Home » Posts tagged 'Maryland Catholic Conference'

Maryland budget passes with nonpublic school assistance

March 29th, 2018 Posted in Our Diocese Tags:


ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The state operating and capital budgets passed by Maryland General Assembly this week include significant funding increases for Catholic and other nonpublic schools, specifically providing for additional school safety measures and scholarship assistance for low-income students and students with special needs.

The Nonpublic Aging Schools Program, which this year was named the “Senator James E. “Ed” DeGrange” program by members of the Senate, will now provide $7 million for capital improvements to Catholic and other nonpublic schools as part of the fiscal year 2019 capital budget. The allocation will continue to provide $3.5 million for deferred maintenance and infrastructure repairs and renovations, as well as an additional $3.5 million to assist schools in making their schools safer for their students. Schools will received funding for security upgrades on a per-pupil basis, with higher amounts going to schools with greater numbers of lower-income students.

Read more »

Comments Off on Maryland budget passes with nonpublic school assistance

Maryland Catholic Conference announces new leadership


The Maryland Catholic Conference announced today that Jennifer Briemann will succeed Mary Ellen Russell as the conference’s new executive director in June. Russell has served as executive director since 2008, and began working at the conference as associate director for education in 1995.

“It has been a joy to work in a professional capacity that so closely aligns with my personal beliefs and passions, and to work alongside colleagues who share that same dedication,” said Russell. “I’m grateful for the unwavering support and leadership that our bishops have devoted to the work of the conference throughout my tenure, and believe we have continued to have a significant impact on improving the welfare of some of Maryland’s most vulnerable populations.”

Read more »

Comments Off on Maryland Catholic Conference announces new leadership

Catholic bishops of Maryland address immigration issue


A call to compassion, prudence and cooperation from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland

The issue of immigration continues to raise controversy at both the national and state level, often spurring passionate debate that offers little hope for reconciliation and resolution. This situation urgently calls for the Catholic Church

The Catholic bishops in Maryland on May 30 issued a joint statement calling for all people of faith and good will to come together in a spirit of compassion, prudence and cooperation in addressing the issue of immigration. The bishops also urge state and local elected officials to consider several guiding principles when determining the appropriate relationship between federal immigration officials and local law enforcement. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz) See USCCB-MIGRATION-HOPE Jan. 6, 2017.

The Catholic bishops in Maryland on May 30 issued a joint statement, “Addressing Immigration in Maryland, calling for all people of faith and good will to come together in a spirit of compassion, prudence and cooperation in addressing the issue of immigration. 
(CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

and all people of faith and good will to come together in a spirit of compassion, prudence, and cooperation to address the challenges faced by immigrants, elected officials, law enforcement and our communities as a whole. The complexity of federal immigration enforcement policies and their effect at local levels is of particular concern. In Maryland, this is especially the case in light of the unsuccessful efforts to pass state legislation aimed at identifying uniform state parameters for cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. As more and more local governments in our state take up this issue moving forward, we, the Catholic bishops of Maryland, urge all Marylanders to consider the following principles as a basis for engaging in dialogue as we work toward the common good.

Let us be guided by the words of Pope Francis, who in his historic address to the U.S. Congress reminded us: “… if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us give opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

We urge state and local elected officials and lawmakers at the executive, legislative and judicial levels to enact and uphold immigration policies that:

  • Respect the spirit of our country’s Fourth Amendment protection against apprehension and searches of persons or homes without probable cause, and against detention beyond normal criminal procedures, while at the same time respecting the necessary role of law enforcement to uphold laws and policies that keep our communities safe.
  • Give priority to ensuring the integrity of families and the ability of working parents to support and care for their children.
  • Build trust with our immigrant communities by establishing a
    clear division of duties between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents so that immigrants feel safe reporting crimes and cooperating in police investigations.
  • Create safe environments by enforcing clearly established consequences for criminal violations of the law.
  • Reduce fear among our immigrant communities by protecting their ability to congregate and move freely at their churches, schools and other community gathering places.

We urge Maryland’s Catholics, other faith communities and all people of good will to:

  • Respect differences of opinion on this issue in a spirit of listening and understanding rather than accusation and name-calling.
  • Engage in the political process and communicate your opinions to your elected officials. We encourage you neither to shy away from the political arena, nor to allow partisan and hyperbolic factions to dominate the political debate on immigration.
  • Seek to learn more about the root causes of immigration and the challenges immigrants face in navigating our country’s complex immigration system.
  • Develop personal relationships with immigrants in your communities and learn firsthand about their hopes and dreams, fears and sorrows.

In closing, we offer a word of hope to our immigrant brothers and sisters who have come to Maryland in search of a better life.

