November 2020 Texas Catholic Voice

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Executive Director Jennifer Carr Allmon discusses the upcoming legislative session...
  • Archivist Selena Aleman discusses digital preservation...
  • Upcoming week of prayer to end human trafficking...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

Although the Texas legislative session officially begins in January, it unofficially kicked off November 9 when lawmakers began prefiling legislation. We will be reviewing and developing positions on the bills that address the social and moral issues on our legislative agenda. Starting in December or January, we will post our positions on specific bills on our website so advocates can follow the session and engage with their legislators. 

This month the bishops are releasing a joint statement of consensus of the Texas bishops and the Catholic Healthcare Association of Texas on how to address the Texas Advance Directives Act. The Texas bishops have sought to reform this act for about 15 years, helping to pass several incremental reforms to improve some of its more troubling flaws. There is still more work to be done. The consensus statement provides an overview of the benefits and shortcomings in the dispute resolution process that the law allows when patient surrogates and healthcare providers disagree over end-of-life interventions. The statement also outlines the reforms that the Texas bishops and Catholic Healthcare Association of Texas will support this session and why we oppose the complete repeal of the dispute resolution process.  

This fall the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter on the care of persons in critical and terminal phases of life, Samaritanus bonusWe have updated our website with this and other resources from magisterial teaching on this issue. Finally, our website has additional pastoral resources to assist in conscience formation and advance planning so that Texas Catholics can prepare for the hour of death.  

Catholic Archives of Texas Update

As our world, including record keeping, increasingly goes digital, it is important to remember digital files are not permanent – we must actively ensure they remain accessible for years to come. When software is updated or becomes obsolete, it is more difficult to migrate old file formats into new ones. A common example of a failed migration is when an old Microsoft Word document is opened and strange symbols replace letters. One vital way to ensure files remain accessible is to convert them into more stable file formats, such as transferring a file saved in a private database into a .csv or Excel file. When using a new software, remember that saved items may not be available if paid subscriptions lapse or in the future, it may be difficult to open saved files outside of that specific program. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the government agency responsible for preserving our nation’s historical and government documents, has released a risk matrix spreadsheet of commonly used file types and rated them as low to high risk for digital sustainability.

Human Trafficking Week of Prayer

SAVE THE DATE: January 11-17 has been declared a Week of Prayer in Texas for Human Trafficking. Next month we hope to share a toolkit on our website and with parishes on how to join in prayer with Texans of all faiths to end human trafficking and to rescue and restore victim survivors of human trafficking. 

Upcoming Texas Executions

Due to Covid-19, there are no executions scheduled for the remainder of 2020

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."


The Pope's December Intention

For a Life of Prayer
We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.

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