Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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2012 St. Augustine March for Life

2012 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, February 12-15

Advent Helpers Mass and Rosary Procession with Bishop Noonan

Catholic Days at the Capitol, February 7-9, 2012

Farm Bill: Uncertainty in Deficit Reduction Talks

Jobs Bill Components Debated as Unemployment Rate Drops

Resources

Senate Sends First “Minibus” Package to Conference

Stewards of the Earth

Boston Considers Environmental Justice

Catholic Health Association of the United States

Connections Between Environment, Human Dignity and Poverty

Most Serious Problem Confronting Humanity

Portland’s Business Leader Tom Kelly: Promoting Green and Giving Back

 

 

Advent Helpers Mass and Rosary Procession with Bishop Noonan

The next Helpers Mass and Rosary procession will be held at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church (861 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs) on Saturday, December 3, beginning with Mass at 8:00 a.m. Bishop Noonan will celebrate Mass and lead us in the rosary afterwards at the nearby abortion facility on Maitland Ave. Please join us in praying for the protection of human life. For more information, contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice; 407-246-4819; advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org.

 

2012 St. Augustine March for Life

Join the Diocese of Orlando on Saturday, January 14 as we travel to St. Augustine Florida to mark the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v Wade legalizing abortion in the United States.  The March begins at the Mission Nombre de Dios-The Great Cross- and concludes in the public plaza with talks by nationally recognized Pro-Life Speakers. The Diocese of Orlando will have buses leaving from Brevard, Orange, and Volusia Counties. The cost for the bus is $25 per person; children under 12 are free. Call the Office of Advocacy and Justice at 407-246-4819 for more information or to register. To read more about the march, visit: www.marchforlifestaugustine.com   

 

Catholic Days at the Capitol, February 7-9, 2012

Join Catholics from around the State of Florida in Tallahassee for the annual Catholic Days at the Capitol under the direction of the Florida Catholic Conference, the Florida Bishops public policy agency. We will present our legislative concerns to our local senators and representatives.  We will also have the opportunity to attend the Legislative Luncheon with our bishops as well as the 37th annual Red Mass to pray for members of the legal profession. Buses are available. This is a great opportunity to form relationships and live out our calling to be faithful citizens. Deadline to register: January 25, 2012. Click here to download the registration form <https://www.orlandodiocese.org/images/stories/advocacy_justice/downloads/rights_responsibilities/cdac_2012.pdf> . Please call 407-246-4819 or email:  eclayton@orlandodiocese.org for information.

 

2012 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, February 12-15

The Catholic Social Ministry Gathering is an annual event held in Washington, D.C., and co-sponsored by 19 national Catholic organizations, including NCRLC. This national Gathering is open to all who wish to expand their understanding of Catholic social teaching and who want to connect with others carrying out Catholic social ministry across the country.

A centerpiece of the Gathering is a constituency visit to Capitol Hill where we bring our concerns about policies affecting those who are poor and vulnerable to our legislators. The four-day event also features keynote speakers, briefings, workshops, and strategy sessions on topics essential to our various ministries. Registration packages are available, and discount rates apply through mid-December 2011.

Watch for registration details coming in November 2011. http://www.usccb.org/about/justice-peace-and-human-development/catholic-social-ministry-gathering/

Stewards of the Earth 

Bishop Blaire Recognizes Connections Between Environment, Human Life/Dignity and Poverty

On November 7, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, CA, and Chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, addressed the Christian vocation to cultivate and care for God’s good gift of Creation in a speech to an Ecumenical gathering in Louisville, Kentucky.  Bishop Blaire identified how this commitment connects to Catholic concerns for human life and human dignity – particularly of the poor and vulnerable.

Bishop Blaire said that God’s generous gift of creation demands a response back to God and a duty to steward what God has given to us for the good of all the human family.  The bishop highlighted how environmental degradation compromises human life and dignity, especially of the poor and vulnerable.  A prime example, he continued, are the adverse impacts which mercury, toxic air pollution and climate change have on human life, particularly on the unborn, in the case of mercury pollution and future generations in the case of climate change.  Read the entire text of the speech here.

