Pray, Learn, Act: April is Child Abuse Prevention Month
According to childhelp.org, each day between four and seven children tragically lose their lives to child abuse in the U.S., and a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds. This includes instances of abuse, neglect, and child trafficking in every city across America.
Since 1983, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has dedicated April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, when communities should rededicate themselves to being supportive of families, and play an active role in preventing child abuse and neglect as well as taking positive action to promote child and family well being.
On Friday, April 13, the USCCB will promote a Call to Prayer. Dioceses and parishes can consider promoting that day for prayer and sacrifice for this intention: “We pray that God may grant those affected by abuse in any way the courage to tell their story and seek healing.”
There are also available op-eds and other resources that dioceses and parishes can use to promote Child Abuse Prevention Month including sample social media posts, bulletin inserts, and Prayers for the Faithful.
The USCCB will be hosting rosaries and prayers dedicated to stopping child abuse. On Friday, April 6th at 11 am Pacific Time, the staff of the USCCB will gather to pray a Rosary to Our Lady with special intentions for victims/survivors of abuse and the defense of the vulnerable. The Rosary will be streamed live on the USCCB Facebook and Twitter pages to encourage public participation.
Click here to learn the signs of child abuse and what to do if you suspect abuse is taking place.
Your participation is vital in this month-long campaign. Every child is worth the effort.
Optimism After US Supreme Court Hears Pregnancy Center Case
Attorneys for a pro-life pregnancy center resource group reported that they are optimistic after presenting oral arguments in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in a case that could reverse a California law that promotes abortion in all pregnancy crisis centers in the state.
The case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra, is challenging the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act, which requires state-licensed reproductive health clinics to inform clients that public programs provide free or low-cost family planning services, including abortions.
“We hit a home run today in the court,” said NIFLA President Thomas Glessner. “In fact, [Alliance Defending Freedom CEO] Michael Farris hit a grand slam home run.”
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, issued a statement praising the work of pro-life pregnancy centers but cautioning “some governments want to force them to provide free advertising for the violent act of abortion in direct violation of their pro-life convictions and the First Amendment. The United States Supreme Court cannot let this happen. We pray that the Court will do the right thing and uphold our fundamental right to free speech when it decides this case."
The lawsuit has largely been seen as an attack on faith-based pregnancy centers, which are required to provide materials that contradict their beliefs, while non-denominational pregnancy centers are not required to provide information on alternative options to abortion.
Faith in the Public Square Conversations
During the three days of the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, many of our readers stopped by the booth to talk about the Catholic Legislative Network. Many more joined us online for a series of Facebook Live broadcasts on Saturday.
Kicking off the sessions, which you can now view on our YouTube Channel, was an interview with California Catholic Conference executive director Ned Dolejsi. Subscribers submitted questions, such as how a faithful person can talk about abortion in an increasingly secularized, anti-religion environment.
Another rather interesting question was the perception that the California Catholic Conference supports only “progressive Democratic” proposals. Mr. Dolejsi delved into the difference between ideological positioning, which is the nature of politics, compared to the theological perspective of a faith community.
At noon on Saturday, the traditional prayer and demonstration by Catholics to raise awareness of the injustice of the death penalty took place. We interviewed Krisanne Murphy, managing director of Catholics Mobilizing Network, on what is happening around the Union and particularly in California. The Network is asking Catholics to “Take the Pledge” to end the use of the death penalty in the United States. Many people signed up at the Network booth during the weekend.
Earlier, on Friday evening, one of the featured liturgies spotlighted the restorative justice teachings of the Church. More 2,500 people attended and heard Bishop David O'Connell of Los Angeles deliver a wonderful homily focused on what is truly important in life - love and compassion. Marty Haugen and Daniel Delgado provided the music, including, "Teach Us Your Mercy", a piece created especially for this Mass.
Finally, on a more lighthearted note, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange stopped by to talk a little bit about what was happening in the hosting dioceses and a hearty St. Patrick’s Day blessing.
Some of the audio is a bit difficult with the tumult of the convention hall setting, but the videos are worth watching in their entirety. Again, you can find them on our YouTube Channel.
Reaction to Failure to Include Conscience Protection Act
“The failure of Congress to include the Conscience Protection Act in the 2018 omnibus appropriations bill is deeply disappointing,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz. “The CPA is an extraordinarily modest bill that proposes almost no change to existing conscience protection laws on abortion—laws that receive wide public and bi-partisan support. The CPA simply proposes to provide victims of discrimination with the ability to defend their rights in court to help ensure that no one is forced to participate in abortion. Those inside and outside of Congress who worked to defeat the CPA have placed themselves squarely into the category of extremists who insist that all Americans must be forced to participate in the violent act of abortion. We call on Congress not to give up until this critical legislation is enacted.”
Thank you to all who completed the Action Alert.
Catholic Advocacy Day
Mark your calendars! This year’s Catholic Advocacy Day will take place on Tuesday, April 24.
You will be able to find more background information on the selected bills here in the coming days. Help the Catholic voice be heard at the California State Capitol and be sure to join us for this very important day.
There will be no issue of Public Policy Insights next week in observance of Good Friday. From everyone at the California Catholic Conference, have a blessed Easter.
March 23, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 11