Advocacy News

The Word from Lansing Special Edition: Just Governance: A Lesson in Loving Our Neighbors

Each month, Michigan Catholic Conference’s President and CEO Paul Long writes a column for Catholic newspapers about a current issue of interest to Catholics across the state. This month’s The Word from Lansing, however, is a special edition piece, written by another MCC staff member who recently traveled to Panchgani, India. While there, she participated in a forum on just governance and working with the marginalized, as well as visited a local convent and school run by the Catholic Daughters of the Cross. This month’s piece is about her experiences in Panchgani and the importance of listening to and loving one’s neighbor. During this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has continued to highlight ways to listen to the needs of those who are vulnerable or ignored in society, and he has called for all people of goodwill be an example of mercy and love to those in the community around them. Read more…

Photo credit Stenzin Tenzin, Initiatives of Change

Pope Francis Releases Apostolic Exhortation on Love in the Family

Pope Francis has issued a new apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). The purpose of this document is to communicate the pope’s conclusions from recent synods on marriage and the family to the Catholic Church as a whole. First, in October 2014, Catholic bishops from around the world came together for a synod on “the pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” Then, in October 2015, the bishops met to discuss “the vocation and mission of the family the Church and in the contemporary world.” Amoris Laetitia incorporates the discussions and recommendations of these two events, with a particular emphasis on love and what it means in the day-to-day reality of marriage and family life. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) welcomed the new document and encouraged all Catholics to take the time to read the exhortation. Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, NY, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, called the document “an inspirational aid” to those accompanying couples, both in their marriage preparation and throughout their married life. Read more…

Photo credit CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters

The Word from Lansing Column: Practicing Mercy in the State Budget

Each year, Michigan lawmakers make tough decisions regarding where available funding should be directed in the state budget. The Michigan House and Senate are currently working on compiling their budget proposals for Fiscal Year 2017 (October 2016–September 2017) after receiving Governor Snyder's recommendations in early February and hearing testimony from citizens, state departments, and other relevant groups. This month’s column for Catholic newspapers, The Word from Lansing, highlights the importance of examining budget decisions based on their impact on human life and dignity, the most vulnerable in society, and the common good. The column also highlights the importance of subsidiarity, or addressing solutions at the appropriate level of society, and the role each person has to play in practicing one's faith during this Year of Mercy. Read more…

U.S. Bishops and Faith Groups Defend Deportation Stays in Amicus Brief

In April, U.S. Supreme Court will consider United States v. Texas, which challenges how the federal government has implemented Homeland Security immigration guidelines. In effect, these guidelines postpone deportation proceedings for four to five million undocumented people who are not a threat to national security or public safety and who have longstanding close family ties to people within the United States. On Tuesday, March 8, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) joined with twenty-four other faith-based organizations to file an amicus curiae brief in the case and to advocate for the preservation of these guidelines. The brief argues, among other aspects, that the guidelines provide “important benefits to those most vulnerable in our society and to those who serve them” and ensure “that the public will continue to benefit from the substantial contributions of recent immigrants.” Read more…

Refugees and Catholic Social Teaching the Topic of March FOCUS

Throughout the nation’s history, refugees have escaped persecution or violence in their home countries and have sought safe haven in America. The number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide has reached 59.5 million in recent years, which is the highest level ever recorded. According to the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, well over 4 million of those displaced are fleeing civil war and rising threats of terrorism in Syria. Michigan Catholic Conference’s March FOCUS provides an overview of the U.S. refugee resettlement process and the approval waiting period that typically lasts 18 to 24 months. In addition, this FOCUS examines Catholic Social Teaching regarding refugees and migrants, speaking about the need to improve living conditions in home countries, to see the human face of the refugees and the displaced, and to welcome and assist individuals chosen for resettlement. Several Catholic agencies and organizations are working in each of these areas, including two local Catholic Charities agencies in Michigan. Read more…

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