 

Archbishop of San Salvador says Climate Change Is ‘Most Serious Problem Confronting Humanity’

From Independent Catholic News: Archbishop Jose Luis Escobar Alas of San Salvador said that climate change is the most serious problem confronting humanity at the present time. He said urgent steps are needed to reduce to reduce global warming, but the causes are so directly linked to economic interests, he thinks will be very difficult to deal with the problem  – not only in El Salvador but throughout the world.

Msgr. Escobar said El Salvador should do its part, however, it is the industrialized countries that are causing the most harm.

The Archbishop welcomed a request made by President Mauricio Funes, calling for countries that most affect the climate to accept responsibility and act to prevent future catastrophes. The statements by the President were made during the summit that took place in the Central American country after a tropical storm tore through the region for ten days. Torrential rains caused more than a hundred deaths, thousands of homeless and severe damage in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

“Events like the storm that hit us this time are repeated year after year, and the people are always affected, the poorest people”, said the Archbishop of San Salvador. Mgr Escobar Alas concluded his usual press conference on Sunday saying that El Salvador should take an active part in solving the problem and not just wait for other countries to act.  Read the report here.

 

Catholic Health Association of the United States

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) recently sponsored a webinar titled “Climate Change: Health Impact and Catholic Mission,” which featured Stephanie Chalupka, a nurse researcher and environmental health expert, and Dan Misleh of the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change.

The webinar considered how the adverse impacts of climate change and environmental degradation – which include increasing severity and frequency of extreme weather events around the world, including heat waves, floods and droughts – is of particular concern for the Catholic health care ministry.  The presenters pointed out that [t]he young, the elderly and the poor are at particular risk of adverse health consequences related to weather extremes. 

In light of this, Chalupka asserted that [c]limate change is both a moral and a health issue and in fact it may be a greater health care challenge.  In addition, Misleh reaffirmed that for Catholics, Climate change is a life issue. This is really important for us, because it talks not just about lives today, it’s also about future generations.  Read more here.

 

Boston Considers Environmental Justice

The Archdiocese of Boston’s newspaper, The Pilot, reported on the recent Annual Justice Convocation.  Coalition Project Manager, Dan DiLeo offered a workshop on Environmental Justice and demonstrated the idea of stewardship over creation as part of the Catholic calling. He also created his session based on a framework of the worldview of St. Francis. He pointed to the effects of environmental degradation on the lives of poor people around the world –who contribute the least to the problem, but suffer the damages from it the most.

The article also quotes attendee Eileen Hannon, a parishioner at St. Catherine of Siena in Norwood: I was interested in the term ‘environmental justice’ and trying to figure out: what does that mean? What took me by surprise, I think, is that it really has been part of the Catholic faith agenda.  Read the entire article here.   

REMEMBER: if you would like to schedule a Catholic Climate Ambassador to speak at your parish, school or diocese, visit here.

 

Portland’s Business Leader Tom Kelly: Promoting Green and Giving Back

The Archdiocese of Portland’s (OR) Catholic Sentinel shared a story about Tom Kelly, owner of Kelly Remodeling.  Tom Kelly is a longtime supporter of Catholic education in the Archdiocese and one of the first people to see that businesses and environmentalists can be partners to mutual benefit.

The story recounts that Kelly, a graduate of  Portland’s Jesuit High, has become known as the “Dean of Green”: utilizing green technology to remodel buildings throughout the Northwest.  His Catholic upbringing taught him the value of treating all people equally and that those with means should give back to the benefit of all of society.  For example, he supports increasing taxes on the wealthy.   Tom was lead fundraiser for a history-making classroom building at Holy Redeemer School in North Portland. Built in 2005, it was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified Catholic school construction project.

Additionally, the story says that [r]ecently, Kelly was honorary co-chair of a project to renovate the community center at St. Andrew Parish in Northeast Portland. He is chair of Loaves and Fishes, which delivers meals to homebound seniors and people with disabilities. He has been president of Rotary Club and chair of Volunteers of America.  Read the entire story here.

