Category Archives: Sister Spirit

Dear Neighbor: Reflections on Service at the Border

Dear Neighbor: Reflections on Service at the Border  

Sr. Cecelia Cavanaugh, SSJ 
July 29, 2021

As I finish unpacking my luggage after spending two weeks at the Texas-Mexico border, I find myself “unpacking” experiences, conversations, and my own emotions. As a word nerd, it did not seem an accident to me that the call to the border came on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation – God’s Word to Mary, Mary’s word to God, and the Word Made Flesh making a dwelling among us. As Sisters of Saint Joseph, we profess an active, inclusive love of every kind of dear neighbor from whom we do not separate or distinguish ourselves, just as Jesus was like us in all things but sin.  

Many of us had responded last year to a similar invitation although we faced different realities since changes in administrative policies have (happily) resulted in a great influx in the number of persons found eligible to cross and seek asylum. I have been encouraged and lifted up by the support and enthusiasm of so many who cannot make the trip but want to help and want to know about the experience. Individual sisters, friends, and family members made donations, offered airport rides, babysat plants, covered home responsibilities, and corresponded often during our trips. Those returning from service offered perspective and advice to those preparing to go. Once home, I met a sister who left the morning for Laredo and passed on some tee shirts identifying us as Sisters of Saint Joseph, Hermanas de San José, bearing a motto, “Love Boldly.” I felt that I was passing a baton in a relay.  We have scheduled zoom meetings so that border volunteers can share their experiences with our Sisters and Associates in Mission. We like to say, “where one of us is, we all are,” and that is absolutely my experience. 

My service included using Spanish, which eased some interactions, provided, I hope, some support to our dear neighbors, and opened me to worlds of story, anguish, humor, extra rations of smiles and tears. The word nerd in me reveled in the rich variety of language I met – a reflection of dialects and indigenous influences in each country from which people had emigrated. Folks standing in line helped translate Spanish with Spanish, creating community. I learned five new words for “baby bottle,” for example, and that “calcetas,” a word I knew to mean “shackles” is used in some countries to mean “socks.”  

Two linguistic encounters have stuck with me. Time after time, as I worked a line for clothing distribution or a counter where we provided hygiene items, baby supplies, and some over-the-counter medications, people made the same request. ¿Me regala. . .? They were asking for me to give them something. But instead of the verb I expected, “dar,” to give, they consistently used “regalar,” to gift.  

I’ve since learned that in some countries, regalar is used interchangeably with dar.  Regalar can mean to give away – which we were certainly doing. Why did it strike me so forcefully? Why did it stick with me? I think at first, it struck me in its humility and as a way of lowering oneself. “Would you gift me….” implies that the giver is somehow superior to the receiver and I resisted that notion. Secondly, nothing these dear neighbors were requesting was anything other than an essential of life: milk and a sippy cup for a toddler, diapers, diaper rash ointment, soap, shampoo, one change of clothes. This shone a bright, uncomfortable light on my abundance.  I knew from firsthand experience that everything we had to give had been purchased with donations. I was a mere vehicle through which generous people offered help to others. I wasn’t gifting or giving anything on my own. The necessities of life are gifts from God, of course – but they shouldn’t be gifts for some and everyday abundance for others. This calls me to continue to examine how I consider what I have in light of what others need. If I make do with less (hardly a sacrifice), could my sister from Honduras have enough to feed and clothe herself and her children?  

The second phrase which was new to me was, “Simplemente.” Literally, “simply,” my new friends used it as we ended our conversations. Can I offer you anything else? Would you like some other item? A smile and “Simplemente,” meant they had “enough.” When “simply” means “enough,” no one wants for anything. I’m sure you can tell that instead of just sharing the fruits of so much generosity with my dear neighbors, they are the ones who gifted me with new questions. I continue to have a deep sense that the little time I spent with them and the small plastic grocery bag of supplies we provided are paltry in light of need. When I feel underwhelmed considering what I offered in light of what they need and all to which they have every right as God’s children, they console me with their sweet smiles and “Simplemente.” 

