Roman Catholic Diocese of Greensburg

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 Latest Diocesan News

DONATE Below you'll find the latest news relevant to the Diocese of Greensburg. You can also find more news in The Catholic Accent, the official bi-weekly newspaper of the diocese.
April 6, 2018

Former diocesan educator on Diocese of Erie list of people with allegations of abuse

GREENSBURG — On Friday, April 6, 2018, the Diocese of Erie posted on its website the names of priests and laypeople who have credible allegations of abuse of a minor against them. One of the laypeople on that list is Ms. Denise Myers, former teacher, assistant principal and principal of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School. The allegation dates to her time of employment in the Diocese of Erie.

Ms. Myers was hired as a teacher at Greensburg Central Catholic in 2001 after teaching at Elk County Christian High School (now Elk County Catholic High School) in the Diocese of Erie. At the time of her hiring, Ms. Myers had the clearances required by law in 2001.

The Diocese of Greensburg was unaware of any allegations of misconduct with a minor against Ms. Myers when she was hired as a teacher and was not made aware of any allegations of misconduct with a minor throughout her tenure, prior to her termination as principal of Greensburg Central Catholic in October 2013.

Her termination was based on the results of a forensic audit that was conducted by an outside and independent auditing firm, information reported by employees of the school and admitted violations of state law and diocesan policy by Ms. Myers.

The Diocese of Greensburg learned about an allegation of misconduct with a minor against Ms. Myers from her time in the Diocese of Erie after her termination from GCC. Consistent with its policies regarding the protection of children and young adults, the Diocese of Greensburg immediately reported this information to law enforcement authorities in Westmoreland County and Elk County.

If anyone has information about alleged abuse committed by Denise Myers or anyone associated with the diocese, past or present, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313, or the Bishop’s Delegate for Matters of Clergy and Church Personnel Sexual Misconduct at 724-837-0901, ext. 1221.

Bishop Edward C. Malesic of the Diocese of Greensburg reiterates his sincere concern for and heartfelt desire to assist any victims of abuse. He also invites survivors to meet with him to pursue healing and reconciliation. The Diocese also oversees the provision of free counseling for survivors of abuse by a member of the clergy or a church employee or volunteer — including the offer of independent outside counseling services and contact with support groups and other social service assistance — regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred and whether or not the alleged abuse occurred within the Diocese of Greensburg.


CNS photo/Jim Lo Scalzo, EPA
February 20, 2018

Letter from Bishop Edward C. Malesic on National Catholic Call-In Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

In February of 2017 I issued a statement related to the issue of immigration and refugees coming into the United States.  In that statement, I made mention of the fact that as a Pro-Life Church we know that the demand of the Gospel of Life continues from conception and birth to a natural death, and that Gospel accountability extends beyond our national borders.

I went on to acknowledge that Catholic Christians in America have been among the most welcoming people, knowing that nearly all of us have come from immigrant families ourselves.  At one time, our forebears fled the hardships of their homes from many countries around the world.  I think of this when I read the Scripture passage that gives God’s law to His people: “When an alien resides with you in your land, do not mistreat such a one.  You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.  I, the LORD, am your God” (Leviticus 19:33-34).

I acknowledge that the issue of welcoming immigrants into our country while protecting our borders is a complicated one, as is indicated by the strong differences of opinion about it in our country today.  As followers of the teachings of Jesus, we must continually bring the light of his Gospel to our discussions surrounding this and other difficult, complex matters.

Balancing the reasonable and appropriate measures we need to take to ensure the safety of our citizens while at the same time fulfilling the Gospel mandate may not always be easy or simple; but, it is both necessary and obtainable when people of good will work together.  This is critical for us, since the Lord says he will judge us at the end of time, based on how we treated our brothers and sisters during our time on earth.  As Jesus told us, “Whatever you did not do for one of these least brothers of mine, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:40).  America has been and must continue to be a place of refuge for people such as these.

In the last few days, the USCCB has asked all Bishops of the United States to encourage their people to participate in a National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers.  As you may already know, late last week, the Senate failed to achieve the 60 votes needed to move forward with debate on legislation to provide relief to Dreamers.  Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, USCCB President; Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB Vice President; and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, together issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the Senate was not able to come together in a bipartisan manner to secure legislative protection for the Dreamers.  With the March 5th deadline looming, we ask once again that Members of Congress show the leadership necessary to find a just and humane solution for these young people, who daily face mounting anxiety and uncertainty.

