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This last session, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB574 (introduced by Senator Kathleen Kauth of Omaha), which provides two critical protections for human dignity.

Pro-Life Party! The annual Bishops’ Pro-Life Banquet & Conference is just around the corner, and you should register! Pro-lifers from across the state of Nebraska will convene in Lincoln Oct. 6-7 to celebrate all that we have accomplished in this first year since the demise of Roe v. Wade.

This legislation particularly focuses on the poor and vulnerable by prioritizing them for scholarships. We all know students get one shot at their K-12 education, and the Opportunity Scholarships Act makes sure kids succeed at that one shot.

In a post-Roe world, the Church has a special call to walk with moms. First of all, they themselves deserve it. But also, we owe a special reverence and duty to their labor of love to bring more gifts of life into this world.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, Who is the Truth, we are called to be prophetic. This means we are called to speak in a way that moves the hearts of others to the Truth. My prayer for you is that you will be witnesses to the fundamental truths and values that underlie our historic school choice legislation that is under attack.

We’ve been talking a lot about school choice lately, but it’s hard not to. Our recently passed law, to get more scholarships to low-income families, has the power to transform generations of children by offering them more and better educational opportunities. But that legislation is being threatened by opponents who seek to repeal the law. So, what can you do to protect school choice for Nebraska families? I’m glad you asked, because these future scholarship families need your help today!

LB753 is a scholarship tax credit policy that has been supported by Nebraska’s Bishops for two decades. This policy provides educational opportunity to Nebraska families who cannot otherwise afford the best education possible for their child.

The Opportunity Scholarships Act is truly groundbreaking legislation that prioritizes the most vulnerable children and families in our communities. Over 30 years after the first school choice program was established, Nebraska joins the other 49 states that have passed legislation that puts the rights of parents and kids first.

LB574 is an important victory, not for us as pro-life advocates or even for the governor and state senators. It is an important victory for children, born and pre-born.

May the “terror of demons, cornerstone of families, and zealous defender of Christ” inspire us all to joyful perseverance as we advocate for and support the rights of families to choose the best education for their children.

If you’ve had a kid in Catholic school, there is a very good chance you’ve filled out paperwork for the textbook loan program. Maybe you knew it, maybe you didn’t. And if you didn’t have a kid in Catholic school, you might be asking: what on earth is the textbook loan program?

Last Thursday, the Nebraska Legislature failed preborn babies with beating hearts. Falling one vote short of defeating a filibuster, the Unicameral failed to advance to the third and final round of debate LB626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference has regularly supported legislation to increase access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (more popularly known in years past as the food stamps program). SNAP ensures that we—as a government (or community of persons)—are meeting the needs of the hungry.

This year’s Catholics at the Capitol, by the grace of God, ended up being on the same day as the first round of legislative debate on LB626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, introduced by Sen. Joni Albrecht.

LB574 would prohibit subjecting children (anyone under 19) to puberty blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and mutilating surgeries for the purpose of attempting to change the child’s sex.

This year, the Nebraska Catholic Conference (NCC) has either supported or opposed over 50 legislative bills.

Before full legislative debate begins on LB626, the Nebraska Heartbeat Act, it would serve us well to recap what LB626 does and to respond head-on to the argument—made time and again by opponents—that this bill will prevent doctors from providing appropriate medical care to women. In fact, if it passes, LB626 will make Nebraska’s pro-life laws the most generous to doctors in the United States.

The main event the last two weeks at the Nebraska Legislature has mostly consisted of legislative hearings. We have testified in support and opposition of numerous pieces of legislation on varying topics, which I would like to review with you.

To pass legislation like the First Freedom Act, we need your voice and influence. You can easily advocate on bills like LB277 by joining our Catholic Advocacy Network of Nebraska at While you’re on our website, don’t forget to register for Catholics at the Capitol! God bless your efforts—and pray for ours!

Our annual advocacy day, Catholics at the Capitol, is on Wednesday, April 12. Catholics at the Capitol is a great way to be engaged, educated, and empowered on the legislative bills that matter to us as Catholics.

Please pray for Nebraska to join the other 48 states who have passed school choice policy.

The NCC finds it particularly important to make sure we are helping moms and babies both before birth as well as after birth. We must do this not only in our own private charitable efforts, but we must also come together as a state to ensure these needs are met.

LB753 is a form of school choice legislation that is known as scholarship tax credit legislation. Scholarship tax credits are a form of tax policy that provide an increased incentive for donors to contribute to scholarship granting organizations, which then turn around and use those charitable contributions to provide education scholarships for families in need of more educational opportunities for their children.

