The Diocese of Des Moines

Statements & Letters to the Editor


6-18-18  Bishop decries immigration practices



9-18-17 Man-Up Presentation

9-5-17   Bishop Statement on DACA

8-13-17 Bishop Statement on Charlottesville

Jan. 26, 2017 - Statement on Border Security and Immigration

                         Statement on Border Security and Immigration in Spanish



April 12, 2016 - Statement from Bishop Pates - "Sacred Place" at Veteran's Cemetery



Sept. 10, 2015 -- Statement from Bishop Pates on Motu Proprio on annulments

July 28, 2015 -- Statement by Bishop Pates at the Witness to Life rally

July 2, 2015 -- Statement from Bishop Pates at news conference on environmental encyclical Laudato Si

June 28, 2015 - Retirement - Fr. Wayne Gubbels

June 27, 2015 - Retirement - Fr. Mike Hess 

June 27, 2015 -- Iowa Catholic Conference statement on U.S. Supreme Court decision on marriage

June 18, 2015 -- Statement on encyclical "Laudato Si"

June 14, 2015 - Statement - Institute of Pastoral Leadership

May 27, 2015 -- Blessing of Pope Francis House, Habitat for Humanity

April 8, 2015 -- Employment concern at Dowling Catholic High School

Jan. 29, 2015 -- A Catholic and American Response in Global and Local Conflict, St. Louis University

Jan. 23, 2015 -- Drone Warfare, Princeton Theological Seminary

Jan. 21, 2015 -- Opening prayer, U.S. House of Representatives

Jan. 15, 2015 -- Dedication prayer service for Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds



Oct. 14, 2014 -- Keynote address, morning session of the Iowa Hunger Summit

June 26, 2014 -- Iowa Catholic Conference statement on Developing Humanitarian Situation on the Southern Border of the United States

March 27, 2014 -- Presentation to Purdue University: Implementing Pope Francis' Vision, Outreach to the Poor, Soldiers of Peace, Stewards of Creation

March 26, 2014 -- Presentation to Visitation Parish, Kansas City: Implementing Pope Francis' Vision, Outreach to the Poor, Soldiers of Peace, Stewards of Creation



April 10, 2013 -- Solidarity and U.S. Foreign Policy

Bishop's statement delivered at the "Peacebuilding 2013: Pacem in Terris at 50" Conference at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.



July 1, 2012 -- Independence Celebration Walk & Picnic

Bishop's remarks during this local event during the Fortnight for Freedom.

June 29, 2012 -- Bishop pens column on religious liberty

Printed in the Des Moines Register. This is the original, unedited version.

Feb. 10, 2012 -- Bishop issues statement on HHS revision

Following President Obama's news conference on revisions to the HHS rules of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Bishop Pates issued this statement.

Feb. 8, 2012 -- HHS mandate

Bishop sent the following letter all priests and deacons of the diocese to convey to the faithful regarding the HHS controversy to be either read from the pulpit or placed in parish bulletins the weekend of Feb. 11-12. If printed and placed in the parish bulletin, attention should be called to it.

Letter in English

Letter in Spanish

Feb. 3, 2012 -- Bishop on HHS in e-newsletter

In the monthly e-newsletter "In the Diocesan Loop" distributed to about 1,000 email addresses of those in parish and school leadership throughout the diocese, Bishop Pates commented on the HHS mandate.

Jan. 23, 2012 -- HHS mandate

Bishop sent the following to all priests, deacons and diocesan staff: On Jan. 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule, which is considered a direct assault on Freedom of Conscience and the free exercise of religion (First Amendment). The rule would require virtually all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, female sterilization procedures and related "patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity." In order that you might be fully informed of this ruling, I am attaching the following material provided by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

General Press Release


Questions and Answers


There is also a video message from Archbishop Dolan which can be accessed at the following:


For the present, in terms of response by the local and national Catholic community, I advise:

  • Updating yourself on the matter through familiarity with the attached information;
  • Educating parishioners about the issue through parish bulletin, website, pulpit
  • Participating in a unified response as organized by the USCCB;
  • Continuing to pray that our culture will find the way to commit ourselves to the dictates of the Natural Law and foster the inalienable right and gift of life.