“We are also announcing a National Catholic Call-In Day to Protect Dreamers.  This coming weekend, we will be asking the faithful across the nation to call their Members of Congress next Monday, February 26, to protect Dreamers from deportation, to provide them a path to citizenship, and to avoid any damage to existing protections for families and unaccompanied minors in the process.

“Our faith compels us to stand with the vulnerable, including our immigrant brothers and sisters.  We have done so continually, but we must show our support and solidarity now in a special way.  Now is the time for action.”

The instructions for participating in this call-in campaign are on the other side of this letter.  This information is also in the Feb. 22 issue of The Catholic Accent and on our Diocesan social media outreach.  I realize that this is short notice in this very busy Lenten time, but as we all know, legislation can sometimes move quickly, and in this instance, time is critical.

As I said last February, I pray to God that we will make good moral decisions on behalf of our citizens, as well as the many refugees and immigrants who are seeking safety or a better life in our country.  The decisions we accept should be made out of an acknowledgement of the divinely-ordained freedom granted to all of God’s children.  In Jesus’ own words, “Do not be afraid.”

Peace to you and blessings upon those you love.

Edward C. Malesic
Bishop of Greensburg


CNS photo/Jonathan Drake, Reuters
Mourners react during a Feb. 15 prayer vigil in Pompano Beach, Fla., for victims of the shootings at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. At least 17 people were killed in the shooting.
February 15, 2018

Statement by Bishop Edward C. Malesic about Florida school shooting

As I heard about Wednesday's horrific school shooting in Florida, I struggled to find the words to convey my sorrow and deep compassion for the victims and their families and my deep frustration with yet another senseless act of violence, especially one targeting our young people. I want to start by sharing the statement from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who was present with the families who lost loved ones in the Columbine massacre nearly two decades ago.

"Nineteen years ago I sat with the parents of children murdered in the Columbine High School massacre, and buried some of their dead. Nothing seems to change, no matter how brutal the cost. Terrible things happen; pious statements are released, and the nation goes back to its self-absorbed distractions.

"The latest massacre in south Florida requires two things from all of us. We need to pray for the victims and their families because — as I witnessed firsthand at Columbine — their suffering is intense and long lasting.

"And we need to be angry: angry at our lawmakers for doing so little to prevent these catastrophes; angry at our news and entertainment media for simultaneously feeding off these tragedies and fueling them with a steady stream of sensationalism and moral incoherence; angry at ourselves for perversely tolerating these things, and then forgetting them until the next round of violence.

"This is Lent. As a people, we have a lot to repent and confess. And let's not lie to ourselves that tighter gun restrictions — as vital and urgent as they now are — will solve the problem. We've lost our respect for human life on a much broader scale, and this is the utterly predictable result."

The archbishop is absolutely right. We have all probably lost count of the number of these horrific incidents; this is my third statement since the Las Vegas shooting last October. The sheer magnitude and number of such shootings seem to be reserved to the United States. We, as a nation, are doing something very wrong here.

Prayers are powerful, and prayers are a necessary part of any Christian response to evil. But we have to start taking action to stop this carnage. Pray to God that in addition to helping the victims and their families heal from this unimaginable tragedy, that He burn in our hearts the courage to stand up and combat this problem, whether it is by advocating for better and sorely needed mental health services, working to help end bullying in our schools, responding to the developmental needs of boys and young men so they don't resort to gun violence as a solution to their problems, working to promote respect for life, and, yes, advocating for better gun laws that make sense.

This is a multifaceted problem. There is no one easy answer to the ongoing problem of gun violence in our schools.  But we must begin now to do what we can. It is already too late for so many.


February 1, 2018

Bishop Malesic Flu Season Recommendations

GREENSBURG — Bishop Edward C. Malesic is encouraging parish leaders in the Diocese of Greensburg to promote “prudent and beneficial” practices in parishes during the flu season.

In a letter emailed to priests and permanent deacons Jan. 31, Bishop Malesic asked for prayers for people suffering from illness and made several recommendations concerning liturgical practices at Mass.

