The Iowa bishops have released a statement on the humanitarian issue on the southern border of the United States.
It reads, in part: “We appreciate government officials for responding as best they can to this crisis and ask them to make sure that legal services are available to unaccompanied children. Children without family in the U.S. are at risk of being sent back to an unsafe situation. The best interests of these children should be a priority.” You can find the entire statement here.
You’ll notice that we have unveiled our newly-redesigned website at www.iowacatholicconference.org. It provides additional information on issues and is a lot easier to keep updated.
At the national level, Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, testified before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday that the rise of the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border represents a “test of our moral character” of the nation. “We must not fail this test,” he added. “We must not turn our back on them.”
“Over the long-term, there must be a concerted effort to address the root causes of this exodus, specifically the rampant violence in the region,” Bishop Seitz said. “As part of this effort, humane reintegration practices and prevention programs investing in youth should complement anti-violence efforts.”
Fortnight for Freedom
The annual Fortnight for Freedom continues until July 4 with the goal of emphasizing the fundamental right of religious freedom. The fortnight is held at “a time when our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power – St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, St. John the Baptist, Ss. Peter and Paul and the first martyrs of the Church of Rome,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Current threats to religious freedom involve: requirements for church-related groups to follow the HHS mandate for sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs; Catholic foster care and adoption services; state immigration laws that infringe on Christian charity and pastoral care; discrimination against small church congregations and Catholic humanitarian services; and Christian students on campus. For more information go to www.fortnight4freedom.com.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to release its decision on the Hobby Lobby for-profit business “contraceptive mandate” case on Monday morning.
Governor vetoes bill
One more follow-up to the 2014 legislative session – Gov. Branstad ended up vetoing the entire “one-time spending” bill, Senate File 2363. He said the most recent state revenue projection, which occurred since the legislature adjourned, showed significant decline in projected revenues. We had worked on a provision of the bill which included a $2 million appropriation for LIHEAP, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. LIHEAP helps lower-income people pay heating bills and assists with emergency propane deliveries. The community action agencies of Iowa were asking for an one-time appropriation for LIHEAP to help replace funds used last winter and enable the pre-purchase of propane when it’s cheaper this time of the year.
U.S. bishops urge action on carbon pollution to stem climate change
The U.S. bishops have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “to develop standards to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants and thereby mitigate climate change” in a May 29 letter from Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“The USCCB recognizes the importance of finding means to reduce carbon pollution,” Archbishop Wenski said. “These standards should protect the health and welfare of all people, especially children, the elderly, as well as poor and vulnerable communities, from harmful pollution emitted from power plants and from the impacts of climate change.” The letter can be found at www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/environment/environmental-justice-program/upload/letter-to-epa-from-archbishop-wenski-on-carbon-emissions-standards-2014-05-29.pdf.
The Iowa Catholic Conference is pleased to host the 2014 meeting of the Midwest Catholic Education Advocates next month. Attendees are mainly Catholic Conference staff from around the Midwest.