to start a conversation, you hit a brick wall,” said Perla.

Jacob, a software engineer in his mid-20s, says he’s found a friend group and a few dates through a young adult program run by his archdiocese in the Midwest. But he also notices a lack of conversation skills among his peers at these events.

“Some of the men tend to steer towards intense intellectual, deep, theological discussions, which makes it harder for people who aren’t interested in that to participate. … There are a lot of people who are very political, and everyone’s got vastly different opinions,” said Jacob.

Many single Catholics say they struggle to find anyone “in the middle”: someone with genuine faith and a commitment to chastity, but without a super-strict approach to Catholicism that goes beyond Church teaching.

There’s confusion, too, about how to show interest in a potential partner, and even how dating works.

“Sometimes girls drop hints or act interested but guys completely have no idea about this, because they’re overthinking: ‘Is she dropping a hint or just being friendly?’ At the same time, guys don’t tell girls how they feel and tend to beat around the bush because they’re afraid of rejection,” said Jacob.

If single Catholics do manage to start dating, other problems arise along the way. One is what Daniel, 39, calls a “shopping mindset.”

He sees most Catholics coming into dating with checklists of criteria for their future spouse and a reluctance to share their true selves. “Dating seems like job interviews until you reach a certain threshold where you are finally real with each other,” said Daniel.

Daniel said he had never experienced this “incredibly awkward and stilted social climate” with non-Catholics: “You certainly had anxieties and people using each other, but not this high fear of sharing oneself preventing connection and relationship.”

Even when a relationship is finally established, addiction, psychological wounds, and abuse can still ruin it.

Elizabeth did get married at age 30 — later than she had hoped — to a non-Catholic man. He professed to be religious and supportive of her goals, but turned out to be deceptive and abusive. He divorced her six months later.

When asked if the church could have helped prevent this situation, Elizabeth told OSV News, “Yes, absolutely.” She describes the premarital counseling offered through the church as “woefully inadequate.”

“There was no discussion of warning signs of domestic abuse, of which there were many. There was no discussion of what would make a marriage valid or invalid. … Now that I’m trying to prepare for an annulment, I have a much clearer understanding of the Catholic definition of marriage than I ever did as part of my wedding prep,” said Elizabeth.

If her marriage is declared null, Elizabeth can attempt a valid Catholic marriage again. But given today’s dating landscape for Catholics, that might be a long road.

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – Tom Lyman, director of Family Rosary, hopes that especially during Lent — which calls Catholics to commit more time to the Lord in prayer — families will pray the rosary together and take part in the ministry’s “At the Foot of the Cross” Lenten campaign.

Family Rosary is part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, which continues the mission of Holy Cross Father Patrick Peyton, known for the adage “The family that prays together stays together.” Because he urged families to say the rosary together, he was aptly dubbed “The Rosary Priest.”

The Holy Cross organization also includes Family Theater Productions, Catholic Mom, the Museum of Family Prayer, Father Peyton Family Institutes and the Peyton Institute for Domestic Church Life.

A woman prays the rosary during Eucharistic adoration following the opening Mass of the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 19, 2023, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Holy Cross Family Ministries’ Family Rosary has launched its “At the Foot of the Cross” campaign for Lent to encourage families to pray the rosary together. (OSV News photo/Bob Roller)

“The rosary is really an ideal family prayer and a way to fortify the domestic church,” which is the family, Lyman told OSV News.

He suggested family members gather together at a routine time when they can reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, which is divided into five decades. Each decade represents a mystery or event in the life of Jesus. There are four sets of “mysteries” — joyful, luminous, sorrowful, and glorious — in which Christ’s work of redemption, from his incarnation to the coronation of Mary as queen of heaven and earth, are contemplated.

Through these mysteries, “we are walking through the important moments in the life of Jesus and Mary. By doing this we are attending the ‘school’ of Mary’ as (St.) John Paul II said,” Lyman added.

Details of the “At the Foot of the Cross” Lenten campaign can be found at The site has a link to prayers for families and other prayers and a link to sign up to receive a daily family prayer. Other links connect visitors to a “How to Pray the Rosary” guide and additional resources. Parents can sign up for a weekly e-blast and find free ebooks, videos, prayer cards, a Lenten calendar and other materials.

