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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Vicars Forane appointments

The Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, has made the following appointment of Vicars Forane (Deans) for the six vicarates of the diocese, effective on Dec. 1, 2018, for a three-year term.

Vicarate A - Rev. Msgr. William C. Schooler

Vicarate B - Rev. Christopher Lapp

Vicarate C - Rev. Robert Van Kempen

Vicarate D - Rev. Thomas Shoemaker

Vicarate E - Rev. William J. Kummer

Vicarate F - Rev. David Ruppert

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Statement regarding conclusion of DA investigation

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend appreciates the swift and thorough investigation into the unsubstantiated allegation against Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. As anticipated, the investigation exonerated Bishop Rhoades. The district attorney found the allegation was without merit and stated, “After a full investigation, the Dauphin County District Attorney has determined that there is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ever engaged in a criminal or otherwise improper relationship.” The relationship in question was, “in the context of pastoral care and arose out of the recognized tradition of prison ministry.”

While it’s important that allegations be brought forward, it’s equally important for due process to take place. The result of this investigation underscores the importance of allowing appropriate authorities to determine credibility of accusations before the reputation of any individual is impugned in the court of public opinion.

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend stands firm in sympathy and support for all victims of child sexual abuse and encourages victims to report allegations. Bishop Rhoades expresses his gratitude for the support he has received from parishioners during the past week. He states, “I have offered up the pain of this difficult time for the victim survivors of child sexual abuse.”

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Statement regarding media reports

In response to media reports regarding an alleged incident involving Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has issued the following statement:

Bishop Rhoades adamantly denies any validity to this accusation and the insinuation of inappropriate behavior. He did nothing wrong, and is confident any investigation will bear this out.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Statement on Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

“The Grand Jury Report on six Pennsylvania dioceses details dreadful reports of sexual abuse of children and equally appalling indifference to victims. I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy and support to all of those victimized by abusive priests.

During my time in Harrisburg and now here in Fort Wayne-South Bend, I have upheld an unwavering commitment to child safety, closely following all policies and procedures put in place. The Grand Jury Report mentions two incidents during my time as Bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg. In both of those situations, I followed all child protection policies and procedures, notified law enforcement, and took other action as appropriate, since each of the accused priests had already been removed from public ministry due to previous allegations. For more details on those cases and how they were handled, I would direct you to the letter I wrote to the Grand Jury which is attached to its report.

If we are to regain the trust of our faithful and the communities we serve, we must be vigilant in our efforts to protect our youth. My commitment to this effort remains as strong today as it was during my time in Harrisburg.”

To view Bishop Rhoades’ Response to Excerpts of the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report Number 1, please click here:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Bishop Rhoades issues statement on immigration issues

In response to the administration’s recent decisions regarding immigration, the Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend issued the following statement:

“Recent developments in our government’s treatment of immigrants seeking safety and security in our country are very disturbing. The unnecessary separation of children from their parents is immoral, uncompassionate, and harmful to children. In addition, I strongly disagree with the Attorney General’s decision not to allow asylum for those seeking protection from domestic or gang violence. Throughout our nation’s history, such protection has saved many lives and demonstrated our nation’s compassion for the vulnerable and persecuted. I encourage all to contact our elected representatives to urge them to enact legislation to end the unjust and inhumane separation of migrant children from their parents, to reopen asylum protection for those fleeing domestic and gang violence, and also to protect the 1.8 million Dreamers living in our country.

While the Catholic Church recognizes and respects the right of every nation to regulate its borders, this right must be balanced with the rights of vulnerable migrants to access protection and with the fundamental right of all to life and dignity as human persons as well as the rights of parents and the family, the cradle of life and love, the first and vital cell of society. I particularly ask the Catholic faithful to remember Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family, who were compelled to leave their land and migrate to Egypt. Let us pray to the Holy Family for migrant families today, compelled to leave their homelands because of violence, extreme poverty, or persecution, who are exposed to grave danger. May the Lord protect them and may the Lord inspire our nation to exercise justice and compassion.”

