Advocacy

News Releases

Raise the Age Legislation Seeks a ‘Smart’ Approach to Juvenile Crime

Michigan would join 41 other states in the country that no longer automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults for a crime committed, according to legislation before the House Criminal Justice Committee supported by Michigan Catholic Conference. The multi-bill package, which would also prohibit juveniles from being housed with adult prisoners, is supported by both Republicans and Democrats and pursues a “smart on crime” approach to criminal justice. This legislation takes into account U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as Roper v. Simmons, Graham v. Florida, and Miller v. Alabama, which recognize academic and scientific research showing the differences in cognitive development between juveniles and adults. The legislation also seeks to provide greater rehabilitation services to youth who have committed crimes. “Where possible, efforts should be made to rehabilitate juvenile offenders and present an opportunity for youth to positively contribute to their communities upon release,” said Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy Tom Hickson. Read more…

Catholic Church in Michigan Stands Ready to Assist Refugees

This past weekend following the terrorist attacks overseas Governor Rick Snyder issued a directive suspending Michigan’s effort to accept new refugees to the state. Gov. Snyder highlighted his priority to “protect the safety of our residents” and that state leaders will be in dialogue with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding security and future resettlement efforts. Michigan Catholic Conference President and CEO Paul A. Long responded today to the Governor’s direction by articulating the Church's readiness to continue assisting refugees and the most vulnerable once resettlement continues. Read more…

U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Non-Profit Arguments Against HHS Mandate

This afternoon the United States Supreme Court announced it has agreed to hear arguments from non-profit religious organizations opposed to the mandated requirements of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to include morally objectionable services — including abortifacients and contraceptives — in their employee health benefit plan. As a separate litigant against the federal government on this matter, Michigan Catholic Conference offered the following response to today’s news from the Supreme Court: “We are very pleased that the nation’s highest court will hear from non-profit organizations as to how their First Amendment rights are being violated by this burdensome mandate. Michigan Catholic Conference looks forward to the day this matter is resolved in a manner that fully protects the rights of faith-based institutions to operate according to their conscience.” Read more…

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…

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…

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…

Lansing Update

Lansing Update, April 29, 2016

House Approves Education Budget; Funding for Non-Public School Mandates; Omnibus Budget Proposal Passed In Michigan House; Action Next Week in Senate; Michigan Senate Passes Bill Prohibiting the Sale of Fetal Tissue, Body Parts; Juvenile Justice Bills Pass State House, Continue Forward to Senate; Michigan Supreme Court: Juvenile Lifers to Be Re-Sentenced. Read more…

Lansing Update, April 22, 2016

Department of Health and Human Services Budget Continues Forward to Full Chambers; Education Measures Approved by House and Senate Appropriations Committees; The Word from Lansing Column: Just Governance — A Lesson in Loving Our Neighbors; Additional Briefs Submitted in Little Sisters HHS Mandate Case. Read more…

Lansing Update, April 15, 2016

Committees Include Funding for Health, Welfare, and Safety Mandates for Non-Public Schools; Budget Measures Impacting Education Funding Continue to Full House and Senate; State Health and Human Services Budget Proposals Move Forward from Subcommittees; Senate Unanimously Approves Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Package; State Board of Ed Drafts Guidelines for Transgender Students; Public Comment Period Open; Flint Emergency Disaster Period Extended to August. Read more…