Pennsylvania

Prioritizing Funding for Women’s Primary Health Care

The Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee voted 7-5 in favor of Senate Bill 300 which will prioritize the funding of women’s health services and family planning. In effect, the bill would direct the limited federal and state public funding first to the most efficient and comprehensive health care providers.

Public entities that provide a wide array of primary care services will receive the highest priority for receiving such funds. Next in line would be non-public hospitals and federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, and non-public health providers that have their main purpose as the provision of primary health care. The bill also prohibits the Department of Human Services from entering into a contract with or making a grant to “any entity that performs abortions that are not federally qualified abortions or maintains or operates a facility where such abortions are performed, except as required by Federal law.”

In describing the bill before the committee, the prime sponsor Senator John Eichelberger (R-Blair County) offered a list of about a dozen services provided by federally qualified health centers including diabetes and heart disease screening, even flu shots, which is why he feels they should have priority. Other providers that are more focused on family planning such as Planned Parenthood only provide three. Eichelberger said Planned Parenthood, for example, can test for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) but the patient must go somewhere else for treatment. “There are other resources in communities (that can offer more complete care),” he contended, speaking specifically to community health centers.

Tell your state Senator that women deserve efficient and comprehensive primary health care. Urge them to vote YES on SB 300 through the Catholic Advocacy Network.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/prioritizing-funding-for-womens-primary-health-care/

Pennsylvania Civic Commemoration Ceremony of the Holocaust

Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer and Rabbi Elisha Friedman and son from Kesher Israel, Harrisburg, PA

“We must always be vigilant in preventing such atrocities,” said Matthew Handel, Chair of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition. “This annual civic commemoration is essential to acknowledge and reflect on the catastrophe that fell upon the Jewish people and other groups of victims who were the recipients of unfathomable bigotry and hatred.

“We must never forget, so that we do not allow this tragic chapter of history to be repeated.”

The Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition hosted this year’s Civic Commemoration of the Holocaust on April 24, 2017, at the State Capitol.  The 33rd annual ceremony included remarks from many elected officials including Governor Tom Wolf and resolutions from the Pennsylvania Senate and House.

The ceremony also included the lighting of candles by Holocaust survivors, and children and grandchildren of survivors, an essay reading from students, and an interfaith message by Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg.

“The crimes of the Nazis began with a false understanding of humanity – that there are different “grades” of being and worth among people. This misguided idea that human beings differ from each other in terms of dignity, importance, or worth,” said Bishop Gainer, “must be categorically rejected as a direct contradiction to a moral and democratic society.”

“May this Holocaust Memorial Day forge a united resolve never to forget the tears and sufferings of the past and a united resolve to protect the dignity and sanctity of every person and to protect the rights endowed to every person by our Creator.”




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pennsylvania-civic-commemoration-ceremony-of-the-holocaust/

Protect Religious Liberty of Adoption & Foster Care Providers

The U.S. Congress is considering important legislation that will protect religious liberty.

The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA) protects the religious liberties of child welfare service providers, including adoption and foster care agencies.  The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis that they decline to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.  The Inclusion Act is needed because child welfare service providers are being discriminated against because of their sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions.  For example, certain religiously-affiliated charities in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia have had to stop adoption and foster care services because of requirements imposed upon them to place children in households headed by two persons of the same sex.  Also, women and men who want to place their children for adoption should be free to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions.  The Inclusion Act recognizes and respects this parental choice.  The Inclusion Act has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 1881) and the Senate (S. 811).

Contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators today!




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/protect-religious-liberty-of-adoption-foster-care-providers/

Child Abuse Prevention Month: 10 Points to Create a Safe Environment

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The responsibility of protecting children belongs to everyone as a matter of charity and justice. Child Abuse Prevention Month should lead to heightened awareness of the need to be vigilant about providing a safe environment for all within the Church and for our communities. Consider these 10 points:

1. Sexual molestation is about the victim
Many people are affected when a priest abuses a minor, but the individual most impacted is the victim who has suffered a violation of trust that can affect his or her entire life. The abuser, the family of the abused, and the parish community are all affected by this sin and crime, but the primary person of concern must be the victim.

2. No one has the right to have access to children
If people wish to volunteer for the church, for example, in a parish or school, they must follow diocesan guidelines on background checks, safe environment training, policies and procedures, and codes of conduct. No one, no matter who they are, has an automatic right to be around children or young people who are in the care of the church without proper screening and without following the rules.

3. Common sense is not all that common
It is naive to presume that people automatically know boundaries so organizations and families have to spell them out. For example, no youth minister, cleric or other adult leader should be in a child’s bedroom, alone with the child.