 

Resources

  • Christian Simplicity: Planning ahead for Lent 2012
  • Passionist Earth & Spirit Center <http://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/>  announces their Lenten program resources called Lent 4.5: Christian Simplicity. <http://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/lent45/>
  • Lent 4.5 takes advantage of people’s desire to do something more for Lent, encouraging participants to pray and learn about ways to protect God’s creation, embrace Gospel justice, and nurture their own spirituality. The seven-week Lenten program provides your parish or congregation with a new approach to the traditional Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.  Orders placed by December 1st will receive a free tool kit to administer the program with ease. We invite you to check out their website, http://www.earthandspiritcenter.org/lent45/,  and see the video explaining the program.

 

Senate Sends First “Minibus” Package to Conference

The Senate’s strategy of moving forward spending bills for FY2012 in bundles, instead of as one large omnibus package, seems to be bearing fruit. By a vote of 69-30, the Senate approved funding for the Department of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Science, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development. This “minibus” bill will now head to conference with the House of Representatives, which funded these departments at lower levels. The conference will attempt to bridge the gaps in funding between the bills passed by both chambers of Congress.

In the Senate version of the bill, the funding levels were set at $19.78 billion for the Department of Agriculture, $52.7 billion for the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and Science, $55.3 billion for the Department(s) of Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, for a total of $109.5 billion. By contrast, the House bill funded these departments at a total of $103.7 billion. The House-passed Department of Agriculture funding was $17.25 billion; Commerce-Justice-Science was $50.2 billion and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development was $47.7 billion.

It is important to note the difference in funding in the House and Senate Agriculture bills for the Women, Infants and Children’s nutrition program. The Senate bill would provide $6.6 billion, just shy of the fiscal 2011 level of $6.7 billion. The House bill would provide $6 billion.

The Senate will begin debate on its second “minibus” appropriations bills as soon as Thursday, November 3, 2011 with hopes of completing its work before the Thanksgiving recess. The second “minibus” will combine the Energy-Water (HR 2354); Financial Services (S 1573); and State-Foreign Operations (S 1601) bills. The White House has requested that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) leave the State-Foreign Operations bill (S 1601) out of this package and replace it with the Homeland Security (HR 2017) bill instead.

Catholic Charities USA will continue to monitor the movement of these critical legislative initiatives. If you have any questions please contact Ron Jackson, Senior Director-Government Affairs, at rjackson@catholiccharitiesusa.org.

 

Jobs Bill Components Debated as Unemployment Rate Drops

The Senate leadership continued their strategy of bringing components of President Obama’s American Jobs Act to the floor for a vote as economic news brought a glimmer of hope to the proceedings. Senators voted 51-49 on a bill (S 1769) that would have provided $60 billion in transportation spending and the creation of a national infrastructure bank. Because the bill did not win 60 votes, it fell short of being able to advance to an up-or-down vote.

In addition, the Senate voted (47-53) against the Long-term Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2011 (S.1786,) a counterproposal that would extend the highway trust fund for two years. However, reports surfaced late in the week that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works panel, was considering working with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the ranking member, to bring a two-year surface bipartisan transportation bill to the floor of the Senate.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the US economy added 80,000 payroll positions on net, slightly less than what economists had expected . The unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 9 percent in September. Senate leadership will continue to bring forth components of the President’s job package; it is expected that the next package to be brought forward will be focused on creating jobs for military veterans and their families.

 

Farm Bill: Uncertainty in Deficit Reduction Talks

We reported last week that House and Senate Agriculture Committee members were preparing their recommendations for the Super Committee in respect to long-term budget cuts. We had heard that $23 billion would be cut from Farm Bill programs over the next ten years; the bulk of these cuts would be to Commodity payments. But sizable cuts would also have to made to Conservation and Nutrition programs.  We suggest checking the blog site of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition http://sustainableagriculture.net/blog/ where you find latest developments. NCRLC is a long-time member of this very effective coalition.