Texas Catholic Voice October 2021

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • End of legislative session doesn't mean end of our work ...
  • Payday lending ...
  • Pray for Dobbs ... And more! ...

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

The Texas House and Senate adjourned sine die on Oct. 19, and so we have reached what appears to be the conclusion of the 87th Legislature.

Governor Abbott has stated there are no plans for a fourth special session. There is some unfinished business regarding propositions to amend the Texas constitution and pending litigation over SB 8, the Heartbeat Act.

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Texans will head to the polls to vote on various statewide and local propositions.

Two of the eight statewide propositions on the ballot in the upcoming election are Senate Joint Resolutions (SJR) 27 and 19. SJR 27 proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state or any political subdivision of the state from limiting or prohibiting religious services. SJR 19 proposes a constitutional amendment establishing the right of a resident of a nursing facility, assisted living facility, or state supported living center to designate at least one essential caregiver with whom the facility or center must allow in-person visitation. The TCCB supports these propositions to protect religious liberty and freedom to worship and promote the health and well-being of the vulnerable and elderly. We urge you to vote this Tuesday to get this legislation across the finish line.

SB 8, the Heartbeat Act, has made headlines around the world since it went into effect on Sept. 1. We celebrate every life saved each day the law remains in effect, but challenges to the law are still pending.

On Nov. 1, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two cases related to SB 8, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson and United States v. Texas. Abortion providers and the federal government argue that the law violates a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion and are seeking to block enforcement by private citizens.

As we celebrate the upcoming feast days of All Saints and All Souls, let us pray for all the souls who have died from abortion and for the nine justices on the Supreme Court to make wise decisions and uphold the sanctity of life.

Payday lending

The TCCB recently participated in the Texas Finance Commission’s comment and rulemaking process regarding the annual fee paid by payday and auto-title lenders into the Texas Financial Education Endowment (TFEE).

The fund supports a variety of statewide financial education and consumer credit building activities and programs, which are especially crucial for poor and vulnerable Texans as our nation recovers from a pandemic and economic downturn.

The Finance Commission proposed amendments to cut the endowment assessments from $200 to $50. Thanks to the crucial advocacy by TCCB and other coalition partners (Texas Fair Lending Alliance and Faith Leaders 4 Fair Lending groups), the Finance Commission decided not to take the OCCC recommendation to reduce contributions to the fund and instead maintain it at the $200 level.

This is an important victory to increase financial education in our state and empower the poor to reach their full God-given potential.

National Prayer Event Nov. 18

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on Dec. 1.

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—the Supreme Court decision which made abortion legal in all 50 states. To register for a National Virtual Prayer Gathering and to help spread the word, visit www.prayfordobbs.com.

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 November

Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the epochal change we are experiencing. Robotics can make a better world possible if it is joined to the common good. Indeed, if technological progress increases inequalities, it is not true progress. Future advances should be oriented towards respecting the dignity of the person and of Creation.

Let us pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind… we could say, may it “be human.”

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.