Catholic Conference of Ohio
Monday, January 21, 2019

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

U.S. Bishops Receive Letter from Pope Francis As They Gather for Spiritual Retreat

Letter Addresses Issues of Accountability, Healing and Reconciliation

The U.S. Bishops have received a letter from Pope Francis as they gather in northern Illinois at Mundelein Seminary from January 2 - 8, 2019. The weeklong retreat is taking place at the invitation of Pope Francis who has asked all bishops in the United States to pause in prayer as the Church seeks to respond to the signs of the times.

Church Leaders Welcome Passage of the FIRST STEP Act Through Congress

The First Step Act is a true first step towards long-term criminal justice system reform.

The FIRST STEP Act provides meaningful reform to our nation’s mandatory minimum sentences and “three-strike” policies. This reform provides a more just and equitable criminal justice system. In addition, the Act provides valuable incentives for prisoners to participate in vocational and rehabilitative programs helping to prepare them for reintegration into society. The Act also reauthorizes the Second Chance Act which provides access to meaningful local and faith-based programs that help returning citizens contribute to their communities and families.

Ohio Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto on the Gun Bill; Fails to Override the Heartbeat Bill

While the Ohio House voted to override the Governor's veto of the Heartbeat bill by a vote of 61-28, the Senate vote failed 19-13 (20 votes were needed for an override).  The bill will be reintroduced in the next General Assembly.

The Governor did sign legislation that prohibits dismemberment abortions: SB 145

Both the House and Senate voted to override the Governor's veto of the Gun Bill, HB 228.

9 Days of Life

January 14-22, 2019

On January 14, 2019, thousands of Catholics across the country will join in prayer for “9 Days for Life.” The prayer campaign, sponsored by the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, leads up to the annual Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children. The novena and day of prayer are a time of recollection and reparation in observation of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal throughout the United States.

The overarching intention of the novena is that all human life will be respected. Each day of the “9 Days for Life” novena highlights a related topic and provides a reflection, educational information, and suggested daily actions.

U. S. Farm Bill Passed

The final five-year farm bill sets policies and reauthorizes farm, conservation, nutrition, rural development, agricultural trade and other programs. It protects domestic and international nutrition programs, maintains crop insurance and commodity subsidies for farmers, especially those who are struggling while strengthening support for rural communities and employment training programs.

Catholic Rural Life, along with its partnering organizations, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Relief Services, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul commend Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-Texas), and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) for their leadership in negotiating a bipartisan, compromise Farm Bill.

Ohio's 132nd General Assembly Winding Down

Possible vetoes will determine the fate of several life-related legislation

The Ohio Legislature is expected to return on December 19 and December 27 to wrap up the 132nd General Assembly.  Legislation not passed by January 1, 2019, must be reintroduced in the next Assembly. Much will depend upon whether the House and Senate will attempt to override any Governor vetoes (including vetoes made in the 2017 budget bill).  The Governor has indicated that he may veto the Heartbeat bill (HB 258), the gun bill (HB 228) and the pay raise bill (SB 296).  The Senate needs 20 votes to override; the House needs 60. 

 

Ohio Senate Amends and Passes Gun Bill that Keeps Ohio's Current "Duty to Retreat"

Catholic Conference of Ohio Supported and Advocated for this Change

Amended Substitute HB 228 passed the Ohio Senate by a vote of 19-10.  The House concurred by a vote of 59-21. The Catholic Conference of Ohio opposed the provision within HB 228 that would have substantially expanded the locations at which a person has no duty to retreat when under a perceived threat of violence. This provision was removed from the bill prior to passage.  The governor has indicated that he will veto this bill due to other provisions in this legislation. The Senate needs 20 votes to over-ride a veto; the House needs 60.

Hannah News Story

Watch the Sente Floor Debate

 

U. S. Bishops Issue a Pastoral Letter Against Racism

"Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call To Love" Addresses the Evil of Racism in Our Society and Church

“Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love,” is a Pastoral Letter from the full body of bishops to the lay faithful and all people of goodwill addressing the evil of racism.

The pastoral letter asks us to recall that we are all brothers and sisters, all equally made in the image of God. Because we all bear the image of God, racism is above all a moral and theological problem that manifests institutionally and systematically. Only a deep individual conversion of heart, which then multiplies, will compel change and reform in our institutions and society. It is imperative to confront racism’s root causes and the injustice it produces. The love of God binds us together. This same love should overflow into our relationships with all people. The conversions needed to overcome racism require a deep encounter with the living God in the person of Christ who can heal all division.

Statement and Resources

Ohio House Passes "Heartbeat" Legislation

Bill prohibits most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

HB 258 passed the House by a vote of 60-35.  This legislation generally prohibits an abortion after there is a fetal heartbeat detected; applies penalties to physicians violating this prohibition; allows for civil actions related to the "wrongful death of an unborn child"; establishes further ways to promote adoption; addresses other compliance measures.

The Senate is expected to consider this bill over the next several weeks.

The Conference supports the life-affirming intent of this legislation and will continue assisting in efforts aimed at resolving differences related to specific language and strategies. In the end, the Catholic Conference of Ohio desires passage of legislation that can withstand constitutional challenge and be implemented in order to save lives.

Catholic Conference of Ohio Urges Caution in Enacting Legislation Changing Ohio's "Duty to Retreat" Provisions in Self-defense Situations

HB 228 makes changes to current "retreat" standards as they relate to the use of guns and other defense weapons

HB 228 recently passed the Ohio House by a vote of 65-32.  The Senate is expected to hold hearings this November and December.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio has a long-standing concern over changing provisions that may weaken one's "duty to retreat" in self-defense situations.

In a previous statement, the Ohio Bishops wrote:  "[We] believe that the duty to avoid violence (retreat), when possible, is an essential component of self-defense and respect for life. Defending one’s life can, at times, justly require the use of lethal force, but the use of lethal force should be a last resort and of absolute necessity. Other criteria for deciding between retreat and force include the imminent threat to life and the need for a proportional response. Our Church’s teaching cautions that if a person in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it is immoral [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2264].

The Bishops also encourage that HB 228 be expanded to include provisions from the Governor's workgroup on addressing gun violence.

Watch the House floor debate here

  

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Prayer for an End to Human Trafficking

Oh God, we didn't see them.

But you did-

The hundreds and thousands of human beings trafficked each year to join the millions who are trapped in modern-day slavery.

Under terrible conditions, they work in factories, plow fields, harvest crops, work quarries, fill brothels, clean homes, and haul water.

Many are children with tiny fingers for weaving rugs and small shoulders for bearing rifles.

Their labor is forced, their bodies beaten, their faces hidden from those who don't really want to see them.

But you see them all, God of the poor.

You hear their cry and you answer by opening our eyes, and breaking our hearts and loosening our tongues to insist:

No mas. No more.

Amen