Family Rosary said in a news release all of its ministry centers around the world are participating in the campaign, with materials offered in English and Spanish; some countries are offering other languages as well.

Father Peyton felt prayer “was very important for the family to remain grounded in its relationship with God,” Lyman said.

The priest knew from his experience “of his big family praying the rosary together” that this “formed each member of the family and formed their hearts to love God and love one another and reflecting on those mysteries day after day gave them a language and a way also to see God’s action in their own lives,” Lyman added.

Father Peyton, who is a candidate for sainthood, wanted people to see “the good things and the bad things” that happen “in a context of life lived for God,” he told OSV News. “Once we lose our connection in our relationship with God as his children … we suffer and while suffering is a part of life, God wants to give us a way through it and through to the Easter Sunday that awaits.”

Through the rosary, Lyman added, we are “accompanied by Our Lady. … Just as she walked with her Son along the Way of the Cross and stood with him at the foot of the cross, she stands with us in our sufferings and strengthens us to suffer well and we know Christ’s sufferings bear fruit in his Resurrection.”

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The recently formed Institute on the Catechism will carry out the U.S. bishops’ vision of the importance of “connecting evangelization and catechesis,” according to Father Daniel J. Mahan, an Indianapolis archdiocesan priest just named as the institute’s director.

The institute is housed within the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ headquarters in Washington.

Father Daniel J. Mahan, an Indianapolis archdiocesan priest, has been named director of the recently formed Institute on the Catechism at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father Mahan, pictured in an undated photo, was named to the post Feb. 27, 2023. (OSV News photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Indianapolis)

Father Michael J.K. Fuller, USCCB general secretary, appointed Father Mahan Feb. 27 to the post, effective July 1.

This “evangelizing catechesis,” a focus of the church as a whole, aims to teach the beliefs of the Catholic faith in a “compelling and inviting” way to help young Catholics foster a “deeper relationship with the Lord and help them see their place within the body of Christ, the church, and in turn, reach out to others to share the Good News,” Father Mahan told OSV News.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Catechism, which reviews catechetical texts and provides consultation to the bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, presented a proposal to create an Institute for the Catechism at the bishops’ spring meeting in June 2021, which was held virtually because of the pandemic.

The Institute on the Catechism was created “to reimplement and reinvigorate the mandate of the subcommittee in responding to the changing catechetical landscape,” said USCCB news release announcing Father Mahan’s appointment.

Through the institute, catechetical publishers and developers of catechetical content will work directly with the USCCB subcommittee in new ways to pass on the faith using digital tools while aiming to reach a more diverse church. The institute will help them address today’s challenges to catechesis, such as young people’s disaffiliation with organized religion, the growing secularism in society and the influences of social media.

The institute also will provide resources to dioceses and yearly, in-person training conferences and retreats for diocesan catechetical leaders.

Father Mahan has reviewed catechetical texts since the late 1990s and has worked as a core team member for the institute since its November 2022 launch. A graduate of the former St. Meinrad College in Indiana, Father Mahan holds a licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Atheneum of St. Anselm in Rome.

Ordained a priest in 1988, Father Mahan has served in parishes throughout the Indianapolis Archdiocese. Currently, he serves with Father Jonathan Meyer as pastor with a team of priests serving four parishes in southern Indiana’s Dearborn County.

Bishop Caggiano said Father Mahan brings to the position “a deep understanding” of the Catechism of the Catholic Church “along with the invaluable, longtime expertise of teaching it to the faithful in a meaningful way.”

“At a time when there is wide-spread disaffiliation with the faith, and yet a deep desire and hunger being expressed by many to fill the void in their lives, we must take new, bold approaches to help the bishops to equip their catechists with ways to invite people to an encounter with the Lord,” the bishop said in a Feb. 27 statement about the priest’s appointment.

Bishop Caggiano thanked Indianapolis Archbishop Charles C. Thompson “for allowing Father Mahan to serve the greater church with the unique talents he brings to the institute.”