He asked priests to evaluate the situations in their parishes and modify certain liturgical practices if necessary. He recommended the following:

  • Inform people at Mass to exchange the sign of peace without physical contact, or eliminate the practice for now.
  • Suspend the distribution of Communion from the chalice, while making sure other accommodations are made for parishioners who have medical conditions, such as gluten sensitivity, that require them to receive Communion from the chalice only.
  • If still using the chalice, remind parishioners not to receive from the chalice if they are ill or fear they are becoming ill.
  • Remind all people who distribute Communion to continue practicing good hygiene, including washing or sanitizing their hands.
  • Remind ushers, greeters and other ministers of hospitality to hold doors open for parishioners entering and departing the church to minimize the spread of viruses on public surface areas.

Bishop Malesic said that as the flu season continues, he and other diocesan officials will continue to evaluate whether further actions regarding liturgical practices are warranted.

January 16, 2018

We are all created in God’s image

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When does human life begin? When I was a biology major in college, this could have been a question on an embryology exam. It has an easy answer. Life begins at conception. Although some people unfairly criticize religion as being unscientific, this one scientific fact supports our belief that life must be protected from its very beginning.

I often say something that I know to be true: I once was just two cells old. That was my life at its very beginning — immediately after I inherited my mother’s DNA and my father’s DNA to form my own DNA. When I was only a day old — and still in the womb — I wasn’t yet the person who I am now. But I wasn’t that person when I was 21 years old either. Still, the truth is, I became “me” when I was conceived, complete with my own unique genetic makeup and potential.

So is human life worth protecting? This is where the discussion becomes more theological. Human life is a gift from God. It begins when parents participate in God’s creative activity, ideally through intimate love. In Scripture, we are told that God knew us even before we were formed in the womb (see Jeremiah 1:5). We also are told that we are created in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:27).  Like God, we are able to think, love, know and reflect. We also are made to have a soul — one that is destined for eternity. Because of our belief, we demand that human life deserves protection.

But what about our non-theological friends? Should they be left off the hook if they do not believe in God — and therefore do not believe that life is God’s gift? Certainly not! Even if someone does not believe in God, this person can still know that human life is a special and unique continuum that begins with conception — as science has confirmed — and is worth defending. This truth stands whether or not one believes in God. I am grateful to pro-life atheists and agnostics who comprehend the value of human life and understand that killing one innocent human life puts us all in jeopardy of being discarded when we aren’t useful or when our existence becomes bothersome to the aspirations of others.

Today, we are witnessing some of the disturbing results of going down that slippery slope. There is a growing movement to grant legal rights allowing people to kill either themselves or others by euthanasia. Once it is permissible to destroy the most innocent of life — an embryo — it then becomes easier to believe that a human being whose life is difficult, in pain, taxing the medical system, causing disruption in the personal lives of others or not contributing to the material and social good of society can — or even should — be put to death. And this killing is all done under the guise of “compassion.”

Abortion and euthanasia are tentacles of the culture of death and darkness that has a great disrespect and disregard for human life. Yet, as followers of Jesus, we live under his Gospel telling us that “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). And we will continue to respond with the culture of life because we trust in Jesus who said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Our faith in Jesus requires us to respect all human life: the unborn and elderly citizens; our own children and undocumented children; the innocent and those who are on death row. Like us, all of them are made in God’s image and equally loved by God. This is why Jesus taught us to live a different way — the sacrificial way of faith, hope and love.

So what should we do? As Christians we must join with people of other faiths — and even people of no faith —  to say, “We stand for life.” We stand together, arm in arm, with other people who know the truth about human life. It starts at conception. It is good by its very nature. It demands protection. And if we don’t protect it at the beginning, people will always attempt to extend the boundaries of when life can legally be destroyed.

And so on January 19, I will once again unite with more than 100,000 people at the March for Life in Washington D.C. I will join with people from the Diocese of Greensburg and around the nation, and we will peacefully lift up our voices and prayers and say: “No” to Roe v. Wade; “No” to death by abortion; “No” to a culture of disrespect and disregard for the life of anyone. But more than that, I want to say, “Yes.”  “Yes” to God (we are created in His image); “Yes” to reason (life begins at conception); and “Yes” to life. It is a gift, after all. And it is good. “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good (Genesis 1:31).

May God protect our unborn children, help parents who find themselves with troubled pregnancies, and move our lawmakers to defend and support life from conception until its natural death — and every moment in between.

