Lansing Update: MCC Reflections on Pope Benedict

In this update:

MCC President Offers Prayers, Reflection on Life of Pope Benedict

On Dec. 31, the world learned of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Pope Francis presided Thursday over the funeral for the former pontiff who led the Catholic Church from 2005 until his 2013 resignation.

Pope Benedict XVI appears alongside former Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida, who was Archbishop of Detroit and chair of the MCC Board of Directors from 1990 to 2009.

In response to his death, MCC President and CEO Paul A. Long offered the following reflection:

“Together with the Catholic bishops and dioceses in Michigan, we offer our prayers for the soul of Benedict XVI and entrust the Pope Emeritus to the intercession of the Blessed Mother.

“An erudite theologian and gentle pastor dedicated to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Benedict XVI was guided by the Holy Spirit from his preference to retire as Librarian of the Holy Roman Church to be elected Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI clarified for the world, particularly in the west, that a ‘dictatorship of relativism’ had ascended, thereby inspiring a generation of Catholics and people of goodwill to work and pray for a return to the truths of God the Creator.

“Having shepherded the universal Church as Roman pontiff for some eight years prior to his retirement in February 2013, Pope Benedict composed for the Catholic faithful and the broader world a memorable trilogy of encyclical letters that advanced the Christian virtues of love and hope; the Pope Emeritus reminded all that God is Love. We recall with fondness Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington, D.C. and New York City in April 2008, particularly his speech on the South Lawn of the White House and the Masses which he celebrated at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium, leaving behind a message of truth, freedom and justice.

“We join Pope Francis in prayer for Benedict XVI, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.”

Bill Ensuring Organ Donation Access for People with Disabilities Signed into Law

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bill supported by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) to ensure people with disabilities are not unjustly denied organ transplants.

House Bill 4762, which was sponsored by former Rep. Bronna Kahle, prohibits the refusal to do an organ transplant on a person with a disability solely based on the person’s disability. It also prohibits refusal to do a referral or evaluation or placing a person on a waiting list for an organ donation for the same reason.

MCC supported the measure to ensure the dignity of people with disabilities is upheld with respect to having access to organ donations. The bill was among the final bills considered by the previous Legislature, which wrapped up its session at the close of 2022.

New Legislative Session Begins Wednesday; State of the State Speech Set for Jan. 25

The new legislative session officially begins Wednesday, Jan. 11 at noon. Voters elected Democratic majorities for both the House and the Senate, marking a change from Republican control in both chambers last session.

Gov. Whitmer has also announced that her next State of the State address will be given on Wednesday, Jan. 25 before a joint session of the Legislature in the state Capitol.

U.S. Bishops Contest FDA Decision on Chemical Abortion Pills

A recent decision by the federal government to allow retail pharmacies to distribute the chemical abortion drug mifepristone by prescription perpetuates the destruction of innocent children and will put more women in risk, the U.S. bishops argued in a statement this week.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reacted to a decision from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to essentially allow abortion-causing drugs to be available on demand from pharmacies. Besides the harm this does to the unborn, the USCCB noted the dangers of women undergoing abortion without requiring in-person medical supervision.

“The rate of serious complications after chemical abortion is considerably higher than after surgical abortion,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, who is chair of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. He added later that the overturning of these safety protocols would facilitate “the isolation of critically vulnerable pregnant women, and invites more risk, pain, and trauma.”

The USCCB continually monitors the activities of Congress and the federal agencies to advocate for Catholic social principles in federal policy.