“Evangelizing catechesis” draws inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2021 document “Antiquum Ministerium” (“Ancient Ministry”) that described catechesis as an official church ministry. It also builds on the Vatican’s Directory for Catechesis, issued in 2020, that gives guidelines for catechists and pastors, particularly in the role of evangelization.


The institute launched its inaugural meeting Nov. 10-12, 2022, in Baltimore ahead of the U.S. bishops’ Nov. 14-17 general assembly.

Father Mahan told OSV News the gathering drew over 130 church leaders, including bishops, other diocesan officials, staff of the USCCB subcommittee, priests and others currently helping review catechetical texts as well as representatives from various publishers of catechetical materials.

He called it a “beautiful opportunity” for all involved in catechesis “to be together. We are in this together. The institute is meant to keep us together and help us work together for the same goal — to form young people in the faith, help them live the faith for a lifetime.”

“We know we have a lot of young Catholics who are leaving the church, some at a very early age. Some kids will make that decision in middle school … opting out even if they are still going to Mass and religious ed. They’re already out the door,” he said.

The bishops want to make sure “we’re doing the best we can in catechesis” and help those called in that direction “to produce high quality, doctrinally sound, compelling materials for our young people that grab them by the heart.”

He paid tribute to the late Indianapolis Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein for playing a significant role in the renewal of catechesis in the U.S. while he was chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on the Use of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In spite of the great efforts by catechists and publishers of catechetical materials to date, “we are still losing young people,” Father Mahan said, due in part to the many “powerful influences in our culture that are sort of like tentacles that can wrap around and not let go.”

The “‘isms’ are rampant — individualism, materialisms, narcissism that leads to nihilism,” Father Mahan told OSV news. “When we look at how saturated many young people are in media — whether watching TV, music, movies, engrossed in social media — there are a lot of influences that mitigate against a solid formation in the faith.”

“I’m not sure we can do a whole lot to change what’s out there. That may be someone else’s calling,” he said. “But the church can make sure what we are offering is top-notch, innovative … We know we are one screen away from anyone else in the world and that can present some great opportunities for us in using media in ways that glorify God.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Pope Francis will travel to Hungary April 28-30 where he will meet with government officials, refugees, academic scholars and young people in Budapest, the Vatican announced Feb. 27.

The pope will arrive in Budapest April 28 and will meet with Katalin Novák, president of Hungary, and the country’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, as well as local bishops, priests and other members of Hungary’s Catholic community.

Novák, who is Hungary’s first female head of state, invited Pope Francis to visit Hungary during her visit to the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022.

The pope will only spend one full day in the country April 29, during which he will meet privately with children from a local school, speak with refugees and people in need, address young people in Hungary and meet with the local Jesuit community.

Before returning to Rome late afternoon April 30, he will celebrate Mass before the Hungarian Parliament building and meet with scholars from Budapest’s Pázmány Péter Catholic University.

Pope Francis meets with Hungarian President Katalin Novák at the Vatican Aug. 26, 2022. The pope accepted the president’s invitation to visit Hungary, where he will travel April 28-30. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis previously traveled to Budapest to celebrate the closing Mass of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress which was held in the city ahead of a four-day visit to Slovakia in 2021. The pope specified that his trip to Budapest in 2021 was not part of an apostolic visit to Hungary, although he met with Hungary’s then-president, János Áder, and Orbán.

The Hungarian prime minister traveled to Rome Jan. 3 to pay his respects to the late Pope Benedict XVI, who was then lying in repose in St. Peter’s Basilica.

In a statement published Feb. 27, Cardinal Péter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest said that the pope’s visit to Budapest is a “particular joy” for everyone in his archdiocese as well as those who will travel to the city from throughout Hungary and abroad.

“May our meeting with the successor of St. Peter be a decisive step on the path we walk together toward Christ,” he wrote.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Everyone must engage in politics, which is simply what it means to take part constructively in the life of a nation or society, Pope Francis said in a new book of interviews.

