Office of Advocacy and Justice Updates

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Execution of William Happ Scheduled for October 15

On October 15, William Happ, is scheduled to be executed at Florida State Prison, in Starke. Your parish is encouraged to continue to pray for Mr. Happ, his victims, his family, the victims’ family; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty. Please contact Governor Scott to voice your concern. Parishes are encouraged to offer prayer services or encourage parishioners to participate in a prayer service at the execution site in Starke. A prayer service will be held at 3 pm at St. Patrick’s in Mt. Dora on the day of the execution. A bus will be leaving from the parking lot of Our Lady of Lourdes 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach, 32118, at 2:30pm. For more information contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or 407-246-4819.

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Click here for an update on Advocacy and Justice events, including Respect Life Conference.

Execution of William Happ Scheduled for October 15

On October 15, William Happ, is scheduled to be executed at Florida State Prison, in Starke. Your parish is encouraged to continue to pray for Mr. Happ, his victims, his family, the victims’ family; for all the public officials involved in this scheduled execution; for Governor Scott, that he will discern God’s will and apply the teachings of our Catholic faith on the death penalty. Please contact Governor Scott to voice your concern. Parishes are encouraged to offer prayer services or encourage parishioners to participate in a prayer service at the execution site in Starke. A prayer service will be held at 3 pm at St. Patrick’s in Mt. Dora on the day of the execution. A bus will be leaving from the parking lot of Our Lady of Lourdes 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach, 32118, at 2:30pm. For more information contact the Office of Advocacy and Justice, advocacyjustice@orlandodiocese.org or 407-246-4819.

Cardinal O’Malley, Archbishop Lori to Congress: Adopt Policy of Health Care Conscience Rights Act

“Preserving religious freedom and the right of conscience for all who take part in our health care system” is an increasingly grave concern as Congress considers “must-pass” legislation in the days ahead, said the chairmen of two committees of …

A Night of Prayer and Reflection for Immigration Reform October 21

You are invited to Annunciation Catholic Church’s immigration evening of prayer and reflection on Monday, October 21, 2013, in the church, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. The Theme we have chosen is Welcoming the Stranger: A Night of Prayer and Reflection…The evening will consist of Prayer, Scripture, Witness, Lecture by Immigration (well-known attorney) Phil Zyne, followed by a Reception hosted by the Apopka CommUnity Center. The purpose will be to inform and form the consciences of Catholics on the subject of immigration. 

Legislative Advocacy

Immigration on Back Burner But Not Forgotten

With the government shutdown, the disagreement over continuing resolutions, the Affordable Care Act, and the nation’s debt-ceiling have all pushed the issue of immigration to the back burner – but there remains a strong chance it will be acted on before the calendar year is over.

Members of the House majority have indicated their interest in bringing components of immigration reform to the floor for a vote, perhaps as early as October. Leaders in the majority have pursued a strategy of pushing a series of individual bills, rather than one comprehensive piece of legislation, in hopes of acquiring more support from their caucus. However, the House minority leader recently indicated a plan to introduce the comprehensive bill passed in June by the Senate for a vote by the House. 

Urge Congress to Advance the Common Good by Funding Government Programs that Combat Poverty!

Congress continues to grapple with legislation to fund the federal government and address the federal debt ceiling, but a commitment to the common good has taken a back seat to partisanship and ideology. The federal government has mostly shut down for the first time in 17 years.

The Catechism states it is the proper role of government to “make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life” (no. 1908), and the Catholic Bishops of the United States have been consistent and persistent in their call to protect human life in dignity in budget negotiations.

In the days and weeks to come, Congress must make difficult choices regarding federal budget priorities. Tell your Senators and Representative to put a “Circle of Protection” around poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad:

Adequately fund programs that address hunger and joblessness, and help people rise above poverty in the United States and around the world;  

Replace sequestration with a balanced plan that includes revenues as well as responsible spending cuts;  

Raise the debt ceiling in a responsible manner so as not to harm struggling families and poor and vulnerable people in our country and around the world; and  

Work for inclusion of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940, S. 1204). Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage.

Take Action Now! 

Your voice is needed now to protect poor and vulnerable people at home and abroad.

Look up your Members of Congress telephone numbers and call today!