4. Child sexual abuse can be prevented
Awareness that child sexual abuse exists and can exist anywhere is a start. It is then critical to build safety barriers around children and young people to keep them from harm. These barriers come in the form of protective guardians, codes of conduct, background evaluations, policies and procedures, and safety training programs.

5. The residual effects of having been abused can last a lifetime
Those who have been abused seldom just get over it. The sense of violation goes deep into a persons psyche and feelings of anger, shame, hurt and betrayal can build long after the abuse has taken place. Some have even described the feeling as if it has scarred their soul.

6. Feeling heard leads toward healing
Relief from hurt and anger often comes when one feels heard, when ones pain and concerns are taken seriously, and a victim/survivors appropriate sense of rage and indignation are acknowledged. Not being acknowledged contributes to a victims sense of being invisible, unimportant and unworthy; they are in some way revictimized.

7. You cannot always predict who will be an abuser
Experience shows that most abuse is at the hands of someone who has gained the trust of a victim/survivor and his/her family. Most abuse also occurs in the family setting. Sometimes the nicest person in the world is an abuser, and this niceness enables a false sense of trust to be created between abuser and abused.

8. There are behavioral warning signs of child abusers
Training and education help adults recognize grooming techniques that are precursors to abuse. Some abusers isolate a potential victim by giving him or her undue attention or lavish gifts. Another common grooming technique is to allow young people to participate in activities which their parents or guardians would not approve, such as watching pornography, drinking alcohol, using drugs, and excessive touching, which includes wrestling and tickling. It is also critical to be wary of age-inappropriate relationships, seen, for example, in the adult who is more comfortable with children than fellow adults. Parishes can set up rules to guide interaction between adults and children.

9. People can be taught to identify grooming behavior
Grooming behaviors are the actions which abusers take to project the image that they are kind, generous, caring people, while their intent is to lure a minor into an inappropriate relationship. An abuser may develop a relationship with the family to increase his credibility. Abusers might show attention to the child by talking to him/her, being friendly, sharing alcohol with a minor and giving the child status by insinuating that the child is their favorite or special person. Offenders can be patient and may groom their victim, his or her family, or community for years.

10. Background checks work
Background checks in churches, schools and other organizations keep predators away from children both because they scare off some predators and because they uncover past actions which should ban an adult from working or volunteering with children. If an adult has had difficulty with some boundaries that society sets, such as not driving while intoxicated or not disturbing the public peace, he or she may have difficulties with other boundaries, such as not hurting a child. Never forget that offenders lie.

Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Anyone who has been abused or if you suspect abuse is occurring, report the abuse and seek help immediately by calling the toll-free Pennsylvania ChildLine number at 800-932-0313 or local law enforcement. Learn more about the child protection and safe environment efforts in your local diocese or how survivors of abuse can get help here.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/child-abuse-prevention-month-10-points-to-create-a-safe-environment/

Legislative Status Report – Statutes of Limitation

Statutes of limitation reform for childhood sexual abuse is a being debated again this legislative session.

Senate Bill 261, which passed the Senate without opposition (48-0) in February, prospectively abolishes the criminal statute of limitation and would allow survivors to file civil lawsuits up to their age 50. The legislation also opens the door to the courts for survivors who suffered sexual abuse in public or governmental institutions by removing the sovereign immunity defense.

On April 4, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee amended SB 261 to further equalize the opportunities for survivors of sexual abuse in public institutions to access recovery of damages through the civil courts. The technical amendments render inapplicable the written notice requirement that public entities must be notified of an individual’s intent to sue only 6 months after the child victim’s 18th birthday, and eliminates the caps on the amount of damages that may be awarded. These amendments “level the playing field” for children who are abused by someone in a public institution with children who may have suffered the same crime in a private setting.

A third amendment strikes the provision in the Senate bill that would eliminate the civil statute of limitations in certain cases against an individual perpetrator or an individual who had direct involvement in allowing the abuse to continue. As amended, the bill would raise the statute of limitations for all civil actions to the victim’s age 50.

Caught up in the debate about making changes to protect children now and in the future has been an effort to change the statute of limitations retroactively. An amendment may be offered to SB 261 to allow lawsuits for decades-old cases. This proposal would, in effect, force the people who make up an organization like the Catholic Church today defend themselves against a crime that was committed in their parish, school, or charitable program years ago. Last year, the Senate held hearings and determined that changing the law retroactively would be unconstitutional in Pennsylvania.  Regardless, it is definitely unfair to individual Catholics today whose parishes and schools would be the targets of decades-old lawsuits.

SB 261 was reported out of committee with a vote of 22-5 and will soon be considered by the full House of Representatives. Send a message to your elected officials that it is possible to strengthen laws to give justice to childhood sexual abuse survivors without bankrupting the men, women and children who make up the Church today.

