WSCC 2020 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 15 - Archived

by Stephanie Sanchez

August 4, 2020

Action Alerts

Urge the Senate to Help Catholic Schools

Send a message to our U.S. Senators to support the Alexander-Scott “School Choice Now Act.”  Catholic schools have been affected by COVID-19, and they need your help.  Nationally, COVID-19 has contributed to the permanent closure of 138 Catholic schools across 23 states.  Additionally, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) surveys show ten percent of Catholic schools are now uncertain if they can open their doors this fall. That means as many as 500 or more Catholic schools could be in jeopardy. Introduced by Senator Tim Scott and Senator Lamar Alexander, the Alexander-Scott “School Choice Now Act provides one-time, emergency funding for scholarship-granting organizations in each state.  It also provides permanent dollar-for-dollar federal tax credits for contributions to scholarship granting organizations.  This act may benefit organizations, such as the Fulcrum Foundation, that help fund Catholic schools.  Contact your senators now.


Copy and paste the #SaveOurState graphic above on social media and tag our U.S. Senators: @PattyMurray and @SenatorCantwell.  As states contend with the economic impacts of COVID-19, Catholic Community Services of Washington (CCSWW) launched the #SaveOurState campaign, calling on the U.S. Senate to pass legislation that will support vital state and local programs.  Check out the websites of CCSWWCatholic Charities of Eastern Washington, and Catholic Charities of Central Washington to learn more about the work they do for the poor and vulnerable of Washington state.

Laudato Si’

President Signs the Great American Outdoors Act

With bipartisan support, the Great American Outdoors Act passed through Congress on July 22 and was signed by President Trump today. This act achieves two important goals:  full annual funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and a $9.5 billion investment to address deferred maintenance at national parks and public lands.  In a letter to the Senate supporting the act, Archbishop Paul Coakley, chair of USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, referred to Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si: “Catholic teaching recognizes the earth as a shared inheritance destined for all mankind. This spirit of intergenerational solidarity and justice calls for God’s ecological gifts to be extended to future generations.”

Laudato Si’ Grant

USCCB’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) approved a strategic national grant of $500,000 to empower low-income persons in the southeastern U.S. to overcome the impacts of and address the root causes of climate change over the next five years.  According to a USCCB news release, this effort to put Laudato Si’ into action will “engage local organization in campaigns to identify the local impact of environmental changes on their community, empower low-income and minority communities to address the negative impact of environmental changes, and raise the profile of how these environmental changes hurt poor and marginalized communities the most.”

Life and Justice

Civilize It Campaign

Over the past four weeks the Archdiocese of Seattle and the WSCC have examined 4 aspects of the Civilize It Campaign. Read the pastoral letter from the bishops of Washington here.  As Catholics we are called to put our faith into action by advocating for public policies that promote the common good.  As we navigate the political process we are also called to engage in good, honest, respectful dialogue.  In today’s divisive political environment, the faithful must treat everyone with respect, as we are all worthy of being heard.  Even when we disagree with others, we must remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ created in the image of God.  The four aspects of the Civilize It Campaign that were highlighted are:
1. Civility
To recognize the human dignity of those with whom I disagree, treat others with respect, and rise above attacks when directed at me. Read more: What happened to civility? And how can I get it back?
2. Clarity
To root my political viewpoints in the Gospel and a well-formed conscience, which involves prayer, conversation, study and listening. I will stand up for my convictions and speak out when I witness language that disparages others’ dignity, while also listening and seeking to understand others’ experiences. Read more: How can you find clarity in an election year?
3. Compassion
To encounter others with a tone and posture which affirms that I honor the dignity of others and invite others to do the same. I will presume others’ best intentions and listen to their stories with empathy.  I will strive to understand before seeking to be understood.  Read more: How do you model compassion during the election?
4. Civilize It Pledge: In this important election year, visit the Civilize It webpage to take the pledge to be civil, seek clarity, and be compassionate.

