United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

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Timothy Broglio

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is the assembly of the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in America. The USCCB identifies its purposes as promoting “Catholic activities” across the country and supporting Catholic education, as well as conducting charitable and social work both in the United States and around the world.

The conference also engaged in public policy advocacy on issues like abortion, LGBT issues, immigrants, and the environment. In addition, the bishops coordinate on statements concerning current societal issues and maintain relations with the Catholic hierarchy in other countries. 1


The roots of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops can be found in the National Catholic War Council, which was created in 1917 to coordinate donations and volunteer efforts supporting American servicemembers fighting in the First World War. Two years later, at the direction of Pope Benedict XV, the Catholic bishops in America expanded the scope of their charity efforts and established the National Catholic Welfare Council. In 1922, this body became the National Catholic Welfare Conference, setting itself up as an advisory body on issues such as Catholic education and social work. From the beginning, the welfare of immigrants was also one of the primary concerns of the conference. By the 1960s, two separate bodies had developed: the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which consisted of the church’s hierarchy, and the United States Catholic Conference, which involved both clergy and laity. In 2001, the two conferences merged into the current organization, the USCCB. 2


Since the founding of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, bishops in America have been actively involved in societal issues. In 1920, the council’s department of social action published a statement bringing attention to education, wages, labor organizing, and other temporal matters. In 1926, the bishops also launched a campaign protesting growing persecution of Catholics in Mexico by the anti-clericalist regime in power at the time. In the 1930s, the conference worked to address the ongoing Great Depression and established a committee opposing perceived indecent content in film. In addition, the bishops sent communiques condemning religious persecution to Germany’s fascist government and to the leftist regime still holding power in Spain. 3

During and shortly after the Second World War, the conference organized relief services, including refugee resettlement, which continued into the 1950s as it expanded to include people leaving the Communist bloc. In 1958, the bishops entered domestic race politics, releasing an open letter calling for repeal of segregation laws, and in the 1970s, the conference became involved in pro-life advocacy, issuing guidance to Catholic healthcare institutions and reacting to the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision codifying a right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. The 1990s saw the bishops addressing American society’s shifting views on homosexuality, and the 2000s were marked by emerging revelations about the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the bishops’ responses. 4

Abuse Scandal

While the first high-profile reports of Catholic clergy sexually assaulting children and teenagers date back to the 1980s, the issue escalated into a nationwide crisis in the early 2000s, when the Boston Globe published a series of reports on the Archdiocese of Boston. The reporting was timed with the 2002 trial of one former priest but covered some 130 civil lawsuits which the archdiocese had faced over the preceding several decades. Two years later, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice published a report suggesting that more than 4,000 Catholic priests had been implicated in child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2002. In the aftermath of the Globe reporting, the USCCB adopted the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which has been revised several times since then. In 2022, the executive director of the conference’s Secretariat for Child and Youth Protection claimed that the Catholic Church in America had seen a “major paradigm shift” from avoiding scandal “at all cost” toward concern “about the survivors and the victims.” 5 6

Since 2002, numerous other reports of widespread child sex abuse have surfaced across the United States in what a former president of the USCCB acknowledged as a “moral catastrophe.” In 2018, the conference acknowledged that the resources it initially created in 2002 did “not make clear what avenue victims themselves should follow” and that “the canonical procedures that follow a complaint” needed to be studied for aspects needing reform. 7

Also in 2018, the USCCB faced new criticism over revelations that a prominent leader in its response to the original clergy abuse had abused his role to secure sexual relationships with seminarians. 8 National Catholic Reporter reported that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was alleged to have been “sleeping with seminarians” even as he rose through the ranks, in a 2020 piece criticizing the bishops’ response to a report about McCarrick. 9

Clashes with Joe Biden

President Joe Biden is Catholic, the second Catholic to hold the office after John F. Kennedy. He has clashed with the USCCB on gender and abortion issues, both as Vice President and as President of the United States. In 2012, the bishops accused Biden of misleading the public on the Affordable Care Act’s alleged infringements on religious liberty, especially that of Catholic institutions. 10

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022 and returned abortion-regulation powers to the states, the chairman of USCCB’s pro-life committee criticized President Biden for “single-minded extremism” after the president declared that legally codifying a national right to abortion was a top legislative priority. 11

Public Policy Initiatives

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is active in advancing its vision of the Catholic teaching on a broad variety of societal concerns, including abortion, healthcare, gender issues, immigration, and other issues. 12

Health Care

The USCCB supports “universal access to healthcare.” In 2010, the conference issued a statement which broadly endorsed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – commonly referred to as Obamacare – claiming that it “expands health care coverage” and “implements many needed reforms.” However, it criticized the act for what the bishops described as “new and disturbing changes in federal policy on abortion and conscience rights,” arguing that it would “force Americans to pay for other people’s elective abortions.” The statement also condemned the act for unspecified alleged impositions on the rights of immigrants. 13

Two years later, the USCCB released another statement which again criticized Obamacare for allowing the use of taxpayer funding to pay for elective abortions. The statement also highlighted a provision of the law which had allowed the Department of Health and Human Services to make it mandatory for religious and other pro-life employers to cover contraception, sterilization, and medication claimed to be abortifacient. At the same time, the bishops attacked the law for not allowing illegal immigrants to access the government-run healthcare exchanges used to purchase health insurance policies. 14