 

Read more from Sr. Cecelia: Called to Serve Our Neighbors at the Border  

Cecelia J. Cavanaugh SSJ is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia and a former Nun on the Bus.   

Called to Serve our Neighbors at the Border

Called to Serve our Neighbors at the Border

Sr. Cecilia Cavanaugh, SSJ
July 15, 2021

In response to the Biden administration’s changes to federal policy at the U.S.-Mexico border this year, Catholic Sisters began traveling to the border to be of service to the influx of children and families entering the U.S. A few weeks ago, I traveled from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to McAllen, Texas with three other Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia, one of our Associates in Mission, and two friends.  

We, the Sisters of Saint Joseph have a special commitment to serving all people who we recognize as “dear neighbor” especially those who are most vulnerable. Eager to serve our dear neighbors migrating into the USA, this is my fourth experience accompanying migrants in their journeys. Being able to “connect some dots” between my past experiences and the present is helpful and inspiring. As I reflect on the first of my two weeks here in Texas, I’m increasingly grateful for encounters I’ve had in recent years. 

Last year, another SSJ Sister and I spent ten days in McAllen. Because of the Trump administration’s “Migrant Protection Protocols,” the Center in Texas was almost empty. Instead, we often packed provisions and drove to Brownsville to cross the Río Grande into the refugee camp in Matamoros, Mexico. Walking through rows and rows of tents housing families in Matamoros, knowing that the policies of my country created these conditions, branded an indelible mark on my soul.  

This week, our group visited another bridge and some wanted to cross. I could not. I realized that my experience witnessing families trapped in Matamoros last year was traumatic and that I’m still processing.  

Now that policies are changing, hundreds and hundreds of people are being served daily. As overwhelming as my experience this year has been, there is a significant difference. There is movement. The families are on their way. Their hope energizes and lifts me up. I recognize my privilege and blessing in both scenarios. I want to be one with these dear neighbors and can bear witness to their experiences, but I will never share the extent of their pain, distress and trauma. 

Last week, I listened to a woman describe the home she was forced to leave in Guatemala and assaults she and her sons experienced on the journey to the U.S. She anguished over finding her way to her sponsor and shuddered when she looked at her monitoring ankle bracelet. As she spoke, I remembered the simple but beautiful homes and subsistence farms I visited during a 2013 trip to Guatemala; the material poverty was in contrast to a deep sense of history, home, and community.   

When I told her I could picture the homes in Guatemala, she burst out, “I miss my chickens. I miss my chickens.” I can’t stop repeating her words. Those animals represent so much about home, familiarity, and belonging. This person did not want to leave her home. I praised her resilience and bravery and promised her my prayer and that I would not forget her. Her story guarantees it. 

Finally, I remember a week spent last March in Tierra Blanca, Veracruz with our Sisters of Saint Joseph of Lyon. I was visiting a shelter near a border where folks cross into Mexico, having already traveled through parts of Central America. I listened to interactions, heard stories, and learned more about their experiences. Having traveled that week from Philadelphia to Mexico City and then by bus and car to Tierra Blanca, I had a privileged view of the length of their journey.  

We drove through train yards where dozens of men waited to jump on a passing train despite the danger from gangs threatening to extort them and the trains themselves, fast and unforgiving. Watching them leave the shelter in the morning and head out — to my country — I prayed that they would know a welcome after their long journeys. Now, I stand at the other end of that route here in the United States. I welcome my dear neighbors, offer clean clothing, necessities, encouragement, a smile. They set off again. I took a young woman and her toddler to the airport and tried to explain this new experience to her — security lines, what to do if her plane was late or canceled. I felt fearful imagining her layover. I watched her set out and prayed for her. Who will help her? 

