The Diocese of Des Moines

Bishop Richard Pates was voted by his fellow bishops on Nov. 14, 2011 to chair the Committee on International Justice and Peace for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The committee assists the bishops, both collectively and individually, in advancing the social mission of the Church on international justice and peace through policy development, advocacy, education, outreach and acts of ecclesial solidarity. The committee advises the bishops on international public policy issues as well, especially integral human development, human rights, religious freedom and peace.


September, 2014 Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace to the Holy Land.

Bishop Richard Pates is leading a delegation of 17 bishops to the Holy Land to pray for peace.

See the Des Moines Register story here.

Hear from Bishop Pates during the pilgrimage.

    Sept. 11 -- Arrive in Jerusalem

   Sept. 12 -- Tour Jerusalem, Mt. of Olives, visit with Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, interfaith prayer with Jews, Christians, meeet with U.S. Consulate

    Sept. 14 -- Tour of Gaza




February 15, 2013

Letter to Representatives Wolf and Eshoo

The bishops have long been concerned over the plight of religious minorities, particularly
Christian communities in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, India and Pakistan, many of whom
have lived for centuries side by side with those of other faiths, but now find themselves coming
under increased attack and harassment. See the letter here.


February 6, 2013

Bishop writes to new Secretary of State

Bishop Pates introduces himself to Secretary of State John Kerry and outlines the priorities of the USCCB's Committee on International Justice and Peace. "We welcome and appreciate our continuing dialogue with you and your Department on these and other matters of mutual concern. We wish you every blessing and success as you undertake your important responsibilities," wrote Bishop Pates. See the letter here.


January 25, 2013

Bishop on peace in the Middle East

Bishop Pates joins National Interreligious Leadership initiative for Peace in the Middle East in calling on the Obama Administration to make peace in the Middle East a priority. Click here to see the letter and the list of religious leaders who signed it.


January 9, 2013

Letter to President Obama regarding Israel and Palestine


January 7, 2013

Letter to President on Peace in the Middle East

Bishop Pates was among many religious leaders urging President Obama to make peace in the Middle East a priority during his second term in office.


December 18, 2012

Letter to Naitonal Security Advisor on Iran


December 14, 2012

Letter to Congress on Budget Deliberations

Bishop Pates urges Congress to remember the poor during budget negotiations. Read here.


December 3, 2012

Bishop calls on senators to maintain aid to Palestinians

WASHINGTON -- In a letter to U.S. senators, Bishop Pates encouraged them to maintain aid to Palestinians. "Assistance to Palestinians, already heavily conditioned, is essential for humanitarian purposes and for building capacity for a future Palestinian state. Cutting aid will only harm the peace process," he wrote. The U.S. bishops support a two-state solution for peace. Click here to see the letter


November 21, 2012

Bishop Pates calls on administration to negotiate cease fire between Israel, Gaza

WASHINGTON—The United States should provide leadership to end the cycle of violence and retaliation currently unfolding between Gaza and southern Israel, according to a letter to the Obama administration from the chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Press release and statement


November 8, 2012

Bishop Pates to Secretary Clinton: Moves by Israelis, Palestinians undermine peace, human dignity

   Both Palestinians and israelis have undermined the possibility of a two-state solution in recent actions and policies, said Bishop Pates in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


October 6, 2012

Bishop delivers keynote address to the Iowa Institute for Social Action.

   The address is entitled "Threats to World Peace and the Church's Response."


October 1, 2012

Bishop urges United States to work with Nigeria to re-establish peace

Bishop sends letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging the United States to intensify its work with Nigeria to re-establish security and the rule of law.


September 27, 2012

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Pates send letter of sadness, support to president of Nigerian bishops over cathedral bombing.

    WASHINGTON -- The U.S. bishops send their "unconditional support to the Church in Nigeria" following the Sept. 23 bombing of St. John's Cathedral in Bauchi. Press release and statement.


