Legislative Advocacy

Legislative Advocacy

“The work for justice requires that the mind and the heart of Catholics be educated and formed to know and practice the whole faith.” [USCCB, Faithful Citizenship]

As a Catholic, are you concerned about legislation around issues like abortion, health care, immigrant’s rights, poverty alleviation, stem cell research and support for low-wage working families?

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The issues our communities, country, and world are currently facing are certainly political and societal, but many of them also have moral components that call us to respond from a place of faith.  According to the USCCB document, “Faithful Citizenship”:

“We are a nation founded on “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” but the right to life itself is not fully protected, especially for unborn children, the most vulnerable members of the American family. We are called to be peacemakers in a nation at war. We are a country pledged to pursue “liberty and justice for all,” but we are too often divided across lines of race, ethnicity, and economic inequality. We are a nation of immigrants, struggling to address the challenges of many new immigrants in our midst. We are a society built on the strength of our families, called to defend marriage and offer moral and economic supports for family life. We are a powerful nation in a violent world, confronting terror and trying to build a safer, more just, more peaceful world. We are an affuent society where too many live in poverty and lack health care and other necessities of life. We are part of a global community facing urgent threats to the environment that must sustain us. These challenges are at the heart of public life and at the center of the pursuit of the common good.”
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Conducting a legislative advocacy visit with a state senator during Catholic Advocacy Day 2013

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We must make our voices heard in our quest to bring justice and life to all–and that includes being informed about current issues, legislation, and Catholic Social Teaching so that we can make informed decisions and act in ways that are in accordance with our faith and our morals.  Too often people think that their opinions will not matter or make a difference–but only by joining together and standing strong can we help to make change happen.

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How can we do this?

  • Join the email advocacy network of the Virginia Catholic Conference and get updates and action alerts on relevant legislative issues at the state level. Go to www.vacatholic.org and follow the link to input your email address.
  • Join the email advocacy network of NETWORK, the national Catholic social justice lobby. This is set up very similarly to the Virginia Catholic Conference, with updates and action alerts, but at the national level.  Visit www.networklobby.org and click on “Join our email list.”
  • Read documents/literature/articles; engage in discussions with those around you; inform yourself about what is happening and what stance the Catholic church encourages you to take. Helpful links include the United States Conference of Catholic (www.usccb.org) and the Faithful Citizenship ministry of the USCCB (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).
  • Vote.  Your voice matters!  Catholic teaching has consistently held that “it is the duty of citizens to contribute…to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom…[and to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2239).

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NETWORK’s Nuns on the Bus tour for immigration reform at Rep. Robert Hurt’s office, June 2013

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Incarnation’s Legislative Advocacy Group is part of the local Charlottesville Catholic Coalition (which also includes St. Thomas Aquinas, Casa Alma Catholic Worker, and Charlottesville Catholic School) and empowers parishioners to engage in advocacy regarding the Catholic Principles of Social Teaching through contacts with state and federal lawmakers, the Virginia Catholic Conference (VCC), and other local organizations.

Contact Mike Brinkac (mnbrinkac@comcast.net) or our Coordinator of Justice & Charity in the office (justiceandcharity@incarnationparish.org) for more information.

Incarnation’s Catholic Advocacy Day crew for 2013