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Political Activity Guidelines for Catholic Entities

‘Tis the season!

With the political conventions underway and the November election just weeks away, it is almost impossible to avoid campaign activities. Catholics are encouraged to be informed and engaged with the political process.  In the coming weeks, the dioceses and many parishes will be scheduling activities and disseminating information to help Catholics inform their consciences about candidates.

Read these helpful guidelines to help Catholic entities engage in the political process in a nonpartisan way and avoid any pitfalls that could get the parish in trouble.

Placing Work and Workers at the Center of Economic Life

People of faith stand with people who’ve been left behind and should seek economic renewal that makes workers and their families a central concern, according to the annual Labor Day Statement from the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

“Millions of Americans suffer from unemployment, underemployment or are living in poverty as their basic needs too often go unmet. This represents a serious economic and moral failure for our nation,” wrote the committee’s chairman, Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California, in the statement, Placing Work and Workers at the Center of Economic Life.

Bishop Blaire cited the 12 million Americans officially unemployed, the millions more who are underemployed or who have given up looking for work, 10 million “working poor” families, and 46 million people, including 16 million children, living in poverty as a sign of a broken economy. He cited the words of Pope Benedict XVI, who said poverty often “results from a violation of the dignity of human work,” either because of a lack of job opportunities or because, in the words of Pope John Paul II, “low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it.”

Read more from the USCCB here.

(Picture from USCCB website)

Don’t Let Your Voice Go Unheard – Register to Vote

Voter Registration Pennsylvania

Campaign season is in full swing in Pennsylvania. You can’t turn on your television or radio without being reminded that an important election is coming up.

Catholics are called to be faithful citizens. We have a moral obligation to inform our consciences and cast our ballots in civil elections.

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Mortgage Assistance Program Resumes

The Homeowner’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program  (HEMAP) has offered assistance to over 40,000 Pennsylvanians who face foreclosure through no fault of their own (like illness).  The program was closed last year but has now been reopened, thanks to your advocacy on behalf of those in need, the program has been resumed.

Fran Viglietta, Director of Social Concerns, said “The PA Catholic Conference is extremely pleased that HEMAP is operating once again after a one year hiatus. The program has a proven track record of providing invaluable assistance to Pennsylvanians faced with possible foreclosure by allowing them to remain in their own homes during very difficult times. Thousands of families have already been helped by HEMAP and now many more will be able to benefit from the program.

HEMAP is unique in that it does not offer grants or “bailouts.” Rather, it provides loans to Pennsylvanians who are facing foreclosure because of, among other reasons, an unexpected medical emergency or a layoff.  Since its founding in 1983, HEMAP has helped over 46,000 families.  Over 85% of these families have been able to remain in their homes for the long term while repaying their HEMAP loans.

If you are interested in more information about HEMAP, contact 1-800-342-2397.


Are You Registered to Vote? Now Is The Time

Catholics are called to be faithful citizens. An important part of exercising our citizenship is to register and vote. The 2012 General Election is rapidly approaching. Please note these important dates. If you are not already registered to vote, don’t miss the deadline!

Key dates for the 2012 elections:

10-9-2012 – General Election Registration Deadline  

10-30-2012 – Last day to apply for Civilian Absentee Ballot

11-2-2012 – Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots

11-6-2012 – General Election

Download a voter registration application, learn where your polling place is, and find out other important information about voting in Pennsylvania from!

What Child Homelessness Is Costing Us

Every night in Pennsylvania thousands of children sleep in homeless shelters. Can we measure what the awful experience of being homeless can do to a child? Perhaps not, but we can see what it is costing us in dollars, which is quite a bit more than it would cost to simply provide housing.

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Voting: A Matter of Conscience

Serious people feel overwhelmed going into the 2012 election. Seeing many choices or none, some seek a rationale to stay home on Election Day, but to give in to such discouragement is political despair.

Fortunately, conscience can guide us, even when we don’t know it. The voice of conscience can include a feeling of disconnect – a this-doesn’t-feel-right sensation, and a sense of puzzlement – and the sense that this-doesn’t-gel-with-what-I’ve-been-taught. People of conscience weigh key moral issues. They study and struggle with the questions at hand. They engage in a lifetime effort to develop the fine-tuned moral sensitivity needed to understand deeply Church teaching on critical issues.

Click here to read more from the USCCB Blog

Are You an Informed, Faithful Citizen?

In partnership with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the PCC has posted a series of videos about our duty to act as faithful citizens. Topics discussed include pro life issues, immigration, religious liberty, civility in the public square, jobs and unemployment and more!

The videos can be found at or by clicking here.

New, Improved and Better Than Ever PCC Website

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference website,, has had a makeover! Pennsylvania’s Catholic news, information and action alerts are presented in a functional new design and easier to navigate format. Thank you to our followers for your patience during the transition and we welcome new visitors.

Advocacy in Action

The PCC website is the backbone of the Pennsylvania Catholic Advocacy Network, a community of faithful citizens speaking with one voice about issues that concern Catholics and the common good. Read the many articles about Catholic education, faith and politics, health care, life and dignity, marriage and family, religious liberty or social justice. Learn what you can then look for “Take Action” at the top of the page or click on a link under Current Alerts to email your local legislators about one of our important issues. By taking action and contacting lawmakers, you are automatically enrolled in the Advocacy Network.

Connect and Share

The website fully integrates PCC’s Twitter and Facebook news feeds and every article can be posted, “liked,” tweeted, emailed or otherwise shared with your friends and followers.

Stay Informed

In addition to following PCC on Facebook and Twitter, visitors may “subscribe” to the website by signing up to receive the RSS feeds or e-mail notification every time something new is added.  They can sign up to receive notice about all issues, or just those in which they are most interested.

And with a new feature, “News from Around PA,” the website now draws in Catholic news from Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses. Links to articles from diocesan news sources around the state are listed in the right column.

Part of PCC’s mission is to foster a public understanding of the Catholic perspective on public policy issues. is a dynamic tool to help citizens learn, act and together in faith to make a difference for life, justice and the common good in the public square.

Thank you for your patience during this process (especially to our RSS subscribers who may have gotten multiple messages!) and send any feedback here.