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WASHINGTON—Anthony R. Picarello Jr., general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has been named associate general secretary for policy and advocacy of the USCCB. Picarello succeeds Nancy Wisdo, a 26-year veteran of the USCCB, who is retiring at the end of the year. Picarello has served as general counsel for the USCCB since 2007 and will retain that title.
“Anthony’s broader background will support well the bishops’ initiatives in the policy and advocacy area. Heis familiar with the breadth of issues that the Conference faces, the bishops and staff engaged in them,and many of thepartners who join us in promoting those efforts,” said Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, general secretary of the USCCB, who made the appointment in consultation with the USCCB Executive Committee. “His legal expertise and background in religious liberty matters provides a depth of knowledge and experience that is uniquely suited to the needs of the bishops’ conference.”
In his new role, Picarello will function as director of policy and advocacy for the full range of issues in which the USCCB engages. He will join associate general secretaries Linda Hunt and Father J. Brian Bransfield and secretary of communications Helen Osman, along with general secretary Msgr. Jenkins, in conducting the regular business of the General Secretariat on behalf of the bishops.
Since joining the USCCB staff in 2007 as general counsel, Picarello has served as a member ofthe general secretary’s executive staff, a consultant to the Committee on Child and Youth Protection, a consultant to the Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage and in other roles. In April 2009, he was appointed by President Obama to the first Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Prior to his work at the USCCB, Picarello served at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty for seven years, litigating major religious freedom cases on behalf of people of all faiths. He conducted and supervised a full range of trial and appellate litigation activities. In January 2007, Picarello was named to The American Lawyer's list of the top 50 litigators under age 45.
At the Washington law firm of Covington and Burling from 1996 to 2000, Picarello developed expertise in both environmental and employment law. He participated in an administrative challenge to a Federal Election Commission audit and in a post-conviction appeal of a death sentence in Mississippi.
Picarello graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1991, writing his thesis on the concept of inculturation as it relates to Catholic missions in India. At Harvard he was president of the Harvard-Radcliffe Catholic Student Association in 1990, and served as a tutor in an inner-city tutoring program.
He graduated in 1995 from the University Of Virginia School Of Law, where he was essays editor for the Virginia Law Review. Between college and law school, he earned a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He completed his thesis on the work of theologians John Courtney Murray and Bernard Lonergan, under the supervision of Father David Tracy.
Picarello is a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and almost all federal Courts of Appeals.
Keywords: Anthony Picarello, associate general secretary, Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, secretary of policy, Prolife, Religious Liberty, Justice, Peace and Human Development, Government Relations, Legal Affairs, USCCB, U.S. bishops, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, policy and advocacy, Pro-Life Activities, Migration and Refugee Services
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