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Those Meddling Catholics at the Capitol

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

This statement of the Holy Father, on its face, may seem contrary to our natural instincts these days when it comes to politics. After all, to meddle in politics would be to dirty ourselves because politics itself is dirty. Politics is a game played by the elite of our society, by those seeking power, profit, and pride, so many believe.

But politics is quite the opposite. “Politics,” as Pope Francis said during that same Mass, “is one the highest forms of charity, as it serves the common good.” Politics is not something “I can... wash my hands” of, as the pope continued. As with all things, politics belongs to Jesus Christ. Politics is directed toward His Kingdom—that same Kingdom for which we pray every time we recite the Our Father.

Through politics—though not exclusively so—we care for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned, as Matthew 25 instructs and commands. This is part of that “just ordering of society and the State” which is, as Pope Benedict XVI stated, “a central responsibility of politics”—and the Church “cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.”

This just ordering of society is at the heart of our annual legislative advocacy day: Catholics at the Capitol, which will take place this year on Wednesday, March 4.

Catholics at the Capitol offers Catholics the opportunity to join their fellow Catholics from across the state for a day of advocacy at the State Capitol. The day begins at St. Mary Church in Lincoln with Mass at 8 a.m., and the program begins at 9 a.m. with speakers, lunch, and concludes with senator meetings that will end by 1:30 p.m.

This year’s keynote speaker will be former Governor Kay Orr, who will highlight the importance of being involved in the political process as Christians. Nebraska Catholic Conference staff will provide an overview of various legislative priorities important to the Church. The lunch will feature several state senators who will further underscore major legislative proposals and the importance of their faith in the public policy process.

For more information and to register, visit www.necatholic.org or call 402.477.7517. The only cost ($10) is for those who want lunch.

Prayer, Sacrifice, and Action Needed. Next week, the Revenue Committee and the Judiciary Committee will hear the NCC’s two major legislative bills.

The Revenue Committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday, Feb. 19, on LB1202, the Opportunity Scholarships Act. As you know by now, this legislation would provide more scholarship opportunities to low-income families, to make sure their children get the education that is best for their children. Unfortunately, in Nebraska, there are more kids who need scholarship assistance than there are scholarships available. And LB1202 can go a long way in remedying that problem.

The Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing Thursday, Feb. 20, on LB814, the dismemberment abortion ban. Dismemberment abortion is a brutal procedure that tears apart a living unborn child, limb by limb, in utero. This inhumane practice has taken the life of hundreds of innocent unborn babies in Nebraska, and LB814 would end this barbaric practice.

Both efforts require the prayer, sacrifice, and political advocacy of all people—but especially Catholics—across Nebraska. Pray for Senator Lou Ann Linehan and Senator Suzanne Geist who introduced LB1202 and LB814, respectively. Pray that the Lord would provide them the courage and wisdom to speak truthfully and winsomely on these issues. Pray that our other State Senators would see the good that these two proposals would cause for our state.

Also, take 10 to 20 minutes out of your day and contact your State Senator and members of each of the committees mentioned (visit www.nebraskalegislature.gov for more information). Let them know that you support LB1202. Let them know you support LB814. Let your voice be heard. Even if you don’t feel like you are the most persuasive or knowledgeable person in the world, be not afraid as our Lord was so apt to tell those disciples who followed Him. Remember that you can also visit www.necatholic.org for more information about both bills, which can help you gain the knowledge and words you may need to speak up on these issues.

As we prepare for these two major bills and Catholics at the Capitol, recall the words Lt. Gov. Foley spoke at a previous Catholics at the Capitol: “Legislative issues are won by those who show up to the Capitol.”

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