Texas Catholic Voice September 2022

In this issue of the Texas Catholic Voice:

  • Protecting human dignity, religious liberty ...
  • Novena to End the Death Penalty ...
  • Respect Life Month resources ...
  • Pope's prayer intention for October ...
  • And more!

A Message from Jennifer Allmon, Executive Director

All of us at TCCB are honored to work for the Catholic Church in Texas and communicate in the public square the Church’s teaching that each human being possesses an inherent dignity, a dignity that flows from our creation in the image and likeness of God.

The TCCB legislative agenda is broad because the Church is concerned with everything that affects the human person, and the positions we take on legislation are preeminently informed by a desire to promote authentic human flourishing.

We understand that we will not persuade everyone on every issue; however, Catholics are entitled to practice their faith and the Church is entitled to operate ministries without government interference and coercion.

Religious liberty is the bedrock of our nation’s Constitution, but there are currently several federal regulations that threaten Catholic institutions.

We submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, Sept. 30, regarding one of these regulations, the deeply troubling proposed rulemaking on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This section of the ACA rightly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. The Catholic Church opposes unjust discrimination of any kind. Long before the enactment of anti-discrimination laws, Catholic hospitals and healthcare providers have served people regardless of the color of their skin, their beliefs, their sex, or any other attribute.

The issue with the proposed rule is that it would consider refusal to perform gender modification procedures to be discrimination and it opens the door for refusal to perform an abortion to be considered discrimination.

USCCB bishop chairmen of the committees on Pro-Life Activities; Domestic Justice and Human Development; Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Religious Liberty issued a statement reiterating that Catholic healthcare ministries serve everyone, but will not be compelled to perform illicit procedures: “The same excellent care will be provided in a Catholic hospital to all patients, including patients who identify as transgender, whether it be for a broken bone or for cancer, but we cannot do what our faith forbids. We object to harmful procedures, not to patients. [emphasis added]. We encourage everyone to submit comments through USCCB; you can read all public comments here. We also encourage you to visit the USCCB website, Do No Harm, to be informed about all the federal regulations that threaten Catholic institutions and the common good. 

General Assembly 

On Friday, Sept. 16, the TCCB held its biannual General Assembly at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. The theme for this year was Eucharist, Evangelization, and Education.

The Texas bishops, superintendents, evangelization directors, stewardship and development directors, and (arch)diocesan attorneys who attended heard from several dynamic speakers on topics such as Catholic leadership in the modern world, innovation in Catholic education, and digital evangelization.

We are so grateful to the generous sponsors who helped make the event possible, including the Scanlan Foundation, the Miles Foundation, Classic Learning Test, Institute for School and Parish Development, Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education, and Our Sunday Visitor. We are especially grateful to the leadership and staff at the University of St. Thomas for being such gracious hosts. 

October Respect Life Month 

October is Respect Life Month and although Texas has outlawed abortion, we must continue to pray for the conversion of hearts and minds everywhere in the United States and continue to fight other threats to human life such as the death penalty.

The fact that Texas is number one in the country for executions is a black mark on our pro-life record. Please join in praying the novena for the abolition of the death penalty Oct. 1-9 and take advantage of Catholic Mobilizing Network’s toolkit to spread the word!

Also, USCCB has numerous resources including leader toolkits for specific areas of ministry and a statement from Archbishop William E. Lori, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities entitled “Building a Culture of Life in a Post-Roe World” in which he urges Catholics to be in “radical solidarity” with pregnant mothers.  

Day 0

Novena for Mercy

Join Catholics and the Catholic Mobilizing Network in a novena Oct. 1-9, leading to Oct. 10, the World Day to End the Death Penalty. The novena and graphics promoting it are available in English and Spanish.

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Upcoming Texas Executions

John Ramirez, Oct. 5
Tracy Beatty, Nov. 9
Stephen Barbee, Nov. 16
Wesley Ruiz, Feb. 1
Gary Green, March 7
Arthur Brown, Jr., March 9

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."
Find resources to commemorate Respect Life Month by clicking on the graphic.

Pope Francis' prayer intention for October

A Church open to everyone

We pray for the Church; ever faithful to, and courageous in preaching the Gospel, may the Church be a community of solidarity, fraternity and welcome, always living in an atmosphere of synodality.

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.

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.