In 2017, the USCCB wrote a letter to the United States Senate in which it condemned “any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act” while also reiterating the bishops’ concerns with the provisions in it which appeared to violate Catholic teaching. The letter claimed that Obamacare could be fixed with “narrow reforms” and that the law had spurred “important gains in health care coverage and access.” 15

The USCCB and other Catholic institutions, including charities like hospitals, have been sued on multiple occasions by the ACLU, individuals, and government agencies that claim its health-care practices, principles, and teachings violate various laws. Trinity Health in Michigan, a large hospital chain, was sued by the ACLU for not providing abortions. A federal judge dismissed the case. 16

A federal court ruled against a patient who claimed that a Catholic hospital discriminated by denying an attempt to change the patient’s gender. 17

The USCCB has also sued government agencies for what it says are violations of religious rights, most prominently against the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. 18


The USCCB supports opening U.S. borders to more immigrants and asylum seekers. It is one of the most prominent issues that positions the conference on the political left in the United States. 19 In 2023, conference president Archbishop Timothy Broglio said that while border states have the right to “effective and humane border management,” those policies should be “part of a framework of comprehensive immigration reforms.” Broglio also criticized Republican governors who are sending immigrants to blue states, saying that to do so for political reasons is problematic. He also criticized those who “fear immigration” when it came to providing help to poor immigrants. 20

During the Trump administration, the bishops criticized a border-separation policy that one bishop implied could carry penalties within the Catholic Church for those involved with carrying out the policy. 21

Catholic Relief Services

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is involved with many charities; however, its main umbrella charity effort is Catholic Relief Services (CRS). CRS is primarily funded through individual donations and private foundations; however, over one-third of its funding comes from the U.S. government. In 2021, its total funding was almost $1.2 billion. That year, the charity reported that its work was conducted in 116 countries and helped 193 million people.

CRS has been criticized by politically conservative U.S.-based groups for alleged partnerships with organizations that promote contraception and abortion, two practices which are against Catholic social and moral teachings. The USCCB defended the charity. 22


Archbishop Timothy Broglio has been president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops since 2022. He has been the Vatican’s diplomatic representative to many countries, and since 2007 has headed Catholic efforts in the U.S. military. 23

Archbishop William Lori is vice president of the USCCB. He has been appointed to a number of roles as a leader of Catholic groups, such as the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic University of America, and USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. 24

General Secretary Michael Fuller was appointed in 2021 after five years as executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs, and after five months as Associate General Secretary. 25


In 2022, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops held almost $352 million in assets, down from over $408 million the prior year. Its revenue was just over $275 million, and its expenses were over $245 million. 26


  1. “About.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  2. “About.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  3. [1]“About.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  4. [1]“About.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  5. Madison Park. “A look at the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals.” CNN. June 29, 2017. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  6. Michelle Martin. “The Dallas Charter, 20 years later — Part 1.” Our Sunday Visitor. June 3, 2022. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  7. “President of U.S. Bishops’ Conference Announces Effort That Will Involve Laity, Experts, and the Vatican as U.S. Bishops Resolve to Address ‘Moral Catastrophe.’” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. August 16, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  8. [1]“US bishops punt resolution encouraging Holy See to release McCarrick documents.” Catholic News Agency. November 14, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  9. Thomas Reese. “US Catholic bishops’ response to McCarrick report is sad but predictable.” National Catholic Reporter. November 23, 2020. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  10. “Catholic Bishops Call Biden A Liar On ObamaCare.” Investor’s Business Daily. October 15, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  11. “Statement of U.S. Bishops’ Pro Life Chairman on Church’s Teaching in Light of President’s Commitment to Codify a National Right to Abortion.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. October 25, 2022. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  12. “About.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  13. “Setting the Record Straight.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. May 21, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  14. [1]“Bishops Renew Plea To Congress And Administration To Repair Affordable Care Act.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. June 28, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  15. [1]“Letter to Senate on Affordable Care Act.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.” July 20, 2017. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  16. Lindsey Smith. “Federal judge dismisses ACLU case against Trinity Health over abortion issue.” Michigan Radio. April 11, 2016. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  17. Andru Zodrow. “Transgender Patient Denied Care by Catholic Hospital Wins Discrimination Lawsuit.” New Ways Ministry. January 16, 2023. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  18. [1]David Morgan. “Catholic bishops reject Obama offer on contraceptive coverage.” Reuters. February 7, 2013. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  19. “Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  20. Peter Smith. “Catholic bishops’ president calls for better border management, continued care for immigrants.” ABC News. June 15, 2023. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  21. Michelle Boorstein. “Catholic bishops call Trump’s asylum rules ‘immoral,’ with one suggesting ‘canonical penalties’ for those involved.” The Washington Post. June 13, 2018. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  22. Brian Roewe. “Bishops defend Catholic Relief Services amid barrage of attacks.” National Catholic Reporter. September 12, 2013. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  23. “Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  24. “Archbishop William E. Lori.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  25. “Rev. Michael J.K. Fuller.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Accessed August 20, 2023.
  26. “Consolidated Financial Statements with Supplemental Schedules.” United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. December 31, 2022. Accessed August 20, 2023.
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  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1946

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    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)

    3211 4TH ST NE
    WASHINGTON, DC 20017-1104