The first obligation of the Church with regard to survivors of childhood sexual abuse is for healing and reconciliation. Dioceses and eparchies continue to reach out to every person who has been a victim of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone in church service, whether that abuse is recent or occurred in the past. Learn more about victim/survivor assistance in Pennsylvania.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/legislative-status-report-statutes-of-limitation/

PA House Condemns Global Persecution of Christians

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a unanimous resolution this week condemning the persecution of Christians around the world. HR 203 is a resolution “Condemning the global persecution of Christians and calling on world leaders to implement policies that protect the religious liberty of Christians and all other faiths within their borders.”

The prime sponsor, Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Crawford, Forest, Warren) urged her colleagues to support the resolution to bring attention to the various forms of persecution and the rights of Christians to practice their sincerely-held religious beliefs regardless of their location on the globe.

It is fitting for Pennsylvania, with our rich tradition of religious liberty, to acknowledge this serious threat to so many around the world.

Pray for peace!




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pa-house-condemns-global-persecution-of-christians/

Child Abuse Prevention Month: Opening the Door to Healing and Recovery

The blue ribbon is a sign of Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The first response that a survivor of childhood sexual abuse receives when revealing what happened to him or her is crucial for opening the door toward healing.

“I believe you.”

“It is not your fault.”

“I am sorry that happened to you.”

Statistics tell us one out of every four girls, and one out of every six boys, are assaulted before they turn 18. If those statistics are correct, everywhere you turn you will encounter people who have been abused and are feeling the pain of that abuse. Reaching out to all victims of abuse/survivors is critical in bringing hope and the love of Christ to them.

The Catholic community is committed to supporting healing and recovery among sexual abuse survivors and their families, and offers lifelong resources to cover the costs of counseling, addiction treatment and other services of the survivors’ choice. Every diocese has a survivor/victims services professional on staff to listen, learn about their trauma, and encourage survivors in their own time to get support. This is not ordered by the court; it is the Church’s initiative to address the harm, pain and anger caused by child sexual abuse. Assistance is available no matter how long ago the crime was committed.

Where to find Catholic child protection and victim/survivor support services in PA?

The Church has repeatedly acknowledged abuse that happened and its role in the ongoing suffering experienced by survivors and their loved ones. While recognizing and respecting that every individual must take his or her own personal journey toward healing, the Church is committed to offering assistance.   We will provide continuous resources for survivors and their families so they can have access counseling, addiction treatment, medications and other necessary support services.

In addition to support for survivors, the Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania adhere to strict safe environment practices, including training for employees, clergy and volunteers in identifying and responding to signs of abuse. Our dioceses enforce a zero-tolerance policy for clergy, employees and volunteers accused of abuse. The dioceses have already reported these allegations to local district attorneys and have now also shared them with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office. Credible allegations of misconduct result in permanent removal from ministry, no matter how long ago the abuse took place. Every adult who interacts with children — including clergy, employees and volunteers — is subject to thorough background checks.

The emotional outcry for the Church to make things right for past victims is understandable and fuels the Catholic Church’s support for survivors and enduring commitment to end child abuse through education, awareness and constant vigilance.

 




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/child-abuse-prevention-month-opening-the-door-to-healing-and-recovery/

The Real Criminals of Human Trafficking

Photo Credit: CRS

“Human trafficking is a crime against humanity. We must unite our efforts to free victims and stop this crime that’s become ever more aggressive, that threatens not just individuals, but the foundational values of society.” – Pope Francis

The Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee took a strong stand in support of victims of human trafficking this week with a 14-0 vote on Senate Bill 554. The legislation would provide specialized services to victims of sex trafficking under the age of 18 instead of facing charges in the juvenile justice system. The bill would establish a statewide protocol to provide local services including safe and stable housing, access to education, employment and life-skills training, counseling, treatment for addictions, health care, and more. Rather than facing delinquency charges for prostitution, these children will get the help and support necessary to break free from enslavement.

Senators Stewart Greenleaf (R-Bucks, Montgomery) and Daylin Leach (D-Delaware, Montgomery), the prime sponsors of SB 554, wrote to their colleagues, “These children are victims, not criminals, and they deserve the protection of the child welfare system, not re-victimization and incarceration in the juvenile justice system. Not only is this the right thing to do by these exploited children, it is also the most effective way to help law enforcement target the traffickers and pimps who are the real criminals.”

Pope Francis believes, “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.” As Catholics, we believe in the dignity of every human life and vehemently oppose human trafficking and modern-day slavery as it contravenes basic human dignity. In addition to working to eradicate human trafficking, our nation should ensure that victims have the services and support they need to heal.