Even the Gospel has “a political dimension” in that it seeks to convert “the social, including religious, mindset of the people,” he said, according to a series of excerpts published by Vatican News and other outlets Feb. 26.

Journalists Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti released a book-length compilation of interviews with Pope Francis March 1, 2023. Titled, “El Pastor” (The Shepherd), the book, whose cover is shown in this screengrab, covers the “challenges, reasons and reflections” of Pope Francis over the course of his pontificate. (CNS photo/Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial Argentina)

Marking the 10th anniversary of the pope’s election, journalists Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti will release a book-length compilation of a decade of interviews with the pope in Spanish March 1.

Titled “El Pastor” (“The Shepherd”), the book covers the “challenges, reasons and reflections” of Pope Francis over the course of his pontificate. Rubin and Ambrogetti had previously compiled two years of interviews with then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires for their 2010 book “The Jesuit,” which became a bestseller after the cardinal was elected pontiff, and retitled “Pope Francis. Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio: His Life in His Own Words.”

In “The Shepherd,” the authors pick up where they left off to cover his papacy and the path he has followed.

He said his plan has always been “to carry out what the cardinals expressed in the general congregations on the eve of the conclave,” which was to “revitalize the proclamation of the Gospel, reduce centralization in the Vatican,” eradicate the abuse of minors and fight economic corruption.

When asked what he would say to those who accuse him of “doing politics,” the pope said, “Yes, I am doing politics. Because everybody has to do politics. Christian people have to do politics. When we read what Jesus said we see that he was doing politics.”

The pope then explained what he meant by “politics,” saying it is “a way of life for the ‘polis,’ for the city.”

“What I do not do, nor should the church do, is party (or partisan) politics. But the Gospel has a political dimension, which is to transform the social, including religious, mindset of the people,” he said.

Speaking about the increasing polarization in the world, the pope said, “we are not water and oil, we are brothers and sisters.”

Humanity must rise above this “category of water and oil and move toward fraternity,” which is precisely what people have a hard time seeing when there is a conflict, that their vocation is fraternity, he said.

“When we ignore this, divisions begin and it’s like that everywhere,” he said.

When it comes to economic activity, Pope Francis said he does not “condemn” capitalism or the market economy, but that there needs to be what St. John Paul II advocated for, that is, a new “social economy of the market,” which would balance competition and social progress.

Today, the world of finance prevails, he said, and “where we can all agree is that the concentration of wealth and inequalities have increased and many people die of hunger.” If he focuses so much on the poor and those in need, “that’s because that is what Jesus did and what the Gospel says.”

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The call to make sacrifices for others out of love remains urgent as so many people continue to suffer from war, violence, exclusion and poverty, Pope Francis said.

“Let us put into practice the call to do good to everyone, taking the time to love the least and most defenseless, the abandoned and despised, those who are discriminated against and marginalized,” he said during an audience with members of the “Pro Petri Sede” Association Feb. 24 at the Vatican.

Pope Francis speaks with members of the “Pro Petri Sede” Association during an audience at the Vatican Feb. 24, 2023. He asked that the faithful “put into practice the call to do good to everyone, taking the time to love the least and most defenseless, the abandoned and despised, those who are discriminated against and marginalized.” (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

The group, founded more than 150 years ago, is active in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and collects donations for the pope’s initiatives and charitable efforts by the Holy See.

“Today the call to give yourselves for love of our brothers and sisters is no less urgent: so many of them suffer from war, violence, exclusion, material and spiritual poverty,” he said in his address.

Lent is also an opportune time for responding to this call because the season “calls us to conversion in order to move from the slavery of selfishness to the freedom to love and serve God and our brothers and sisters,” he said.

Pope Francis recalled the generosity and solidarity of the early Christians described in the Acts of the Apostles and how “they were able to put everything in common to support their more fragile brothers and sisters.”

“They understood that they were the temporary stewards of their goods: indeed, all that we possess is a gift from God and we must let ourselves be enlightened by him in the stewardship of the goods we receive,” the pope said.

The Holy Spirit, he said, “will always impel us to give to those in need, to fight poverty with what he gives us. For the Lord gives abundantly to us so that we in turn can give ourselves.”

