The Word from Lansing

The Word from Lansing is a regular column written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) staff for Catholic news outlets. Through these columns, MCC outlines current advocacy issues of importance to the Conference and discusses the Catholic position and role in the political process. This publication complements the more regular updates provided by Michigan Catholic Conference’s Catholic Advocacy Network.

    During Pandemic, Catholic Schools Rise to the Challenge

    A young girl and her mother wearing protective face masks and walking hand in hand to school.

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic schools have prioritized safety while providing nearly uninterrupted instruction, which has mattered a great deal for Michigan families. Sadly, due to political disagreements among state elected officials, nonpublic schools are uncertain about the status of federal funding to assist them with COVID-related expenses. The Word from Lansing for April dives into the importance of this funding and encourages politicians to work together for the benefit of all students.

    Small Steps of Love in the State Budget Process

    A happy family laughing on the sofa together

    Each year, the State of Michigan makes budget determinations for its people, just as a family makes decisions for the good of its members. If done well, the budget can act as a document of love and of care, recognizing all Michiganders have value and considering carefully the needs of the marginalized. The Word from Lansing column for March provides thoughts about the 2021–2022 state budget process and the priorities MCC believes should be included in the final version.

    Catholic Advocacy in 2021—Be a Light

    Sister Thea Bowman, on stage and smiling at an event held at Walsh University on September 18, 1989
    Photo by KatieHutchison, CC BY-SA 2.0

    The Catholic Church has many inspiring models of faith, including Sr. Thea Bowman, a religious sister in the early stages of consideration for sainthood. Sr. Thea’s life of service to others and dedication to her faith remind Catholics that it is important to stand up for the vulnerable and the common good, even in difficult community and policy conversations. The Word from Lansing column for February reflects upon Sr. Thea’s example and calls for Catholic to be a voice for others.

    COVID-19 Vaccines and Moral Considerations

    An elderly woman receives the COVID-19 vaccine from her health practitioner

    Over the past ten months, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed life for people across the globe, impacting physical health, emotional well-being, and economic outcomes for families and businesses. In 2021, many are feeling optimistic with vaccines for COVID-19 becoming available, including two from Pfizer and Moderna. The Catholic bishops of Michigan recently commented on the importance of vaccinations for public health and addressed moral questions that are facing Catholics about the vaccines that are available.

    Water Shutoffs Are a Health Concern in COVID-19 Pandemic

    A young girl washing her hands in a bathroom sink

    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, communities have recognized the important role water plays in protecting community health. As a result, Michigan implemented early pauses to water shutoffs throughout the state through an executive order, especially to encourage and facilitate frequent handwashing. State lawmakers passed legislation, which MCC supported, to again implement this temporary assistance measure for residents.

    Catholics Emboldened to Fight Abuse, Encourage Healing

    A mother smiles at her daughter, holding her on her lap in a park

    Within the Catholic Church, all are called to care for one another and to protect one another from harm. Sadly, a recent report released by the Vatican about abuse reminds of the need to be vigilant. In light of the report’s release, MCC has written a new column to share many of the protocols that have been implemented in the Church over the past two decades to protect against and to report incidents of abuse. MCC’s Word from Lansing column also calls leaders and lay members to action, as all are needed in the work to create safe environments.

    This Election, Let’s Vote, then Act

    Voters standing in line, waiting to vote in front of an American flag

    On Tuesday, November 3, Michiganders will participate in the 2020 Election. The Church does not endorse candidates, but it highlights the Catholic responsibility to be active in the public realm, including through voting. As Catholics consider their voting choices, they are called to consider candidate positions on a wide range of issues important to the common good, while also weighing each according to its moral importance. As the U.S. bishops outline, all issues do not bear the same moral weight on one’s conscience.

    Promote Civility, Love Others, and Build Community This Election

    A group of three young people discussing politics while sitting outside

    Together, people of faith have the opportunity to elevate the tone of political discussions and contribute to a greater sense of civility this election season. The Word from Lansing column for September addresses the importance of committing to such actions, especially through the nonpartisan Civilize It campaign. It also highlights resources to help Catholics prepare for voting, including ten insights from Catholic saints that apply to action in the public realm.

    During Challenges, the Church Calls for Faith

    A father helping his daughter with her homework

    Over the summer, Michiganders have faced many challenges. Recent circumstances have highlighted the need for continued advocacy, especially regarding the concerns of those who are vulnerable or struggling in society. In The Word from Lansing for August, MCC shares why faith and action are critical in supporting the state’s women and children, assisting nonpublic school families, and fighting against expansions to the payday lending system.

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