Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
On Thursday, September 24, Pope Francis made history as the first pope to ever address a joint session of the United States Congress. During the speech, he highlighted the valuable contributions of four Americans of faith — Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton — to public life and to the common good. He also encouraged the crowd to pass laws based on a concern for all people, speaking to issues along the broad spectrum of Catholic Social Teaching. On Friday, September 25, Pope Francis spoke before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, especially focusing on topics of the environment, the poor, war and violence, and the dignity of all people. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has provided links to the speeches and homilies from the events Pope Francis has participated in since his arrival, along with other relevant content from this visit: http://bit.ly/1F8PBCN. Stay tuned for further events this weekend as Pope Francis finishes out his time in the United States in New York and in Philadelphia.
Two new videos are now available to highlight the importance and beauty of the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage. The first, Marriage is a Precious Treasure for Children, uses the pope’s words to describe how marriage is more than the wedding ceremony. The second video, Marriage is a Permanent Covenant, contains clips of couples talking about how marriage is a source of permanence and goodness for couples and for their children. To watch the videos, click on the links below and visit the Michigan Celebrates Marriage website at www.michigancelebratesmarriage.com.
The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is currently accepting public comment on the state’s Healthy Michigan Plan waiver application which was submitted earlier this month. Maintaining health care coverage for the approximately 600,000 Michiganders who are now enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program hinges on the approval of this 2nd waiver. If the waiver is not approved by December 31, 2015, health coverage for these individuals will cease on April 30, 2016, and an act of the legislature will be required to amend current state law and reinstate the program. Please contact the CMS to share your support for the Healthy Michigan Plan [Link no longer available —Ed.] and encourage the waiver be approved to allow for the continuation of this vital program.
The public comment period is open through next Saturday, October 3, 2015. Express your support individually or consider using the following language in your comment to CMS [Link no longer available —Ed.]:
Please approve the Healthy Michigan Plan Second Waiver. When states were given the option of expanding their Medicaid programs, Michigan succeeded in changing its law to provide healthcare coverage for more individuals in need. Everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health coverage. The Healthy Michigan Plan now fulfills this need for approximately 600,000 individuals in Michigan who would otherwise not have health insurance. As it is crucial to the continuation of the Healthy Michigan Plan, I encourage the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to approve this waiver.
On Tuesday, September 22, a bill that would allow eligible individuals who have been wrongfully imprisoned for a crime to apply to receive compensation. Senate Bill 291, introduced by Senator Steven Bieda (D-Warren) passed unanimously through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Michigan Catholic Conference indicated support for the legislation, which now awaits further consideration from the full Senate. Similar legislation — House Bill 4536, sponsored by Representative Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit) — is currently awaiting action from the full House.
Research confirms that a substantial number of women feel forced by boyfriends, spouses, parents, and others to have an abortion against their will. To help prevent this, Michigan Catholic Conference supported legislation in the House Criminal Justice Committee this week which would make it a criminal offense to intentionally coerce a pregnant women into having an abortion against her will. House Bills 4787 and 4830, sponsored by Representatives Amanda Price (R-Holland) and Nancy Jenkins (R-Clayton), did not receive a vote in the committee this week but are expected to be considered again in committee soon. Staff will continue to advocate for the passage of these bills to protect women and will keep members apprised of any further updates.
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