In his September 2020 message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis reminded us of our call to “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate” these valiant, vulnerable siblings of ours. He added six pairs of verbs: to know and understand, to be close to and serve, to be reconciled and listen, to grow and share, to be involved and promote, to cooperate, and to build. So much work of body, mind, and spirit! This cannot be completed or even undertaken over the course of a two-week volunteer stint. Rather, such effort must be undertaken by all of us in all the places where we live and minister. The journey does not end at our borders. 

Cecelia J. Cavanaugh SSJ is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia and a former Nun on the Bus.   

Our Commitment to Equally Sacred Issues

Our Commitment to Equally Sacred Issues

NETWORK Lobby Staff
July 1, 2021

We know that Catholics, and people of all faiths or no faith, are called to be politically active in many policy areas that promote human dignity and the common good. Our elected officials deserve our encouragement as well as our engagement in addressing today’s most pressing moral and political issues.

As Pope Francis wrote in his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, caring for immigrants, dismantling racism, and putting an end to immoral levels of economic inequality are equally sacred to care for the unborn.

We, the people, have valuable and critically important authority. This is true in both our democracy and the Church. During the 2020 election, the members of our Spirit-filled network acted to support “Equally Sacred” issues. You told candidates and fellow voters that abortion is not the only issue that matters to Catholics.

Right now, the NETWORK community is lobbying to advance legislation like the For the People Act, the EQUAL Act, the Dream and Promise Act, H.R.40 (Creating a Reparations Commission), and more. These bills reflect a justice-oriented, multi-issue policy agenda.

We at NETWORK will keep Building Anew by promoting policies that work to dismantle systemic racism, cultivate inclusive community, root our economy in solidarity, and transform our politics. By valuing and practicing justice, our unified commitment is strong.

Download your copy of the “Equally Sacred” Scorecard now.

Calling for Global Vaccine Creation and Access

Calling on the Biden Administration to Support Increased Global Access to Vaccines

Sr. Simone Campbell
February 26, 2021

Today, I joined partners in calling on the White House to support an emergency COVID-19 waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property rules, so that greater supplies of vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests can be produced in as many places as possible as quickly as possible.

We have learned over the past year that pandemics are communal struggles. We are all vulnerable, and we all can help control the virus. In our nation, over 500,000 people have died and millions have been infected. The U.S. government has invested over $13 billion in taxpayer funds to create vaccines, and other developed nations have invested as well. Now, we in these rich nations have an obligation to share with the global community. That is the only way to protect the vulnerable here and abroad. Both faith and pragmatics demand it. When we faithfully care for our neighbors, we pragmatically care for ourselves.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has cost too many lives and devastated communities not only in the United States but around the world. At the World Trade Organization’s upcoming General Council meeting March 1-2, I hope the Biden Administration reverses course from the Trump administration and supports a waiver to help speed up the end of this pandemic.

Watch the Press Conference and read other participants’ comments below.

U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT.), House Appropriations Committee chair
“The COVID-19 pandemic knows no borders and the need for vaccine development and dissemination across the globe is critically important. The TRIPS waiver raised by India and South Africa at the WTO would help the global community move forward in defeating the scourge of COVID-19 by making diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines available in developing countries. We must make vaccines available everywhere if we are going to defeat this virus anywhere. The U.S. has a moral imperative to act and support this waiver at the WTO, and I am hopeful that the Biden Administration will support this waiver to help our allies around the globe bring an end to this pandemic.”

 U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade chair
“As a global community, we must come together and use every tool at our disposal to stop this pandemic,” Blumenauer said. “Unfortunately, we have seen intellectual property rules and corporate greed have disastrous impacts for public health during past epidemics, and we need to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. Working to ensure that trade rules do not stunt the developing world’s access to vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic tests is a clear step. It’s the right thing to do not only for our country, but for the entire world.”

U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), House Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee chair
“I support the proposed TRIPS waiver because I support equitable vaccine distribution worldwide, because if vaccines aren’t available everywhere, we won’t be able to crush the virus anywhere. The new COVID-19 variants, which show more resistance to vaccines, prove that further delay in immunity around the world will lead to faster and stronger mutations. Equitable access is essential. Our globalized economy cannot recover if only parts of the world are vaccinated and have protection against the virus. We must make vaccines available everywhere if we are going to crush the virus anywhere.”

