Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

 

Adoption Awareness Training

An Infant Adoption Awareness Training under the auspices of Catholic Charities will be held July 12 at the Diocese of Orlando Chancery Office (50 E. Robinson St., Orlando) from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. RSVP at www.adoptionatwork.org or contact the FL Training Coordinator, Geralyn Ryan, at 352-219-7248 or ryanlmz@yahoo.com .  This event is open to anyone but will be of special assistance to pregnancy center staff in reaching out to their clients and helping them with an adoption plan option. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

New Wine in Old Wineskins: Ministry Formation Day

Join us on July 30 as we dialogue on prayer, purpose, participation, and process and look deeper into the theology of ministry; defining what it means to be a “minister” in the parish setting. This day will be held at San Pedro Center (2400 Dike Road, Winter Park) from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The cost to attend is $20.00. Please register online at www.sanpedrocenter.org

Spirit to Serve, Living to Serve Day of Reflection

This day, August 27 held at Holy Family Church, Orlando, is dedicated to those who serve others or who may be discerning a call to ministry. Come away for a day to reflect on our relationships to God, to others and to ourselves.  Fr. Bruce Nieli, CSP will be the keynote speaker. Topics include: Formation and Vocation, Service and Evangelization, and Advocacy and Transformation. Register by contacting eclayton@orlandodiocese.org; 407-246-4819. 

Invite a Catholic Relief Services Global Fellow to Your Parish

Catholic Relief Services Global Fellows Program provides a way for parishioners to connect with sisters and brothers living in developing nations around the world. Priests and deacons who have trained as CRS Global Fellows travel to U.S. parishes to bear witness on what life is like for the two billion men, women and children who live in poverty throughout our world. There are four Global Fellows in Florida and others is surrounding states in the Southeast who are ready to speak in your parish about the work of Catholic Relief Services on behalf of the Catholic community in the U.S. There is no charge for these speaking engagements, and any related collection is at the discretion of the parish. To invite a Global Fellow to your parish or community, please contact the Diocesan CRS Coordinator, Stephanie Bosse at 407-246-4819 or email: rlointern@orlandodiocese.org

25th Annual Florida Statewide RESPECT LIFE CONFERENCE: “With God All Things Are Possible”

The 25th annual Florida Statewide Respect Life Conference will be held October 14-15 in Sarasota Florida. The keynote speaker will be Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City. Other guest speakers include:

?Abby Johnson, Former Planned Parenthood Director, Bryan, TX, Author of unPLANNED

?Dale Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain to Florida’s Death Row, Author of Now I Walk on Death Row

?Sheila Hopkins, Florida Catholic Conference,  Associate Director for Social Concerns/Respect Life, Celebrating Success of Pro-life Bills in FL Legislative Session

The conference will be held at Bishop Nevins Academy/St. Martha School, Sarasota, FL. Registration fee: $75 per person, $65 for students and $140 for married couples. Click here for hotel options with reasonable rates. The conference is sponsored by the Florida Catholic Conference and hosted by the Diocese of Venice. Contact (941) 441-1112 or kopko@dioceseofvenice.org for more information. 

Food Security & Economic Justice Study Guide

National Catholic Rural Life Center offers a new educational resource titled “Food Security and Economic Justice: A Faith-Based Study Guide on Poverty and Hunger.” This study guide applies Catholic social teaching to the problems of hunger and poverty in a world of abundance, and how we can act to resolve this contradiction. The study guide can be used for individual learning or group discussions and is now available online at NCRLC website.   **From now until Aug. 31, receive 20% off all study and leader’s guide orders! Coupon code: 20percent.

White House Announces Multi-Agency Rural Council

The White House has announced the formation of a Rural Council to address challenges facing rural communities and help improve the implementation of the Obama Administration’s rural strategies. The Council will be comprised of Cabinet members from over twenty agencies and offices. 