WASHINGTON (OSV News) – The Biden administration Feb. 21 proposed its most restrictive border control measure to date, announcing it plans to issue a temporary rule blocking asylum-seekers who cross the border without authorization or who do not first apply for protections in other nations before coming to the United States. Catholic immigration advocates condemned the proposal.

The proposed rule would introduce a “presumption of asylum ineligibility for certain noncitizens” and instead “encourage migrants to avail themselves of lawful, safe and orderly pathways into the United States,” according to the text of the document. Otherwise, it said that migrants should “seek asylum or other protection in countries through which they travel, thereby reducing reliance on human smuggling networks that exploit migrants for financial gain.”

U.S. immigration policy generally differentiates those fleeing persecution in other countries from other migrants who cross the border unlawfully. The proposal, which the administration has characterized as temporary, would scale back that approach.

The move comes as Republicans have made immigration and border security a key point of contention with the Biden administration, and as the primary cycle for the November 2024 presidential election begins in earnest. Biden, a Catholic Democrat, is widely expected to seek a second term in the White House.

The proposed rule will first be subject to a 30-day public comment period before it could be formally implemented.

The U.S. bishops, however, voiced concern the rule would impose punitive restrictions on the right to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. In a statement, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, said the USCCB is “deeply troubled by this proposal, which perpetuates the misguided notion that heavy-handed enforcement measures are a viable solution to increased migration and forced displacement.”

“Decades of similar approaches have demonstrated otherwise,” Bishop Seitz said. The El Paso bishop said the U.S. bishops have recognized “our country’s right to maintain its borders,” but have “consistently rejected policies that weaken asylum access for those most in need of relief and expose them to further danger.”

“Because that is the likely result of this proposal, we strongly oppose its implementation,” Bishop Seitz said.

He added that while the USCCB appreciates the administration’s “desire to expand lawful pathways to the United States, especially through increased refugee processing,” he emphasized those efforts should not take place “at the expense of vulnerable persons urgently seeking protection at our border.”

“Above all, the sanctity of human life remains paramount,” he said.

Biden administration officials, however, said the proposed rule would incentivize lawful migration.

“We are a nation of immigrants, and we are a nation of laws,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.

“We are strengthening the availability of legal, orderly pathways for migrants to come to the United States,” he said, “at the same time (we are) proposing new consequences on those who fail to use processes made available to them by the United States and its regional partners.”

Mayorkas said providing individuals a “safe, orderly and lawful path” to the U.S. makes them less likely “to risk their lives traversing thousands of miles in the hands of ruthless smugglers, only to arrive at our southern border and face the legal consequences of unlawful entry.”

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice, which exercises oversight of the U.S. immigration courts, is establishing temporary rules for asylum eligibility to be in place once the Biden administration lifts the Title 42 public health order.

“We look forward to reviewing the public’s comments on this proposed rule,” he said.

Other Catholic immigration advocates, however, joined with the USCCB in sharply criticizing the proposal.

“The ban unfairly targets those fleeing from northern Central American countries, for whom the administration has provided no parole options,” Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, said.

“There is nothing but a lack of courage preventing this administration from taking positive steps now to repudiate the damage of the previous administration and finally put in place a functioning, safe, rights-respecting system at the border that works for asylum-seekers and our border communities,” he said.

Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., or CLINIC, said, “In continuing with this rule, the Biden administration is betraying its own commitment to uphold asylum, as well as violating the principles of U.S. law and Catholic social teaching with respect to migration.”

CLINIC compared the proposed rule to an “asylum ban” issued by the Trump administration, which was later struck down by a federal court.

“The right to seek asylum through a full and fair process is a bedrock principle of international and domestic law,” Gallagher said. “These new restrictions undermine that right and will have inhumane and horrific consequences for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

Ronnate Asirwatham, director of government relations at Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, said the Biden administration was “ending the right to seek asylum on our southern border.”

“(The) success of our southern border,” Asirwatham said, “should not be measured by the number of people we turn away to death and persecution, but by the number of people we welcome to safety.”