Your brother in Christ,

The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg


January 1, 2018


The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, Bishop of Greensburg, has made the following announcements:

Effective Monday, January 1, 2018

Leave of Absence

At his own request, The Reverend Jonathan J. Wisneski, JCL, has been granted a six-month leave of absence for personal reasons.

In conjunction with his Leave of Absence, Father Wisneski has resigned as Vicar for Clergy and Consecrated Life, Chancellor and all Diocesan Curial and Tribunal appointments.

Father Wisneski has also resigned as Pastor of Seven Dolors Parish, Yukon.


The Reverend Monsignor James T. Gaston, VF, is appointed Administrator of Seven Dolors Parish, Yukon, while remaining Dean of Deanery III, Pastor of Mother of Sorrows Parish, Murrysville, and maintaining all other Diocesan appointments.

Interim Chancellor

The Reverend Anthony J. Carbone, JCL, is appointed Interim Chancellor while remaining pastor of Saint John the Evangelist Parish, Latrobe, Administrator of Saint Rose Parish, Latrobe, Director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, and maintaining all other Diocesan and Tribunal appointments.

Director of the Office for the Permanent Diaconate

Deacon William J. Hisker, Ph.D., is appointed Director of the Office for the Permanent Diaconate, while continuing his diaconal assignment at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg.

The Office for Priestly Vocations

The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL, has renamed the Office for Clergy Vocations to the Office for Priestly Vocations.

The Reverend Tyler J. Bandura, is appointed Director of the Office for Priestly Vocations, while continuing as Chaplain of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School and Episcopal Master of Ceremonies with continued residency at Our Lady of Grace Parish Rectory, Greensburg.

Completion of Term

The Reverend Jose (Pepe) Oh Pimental, has completed his five-year term in the Diocesan International Priests’ Program and is returning to the Archdiocese of Caceres, Philippines.

The Reverend Gerardo Mendoza Juarez, has completed his five-year term in the Diocesan International Priests’ Program and is returning to the Diocese of Lucena, Philippines, effective October 31, 2017.


December 21, 2017

Christ’s birth gives us hope for peace on earth

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (Is 9:5)

“And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
‘Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” (Lk 2:13-14)

Dear Friends in Christ,

We begin our celebration of Christmas with two messages of peace from our Scriptures, one from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah and the other from the Nativity of our Lord as recorded in the Gospel of Luke.

This Christmas, we are again in need of the peace that comes from our savior, Jesus Christ. We need to pray for the peace that we do not have and protect the peace that we do have.

As a sad reminder, this year has been filled with the pain and suffering of natural disasters, including three powerful hurricanes that ravaged the Gulf Coast and several Caribbean islands.

The last few months have seen horrific shootings at a concert in Las Vegas, in a church in Texas and in a mosque in Egypt.

Just over a month ago, I presided at the funeral Mass for Brian Shaw, a 25-year-old New Kensington police officer who was shot and killed while protecting the community.

Throughout the past year, we have continued to bury victims of the ongoing opioid crisis and faced the specter of a nuclear confrontation in Korea.

Many people originally brought to our country as little children now have the very real fear of being deported by our government to a land where the language is foreign to them.

There are many other examples of suffering, and I am sure that all of us have situations in our own lives that could use the Lord’s peace too.

We can easily become overwhelmed by the darkness and evil in our world and personal lives. We can begin to despair. But, the birth of an innocent child in a small, poverty-stricken kingdom in the Roman Empire 2,000 years ago gives us hope. When we call on the name of Jesus, he turns his eyes of compassion toward us. His living presence in our hearts gives us the ability to “Have no fear.” Often, when I am afraid, I think of the face of that little child of Bethlehem. Jesus gives me comfort — he comforts all who look to him for help. He also challenges us to love one another. What we have received from him, we must freely give away.

Every Christmas we are reminded that we have received the peace of Jesus as a gift, and we must give his peace to others as our gift back to God.

How? Here are a few of the many ways that we show our appreciation of God’s great favor in giving us his only begotten Son. Our parishes sponsor Angel Trees and Giving Trees to provide gifts for children who might otherwise not receive any. We collect food for people and families in need and prepare special meals for people who might not have a warm meal at Christmas. We visit the elderly and homebound to share the joy of Christmas. We pray for those who suffer from addiction and work for their recovery. We strive to end poverty and seek justice for those who are oppressed. We march in peace for the protection of unborn human life. And we stand up for Jesus in the disguise of the hungry, thirsty, elderly, sick, imprisoned and forgotten.