Paul Farmer, Co-Founder, Partners In Health
“If we want to stop COVID-19 here, we have to stop it everywhere. The world does not have time to wait for the usual, slow, and unequal distribution of treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines. We can take a lesson from the global AIDS movements and make sure patent laws don’t block access to lifesaving therapies for the poor. It’s a similar story for vaccines, which in the case of covid19 we’re so lucky to have and in such short order. Moderna has waived these rights and others should follow suit as we deploy one of the mainstays required to end this pandemic.”

Harriet Tubman and the $20 Bill

Harriet Tubman and the $20 Bill

Sister Mara Rutten, RSM
February 5, 2021

On January 25, 2021, amid the flurry of activity in his first week in office, President Joe Biden’s administration also moved forward with the stalled plans to put Harriet Tubman’s image on the $20 bill. Within the hour, friends and colleagues alike vied to be the first to tell me this news, because for weeks I had been adamant that, along with a COVID-19 rescue package and immigration and criminal justice reform, we needed Harriet Tubman.

Tubman would be the first African-American on U.S. currency and the first woman on a bill in wide use. The public chose her for this honor from among a number of candidates — suffragettes, abolitionists, politicians, and activists — as part of a campaign to put a woman on the $20 bill to commemorate the centennial of the 19th amendment in 2020. It was to be the beginning of a larger movement in currency redesign that would include women and people of color on other denominations. In 2019, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced years-long delays for these plans.

I had voted for Harriet Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, because I admired her, and because although she appears larger than life, she embodies all the pain and promise of our country. Born into slavery, she escaped to freedom — and then risked it repeatedly in order to save scores of others. During the Civil War, she became a Union nurse, scout, and spy, and after the war became a champion of equality for both African-Americans and women. She made the world she was born into a better one, and we built on that legacy. Her heirs in the struggle ended segregation, secured the vote, and opened up economic opportunities she may never have thought possible.

But her accomplishments, like ours, were not the end of the story. She spent most of her life living in poverty, working a number of jobs to support herself and her family, including her elderly parents. The government repeatedly refused to acknowledge her contributions to the war effort and compensate her accordingly. And for all she did for the cause for freedom, she was never eligible to vote. We have also faced setbacks, for despite the progress we’ve made since her death in 1913, the income gap is staggering, and Black women in particular have been left behind, earning only $.62 to the dollar that white men earn.[1] Legal means of voter suppression, such as poll closures, voter identification requirements, and gerrymandering have proliferated. Black and Brown communities are at an increased risk of infection and death from COVID-19 due to chronic discrimination, lack of access to healthcare, inadequate housing, and underemployment.[2]

Putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is not going to change any of this — that is up to us. It is a symbol, but symbols are powerful. What matters is that, along with all of the other social, environmental, and economic priorities of our nation, her appearance on the $20 was among them. This sends a powerful message about where we’ve been and how we’re going forward. It means that we will be reminded every day as we go about our business at toll booths and grocery stores and ATMs, that this is our country, that we come from more than just the patriarchs. That for every Thomas Jefferson there is a Sojourner Truth; for every Alexander Hamilton, a Rosa Parks; for every George Washington, a Fanny Lou Hamer. And to know, every day, that we as a nation acknowledge and rejoice in this as we struggle to live up to it.

 

[1]National Partnership for Women & Families, “Black Women and the Wage Gap,” NationalPartnership.org March 2020.  https://www.nationalpartnership.org/our-work/resources/economic-justice/fair-pay/african-american-women-wage-gap.pdf NationalPartnership.org

[2]Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups” ccdc.gov 24 July 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/health-equity/race-ethnicity.html

 

 

Moving Toward a Culture of Encounter on Inauguration Day

Moving Toward a Culture of Encounter on Inauguration Day

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS
February 4, 2021

Two weeks ago, our nation’s 46th President Joe Biden woke up and, with our first woman Vice President Kamala Harris, brought our nation’s Congressional leadership – men and women of both parties, of various religious backgrounds – to a morning Catholic mass at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington, D.C. From that private, socially distanced mass, President Biden went on to take the oath of office on the balcony of the Capitol in a ceremony imbued with themes of Catholic Social Justice.