Urge your state Senator to support a better life for sex trafficking victims and vote YES on SB 554.




Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/the-real-criminals-of-human-trafficking/

School Choice Leaders at the State Capitol

Leaders from organizations that represent many different non-public schools met with Speaker of the House Representative Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and many other elected officials this week. Speaker Turzai is the lead sponsor of House Bill 250, a measure that would increase Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits by $75 million. The tax credits are granted to companies that support scholarships for Pennsylvania students to attend the school of their choice.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Sam Botta Lancaster County Christian School;, Sean McAleer, Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and Co-Director of PA-CAPE; Tom Shaheen, PA Family Institute; Dr. Kathy Keafer, Johnstown Christian School; Representative Mike Turzai, Speaker of the House; Dan Stone, Upper School Principal of Dayspring Christian Academy; Dr. D Merle Skinner, Champion Christian School, ACSIPA, and Co-Director PA-CAPE; Arielle Frankston-Morris, Director of Teach PA – Orthodox Union Advocacy Center; and Rev. Theodore E. Clater, Pd.D., Keystone Christian Education Association.

Voice your opinion in support of increasing the EITC and OSTC programs. Click here to urge your elected officials to invest in success and support HB 250.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/school-choice-leaders-at-the-state-capitol/

Tax Credit Scholarship Expansion Bill Passes PA House

With a strong bi-partisan vote of 147-39, House Bill 250 cleared its first hurdle: passage in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The measure proposes to increase Educational Improvement Tax Credits (EITC) by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credits (OSTC) by $25 million (raising it to $75 million).

The tax credit scholarships have granted more than 40,000 families each year the opportunity to send their children to a Catholic or another private school. It gives these families a true choice in the right educational path for their children. Every Catholic school in all corners of this great Commonwealth benefits from the EITC or OSTC programs.

The programs also benefit countless more Pennsylvania students in traditional public schools. Educational Improvement Organizations direct a portion of the tax credits to support innovative educational programs that enhance the regular public school curriculum.

House Bill 250 will now be considered by the State Senate. Urge your Senator to invest in success and support the expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs by voting YES on HB 250. Click here to send a message to your state Senator today.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/tax-credit-scholarship-expansion-bill-passes-pa-house/

What does the Church teach about Family, Community, and Participation?

Explore what the Catholic Church teaches about call to family, community, and participation in this video from Catholic Relief Services on Catholic Social Teaching featuring Lisa Hendey, Msgr. Ray East, and Jonathan Reyes.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/what-does-the-church-teach-about-family-community-participation/

U.S. Bishops Chairman on Migration says New Executive Order Still Leaves Many Innocent Lives at Risk

Source: justiceforimmigrants.org

The Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, says that President Trump’s latest Executive Order still puts vulnerable populations around the world at risk. In a statement issued after the announcement of today’s travel suspension, Bishop Vásquez says that while we seek to maintain our values and safety, we must also exercise compassion in assisting and continuing to welcome the stranger.

Bishop Vázquez’s full statement follows:

“We remain deeply troubled by the human consequences of the revised executive order on refugee admissions and the travel ban. While we note the Administration’s efforts to modify the Executive Order in light of various legal concerns, the revised  Order    still leaves many innocent lives at risk.

The removal of one of the original seven predominantly Muslim countries temporarily barred from entering the United States is welcome, but we are disappointed that the revised order maintains the temporary shutdown of the U.S. refugee admissions program, continues the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled into the United States this year, and still temporarily bars nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The U.S. Catholic Bishops have long recognized the importance of ensuring public safety and would welcome reasonable and necessary steps to accomplish that goal.

However, based on the knowledge that refugees are already subjected to the most vigorous vetting process of anyone who enters the United States, there is no merit to pausing the refugee resettlement program while considering further improvement to that vetting process.

The United States has long provided leadership in resettling refugees. We believe in assisting all those who are vulnerable and fleeing persecution, regardless of their religion, including Christians, Muslims, and all others. We believe that by helping to resettle the most vulnerable, we are living out our Christian faith and “welcoming the stranger” as Jesus has challenged us to do.

Today, more than 65 million people around the world are forcibly displaced from their homes. Given this extraordinary level of suffering, the U.S. Catholic Bishops reaffirm their support for, and efforts to protect, all who flee persecution and violence, as just one part of the perennial and global work of the Church in defense of vulnerable persons. Resettling only 50,000 refugees a year, down from 110,000, does not reflect the need, our compassion, and our capacity as a nation. We have the ability to continue to assist the most vulnerable among us without sacrificing our values as Americans or the safety and security of our nation.”

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/u-s-bishops-chairman-on-migration-says-new-executive-order-still-leaves-many-innocent-lives-at-risk/

What does the Church teach about human rights & responsibilities?

