“As faithful Catholics, we must consider every issue and candidate through the lens of God’s Word.”

Faithful Citizenship for Iowa Catholics, 2016

While most political attention is being paid these days to the presidential campaign, every seat in the Iowa House is up for election this fall as well as half of the Senate seats.

The Iowa bishops’ “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” has a list of questions that can be asked of candidates here in the state. What would happen if each one of you contacted a local candidate about one or more of these important issues?

Prayer is an integral part of our discernment process before voting. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has issued a call to prayer highlighting matters of national concern. Click here for more information.

IOWA SCHOOL CHOICE SUMMIT

Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) staff appreciated the opportunity to update school administrators and parent leaders on legislative matters at the Iowa School Choice Summit last week. I know it’s difficult for many people to get away during the workday but it was great to see so many of you there.

We are encouraging the leadership of nonpublic schools to host candidates this fall for a discussion of issues important to parents, including Education Savings Accounts and School Tuition Organization tax credits to raise money for scholarships. Legislators are not mind readers and we need to be clear about what we are asking for so they can respond.

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE IOWA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Iowa Catholic Conference. The Catholic bishops of Iowa established the ICC on Nov. 30, 1966 as an “instrument by which the dioceses of Iowa could act mutually and cooperatively in matters of interdiocesan or statewide interest.”

During the next couple of months we will share some tidbits of information from our files. For example, in the Jan. 17, 1977 issue of this newsletter, we found a review of our legislative agenda, which included:

  • Correction reform
  • Juvenile justice
  • Welfare rights ‘adequate funding for families and elderly’
  • Tax reform ‘we believe in a just tax system for the little guy’
  • Criminal code revisions ‘protections for live-born infants, feticide” should be retained
  • Textbooks for public and nonpublic school children

Sound familiar? Apparently our Catholic social and moral teaching doesn’t change that much!

CATHOLIC PRINCIPLES, GOSPEL PRIORITIES

You are invited to an evening with John Carr on Sunday, Oct. 2 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at St. Pius X Church in Urbandale, IA. This presentation will help us view our lives through the principles and priorities of the Gospel.

Carr is the founder and director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. His initiative is focused on sharing the wisdom of Catholic Social Thought to help educate and encourage a new generation of Catholic leaders.

Carr is also the Washington, D.C. correspondent for America Magazine and served for over two decades as the director of the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human and Human Development.

Childcare for those two and above is free. To register for this free event contact Sherri Simmer at ssimmer@dmdiocese.org or call (515) 237-5058. We hope to see you there.

‘PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE’?

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, responded to a statement issued last week by the chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights upon the issuance of its report on “Peaceful Coexistence.”

Archbishop Lori said, “For the current Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, religious liberty is reduced to ‘nothing except hypocrisy,’ and religion is being used as a ‘weapon… by those seeking to deny others equality.’ He makes the shocking suggestion that Catholic, evangelical, orthodox Jewish, Mormon, and Muslim communities are comparable to fringe segregationists from the civil rights era. These statements painting those who support religious freedom with the broad brush of bigotry are reckless and reveal a profound disregard for the religious foundations of his own work.”

“We do not seek to impose our morality on anyone, but neither can we sacrifice it in our own lives and work … We ask that the work of our institutions be carried out by people who believe in our mission and respect a Christian witness. This is no different from a tobacco control organization not wishing to hire an advocate for smoking or a civil rights organization not wanting to hire someone with a history of racism or an animal rights group wishing to hire only vegetarians,” Archbishop Lori said.

AND FINALLY,

We are sad to report the passing of two friends of the Iowa Catholic Conference last Friday.

Sen. Joe Seng (D-Davenport) died after a long battle with brain cancer. While serving as chair of the Agriculture Committee, he was also a champion for nonpublic school students and the unborn. We really enjoyed working with him.

Msgr. Marvin Mottet of Davenport was a long-time fighter for social justice. According to The Catholic Messenger diocesan newspaper, he helped form the Catholic Interracial Council as well as Quad Cities Interfaith in Davenport. He also served as the national executive director of the Campaign for Human Development. Msgr. Mottet came up with the “Two Feet of Social Action” metaphor that has been discussed in countless presentations over the years.

May they rest in peace until awakened to glory.