BISHOPS HIGHLIGHT 1919 PROGRAM OF SOCIAL RECONSTRUCTION

For Labor Day, the U.S. Catholic bishops have issued a statement on the one-hundred-year-old United States Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction. The Program was published in 1919 after the end of World War I as a guide for the economic changes during that time period.

In the statement, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice in Florida, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, highlights key themes from Catholic social teaching presented in the Bishops’ Program. He notes that Subsidiarity, Monopoly Power and Wage Suppression, the Universal Destination of Goods and Employee Ownership, and Solidarity and Unions are pertinent to the present economic difficulties working people face in the United States.

Click here for the full statement: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/labor-employment/labor-day-statement-2019.cfm.

ACTION ALERT – SUPPORT THE START TREATY

shutterstock_448419790The USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development has issued an action alert in support of the START nuclear arms treaty. Catholic teaching on nuclear weapons has been clear since St. John XXIII stated in Pacem in Terris “nuclear weapons must be banned” (no.112) and has been reaffirmed consistently by the U.S. bishops condemning nuclear weapons. Click here for the action alert.

NEW RULE UNDERMINES EXISTING PROTECTIONS FOR IMMIGRANT CHILDREN

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, on Aug. 23 condemned the final rule published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) relating to the care and custody of immigrant children under the Flores Settlement Agreement. The agreement sets forth critical protections regarding the care, custody, and release of immigrant children who are in federal custody, including the general requirements that they be housed in the least restrictive setting and in licensed facilities for childcare.

The rule will drastically undermine existing Flores protections for immigrant children in federal custody.

“It is an attempt by the Administration to circumvent existing obligations and undermine critical protections for these children,” said Vásquez. “This rule will jeopardize the well-being and humane treatment of immigrant children in federal custody and will result in children suffering long-lasting consequences of being held for prolonged periods in family detention. We oppose this rule that we believe is unlawful and inhumane. Countless children will be harmed by this new rule and this is simply not acceptable.”

USCCB also opposed this rule when it was initially proposed by DHS and HHS by submitting comments detailing concerns with the rule and urging it be rescinded.

ADMINISTRATION ENFORCES CONSCIENCE LAW ON ABORTION

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights announced Aug. 28 that it is taking corrective action against the University of Vermont Medical Center for forcing a nurse to participate in an elective abortion against the nurse’s beliefs, in violation of the federal Church amendment. The Church amendment, enacted in 1973, prohibits recipients of various federal health program funding from forcing health care personnel to perform or participate in abortions against their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of Worcester, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement in response to this enforcement action:

“It is a grotesque violation of civil rights, and of federal law, to force someone to perform or participate in an abortion against their beliefs. The action by the University of Vermont Medical Center (UVMMC), forcing a nurse to participate in the killing of a defenseless unborn child under threat of job loss, and other coercive pressure, is abhorrent. We commend and thank the Administration for taking corrective action to enforce the law. Sadly, such violations of federal conscience laws are not infrequent. We hope that today’s action, and future actions by this Administration, will help ensure that no one is forced to participate in an abortion against their beliefs.”

POLL SHOWS GROWING SUPPORT FOR SCHOOL CHOICE

Poll results released by Education Next, a project of Harvard and Stanford universities, shows growing support for school choice across the country since 2016.

“We believe that it is vital that all families have the freedom to choose the best education for their child, and private school options have to be in the mix for states to truly improve educational outcomes,” said John Schilling, President of the American Federation of Children. Constituencies like parents, African Americans and Hispanics register the highest support for school choice policies.

Notably, support for vouchers for all families has risen from 45 percent in 2016 to 55 percent today – a 22 percent increase in just three years. Support for tax credit scholarships – similar to the School Tuition Organization program in Iowa – has risen from 53 to 58 percent.