Our vision is to build a true culture of life in Nebraska—one where every person is celebrated, valued, and protected, no matter the circumstances of his or her conception. We will work diligently in the coming years to realize that vision, and it is important to witness consistently to the dignity of every person, including every preborn child, even as we pursue imperfect legislation meant to limit evil to the greatest extent possible in a given time.

For this, I am deeply indebted to Pope Benedict. This gentle German showed me the endless depths of a life lived in the heart of Jesus Christ. May he rest in the peace of this same heart!

In the midst of your focus on Christmas and the New Year, I invite you to also consider what work we have ahead of us this next legislative session, especially on the pro-life front.

Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 258-169 to pass the so-called Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA). Following a similar vote by the U.S. Senate, the RFMA then headed to President Joe Biden’s desk. President Biden signed the bill into law Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Nebraska’s 108th Legislature will convene in less than one month. The opening days of session are both joyful and stressful. New Senators will be sworn in, while family and friends look on with excitement. Legislative leadership will be elected. And bill introductions will begin in full force.

We are now one month out from Election Day and one month away from Nebraska’s 108th Legislature, First Session.

My prayer as always is that you’ll take your role to be involved in the public policy process very seriously, and will begin cultivating those relationships with your public officials to help move the needle in favor of peace and justice!

As you evaluate the candidates on the major moral and societal issues, don’t forget to determine where they stand on issues that matter to you or your community. The number of issues that make up the “common good” are practically endless, and I pray you will do your best to pray and act like a faithful citizen this Nov. 8!

As Catholics our obligation during election season is to figure out where the candidates stand on any number of issues, including conscience rights and religious liberty.

As Catholics we have an “obligation to oppose policies promoting intrinsically evil acts” and this demand “has a special claim on our conscience and our actions” when it comes to voting for candidates.

As you prepare to vote this election cycle, you need to look hard at the candidates. Take off the rose-colored lenses that make us believe we are dealing with perfect candidates. Every candidate has some level of imperfections in their fundamental principles or in the way they will implement public policies. Assess every candidate based on your conscience informed by the Catholic faith.

With great joy, I can say that this year’s pro-life banquet and conference was a success. One for the books, as the saying goes!

In this column, I want to offer some preliminary tips as you prepare for this General Election cycle. And over the course of the next six weeks we will discuss the theme of faithful citizenship (which I will use in this context as shorthand for what it means to be a morally responsible Catholic during an election cycle).

This year’s theme (“And the Word Was Made Flesh”) has us diving deep into effectively communicating the pro-life message in a post-Christian and an ever-changing digital era. We will do this by focusing on the model and life of Jesus Christ as the way forward for our pro-life efforts.

When Our Lord became man, He shared the Gospel in word and action. He met sinners where they were, and knew how to communicate to their hearts and minds for conversion. The laity, as the body of Christ, must be equipped to imitate our Lord more perfectly as they meet the challenges of this culture where it is. Throughout the weekend, we will encourage contemporary, data-driven pro-life messaging and media in the digital age, featuring local and national talent.

We will win, though we do not know the day or the hour or the manner in which it will happen. That is for the Lord. Today is an occasion for rededication to prayer and work. We builders of the culture of life are not afraid of that.

Let us live in the truth with charity as we push back on what many (including numerous government officials) are trying to make us consider is “settled law” in the area of marriage and human sexuality. If we do not push back today, tomorrow will be too late.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overruled Roe v. Wade last month and returned authority to the states to protect preborn human life, has opened a new pathway for us in pro-life states like Nebraska.

It was no coincidence that Roe v. Wade was overturned on the day we celebrated the outpouring of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and on the anniversary of the day every year that we recall the birth of St. John the Baptist, whose witness for Christ began while both were still in the wombs of their mothers.

As we take time to celebrate Juneteenth this year, I hope it provides the opportunity for deepening our understanding of God’s desire for unity and peace in society among all people. And, in doing so, may Juneteenth help us further denounce the subtle and not so subtle forms of racism that still hold our country in the bondages of sin.

Religious Freedom Week is right around the corner (June 22-29). It is a great time of the year to more intently pray, reflect, and act to promote religious freedom, which is our “first, most cherished liberty.”

As always, we encourage you to pay attention to all races that show up on your ballot. Inform your conscience, do your homework on the candidates, and exercise your right to vote. And, then, like the NCC, let loose and go crazy on election night in November by watching the results flash across the electronic screen(s) of your choice!

Catholic schools must be places where parents are known, respected, and valued. Their input helps shape the community. Likewise, parents must engage and hold the school accountable to the Church’s mission. As a Catholic school educator for 20 years, I can attest that our schools live lean and mean; they need a little bit of everything to run well. Parents should present whatever gifts they have, and schools should put them good use!

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