With so many challenges facing our nation, I cannot think of a more important time for Catholic Social Justice to take center stage, inviting people of all faiths or secular backgrounds to come together in this critical work of rebuilding our nation and guiding our way forward together. For too many years, racism, sexism, and growing economic inequality have been promoted by White House policy. In Congress, we’ve maintained the status quo with harmful repercussions for Black people, Native Americans, Latinx and AAPI communities, women, families and individuals on the economic margins, and all those with intersecting identities.

On Inauguration Day, the whole country witnessed speech after speech testifying to the value of caring for one another, especially those members of our community facing the most difficult circumstances. We also heard about the critical importance of caring for our planet, being active participants in our communities – what Pope Francis calls “meddling in politics,” and more. These values, inspired by principles of Catholic Social Justice, call us to put the common good above the benefit of any individual or small group. This is what is needed in our nation right now.

Putting the Focus on Listening

In his inaugural address, President Biden said, “Let us listen to one another. Hear one another. See one another.” In his own words, President Biden called us to what Pope Francis has been promoting for years – a culture of encounter. This is the culture fostered by Nuns on the Bus, traveling to different cities and states, meeting people and families and just listening to their stories. I invite you to listen to these stories, which we’ve shared over the years.

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis writes, “The ability to sit down and listen to others, typical of interpersonal encounters, is paradigmatic of the welcoming attitude shown by those who transcend narcissism and accept others, caring for them and welcoming them into their lives. Yet today’s world is largely a deaf world…” As we move forward we must do whatever we can to change from being a world closed off from listening and meeting one another. We are called by our faith and patriotism to create something new. We are challenged to create a culture of encounter out of a culture of indifference. As President Biden said, “We must end this uncivil war…  We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts.”

However, it was quickly evident that for us Catholics the “uncivil war” does not just refer to the insurrection in the Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was also evident in the attack by Archbishop Gomez, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, on President Biden before he was inaugurated and then on Inauguration day itself. Archbishop Gomez’s actions were not endorsed by the Bishops’ conference and, in fact, have been criticized by many of its members. Pope Francis recently affirmed the Archbishop’s work on immigration reform. With the specific reference, it seems to me that there is an implicit critique of his attack on our new president.

In order to end this “uncivil war,” I believe that we at NETWORK need to continue our effort at encounter and listening. I know from listening to women across the country that the focus of some of our leadership on the criminalization of abortion does nothing to respond to many of their real needs. Let’s begin working to end the uncivil war by lifting up women’s stories and their real needs.

Building Anew Together

In her powerful inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb,” Amanda Gorman, our nation’s youngest inaugural poet and a young Black Catholic woman, declared, “We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.”

Now, we must come together to face our history and build anew. In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, economic crisis, and acting out of white supremacists, the time to boldly respond to the needs of the common good is now. We must ensure that all have access to health care. All people need to be able to feed, clothe, and house their families. We must dismantle structural racism and end white supremacy. This is the building anew that is called for.

We need a new imagination to create a way forward in these unprecedented times. What is old is not working and something new needs to emerge. But I have hope that we can meet this challenge. As Ms. Gorman concluded, “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Catholic Sisters to President Trump: Count Every Vote

Catholic Sisters to President Trump: Count Every Vote

On November 4, 2020, over 1,500 Catholic Sisters from across the United States sent a letter to President Trump urging him to respect our democracy and count every vote.

Read the letter below, or download as a PDF


November 4, 2020

President Donald J. Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

A few weeks before this historic election, Pope Francis published a new encyclical where he wondered “what do certain words like democracy, freedom, justice or unity really mean?” Have they, as the Pope writes, been “bent and shaped to serve as tools for domination, as meaningless tags that can be used to justify any action?”

