Br. Steve Herro's Blog
"THERE IS NO VIRTUE SO TRULY GREAT AND GOD LIKE, AS JUSTICE."
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem., professed solemn vows to the Community of St. Norbert Abbey in 1991. For several years, he headed the justice and peace ministry of St. Norbert Abbey and presently serves as Manager of Mission and Ministry, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, VA. His current ministry connects him to national Catholic issues and Church ministers throughout the country.
DISCLAIMER: This blog represents Br. Herro's own opinions and experiences. It does not represent an official position or opinion of neither of the organizations, St. Norbert Abbey nor Catholic Charities USA, nor of any of the organizations' members.
October 1, 2014
Entry #32: "Speak up now, or forever hold your peace!"
by Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
I chat regularly with staff from national, state, and diocesan Catholic offices who are heavily engaged with social policy and legislative advocacy. Tony is one such friend – how does he maintain his spirits as Coordinator of Justice for Immigrants campaign when Congress and the President seem to raise so many false alarms about comprehensive immigration reform? Ron is a lobbyist for the Church in the U.S. Congress – despite Congressional gridlock, Ron is one of the most positive persons that you would ever meet. And, I am reminded of Rev. David Beckmann’s (President of Bread for the World) message to us at the Diocese of Arlington’s fall convening last month: Congress can entertain multiple visits from lobbyists working for national faith based organizations, but what really forces its hand is feedback from its own constituents.
A few weeks ago, several priests and brothers with whom I live were discussing whether we had ever written a letter to our Governor. I was the only one in the room who had ever done so! To put it mildly, I was shocked. Maybe constituent apathy within Catholic circles has a longer history than what I thought. Indeed, if some provided a fraction of the energy that they devote to the “horse race” angle of civic engagement (that is, speculation on who will run for what seat) to dialogue with their legislator on pending legislation, our officials might actually feel the presence of the faith community when they vote.
In less than one month, we will choose governors and legislators for our national and state capitals. According to Michael O’Laughlin (“Americans to religious leaders: Speak up more,” Crux, September 22, 2014), “With election season in full swing, a growing number of Americans believe that religion is losing its influence in public life – and they are unhappy about it.”
O’Laughlin, quoting a recent Pew Research Center poll also notes, “...49 percent of Americans want churches to ‘express their views on day-to-day social and political questions,’ up from 43 percent just before the 2010 elections... The numbers of Catholics who want their Church to be more engaged in the political arena increased, too, to 48 percent today, up from 37 percent in 2010. Forty-three percent of Catholics believe political leaders express their faith too little.”
I have a simple suggestion: write to your legislator about your position on the U.S. role in Iraq/Syria, the unaccompanied youth border crisis, U.S. attempts to limit carbon emission, or whatever policy issue strikes your fancy and carbon copy your pastor and bishop! And don’t forget that you are a person of faith – you can even mention the name of your parish or religious order in your letter or e-mail. Both legislators and the religious leaders will get the message that you care and expect them to care, too.
Archived Blog Posts
- Entry #31: "What do the Donald Sterling, ISIS overruns, and unaccompanied youth crises have in common?" (Archived October 1, 2014)
- Entry #30: "How will you remember the summer of 2014?" (Archived September 2, 2014)
- Entry #29: "Addressing privilege and personal prejudice" (Archived July 30, 2014)
- Entry #28: "Are you ready to be their friends?" (Archived June 30, 2104)
- Entry #27: "Two Popes, Two Voices for International Peace" (Archived June 2, 2014)
- Entry #26: "This Pope Gives Me (and a lot of Protestants) Hope" (Archived May 5, 2014)
- Entry #25: "What does it mean to 'take on the smell of the sheep'?" (Archived March 31, 2014)
- Entry #24: "Gimme Shelter has implications for respecting all of human life" (Archived March 3, 2014)
- Entry #23: "Lack of unemployment insurance threatens livelihood of 1.3 million U.S. workers" (Archived January 28, 2014)
- Entry #22: "You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" (Archived January 2, 2014)
- Entry #21: "Inspirations from an hour of prayer in Washington, D.C.'s St. Matthew's Cathedral" (Archived December 3, 2013)
- Entry #20: "A victory for public will in U.S.-Syria relations" (Archived November 4, 2013)
- Entry #19: "Mobility for whom and what?" (Archived September 30, 2013)
- Entry #18: "What sources are influencing your position on comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S.?" (Archived September 3, 2013)
- Entry #17: "Head to the border, but not for Taco Bell" (Archived July 29, 2013)
- Entry #16: "Remember – they work for us" (Archived June 28, 2013)
- Entry #15: "To insure that justice flows like water" (Archived May 4, 2013)
- Entry #14: "Pope Francis gains early praise from Catholic social action figures" (Archived April 10, 2013)
- Entry #13: The moral impact of sequestration (Archived March 3, 2013)
- Entry #12: "My first U.S. Presidential Inauguration" (Archived February 2, 2013)
- Entry #11: "Time to vigorously embrace reduction of gun violence as a Catholic pro-life issue" (Archived January 8, 2013)
- Entry #10: "December is not too early to think about community gardens" (Archived December 4, 2012)
- Entry #9: "Vengeance ≠ Justice" (Archived November 5, 2012)
- Entry #8: "Is it a sin not to vote?" (Archived October 9, 2012)
- Entry #7: "Costing monarchies and election campaigns during an international economic downturn" (Archived September 9, 2012)
- Entry #6: "Neighborliness and the extreme summer weather of 2012" (Archived August 4, 2012)
- Entry #5: "Eph 6: 13-17 and a first round victory for DREAMers and their advocates" (Archived June 17, 2012)
- Entry #4: "Cultivating Joy, Gratitude and Compassion in Today's Church" (Archived May 12, 2012)
- Entry #3: "God is Neither Red Nor Blue" (Archived April 14, 2012)
- Entry #2: "Operation Rice Bowl Opens Doors to Understanding Global Development Issues" (Archived March 5, 2012)
- Entry #1: "We're 27! We're 27!" (Archived January 14, 2012)