“Catholic” Voting Sources

The Catholic Church supports public policies that serve the common good and are aligned with our Church teachings.  The Catholic Church does not endorse candidates or political parties.  You may encounter websites, sources, or mailers that claim to be Catholic.  However, they may not be officially aligned with or sanctioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  If a source tells you to support a specific candidate or political party, it is most certainly not officially aligned with the Catholic Church.  For information about national public policy, please refer to the USCCB website.  Please consult the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) for information about state and local public policies.

When considering political candidates’ views on public policies, we recommend reading Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States.

Pro-Life Campaigns: PREPARES and Walking with Moms

Two prominent pro-life campaigns are running concurrently.  Pregnancy and Parenting Support (PREPARES) is an ongoing statewide initiative of the bishops of Washington State that was launched in 2014.  PREPARES is organized through parishes and provides pregnancy and parenting support for families through their child’s fifth birthday.  Similar in scope, Walking with Moms In Need is a yearlong effort sponsored by the USCCB.  Catholic parishes and communities are called to “walk in the shoes” of local pregnant and parenting women in need.  As PREPARES is an ongoing program, the WSCC is prioritizing this initiative.  Contact your parish staff to get involved.

Update on Pro-Life Initiative 1698

Thank you to those who signed and collected signatures for Initiative 1698 (I-1698).  A special note of appreciation goes to parishes that collected signatures and/or served as drop off sites for petitions.  259,622 signatures were needed to put this Initiative to the People on the fall ballot.  Unfortunately, we fell short and collected 198,756.  While our goal was not reached, that is a sizable number of signatures to collect without paid staff and during a pandemic.  Thank you to the first-time organizers of the Heartbeat Committee and to all of the initiative supporters!

75th Anniversary of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 6 and 9 mark the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  In “A Renewed Call for Our Day” USCCB bishops made a statement addressing the anniversary and calling for nuclear disarmament.  In observance of the anniversary, Catholics are invited to come together in personal prayer and at Masses on Sunday, August 9.  Click here for more on nuclear disarmament and commemoration of the anniversary.

USCCB Urges Administration to Reinstate DACA and Calls for Congressional Action

On July 28 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, rejecting new applications and cutting work authorization from two years to one.  DACA recipients were brought to the US as children, and currently there are approximately 670,000 individuals participating in the program.  In a statement the USCCB called the for the President to reinstate DACA protections and accept new applicants.  The USCCB also called for Congressional action, urging the Senate to pass legislation “that provides certainty and a path to citizenship for Dreamers.”

Bishops Urge the President to Rescind Memo Excluding Undocumented Immigrants from Apportionment of House Seats

On July 21 President Trump issued a memorandum excluding undocumented immigrants from the 2020 Census from being counted in the apportionment of U.S. Representatives allotted per state.  The USCCB responded, urging that all people be counted and fully included in the Census: “Counting the undocumented in the Census and then denying them and the states in which they reside their rightful representation in Congress is counter to the Constitution and a grave injustice.  Furthermore, such a policy makes people feel invisible and not valued as human beings.”  To learn more about participation in the U.S. Census and information-sharing, refer to the Justice for Immigrants website.

USCCB Opposes Proposed Rule Seeking to Eliminate Protection for Asylum Seekers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued new proposed rules on asylum.  Under these rules, immigration judges may summarily deny applications before the asylum-seeker can see a judge; redefined terms will effectively eliminate asylum for those fleeing domestic violence and gangs; and the standard for initial asylum interviews will be raised.  Comments submitted by the USCCB’s Office of General Counsel called the proposed rules “unlawful and unjust.”  In a statement, Bishop Mario Dorsonville, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration said, “Pope Francis reminds us that we must keep our eyes open . . ., keep our hearts open . . ., to remind everyone of the indispensable commitment to save every human life, a moral duty that unites believers and non-believers.’  We cannot turn our backs on the vulnerable.”

Prayer Guide for Life

To subscribe to monthly prayer guides from the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, click here.

Upcoming Events

Aug 6 & Aug 9       75th Anniversary of Bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki

September 27        World Day of Migrants and Refugees

October                  Respect Life Month

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