That question has never been clearer than today, when some elected officials make the immoral choice to hold onto power at any cost, including disenfranchising thousands, denying their most sacred gift: their voice.

Each vote left uncounted represents a soul with a story. Over the last several weeks, Sisters virtually visited over 60 communities across the country where people came together to share their struggles with one another. It was clear from coast to coast that there are urgent needs to keep one another safe from disease, end structural racism, fix our broken immigration system, support social programs that pull families out of poverty, and expand health care access for all people. This election season reminded many of the equally sacred priorities of our shared faith in these challenging times.

People are afraid of losing their healthcare, looking at the ashes of a home destroyed by a wildfire, searching for solutions to end systemic racism, wondering where their next paycheck will come from, or mourning the loss of a relative to COVID-19. Across the country, these Americans took their country up on its promise: that they could vote to elect leaders and chart a new course. Now we see their votes discounted in our election process.

Americans know that thoughts and prayers alone will not end their pain and suffering and that they must act. That’s why it should be no wonder that we saw a historic number of people cast a ballot. Each of these individuals must have a say in who represents them in government. We must ensure that every vote is counted, in accordance with applicable laws, no matter how long the process takes.

Catholic Social Teaching urges us to act on behalf of those who are marginalized in our society. We have a responsibility to one another, not to help one political party win, but to live up to our values. In the words of Pope Francis we must act “In the name of the poor, the destitute, the marginalized and those most in need, whom God has commanded us to help as a duty required of all persons, especially the wealthy and those of means.”

We took vows as Catholic Sisters, and you took a vow to uphold the Constitution.

Stay true to your vow. Count the votes. Ensure the United States lives up to its promise. Every voice — and every vote — is sacred, especially the most marginalized among us.

Sincerely,
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS
Executive Director, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

And more than 1,900 Catholic Sisters from across the United States.

Faith Leaders’ Statement on Integrity, Safety and Fairness in the 2020 U.S. Election

Faith Leaders’ Statement on Integrity, Safety and Fairness in the 2020 U.S. Election

NETWORK’s Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell, SSS has signed onto the letter below calling for integrity in our election processes. The letter has been sent to all U.S. congressional offices.

Let me be weighed in a just balance,
and let God know my integrity! – Job 31:6

O you who believe! Fear God, and be with those
who are true (in word and deeds). – Quran 9:119

As people of faith and heads of Washington-based offices of religious denominations and national organizations, we call for integrity in the processes that shape our systems of governance and form the basis of our shared wellbeing. We believe that free, fair, safe and respected elections are a bedrock of democracy, and that active and informed citizen participation in the political and electoral process is essential not only to the proper functioning of government but also to the full exercise of our faith. Therefore, we are deeply troubled by any actions or statements that intimidate voters or deny safe and equal access to voting, or that sow doubt in electoral outcomes and raise a threat of violence. Such efforts to corrupt and undermine core electoral freedoms must be condemned in the strongest of terms across the political spectrum.

This nation can only live up to its democratic ideals when all are confident that they can vote freely and without undue hardship for the candidates of their choosing. This is particularly critical in light of the long history of racial disenfranchisement in the United States. Polling places must be equally accessible, safe, orderly, and free from intimidation. All votes must be counted in a fair and transparent manner. The decision of the majority must be upheld with a peaceful transition. These core democratic ideals should be fiercely protected by all of us, regardless of political persuasion or religious affiliation. An election “won” by undermining democratic processes is a loss for us all…

Click here to read the full letter.

NETWORK Urges Rejection of Barrett Nomination

NETWORK Urges Rejection of Barrett Nomination

Sister Quincy Howard, OP
October 23, 2020

Yesterday, NETWORK sent the following vote recommendation to all Senate offices ahead of the upcoming Senate vote on confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court. NETWORK previously contacted members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to express our opposition to her nomination, but the committee vote passed yesterday with twelve Republican senators voting in favor and all Democratic senators boycotting the vote. We expect the full Senate to vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation Monday.

