The Washington State Catholic Conference and our Catholic advocacy partners are working to grow a year-round, statewide legislative and policy advocacy network. Advocacy resources and more on this plan may be found here.
Contacting your legislators about issues important to Catholics is one way of engaging in year-round advocacy for the common good. The state legislative session begins January 10. Now is a great time to contact your legislators and highlight issues of importance to Washington Catholics. Click on the two Action Alerts below to learn more and send a message to your state legislators. You will find both English and Spanish language options:
As the WSCC and its advocacy partners grow year-round efforts, we are retiring the Catholic Advocacy Day model. Read more about this here. At the same time, the WSCC will continue to guide the faithful during the state legislative session. As we publish this Catholic Advocacy Bulletin weekly during the session, we will provide specific directions on advocating for and against bills of importance to Catholics. By clicking on links to be provided, you will be able to sign in for or against bills before committees and send letters to legislators.
Join us via Zoom on January 6 and learn about the bishops' 2022 state legislative priorities. The state legislative session will begin January 10. The WSCC's legislative priorities are based on the teachings of our Catholic faith and are the basis for our lobbying efforts. The legislative priorities of this past session may be found here. Every other session the legislature passes a new budget during a "longer" 105-day session. The new year will not be a budget year and will be a "short" 60-day session.
Click on this USCCB Action Alert to urge Senator Patty Murray, Senator Maria Cantwell, and your US Representative to assist countries in need through donations of COVID-19 vaccinations and healthcare supplies. Less than 4% of the population in low-income countries has been vaccinated.
As the House considers the Build Back Better Act, six USCCB chairmen issued a letter to Congress, both lauding and criticizing provisions:
Policies serving the common good will strengthen the social safety net, support workers and families, increase affordable housing, provide affordable health coverage, and care for God's creation.
Areas of concern include expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion, the unmet need to grant undocumented persons a pathway to citizenship, the lack of paid leave benefits, and provisions that may subject faith-based providers, like our Catholic schools, to new federal compliance obligations if they participate in expanded opportunities for early child care and pre-k programs.
Further details about programs affected by the Build Back Better Act are detailed in the bishops' letter, which may be accessed here.
At the end of October, the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, issued a memorandum terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy. The USCCB has opposed MPP since its introduction in 2019. Under MPP, certain asylum seekers who passed a credible screening with a US asylum officer were required to return to Mexico to await asylum hearings. This practice left asylum seekers without access to health services or humanitarian aid and subjected them to unsafe waiting conditions, sometimes putting their lives at risk. Bishop Mario Dorsonville, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, welcomed the termination of MPP in this statement. At the same time, he criticized the continued use of Title 42, which permits the expulsion of asylum seekers and other vulnerable persons, including families. In the statement Bishop Dorsonville concluded, "We must work toward an immigration system that better promotes human dignity, not only for the benefit of those seeking protection but for the common good, upon which we all depend."
On the final Sunday of the liturgical year the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King. This year's feast day falls on November 21. The Solemnity of Christ the King feast day was instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI with the encyclical Quas primas. The feast day was born out of resistance to secularization and nationalism. It was intended to address those who sought to eliminate Christian influence from political life. As such, the Solemnity of Christ the King is an opportunity to remember the Church's dedication to religious freedom. Religious freedom is freedom of worship and respect for freedom of conscience. For more information about the Solemnity of Christ the King and religious freedom, see the USCCB statement, Our First, Most Cherished Liberty, and the topic of religious liberty on the USCCB website. In the nine days preceding the Solemnity, November 12-20, the USCCB encourages Catholics to participate in this Novena to Christ the King.
Thank you to all who attended the Cornerstone Catholic Conference at the end of October! We hope you have been inspired to go forth as Jesus' disciples for life and justice. The conference was fully funded through the generosity of sponsors, parishes, and attendees. All presentations will be available free of charge on our YouTube channel in January.