This is not merely a matter of politics for us, it is a matter of faith in Jesus who loved us and said, “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do” (Jn 13:15). In terms of the Christmas story, we model our discipleship of Jesus after Mary; like her, we bring the love of Christ to life.

Yet, the meaning of Christmas is not a one-time event. We are called to bring Jesus to life every day in our families, our neighborhoods, our schools and our places of work. We must allow the peace of the Christ-child to live in us always. His love must rule our lives. Our fragile world depends on it.

I will keep you and your loved ones in my prayers, as I always do. Please keep me and the diocese in your prayers. We need them, and I appreciate them. Thank you for your faithful witnesses as disciples of Jesus and for sharing that witness with our world, which is so in need of Him.

As your brother in Christ, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. 

The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg


December 19, 2017

Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic’s statement on governor’s veto of bill to abolish dismemberment abortions

I, like all pro-life advocates in Pennsylvania, am extremely disheartened by Gov. Tom Wolf’s veto of Senate Bill 3, which would have abolished dismemberment abortions in Pennsylvania and banned most abortions from the 20th week on during a pregnancy. The legislation was passed in a bipartisan manner in both the House (121-70), and the Senate (32-18). It is ironic that this veto occurred during a season that contemplates the birth of a child at Christmas. I thank the legislators — especially those who represent the Diocese of Greensburg — who continue to vote to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, especially unborn children. I ask people to lovingly pray for a change of heart among the legislators and members of the administration who do not recognize the importance of that protection.  The right to life is the most fundamental of rights since none other matter to a child who is killed in the womb. I ask people to join me in praying for the unborn, their mothers and our public officials.


November 19, 2017

Statement by Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic on death of New Kensington Police Officer Brian Shaw

I ask all the people in the Diocese of Greensburg to join me in praying for New Kensington Police Officer Brian Shaw, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Friday night. Officer Shaw made the ultimate sacrifice serving and protecting the people of his community.

My condolences and prayers go out to Brian’s parents and family members as they face the loss of a loved one who was just beginning a life of service that held so much promise.

May perpetual light shine upon Brian, and may God send down his love and healing touch to Brian’s family, friends and fellow police officers. May God protect all police officers and first responders who risk their lives every day. And may God bring peace to New Kensington, a city that has suffered from far too much violence in recent years.

May Officer Brian Shaw rest in peace.


November 6, 2017

Greensburg Bishop Edward C. Malesic statement on Texas church shooting

“Jesus said, “My house shall be a house of prayer.” Sadly, yesterday, the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, was also turned into a house of horror. My prayers, and those of the faithful in the Diocese of Greensburg, are with our Christian brothers and sisters who have become the victims of another senseless tragedy. May the Lord give his comfort to all those who have now suffered from the loss of life and happiness. We can never become numbed to the continuing stream of outrageously violent crimes that show such a lack of respect for the lives of our fellow human beings. We will continue to teach and proclaim that every person is created in God’s image. Jesus said, ‘Be not afraid,’ and so we will continue to confront the darkest places in our nation and our world with the love and mercy of God. While prayer must always be the Christians’ first response to darkness and tragedy, our society must also seriously address the access that violent persons with serious mental health issues can have to high-powered assault weapons.”


November 1, 2017

Statement by Bishop Edward C. Malesic on death of Greensburg Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School student Nov. 1, 2017

”Jesus wept at the death of his friend, Lazarus.  Today is a very sad day for the Greensburg Central Catholic community, and there are many tears that have already been shed at this tragic loss of one of our young students.  I extend my heartfelt prayers and deepest sympathy to the student’s parents and his entire family.  I also am praying for the Greensburg Central Catholic community, especially for the students who have now lost a friend and fellow classmate. Knowing that many people will have questions about grief, faith and the fragility of life, counselors from GCC and the Intermediate Unit, as well as spiritual help from the leadership of our campus ministry, will be made available at the school for students, faculty and staff.  May we hold each other close in prayerful support.  May Jesus give us his consolation and his help during this difficult time.”


October 17, 2017

Statement from Bishop Edward C. Malesic, JCL, on HHS settlement between Diocese of Greensburg and the Department of Justice

“We are extremely pleased with the favorable settlement that has been reached between the Diocese of Greensburg and the Department of Justice.