July 13, 2012

Bishop Pates Reaffirms Need For Two-State Israeli-Palestinian Solution Ahead Of Clinton Visit

    WASHINGTON -- As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton prepares to visit Israel next week, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, called on Secretary Clinton to "reinforce strongly" the opposition of the United States to an Israeli commission that recommends legalizing all settlement outposts in the West Bank. Press Release.


Sept. 7, 2012

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Pates send letter to Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem following arson and vandalism at the Cistercian monastery in Latroun

    Cardinal and Bishop offer prayers and support in hopes that dialog and understanding will win over division and intolerance. Letter.


July 10, 2012

Bishops join Catholic Relief Services, National Catholic Rural Life Conference in voicing hopes and concerns on Farm Bill

   WASHINGTON -- Bishop Richard Pates, along with Stockton, Calif. Bishop Stephen Blaire, CRS President Carolyn Woo9 and NCRLC Executive Director Jim Ennis affirm the need to protect programs that "feed poor and vulnerable people, serve small and moderate-size family farms, promote stewardship of creation and help rural communities both at home and abroad prospe." Press release. Full statement.


April 19, 2012

U.S. Bishops join call to president to ban landmines

          WASHINGTON -- Bishop Richard Pates joined a call from 76 nongovernmental organizations to President Obama, urging the United States to relinquish antipersonnel landmines and join in the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty without further delay. Click here to read the letter.


April 18, 2012

Bishops To Secretary Clinton: Lift Cuba Embargo To Promote Freedom
            WASHINGTON—The United States should establish full diplomatic relations and withdraw all restrictions on travel to Cuba to advance the cause of human rights and religious liberty, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Click here to read the entire press release.


March 20, 2012

Bishop Pates on the delegation of U.S. bIshops traveling to Cuba for Pope Benedict XVI's visit .

Commenting on the upcoming journey to Cuba, Bishop Pates stated: "The situation in Cuba is of great concern to the Church in the United States. The delegation of which I am a member wants to express the solidarity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops with the Holy Father and with the Church and people of Cuba.  We make our own pastoral vision that is inspiring the Holy Father to reach out to the faithful in Cuba at this time of great religious joy in celebrating the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Patroness of Cuba, Our Lady of Charity. In addition, as Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the Conference, I hope to learn first-hand about the current situation in Cuba in order to influence U.S. policy toward Cuba in positive ways.  To see the press release click here and for the full statement click here.


March 7, 2012

Congress and federal budget decisions

Bishop Pates and Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire issued a press release saying Congress should base decisions regarding the federal budget on whether they protect or threaten human life and dignity, whether they put the needs of the hungry, the homeless and the unemployed first, and whether they reflect the shared responsibility of government and other institutions to promote the common good of all, especially "workers and families who struggle to live in dignity in difficult economic times. Click here for the press release and full statement.


March 6, 2012 -- Bishop Pates and Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire along with Catholic Charities USA President Father Larry Snyder, Catholic Relief Services President Carolyn Woo and National Catholic Rural Life Conference Executive Director James Ennis, sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, saying the 2012 Farm Bill is “an opportunity to address our nation’s broken and outdated agricultural policies.” They asked lawmakers to “support a Farm Bill that provides for poor and hungry people both at home and abroad, offers effective support for those who grow our food, ensures fairness to family farmers and ranchers, and promotes stewardship of the land.” To see the press release and full statement, click here.


March 2, 2012 -- Bishop Pates sent a letter about Iran to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He encouraged her to work to reduce nuclear arms and maintain security in the Middle East. He voiced concern over “an alarming escalation in rhetoric and tensions” with Iran. He wrote: “The Bishops’ conference urges the U.S. Government to explore all available options to resolve the conflict with Iran through diplomatic, rather than military, means.” He said that in Catholic teaching, the use of force must always be a last resort. For a copy of the press release and full statement, follow this link.


Bishop Pates went to Ivory Coast in a solidarity visit.


March 20-24, 2012 Bishop Pates made a visit of solidarity to the Venezuela Bishops' Conference.









Bishop Richard Pates traveled to Cuba March 26-29, 2012 with the U.S. delegation of bishops for the Holy Father's visit there.