Explore what the Catholic Church teaches about human rights and responsibilities in this video from Catholic Relief Services on Catholic Social Teaching featuring Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Helen Alvaré, and Bill O’Keefe.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/what-does-the-church-teach-about-human-rights-responsibilities/

Urge Senators to Disapprove Planned Parenthood Title X Funding Rule

Human Life Action has issued this action alert to contact Congress: We have an opportunity to encourage the Senate to restore the states’ ability to stop some of the federal funding to Planned Parenthood. As you know, a river of federal money currently runs to the nation’s largest abortion provider. On February 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 43 to nullify a ruling by former President Obama which prevented states from excluding providers such as Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds through Title X. Our attention now turns to the Senate. Please contact your senators today and urge them to vote in favor of S.J. Res. 13

It is important to remember that S.J. Res. 13 will allow for federal funds to be redirected to health facilities that provide comprehensive women’s health care. Contact your senators and urge them to restore the states’ ability to stop one stream of our taxpayer dollars flowing to the nation’s largest abortion provider through the Department of Health and Human Services, (HHS) and Title X funds.

Many senators will be in their districts in the coming week. If you would like to advocate in person at the local office on this matter and conscience protection, you can get more information here.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/urge-senators-to-disapprove-planned-parenthood-title-x-funding-rule/

Questions & Answers with Speaker of the House Mike Turzai about Expanding EITC

Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is passionate about giving parents and grandparents real options for their children’s education. He is spearheading an effort to expand the highly successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference asked Representative Turzai why he is such a strong supporter of school choice.

What does House Bill 250 propose to do?

House Bill 250 would increase tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million (raising it to $75 million). It would be a total of $250 million for educational tax credits.

Last year, EITC represented just 1.5 percent of the $11.4 billion we spent on basic education. If we are going to invest in education, we must recognize that one size does not fit all. Take the Independence Mission Schools in Philadelphia. They educate a very diverse student population; so do the Holy Rosary School in Pittsburgh, Harrisburg Catholic Elementary, and suburban high schools like North Catholic in Pittsburgh. Families want their children to attend a school (like these) that provides security, discipline, love, and values. EITC and OSTC allow families to receive it; and the scholarships help to keep those schools open so they have that choice to make.

EITC and OSTC help public school students too. Educational improvement organizations use it to support after school programs with the Big Brothers Big Sisters and pre-K programs. Suburban, urban, rural, public school and nonpublic students of all faiths benefit from EITC and OSTC. HB 250 helps everyone.

In these austere economic times, what makes increasing the EITC and OSTC programs a good investment for taxpayers?

The vast majority of students in Pennsylvania are educated in public schools. Our public schools need to be good; but in many communities parents and grandparents want an alternative. They pay their taxes to public schools. Their children are entitled to an education. They should have a choice of whichever schools best meets their child’s needs.

Nonpublic schools are already saving the taxpayers a lot of money. The average cost per public school pupil is around $15,000 per year. Given the average per pupil price tag, by taking about 150,000 students out of public schools Catholic schools saved the taxpayers more than $2.25 billion this year alone.

The governor talks about investment in education. All students need to be part of the equation. If we are going to invest in basic education, we need to invest in EITC and OSTC too. We should raise the percentage in these tax credit programs to a little over two percent.

There is great demand for both tax credits and the scholarships they provide. Every year the tax credits “sellout” within a few days of the application deadline; and just one scholarship organization, BLOCS in Philadelphia, received applications from 11,000 families for scholarships for 20,000 students. They were only able to fulfill scholarships for 8,500 families and 12,000 kids. There are waiting lists for both business leaders who want tax credits and students looking for scholarships.

EITC and OSTC scholarships have helped students in many schools both private and public including tens of thousands who attend Catholic schools. What does a Catholic education mean to you personally?

My dad was a public school teacher in a great school, but I went to Catholic school. I got a very good education and really benefited personally from that environment. All three of my own boys went to Catholic elementary school. Two went to public high school and the third is in a Catholic high school. We can afford to make these choices. My son who is a recent public school grad really appreciated the work ethic and core values that he developed in his Catholic elementary school. I think an education like that needs to remain a viable option for any of citizen who wants it.

What can Catholics do to support you in your efforts to expand EITC and OSTC?

Catholics need to let their local lawmakers know how important EITC and OSTC are to their schools, but many students are not Catholic. All parents and grandparents who appreciate the opportunity to go to another school need to let their representatives know how they benefit. They should visit, write, email, and call about the value of having that option. They should stress that increasing EITC is not taking money away from public schools, but enhancing education for everyone. Be positive; rally in support of educational investments; work hand in hand with your local legislators.


