Michigan Catholic Conference offers print copies of Focus free-of-charge in any amount. To order, please email Karah May or call (517) 372-9310.

    The Issues, The Candidates & Your Vote 2014

    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.

    Crime and Criminal Punishment: Juvenile Life Without Parole

    The practice of sentencing individuals under the age of eighteen to life in prison without the opportunity for parole has become a matter of intense legislative and legal scrutiny, both in Michigan and throughout the country. The juveniles who received this sentence have been found guilty of committing or participating in a deadly crime, profoundly impacting both family of the victim and members of the greater community. While the U.S. Supreme Court, Michigan courts and the Michigan Legislature have weighed in on this sentencing policy, the Catholic Church has followed the issue with concern for all involved—guided by the principles of restorative justice and dignity of the human person.

    Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery in Our Midst

    In recent years the Catholic Church—through the USCCB, local dioceses and parishes—has become a national leader in helping victims of human trafficking. Because of the work of the Church, the trafficking of human persons has become more widely documented and confronted. Many highly effective programs have been developed at the national level to raise awareness and to assist victims, both spiritually and physically. The purpose for this FOCUS publication is bring to the attention of the Catholic population in Michigan the problem of human trafficking, to help raise awareness of warning signs, and to further discuss ongoing efforts to promote the dignity of every human person in our midst.

    Catholic Education: Developing Hearts and Minds of Faith

    Catholic schools throughout the country and the State of Michigan are invaluable institutions dedicated to spreading the teachings and mission of the Church. Through Catholic schools, students learn values and are taught virtues that remain with them for the rest of their lives. In 2012–2013, 6,685 Catholic schools across the country educated 2,001,740 children; 19.6% of whom were racial minorities and 15.9% were non-Catholic. Roughly 54,832 students were educated in Michigan Catholic schools. Today, the Church is successfully continuing her historical traditional of cultivating faithful and service-oriented men and women in the classroom.

    Conscience Rights, A Foundation for Democracy

    This latest publication of FOCUS identifies individual and institutional conscience protections that are in place at the federal level. The document provides a timeline of when the policies were enacted and what rights they seek to protect. Despite a thirty year history of bipartisan agreement on conscience rights, recent actions from the administration have presented significant concern for religious liberty moving forward. Along with a timeline, the document includes Archbishop Carroll's "prayer for government" and an excerpt from the USCCB document "Our First, Most Cherished Liberty."

    2012 Statewide Ballot Proposals

    Michigan voters participating in the statewide general election this November will have the opportunity to vote on six policy questions. These six questions will be the highest number of ballot proposals Michigan voters will have witnessed in some 25 years. Five of the questions are proposed constitutional amendments while the sixth, Proposal 1, is a referendum on an existing state law. Michigan Catholic Conference is urging a “no” vote on Proposal 5.

    Forming Consciences for Religious Liberty

    Pope Benedict XVI has said that each generation must “preserve, defend and advance” freedom and justice during its time. In light of the Holy Father’s statement, Catholics this election season are urged to evaluate candidates and policies that protect human life, promote dignity, and maintain the bedrock American constitutional right to religious freedom.

    The Issues, the Candidates and Your Vote 2012

    The purpose of this FOCUS publication is to expand upon those primary issues of concern to the Church, especially religious freedom, and to present additional information with which Catholics can absorb and research this election season in light of the Church’s call to Faithful Citizenship.

    “Extending the Love of Our Father”

    The purpose of this FOCUS publication is to highlight foster care in Michigan and across the country, and to identify agencies in the state that can provide opportunities and answer questions for those with interest. Indeed, foster care parents are extending the love of our father in Heaven.

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