Michael Morton Act Passed by Texas Legislature and Signed into Law
The Texas Legislature approved the Michael Morton Act, and Governor Perry signed it into law on Thursday, May 16. The Act broadens a defendant’s access to evidence that could prove innocence. Also known as Senate Bill 1611, the law explicitly states that every prosecutor has a duty to disclose documents or information that could raise questions about a defendant’s guilt or lead to a lighter sentence if there is a conviction.
Catholic Bishops Strongly Urge House Vote on End-of-Life Care
The Texas Catholic bishops released a letter urging members of the Texas House of Representatives to support Senate Bill 303, and to dramatically improve end-of-life care by protecting the lives of patients, honoring the wishes of families, and safeguarding the consciences of medical providers.
Signed by each bishop representing the Roman Catholic dioceses across the state, the letter unequivocally asserts the Church's position as articulated by the Texas Catholic Conference as authoritative and in accordance with Catholic moral teaching. The bishops expressed disappointment with opponents who misrepresent the provisions of S.B. 303 and the moral principles it addresses.
Advance Directives Information and Resources Page
Over the course of the 83rd Legislative Session, the TCC and the Texas Catholic bishops have worked with numerous organizations and legislative members to craft legislation aimed at reforming current end-of-life care statutes. The legislation supported by the bishops—Senate Bill 303 and House Bill 1444 introduced in the Texas Senate by Senator Robert Deuell and in the Texas House by Representative Susan King, respectively—would reform end-of-life care by improving communication between medical providers and families and by balancing the protections of human life and a medical provider's conscience. The legislation is based on Catholic moral principles and on reasonable medical standards for protecting patients, families, and physicians.
The TCC’s Advance Directives Information and Resources page explains why Advance Directives reform is necessary and contains informative documents that support and underscore the importance of the legislation, clarify the improvements it makes to current law, and refute mischaracterizations of the legislation circulating at the Texas Capitol.
Pope Appoints Bishop Mark Seitz to Lead Diocese of El Paso
Pope Francis has named Catholic Diocese of Dallas auxiliary bishop, the Most Reverend Mark J. Seitz, to serve as the new Bishop of El Paso. With the appointment, Most Reverend Seitz will become the seventh bishop of the Diocese of El Paso. He says he was surprised by the news but grateful to the Holy Father. He looks forward to serving El Paso but says he will always cherish his time in Dallas.
Survey Finds Nearly 75 Percent of Texans Support School Choice Tax Credit
The Texas Catholic Conference lauded a new survey that shows nearly three-quarters of Texans favor school choice tax credits, with support strongest among Hispanic voters, 80 percent of whom favor school choice.
The Texas K-12 & School Choice Survey, conducted by Braun Research, Inc. and released April 23, finds that 72 percent of voters support a school choice tax credit program. School Choice Tax Credit Scholarships let businesses invest in their future workforce by receiving a tax credit from state taxes when they contribute to nonprofit agencies that award K-12 scholarships to students with financial and academic need. These scholarships defray educational costs so parents can choose the educational setting for their children, in either public or private schools.
Catholic Bishops and Faithful Promote Life, Justice, Charity, and Religious Freedom at Faith in Action Day at Texas Capitol
On Tuesday, April 9, 11 Catholic Bishops and hundreds of Catholic faithful gathered at the Texas Capitol to celebrate Catholic Faith in Action Advocacy Day. The Bishops and participants addressed a broad range of diverse issues including advance directives reform, school choice tax credit scholarships, payday lending, Medicaid expansion, and abortion facilities regulation.
Seton, John Paul II Life Center Collaborate to Provide Healthcare in Catholic Tradition
On Tuesday, March 12, Seton Clinical Enterprise and The John Paul II Life Center announced a collaborative effort to provide effective and efficient holistic healthcare services in the Catholic tradition. The collaboration will focus on delivering quality healthcare services in accordance with Catholic teachings across all socio-economic groups. Healthcare services under the collaboration are guided by the Church's beliefs in the inviolability of human life from conception to natural death and emphasize the sacrament of marriage and the importance of family.
Current Legislation from the 83rd Legislature
The Texas Catholic Conference has launched a new webpage devoted to legislation filed during the 83rd Legislative Session. The webpage organizes bills of interest to the Catholic faith by the six policy areas outlined in the Texas Catholic Conference’s Legislative Agenda. Each bill of interest listed on the webpage includes a brief legislative analysis, a position statement, and a link to the full text of the bill. Newly proposed legislation is added weekly.
By Bishop Curtis J. Guillory
On Tuesday, April 9, 11 bishops and 2,000 lay Catholics from the dioceses of Texas went to Austin to dialogue with the Legislature, the governor and the lieutenant governor about the issues of concern to Catholics in general and in the State of Texas. The Church over the centuries has developed a body of social teaching based on the dignity of the human person. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC #2420) states: “The Church makes a moral judgment about economic and social matters when the fundamental rights of the person or the salvation of the soul requires it. In the moral order she bears a mission distinct from that of political authorities: The Church is concerned with the temporal aspects of the common good because they are ordered to the sovereign Good, our ultimate end. She strives to inspire attitudes with respect to earthly goods and in socio-economic relationships.”
My Reflections on Sequestration
By Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer
I recently sent a letter to U.S. Representative Mike Conaway (R – TX 11), offering my reflections on the across-the-board federal budget cuts that went into effect on March 1, 2013, also known as sequestration. In the letter, I asked Rep. Conaway to craft a balanced, responsible, and thoughtful alternative to the sequester and urged him to draw a “Circle of Protection” around federal programs that help people at home and abroad lift themselves out of poverty.
Defining the Character of a Nation, Spirit of a Christian
By Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller
They called it the “Golden Door.” “The tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free” saw the lamp of liberty and anticipated with tears of joy the opportunity for freedom and a new life offered by this great nation. This land’s greatness has always come from its promise of liberty and opportunity. The message of Lady Liberty resonates with the calling of the Gospel, “For I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Lady Liberty defines the character of a nation, and Jesus Christ defines the spirit of a Christian.
Benedict XVI: Priest, Professor, Pope...Man of God
By Bishop Patrick J. Zurek
What a tremendous surprise awaited us on Monday morning, Feb. 11, 2013! No warning! No anticipation of this historic event! On that historic Monday I was at St. Mary’s Seminary where I presided at the conferral of the Ministry of Lector the day before. My phone rang at 6:00am; I thought it was my alarm. “The Pope has resigned,” I heard from a brother priest in Amarillo. I could not believe what I heard.
New Year's Wishes
By Bishop Joe Strickland
I spoke to one of our seminarians this morning and when we were both hanging up and wishing each other a happy new year he laughed. He explained that he was laughing because 2013 will be a VERY NEW YEAR for me and for the diocese. His laughter was quite appropriate because each step along this new year will be a brand new experience for me as bishop of this family that I have come to love so deeply called the Diocese of Tyler.
Immigration is a Natural Right
By Bishop Kevin Farrell
This week is National Migration Week, a campaign of the American bishops aimed at comprehensive immigration reform in order to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants. The campaign has five goals: Provide a path to citizenship for undocumented persons; preserve family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system; provide legal paths for low-skilled immigrant workers to come and work in the United States; restore due process protections to immigration enforcement policies; address the root causes of migration caused by persecution and economic disparity.