To receive occasional alerts from the Iowa Catholic Conference, text the word IOWACATHOLIC to 50457.

DON’T CUT SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE TO LOW-INCOME STUDENTS

The Iowa Catholic Conference is encouraging you to contact your members of Congress and the IRS to stop a proposed rule that could cut the number of scholarship available for students to attend a K-12 nonpublic school.

The IRS recently proposed regulations which would limit the federal deductibility of certain donations to School Tuition Organizations (STOs) in Iowa. Since 2006, these STOs have provided more than $130 million in scholarships to lower-income children attending Catholic and other nonpublic schools in the state. Nationwide, STOs serve more than 250,000 children in 18 states.

We request that STOs be exempted from this rule-making process as we believe it would reduce the number of scholarships available. Please send a message to Senators Grassley and Ernst and your member of the U.S. House and ask for their assistance in the matter. Click here for the alerts and sample messages. Thanks for your help.

CONTACT YOUR CANDIDATES NOW

Election season is well underway and now is the time to contact candidates for office about your concerns. They’re listening! Click here for the Iowa Secretary of State’s list of candidates.

The bishops of Iowa have released their letter on voting and pursuing the common good. Click here for the letter and other resources. The Iowa Catholic Conference (ICC) does not endorse or oppose candidates or political parties.

‘MERCY IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM’ TO BE HELD OCT. 8

Iowans Against the Death Penalty is sponsoring “Mercy in the Criminal

Justice System,” on Monday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom at the Drake Legal Clinic, 2400 University Ave. in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public.

Jeanne Bishop will present her experience with forgiveness. She is the sister of Nancy Bishop Langert, who was shot to death at age 25 along with her husband and their unborn child. Since the murders of her family members, Jeanne Bishop has been a prominent advocate for gun violence prevention, abolition of the death penalty, exoneration of the innocent and the role of faith in the debate over executions.

Ms. Bishop,  is the author of “Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer” (Westminster John Knox Press 2015). She is an adjunct professor of law at Northwestern and a recipient of its alumni award for public service. Ms. Bishop is an Assistant Public Defender in the Office of the Cook County (IL) Public Defender.

The event is co-sponsored by Iowa Coalition 4 Juvenile Justice (a focus group of Iowa CURE), along with co-sponsors Iowans Against the Death Penalty (IADP); The Iowa Catholic Conference; and Drake University student groups Constitutional Law Society and the Christian Legal Society.

U.S. BISHOPS RESPOND TO ABUSE SCANDALS

Since 2002, Catholic dioceses around the country have followed the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” which provides for a prompt and compassionate response to victims, reporting the abuse of minors to civil authorities, the removal of offenders and ongoing action and training to prevent abuse.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Administrative Committee has approved the following actions:

Establishment of a third-party reporting system that will receive complaints of sexual abuse of minors by a bishop and sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with adults by a bishop and will direct those complaints to the appropriate ecclesiastical authority and, as required by applicable law, to civil authorities.

To develop proposals for policies addressing restrictions on bishops who were removed or resigned because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors or sexual harassment of or misconduct with adults, including seminarians and priests.

To developing a Code of Conduct for bishops regarding the sexual abuse of a minor; sexual harassment of or sexual misconduct with an adult; or negligence in the exercise of his office related to such cases.

Supporting a full investigation into the situation surrounding Archbishop McCarrick, including his alleged assaults on minors, priests, and seminarians, as well any responses made to those allegations. Such an investigation should rely upon lay experts in relevant fields, such as law enforcement and social services.

The Administrative Committee said that for survivors of sexual abuse, “these days may re-open deep wounds.” Victims Assistance Coordinators are available in every diocese to help find resources. Those who have been abused should never hesitate to contact local law enforcement.

FEDERAL UPDATES

Refugees and immigrants

The Administration announced that the level of refugees allowed into the United States will be at 30,000 refugees for 2019. This is the lowest number set in the history of the U.S. refugee admissions program which was formally created in 1980.

Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:

“The announcement of the Presidential Determination is deeply disturbing and leaves many human lives in danger. To cut off protection for many who are fleeing persecution, at a time of unprecedented global humanitarian need, contradicts who we are as a nation. Offering refuge to those fleeing violence, torture, or religious persecution is a cornerstone of our history. We as a country are blessed with vast resources making us capable of securely welcoming those fleeing harm.”

Farm Bill

The Farm Bill Conference Committee, which is made up of members from both chambers of Congress, continues to work on creating the final version of the Farm Bill.

While the rest of Congress prepares to evaluate the bill, it’s an important time to lift our voices in support of key improvements to food aid programs. You can call your Representative’s office today by dialing 866-596-7030. You’ll hear a brief recorded message with talking points first, and then you’ll be connected to your Representative’s office. By speaking out to make international food aid programs more effective and efficient, you help families thrive.

Assisted suicide

Two new bilingual videos to assist our efforts in opposing assisted suicide are now available. You can find them on the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF) website at www.patientsrightsaction.org/videos.

Novena

You are encouraged to keep up your Novena prayers and emails to Congress.  The Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life concludes this Friday. For more information go to www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/call-to-prayer/legal-protection-of-human-life.cfm.

This week’s letter to Congress covers the work by abortion advocates and their allies in elected office to make unborn children something other than human beings.  Please contact your member of Congress and two Senatorsand let them that dehumanizing any person is wrong.