Thursday, October 29, 2009

USCCB Requests Nationwide Parish Action on Healthcare

The USCCB has kicked into high-gear urging a nationwide effort by Catholic parishes to ensure abortion coverage is removed and conscience protection included in health care reform. The bottom line message from the bishops:

The U.S. bishops’ conference has concluded that all committee approved bills are seriously deficient on the issues of abortion and conscience, and do not provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor. The bills will have to change or the bishops have pledged to oppose them.

AmericanPapist reported earlier today that an action item was sent late yesterday to all diocesan pro-life directors asking them to help disseminate bulletin inserts and pulpit announcements to every parish in their diocese.

Every bishop in the country has received the same request and also late yesterday, Helen Osman, Director of Communications for the USCCB, sent the same request to diocesan communications directors and made the inserts available as ads for diocesan papers. I have not seen this level of coordinated effort by the bishops’ conference in nearly 20 years of church work.

In response, the Vicar General and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph sent the following to all pastors today:

In unison with the U.S. Bishops, Bishop Finn is urging all parishes to take part in a nationwide campaign to educate and advocate for health care reform that is consistent with Catholic social teaching.  The USCCB has prepared parish bulletin announcements, pulpit announcements, and suggested prayers of the faithful to assist with this endeavor.

As you know, Bishop is out of the country. We spoke with him, and he is in agreement with this plan to engage our parishioners. With this message, we are forwarding the materials developed by the USCCB.
We encourage you to distribute the bulletin announcement on Sunday, November 1; otherwise, this must be accomplished by Sunday, November 8.  We thank you for all that you do to carry on the work of God in our diocese.

Here is the bulletin insert and a possible ad as jpgs so you can read the action item. The insert is available as a printable pdf here:

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And here are the pulpit announcements and suggested prayer:

To be announced at all Masses on the weekend when the Bulletin Insert is distributed: 

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation. The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all, from the moment of conception until natural death. However, all current bills are seriously deficient on abortion and conscience rights, and do not yet provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor.

In your pews/bulletins today, you’ll find a special flier/bulletin insert from the US Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments. The flier/bulletin insert includes a web address that allows you to send an email message to Congress with a click of a button. The bishops have asked for our swift action and the commitment of our prayers for this critical effort.  Thank you for your help.  We can help make sure that health care reform will be about saving lives, not destroying them. 

To be announced at all Masses on the weekend following the Bulletin Insert distribution:

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation. The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all, from the moment of conception until natural death. However, all current bills are seriously deficient on abortion and conscience rights, and do not yet provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor.

Last weekend you received a special flier/bulletin insert from the US Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments. The flier/bulletin insert included a web address that allows you to send an email message to Congress with a click of a button. Additional fliers/bulletin inserts can be found at___________ (back of church, etc.).   The bishops have asked for our swift action and the commitment of our prayers for this critical effort.  Thank you for your help. We can help make sure that health care reform will be about saving lives, not destroying them. 

Suggested Prayer of the Faithful:

That Congress will act to ensure that needed health care reform will truly protect the life, dignity and health care of all and that we will raise our voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience. We pray to the Lord.

Additional resources and commentary are posted at AmP. And if you’ve got a blog or website, you can grab the code for the graphic below here. The graphic will take you to the Action Center where you can easily send an email to your representatives and senators. It’s also available in different sizes.