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The bishops of Missouri, speaking together on matters of public policy, form the Missouri Catholic Conference.   October 2009

                                 - 2 Corinthians 5:7

     Americans are undergoing the worst economic downturn since the
      Great Depression. Now more than ever, Catholic citizens need
            to trust in God and work for the common good.
                                            Legislation Just Over the Horizon
By all current accounts the 2010      fully informed about the abortion     would impose a two year               CAre: Many people work for
session of the Missouri General       procedure or the consequences.        moratorium on executions while        employers that do not provide
Assembly will be dominated            This legislation provides women       a study commission examines           health      coverage.     Working
by issues relating to economic        with      detailed     information    aspects of the death penalty          parents in these situations
recovery and funding the              about       abortion,     including   system including the experience       can apply for Medicaid health
state budget. Legislation and         the risks associated with the         levels of defense lawyers and         coverage, but in Missouri the
programs with high fiscal costs       procedure, information about          prosecutors, the cost of the death    Medicaid eligibility level is so
will have a difficult time securing   the development of the unborn         penalty, issues of racial disparity   low (22 percent of the federal
passage.                              child, a list of organizations that   and the interests of families         poverty level) that many working
                                      will provide assistance to help       of victims. The commission            parents do without health
The     economic      downturn        carry the child to term and an        would make recommendations            care. During the past several
will not prevent the Missouri         offer to allow women to view an       to Governor Nixon and the             sessions the MCC has worked
Catholic Conference (MCC)             ultrasound of the unborn child        General Assembly. In 2009, a          to expand access to Medicaid
from advocating for issues that       and hear the heartbeat.               study commission that looked at       health coverage for low-income
protect the sanctity of human                                               the system was approved by the        Missourians by raising the
life and uphold the dignity of        The legislation also seeks to stop    House of Representatives, but         eligibility levels of the state’s
every human being. Below are          coerced abortion. Commonly            not in the Senate. A moratorium/      program. If federal legislation
some issues of importance that        told stories of coerced abortions     study commission bill will be         on health care reform is passed
the MCC will be working on in         tell of pregnant women who            introduced again in 2010 by           this year, it is likely that state
the upcoming session.                 were threatened with divorce,         Rep. Bill Deeken (R-Jefferson         legislation will be introduced in
                                      loss of homes and support, loss       City) and Sen. Rita Days (D-St.       2010 to address issues involved
AlternAtives to Abortion (AtA):       of college scholarships or were       Louis).                               in the new law.
Many women have daunting              abused if they did not abort their
challenges when faced with            unborn child. Statistics indicate     PAydAy loAns: Payday lending          eduCAtion: Catholic teaching
pregancy. The ATA program             40 percent of all women seeking       targets people unable to access       supports the fundamental right
provides       services     during    abortions are victimized by           traditional financial services        of parents to select schools that
pregnancy and for one year after      domestic violence.                    and those least able to pay the       meet the needs of their children
the birth of the child including                                            exorbitant interest rates. This       and that is in accord with
prenatal care, medical and            In 2009, the Missouri House           legislation changes the laws          their convictions. Accordingly,
mental health care, parenting         of Representatives approved           regarding unsecured loans             the MCC has supported tax
skills,   education       services,   legislation to require informed       of $500 or less, referred to as       deductions and other financial
housing, clothing, food supplies      consent and to stop coerced           payday loans, and allows the          assistance to parents who
related to pregnancy, newborn         abortions. The Senate removed         Attorney General to maintain an       send their children to private,
and infant care and adoption          the coerced abortion provisions       action to enforce compliance.         parochial or home schools.
assistance. Catholic Charities        and weakened the informed             Missouri has some of the most         With the current budget crisis
of St. Louis and Catholic             consent language. The bill died       lenient payday loan laws in           it will be exceedingly difficult to
Charities of Kansas City - St.        before the House and Senate           the nation. All of the states         pass any legislation that takes
Joseph are among a consortium         could reconcile differences.          bordering Missouri - Arkansas,        funds from state coffers.The
of faith-based agencies that          The MCC will be working with          Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska,           MCC believes greater success
provide these vital services.         Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-O’Fallon)       Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky and          can be found in ensuring that
ATA was appropriated $1.9             to ensure that meaningful             Tennessee - prohibit renewals         all students, including those
million in the FY2010 budget          legislation is passed to protect      of payday loans. In Missouri, a       attending Catholic schools,
but cuts were proposed by the         women and their unborn                payday loan can be rolled over        have equitable access to
Missouri Department of Health         children.                             up to six times. A person can         programs available to public
in June in response to budget                                               end up paying interest charges        school students. In 2009, the
shortfalls. In August, Governor
                              morAtorium/study Commission                   that amount to 75 percent of the      MCC was successful in allowing
Nixon committed to fully funding
                              on the deAth PenAlty: Missouri’s              original loan. Rep. Mary Still        children in private, parochial
the program for FY2010. The   death penalty statute has been                (D-Columbia) and Rep. John            and home schools to have
MCC will be working to at least
                              on the books for over 30 years,               Burnett (D-Kansas City) will          access to virtual school courses
maintain current funding levels
                              yet the state has never done a                sponsor legislation in 2010 to        provided by their local public
for the next fiscal year.     thorough study of the system                  strengthen the regulation of the      school district. The MCC will be
                              to ensure it is fair and innocent             payday loan industry.                 seeking similar opportunities in
informed    Consent/CoerCed people are protected from a                                                           education legislation introduced
Abortion: Women are often not death sentence. This legislation              exPAnding ACCess      to   heAlth     in 2010.
                         Is “Budget Cliff” Around the Bend?
Despite Gov. Nixon’s vetoes and         money must be paid back into the            the impending budget cliff, most
                                                                                                                              A Moral Document
fund withholdings earlier this year,    fund by May 15, 2010.                       Missouri citizens are not. They
many observers of the Missouri          Missouri’s fiscal situation would           may think state budget problems
state budget see big trouble            be much worse if the state had              are mainly a problem for a few         In the past the MCC has urged
ahead. To them Missouri’s budget        not received a massive injection            state employees in Jefferson City.     state legislators to base their
resembles a train heading round         of federal stimulus money. Absent           In fact, state government reaches      decisions not on politics but on the
a mountain bend for a yawning           the federal bailout, Missouri would         into every corner of Missouri.         good of all Missouri citizens. Here
                                                                                                                           are several guiding principles the
chasm no longer bridged by any          have faced a $1 billion shortfall in
                                                                                                                           MCC has continually set before
sound fiscal policy.                    its fiscal year 2010 budget. The            Almost 900,000 children, including     legislators:
                                        federal money has cushioned the             many Catholic children, attend the
The ink was barely dry on the           blow of the current recession, the          state’s K-12 public schools. Over      Uphold the sanctity of human
legislature’s    proposed       state   worst economic downturn since               850,000 Missouri citizens, including   life: Services like the Alternatives
budget for fiscal year 2010 last        the 1930’s Great Depression,                the elderly and disabled, receive      to Abortion program that save
summer when Gov. Nixon vetoed           but unless Congress authorizes              health coverage through Medicaid.      human lives should be given
over $100 million in spending and       another bailout, Missouri gets only         Sheltered workshops offer jobs         priority;
withheld spending for another $325      one more year of federal help.              to the disabled, the Missouri          Protect the most vulnerable:
million. In October, due to declining                                               Department of Natural Resources        The very poor, those with severe
sales tax revenues, the Missouri        Without more federal help, or               addresses toxic chemical spills        disabilities, the frail elderly, all
Department of Natural Resources         a dramatic improvement in                   and other environmental threats,       warrant special consideration in
cut 100 state park positions.           the economy, Missouri state                 the Missouri Department of Health      framing the state budget;
                                        government faces in fiscal year             contracts with Catholic Charities of   Respect the dignity of work
Symptomatic of a deeper problem         2012 what has become known in               St. Louis and Catholic Charities of    and     workers:       Government
is the constant raiding of the state    Jefferson City as the “budget cliff.”       Kansas City - St. Joseph to provide    upholds the dignity of worker and
piggy bank known as the budget          Unlike the federal government,              alternatives to abortion services.     workers when it requires safe
reserve. Since the beginning of         Missouri is required by its                                                        working conditions, a living wage
fiscal year 2010, which began July      constitution to balance the state           All this and much more is in           and offers health coverage for
1, state officials have raided the      budget. Deficit spending is not an          jeopardy. Tough decisions will         workers whose employers don’t
                                                                                                                           offer health benefits;
piggy bank three times to address       option and there is little political will   have to be made. In this crisis, it
cash flow problems. In July state       to raise taxes. Unless tax revenue          will be vital for Governor Nixon       Call for Common Sacrifice:
officials borrowed $125 million, in     collections pick up, major cuts in          and legislative leaders to work in     When a family goes through
August they borrowed $75 million        state programs are inevitable.              a bipartisan fashion because the       economic difficulties, all family
and in October they borrowed                                                        stakes are too high for politics as    members sacrifice together. In
another $150 million. Now, only         While Gov. Nixon and legislative            usual.                                 government no program should be
                                                                                                                           exempt from scrutiny to determine
$170 million is left. By law this       budget writers are well aware of
                                                                                                                           whether it is necessary and being
                                                                                                                           operated efficiently;

