Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Legislative Action Alerts

Urge Senators Portman and Brown to prioritize the poor and vulnerable in the next COVID-19 relief package

Final days of negotiations on a COVID-19 relief bill

Families and individuals are facing immediate hardships: rent is due, food prices are rising, layoffs continue, access to healthcare is being lost, and those who are most vulnerable in the criminal justice system are not being adequately protected from the coronavirus. As followers of Christ, we are called to create a society where the needs of the poor and vulnerable are always considered first. Tell your Senators to act now to support those who are poor and vulnerable during this pandemic.
 

Stop the Federal Executions

The federal government has resumed federal executions for the first time in 17 years

The federal government has resumed federal executions for the first time in 17 years.  As Pope Francis has made clear, the death penalty is inadmissible as an affront to the Gospel and the dignity of human life. 
 
The Catholic bishops have expressed their opposition to the death penalty for decades. 

Please join in raising your voice against these executions.  Tell Attorney General Barr to stop the executions because they undermine human dignity!

Bishop Chairmen Call for Better Police Formation and Accountability

Letter sent to all members of the U.S. Congress regarding police accountability and reform

 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington, chairman of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, have sent a letter to all members of the U.S. Congress to offer reflections and principles for police accountability and reform.

"...Law enforcement officers perform a great and needed service; they serve to promote justice and the common good in society. But it is clear that there have been too many failures in serving everyone, with tragic consequences. There must be better practices for formation and accountability for police, certainly in the use of lethal force, but also in patterns of discrimination and prejudice, so that real accountability can happen before more lives are lost..."

"...Several policy proposals currently before you appear to take steps in the right direction. These include collection of data on use-of-force, training towards de-escalation, work to end racial profiling, doing away with chokeholds, using body cameras, greater accountability and means of redress regarding those who exercise public authority, and a commission to study the issue further and make additional recommendations. It is clear that long term commitment is needed to prevent further tragedies, especially greater accountability in bad uses of force as well as greater emphasis on promoting the common good of all..."

Bishops Welcome U.S. Supreme Court Decision On DACA

Decision Prevents Trump Administration from terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program

 Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the USCCB and Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and chairman of the USCCB’ Committee on Migration issued a statement that welcomed the decision to continue DACA, urged the Administration to reconsider terminating the program, called upon Congress to pass immigration reform, and reiterated the Church's love and concern for DACA families.

 

Ohio Senate Committee Passes Death Penalty Limitation Bill

HB 136 Bans Executions of Seriously Mentally Ill Persons

On June 3, 2020 the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 136 that prohibits the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness.  The bill now goes before the full Senate.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio strongly supports passage of this legislation.

Persons are encouraged to contact their Senator asking for their support.

 

Care for the Poor and Vulnerable Urged in Further Consideration of COVID-19 Relief Legislation

U.S. Bishops send numerous letters to Congress

 Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, wrote:

"...As Congress turns once more to considering additional relief related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus should be on those most in need—the poor, the vulnerable, and people on the margins—to offer them some hope and assistance in desperate circumstances. Since early April, some of my brother bishops and I have sent five letters to express this touchstone principle to Congress and its various committees..."

Bishops Urge FDA to Develop Ethical Vaccine for COVID-19

Encourages FDA to incentivize pharmaceutical companies to use only ethical cell lines or processes for producing vaccines

Four bishop chairmen of committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have urged Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure that vaccines for the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are developed ethically and are free from any connection to the exploitation of abortion.

"...It is critically important that Americans have access to a vaccine that is produced ethically: no American should be forced to choose between being vaccinated against this potentially deadly virus and violating his or her conscience. Fortunately, there is no need to use ethically problematic cell lines to produce a COVID vaccine, or any vaccine, as other cell lines or processes that do not involve cells from abortions are available and are regularly being used to produce other vaccines..."

USCCB Leaders Issue Letters to Congress

Call for additional emergency appropriations and policy changes

USCCB committee chairpersons have identified additional areas of need in addressing the COID-19 crisis. Letters have been sent to the members of the various congressional committees considering a fourth CARES Act.

The bishops commend the swift and bipartisan action already taken and express appreciation for the helpful provisions that were included in the legislative packages enacted so far.  They write: "As bishops of the Catholic Church at the service of all God’s people, we stand ready to work with you to advance the common good during this global and national health emergency, including by promoting the dignity and value of all human life and by protecting poor and vulnerable people who are most at risk. Accordingly, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to use the money and policies in these bills to fund and promote life-affirming policies and not to advance the destruction of innocent human life. 

As you contemplate additional emergency appropriations, we urge you to please consider the following requests, organized by subcommittee..."

Overview Letter related to additional Appropriations
Letter related to Health, Catholic Education and Labor Issues
Letter related to Finances, Tax Relief, Employment Needs
Letter related to Judiciary Concerns of Immigrants and those in the Criminal Justice System
Letter related to Vulnerable Migrant Populations

Double Jeopardy: The Coronavirus & Homelessness in Ohio

Report Shows Need For Additional Focus on Persons Who Are Homeless

Barbara Poppe, former executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and author of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio's (COHHIO) new report, "Double Jeopardy: The Coronavirus & Homelessness in Ohio," pointed out pending concerns:
 

- 79 percent of regional homeless system leaders said they can't provide the financial assistance necessary to reduce admissions and minimize overcrowding in shelters.

- 87 percent said they don't have sufficient space to isolate and quarantine clients with symptoms of COVID-19.

- 71 percent said they don't have enough sanitation and hygiene supplies on hand to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

- 65 percent said they have reduced services for people experiencing homelessness due to the loss of staff and volunteers.

USCCB Committee Chair Encourages Lawmakers in Providing Aid and Relief to Those Affected by Coronavirus

Prayers offered for those suffering from the virus and for healthcare providers

Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, encouraged lawmakers as they consider measures to provide relief and aid to those suffering from coronavirus, as well as those affected by workplace closures and other disruptions. He also offered prayers for those suffering from the virus and for healthcare providers.

“The outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has impacted the lives of hundreds of millions around the world, and is spreading here in the United States. We pray especially for those who are ill and for those who have died. We also offer prayers for those affected by disruptions, such as quarantines and closures of workplaces and schools. Finally, we pray for health care workers, and express our gratitude for their service in combating this disease.  

“At this time, lawmakers are considering with urgency a number of policies that could provide aid and relief. Because of the quickly developing nature of the situation, it is appropriate simply to offer encouragement to members of Congress and the Administration for their efforts to address the many challenges ahead. Special consideration is warranted for those most vulnerable: the poor, the elderly, the homeless, those in prison or detention facilities, immigrants and refugees, and those with severe underlying health conditions... " 

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