Category Archives: Midterms 2022

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The Equally Sacred Checklist is Here!

October 25, 2022

How can we know that we are voting for candidates who promote the common good? Pope Francis has given clear instructions for how Catholics and all people of good will are to position ourselves and prioritize social issues.

In his writing and speaking, Pope Francis makes it clear: abortion is not the only issue that matters. Catholics are called to be multi-issue voters in the 2022 midterm elections and in our continued participation in public life. Use the Equally Sacred Checklist as a guide to reflect on the concerns that Pope Francis says are “equally sacred” to the defense of the unborn.

Share the Equally Sacred Checklist with your friends, family, fellow activists, and faith community members.  

Check out these sources to learn more about what Pope Francis says:

Pope Francis Voter Tour Takes Toledo!

The Pope Francis Voter Tour Takes Toledo!

Colin Martinez-Longmore
October 26, 2022

The Pope Francis Voter tour made a stop in Toledo Ohio, where we took a few days to get some much needed rest and recharge before another week of political ministry.

Our site visit for Toledo was at the Center of Hope Family Services, a family-led nonprofit organization that provides a vast array of programs and services for both youth and adults in the community. We arrived on a cloudy Monday morning and were greeted warmly by Dr. Tracee Perryman, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Center of Hope. Dr. Perryman gave us a tour of the Center’s facility that is in the process of expanding. The impressive facility includes offices, meeting spaces, a direct service and programming area, and even a recording studio! After our tour, we all sat down in their conference room to hear more about the ways the Center of Hope has been a positive change agent for the community.

The Center of Hope Family Services has been serving youths, adults and families in Toledo for 25 years. It started from Center of Hope Community Baptist Church, and thanks to its success and growth, it was able to expand into its own 501©-3 nonprofit. One of the wonderful services we learned about was their court advocacy services that helped countless young people navigate the often-complex and daunting juvenile justice system. We also learned about their ELEVATE program which serves local students from grades K-4 who are at risk for academic failure. The program was such a success that it was expanded into a published curriculum, outlining an eight month afterschool education program that helps children thrive.

After our visit, we held a Speak out in their lobby to a small group of NETWORK supporters and members, and our broader online audience. Dr. Michael Carter, a pastor, community leader and an Elevate parent who has had his children involved in the program, was a featured speaker. He shared his experience about how the ELEVATE program has benefitted his son through their homework assistance program and even some at-home cooking classes that taught him how to cook quiche and dump cakes!

Organizations like the Center of Hope Family Services are inspiring for their innovation and unwavering commitment to underserved communities. We see the Pope Francis Voter spirit alive in their efforts as they tackle the multiple issues affecting their communities. If you are interested in supporting their organization, we encourage you to visit their website:

Pope Francis Voter Tour: Detroit Town Hall for Spirit-Filled Voters

Celebrating Community at the Detroit Town Hall for Spirit-Filled Voters

Catherine Gillette
October 26, 2022

On October 13, NETWORK’s Pope Francis Voter Tour continued on  with a Town Hall for Spirit-Filled Voters in Detroit, Michigan.  With more than 100 Spirit-filled advocates in attendance, this event was co-hosted by the IHM Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, and the Elephants in the Living Room.  It was held at the Marygrove Conservancy.

Due to the pandemic, I haven’t done many in-person trainings over the past few years.  While Zoom is nice (and certainly has its benefits), there is such a richness to spending time together…in-person! Perhaps that is why “community” was my big takeaway from this town hall. It popped up in a number of ways.

First, it is important to understand the significance of today’s Town Hall venue.  The Marygrove Conservancy was formed after Marygrove College’s 2019 closure.  It is a non-profit organization that cares for the 53-acre campus and “envisions the campus as an anchor and hub of a thriving Northwest Detroit community, in which all children and families are engaged in transformative educational experiences from cradle to career…”  It is a continuation of the Marygrove College legacy and a powerful commitment to the surrounding community.

Three older white ladies with gray hair wearing masks look at the camera

Local sisters (left to right) Sr. Elizabeth Walters, IHM, Barbara Beasley, IHM, and Karen Donahue, RSM, all spoke about the reasons they are Pope Francis Voters at the Detroit Town Hall

Beyond that, I have to give another shout-out to our hosts.  We are always grateful when someone is willing to collaborate with us to host a NETWORK event. That said, it is particularly exciting when multiple entities join forces and collaborate on an event.  Being hosted by the IHM Sisters, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, AND the Elephants in the Living Room was a treat. All of the folks I encountered throughout the day were open-minded, curious, supportive of our vision, and enthusiastic about engaging on the upcoming election. Being with the community our hosts brought together was an absolute joy.

Our program today began with a Buzz Question—asking folks how they are feeling about the upcoming election and where they find hope. To be honest, many people were feeling afraid, worried, or nervous. However, when we asked where they found hope, we heard “being here,” “young people,” and “community.” During challenging times, there is such comfort and power in coming together as a community.

