May 2020 Texas Catholic Voice

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon unveils the 87th Legislative Agenda...
  • Archivist Selena Aleman provides a Catholic Archives of Texas update...
  • An appeal to the generosity of Texas Catholics...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

While COVID-19 has turned the world upside down and presented many needs and issues to which we are monitoring and responding, the day-to-day issues facing Texans have not gone away.

In March, just as the shutdown was beginning, the Texas bishops approved the advocacy agenda for the 87th Legislature. Our staff is updating our policy research to ensure we are prepared for the upcoming legislative session. The agenda spans the full spectrum of social and moral issues we support to protect the life and dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.

Here’s a sample of the issues covered:

  • Human life is intrinsically valuable and should be protected by law from conception, which happens at fertilization, to natural death. Moreover, the family is the sanctuary of life in which parents teach children how they ought to live. The TCCB opposes direct threats to innocent human life, from conception to natural death, and seeks to promote strong, stable, and healthy families.
  • Immigration reform should be merciful, charitable, and compassionate to those here simply working for a better life, while also recognizing the legitimate responsibility of the government to maintain control of our nation’s borders.
  • Restorative justice calls us to seek criminal justice reform that provides for compassionate treatment of prisoners, responds to the needs of victims of crime, and encourages rehabilitation and forgiveness for those re-entering society.
  • Recognizing parents as the primary educators of children, the TCCB supports increasing educational opportunities, especially for the poor and children with special needs, and recognizes the fundamental right of parents to direct their children’s education.
  • We believe that healthcare is an essential component of protecting the sanctity of life and promoting human dignity.
  • As Christians, we are obliged to care for our neighbors who experience poverty in its various forms. The Church provides for the poor and the vulnerable in our charitable ministries. Justice demands that we also prioritize the poor and vulnerable when addressing social and economic needs through public policy, including by adequately funding essential public services.
  • It is imperative for the social and educational missions of the church that we maintain and protect religious liberty.
  • The Church promotes an integral ecology that calls us to receive creation as a gift, recognize the interrelatedness between the good of the human person and of the environment, and to be prudent stewards of our common home, so that generations to come may also enjoy its bounty.

In addition to these important issues, we will also be closely monitoring the state budget as state leaders are calling for a five percent overall reduction in budget because of the economic impact of the coronavirus and falling oil prices. COVID-19 brings a host of new issues to the legislature which we will be analyzing through the lenses of Catholic moral and social teaching and asking all of you to join us in being a voice for the unborn, the poor, and the vulnerable.

Catholic Archives of Texas Update

Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession during the Cristero War
Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession during the Cristero War

Although the Catholic Archives of Texas is temporarily closed to the public, staff is still assisting with virtual historical research. One ongoing project is to locate materials on the Texas perspective of the Cristero War and the resulting migration of Catholics resettling in Texas. The research will be presented in a future panel sponsored by the Texas Catholic Historical Society.

Another research project involves the Texas Historical Commission and the French Legation creating a display describing the work of 19th century missionaries from Lyon, France. This exhibit will also include a supplemental Texas history lesson plan for students learning about colonization in the state.

Financial Impact of Coronavirus

During the pandemic, public masses have been cancelled, Catholic schools closed, and the various social ministries of the church have had to either scale back or eliminate in-person services. Despite these hardships, the Catholic Church in Texas has not paused in her mission of bringing Christ to people. Live-streamed Masses, “drive-through confessions,” virtual school, and curbside pickup at food pantries are a few examples of how priests, educators, and volunteers have adapted to this crisis.

In fact, the Church has been working overtime due to the devastating impact of the coronavirus. Across Texas there has been an exponential increase in demand for social services while many providers are operating with a reduced number of staff and volunteers. Catholic Charities of Odessa is serving clients particularly hard hit due to both the coronavirus and the crisis in the oil industry. Society of Saint Vincent de Paul North Texas runs a free pharmacy for the low-income uninsured and the prescriptions have doubled due to job layoffs. The Knights of Columbus have launched Leave No Neighbor Behind, providing support to parishes and communities by organizing services such as food drives and blood drives. All of these efforts rely on the stewardship of Catholic Texans. Please continue to give generously to your parish, Catholic schools, and the many social ministries of the church so that they may continue to serve all those in need.

Upcoming Texas Executions

  • Ruben Gutierrez - 6/16/20

Please join our bishops in praying for those scheduled for execution, for the victims of violent crimes and for all affected, including their families and communities. As the bishops of Texas wrote in their pastoral letter, "May God give us the grace to witness to the dignity of human life. May the Lord console the suffering, protect our community, and grant conversion to those responsible for the inflicting of death and violence upon others."

Randall Mays was scheduled to be executed last month. He was granted a stay of execution based on the ground he is intellectually disabled. We are grateful for this act of mercy.


The Pope's June Intention

The Way of the Heart
We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

The Texas Catholic Voice is a publication of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops. For more information, write or call 512-339-9882.