We pray that you will find in the Catholic Church and many other communities in our state places of welcome, fellowship and support. We pledge through our parishes and institutions to minister to you as you learn a new language; as you seek employment, shelter, food, clothing and healthcare; and as you celebrate your faith in a loving God. We thank you for your inspiring example of fortitude, industriousness, and strong family values, and for your contribution to the qualities of life that truly define the greatness of America. May the grace of God bless you and bless our work together to build communities of peace, prosperity and friendship.

In addition to Bishop W. Francis Malooly of the Diocese of Wilmington, the Catholic bishops of Maryland include:

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore; Auxiliary Bishop Adam J. Parker of Baltimore; Auxiliary Bishop Mark E. Brennan of Baltimore;

Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington; Auxiliary Bishop Barry C. Knestout of Washington; Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington and Auxiliary Bishop Roy E. Campbell Jr. of Washington.


Comments Off on Catholic bishops of Maryland address immigration issue

Maryland news: 2016 U.S. Congress Candidate Survey





Comments Off on Maryland news: 2016 U.S. Congress Candidate Survey

Voters Guide: Maryland Catholic Conference candidate surveys



About the Survey

Every election year, the Maryland Catholic Conference surveys the state’s candidates for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about their positions on issues of interest to Catholics. The responses of the Democratic and Republican primary candidates are below.

The candidates were asked to either “Agree” or “Disagree” with a list of issue statements. A blank response to a statement means the candidate did not choose a position on that issue.

Candidates also were given the opportunity to provide 75 words at the end of the survey on why Maryland Catholics should vote for them. Those comments are available on the Maryland Catholic Conference website: www.mdcatholic.org/elections.

Only candidates who responded to the survey are included. For a complete list of candidates, visit www.mdcatholic.org/elections. Each candidate received the survey by email. Non-responding candidates received three additional emails and were contacted at least once by phone.

The Maryland Catholic Conference does not endorse or oppose any candidate, under any circumstance, and no inference of endorsement or opposition should be concluded as a result of the information provided here.

Responses from all of the candidates can also be found on the Maryland Catholic Conference’s website at www.mdcatholic.org. The candidates who did not respond are listed below the survey grid.



Vote April 26, 2016 in the primary election. Early voting centers will be open starting Thursday, April 14 through Thursday, April 21. Visit http://www.elections.state.md.us/voting/early_voting.html for more information and for locations.


How to Find Your State and Federal Congressional Districts

To identify your Congressional districts, go to the Maryland Catholic Conference website www.mdcatholic.org/FindYourLegislator.


Answer Key



Blank=No response



S=United States Senate

H=House of Representatives


Survey Questions of Candidates


  1. ASSISTED SUICIDE. Congress should not pass legislation to allow physicians to legally prescribe a dose of lethal medication at the request of patients with a terminal illness.


  1. CONSCIENCE PROTECTIONS. Congress should pass legislation forbidding governmental bodies to discriminate against individual and institutional health care providers that do not perform, refer for or pay for abortions, such as the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.


  1. EDUCATION. Congress should enact legislation that supports the ability of low-income families to choose the education best suited to their children’s needs, such as tax credits for business donations to organizations providing scholarships for K-12 students to attend nonpublic schools or the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program.


  1. IMMIGRATION. Congress should pass comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform providing a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the U.S., while preserving family unity and restoring due process protections to enforcement policies.


  1. JUSTICE REFORM. Congress should enact measures that decrease incarceration rates and recidivism by reducing mandatory minimums and investing in increased rehabilitative services and re-entry programs for offenders, such as the Sentencing Reform Act of 2105.




Comments Off on Voters Guide: Maryland Catholic Conference candidate surveys

‘Dangerous’ Maryland physician-assisted suicide bill withdrawn from committee


Catholic News Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A measure that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in the state of Maryland has been withdrawn from the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee by its sponsor, Sen. Ronald Young.

“I think it’s a reaction of relief that, for this year, this very dangerous legislation is not moving forward,” said Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the Maryland’s Catholic bishops, who opposed the bill.

Russell expressed gratitude to those who had spoken against it, including advocates for the disabled, advocates for the elderly, doctors and mental health professionals, “for coming forward and making sure this legislation was seen for what it is.”

“As was made patently clear by opponents to the bill,” she said, “it would impact the lives of vulnerable people in multiple ways that can’t be fixed by amending the bill.”

Anya Naegele, associate director of respect for life for the Maryland Catholic Conference, agreed, adding that while some of the proponents of the bill were motivated by an experience with a terminally ill loved one, the opposition was driven by “the practical implications of this bill as it would manifest itself in a regulatory environment.”

Opponents had noted that the bill would have required two medical doctors, not a mental health professional, to determine that the patient had the “capacity” to make medical decisions before being prescribed lethal medication.

