Maryland: First Mileston

First milestone of campaign to repeal same-sex marriage law in Md is reached! Over 30,000 good signatures collected to put law on ballot – over half the # needed.

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Maryland: 2 Special Sessions?

Md. Leaders talk of not just one but TWO special legislative sessions this year after failing to address what should have been finished on April 9.

Annapolis leaders discuss 2 special sessions
Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday that he and top leaders of the General Assembly are considering the possibility of holding two special legislative sessions this year – one in May to deal with the state budget and another in August to consider an expansion of casino gambling in Maryland.

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Maryland: MCC Director – 2012 legislative session was “tremendously disappointing”

MCC executive director: 2012 legislative session was “tremendously disappointing” on a host of issues.

Maryland Catholic Conference
The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public policy interests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington.

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Maryland: Support MD Education Credit

Support Md Education Credit (SB844/HB1216): it provides program funding for students & is capped at $15 million with 60% for nonpublic school student assistance and 40% for public school student assistance.

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Maryland: Primary is April 3

Primary Elections are April 3 — the deadline to register to vote is March 13. Do the candidates share your views on issues that will shape Maryland and our nation for years to come? Yes? No? Vote.

Primary Elections are April 3 — Deadline to Register to Vote is March 13
Information on Maryland’s government.

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Minnesota: Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

By Jason Adkins (March 1, 2012)

Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address that American government is “of the people, by the people, for the people.” But such a political system requires learned and virtuous citizens to make informed choices about the politicians they elect as representatives, as well as the public policy matters that should receive the most attention.

To assist Catholics in fulfilling this task in 2012, the nation’s Catholic bishops have continued their tradition of releasing a document every presidential election cycle entitled, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.”

The document seeks to educate Catholics about the importance of forming their consciences around the basic principles and moral framework of Catholic social doctrine. It also prioritizes an array of issues that Catholics should consider when making choices about whom to vote for and how to participate as a “faithful citizen” in the public arena.

But what exactly is conscience and how is it formed?

Doing good, avoiding evil

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed” (No. 1778). It “enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil” (No. 1777).

The exercise of conscience first requires the acknowledgement by each person that there are such things as good and evil, true and false, and right and wrong.

Unfortunately, the recent study “Lost in Transition” by Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith shows many young people today do not think within these categories and are practically incapable of moral reasoning.

The common-sense recognition of an objective moral order that binds human action is no longer common. “Conscience” has become the trump card people use when they wish to live by their subjective preferences instead of doing what they ought to do.

There is no longer “the truth,” but rather “my truth” and “your truth.” People scoff at the idea of papal infallibility, but seem to believe in the infallible judgment of each person’s conscience.

Surely, a person must act in accord with conscience even when it is mistaken, but there must be a source of judgment of conscience other than the subjective reflections of each individual person.

Without an objective moral truth that could guide human action and which can be appealed to, we would all be subject to the arbitrary whims of those in power. But moral truth exists. We can discover it through both faith and reason; it is the foundation of authentic liberty.

Helping us grow in freedom

Fortunately, the church, as mother and teacher, is always there to help us in the lifelong task of forming our consciences. Because we are so often unable to recognize or understand why a particular action is good or evil, the church instructs us in the virtues and provides us with the principles we need to live in a way that serves the pursuit of justice and human dignity.

According to the late Father Richard Neuhaus, “[F]aithful assent is not a matter of standing to attention, clicking one’s heels, and saluting at the appearance of every document from Rome. Rather, it is a matter of thinking for myself so that I can think with the church, the prior assumption being that the church possesses a teaching charism and authority that warrants my assent.”

Far from being an imposition on our freedom of action, the church’s loving guidance is an aid to our freedom. Authentic freedom is the capacity to do what one ought and to live in accord with God’s will, not the ability to do whatever one pleases.

Therefore, the two indispensable preconditions for the proper formation of conscience are recognizing the reality of an objective moral order, and making an act of faith in the church’s ability to guide us into truth.

Once achieved, the task then turns to actually forming one’s conscience through prayer and education about the ways in which our individual lives and the social order are properly ordered to promote justice, human flourishing, and the common good.

Studying and reflecting on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the bishops’ document “Faithful Citizenship” are two wonderful places to start this process.

When we properly form our consciences, we will begin to reconstruct the social order along Catholic principles, and restore all things in Christ.

Jason Adkins is executive director of the Minnesota Catholic Conference.

Letter, study guide are available

In 2008, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn wrote a pastoral letter, “The Moral Conscience.” It has been recently re-released along with a study guide for individual and small-group reflection.

The letter and study guide are great tools for Catholics to use to understand what conscience is, how it is formed and how it is properly exercised in the life of every person. The pastoral letter is available here.

Copies of the study guide and letter can be obtained from Sharon Wilson in the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life by calling (651) 291-4506.

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Maryland: Join Maryland March for Life

Cardinal Donald Wuerl: Join the 33rd Annual Maryland March for Life on Monday evening, March 12.

