Three bishop chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have issued a statement on the oral arguments held Nov. 4 before the Supreme Court of the United States in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David A. Konderla of Tulsa, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage have issued the following statement:

“Catholics have been called to care for children who have been orphaned, or whose parents face unique difficulties in providing care, since the earliest days of our faith. We serve all children in need, without regard to race, religion, sex, or any other characteristic. We have done this for centuries, long before any government, because we believe every single person – especially the marginalized and powerless – deserves to experience the love of Jesus and be part of a family. The same core beliefs about human dignity and the wisdom of God’s design that motivate Catholics to serve the vulnerable also shape our convictions about sex, marriage, and the right of children to a mother and a father. These commitments are inseparable.

“Today the Supreme Court heard arguments in a challenge to government exclusion of Catholics from providing foster care because we engage in this ministry as Catholics – that is, consistent with Church teaching on marriage and family. We pray the Court’s ruling will fulfill the First Amendment’s promise that religious believers may bring the full vitality of their faith to the public square, and will reject a hollowed-out pluralism that permits people of faith only to preach but not to practice.”

On June 3, the USCCB filed an amicus curiae brief in support of Sharonell Fulton, Toni Lynn Simms-Busch, and Catholic Social Services, which may be found at: