In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:
- Let's raise the bar on political discourse ...
- Catholic schools above average during pandemic ...
- Great response to call for comments ...
- Pope's prayer intention for November ...
- And more!
A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director
Happy All Hallow’s Eve from the TCCB! We are looking forward to celebrating the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, days when we remember those officially recognized as saints, those who have been witnesses to us as living saintly lives, and those who have died and are continuing their journey toward heaven.
We are only one week out from Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8. Early voting has already begun and will continue through this Friday, Nov. 4. For a personalized ballot of the candidates in your district, enter your address at this link. For additional information on polling locations, transportation to the polls, your rights as a voter and other helpful resources, click here.
We are living in divisive times and campaign season often seems to appeal to our baser instincts of fear and tribalism. To combat this hostility, the bishops of the United States have launched the Civilize It campaign and encourage everyone to take a pledge to civilize discourse in our families and communities, which includes the following - I PLEDGE:
- To affirm through my words and actions the dignity of every person, each made in God’s image. Even those with whom I disagree are made in His image.
- To respectfully listen in order to understand experiences different from my own.
- To engage in critical examination to ensure that my perspectives are rooted in truth, that my sources of information are unbiased, and that I do not open myself to manipulation by partisan interests.
- To form my conscience through prayerful reflection, study of scripture and Church teaching, and guidance from reputable experts.
- To reflect on my own values and seek, with others, to identify shared values.
- To be open to the process of dialogue that can require change of perspective—my own and others’—in service to the inviolable dignity of all and the common good.
- To be a bridgebuilder who participates in constructive dialogue based in shared values, a mutual exchange of gifts, and the humility to together seek the good.
- To see differences in perspective as opportunities for creative tension which can yield solutions for the common good.
- To work with others in order to identify creative solutions rooted in our shared values.
A week after the election, legislators will begin filing bills, although no action will be taken on any legislation until session is underway. The 88th Legislature convenes on Jan. 10; the deadline for filing bills is March 10, and session concludes (Sine Die) on May 29.
We will analyze all bills related to the TCCB agenda and post the bishops’ positions on our website. Please spread the word and encourage friends and colleagues to sign up for the Texas Catholic Voice, which we begin publishing weekly near the end of January.
Catholic school students fared better than others during pandemic
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), otherwise known as the Nation’s Report Card, has released its 2022 results, which has resulted in articles noting the impact on the pandemic in students losing progress.
Catholic schools, however, are shown to have fared better than traditional public schools and public charter schools.
The assessment covers reading and math in grades 4 and 8. Compared to 2019, Catholic schools improved in eighth grade reading scores and remained the same for fourth grade math. They lost some ground in eighth grade math and fourth grade reading, but not as significant as the loss in both traditional public schools and public charter schools.
We are so thankful to the Catholic schools in Texas for providing a safe, in person learning environment for children during the pandemic so that they could receive the academic, social, and spiritual support necessary to thrive.
Upcoming Executions in Texas
Tracy Beatty, Nov. 9
Stephen Barbee, Nov. 16
Wesley Ruiz, Feb. 1
Gary Green, March 7
Arthur Brown, Jr., March 9
Tracy Beatty and Stephen Barbee are scheduled to be executed on Nov. 9 and Nov. 16, respectively.
Mr. Beatty was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of his mother, Carolyn “Callie” Ruth Click, in November 2003. Mr. Barbee was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Lisa Underwood, seven months pregnant at the time of her death, and her 7-year-old son Jayden, in February 2005. We pray for peace for the victims’ families.
The Texas bishops ask for clemency for everyone on death row and pray for the abolition of the death penalty.
Pope Francis' prayer intention for November
For children who suffer
We pray for children who are suffering, especially those who are homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may they be guaranteed access to education and the opportunity to experience family affection.
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.