Finally, I am perhaps most grateful for our Town Hall attendees’ willingness to take their learnings plus NETWORK’s Equally Sacred Checklist and share them with their own communities—parishes, congregations, schools, community groups, and more!  A significant part of being a Pope Francis Voter is a willingness and commitment to do the work. We must commit to having hard conversations with our families and friends. We must work together to grow the community of Pope Francis Voters, and I’m confident that our Detroit Town Hall attendees will go forth and do just that!

Our community is passionate, committed, and growing. That is what gives me hope during this election season.

The Pope Francis Voter Tour Visits the University of Detroit Mercy

The Pope Francis Voter Tour Visits the University of Detroit Mercy

Colin Martinez-Longmore
October 25, 2022

The Pope Francis Voter Tour made its first college stop in Detroit at the University of Detroit Mercy. UDM is a Catholic school sponsored by both the Jesuits and the Sisters of Mercy, serving over 5,000 students all throughout the metro Detroit area. The student body is diverse and vibrant, which provided a wonderful atmosphere of interfaith and ecumenical encounters during our time there.

We connected with the University Ministry for our visit, specifically with Sr. Erin McDonald, CSJ, who was our gracious host and collaborator for our events. Sr. Erin is a social worker and serves as the University Minister for Service and Justice, where she is in charge of building community relationships, as well as programming various service and social justice opportunities. Together, we planned to bring our Becoming Pope Francis Voters workshop to the students, to help mobilize and encourage young voters of faith to do the work of being multi-issue voters during the midterm elections!

Our day began with a bit of tabling at the University Library. We set up shop near the entrance, and began to have conversations with some of the students who were walking by. Using our website Turbovote link, we were able to help students check their voter registration status and register themselves if needed. We also shared some NETWORK resources, like our Equally Sacred Checklist, and invited them to join us for our workshop that evening. And since no tabling is complete without some fun goodies, we gave away lots of Halloween candy as well.

Later that evening, we moved over to the university’s beautifully designed Loranger Architecture Building, where we hosted our workshop. There were about 20 students who participated in the interactive workshop, where we talked about what it means to be a Pope Francis Voter. The room buzzed with conversation during the breakout small group sessions and we heard honest reflections from a few students about their hopes for the midterm elections and beyond.

It was a blessing to be able to spend time with the University of Detroit Mercy community. We’re grateful to Sr. Erin McDonald, CSJ, the University Ministry and all of the students who joined us in doing the work to build a multi-racial and inclusive democracy.

This Saturday: White Supremacy and American Christianity


Earlier this year, thousands of justice-seekers joined us to hear from experts working at the intersection of religion and race — Fr. Bryan Massingale, Robert P. Jones, and Dr. Marcia Chatelain.

Join us this Saturday as Fr. Bryan Massingale and Robert P. Jones return to speak with NETWORK for a follow-up conversation on white supremacy and American Christianity, this time in light of the upcoming midterm elections. Together, we’ll continue learning about the intersection of white supremacy and American Christianity, with a focus on our politics.

If you’ve already registered — help us spread the word!
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White Supremacy and American Christianity
Saturday, October 29, 2022 | 12:30-2:00 PM Eastern

This event will take place on Zoom.
Co-Sponsored by the National Black Sisters’ Conference

Register and invite your friends and family!


Meet Our Speakers

Fr. Bryan Massingale, Robert P. Jones, Joan F. Neal headshots

Robert P. Jones is the President and Founder of PRRI, and author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity. Robert P. Jones speaks and writes regularly on politics, culture, and religion in national media outlets including CNN, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others.

Fr. Bryan Massingale is the James and Nancy Buckman Professor of Theological and Social Ethics, as well as the Senior Ethics Fellow in Fordham’s Center for Ethics Education and author of Racial Justice and the Catholic Church. Fr. Massingale is a noted authority on social and racial justice issues, particularly in Catholic spaces.

Joan F. Neal is the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Equity Officer at NETWORK where she shares overall leadership of the organization and leads strategic planning and racial equity and justice transformation work. Joan F. Neal is an experienced organizational leader and an authority on the intersection of faith, justice, and federal policymaking.

Be a Multi-Issue Voter, a Pope Francis Voter and Improve Our Economy, Reduce Racism, and Safeguard Freedoms

Be a Multi-Issue Voter and Be a Pope Francis Voter. Sign Up to Learn How!

Election Workshops Teach You How to Be a Pope Francis Voter and Transform Politics!

Are you a multi-issue voter who is ready to be a Pope Francis Voter and build toward a multi-racial, inclusive democracy? Not sure what that means, but interested in how you can connect your faith, Catholic Social Justice, and voting? Then “Transform Our Politics! Becoming a Pope Francis Voter,” a virtual three-part election workshop series, is for you!