The Council will focus on rural economic development in ten key areas: job training, agriculture, credit access, energy innovation, regional networks, expansion of health technology, increased education, broadband internet access, infrastructure investment, and opportunities on working and public lands. 

Care for Creation

Environmentalism and the Pro-life Movement

In a provocative article on LifeSiteNews, John Jalsevac observes that many people involved in the pro-life movement – himself included – are increasingly recognizing that care for creation is a key part of protecting human life and dignity.  Jalsevac says that the pro-life community’s increasingly prevalent commitment to care for creation is a new, and, I believe, commendable backlash against two different excesses: that of a radical form of capitalism that views incessant wealth creation as the primary purpose of human life, and that of a radical environmentalism that views humans as little more than a pest to be carefully controlled or even eliminated.  

The article echoes the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI: If we wish to build true peace, how can we separate, or even set at odds, the protection of the environment and the protection of human life, including the life of the unborn?

Read Jalsevac’s entire article here, and find the answer to What does the Church say about population control and climate change? here (on page 8). 

NOCERRC Interviews Catholic Climate Ambassador

The National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy (NOCERCC) recently interviewed Patty Bowman, Director of Social Outreach and Advocacy at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, about her work as a Catholic Climate Ambassador. 

In the interview, Patty describes that she was inspired to become an Ambassador because she believe[s] that care for creation in general, and climate change issues in particular, are very much at the heart of our Catholic Social Teaching, but many Catholics are not aware of the church’s teaching in this area. 

Patty shared that Catholic Climate Ambassador present an overview of the Catholic teaching on climate change, touching on some of the scientific issues, positions and statements from the Vatican and the U.S. bishops on climate change, and offering some action steps that individual Catholics can take, with particular attention paid to the St. Francis Pledge. 

Read the entire interview here and learn how to schedule a Catholic Climate Ambassador to speak at your school, parish or diocese here. 

EEN on Mercury and the Unborn

The Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), a member of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE), continues to speak out on the dangers to human health and dignity—particularly for the unborn—of mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants.  On Thursday, May 26, EEN and others from the faith community offered testimony at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearings.  They affirmed the agency’s proposed Mercury & Air Toxics Standards as essential in protecting people – particularly the unborn – from the adverse health and developmental effects of power plant toxic emissions. 

Mitch C. Hescox, EEN’s President & CEO, pointedly testified: How many lives have been hindered by our inaction to limit our unborn children’s exposure to this threat? One child hindered from reaching his or her fullest potential because of our sinful in action is too many.  Read other hearing testimonies from Evangelical Christians.

The EPA is accepting public comment on the Proposed Mercury & Air Toxics Standards until July 5, and you can learn more about the Proposal and how to comment here.

Catholic Organizations to join other Faith Leaders Calling for Protections for the Unborn and Young Children

Major Catholic organizations will soon join others in the faith community to urge the implementation of an Environmental Protection Agency Rule that would limit toxic emissions such as mercury, lead and arsenic from power plants and spare children in the womb, the very young and others from environmental harm.

At one of three hearings held on May 24, EPA officials heard from Rabbi Daniel Swartz of Scranton, PA who said that by allowing toxic emissions from power plants to continue we have, in effect, subsidized the poisoning of fetuses and children.  Later, Rev. Mitch Hescox, president of the NRPE-member Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN), said, We are hindering children from an abundant life . . . because we failed to clean up this terrible poison [mercury].  Joy Bergey of Chestnut Hill (PA) United Methodist Church echoed this call.

Learn more about the EPA’s proposed Power Plant Air Toxics Standard: Click here to see the Evangelical Environmental Network’s Campaign to protect the unborn.

High School Adopts Campus-Wide Environmental Plan

Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, IL has adopted a comprehensive, campus-wide environmental plan.  Titled “Caring for God’s Resources,” the plan is Marian’s belief that organizations, like individuals, must assume responsibility as tenants of Earth. The goal is to create an environment that protects God’s resources and perpetuates a sustainable ecological cycle.

