In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • New curriculum regarding human sexuality...
  • Two Texas bishops chairing USCCB committees...
  • Pray for Dobbs ...
  • And more! ...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

In this season of Advent, a time of patient seeking and active waiting, I am reminded of the need to continue to hold as our guiding star the dignity of each human person, especially our respect for human life, as we continue our efforts for the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.

An important aspect of that work has been our continued advocacy to preserve parents’ primary responsibility to pass on the faith to their children. Last year the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) considered the adoption of statewide K-12 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for Health Education. We testified in opposition due to the inclusion of human sexuality which undermines parental rights and the responsibility of local communities to determine what sex education is taught, if any at all.

Although many of the proposed radical elements were rejected, the SBOE adopted statewide standards for human sexuality instruction.

This November, the SBOE considered the adoption of instructional materials intended to align with the Health TEKS and we testified in opposition to all four publishers. The 87th Legislature passed HB 1525, which includes an amendment that requires written consent from parents before a student is provided instruction on human sexuality. Previously parents could only opt their children out.

We argued that approval of any of the instructional materials could potentially nullify the right of parents to “opt in,” if students have access to a textbook that includes content many parents would find morally offensive. The most egregious publishers are Lessonbee and Human Kinetics, which promote abortion.

Ultimately the SBOE approved the less objectionable Goodheart-Wilcox, after edits were made and the human sexuality content was moved to a companion text. We strongly encourage all parents to exercise their right to review any human sexuality instruction offered to their children and be aware of the new law that requires their written consent.

USCCB General Assembly

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) held the fall General Assembly in November. Among the items on the agenda was the election of chairmen-elect for five USCCB committees. We congratulate Bishop Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter as the new chairman-elect of the Committee on Divine Worship and Bishop Seitz of the Diocese of El Paso as the new chairman-elect of the Committee on Migration. They will serve one year as chairmen-elect before beginning a three-year term at the conclusion of the 2022 Fall General Assembly. Please pray for both bishops in their new roles.

The document on the Eucharist was also on the agenda. The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church, developed by the Committee on Doctrine was approved by the full body of the USCCB and has been authorized for publication. The document seeks to “reflect on Christ’s gift of himself in the Eucharist and our response to that gift.”

Pray for Dobbs

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on Dec. 1. Listen to the live stream at 9 am CT. The Mississippi law at stake in this case bans abortion after 15 weeks. The question before the Supreme Court is whether all pre-viability bans on elective abortions are unconstitutional. This is the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Please continue to pray for a just outcome.

On Dec. 1, you can join Jennifer Carr Allmon and others who will be on the steps of the Supreme Court praying for an end to abortion. The prayer rally begins at 7 am CT and will be livestreamed.

Resources to promote prayer are available at www.prayfordobbs.com/resources

Upcoming Texas Executions

There are no executions scheduled until 2022.

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."

Prayer for the Legislature

Please pray for all our public servants and elected officials, including our Governor, Lt. Governor, House Speaker, lawmakers, and their staff, that the Lord may grant them wisdom and prudence to work for the common good of all the people of Texas.

papal seal

Pope Francis' prayer intention for December

For December 2021, the Pope is praying “for the catechists, summoned to announce the Word of God: may they be its witnesses, with courage and creativity and in the power of the Holy Spirit, with joy and much peace.”

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