“It’s a very, very complex determination,” Naegele told the Catholic Review, the online publication and magazine of the Baltimore Archdiocese.

She added that subtle coercion on the part of a family member or party that would stand to benefit from the patien’s death might not affect the patient’s decision-making capacity, but might “affect the freedom with which the decision is made.”

The bill also would have required medical doctors to determine that the patient was not “suffering from a condition that is causing impaired judgment.”

Some members of the Judiciary Proceedings Committee wondered whether a terminal diagnosis itself, the bill would have made lethal drugs available to those with a prognosis of death within six months, could cause a “condition,” such as depression, that might hamper a patient’s judgment.

Opponents of physician-assisted suicide, which did not move forward for the second consecutive year in Maryland, will not be surprised if proponents return next year or in the future.

“In Maryland and around the country, proponents have been very aggressive on pushing this forward, regardless of how much opposition there is,” Russell said. “We’re hopeful that the very strong coalition of opponents would remain engaged and involved.”

“We’re just going to continue to do what we do every day,” Naegele said, “and continue to think about these issues from the perspective of how they would affect the poor and the vulnerable.”

By Erik Zygmont

Zygmont is on the staff of the Catholic Review, the online publication and monthly magazine of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Comments Off on ‘Dangerous’ Maryland physician-assisted suicide bill withdrawn from committee

Maryland Catholic Conference issues call to oppose physician-assisted suicide


The Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) has issued a Call to Action asking Catholics to contact members of the state General Assembly’s “Death with Dignity” workgroup in order to oppose the “dangerous idea” of physician-assisted suicide (PAS).

The MCC Dec. 4 announcement asked Catholics to contact members of the workgroup by email and/or attend the group’s hearing Dec. 8 at 10 a.m. in Room 240, Health and Government Operations Committee Room, House Office Building, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, to show opposition to legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Read more »

Comments Off on Maryland Catholic Conference issues call to oppose physician-assisted suicide

A statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland: End of Life Decision Making for the Faithful




The month of November, which begins with the celebration of the companion feasts of the Solemnity of All Saints and All Souls Day, offers a time for our community of faith to pray in a special way for those who have passed to eternal life. As we remember the saints in heaven, and the souls of all those who have gone before us, this time of year also offers us an opportunity to consider important questions we might face at the hour of our own or a loved one’s death.

On a spiritual level, we pray that our journey of faith each day will lead us to a deeper awareness that this life on earth is transitory, and that our true selves will not be fully revealed until we have passed through death into eternity with God. As we more fully grasp this essential reality, we see more clearly the truth of Pope Francis’ words: “Even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.” Read more »

Comments Off on A statement from the Catholic Bishops of Maryland: End of Life Decision Making for the Faithful

Key Maryland Election Issues 2014


Public Policy Positions of the Catholic Church

The Church and the Public Square

The sacredness of life and the value of human dignity form the lens through which the Church views every public policy issue, whether it involves poverty, abortion, education, the family, immigration or any other topic. Whether we are Democrat or Republican, conservative, liberal or in between, our Catholic faith should be the first and most important influence on how we think about political issues. To help Catholics understand these issues, the Maryland Catholic Conference has provided below a brief summary of policies addressed by the Church in the Public Square.

2014 Elections

Much is at stake in the upcoming June 24 primary election in Maryland, in which candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, governor, and the Maryland General Assembly will be vying for your vote. All 188 seats in the General Assembly are up for election and more than 50 seats have been vacated by incumbents, providing an unprecedented opportunity to elect new candidates to the legislature.

During their upcoming terms, the men and women selected to represent your interests will decide many issues affecting the values the Church promotes in the public square, including the sanctity of life, the dignity of the human person, and the needs of the most vulnerable members of our society. Your vote, especially in the primary election when turnout often is low, can make a critical difference in who speaks for you in Congress and Annapolis. Make sure you know the issues, and where your candidates stand on matters that are important to your faith. As Pope Francis reminds us, “A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.”

Respect for Life

ABORTION. There is an urgent need to pass legislation in Maryland that protects unborn life, and that supports women facing crisis pregnancies. Maryland is home to one of the most permissive abortion laws in the country and has some of the highest abortion rates in the nation. Maryland is one of only four states and the District of Columbia that voluntarily fund elective abortions. Maryland has no parental consent law, no meaningful parental notification law, no informed consent law, no mandatory waiting period, no abortion reporting requirement, and no ban on late-term abortion.

STEM CELLS. The killing of human embryos in embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) – no matter how good the intention– is still the destruction of human life and
has not led to human cures. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people have been treated with adult stem cells, which carry no ethical concerns. Yet Maryland largely ignores successful, ethical adult stem cell research and has spent more than $100 million on ESCR through the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

END-OF-LIFE. Forces in modern culture promoting physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia seek to devalue the lives of the sick, the elderly, and the disabled under the guise of “choice.” Such measures not only discriminate by implying
certain persons’ lives are not worth living, but
threaten the very
premise that every
life is a gift from
God, worthy of our protection.