This permanent injunction solidifies an exclusive agreement between the government and the diocese. It holds that the Department of Justice will not enforce the HHS mandate, its accommodation, nor its narrow religious exemption on the Diocese of Greensburg. Additionally, this agreement will hold firm in the event of any future regulatory changes that may occur with HHS legislation.

I am deeply grateful to my predecessor, Bishop Emeritus Lawrence E. Brandt, who began work on this extremely important initiative several years ago. And I am appreciative of the highly competent work put forth by Jones Day, our legal counsel who diligently worked on our behalf.

This is a positive and substantive victory for every religious institution espousing that religious and moral beliefs must be supported by the fundamental right of religious freedom as envisioned by the founders of our great nation.”

Department of Justice announces settlement in HHS mandate suits

Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) — A week after issuing new religious freedom guidelines to all administrative agencies in the federal government, the U.S. Department of Justice has settled with more than 70 plaintiffs who had challenged the controversial HHS contraceptive mandate.

The Oct. 13 agreement was reached between the government and the law firm Jones Day, which represented more than 70 clients fighting the mandate. Made public Oct. 16, the agreement states that the plaintiffs would not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for “morally unacceptable” products and procedures, including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

“This settlement brings to a conclusion our litigation challenging the Health and Human Services’ mandate obliging our institutions to provide support for morally objectionable activities, as well as a level of assurance as we move into the future,” said Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., in an Oct. 16 letter to priests of the archdiocese.

The mandate originated with the Obama administration. Issued through the Department of Health and Human Services, it required employers – even those with deeply-held religious objections – to provide and pay for contraceptive, abortifacient and sterilization coverage in their health insurance plans.

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., was one of more than 300 plaintiffs (including the Diocese of Greensburg) who had challenged the mandate, arguing “that the practice of our faith was inextricably tied to the ministries that put that faith into action,” and that as such, they should not be forced to violate their faith to continue their ministries, Wuerl recalled.

The archdiocese and six other plaintiffs had argued their position before the Supreme Court in the case Zubik v. Burwell. In 2016, the high court ruled against the government’s requirement that certain employers provide and pay for the morally objectionable services.

“While the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Religious Liberty and new guidelines and regulations are extremely helpful, the settlement of the Zubik litigation adds a leavening of certainty moving forward,” the cardinal added.

The Department of Justice’s new settlement “removes doubt” and closes these cases challenging the mandate, the cardinal continued. “The settlement adds additional assurances that we will not be subject to enforcement or imposition of similar regulations imposing such morally unacceptable mandates moving forward,” he stated.

On Oct. 6, the Department of Justice revised its guidelines for all government agencies in light of existing religious freedom laws, releasing a set of principles which stated clearly that the government cannot substantially burden religious practices, unless there is a compelling state interest in doing so and those burdens use the least-restrictive means possible.

Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic college in California and another plaintiff against the HHS mandate also celebrated the protection the settlement brings.

“While we welcomed the broadening of the exemption from the HHS mandate last week by the Trump administration, we have under our agreement today something even better: a permanent exemption from an onerous federal directive – and any similar future directive – that would require us to compromise our fundamental beliefs,” said Thomas Aquinas College president Dr. Michael F. McLean in an Oct. 16 statement.

“This is an extraordinary outcome for Thomas Aquinas College and for the cause of religious freedom.”

In addition to settling the case, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury have also decided to provide partial coverage of the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs of the lawsuits.

“This financial concession by the government only reinforces its admission of the burdensome nature of the HHS contraceptive mandate and its violation of the College's free exercise of religion,” stated Thomas Aquinas College General Counsel, Quincy Masteller.

October 2, 2017

Bishop Malesic statement on Las Vegas shooting

CNS photo/Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Sun CNS photo/Steve Marcus, Las Vegas Sun

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

It is with tragic irony that the Catholic Church’s observance of Respect Life Month begins with the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas. My prayers, and those of all in the Diocese of Greensburg, are with the victims of this senseless tragedy. We also pray for their families and loved ones. We can never become numbed to the seemingly endless stream of outrageous crimes that show a lack of respect for our fellow human beings. We continue to teach and proclaim that every human person is created in God’s image and has the right to life. Although the event in Las Vegas is deeply disturbing for all of us, we will continue to pray that the light of God’s love will reach into the darkest places in our nation and our world. As Jesus said, “Be not afraid.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Edward C. Malesic, JCL
Bishop of Greensburg