As we approach the end of the summer season there’s no shortage of ways to get involved in our political process in the light of our faith. Let’s get started …

The U.S. Catholic bishops support the Hyde Amendment and similar policies that prevent taxpayer dollars from being spent on elective abortions. It is critical for members of Congress to hear their constituents, whether you think they are for or against.

Unfortunately, the U.S. House has voted 219 to 208 in favor of H.R. 4502, a package of appropriations bills that currently excludes the 46-year-old Hyde Amendment.

You can find the most recent action alerts from the U.S. bishops here:

https://votervoice.net/USCCB/home.

The Catholic bishops of Iowa have written to our congressional delegation in support of immigration reform, especially allowing Dreamers and other undocumented workers to integrate as fully recognized members of our society. We need your help in asking Congress to support the enactment of immigration reform. Please contact your members of Congress by visiting the following links:

Click here for the sample message for the U.S. House

Click here for the sample message for the U.S. Senate

BISHOPS SPEAK OUT ON LEGISLATION

Following passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act in the U.S. Senate, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of the Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, issued the following statement, saying “We are grateful for the bipartisan efforts of members of the Senate to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. As the bishops wrote to all members of Congress in April, we are especially interested in how the package affects those on the margins of society and protects God’s creation.”

Bishop Coakley also welcomed the USDA’s update to the Thrifty Food Plan which considers the needs of families and individuals who are food insecure. “The resulting increase in SNAP benefit amounts will be a meaningful improvement in the lives of millions of people who rely on SNAP for basic nutrition,” he said.

The bishops have also commented in support of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The U.S. Bishops’ chairmen discuss the U.S. Department of Justice’s dismissal of a case involving conscience law.

ASSISTANCE FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN

Many families struggled due to the pandemic. Under the recently passed American Rescue Plan, many families with children will see a one-year increase in the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 for children 6-17 years of age and $3,600 for children under 6. Click here for more information on the benefit.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many of you have helped advocate for COVID-19 relief that supports those who are poor and vulnerable. Here’s some information about these resources.

POPE FRANCIS ON VACCINES

Pope Francis recently sent a message regarding vaccines. He said, “Thanks to God and to the work of many, we now have vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. They grant us the hope of ending the pandemic, but only if they are available to all and if we work together … Being vaccinated with vaccines authorized by the competent authorities is an act of love.”

The Iowa bishops wrote a letter last December on COVID-19 vaccines, explaining that “People may in good conscience use the vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, which made only limited use of those unethical cell lines (for lab testing of the vaccine). Morally speaking, the vaccine offered by these two companies is relatively remote from the evil of abortion, and so need not trouble anyone’s conscience to use either one.”

AND FINALLY,

The Iowa Catholic Conference is saying goodbye to Joan Thompson, our associate for research and communications, as she enters a new phase in her life in retirement. We already miss her!

We are also pleased to let you know that Sara Eide is returning to the ICC in a part-time role as Associate Director. Eide served as associate director and executive director of the Iowa Catholic Conference from 2001 to 2007 and subsequently worked in administration at MercyOne in Iowa.

Eide is a recipient of the National Catholic Education Association’s Leonard F. DeFiore Parental Choice Advocate Award and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University. She is a native of Dubuque and resides with her family in West Des Moines.