With new U.S. administration, USCCB enters policy debates more often in 2017

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON – If you think that Catholic bishops were more involved in politics and policy this year, by at least one measure you would be correct.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an estimated 115 public statements and letters on public policy affairs from January 1, 2017 through to December 12, 2017. In 2016, they issued “approximately 47.”

Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida added his name to many of the statements.

Bishop Dewane told Catholic News Service that he and his fellow bishops didn’t go out looking “to make a lot of statements,” but that it became necessary to bring a Catholic perspective to policy stances being addressed by the White House and in Congress.

According to Bishop Dewane, the bishops as a whole wanted to make their voices clear on immigration related policy and on the overhaul of the tax code. The USCCB – in some form – commented on immigration more than 24 times in 2017, compared to six occasions in 2016.

Still, Bishop Dewane noted that when the need arises, the bishops will have to comment, saying “We’ve got to speak up.”

For this Catholic News Service story via The Georgia Bulletin (Archdiocese of Atlanta), click here.