Encourage your state representative to support educational opportunities for all students and vote YES on HB 250 by sending a message through the Catholic Advocacy Network today. Visit www.pacatholic.org for details.

 

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/questions-answers-with-speaker-of-the-house-mike-turzai-about-expanding-eitc/

Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

PA Catholic

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/happy-st-valentines-day/

Communications Professional Wanted: PCC Director of Outreach

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) is seeking a seasoned communications professional to work in conjunction with the Communications Director with planning and carrying out a program of information and education to advance PCC’s mission to foster a public understanding of the Catholic perspective on public affairs at the state Capitol in Harrisburg and beyond. He/she will have a specific focus on planning and carrying out a program of grassroots advocacy, social media, and public outreach to advance PCC’s legislative agenda.

A successful candidate should have bachelor’s degree or equivalent in communications, journalism, public relations, or liberal arts and several years of professional experience in public relations, journalism, social media, or as a director of communications of an association, corporation, college or diocese.

He/she must be a practicing Catholic in good standing who is intelligent, zealous, dedicated and committed to the interests of the Church, knowledgeable about and interested in Church affairs, and a creative and productive writer.

He/she must have the ability and social skills to work with both individuals and groups, both inside and outside the Church and convey the Church’s teachings, especially as they apply to public affairs, to the media, the public, and the legislature.

This full-time Director of Outreach position is office-based at PCC’s location in downtown Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Send cover letter and resume by March 3, 2017, to: PA Catholic Conference, PO Box 2835, Harrisburg, PA 17105 or send electronically to info@pacatholic.org.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/communications-professional-wanted-pcc-director-of-outreach/

Pro-Life Legislation Clears PA Senate

A baby’s ultrasound at 20 weeks gestation. Credit: WebMD.com

Special thanks to these state Senators who took a stand in favor of unborn babies. They voted “yes” on Senate Bill 3, a measure that will ban gruesome dismemberment abortions. Now the measure will be considered in the House of Representatives. Send a message to your state rep to urge him or her to support SB 3.

Read more about this important legislation.

Allentown Diocese

Argall, David G. (R- Schuylkill)- District 29

Browne, Patrick M.  (R- Lehigh)- District 16

Scavello, Mario (R-Monroe) District 40

Altoona- Johnstown Diocese

Corman, Jake (R- Centre)- District 34

Eichelberger, John H. (R- Blair)- District 30

Langerholc, Wayne (R-Cambria) – District 35

Erie Diocese

Brooks, Michele (R-Mercer) – District 50

Hutchinson, Scott  (R- Venango)- District 21

Scarnati, Joseph B. (R- Jefferson)- District 25

Greensburg Diocese

Stephano, Patrick (R-Fayette) – District 32

Ward, Kim L. (R- Westmoreland)- District 39

White, Donald C. (R- Indiana)- District 41

Harrisburg Diocese

Alloway, Richard L. (R- Franklin)- District 33

Aument, Ryan (R-Lancaster) – District 36

DiSanto, John (R-Dauphin) – District 15

Folmer, Mike (R- Lebanon)- District 48

Gordner, John R. (R- Columbia)- District 27

Martin, Scott (R-Lancaster) – District 13

Regan, Mike (R-Cumberland) – District 31

Philadelphia Archdiocese

Greenleaf, Stewart J. (R- Montgomery)- District 12

Killion, Thomas (R-Delaware) – District 9

McGarrigle, Thomas (R-Delaware) – District 26

Mensch, Bob (R- Montgomery)- District 24

Rafferty, John C. (R- Chester)- District 44

Tomlinson, Robert M. (R- Bucks)- District 6

Pittsburgh Diocese

Bartolotta, Camera (R-Washington) – District 46

Brewster, James R. (D- Allegheny)- District 45

Reschenthaler, Guy (R-Allegheny) District 37

Vogel, Elder A. (R- Beaver)- District 47

Vulakovich, Randy (R- Allegheny)- District 40

Scranton Diocese

Argall, David G. (R- Schuylkill)- District 29

Gene Yaw (R- Lycoming)- District 23

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pro-life-legislation-clears-pa-senate/

Important Pro-Life Legislation Clears State Senate

A baby’s ultrasound at 20 weeks gestation. Credit: WebMD.com

Senate Bill 3, legislation that would ban all dismemberment abortions in Pennsylvania as well as all abortions after 20 weeks, when the baby can feel pain and risks to the health of the mother increase significantly, passed the Senate on February 8, 2017, with a vote of 32-18. The measure will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

Urge your state rep to support SB 3. Send a message today through the PA Catholic Advocacy Network.

Special thanks to the elected officials with the courage to vote in favor of life and a willingness to update Pennsylvania’s laws to reflect medical advancements and greater knowledge of how human babies develop in the womb.

Senators who voted YES on SB 3:

Allentown Diocese

Argall, David G. (R- Schuylkill)- District 29

Browne, Patrick M.  (R- Lehigh)- District 16

Mensch, Bob (R- Montgomery)- District 24,

Rafferty, John C. (R- Chester)- District 44

Scavello, Mario (R-Monroe) District 40

 

Altoona- Johnstown Diocese

Corman, Jake (R- Centre)- District 34

Eichelberger, John H. (R- Blair)- District 30

Langerholc, Wayne (R-Cambria) – District 35

Stephano, Patrick (R-Fayette) – District 32

 

Erie Diocese

Brooks, Michele (R-Mercer) – District 50

Hutchinson, Scott  (R- Venango)- District 21

Langerholc, Wayne (R-Cambria) – District 35

Scarnati, Joseph B. (R- Jefferson)- District 25

 

Greensburg Diocese

Brewster, James R. (D- Allegheny)- District 45

Stephano, Patrick (R-Fayette) – District 32

Ward, Kim L. (R- Westmoreland)- District 39

White, Donald C. (R- Indiana)- District 41

Harrisburg Diocese

Alloway, Richard L. (R- Franklin)- District 33

Aument, Ryan (R-Lancaster) – District 36

Corman, Jake  (R- Centre)- District 34

DiSanto, John (R-Dauphin) – District 15

Eichelberger, John H. (R- Blair)- District 30

Folmer, Mike (R- Lebanon)- District 48

Gordner, John R. (R- Columbia)- District 27

Martin, Scott (R-Lancaster) – District 13

Regan, Mike (R-Cumberland) – District 31

 

Philadelphia Archdiocese

Greenleaf, Stewart J. (R- Montgomery)- District 12

Killion, Thomas (R-Delaware) – District 9

McGarrigle, Thomas (R-Delaware) – District 26

Mensch, Bob (R- Montgomery)- District 24

Rafferty, John C. (R- Chester)- District 44

Tomlinson, Robert M. (R- Bucks)- District 6

 

Pittsburgh Diocese

Bartolotta, Camera (R-Washington) – District 46

Brewster, James R. (D- Allegheny)- District 45

Hutchinson, Scott (R- Venango)- District 21

Reschenthaler, Guy (R-Allegheny) District 37

Vogel, Elder A. (R- Beaver)- District 47

Vulakovich, Randy (R- Allegheny)- District 40

White, Donald C. (R- Indiana)- District 41

Scranton Diocese

Argall, David G. (R- Schuylkill)- District 29

Gordner, John R. (R- Columbia)- District 27

Scarnati, Joseph (R-Tioga)-District 25

Scavello, Mario (R-Monroe) District 40

Gene Yaw (R- Lycoming)- District 23

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/important-pro-life-legislation-clears-state-senate/

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/important-pro-life-legislation-clears-state-senate/

Invest in Success: Expand EITC & OSTC Scholarships

Speaker of the House Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) greets students at Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School.

The Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) is leading the charge to give more opportunities to Pennsylvania’s students to go to the school that best meets their needs. He is the prime sponsor of House Bill 250 which proposes to increase the amount of tax credits available under the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program by $50 million (raising it to $175 million) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program by $25 million (raising it to $75 million).

The EITC and the OSTC programs have always achieved bipartisan support and have been acclaimed as two of the best educational programs Pennsylvania offers to students in both public and private schools.

The tax credit scholarships have been a Godsend for students seeking a Catholic or other private education in Pennsylvania.  Every Catholic school in all corners of this great Commonwealth benefits from the EITC or OSTC programs.

Each year more than 40,000 families get a scholarship that permits the parents to send their children to a Catholic or another private school. It gives these families a true choice in the right educational path for their children.

Additionally, the program assists countless Pennsylvania students in traditional public schools. Educational Improvement Organizations direct a portion of the tax credits to support innovative educational programs that enhance the regular public school curriculum.

“Strengthening school choice opportunities, especially for those students who would not otherwise be able to attend a school of their choice, has been a priority for the General Assembly through both the EITC and OSTC programs,” wrote Speaker Turzai in his co-sponsorship memorandum. “While the General Assembly constantly seeks to improve academic outcomes for all children, the OSTC program provides critical educational opportunities for kids who desperately need the chance to succeed.”

Urge your state Representative to invest in success and support the expansion of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs by voting YES on HB 250. Click here to send a message today.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/invest-in-success-expand-eitc-ostc-scholarships/

Time to Defend Life & Religious Liberty

Public outcry by forces hostile to our religious freedom has already begun. They are attempting to pressure President Donald Trump into not issuing an executive order that would protect our Constitutional rights. If we do not raise our voices today President Trump may only hear the demands of those with an agenda that is disrespectful of our rights to live according to our deeply held beliefs. It is up to us to let him know what we expect. Please act today!