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Regarding Women's Care Center rezoning request veto

I am deeply disappointed in yesterday’s decision by Mayor Pete Buttigieg to veto the rezoning request of the Women’s Care Center which was approved by the South Bend Common Council this past Monday.

Women who experience a crisis pregnancy often say that they feel they have no other option than abortion, and the Women’s Care Center exists precisely to offer these vulnerable women a real choice.

What started as a small outreach to women in crisis in downtown South Bend over three decades ago, has grown to become the largest, most successful pregnancy resource center in America, serving 26,000 women annually from 29 centers in 10 states. How unfortunate that the Women’s Care Center has been denied in its own hometown the opportunity to expand their compassionate services to a location where it could best reach the women who could benefit most.

I share the mayor's concern about the neighborhood, but for a different reason: a group from outside our community and state may open that not only discards innocent human life, but purports to give women a choice, when in fact it has vigorously opposed the Women's Care Center that provides loving support for women and the choice to say yes to life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Protect the poor and vulnerable by opposing predatory payday loans

The following is a statement signed by the Catholic bishops of Indiana and other faith leaders in Indiana.

We oppose Indiana House Bill 1319, which opens doors for lending practices that are unjust and which take unfair advantage of people in desperate circumstances. Together, we call on the Indiana Senate to reject this bill and find ways to establish more just legislation that protects the poor and vulnerable among us.

Across our religious traditions, we believe that economic life is intended to be a means through which God’s purposes of security and flourishing for all people and creation are to be served. When this does not occur, the Church cannot remain silent. We are called to address injustice and to seek changes in economic life in light of the biblically-grounded imperative of a sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all.

Indiana House Bill 1319, which, among other things, allows for annual interest rates on some loans of 222 percent, violates our common commitment to justice and protecting those most vulnerable. Rates of more than 72 percent are considered felony loansharking in current Indiana law. Sometimes called “payday loans,” such loans would make it likely that a person who borrows up to $1,500 to cover utilities or other day-to-day expenses (as is the case for most folks who seek such loans) will be required to pay thousands more in interest than the amount of the original short-term loan. Those who use payday loans are often lower income persons and families whose paychecks are just short of covering the month’s expenses and quickly become entrapped in a web of interest and debt.

Lending practices that, intentionally or unintentionally, take unfair advantage of one’s desperate circumstances are unjust. Taking advantage of the financial distress of vulnerable people and communities has a long history. Unscrupulous and exploitative banking has existed from the usury condemned in the Bible. The State’s purpose and duty is to protect and facilitate the common good. The weakest members of society should be helped to defend themselves against usury.

We appeal to conscience and what is just and right. Taking advantage of someone and exploiting them is wrong. Although it may be legal, it does not remove one’s obligation to do what is just. Extending the payday lending practice does not benefit the person, and it is contrary to providing for the common good, to helping persons and our society flourish. We ask the legislature to defeat this bill.

Most Reverend Kevin C. Rhoades, Bishop, Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend

Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Most Reverend Donald J. Hying, Bishop, Diocese of Gary

Most Reverend Bishop Siegel, Bishop, Diocese of Evansville

Most Reverend Timothy L. Doherty, Bishop, Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana

Rev. Chad R. Abbott, Designated Conference Minister, Indiana-Kentucky Conference, United Church of Christ

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis

Rev. Soozi Whitten Ford, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky

Rev. Joan C. Friesen, Executive Minister, American Baptist Churches of Greater Indianapolis

Rev. Dr. William O. Gafkjen, Bishop, Indiana-Kentucky Synod, ELCA

Rev. Richard L. Spleth, Regional Minister, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indiana

Rev. Taylor Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter, Whitewater Valley Presbytery, Presbyterian Church (USA)

The Rev. Dr. Julius C. Trimble, Bishop, Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church