April 2, 2024

Wishing You a Joyful Easter Season!

The Wisconsin Catholic Conference wishes you and your loved ones a very happy Easter season. On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis shared the following in his annual Urbi et Orbi Easter Message:

Brothers and sisters, Jesus Christ is risen! He alone has the power to roll away the stones that block the path to life. He, the living One, is himself that path. He is the Way: the way that leads to life, the way of peace, reconciliation and fraternity. He opens that path, humanly impossible, because he alone takes away the sin of the world and forgives our sins. For without God’s forgiveness, that stone cannot be removed. Without the forgiveness of sins, there is no overcoming the barriers of prejudice, mutual recrimination, the presumption that we are always right and others wrong. Only the risen Christ, by granting us the forgiveness of our sins, opens the way for a renewed world. . . .

On this day when we celebrate the life given us in the resurrection of the Son, let us remember the infinite love of God for each of us: a love that overcomes every limit and every weakness. And yet how much the precious gift of life is despised! How many children cannot even be born? How many die of hunger and are deprived of essential care or are victims of abuse and violence? How many lives are made objects of trafficking for the increasing commerce in human beings? . . .

May the light of the resurrection illumine our minds and convert our hearts, and make us aware of the value of every human life, which must be welcomed, protected and loved.

Happy Easter from the WCC!

Election Day and Faithful Citizenship Resources

Today is the Spring Election and Presidential Primary in Wisconsin. To learn more about what is on your ballot, visit MyVote Wisconsin. Polls close at 8pm.

The WCC has prepared resources to help Catholics reflect on what it means to be a faithful citizen,  including a letter from Wisconsin's bishops, a bulletin insert/handout on Our Call as Catholic Citizens, and a website with more resources on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship and voting information from the State of Wisconsin.

These resources are based on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Faithful Citizenship is the mindful consideration of public policy and voting issues through the lens of the Church’s teaching. It is also a call to action to become involved with legislative policy and to exercise the right to vote, so as to protect human life, uphold human dignity, and promote the common good.

Governor Vetoes Sports Teams by Sex of Participants

On April 2, Governor Evers vetoed AB-377 (Dittrich, Barbara), designating athletic sports and teams at K-12 schools, colleges, and universities based on the sex of the participants. The WCC testified in support.

Governor Vetoes Refugee Resettlement

On March 29, Governor Evers vetoed SB-916 (Tomczyk, Cory), requiring additional consultation with various units of local government (city, village, town, county, or school district) before refugee resettlement can take place in Wisconsin. The WCC testified in opposition.

Governor Signs Human Trafficking Prevention

On March 27, Governor Evers signed three bills related to human trafficking prevention into law. AB-973 (Gundrum, Rick), enacted as 2023 Wisconsin Act 237, requires mandatory training regarding human trafficking for employees of community-based residential facilities and owners of certain entities and certain other employees. AB-976 (Billings, Jill), enacted as 2023 Wisconsin Act 238, reduces distress and trauma for a child testifying in a criminal proceeding for a human trafficking crime. AB-978 (O'Connor, Jerry), enacted as 2023 Wisconsin Act 239, creates a Human Trafficking Council and requires the establishment of county sex trafficking task forces. The WCC testified in support of all three bills.

Governor Signs Child Pornography Prohibition

On March 27, Governor Evers signed SB-314 (James, Jesse) into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 224, prohibiting the possession of AI-generated child pornography and providing a penalty. The bill prohibits conduct related to the possession of obscene material that contains a depiction of a purported child engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The WCC registered in support.

Governor Signs Sexual Misconduct Bill

On March 23, Governor Evers signed SB-333 (James) into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 200, prohibiting sexual misconduct against a pupil by a school staff member or volunteer. The WCC registered in support.

Governor Signs Healthy Food Incentive Program 

On March 22, Governor Evers signed AB-1013 (Joers, Alex) into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 201, establishing a healthy food incentive program statewide. The bill allows Wisconsinites participating in FoodShare to utilize matching dollars exclusively for locally grown fruits and vegetables. The WCC registered in support.

Governor Signs Strip Search Bill

On March 22, Governor Evers signed SB-111 (Wimberger, Eric) into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 198, amending the definition of strip search for purposes of strip searches against a pupil. The WCC registered in support.

Governor Signs Medical Assistance for Mental Disease

On March 22, Governor Evers signed AB-616 (Wimberger) into law as 2023 Wisconsin Act 177, requiring Medical Assistance (MA) for coverage of services provided in an institution for mental disease. The WCC registered in support

WCC Public Policy Positions: Increase Funding for Safe and Affordable Housing

Here we elaborate on each of the WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions. The complete document can be found below. You can learn more about Catholic Social Teaching on the USCCB website.

Increase funding for safe and affordable housing. Shelter is a basic human right. Wisconsin must ensure that all its residents have access to decent and affordable housing. 

The Church has long viewed housing as a basic human right. The furtherance of the common good demands “the provision of essential services to all, some of which are at the same time human rights: food, housing, work, education, and access to culture, transportation, basic health care, the freedom of communication and expression, and the protection of religious freedom” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 166). The Church must defend all these human rights. Unfortunately, for many people, basic human rights–including housing–are “still far from being guaranteed and realized” (Compendium, 365). Too many individuals and families still suffer from homelessness, housing insecurity, and unsafe conditions. 

The Catholic Church is one of the largest providers of housing services in the country. But this is an issue of such magnitude and complexity that it cannot entirely be solved by charitable outreach. As the U.S. bishops wrote in The Right to a Decent Home: A Pastoral Response to the Crisis in Housing:

Since decent housing is a human right, its provision involves a public responsibility. The magnitude of our housing crisis requires a massive commitment of resources and energy. Government must supplement and regulate the activities of private individuals and institutions in order to achieve our housing goals. A creative partnership of private enterprise and government is necessary. Public agencies have a particular responsibility to aid those in need as well as to oversee the development of a comprehensive housing and community development policy.

We all–individuals, private organizations, government entities, and society–must rise to the challenge to ensure that everyone has access to decent shelter. For, as Saint John Paul II noted, “a house is much more than a roof over one’s head” rather it is “a place where a person creates and lives out his or her life” (Homelessness and Housing: A Human Tragedy, A Moral Challenge).

Updates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

WCC 2023 Public Policy Positions

The WCC's 2023 Public Policy Positions are designed to inform state legislators, policy makers, and other interested parties about the Church's public policy positions and the principles that undergird them.

2023-24 Legislature and Citizen Resources

To find out who your legislators are, go to the Wisconsin State Legislature's home page and enter your address under Who Are My LegislatorsOther legislative resources include:

You can also follow state government by tuning in to WisconsinEye, the independent, nonpartisan news service that provides uncut video coverage of state government proceedings.

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