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Catholic Spirit: Overcoming a false understanding of freedom

(by Jason Adkins)
April 10, 2014

As America secularizes, a false understanding of freedom is becoming increasingly pervasive in public life. Two current issues being considered by the Legislature — payday lending reforms (HF 2293/SF 2368) and the legalization of a commercial surrogacy business (HF 291/SF 2627) — provide an opportunity to examine the social ramifications of this newfound “freedom.”

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News Release (USCCB): Echoing Pope Francis, Cardinal O’Malley and Brother Bishops Decry Indifference to Suffer

Celebrate Mass and lay wreath at border to remember dead migrants
Call upon Congress to move quickly to end family separations
Request Administration to limit deportations of family members

NOGALES, Arizona (April 1, 2014)—Led by Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border April 1, and celebrated Mass in remembrance of migrants who have died attempting to reach the United States. This Mission for Migrants included a wreath laying ceremony and a tour of the border. It was inspired by the trip by Pope Francis to Lampedusa, Italy, last year to pray for migrants who died attempting to reach Europe by boat.

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Catholic Spirit: ‘Wombs’ for rent industry now legal in Minnesota?

(by Kathryn Mollen)
March 27, 2014

Without any significant consideration, the Minnesota Legislature is poised to create a commercial surrogacy business that would essentially legitimize the buying and selling of children between two contracting parties.

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News Release: Minnesota Catholic Conference urges passage of the voting restoration bill

Criminal offenders have God-given dignity that calls for justice, not vengeance, as they are re-entering society

St. Paul, Minn (March 12, 2014)—The Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC), the public policy office of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, today joined with their “Restore the Vote Minnesota” coalition partners at the Capitol to urge the passage of the voting restoration bill (HF 491 / SF 107) in Minnesota. The announcement coincided with the 7th Annual Second Chance Coalition Day on the Hill which, this year, focused its attention on the disenfranchisement of Minnesotans who have been convicted of a felony, but are no longer incarcerated and now living in the community.

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Catholic Spirit: The Church and the minimum wage

(by Jason Adkins)
March 13, 2014

This session, state legislators are considering raising the minimum wage to $9.50 for large businesses (those businesses with over $500,000 in annual gross revenue), which was a recommendation of the 2010 bi-partisan Legislative Commission to End Poverty.

Currently, the House and Senate are debating whether to index for inflation the proposed minimum wage increase.

The Minnesota Catholic Conference supports an increase in the minimum wage among other policies such as tax credits and childcare assistance recommended by the commission that are designed to foster family economic security and restore work as a ladder out of poverty for many Minnesotans.

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News Release (USCCB): Bishop Pates, Southern Baptist Leader Urge Senators to Advance Bill to Create Special Envoy for Religious Freedom

WASHINGTON, D. C. (March 4, 2014)—The U.S. Senate should act quickly to address a “growing crisis of religious minorities” by allowing a vote on S. 653, a bill to establish a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace and the president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in a March 4 letter.

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News Release (USCCB): Archbishop Wenski, Catholic Charities’ Father Larry Snyder Urge Congressional Support for Second Chance Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2014)—Congress should take an important step to address issues faced by the more than 650,000 men, women and juveniles who reenter society each year from prisons, jails and detention centers. This was the message of the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development and the president of Catholic Charities USA in a March 4 letter supporting the Second Chance Act (S. 1690/H.R. 3465).

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News Release (USCCB): Christians Leaders Oppose Mass Incarceration

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 25, 2014)—Christian leaders, representing a broad coalition of Christian churches and denominations in the United States, voiced their united opposition to mass incarceration, February 7. Mass Incarceration was the topic of the 2014 annual meeting of Christian Churches Together (CCT), in Newark, February 4-7. USCCB has taken part in CCT since 2004.

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Catholic Spirit: Regulating payday loans promotes human flourishing

(by Kathryn Mollen)
February 13, 2014

Recently, Pope Francis has denounced usury as contrary to human dignity and a “dramatic social ill” because it takes advantage of another person in desperate financial situations.

Usury, or the practice of lending money at exploitatively high interest rates, has become increasingly widespread over the past decade as families struggle with economic insecurity. And, though most states have laws regulating usury and capping excessive interest rates, these laws do not necessarily address all exploitive and abusive lending practices.

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Catholic Spirit: Capitol Concerns

Conscience protections, payday lending reforms among session priorities for Minnesota Catholic Conference

(by Joe Towalski)
February 12, 2014

Protecting the religious liberty of all Minnesotans.

Reforming payday lending practices that take advantage of the poor and vulnerable.

Restoring voting rights to former felons who have paid their debt to society and are trying to start a new life.

These are among the issues the Minnesota Catholic Conference will advocate for during the 2014 state legislative session, which begins Feb. 25.

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