You can call your Senators and ask them to vote no by dialing 888-738-3058 (be sure to call twice to reach both offices).

Click here to read the vote recommendation sent to all Senate offices, or read an excerpt below:

NETWORK Assessment of Judge Amy Coney Barret

Judge Barrett is being touted as a “pro-life” nomination due to her commitment to overturning Roe vs. Wade. Yet Catholic Social Teaching has upheld the sacredness of all life, from conception to death, and Pope Francis has made clear that abortion is not the only issue that matters. Equally sacred are those already born, including the sick, disabled, and elderly; people and families on the economic margins; migrants and refugees; and those oppressed by racial and other forms of discrimination. Judge Barrett’s rulings and public statements have shown that she does not hold all life sacred.

    • Sick, Disabled, and Elderly: We hold equally sacred the lives of those who are vulnerable due to impaired health, many of whom do not have adequate access to health care. If confirmed to the Supreme Court, Judge Barrett is expected to be the deciding vote to strike down the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, depriving millions of people of their access to health care during a global pandemic that has killed 210,000 Americans. The ACA provides critical health care protections for people with pre-existing conditions and disabilities, ensures that young people under 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance, removes caps on expensive medical treatments, and covers millions of Americans through Medicaid expansion. Yet Judge Barrett’s writings have indicated that she opposes the ACA. In 2017, she implied that the law was unconstitutional.[i] She also signed a 2012 petition objecting to employer health plans including contraception coverage.[ii]
    • Economic Justice: Equally sacred are the lives of those living on the margins struggling to survive against economic injustice. This global pandemic has left millions of people without jobs, food security, housing, and childcare. Our most essential workers – many of whom are low-wage earners – have had to choose between their jobs and their health and safety. We need a Justice who will uphold worker protections, consumer safety, and protect the social safety net. Judge Barrett has instead stood with corporate interests, ruling that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not protect job applicants from policies that discriminate based on age and against a plaintiff who sought written verification of a debt she was said to have owed.[iii]
    • Migrants and Refugees: Catholic Social Teaching affirms the rights of all peoples to seek the best lives for themselves, and equally sacred are the lives of migrants and refugees who have endured immoral and cruel assaults on their humanity through the prohibition of asylum claims, separation of families, and forced hysterectomies. Judge Barrett has made her hostility toward immigrants evident in a number of cases that have come before her. In two separate instances, she sided with the Board of Immigration Appeals to deny asylum to Salvadorans under the Convention Against Torture[iv] and cast the deciding vote deporting a Mexican immigrant who had been a lawful permanent resident without having the opportunity to argue against his deportation in court.[v] She dissented in Cook County v. Wolf, which temporarily barred the implementation of the public charge rule, supporting the administration’s interpretation of the law.
    • Racial and LGBTQ Discrimination: Equally sacred are the rights of all people to live their lives free from oppression in all forms. Following months of high-profile shootings of African Americans and subsequent national demonstrations concerning racial injustices, the United States can ill afford a Supreme Court Justice with a record of upholding discriminatory practices. In EEOC v. AutoZone, Barrett ruled against an African-American worker whose company assigned employees to certain stores based on their race, a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. She has also stated her opposition to federal law protecting LGBTQ marriage and including Transgender people as protected under Title IX.[vi]

For these reasons, we do not support the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court Justice. Justices are appointed for life and their decisions reverberate for generations.

[i] https://scholarship.law.nd.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2330&context=law_faculty_scholarship
[ii] https://www.afj.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Barrett-Becket-Fund-Letter.pdf
[iii] Kleber v. CareFusion Corporation; Paula Casillas v. Madison Avenue Associates Inc.
[iv] Alvarenga-Flores v. Sessions and Herrera-Garcia v. Barr
[v] Lopez Ramos v. Barr
[vi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yjTEdZ81lI at 41:40