PARTICIPATING IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS
As you can tell from all the ads, election season is well underway. Voting begins next month and continues through Election Day, Nov. 8.
The Iowa Catholic Conference has released a flier to help parishioners understand the importance of acting in the political arena with a properly formed conscience. A series of suggested questions to ask candidates is included.
In the document the Iowa bishops say, “Catholics have a serious responsibility to form their consciences, in light of the teaching of Jesus Christ, to judge how to take action on behalf of the unborn, the poor and the vulnerable.”
‘RADICAL SOLIDARITY’ WITH MOTHERS AND FAMILIES
The Catholic Church in the United States observes October as “Respect Life Month.” This year, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities invites Catholics to “practice radical solidarity and unconditional love” for pregnant and parenting mothers.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health this past June returned the responsibility of limiting abortion from the judiciary to the legislature. For those of us who have prayed for this moment to arrive, says Archbishop Lori, “it is the time for a renewal and rededication of our efforts to build a culture of life and civilization of love.” He explains that “justice requires that the basic protections of the law against violence be extended to the preborn child” while explaining that building “a world in which all are welcome requires not only justice, but compassion, healing, and above all, unconditional love.”
Moving from law to culture, Archbishop Lori asks Catholics to “shift the paradigm to what Saint Pope John Paul II described as ‘radical solidarity,’ making the good of others our own good, including especially mothers, babies (born and unborn), and families throughout the entire human lifespan.”
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ALERT
The USCCB Committee for Religious Liberty has been monitoring the status of new and forthcoming federal regulations that pose a threat to religious freedom. The most direct consequence of HHS's proposed Section 1557 rule is that it would be considered discrimination for a health care worker to categorically object to performing gender transition procedures, regardless of whether that objection is a matter of religious belief or clinical judgment. The proposed regulation also appears to suggest that HHS may ultimately determine that Section 1557 imposes similar requirements with regard to abortion.
The Committee is asking members of the public to file comments with HHS in opposition. Please go to www.usccb.org/do-no-harm for sample comments to customize and an easy way to send them.
The period for filing comments closes on Oct. 3.
NATIONAL MIGRATION WEEK AND DACA UPDATE
This week is National Migration Week and the theme is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.”
It has been ten years since the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was created through executive action. DACA allows certain undocumented individuals brought to the United States as children – known as Dreamers – to remain in the country. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation and grants work authorization; it does not create a pathway to citizenship.
DACA currently faces a legal challenge and no longer accepts new applications. For many years, the Catholic bishops of the United States have called on Congress to provide Dreamers with the ability to integrate as fully recognized members of our society.
As one way to participate in National Migration Week, you can urge Congress to move forward with creating a pathway to permanent legal status for Dreamers today. Click the link below to log in and send your message: https://www.votervoice.net/JFI/Campaigns.
ADS PLACED FOR VACCINE ENCOURAGEMENT CAMPAIGN
The ICC is continuing its COVID-19 vaccine encouragement campaign with ad placements in the Iowa Newspaper Association's 198 publications across the state.
Keeping up with vaccinations and boosters now will continue to reduce the severity of illness and place less strain on our rural healthcare systems. See www.iowacatholicconference.org/getvaccinated for more information.
Tom Chapman from the ICC staff will be one of the speakers for an online event, “Understanding the Iowa Gun Amendment: a Faith-Based Perspective,” that will take place on Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m. You can register at https://bit.ly/3Lffb4M.
Other scheduled speakers are Art Roche from Iowans for Gun Safety and Dr. Tom Brezenski, PhD in Public Policy and Political Science, Florida State University.
On Nov. 8, Iowans will vote on an amendment to the state constitution that may make it impossible to put reasonable gun safety measures into effect. The panel will help participants learn more about why a NO vote is important on Public Measure #1.
The program is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton; Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Sisters of St. Francis, Dubuque; Discalced Carmelite Nuns; Divine Word College; Congregation of the Humility of Mary; Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team.