Cardinal Wuerl invitation to MMFL
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archdiocese of Washington, welcomes Marylanders to the 33rd Annual Maryland March for Life on Monday evening, March 12th.

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Maryland: Cardinal O’Brien on Marriage

Cardinal O’Brien: “[P]eople of faith, as well as others of no faith at all, who recognize the value of preserving this special relationship and who simply want our society to continue to honor it, have been painted throughout a rancorous debate these past two years as ‘radicals.’ Yet, I would suggest that it is those who have dared to assume the right to change what God himself has joined who have chosen the radical path for our state and its families.”

A radical redefinition of marriage
God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it.’ (Gen. 1:27-28)

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Maryland: Join us for Maryland March for Life

Join us in Annapolis to urge protection for the unborn and oppose abortion! Join us on Monday, March 12, for the March for Life. Mass at 5:15, March at 6:30, Rally at 7. Read more:

Maryland March for Life
Unite for Life! Maryland March for Life. March 12, 2011

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Maryland: Marriage Update

Marriage Update: Debate resumes at 12:30pm. Urge your delegates not to waver:

Marriage Update – Quick Response Needed
Information on Maryland’s government.

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Maryland: Catholic Lobby Night

Less than 2 weeks away from Catholic Lobby Night! Stand Strong in the Public Square & be Activated by Faith. Find out what’s happening in Annapolis & then go meet with your legislators. Must register:

Maryland: Misplaced Priorities

At a time when Marylanders are struggling to find jobs, keep their homes and feed their families, our elected officials should focus their attention on the pressing needs of the state, not on dismantling Maryland’s long-standing law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

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Maryland: Catholic Lobby Night

Have you ever wished to address your state legislators face-to-face about Catholic education? Life issues? Social concerns? If yes, attending Catholic Lobby Night on Feb. 20, 3-8 pm, is a must. Stand strong in the public square!

Maryland Catholic Conference
The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public policy interests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington.

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Maryland: Bishops on Poverty

The Md. bishops (Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal-designate Edwin F. O’Brien and Bishop W. Francis Malooly) bear witness to the devastating impact of hunger, homelessness and unemployment in their just-released joint statement “When Did We See You Hungry?”

Maryland Catholic Conference – Bishops’ Letter & Statements

Maryland: Affordable Higher Education for All

Help make higher education affordable for all qualified Maryland students regardless of immigration status. Attend a training session for those who want to keep the DREAM alive for these students.

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Maryland: Another crucial step has been taken to save women’s lives

Another crucial step has been taken to save women’s lives and to regulate abortion clinics. On Dec 2, the state Dept of Health proposed the first regulations to Maryland’s nearly 20-year-old abortion law.

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Maryland: Cardinal Wuerl on Religious Freedom

Cardinal Wuerl talks about the history and importance of freedom in this companion video to the Maryland bishops’ statement release this week on religious liberty.

The First Freedom
The First Freedom In 1634 when the Ark and the Dove arrived, carrying English settlers to what is now Saint Mary’s County, those brave women and men establis…

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Maryland: Bishops Release Statement on Religious Liberty

Maryland’s bishops today released a joint statement raising concern over the erosion of religious freedom. “In recent years there has been a subtle promotion of the idea that religious liberty should be restricted to Sunday morning worship.”

Maryland Catholic Conference
The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public policy interests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington.

Maryland: Special Session this Week

Maryland’s General Assembly is meeting this week in special session and it is time to remind legislators that Maryland’s Catholics support the long-held definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. Please click here now to urge your state senator and delegates to support traditional marriage and oppose same-sex marriage.

Marriage in Maryland Needs Your Support

Maryland: Advocacy Day

Advocacy Day 2011: Stand Strong in the Public Square

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Maryland: Catholic Advocacy Day

Keeping abreast of state public policy can be an intimidating and involved affair. So many issues, so little time to research. Take the guesswork out of the equation, and attend this year’s Catholic Advocacy Day, sponsored by the Maryland Catholic Conference. Registration is now open. Saturday, November 5, 2011, 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, Miller Senate Office Building, Annapolis. Box lunch provided. Admission is free.

MCC Advocacy Day 2011

Maryland: Today MCC launched new Facebook page on immigration. Check it out.

Today MCC launched new Facebook page on immigration. Check it out. LIKE it. Share it.

Justice for Maryland Immigrants
As Catholics, we are called to respect the dignity of all people and to protect those who are unable to protect themselves. Justice for Maryland Immigrants seeks to: • educate Maryland Catholics about the Church’s teachings on immigration; • create political will for positive immigration reform; and • enact immigration-related legislation based on Church teachings.

Maryland: Session’s Over!

Session’s over. A huge THANK YOU to all who took action, contacted lawmakers & made your voices heard! We had a very successful session & couldn’t have done it w/o you.

Maryland Senate Creates Cord Blood Program

State Senate passed Senate Bill 584 to create cord blood transplant program in Md – saving lives!

Maryland – Close Abortion Regs Loophole

Close the loophole on abortion clinic regs & urge committees to take a stand & vote for SB 505/HB 23: