Oct 2010

Iowa Newsletter

To: Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Network
First, I’d like to welcome the new subscribers to our Iowa Catholic Conference Legislative Network. This fall I’ve had the opportunity to speak in several parishes around the state and encourage those in attendance to sign up for our legislative alerts. I hope you find them useful.
During these last days before an election I have had many contacts from people who are looking for more information before they vote. One of the places I always direct them toward is the “Faithful Citizenship for Iowa Catholics” flier on our website at www.iowacatholicconference.org. I urge you to review it again.
I’ve posted on our website an opinion piece I wrote for the Des Moines Register in support of a constitutional convention. 
Let’s get out and vote on Nov. 2nd! If you vote – the choice is yours. If you don’t vote – the choice is theirs.
Many thanks to those who attended the 2011 Iowa Institute for Social Action earlier this month. For a few photos of the event, check out the “Iowa Institute for Social Action” group page on Facebook.
Last Friday I attended the Iowa Board of Medicine’s public hearing on telemedicine and the issue of “telemed” abortions. These abortions are conducted by video conference, where the woman is on one end of the connection and the doctor on the other. The doctor dispenses two abortion pills by pushing a button and a drawer opens on the other end. The woman takes one pill right away and one later. The woman generally delivers a dead baby later at home.
The Board of Medicine is reviewing its policies on telemedicine. It seems unlikely that the board will take any action soon to address concerns about standards of care. For our part, the Iowa Catholic Conference opposes all abortions, no matter the method. However, if these abortions are to take place, the safety and informed consent of the women involved should be among the chief concerns.
A new document affirms the Catholic Campaign for Human Development’s Catholic foundations and priority for the poor. “The Review and Renewal of CCHD” also responds to concerns about CCHD funding policies and makes 10 commitments to strengthen CCHD as a faithful and effective expression of Catholic teaching and the Gospel mandate to defend the lives and dignity of those who are poor in our nation.
Established in 1969, CCHD provides self-help grants to groups of low-income people who are working to overcome poverty by addressing its root causes in their own lives and communities. The executive summary and full report, along with additional material, are now available online at: www.usccb.org/cchd/reviewandrenewal.shtml. Many dioceses will be taking up the CCHD collection in November.
The 2011 theme for the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, DC, is “Protecting Human Life & Dignity: Promoting a Just Economy”. You can join social ministry leaders and a score of Catholic national organizations as they explore common issues and concerns of global and domestic policy on human life, justice and peace that challenge our nation and world.
This annual event includes a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with your elected officials and discuss issues in the light of Catholic social teachings. For more information visit www.catholicsocialministrygathering.org.
Very soon after the election we will follow-up with an announcement of the Iowa Catholic Conference 2011 legislative concerns. Thanks for being a part of our legislative network!
Tom Chapman
Executive Director
Iowa Catholic Conference

Governor Rendell signs Adoption Bill

New procedures for voluntary open adoption agreements where the prospective adoptive parent can enter into a voluntary agreement with the birth relative of a child to permit continued contact were established this week when Governor Ed Rendell signed SB 1360 into law.
The measure also streamlines the procedure for accessing adoption records and directs DPW to establish a statewide confidential registry of medical and social history for all Pennsylvania adoptions.
Pennsylvania Catholic Conference supported this revision to the Adoption Act. It significantly improves services for those involved in the adoption process. The new law has two key components. First, it recognizes and establishes procedures for voluntary open adoption agreements, whereby a prospective adoptive parent can enter into a voluntary agreement with a birth relative of a child to permit continuing contact between the child and a birth relative.
Many Catholic Charities and Social Services agencies in Pennsylvania offer adoption services.



In light of the increasing possibility that Arizona will soon begin conducting new executions, the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference want to reiterate our continued opposition to the use of the death penalty.  

Disregard for Human Life

 We oppose the death penalty primarily because its use disregards the dignity of human life and the inherent dignity of each person.
 There is no doubt that the state has an obligation to promote the common good by punishing criminals and preventing the recurrence of crime. Furthermore, those who commit brutal crimes such as murder are certainly deserving of a punishment proportionate to the gravity of their offense. However, we believe that the state should not respond to the violence of brutal crimes with the violence of capital punishment. 
When there are typically means available to punish criminals and protect society from the recurrence of crime (e.g., life in prison without parole), the use of capital punishment is both unnecessary and undesirable. Because these means exist, Pope John Paul II stated that the use of capital punishment should be limited only to extremely rare situations where it is necessary to defend society (Evangelium Vitae, #56).


Wrongful Convictions and the Death Penalty 

Besides disregarding human life and the inherent dignity of each person, the use of the death penalty is troubling because in recent decades more than 100 people have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death in our country, only to be later released after DNA or other evidence proved their innocence. Even our own State of Arizona has witnessed innocent people sitting on death row whose lives were spared because of recent breakthroughs in DNA evidence.  
 We are left to wonder how many other innocent people have been wrongfully convicted or even executed.


The Sacredness of Life

 Our opposition to the use of the death penalty in today’s society is derived from the continuum of the sacredness of life that our Church teaches. All life – from conception to death – is sacred. State-sanctioned killing, whether by unnecessary use of the death penalty or by the intrinsically evil actions of abortion or euthanasia, violates human life and dignity.

Concern for Victims 

As we state our opposition to capital punishment, we also want to express our compassion for those victimized by brutal crimes as well as their families. The pain and suffering experienced by these families is enormous and must never be forgotten. We pray for their healing in a very special way.  



The use of the death penalty in today’s society not only disregards human life and the inherent dignity of each person, but it is also unnecessary to protect the public and is prone to serious flaws. 
Most Rev. James S. Wall                                            Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
      Bishop of Gallup                                                         Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas                                     Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
      Bishop of Tucson                                                        Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix



The more campaign seasons I experience the more grateful I become to the people who invented the “mute” button on my remote control.

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St. Thomas More: Patron of Politicians

The Pennsylvania Catholic Bishops have issued a joint statement to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Apostolic Letter (Motu Proprio) of Pope John Paul II proclaiming St. Thomas More as the patron of statesmen, politicians and lawyers – October 31, 2010.
Read the Bishops’ statement online or download a printer friendly version.

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Elections: Massachusetts

Roman Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts issue statement on upcoming elections.  A pdf copy is available at

Reflections on Prop. 19

By Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Bishop of Oakland 
The foundational principle of all Catholic social teaching is the affirmation of the dignity of the human person. One does not need Catholic faith to understand this, but the light of faith helps those of us who are believers to understand this truth more clearly and profoundly, given especially our belief that God created us in His own image and likeness (Gen 1:26).
One of the important consequences of this principle is the need to care for our bodies. As the
Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good.” (No. 2288) In the upcoming election, California voters will have to decide on a ballot proposition which threatens to seriously erode the good these principles uphold.
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Election Information

MCC Continues to Make 2010 Election Information Available. Continue reading…

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We often debate the issue of how much government should do, but that rarely ends the argument. For even when we can agree that government has a role in addressing an issue, we often debate which level of government is best suited to do so.

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NYS Catholic Conference mourns the passing of retired Queens Assembly Member Denis Butler

The NYS Catholic Conference mourns the passing of retired Queens Assembly Member Denis Butler, a devout Catholic, a stalwart defender of the unborn and a principled legislator. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
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On the State Budget

Edward E. “Ned” Dolejsi, Executive Director of the California Catholic Conference—the public policy office of the Catholic Bishops of California— issued the following statement in response to the FY 2010-2011 California state budget.
There is certainly relief that Legislators and the Governor were able to finalize the state’s budget for FY 2010-2011.  Having said that, however, the signed, sealed and delivered budget appears to be an expedient solution, which only solves the immediate problems of averting the issuance of IOUs, facilitating state borrowing, meeting payroll and paying the state’s vendors.  
Sadly the Governor’s line-item vetoes introduce more problems for the poor and the vulnerable.  In his zeal to create a $1.3 billion reserve, the Governor cut funding for child-care supporting welfare to work and reduced funding for mental health programs.  The impacts of these decisions will be felt dramatically in the lives of those who are already challenged to survive in our severe economic times.
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General Election Resources

As part of an effort to educate citizens about candidates and their positions on issues important to Catholic voters, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) sent a questionnaire to candidates for statewide office to give them the opportunity to make their positions known on key issues. All four statewide candidates (U.S. Senator and PA Governor) also participated in interviews about their views with PCC staff. The election resources posted here are for information purposes only; the PCC does not endorse candidates for political office.
U.S. Senator
PA Governor
Viewpoint newsletter – Fall 2010 issue

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Mercy Hospital Launches Cord Blood Program

Mercy Hospital in Baltimore Launches First Public Cord Blood Program in Maryland.Are stem cells saving lives? Yes. Adult Stem Cells. ... For proof, look at little Mason Shaffer, one of thousands saved by adult stem cells thanks to umbilical cord blood.Visit MCC website for details: http://www.mdcathcon.org/respectforlife

Maryland Catholic Conference - Respect for Life
The Respect for Life Department works to uphold the dignity of every individual from conception until natural death.
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Governor Quinn has recently announced his intention to push for passage of a so-called Civil Unions Bill (Senate Bill 1716) in the November Veto Session. This legislation provides that parties to civil unions have equivalent legal rights as married spouses, granting marriage rights to same-sex civil unions. Please call your state representative and senator as soon as possible and ask them to vote NO on Senate Bill 1716! To find out who your state representative is go to www.ilga.gov and click on the "Legislator Lookup" button in the lower right portion of the home page. Click here for detailed talking points describing our opposition to Senate Bill 1716.

Health Care Conference

Featured Speakers:
Mr. Stephen Mikochik
Human Life in the Balance: Health Care Rationing and Disabled People
Mr. Mikochik will discuss current threats to the dignity of persons with disabilities. Mr. Mikochik is the chair of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability and a professor at Temple Law School in Philadelphia. Before coming to Temple, he was an attorney with the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked to enforce the rights of disabled people.
Dr. Marie Hilliard
Threats to Persons with Disabilities, at the Hand of the Very Society Charged with Protecting its Members
Dr. Hilliard will examine the implications of the passage of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act how it will impact ethical health care issues. Dr. Hilliard is Director of Bioethics and Public Policy for the National Catholic Bioethics Center and chairs the Ethics Committee of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability. She has been published with numerous awards over her career and including the Meritorious Service Medal for her 20 years as a registered nurse and Colonel. Dr. Hilliard is a canon lawyer and the former director of the Connecticut Catholic Conference.
Connie Rakitan
Mental Illness: The Overlooked Disability
Ms. Rakitan will discuss supporting the spiritual and social needs of people with mental illness. Rakitan, a member of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Commission on Mental Illness, is the founder of Faith and Fellowship, a support group for people with severe mental illness. Over the past 30 years, Ms. Rakitan has worked with countless people with mental illness, and has found that for many, faith is the only relief they can obtain.
Health care administrators, nurses, physicians, chaplains, priests, deacons and anyone serving people with disabilities should plan to attend.
October 25th, 2010 Boniface Hall, St. Alexius Hospital Bismarck, FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER Log on to
ndcatholic.org  or Call 701-223-2519 Toll Free 1-888-419-1237
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Fr. David McCauley Announced as New Interim Executive Director of MCC * Fr. David McCauley Announced as New Interim Executive Director of MCC

I write today to share with you that I have been named to serve as Interim  Executive Director of the MN Catholic Conference.  Archbishop Nienstedt visited with me  last week, to inform me of the resignation of former Director, Christopher Leifeld, and asked if I would step in for a time to allow the Board of Directors the opportunity to conduct a nation-wide search for a new director.    My appointment  became effective on Friday, October 1.
Many of you will remember me as Director of the Conference from 1995 – 2001.   Questioning my sanity in saying yes has moved on to a sense of excitement at being here.  I look forward to sharing a mission once again with those of you with whom I worked in the past, and the opportunity to meet and be with those who have come to be our friends since 2001.
I wish all the best for Chris in his new endeavors, and ask your patience with me as I  find my way around once again.
With all good wishes and offering peace to you, I am
Sincerely yours,
(Rev.) David McCauley
Executive Director (interim)