                           Deficit Spending Versus Frugality                                                               Practice Good Stewardship:
                                                                                                                           Public officials have an obligation
                                                                                                                           to be good stewards of taxpayer
In a recent issue, The Economist        John Maynard Keynes supported               The Catholic Church does not           dollars. Waste in government
reported that American households       deficit spending by government              claim expertise in technical           programs coupled with excessive
are now spending less and saving        in order to fill the demand gap left        aspects of economics but it            taxation can undercut the ability
more. Savings rose to 5% of             when households and businesses              insists that policies be grounded      of families to support themselves
disposable income by the end of         lose confidence and stop buying             in “a transcendent vision of the       and undermine investment and
                                                                                                                           job hiring by businesses;
the second quarter of 2009. The         consumer goods and investing in             person,” as Pope Benedict XVI
increased frugality is a common         business ventures.                          puts it in his encyclical Caritas in   Empower local communities:
                                                                                                                           Government cannot solve all
sense response by families trying                                                   Veritate. When the Church sees
                                                                                                                           problems and there are times
to weather the current recession.       But even Keynes acknowledged                systems placed over the welfare        when government can be most
But when households spend less,         that too much deficit spending              of people, it will and does register   helpful by  partnering with local
businesses sell less and workers        can lead to runaway inflation,              disapproval. No person should be       communities and churches;
are laid off. This can lead to          undercutting the value of the               sacrificed for some five year plan,    Ensure government resources
economic contraction.                   currency and exploding government           as people put in labor camps were      are adequate: Government must
                                        deficits. While many economists             in the former Soviet Union, and        have sufficient revenue to do its
In responding to the present            support deficit spending in deep            no private corporation should be       job properly. Raising taxes is one
                                                                                                                           option when funding is inadequate
recession, both the Bush and            recessions, there is vigorous               given license to exploit its workers   for the legitimate purposes of
Obama administrations have taken        debate about how much is enough             or befoul the environment.             government.
a page from the playbook of a           and how much is too much.
British economist who died in 1946.
Don’t Walk Alone.
Get Involved. Make a Difference.
The Missouri Catholic Conference believes...
                                                                                 Cut along dotted line and mail to: Missouri Catholic Conference,
•   in strengthening the family as the foundation of society.                    P.O. Box 1022, Jefferson City, MO 65102
•   in the sanctity of all human life.
•   in empowering the poor and protecting the vulnerable.                                   Citizen Network Enrollment Form
•   in showing care and respect for God’s creation.
                                                                                     YES! I would like to join the Missouri Catholic
•   in the dignity of work and the rights of workers.
•   each person has fundamental rights and responsibilities.
                                                                                     Conference Citizen Network.
•   that we must promote the common good.                                           Title: (Circle one) Mr./Mrs./Miss/Ms./Rev./Bro./Sr./Dr.

