Advocacy News

Respect Life Month: October 2014

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops annually declares the first Sunday in October as Respect Life Sunday. Correspondingly, a Respect Life Program is developed and highlighted in liturgies and marked by special events in parishes and dioceses across the country. The USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities publishes a program packet each year to call attention to numerous human life issues. These materials may be found especially helpful for priests, parish groups, schools and other organizations. The 2014–15 Program highlights adoption, advance medical directives, poverty and abortion and other important life issues. Read more…

The Word from Lansing Column: Voting—Overcoming Obstacles to Participation and Why It Matters

In August, the State of Michigan held its primary election to determine the candidates that will appear on the November 4th ballot. During this election, only eighteen percent of the registered Michigan voters cast their vote. As elected officials make decisions that impact issues such as human life, poverty, jobs, marriage, and immigration, it is important for Catholics to make sure their voice is heard in the during the political process. This month’s column addresses obstacles to voting and offers some helpful resources for Catholics as they register to vote and choose their candidates and ballot positions. More resources related to the November 4th election will also be available on the Michigan Catholic Conference website starting October 1st. Read more…

Bishop Steven J. Raica Joins MCC Board of Directors

“We are blessed to have Bishop Raica and his many talents, keen insights and invaluable experience join with his brother bishops, religious and lay persons at the MCC Board of Directors,” said MCC President and CEO Paul A. Long. “With deep appreciation for his service both overseas and as a priest in the Diocese of Lansing, Bishop Raica will be instrumental toward helping to guide the work of the Michigan Catholic Conference in its mission to promote sound public policy for the common good of all and to administer benefit programs for the Catholic Church in Michigan. As a longtime friend and collaborator of the MCC, we wish Bishop Raica prayerful best wishes for his Episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Gaylord and look forward to his service to the Church in the Province of Detroit.” Read more…

Revised HHS Mandate Regulations Met With “Disappointment,” Says USCCB President

On Friday, August 22 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it had issued revised guidelines to its mandate that requires employer health plans to provide for contraception, sterilization and drugs that can cause an abortion. Shortly after, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), released a statement saying the regulations would “effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom.” Archbishop Kurtz also indicated a more detailed analysis of the revised policy would be forthcoming from USCCB. Read more…

The Word from Lansing Column: Federal Legislation Exposes Threats to Religious Liberty

The United States has long protected religious freedom, allowing members of all faiths to participate in the public realm. This month’s The Word from Lansing column discusses federal legislation, the so-called Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, that would prohibit employers, insurers, and employees from opting out of federally mandated health coverage due to religious objections. This measure would negate the progress made by the recent Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which upheld the religious freedom of closely-held corporations. The article also highlights the response of the U.S. Catholic Church to this legislation and other threats to religious liberty. Read more…

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