E-mail your Members of Congress now!

Farm Bill Update: Conference Committee Still to Come

Similar to last year at this time, the Farm Bill has expired as of Sept. 30 without a clear path to reauthorizing a new bill. On a mixed note, the House has combined their recent Nutrition bill with the rest of their farm bill, but they made severe cuts to food stamp programs. How will they resolve that with the Senate version that has much lesser cuts?

A conference committee between the House and Senate could begin anytime; it’s just a question of appointing conference members and getting down to business. If they can negotiate and pass a farm bill before the end of the year, then that will avoid the necessity of extending the old farm bill yet again.

Click here for more about the Farm Bill.

World Food Day, October 16; World Food Prize activities

World Food Day, October 16th, is a time to recognize the global movement to end hunger around the world. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Food Systems” reminding us that we can end hunger, but it will take all of us. This year, NCRLC and other Catholic leaders will attend the annual World Food Prize event that takes places every mid-October in Des Moines, Iowa, to recognize scientists and others involved in food production. Event organizers have invited Cardinal Peter Turkson to address the assembly and take part in the proceedings. The Catholic Church brings a robust voice that advocates for social justice along with technological practices. Learn more about Food Security and Economic Justice in our faith-based study guide on poverty and hunger. 

Food Day, October 24

FOOD DAY describes itself as “a nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food.” Many of the ideas they promote fit well with our Ethics of Eating Principles. At the Food Day website, you will see a listing of events happening in various parts of the country. You can plan to participate in a set event, or perhaps get inspired to organize your own local event. The website provides helpful information on how to get more informed and involved in sustainable food practices.

 

Environmental Issues

Catholics and the Environment: A Call for Support

October 4 is the Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi. Through the St. Francis Pledge,the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change aims to inspire a faithful witness to solidarity and sustainability. NCRLC is an active member of this Coalition; we can attest that their activities and efforts serve as a catalyst and clearinghouse for engagement through authentic Catholic teaching on climate change.

Resources Available for Melting Ice, Mending Creation

Are you ready for the Feast of St. Francis?  Have you scheduled a conversation with your fellow parishioners, students or other groups?  The 2013 Feast of St. Francis Education Kit with Discussion Guide is now available for download on the resource page

The Melting Ice, Mending Creation: a Catholic Approach to Climate Change Education Kit is available in three versions: Parish, College, and High School aged Youth.  The kits contain all the instructions and links for the online slide presentation you’ll need to offer your local program.

For questions, contact info@catholicsandclimatechange.org.

New International Report Released

Last week, the highly-esteemed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment of the science behind human-caused climate change.  For the first time, the IPCC has offered guidance on the amount of CO2 that can still be put into the atmosphere and still stay below the temperature rise of 2 decrees Celsius: about 1 trillion tons more.  The IPCC—which is made up of thousands of the world’s leading climate scientists from more than 120 countries—raises its certainty percentage that human activities are causing climate change to 95% from 90%.

In response to this report, Dr. Kevin Ahern, assistant professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, wrote The Moral Imperative to Act for Climate Justice. There, Dr. Ahern says that [t]he IPCC report draws attention to two facts that call Catholics and all people of good will to action, and highlights the work of the Coalition as an example of how Catholics are faithfully addressing climate change.

It should be noted that the U.S. Catholic bishops used the third IPCC report as the basis for their call to action by the Catholic community when they wrote their 2001 statement, Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence and the Common Good.

Fossil Fuel Divestment

Independent Catholic News reports that A new campaign –  ‘Bright Now: towards fossil free churches’ was launched on 20 September, calling for Churches in the UK to disinvest from fossil fuels. The campaign is run by Operation Noah, an ecumenical Christian charity providing leadership, focus and inspiration in response to the growing threat of catastrophic climate change. The campaign calls churches to do three things:
Firstly, to withdraw their investments in fossil fuel companies with immediate effect and in so doing demonstrate to those companies that a business model based on catastrophic changes to the climate system is simply unacceptable. Secondly, to speak out on this issue, taking the lead in the national debate on the ethics of fossil fuel investment. And thirdly, to put in place the investment policies and criteria needed for national churches to start investing in and proactively supporting clean alternatives to fossil fuels.