Pope Francis has called on us to “challenge all forms of injustice,” including, “the throwaway culture and the culture of death that nowadays sadly risk becoming passively accepted.” Patients who are elderly, terminally ill, or medically fragile deserve the comforting care of loved ones and medical treatment that alleviates pain and suffering – not a prescription to commit suicide.

Education & Family Life

EDUCATION. Catholic schools are an integral part of Maryland’s educational landscape. Pope Francis has stated that “Catholic schools, which always strive to join their work of education with the explicit proclamation of the Gospel, are a most valuable resource for the evangelization of culture.” (Evangelii Gaudium) In addition to their commitment to moral formation and community service, Catholic schools also are a fiscally valuable resource for our state. Nearly 50,000 students attend Maryland’s Catholic schools, saving the state and its taxpayers approximately $700 million every year.

While Maryland provides some support to nonpublic school students through textbook and aging school construction programs, neighboring states routinely provide their private and parochial schools hundreds of millions of dollars more in support, including through business or individual tax credits which encourage investment in education. The U.S. bishops have reminded us that the “entire Catholic community should be encouraged to advocate for parental school choice and personal and corporate tax credits, which will help parents to fulfill their responsibility in educating their children.” (Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium, 2005)

The family is important, and it is necessary for the survival of humanity. Without the family, the cultural survival of the human race would be at risk. The family, whether we like it or not, is the foundation.

Pope Francis, World Youth Day 2013

FAMILY LIFE. The Church upholds marriage as the union between one man and one woman and recognizes the family unit of mother, father and child as the foundation of society. The Church promotes government policies that advance stable families and their ability to provide adequate food, housing, and other basic necessities

for their children. Employment policies should provide adequate maternity leave and sufficient sick leave to allow parents to care for their own health or that of another family member.

Social Concerns

Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid.

—    Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel),

—       Apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis

POVERTY. Although Maryland has one of the highest rates of per capita income in the country, 13.8 percent
of Maryland’s children were living in poverty according to the 2012 American Community Survey. In order to address the pressing needs of the vulnerable, the Church encourages public policies and budget priorities that support those who often struggle through no fault of their own to maintain the basic necessities of life.

HEALTH CARE. For decades the Catholic Church has been a leading voice for universal health care access, and for health care policies that include adequate conscience protections. A person’s right to health care is based on the principle that each life has value and each life is sacred. We must provide health care for some of our most vulnerable populations, including the working poor, immigrants, persons with disabilities and the homeless.

EMPLOYMENT. The Church promotes policies that support the dignity of work, a healthy work environment, and the ability of each individual to have access to employment. “As the state’s largest private social service provider, we witness in our Catholic ministries the painful reality of those who struggle to keep up with the basic costs of food, rent, utilities and transportation. This desperate cycle cannot end unless we as a society find a way to give all capable men and women the chance to work at a job through which they can live with true independence and dignity.” (The Dignity of Work, Maryland Bishops, 2014)

IMMIGRATION. The Catholic Church supports immigration policies that uphold the moral duty to recognize documented and undocumented immigrants as truly our brothers and sisters in Christ. Immigration policies must keep families unified and protect national borders. Recent attempts to locally implement the federal responsibility of immigration enforcement raise numerous concerns including possible safety issues for immigrants too afraid to contact police. As we pray during Mass, many of us may look and realize – new immigrants are our family.

From the Maryland Catholic Conference





Comments Off on Key Maryland Election Issues 2014

Eastern Shore Catholics can lobby legislators on Feb. 17


For The Dialog

A week before the end of January, Alex Handy was amazed by the amount of food assistance the Ss. Peter and Paul St. Vincent de Paul chapter provided.

“We’ve given out almost 900 bags of groceries this month,” said Handy, who is on the executive team of the Easton, Md., society. “We’ve never given out that many bags in one month. This past year we gave out about 800 bags a month.”

Part of the increase can be attributed to the extreme cold temperatures of this winter, but Handy and others believe the increase had begun well before the Arctic Vortex bedeviled the United States. They view the cause as a variety of factors, such as a lack of jobs (especially in manufacturing) on the Eastern Shore and cutbacks in government assistance programs.

The poor will be on the minds of participants in the 30th annual Lobby Night sponsored by the Maryland Catholic Conference on Presidents Day, Feb. 17. The gathering informs Catholics about a variety of legislative issues of concern to the church and allows Catholics an opportunity to lobby their elected officials in the General Assembly in Annapolis. Read more »

Comments Off on Eastern Shore Catholics can lobby legislators on Feb. 17