The statistics surrounding opioid abuse are distressing, but even more distressing is the human face of addiction, which includes relatives, neighbors, friends, parishioners, and community members. This issue of FOCUS explores the growing opioid crisis — abuse of prescription drugs and use of heroin — and efforts to address addiction by the Catholic Church and the State of Michigan. Contact MCC to order additional copies of this publication at no cost to the parish, school, or other Catholic entity.
The following issues are available free-of-charge in any amount from the Public Policy Division. To order copies of any issues, contact Karah May at (517) 372-9310.
At the beginning of each biennial session of the Michigan Legislature MCC publishes through FOCUS its advocacy priorities for the next two years. These priorities, entitled A Blueprint for the Common Good, have been approved by the MCC Board of Directors. The document is shared with members of the Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, and provide MCC staff with guidance on important public policy issues as the legislative session advances.
On Tuesday, November 8, Michiganders will vote on candidates and issues at the local, state, and federal level. It is important for Catholics especially to consider the impact of their choices at the ballot box, especially as it pertains to protecting the dignity of human life, providing for the poor and vulnerable, and promoting the common good. In The Issues, the Candidates and Your Vote: Calling for Dignity in the Public Square, MCC provides information about the upcoming election, discusses conscience formation, and lists questions to consider before voting.
Individuals across the state rely on transportation daily to find opportunities and services, as well as to stay connected with others. Unfortunately, a lack of transit access can have a detrimental impact on one’s ability to access these goods, including employment, health care services, healthy food, and education, which are essential to the dignity of the human person. Low-income residents, the elderly, and the disabled can especially struggle without a variety of quality transportation options available to them. As a result, community discussions about the needs of residents benefit from input about public transportation infrastructure and route decisions, including input from those on the margins of society. Michigan Catholic Conference’s latest informational publication, FOCUS, explores the importance of vibrant transit systems, with emphasis on its impact for marginalized populations, the environment, and community growth.
Throughout the nation’s history, refugees have escaped persecution or violence in their home countries and have sought safe haven in America. The number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide has reached 59.5 million in recent years, which is the highest level ever recorded. According to the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, well over 4 million of those displaced are fleeing civil war and rising threats of terrorism in Syria. Michigan Catholic Conference’s March FOCUS provides an overview of the U.S. refugee resettlement process and the approval waiting period that typically lasts 18 to 24 months. In addition, this FOCUS examines Catholic Social Teaching regarding refugees and migrants, speaking about the need to improve living conditions in home countries, to see the human face of the refugees and the displaced, and to welcome and assist individuals chosen for resettlement. Several Catholic agencies and organizations are working in each of these areas, including two local Catholic Charities agencies in Michigan.
The U.S. bishops have recognized that the causes of crime can be complex and that “one-size-fits-all” solutions are often inadequate, especially for juvenile offenders. Unfortunately, current policies often treat juveniles as adults in sentencing for certain crimes, even though research has shown that there are significant differences in development, maturity, and decision-making between juveniles and adults. Recently more emphasis has been placed on approaches that aim to reduce incarceration rates and bring about rehabilitation through evidence-based programming. In the latest FOCUS publication, which is distributed to all the Catholic parishes and schools in the state, Michigan Catholic Conference evaluates the state of juvenile justice in Michigan and presents the role Catholic teaching on restorative justice can play in policy discussions. FOCUS includes an examination of approaches to criminal justice, a summary of current juvenile justice legislation in Michigan, and additional resources for further learning.
Firearm use, domestic violence, elder abuse and sexual assault are among the forms of violence addressed by Michigan Catholic Conference in its latest FOCUS publication. The document includes recommendations from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on how to minimize violence and resources for further reading, along with quotes of interest. Legislation under consideration in Lansing supported by MCC that addresses the differing forms of violence are also included. FOCUS is distributed to Catholic institutions across the state and is available at no cost to parishes, schools or other Catholic entities. Read more about this FOCUS publication.
On Tuesday, May 5, 2015 Michigan voters will head to the ballot box to participate in a special statewide election. The primary purpose for this special election is to ask voters if the Michigan Constitution should be amended to raise the sales tax to pay for road and transportation infrastructure repairs. This FOCUS publication presents to Catholic and other readers a background of Proposal 1, arguments from both supporters and opponents, and the official language that will appear on the May 5 special election ballot. Michigan Catholic Conference does not have a position on Proposal 1.
The Michigan political cycle will move into full swing this summer. At the Primary Election in August and the General Election in November, voters will head to the ballot box to select men and women they believe will best lead their communities. Many important political offices will be up for election this year, including one of two Michigan seats in the United States Senate. This FOCUS publication strongly encourages Catholics to evaluate their political candidates through the lens of Catholic social teaching, to ask important questions of those running for office, and to vote for candidates based upon a well formed conscience.