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While we are in the midst of great uncertainty and many changes to our daily lives, remember we still have the choice to love God and our neighbor, to feed our souls and minds, and to engage in faithful citizenship.

Evangelium Vitae is beautiful and worth reflecting upon in its 25th anniversary year.

And, like that, seemingly overnight, the coronavirus crisis has swept our communities, state, and nation.

Subsidiarity. The common good. Solidarity. Human dignity. These four fundamental principles of Catholic social teaching can often seem like amorphous terms and realities. They are not only difficult to define, but also seemingly impossible to identify and apply in the day-to-day of life.

As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul II’s monumental encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, take a moment to recall those words of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that John Paul never tired of repeating: “Do not be afraid.”

As we enter into the last half of the session, recall the words chiseled into the side of the State Capitol: “The salvation of the state is watchfulness in the citizen.” As our Legislature works away, Nebraskans are called to remain vigilant to their activity.

In this context of LB814, ‘it is what it is’ is about the closest thing you’ll find to an abortionist admitting to the brutality that is dismemberment abortion, a 21st century so-called “medical” procedure used between the 13th and 24th weeks of pregnancy to tear apart a living human being limb by limb in utero.

Pope Francis has a knack for using strong language when categorically condemning moral evils. He has compared the evil of abortion to “hiring a hitman” or “resorting to a contract killer to solve a problem.” He has also condemned gender ideology—the notion that a person can choose and change their own gender—as “demonic” and comparable to “the educational policies of Hitler.”

“A good Catholic meddles in politics,” said Pope Francis during a daily Mass homily in 2013.

The beautiful (and fun) part about being Catholic and working on legislative issues is that on any given week we are working on a mixed bag of policy proposals. As I mentioned in my last column, all things belong to Christ and Christ wants all things restored to Him.

When it comes to public policy efforts, the month of January is one of those that makes the ol’ adage, “When it rains, it pours,” sound like an understatement.

In past legislative sessions, my column has maintained a close and keen focus on major legislative proposals the NCC has supported or opposed, such as pro-life, religious liberty, and school choice policies. This year, I hope to provide more commentary on other legislative proposals the NCC is engaging but aren’t our top tier priorities.

Jeremy Ekeler, principal at Cathedral of the Risen Christ School in Lincoln, will join the Nebraska Catholic Conference as its associate director for education policy after he completes the 2019-2020 school year.

Action rooted in prayer is at the core of the Nebraska Catholic Conference’s support of LB814. Introduced by Senator Suzanne Geist of Lincoln (Legislative District 25), LB814 would end the barbaric practice of dismemberment abortion in Nebraska.

...let’s talk about two upcoming events you should put on your calendar and, of course, attend!

Christ, Hope for Humanity. While Christ invites us to suffer with Him and enter into His redemptive work, the burdens and evils of this world were not meant for us to shoulder. From the outset of salvation history, God the Father has promised the Messiah to atone for our sinfulness (see Genesis 3:15).

The political question for DACA youth is whether Congress will have the courage to permanently address their tragic situation by passing something like the DREAM Act, which the U.S Bishops have supported, or whether they will continue to be treated as a political football by a dysfunctional Congress unable to achieve even the slightest degree of immigration reform.

It’s that time of year again where I get to make some “clever” comment about how Advent is not only a time to prepare for the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but is also a time to prepare for the coming of the Nebraska Legislature!

To be a Christian means to act as a Christian, in imitation of Jesus Christ. Nothing less can be expected.

We think of Kingship restricted to some transcendent religious sphere, which has little to do with the concerns of the world, let alone politics. This could not be further from the truth.

Being a Christian is beautiful for many reasons.

As with every other area of life, good politics is impossible without a proper understanding of the human person.

“An authentic faith…always involves a deep desire to change the world[.]”

“As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those who are most vulnerable, from the beginning of life to its end, and at every point in between.”

While my previous column alluded to the state’s Blaine Amendment, it did not discuss the bigoted history behind the Blaine Amendment. And as the saying goes, “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue is anticipated to be one for the history books, as it has the potential to have far-reaching implications for nearly 40 states around the country that have Blaine Amendments in their state constitution.

The following are adapted remarks from last week’s Bishops’ Pro-Life Banquet. The banquet featured this year’s Gospel of Life Award bestowed on a person who has demonstrated exemplary efforts within the pro-life movement.

Let us continue praying, fasting, and acting toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade - and to make abortion unthinkable in Nebraska and throughout our country.

As the cultural battle on issues of marriage and human sexuality continues, these cases will not be the last word and the issues presented will soon find their way to the United States Supreme Court.

...the meaning and dignity of work which ought to be at the heart of not only Labor Day but also our daily lives.

Planned Parenthood again tipped its hand in recent weeks to reveal its true character.

Come celebrate 50 years with the Nebraska Catholic Conference.

A religious freedom update.

...religious freedom exists not to provide “special protections” for those who have lost the cultural or legal battles on foundational political issues. Religious freedom is so much more: it is the capacity of every human person to act on the truth as he or she understands it, without undue influence or coercion from the government.

As of May 31, the Nebraska Legislature adjourned sine die (a Latin term meaning without any further day of scheduled business). This marks the completion of the 106th Legislature, First Session.

Lauren provides a beautiful reflection on finding love in the ruins of a broken culture of death and seeing the face of Christ and allowing Him to transform our vision, so that we can assist Him in the work of building a culture of life. - Tom

With the passage of LB209 by the Nebraska Legislature today, the state is now guaranteeing a mother’s right to receive important, life-changing information when prescribed the abortion pill.

As you think about the Legislature winding down, you should consider this as another prime opportunity for grassroots advocacy. For example, reach out to your State Senator ask them how they think this legislative session went. Ask them to provide you a recap and to offer their perspective on what they believed were the highlights and challenges of the session.

Passing legislation like LB670 requires sustained courage, rooted in a strong will-gifts that we know God is willing to bestow upon us, if we but ask for the grace.

LB516 is a critical step forward for Nebraska in combating the modern-day slavery of human trafficking.

LB209 provides for what the introducing Senator, Joni Albrecht, calls a pro-life, pro-information, pro-science, and, yes, a pro-choice policy, as it empowers mothers with the medically accurate information they need to have a second chance at choosing life, if they come to regret their initial decision of abortion.

As we have for over the last 20 years, the Nebraska Catholic Conference voiced its support for the elimination of the death penalty and will continue to engage in public education and lobbying efforts to that end.

LB670 is a policy popularly known as scholarship tax credit legislation.

We ask for your continued prayers as we seek to bear the light of Christ in the public square.

The Nebraska Legislature Revenue Committee advanced LB670, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, from committee by a vote of 5-2-1.

...Our work in building a culture of life must always be met with vigilance. There is no greater cultural and political battle that garners our attention as the fight to protect unborn life.

"We are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the 'culture of death' and the 'culture of life.' We find ourselves not only 'faced with' but necessarily 'in the midst of' this conflict..."

This legislative session has witnessed an influx of legislative bills seeking to directly attack the life of unborn children, which the NCC has opposed.

...Why Nebraska needs to invest in kids by adopting scholarship tax credit legislation.

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