The Texas Catholic Conference Legislative Agenda
“Promoting Life, Dignity and the Common Good”
The Texas Catholic Conference advocates on behalf of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas for policies and programs that support the life and dignity of every human person from conception through natural death. We believe that every human being is created in God’s image and, without exception, possesses dignity and value. Our public policy positions are rooted in Catholic social and moral teaching and serve to: uphold the sanctity of life; lift up the poor and vulnerable; and help promote the common good.
Protecting Human Life:
Because we are made in the image of God, there is an inherent value of human life from which all of our social obligations and rights flow. It is the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church that human life is intrinsically valuable and should be protected from conception to natural death. Our foundational principle to protect the life and dignity of all human persons calls us to work to end abortion, prevent euthanasia, stop destruction of human embryos, and oppose cloning.
Children and Families:
The Church supports legislation that promotes strong, stable and healthy families. The Catholic Church recognizes parents as the primary educators of their children and supports the freedom of parents to choose a school for their children with a safe, productive learning environment, and rejects the notion that a parent’s address and income level should determine a child’s educational or child care opportunities.
Justice for Immigrants:
Catholics derive our special concern for the immigrant from the many biblical accounts of immigration. The Catholic Church supports reform of our immigration system that is merciful, charitable, and compassionate to those here simply working for a better life, while also recognizing the legitimate responsibility of the federal government to maintain control of our nation’s borders.
The Poor and Vulnerable:
For 2000 years, the Catholic Church has manifested a special concern for the poor and the vulnerable. The Church is a provider and supporter of services that help those among us most in need of assistance. In these difficult economic times those unable to help themselves are in particular need of society’s compassion. We call on state leaders to craft a balanced approach to solving the budget problems of our state, including seeking revenue to adequately fund needed public services and prepare Texas for the future.
Health and Human Services:
Along with food, clothing and shelter, health care is a necessary means for the proper development of life. Justice demands that medical and behavioral health care be easily available for all. Under no circumstance should the availability of health care threaten life itself or place restrictions on the right to exercise one’s conscience. Because human beings are sacred, we must ensure that all persons have a safe place to live, enough nutritious food to eat, and adequate income to support themselves. Particular care must be offered to those who have special needs because of age, addiction, physical or mental disability.
Our task as a society should be to restore a sense of civility and responsibility to everyday life, and to promote crime prevention and genuine rehabilitation. The common good is undermined by criminal behavior that threatens the lives and dignity of others and by policies that give up on those who have broken the law. We support fiscal and moral reform in our state’s criminal justice system with an emphasis on ending the death penalty and supporting successful rehabilitation and reintegration of those re-entering society.