As we approach the end of the year, the federal government is working to wrap up consideration of several issues that affect human life and dignity here and around the world. We encourage you to contact the government during the next few days with your opinion on these issues:

The Administration has proposed a “public charge” rule that would severely hamper immigrants’ ability to care for their families and secure legal immigration status.“Public charge” is one of several eligibility requirements the federal government considers when determining whether to admit an individual into the U.S. or allow an immigrant to adjust status and become a lawful permanent resident (or to receive a Green Card).

The goal is that people coming to the U.S. would be economically self-sufficient and not overly reliant on government resources. For many years, the public charge analysis focused on only use of certain government benefits, such as cash assistance.

Through the proposed rule, unfortunately, the Administration is seeking to significantly expand the public benefits – and number of immigrants and nonimmigrants – considered in its public charge analysis. To see a sample comment on the rule, go to: http://cqrcengage.com/justiceforimmigrants/.Make sure you rewrite the message to make it in your own unique style. Comments are due by next Monday, Dec. 10.

Congress is also working to finalize the budget. Tell your members of Congress to oppose cuts and to provide the highest funding levels for life-saving foreign aid:  https://support.crs.org/act/share-journey-12

After analysis, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has determined that the Senate’s revised version of the First Step Act (S. 3649) will improve the lives of millions of people impacted by the federal criminal justice system. The culmination of years of bipartisan efforts at reform, the Act combines measures that will improve prisons and sentencing. Contact Sen. Ernst and Sen. Grassley here: https://www.votervoice.net/USCCB/campaigns/61813/respond.

Leaders of diverse faiths and religious nonprofits asked Congress to repeal a recent change to the Internal Revenue Code in Section 512(a)(7) that threatens to tax nonprofit organizations — including houses of worship — for the cost of parking and transit benefits provided to their employees. Many have referred to this provision as the “parking lot tax.”

Contact your U.S. senators and representatives todayand ask them to repeal Section 512(a)(7).

ICC RELEASES 2019 LEGISLATIVE PRINCIPLES

The Iowa Catholic Conference has announced its 2019 Legislative Principles and Concerns.The bishops also released a letter discussing gun legislation, saying “We believe that weapons increasingly capable of inflicting great suffering in a short period of time are simply too accessible. The right to bear arms as found in our Constitution must be balanced against the safety and well-being of the populace as a whole.” Specifically, the bishops ask legislators to consider the passage of a law providing for Gun Violence Restraining Orders, as well as to reject legislation that would restrict the state’s ability to regulate weapons in the future.

The documents are available from the front page of our website at www.iowacatholicconference.org. We encourage you to reflect on how this advice fits with Scripture and Catholic social teaching.

U.S. BISHOPS ADDRESS RACISM; SEXUAL ABUSE CRISIS

At their meeting last month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the formal statement, “Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism.”You can read it at http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/racism/upload/open-wide-our-hearts.pdf.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre, of Houma-Thibodaux, LA, Chairman of U.S. Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Chair of the Sub-committee on African American Affairs within the Cultural Diversity Committee, issued the following statement:

“The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years.”

In addition, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the bishops are on course to accomplish several goals, including:

  • To do what they can to get to the bottom of the Archbishop McCarrick situation;
  • to make reporting of abuse and misconduct by bishops easier; and,
  • to develop a means of holding bishops accountable that is genuinely independent, duly authorized, and has substantial lay involvement.

You can continue to check our Facebook page for updates on this issue from the Iowa bishops.

AND FINALLY,

A hearing on Planned Parenthood’s motion for summary judgment on the “Heartbeat” abortion law is scheduled at the Polk County Courthouse for tomorrow, Dec. 7 at 10:30 a.m. Depending on the judge’s ruling, this may be the only opportunity for the public to witness to the fight for the heartbeat bill. The courtroom will fill up fast, so come early to show your support of Iowa’s unborn children.