Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Religious orders urge support of voting rights legislation

The Sisters of Mercy and the Franciscan Action Network are urging people to participate in a call-in today (July 28), demanding passage of S.1., the For the People Act. 

Supporters of the legislation note that it has five main components: 

1. Election administration: Expand voter registration and voting access, specify how to appropriate remove voters from voter rolls.

2. Redistricting: Require states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting (states begin the redistricting process once the 2020 Census data is released, so this could have a huge impact for the coming 10 years).

3. Election Security: Investments and enhancement.

4. Financial transparency: Campaign Transparency, Countering Foreign Interference, Empowering Small Donors and Related Reforms, Enforcing Campaign Finance Laws, Strengthening Campaign Contribution Limits.

5. Ethics Reforms: Supreme Court Ethics Reform, Expanding Lobbyist Disclosure, FARA Reform, Recusal of Presidential Appointees, Executive Branch Ethics Reforms, Congressional Ethics Reforms, Disclosure of Presidential Tax Returns.

Please call each of your senators at 1-888-885-1748. 

“My name is {NAME} from {CITY/TOWN}. I’m calling because as a person of faith I am deeply concerned about state laws that are passing around the nation to restrict citizens’ voting rights. This is a moral issue for me, since when we infringe upon the voting right of one individual, we fail to recognize their human dignity and we end up threatening the health of our democracy. I urge Senator {NAME} to make it a top priority to pass the For the People Act (S.1), which would establish federal rules to protect the sacred right to vote and supersede those anti-voter laws.

Will the senator do whatever it takes—including delay recess and confront the filibuster rule —to pass the For the People Act?” 


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Monday, July 19, 2021

God's Plan(et)

At the second biennial conference, Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home, the Catholic Climate Covenant and its Catholic partners announced an extensive campaign to encourage and inspire participation in the Vatican’s global Laudato Si’ Action Platform.


Called “We’re All Part of God’s Plan(et),” the campaign will ramp up after October 4, which coincides with the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The messaging will reach seven sectors: families, parishes and dioceses, educational institutions, healthcare institutions, organizations and groups, businesses, and religious orders.  


According to the news release announcing the program, a new website and social media channels, had a “soft launch” during the conference, giving an opportunity to boost efforts of Catholic individuals and groups already interested and engaged in caring for the earth, offering them tools and resources ahead of Season of Creation which begins September 1. 


The release also notes, “The campaign is managed by Catholic Climate Covenant and its member partners. It will embrace the support and engagement of many other Catholic partners who also have capacity for outreach, educational and advocacy programs in the United States.” 

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Thursday, July 01, 2021

Catholic Conference end-of-session round-up

The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the Bishops of the state in working with government to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice, respect for life and the common good, has released its annual end-of-session round-up for the state Legislature.

One of the many victories cited by the Conference involved physician-assisted suicide. Advocates for the proposal failed to get a vote on the bill in any committee in either house of the legislature. 


Another concerned the Clean Slate Act, a proposal with good intentions but possibly dire consequences. This legislation would have sealed most criminal convictions after three years (misdemeanors) or seven years (felonies), with few exceptions. Safe environment directors in the state noted that this would be very problematic in terms of ensuring the protection of children in our programs, as background checks would not pick up older crimes, including violent crimes against children. 


The Halt Solitary Confinement Act, which would dramatically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, was passed and signed into law by Governor Cuomo.


The report ended with a “thank you” to the members of the Catholic Action Network, whose members responded to Action Alerts from the Conference with tens of thousands of e-mails to state legislators. The Network, an arm of the Catholic Conference, gives us all a larger voice in the halls of government. Through e-mail and social media alerts, it reaches tens of thousands of Catholics to provide educational updates on the important issues being debated and to provide the tools to simplify the process of contacting elected officials.


The full report is available here.

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