We have people, persuasion and prayer and that is why we need                       Name:
YOU to join our Citizen Network.

The Citizen Network is a network of Catholics working to making                     Address:
a difference in society. It is people just like you writing letters,
making phone calls and visiting with your public officials.                         City:

The Citizen Network is a way for you to stay informed and                           Telephone: (home)
alerted on important issues. By joining our network of Catholic
citizens you will receive MCC’s monthly newsletter, Good News,
a personal invitation to the MCC Annual Assembly, up-to-date
information on current legislation and tools to actively participate
and influence public officials.                                                     Parish:

                                                                                 You can also register online at the Missouri Catholic
YOU can truly make a difference!                                                 Conference Web site

                                                    Getting Help in Hard Times
         If you or somone you know has been adversely affected by the current economic crisis, these agencies could be of assistance.

              St. Louis Catholic Charities
              This organization has a number of different agencies providing a variety of services including legal, refugee, family, housing and
              much more. For more information about the different agencies contact the St. Louis Catholic Charities at 314.367.5500 or go online
              Kansas City & St. Joseph Catholic Charities
              This organization offers many services including: adoption, mental health, emergency assistance, housing, senior care and much
              more. For more information or getting help contact the Kansas City, St. Joesph or Warrensburg Catholic Charities offices.
              KC Catholic Charities           St. Joseph Catholic Charities             Warrensburg Catholic Charities
              816.221.4377                    816.232.2885                              660.747.2241

              Other Kansas City Area Assistance - These locations offer food, clothing and employment assistance.
              Bishop Sullivan Center          St. James Place

              Central Missouri Assistance
              These organizations provide services including: food, clothing, school supplies and much more.
              Samaritan Center       Christo Center            SERVE, Inc.         Open Door Ministries         GRACE
              Jefferson City, Mo.    Moberly, Mo.              Fulton, Mo.         Sedalia, Mo.                 Rolla, Mo.
              573.634.7776           660.263.0278              573.642.6388        660.827.1613                 573.368.5577

             Springfield/Cape Girardeau Diocese
             Springfield - Cape Girardeau is currently forming a Catholic Charities agency, however, if you need assistance please contact Don
             Emge with the Diocese of Springfield/Cape Girardeau at 417.866.0841.

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