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CAN is an outreach of the Michigan Catholic Conference, the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan
November 16, 2018
 

  In This Update:  
 
  • ACTION NEEDED! Urge Adoption of "Raise the Age" Policies
  • U.S. Bishops Approve Pastoral Letter Against Racism
  • USCCB Applauds Cancellation of FDA Fetal Tissue Contract
  • The Word from Lansing: The Synod on Young People, Faith & Vocational Discernment
 
  ACTION NEEDED! Urge Adoption of "Raise the Age" Policies  
 
Michigan is one of ONLY FOUR states that still automatically prosecutes all 17-year-olds as adults for any offense in the criminal justice system. Prosecuting the state's youth as adults can lead to harmful, lasting effects that are also expensive and threaten public safety. A common-sense package of bills is currently before the House Law and Justice Committee. These bills would "raise the age" and keep 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system unless a judge or prosecutor chooses to charge them as an adult in cases of serious crimes. The research and science are clear. Youth incarcerated in adult facilities are more likely to be physically attacked, sexually assaulted and attempt suicide than young people in the juvenile justice system. They don't have access to the age-appropriate services they need. Not only that, data shows that youth exiting the adult system are three times more likely to re-offend, re-offend sooner, and escalate to more violent offenses than their counterparts in the juvenile justice system.
 
There are only a few weeks left in the 2017-2018 legislative session, so take action now! Send your Michigan Representative a letter today, urging him or her to adopt Raise the Age policies currently before the House Law and Justice Committee.
 
To learn more about Raise the Age policies, watch these videos from supporters, including:
 
  U.S. Bishops Approve Pastoral Letter Against Racism  
 
This week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) met for its November General Assembly. During the meeting, the full body of bishops approved a new pastoral statement against racism, "Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love, A Pastoral Letter Against Racism." More pastoral resources will be posted at http://www.usccb.org/racism. The document received a two-thirds majority vote of 241 to 3 with 1 abstention. USCCB commented after the letter's passage, saying:
 
 "The entire body of bishops felt the need to address the topic of racism, once again, after witnessing the deterioration of the public discourse, and episodes of violence and animosity with racial and xenophobic overtones, that have re-emerged in American society in the last few years. Pastoral letters from the full body of bishops are rare, few and far between. But at key moments in history the bishops have come together for important pronouncements, paying attention to a particular issue and with the intention of offering a Christian response, full of hope, to the problems of our time. This is such a time. 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."
 
  USCCB Applauds Cancellation of FDA Fetal Tissue Contract  
 
In September, MCC asked Catholic Advocacy Network members to contact Secretary Alex Azar, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this message was to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to terminate a new contract acquiring "fresh" aborted fetal organs for research. Towards the end of September, the FDA took initial steps to end the contract. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement, recognizing the positive direction of the action:
 
"We applaud Secretary Azar and the Administration for cutting off ties to a company whose business is to procure aborted baby parts for research. Not only has this company been referred for criminal investigation by the House and Senate but using federal tax dollars for such purposes is unethical and unacceptable. While we are grateful for this first step, it remains incumbent on the Administration to act quickly to cease all funding for research involving body parts from aborted babies."
 
  The Word from Lansing: The Synod on Young People, Faith & Vocational Discernment  
 
Bishops and other religious leaders gathered in Rome last month for a worldwide Synod.  This gathering examined the gifts young people bring to the Catholic Church and the ways the Church can better accompany them. The discussions also highlighted the need to prepare young Catholics for engagement in the public realm. The Word from Lansing for November presents a few of the takeaways from the Synod, as well as thoughts for further reflection.
 
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Michigan Catholic Conference, 510 South Capitol Avenue, Lansing, Michigan 48933 Michigan Catholic Conference: The Official Public Policy Voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan Phone: (517) 372-9310, Fax: (517) 372-3940, publicpolicy@micatholic.org