Catholic Conference of Ohio
Sunday, January 17, 2021

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Reverend David J. Bonnar Installed Bishop of Youngstown

Welcome Bishop Bonnar

On November 17, 2020 Pope Francis appointed Reverend David J. Bonnar the 6th Bishop of Youngstown.

The Mass of Ordination and Installation took place on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 

A rebroadcast on ETC-Ecumenical Television Channel is scheduled on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., and 8:00 p.m. and on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at 12:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

WELCOME BISHOP BONNAR!

U.S. Bishops’ President Condemns Violent Protests and Prays for Safety as Chaos Threatens U.S. Capitol

WASHINGTON —Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement in response to today’s violence in the United States Capitol:

“I join people of good will in condemning the violence today at the United States Capitol. This is not who we are as Americans. I am praying for members of Congress and Capitol staff and for the police and all those working to restore order and public safety. 

“The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of this great nation. In this troubling moment, we must recommit ourselves to the values and principles of our democracy and come together as one nation under God. I entrust all of us to the heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. May she guide us in the ways of peace, and obtain for us wisdom and the grace of a true patriotism and love of country.”

Governor DeWine Signs "No Duty to Retreat" Bill

On January 4, 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine signed SB175 which lessens the "duty to retreat" before using deadly force in self-defense.  The Catholic Conference of Ohio encouraged the Governor to veto this legislation.The Conference argued that the legislation was unnecessary and harmful. It could result in the unnecessary use of force anywhere one has a lawful right to be. It may also exacerbate racial tensions.

DeWine Continues Reprieving Pending Executions

On December 18, 2020, Gov. Mike DeWine issued the following three reprieves of execution, citing the lack of drugs for the lethal injections:

- Elwood Hubert Jones, who was scheduled to be executed on April 21, 2021, is now due to be executed on Dec. 6, 2023.
- Gregory Lott, who was scheduled to be executed on May 27, 2021, is now to be executed Feb. 15, 2024
- Archie Dixon, who was scheduled to be executed on June 23, 2021, is now to be executed on April 17, 2024.

Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Addresses the Use of Anti-Covid-19 Vaccines

"Morally acceptable" when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available

The Vatican's doctrinal office, with the approval of Pope Francis, issued a note Dec. 21 saying it can be "morally acceptable" for Catholics to take vaccines against the coronavirus.

"...when ethically irreproachable Covid-19 vaccines are not available (e.g. in countries where vaccines without ethical problems are not made available to physicians and patients, or where their distribution is more difficult due to special storage and transport conditions, or when various types of vaccines are distributed in the same country but health authorities do not allow citizens to choose the vaccine with which to be inoculated) it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process..."

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter on Vaccines

Vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer to combat COVID-19 may be taken without moral reservations.

The Catholic Bishops in Ohio issued a letter to parishioners addressing questions and concerns being raised regarding the use of covid-19 vaccines. Of particular concern to many Catholics are various issues related to application of the Church’s moral teaching to the development, distribution, and reception of vaccines. The letter outlines the following principles:

  •  Any vaccine must be developed in a morally acceptable manner;
  • Catholics are obliged to advocate for vaccine development to be done in a morally acceptable manner throughout every stage; 
  • The vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer to combat COVID-19 may be taken without moral reservations;
  • Catholics are obliged to advocate for the just distribution of a vaccine so that those most vulnerable may have access. 

 Read also: USCCB Statement by the Chairmen of the Committee on Doctrine and the Committee on Pro-Life Activities United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Ohio Legislature Passes Two More Life-Affirming Bills

Telemedicine Abortion Ban; Further Protections for Survivors of Human Trafficking Go to Governor for Signature

SB 260, the Telemedicine Abortion Ban, passed the Ohio General Assembly. This legislation would prohibit the use of telemedicine for the purpose of providing abortion-inducing drugs and ensure that these drugs could only be provided in-person by the prescribing physician. Senator Stephen Huffman sponsored this legislation.

HB 431, includes the Protect Trafficked Minors Act. The amended bill passed both Houses. This legislation removes the arbitrary, two-tiered system of treating 16 and 17 year olds differently than other children who are survivors of human trafficking. Senator Teresa Fedor has been a long-time champion of this legislation.

Ohio Legislature Eliminates Death Penalty for Persons with Severe Mental Illness

HB 136 Goes To Governor For Signature

The Catholic Conference of Ohio has been a long-time advocate for this legislation.  In testimony the Conference stated:

 "HB 136 is an important and achievable reform of Ohio’s death penalty system. Regardless of your position on the death penalty, we hope each of you will agree that our State ought not be executing persons with clearly defined mental illness. HB 136 offers a narrow path for such a determination. Conducting a pretrial hearing to determine if an individual meets the bill’s limited “conditions” of serious mental illness is a reasonable response. HB 136 will hold guilty individuals with serious mental illness accountable through a life sentence."

"We thank Representative Hillyer for sponsoring this legislation. We also thank Chairman Eklund and Senator Williams for carrying the companion bill, SB 54. We commend the work of the Ohio Supreme Court Task Force on the Death Penalty, and the leadership of former Justice Evelyn Stratton. We are pleased to join with the many mental health groups that support this legislation." 

The legislation passed the Senate 27-3 and the House 67-12.

Ohio Legislature Sends Two Pro-Life Bills to Governor for Signature

Unborn Child Dignity Act (SB 27) and Family Forward Initiative (HB 405) pass legislature

 HB 405, the Family Forward Initiative, was passed out of the Ohio Senate by a unanimous vote.  This legislation would make low-interest loans available to adoptive families to help alleviate the costs associated with adoption.

The Senate also concurred on House changes to the "Unborn Child Dignity Act" (SB 27).  This legislation requires that the fetal remains from surgical abortions are humanely buried or cremated. 

U.S. Bishop Chairmen for Pro-Life and Doctrine Address Ethical Concerns on the New COVID-19 Vaccines

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines justified; AstraZeneca vaccine more problematic

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement on the new COVID-19 vaccines. In their statement, the bishops address the moral concerns raised by the fact that the three vaccines that appear to be ready for distribution in the United States all have some connection to cell lines that originated with tissue taken from abortions.

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