HHS Mandate -- Additional resources

Bulletin insert in English

Bulletin insert in Spanish

Six things to know in English

Six things to know in Spanish

USCCB: White House misrepresents its own contraceptive mandate

USCCB: Six more things to know (after revisions announced Feb. 10)



December 12, 2011 -- Estas son las Mañanitas...of the Hispanic Bishops

Hispanic/Latino bishops of the United States issued a pastoral letter to immigrants. Signed by 33 bishops, the letter was released simultaneously from Los Angeles and San Antonio, the sees of the two highest ranking Hispanic archbishops.

Pastoral Letter to immigrants in English

Pastoral Letter to immgrants in Spanish

April 4, 2011

Bishop issues a statement on labor-management relations.



Dec. 8, 2010

Bishop speaks out on the possibility of the establishment of a late-term abortion clinic opening in Council Bluffs.

Sept. 28, 2010

Bishop offers his perspective on stem cell research and the sacredness of human life.


June 5, 2010

Bishop delivers greeting to the United Methodist Church of Iowa meeting in Des Moines for its annual conference.


May 21, 2010 -- The first pastoral letter of Bishop Pates
"A Commitment to Adolescent Catechesis: A Critical Stage of Lifelong Catechesis in the Diocese of Des Moines"

   Bishop Richard Pates introduces his first pastoral letter to the diocese in The Catholic Mirror, May 21, 2010. The topic is adolescent catechesis. The young church of Des Moines is of great importance to Bishop Pates. In the letter he addresses the youth and expresses to them his desire for them to continue to grow in relationship to and with God and grow in knowledge of the Church.

   The letter outlines the gift of adolescent catechesis that is being introduced as a component of our centennial celebration. It speaks to the youth, to their parents and to the parishes of the diocese. To the youth, Bishop promises his support and prayer. Bishop Pates reminds parents of their role as the primary teachers of the faith as well as the partnership the Church shares with them in bringing children up in the faith. Addressing the parishes of the diocese, Bishop notes that the process will offer our young people the best that catechesis and youth ministry together have to offer.

    "A Commitment to Adolescent Catechesis: An Important Stage in Lifelong Catechesis in the Diocese of Des Moines" clearly states the priority of pastoral care for the young church in south west Iowa. The document is the outgrowth of the Bishop's own reflection on current cultural realities that tear down family and church. It also serves as a catalyst for addressing the faith education and formation needs of our young people.

April 2, 2010

In order to provide clarity and a factual perspective, the Diocese of Des Moines is providing below a list of resources that objectively critique news stories and editorials that have appeared in various news outlets recently regarding the role that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI has played in the evolving sexual abuse crisis. Bishop Pates said, "The diocese expresses gratitude to those in the public square who have conscientiously written to set the record straight."



   John L. Allen, Jr., reporter for National Catholic Reporter: "Keeping the record straight on Benedict and the crisis"

   Cardinal William J. Leveda, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: "The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI: how it looks to an American in the Vatican"

   George Weigel, author and blogger of "Scoundrel Times."

   William Donohue, special to CNN: "Criticism of Catholic Church is unfair"



4-03-09Statement on Iowa Supreme Court ruling regarding gay marriage
8-20-09Statement on health care reform

Letters to the Editor

9-28-10 -- Guest Column, Des Moines Register, Stem cell research and the sacredness of human life
3-11-09 – Letter to the Editor, Des Moines Register, on stem cell research
4-30-09 – Guest Column, Des Moines Register, Anniversary of immigration raid in Postville, Iowa
8-31-09 – Guest Column, Des Moines Register, Health care reform