WASHINGTON (October 16, 2003)
Elections a Time for "Faithful Citizenship"
As November 2003 inaugurates the upcoming election year and presidential politics move to the center of our national consciousness, the U.S. bishops have released a statement called Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility which offers an alternative way of looking at our political life. Rather than focusing on the question, "Am I better off than I was four years ago?" the bishops urge voters to consider the question, "How can 'we'"all of us, especially the weak and vulnerable"be better off in the years ahead?" The bishops suggest that in this election "the most important challenges we face are not simply political, economic, or technological, but ethical, moral, and spiritual. We face fundamental questions of life and death, war and peace, who moves ahead and who is left behind." They urge Catholics and all citizens to become active in the political process, and they offer a summary of Catholic teaching on a wide range of issues that will be important during the 2004 campaigns. According to Joan Rosenhauer, Special Projects Coordinator, USCCB Department of Social Development and World Peace, "With the release of this statement, the bishops are launching a far-reaching effort to share this important message throughout the Catholic community and to encourage greater 'faithful citizenship' during the 2004 election and beyond."
Joan Rosenhauer is available at 202/541-3381 or email@example.com .
Child and Youth Protection Update
Since the passage of the bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People last June the initial, diocese by diocese auditing and reporting process is nearly complete, as the Church strives to make good on the prescriptives and promises of that charter. In a new streaming video on the USCCB website (www.usccb.org) Conference President Bishop Wilton Gregory describes the audit process and the progress made by the new Office of Child and Youth protection guarding against past wrongs and mistakes. "There is much that's been accomplished in the past year and much more that we will continue to do in the upcoming months and years," says Kathleen McChesney, Director, Office of Child and Youth Protection. "The bishops are committed to this effort and are making it top priority."
Kathleen McChesney is available at 202/541-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bishops Conference Fights Scourge of Human Trafficking
The USCCB has three grants to combat human trafficking: one to give technical training assistance; one to provide services for trafficked children; one to provide services for trafficked adults. In collaboration with Georgetown University Institute for International Migration, USCCB Migration and Refugee Services sponsored a colloquial discussion on children's issues held in Miami. This event was part of the Technical Assistance grant activity. The proceedings have been formulated into a paper which will appear in the October issue of International Migration, the International Organization for Migration journal. A brochure, Stop Trafficking of People produced this fall describes the scope of the issue (www.usccb.org/mrs). "Trafficking in people is a modern day form of slavery," says Sr. Mary Ellen Dougherty, SSND, USCCB Grants Administrator. "Many Americans are unaware of the scope of the problem, but approximately 20,000 people are trafficked into this country annually."
Sr. Mary Ellen Dougherty is available at 202/541-3256 or email@example.com