Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
In honor of all U.S. service men and women, the Archdiocese of Military Services, USA has sponsored a Memorial Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. The Mass, which was pre-recorded last weekend on Ascension Sunday, will be played on Monday, May 25 at 12:00 noon on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and shown again at midnight. In his homily [Link no longer available —Ed.], Archbishop Timothy Broglio calls on all to remember the sacrifice of Christ alongside the sacrifices of those who have died in battle this past year:
“We know that freedom is not free and we must invoke divine blessings on the fallen, on those who survive, on those who serve our nation here and abroad, and on those who still bear in body and spirit the price of their service to a greater goal.”
On Tuesday, May 19, the Senate Education Committee approved a bill prohibiting schools from censoring religious references in the study of historical documents. Michigan Catholic Conference staff testified in favor of Senate Bill 211 as it is important for children learn the role religion has played in the nation’s founding and throughout history. All five members of the committee approved the measure. Now the bill awaits further action from the full Senate. MCC will continue to encourage lawmakers to approve its passage.
The House Criminal Justice Committee heard testimony this week on a bipartisan package of bills that updates and enhances existing domestic violence laws, sponsored by Representatives Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township), Representative Robert Kosowski (D-Westland), Amanda Price (R-Holland), Kurt Heise (R-Plymouth), and Lisa Lyons (R-Alto). Among other aspects, House Bills 4476–4481 better protect the privacy of victims and increase penalties for those who assault a pregnant woman. The bills also allow survivors of rape, when a pregnancy results, to present evidence to a judge that prohibits custody or parenting time from being granted to the victim’s attacker. MCC supports the bills, which are expected to receive another hearing in the coming weeks.
On Thursday, May 21, the House Education Committee heard testimony on House Bill 4594, sponsored by Representative Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan), which expands shared time services to include kindergarten instruction. Shared time policies allow children who attend non-public schools or who are homeschooled to enroll in a public school on a part-time basis for additional courses. Michigan currently allows for shared time instruction for grades 1–12. Michigan Catholic Conference testified in favor of the measure, which increases options available to parents to choose the type of education that is best for their children. No vote was taken this week, but one is expected in the near future.
In a visit to Detroit this week, Governor Rick Snyder presented a special address on criminal justice. Within his address, the governor emphasized several priorities, including the state’s need to protect and support crime victims, to address root causes of criminal behavior, to increase police diversity through expanded recruitment, and to prepare prisoners for re-entry into their communities after finishing their sentences. As the Catholic Church teaches that it is important to repair the damage done by crime, restore safety to communities, and to rehabilitate the offender whenever possible, this message brings much needed attention to the issues of crime, the justice system, and victim support. To learn more about the Catholic Church's teaching on issues of criminal justice, click here.
On Tuesday, May 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation called the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act to strengthen enforcement and penalties against trafficking and to establish a fund for victims of human trafficking. S. 178, sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), passed by a 420–3 vote. The measure had previously passed the U.S. Senate by a 99–0 vote. The bill will now be sent to President Barack Obama for his consideration and signature.
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