Texas Catholic Voice Dec. 18, 2023

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Blessings for Advent! ...
  • Parental choice to return another day ...
  • Challenges to abortion ban ...
  • And more!

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

Parental Choice in Education

The fourth special session adjourned Sine Die on Tuesday, Dec. 5, without advancing any legislation that would provide educational options for families. Unfortunately, not only were Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) left on the table, but also the substantial increases in public school funding and teacher pay raises. 

The inaction on these critical education priorities means a fifth special session is unlikely. The most probable next opportunity to pass educational opportunities is in the next regular session which opens in January 2025. The good news is that Education Savings Accounts progressed further in the legislative process than they ever have before. Whenever the next opportunity presents itself, we will be prepared to pick up where things left off. 

It has been an exceptionally long and unusual legislative year for Texas’ part-time legislature. They were in session for 246 days in 2023, which is more than any other year since Texas became a state in 1845. Lawmakers will now return to their districts and to their families. They will resume their “day" jobs and participate in elections during the interim.     

Abortion lawsuits

On Nov. 28, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to the state’s abortion bans. The Center for Reproductive Rights is representing several women who experienced pregnancies that threatened their own life (but their doctor did not intervene as allowed by state law) or where their unborn child had been diagnosed with a fatal condition. They are seeking to expand the exceptions to Texas’ Human Life Protection Act and Heartbeat Act to increase abortion access beyond what the law currently allows. The court is expected to rule on this case in the coming months. 

While the Court is considering this challenge, they were also presented with an urgent case of  Kate Cox, who was at that time 20 weeks pregnant with a child diagnosed with Trisomy 18. Lawyers for Mrs. Cox sought (and received) a court order blocking enforcement of Texas’ abortion bans in order for her to pursue an abortion of her terminally ill child, citing the risk to her future fertility and negative impact on her life. On Dec. 8 the Attorney General filed with the State Supreme Court to stay the lower court’s ruling to prevent the abortion from taking place and the Court temporarily halted the lower court’s order. On Dec. 11, Mrs. Cox left Texas to pursue the abortion in another state and later that evening, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in her case. 

Below is a link to my statement on this ruling:

Statement on Texas Supreme Court’s Cox ruling

December 13, 2023

Jennifer Carr Allmon, the executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, has issued the following statement regarding the Texas Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Kate Cox, who has challenged Texas’ ban on abortions. The Texas Supreme…

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Advent candles wreath with purple violet ribbon. Fourth Sunday of Advent - Christmas season holiday color vector illustration.

Advent's joyful hope

We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior at the Solemnity of Christmas. Yesterday we celebrated Gaudete Sunday. The feast takes its name from the entrance antiphon: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near” (Phil 4:4-5). The priest wears rose vestments and we are encouraged to be a little extra celebratory as we recall the Good News that Christ is present and we are invited to prepare a place for Him in our hearts! 

“O God, as we faithfully await the birth of your son, Jesus, Let us be glad and rejoice. In our families and our schools and in our lives, help us to share the joy of Christ's love with others. Amen.” 


We're hiring!

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is seeking applications for the position of Staff Attorney. This is a full-time position in Austin that reports to the TCCB Executive Director and is responsible for collaboration among the (arch)dioceses of Texas especially related to diocesan institutional and legal issues.

The Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops is seeking applications for the position of Administrative Assistant. The Administrative Assistant provides administrative support to ensure operation of the TCCB office. The position will support the TCCB Executive Director and departmental directors though a variety of tasks related to organization, and communication. This is a full-time position located in Austin that has limited discretion in independent decision making and works under close supervision.

Pope Francis' prayer intention for December

For the month of December, the Pope’s prayer intention invites us to put an end to discrimination and to change “our mentality, opening ourselves to the abilities and talents of these people who are differently abled, both in society as well as in the life of the Church.” Let us pray for them with Pope Francis, “that people with disabilities may be at the center of attention in society, and that institutions offer inclusion programs that enhance their active participation.”