Our religious freedoms have been disrespected and greatly eroded in recent years. Just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor, those California churches forced to provide abortion coverage in healthcare, or those who have been punished for running their family businesses according to their deeply held beliefs. The President can and should issue an Executive Order that protects the religious liberty of all people, of all faiths, at all times. You can read more here.

It is in the Trump Administration’s power to immediately issue an Executive Order to restore the federal government’s respect for the religious freedom of individuals and organizations by establishing a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom. Please urge the White House to defend our first freedom by sending the message we have prepared for you by email or Twitter.

Thank you for acting now to defend life and religious liberty!

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/time-to-defend-life-religious-liberty/

Support Ban of Brutal Painful Dismemberment Abortions

Ultrasound of a baby at 20 weeks.

One Pennsylvania nurse told her legislator, “As a NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] nurse I can attest these babies do feel pain. This practice of abortion or any abortion is cruel, for the infant and mother. Please vote to ban this practice.  The mothers and infants of Pennsylvania deserve better.”

Dismemberment abortion, which ends the life of the unborn baby by tearing off one limb at a time and increases the risk of injury to the mother, is used in over 1,500 abortions in Pennsylvania each year.

Eighteen other states have banned late-term abortions.  Even the lawyer for Kermit Gosnell, who ran the abortion clinic in Philadelphia that was called a “house of horrors,” admitted that Pennsylvania’s laws should be changed, “I’ve come out of this case realizing that 24 weeks is a bad determiner. It should be more like 16, 17 weeks. That would be a far better thing…”

Senate Bill 3 is being considered now and state Senators need to hear from their constituents to urge them to vote yes. Join thousands of other Pennsylvanians in asking your legislator to vote pro-life today.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/support-ban-of-brutal-painful-dismemberment-abortions/

PA Senator Mike Folmer Honored as School Choice Champion

Private non-public school leaders in Pennsylvania have honored Pennsylvania Senator Mike Folmer (R-Dauphin, Lebanon, York) as their 2017 School Choice Champion.

The Pennsylvania Council for Private Education (PA CAPE) presented the award during the Association of Christian Schools International Northeast Regional Administrator Board Conference in Lancaster during National School Choice Week (January 22-28, 2017). The conference and award presentation are part of the largest series of education-related events in US history.

“PA CAPE is thrilled to celebrate National School Choice Week with leaders from across our state and to present the PA CAPE School Choice Champion Award to Senator Mike Folmer. Senator Folmer has a long history of his work to promote education options for the children of Pennsylvania because every child deserves a chance,” said Dr. Merle Skinner, co-coordinator of PA CAPE.

Pennsylvania is a leader in providing families with opportunities to choose a school that best fits the needs of their children with its successful Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs.

Over 400 school administrators from the northeast region of the multi-state area attended the conference.  The PA School Choice Champion Award is sponsored annually by PA CAPE along with the Association of Christian Schools International, the PA Catholic Conference, the Northeast Region of Agudath Israel, the  Jewish Orthodox Union, the PA American Montessori Society, and the Friends Council on Education.

Thank you for your leadership, Senator Folmer. Pennsylvania’s non-public school students salute you!


PHOTO CAPTION: (L TO R) Dr. D. Merle Skinner, Co-Director PACAPE; Senator Mike Folmer; Sean P. McAleer, Co-Director PA CAPE; Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, Agudath Israel; Mr. George Tryfiates, Director Government Affairs, Association of Christian Schools International

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pa-senator-mike-folmer-honored-as-school-choice-champion/

Resolved: Catholic Schools Make Great Contributions to Pennsylvania’s Communities

Both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed resolutions designating the week of January 29 through February 4, 2017, as “Catholic Schools Week” in Pennsylvania. Both Senate Resolution 11 and House Resolution 18 expressed “congratulations and appreciation to Catholic elementary and secondary schools across this Commonwealth.”

The legislature noted that “Catholic schools instill in young people a strong foundation of values, self-esteem, self-confidence, and leadership skills … (provide) young people with a strong foundation of the values and academic skills needed in becoming responsible residents of this Commonwealth” and save state and local taxpayers more than $2 billion each year.

Special thanks to Sen. Thomas Killion (R-Chester, Delaware) and Rep. Frank Burns (D-Cambria) and all the resolution sponsors for honoring Pennsylvania’s Catholic Schools.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/resolved-catholic-schools-make-great-contributions-to-pennsylvanias-communities/