WSCC 2020 Catholic Advocacy Bulletin, No. 18

by Stephanie Sanchez

Election Updates

Election Day is Tuesday, November 3, and there is still time to register and vote!  Visit your county election office to register and vote by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.  If you already have a ballot, be sure to turn it in to an official election box by 8 p.m.  Contact your county election office to locate official election boxes.

What Does the Church Say About Election Issues?

The Catholic Church does not endorse any candidates or political parties, but the Church does advocate for public policies that serve the common good and are aligned with Church teachings.  When considering political candidates’ views on public policies, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) recommends reading Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility.  Specifically, paragraph 31 begins a discussion on “Making Moral Choices” in relation to voting, and Part 2 explains the Church’s position on a number of political issues including human life, religious freedom, migration, care for creation, and more.  For detailed information about the Catholic Church’s stance on national public policy issues, refer to the USCCB website.  Consult the Washington State Catholic Conference (WSCC) for information about state and local public policies. 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).  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.  If a source instructs you to support a specific candidate or political party, it is not officially aligned with the Catholic Church.

Referendum 90: “Check Reject”

The WSCC, comprised of the bishops of Washington state, recommends you check “reject” on Referendum 90 (R-90) on the fall ballot.  R-90 gives us 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.  Click here for more information about what Catholics should know about R-90.

HHS Works to Ensure Access to Spiritual Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

In a statement, USCCB Chair of Religious Liberty, Archbishop Thomas Wenski commended action by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ensure patients receive spiritual care, even while hospitals are under COVID-19 restrictions.  Previously, complaints were filed against two hospitals that prevented the administration of Baptism, Anointing of the Sick, and Communion due to COVID-19 restrictions.  HHS’s Office for Civil Rights intervened, resulting in changes to the hospitals’ policies. Current policies now ensure patients have access to spiritual care.  Archbishop Wenski noted that, “. . . it is of paramount importance that our government, public health authorities, and health care providers strive to respect the liberty of the faithful to receive the sacraments.”

Archbishop Wilton Gregory Named to the College of Cardinals

On October 25 Archbishop Wilton Gregory of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC was named a Cardinal by Pope Francis.  Archbishop Gregory will be the first African American cardinal from the United States.  USCCB President Archbishop José Gomez lauded the decision in a statement: “As a former president of our national bishops’ conference, Archbishop Gregory displayed generous and principled leadership.”

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 state here.

Feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King and Religious Freedom

November 22 marks the Solemnity of Christ the King.  This feast day was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI with the encyclical Quas primas.  The feast day was born out of resistance to secularization and nationalism.  It was intended to address those who sought to eliminate Christian influence from political life.  As such, the Solemnity of Christ the King is an opportunity to remember the Church’s dedication to religious freedom.  Religious freedom is freedom of worship and respect for freedom of conscience.  For more information about the Solemnity of Christ the King and religious freedom, see the USCCB statement, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty and the topic of religious liberty on the USCCB website.

Upcoming Events
Justice for Immigrants celebrates 15 Years with a Fall Webinar Series

2020 marks the 15th anniversary of USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants (JFI) campaign.  In celebration JFI has been conducting a fall webinar series.  You are invited to join the final webinar titled “The Big Picture: What Does the Election Mean for Immigration?” on Thursday, November 12.

Important Dates

November 1-7 National Vocation Awareness Week
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.
November 12 Catholic Mobilizing Network virtual gathering of Washington allies
November 22 Feast of the Solemnity of Christ the King and Religious Freedom
November 29 Advent begins

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