Each week, you will explore one of NETWORK’s Cornerstones to Build Our Country Anew: Dismantling Systemic Racism, Cultivating Inclusive Community, and Rooting Our Economy in Solidarity. The vision and skills you’ll acquire will help you during this election season and beyond. Download the Build Anew Agenda.

Your vote is your voice! Prepare with NETWORK staff to be a multi-issue Pope Francis Voter and transform our politics! We hope to see you at each 90-minute workshop. Session will be recorded.

Workshop I: Dismantle Systemic Racism

Learn how single-issue voting can be a cover for racism, nationalism, and extremism. Key policies that have begun to dismantle systemic racism in the U.S will be highlighted, and we’ll explore more that needs to happen.

Message training will help you take what you’ve learned into conversation with friends and family. Election season can complicate relationships, and so can talk of dismantling racism. NETWORK staff will model how you can use effective messaging to engage in transformative conversations.

Mon., Sept. 12, NOON Eastern/9:00 AM Pacific

Wed., Sept. 14, 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific

Workshop II: Cultivate Inclusive Community

Explore your understanding of ‘inclusive community’ and break open the Catholic case for democracy. Some assert that inclusive communities create division and foster animosity toward people outside of the group.

NETWORK staff will show how inclusive communities are not exclusionary and are the polar opposite of White Christian Nationalism. We will envision how we can be part of creating a multi-racial, inclusive democracy this election season.

Mon., Sept. 19, NOON Eastern/9:00 AM Pacific

Wed., Sept. 21, 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific

Workshop III: Root Our Economy in Solidarity

Learn about policies that address the racial wealth and income gap so that everyone has the economic stability needed to thrive. NETWORK staff will help you practice promoting these policies with the people in your life.

Engage in a discussion on the power and benefits of cross-cultural relationships and understanding to build racial solidarity. This must happen to bring NETWORK’s Build Anew Agenda into existence so we can build an economy of inclusion that values people and planet over profit. Participants will also learn how storytelling plays a role in transformative conversations.

Mon., Sept. 26, NOON Eastern/9:00 AM Pacific

Wed., Sept. 28, 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific

A good Catholic meddles in politics -- Pope Francishe best of hiself, so that those who

Catholics Speak Out for Democracy and Our Freedoms

Add your name to this important statement from Faith in Public Life, the Sisters of Mercy, the National Black Sisters’ Conference, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Franciscan Action Network, and Catholic scholars and leaders across the country.

Catholics Speak Out for Democracy and Our Freedoms

As Catholic social justice leaders, sisters, clergy, theologians and Catholic university presidents, we are compelled to speak out at a time when democracy and the future of our nation’s freedoms are threatened by powerful interests.

White Christian nationalism —  an ideology heretical to authentic faith — represents a clear and present danger to building a multi-faith, multiracial democracy. Testimony and evidence from Congressional hearings on the violent insurrection against our country last January 6th have only strengthened our urgency to confront attacks against the principle that voters choose our leaders in free and peaceful elections.

We are increasingly alarmed by the signs of the times. Threats of political violence and dehumanizing rhetoric toward elected officials have increased in recent years.The Supreme Court, which in 2013 dismantled key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act, will in its upcoming term hear a case that experts warn could empower gerrymandered partisan legislatures to override the will of the voters in the 2024 elections. Lawmakers in states across the country have passed dozens of laws, many based on completely false political premises, specifically designed to make voting more difficult. These laws disproportionately impact Black and Brown citizens — a shameful echo of our country’s ugly history of racial discrimination.

Catholics must not be silent in the face of growing threats to voters, fair elections and democratic principles.

Our faith tradition teaches that every person deserves equal access to participate fully in our democracy. Pope Francis has said that “democracy requires participation and involvement on the part of all.” The Second Vatican Council declared in Gaudium et Spes: “It is in full accord with human nature that juridical political structures should, with ever better success and without any discrimination, afford all their citizens the chance to participate freely and actively in establishing the constitutional bases of a political community, governing the state, determining the scope and purpose of various institutions, and choosing leaders.”

Powerful institutions and political leaders are working to rig the system and erect racially discriminatory obstacles to voting and full participation in American life. Voter suppression is a sin and silence is complicity. The struggle to ensure our government represents and serves all regardless of color, class or creed is a defining moral challenge of our time. We urge our elected officials in Congress and in state legislatures, especially our fellow Catholics, to support legislation that protects and strengthens the freedom to vote without barriers or interference.

Democracies are fragile. In recent years, this timeless truth has been shown in stark ways as demagogues and nationalists in the United States and around the world have attacked the very existence of pluralistic societies. It’s now time for a renewed commitment to the common good that makes full, equal participation in political life a moral priority.

This action alert is now closed. Thank you for your participation!