WSCC 2020 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 16 - Archived

by Stephanie Sanchez
This content has been archived. It may no longer be relevant or up to date. For more information contact Msgr. Robert Siler,

August 4, 2020

Life and Justice

Pro-Life Chair Praises Trump Administration for Ensuring Global Health Assistance Funds Do Not Support Abortion

In a statement, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, praised the Trump Administration for ensuring U.S. global health assistance funds do not support abortion.  In 2017 President Trump reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” now renamed the “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance (PLGHA)” policy. Via the memorandum implementing PLGHA, President Trump ensured that “U.S. tax payers’ dollars do not fund organizations or programs that support or participate in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.”  Foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving global health assistance are not permitted to perform or actively promote abortion.  A government review of the program released on August 18 found that 1,340 awardees of global health assistance funds from the U.S. complied with PLGHA, while 55 awardees and sub awardees declined funding due to the new guidance.

Trump Administration Withholds Funding from Research Involving Fetal Tissue

On August 18 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board recommended that federal funding be withheld from 13 out of 14 research proposals involving the use of fetal tissue.  Archbishop Richard Naumann, chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life praised the Trump Administration in a statement, “We applaud the Administration for moving NIH in a direction that shows greater consideration for medical ethics research, and greater respect for innocent human life . . . We are grateful that the Administration is following through on its commitment to end federal funding of research using aborted fetal tissue.”

Referendum 90: “Check Reject”

Check “reject” on Referendum 90 (R-90) on the fall ballot. R-90 gives voters the opportunity to reject the Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) law that was passed in March. Also called the Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (CSHE) law, Senate Bill 5395 mandates that all schools provide CSHE from kindergarten through 12th grade. Curriculum guidelines are not aligned with Church teachings, and the CSHE law prevents local communities and school boards from fully protecting their own values and determining local policy.

WSCC Co-Signs Amicus Brief Supporting Catholic Schools

The Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) co-signed an amicus brief for NAACP v. DeVos, calling for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act education funding to be extended to Catholic schools.  The CARES Act created the Education Stabilization Fund, which is designed to aid schools confronting the costs of safely reopening and managing the effects of COVID-19.  An interim final rule issued by Education Secretary DeVos outlines how funds are to be equitably distributed to public and private schools.  However, in NAACP v. DeVos plaintiffs claim that the majority of funding should go to public schools.  In the amicus brief it is argued that COVID-19 affects all schools, and funding is critical for both private and public schools.  Amongst the amicus brief’s 43 co-singers are state Catholic Conferences, the National Catholic Education Association, and Catholic Education Partners.

2020 Census

The 2020 Census is coming to a close, but there is still time to be counted. Click here for a link to the English website, and click here for the Spanish site. Through September 30 census workers will be going door-to-door to contact those who have not yet responded. Pacific, Ferry, and Okanogan Counties are particularly in need of increased participation. At the same time, Washington state is currently tied with Wisconsin for having the second highest response rate in the U.S. Thank you to those who have already participated.

The census is conducted only every ten years. Results have numerous policy implications, including federal funding for Medicaid, Head Start, community health services, hospitals, fire departments, and other critical programs and services. The census also informs legislative redistricting and provides research data for communities regarding population trends and growth projections.

USCCB Laments Additional Federal Executions

In July the federal government resumed the practice of executions for first time since 2003.  More are scheduled for this month.  The USCCB released a statement renewing its call for an end to federal executions: “The Church’s opposition to the death penalty is clear, and we have made many requests that the federal government should not resume these executions.” Action Alert: click here to send a message Attorney General William Barr and urge the federal government to cease executions.

“Catholic” Voting and Geofencing

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.

During this election season, some parishioners have received mailers that claim to be Catholic and promote specific candidates.  These mailers did not come from diocesan mailing lists.  It is possible that parishioners’ addresses have been captured via geofencing, whereby information is collected via your smart phone to track who has attended Mass in the past.

For information about national public policy, please refer to the USCCB website.  Consult the Washington State Catholic Conference 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.

Guidance on Public Policy: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

As mentioned above, the Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates or parties.  However, it does advocate for public policies that are aligned with Church teachings and that serve the common good.  Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of United States is a teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics, which provides guidance for all who seek to exercise their rights and duties as citizens.  Numerous policy areas are discussed in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, including migration, respecting life, health care, and promoting peace.

Civilize It Campaign

As Catholics we are called to put our faith into action by advocating for public policies that promote the common good. During this election season, the Civilize It campaign reminds us 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 disagreeing with others, we must remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ and created in the image of God.  Take the Civilize It pledge.  Read the pastoral letter “Love One Another: Practicing Civility for the Common Good” from the bishops of Washington here.

World Day of Migrants and Refugees: Forced Like Jesus To Flee

September 27 will mark the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and the theme is “Forced Like Jesus to Flee.”  Pope Francis reminds us that, “During the flight into Egypt, the child Jesus experienced with his parents the tragic fate of the displaced and refugees, ‘which is marked by fear, uncertainty, and unease (Matthew 2:13-25, 19-23).'” For more information visit the Vatican’s office of Migrants and Refugees and USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website.

Upcoming Events (Including Voting Deadlines)

September 27     World Day of Migrants and Refugees

October               Respect Life Month

October 16          Ballots mailed out, and this begins the 18-day voting
period.  Vote early.

October 26          Online and mail registrations must be received 8 days
before Election Day.  You may register to vote in person
during business hours prior to 8 pm on Election  Day,
November 3.

November 3        Election Day – Deposit your ballot in an official drop box by
8 pm. This is also the deadline for voter registration or
updates.  This must occur in person prior to 8pm.

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