As part of “Caring for God’s Resources,” Marian has begun working with Environmental Services of Indiana to identify specific ways to reduce its carbon footprint by reducing fuel consumption with fleet modernization, installing energy-saving light fixtures, a tank-less hot water heater, and a system of solar panels.  Additionally, Marian has partnered with Skyline Disposal of Chicago Heights to increase recycling and ultimately achieve the goal of producing zero waste. Ultimately, the goal of “Caring for God’s Resources” is to challenge students to become profoundly involved in developing and sustaining continuous ecological lifestyles while fostering that growth through personal actions and choices.  Read more about this impressive initiative.

Environmental Sustainability in the Catholic Health Ministry

At its just-concluded annual assembly, the Catholic Health Association of the United States had a workshop on how to incorporate environmental sustainability into the Catholic health ministry.  In Good Health for the Good Earth: Creating a Greening Program in Catholic Health Care, Karen Schwartz and David McCombs of Bon Secours Health System described how the organization developed a cost effective, integrated, system-wide Ecological Stewardship (Greening) initiative.  Read more about CHA’s Assembly and environmental work.

UK’s Livesimply Award Recognizes Parishes

The Catholic Church in the UK has revised a popular award program designed to recognize Catholic parishes that care for creation and the poor by living simpler, more sustainable lives.  The livesimply award, developed by the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) and Eco-congregation England and Wales, offers new resources to help parishes live simply, sustainability with creation, and in solidarity with people in poverty.  Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton and chairman of the International Department of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, announced the revised program on May 20, saying We want to be known as people who care for God’s Creation, and the new award helps parishes to do practical things that make a difference to help treasure our world.

For a parish community to be considered for the livesimply award they must demonstrate at least nine ways in which it is putting into practice the three principles of livesimply:

To live simply: take only what we need from the earth, not to demand more and more.

To live sustainably: take account of the impact of our choices on other people and on the earth that nourishes us.

To live in solidarity: with those living in poverty is to make a strong and lasting commitment to the common good so that all people can live life to the full.

Read more about the award here and this story about its new offerings.

Advocacy Efforts

Support Ban on Patenting of Human Beings

The House of Representatives is due to take up the American Invents Act on patent reform, H.R. 1249. Within this bill is a provision to ensure that the longstanding policy against granting a patent on a human organism is retained in law.  Please see NCHLA’s Action Alert at: nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=297

Senators Introduce Bill to Reform Farm Payments.

Last week, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) introduced the Rural America Preservation Act of 2011, a bill designed to lower the per farm cap on farm commodity program payments. The bill is also designed to simplify eligibility and ensure that payments flow to working farmers.

Senator Grassley has previously championed similar legislation. Although such efforts received strong bipartisan support in the Senate, no such bill has become law. Sen. Grassley makes it clear that he is not out to limit the size of farms. In his remarks on the Senate floor, he said: “There’s no problem with a farmer growing his operation, but the taxpayer should not have to subsidize it.  There comes a point where some farms reach levels that allow them to weather the tough financial times on their own.  Smaller farms do not have the same luxury, but they play a pivotal role in producing this nation’s food.”

Read more about the payment limits and draft legislation at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition website.

Resources

More Resources Now Available in Spanish, Recursos en Español

The Spanish edition of the Coalition website has been updated with 3 newly translated resources. Both the Primer on Catholic Teaching and Climate Change and Climate Change informed by the 7 Principles of Catholic Social Teaching can now be found in Spanish on the Spanish Catholic Teaching– Enseñanzas Católicas page (scroll down to bottom of page).

Additionally the Planning Guide for Taking the St. Francis Pledge is also now translated into Spanish and is now available on the Spanish Resources – Recursos page.  We also wish to highlight another resource in available Spanish, Global Climate Change and Our Catholic Response, un recursos en Español, El cambio climático y nuestra respuesta católica  which was produced by the USCCB with CRS for Catholics Confront Global Poverty campaign, por Los católicos combaten la pobreza mundial.