Call to Action: “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) H.R. 3755

Contact Your Senator to VOTE NO on the “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) H.R. 3755

On September 24th, the United States House of Representatives passed Women’s Health Protection Act, which is a radical pro-abortion bill that would guarantee a right to elective abortion up-to the moment of birth. If enacted, WHPA would:

    • Allow pre-viability abortions in every state with absolutely no restrictions or regulations.
    • Allow post-viability abortions to be performed by “good faith” health care providers who deem there could be the potential of any risk, no matter how insignificant, to the mother. This amounts to basically a meaningless restriction for the abortion industry, and even more troubling, there is nothing that requires or even encourages the viable baby to be delivered.
    • Invalidate the pro-life laws of individual states that have been passed by the will of its voters, even including laws that require reasonable things like parental notification and health and safety regulations.
    • Allow for taxpayer funding and government facilities to be used for abortion.
    • Remove conscience protections for individuals, employers and institutions like the Church that refuse to in any way participate in performing, providing, referring, or funding abortions.
    • Allow individuals, employers, and institutions to be sued for violations of the WHPA.

Contact your U.S. Senator to VOTE NO on “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) H.R. 3755 HERE.

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The Abortion Debate Intensifies in America

America is at a crossroads of life or death. One direction is toward a culture of life, with many states considering laws protecting the lives of preborn children. The other direction is radically pro-abortion, which includes expanding elective abortion access up-to the moment of birth.

The “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) H.R. 3755 is a direct response to state laws such as the recently enacted Texas Heartbeat Act.

Texas is leading the nation in protecting pre-born children. On May 19, 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law the Texas Heartbeat Act, which prohibits abortion after a preborn child’s heartbeat has been detected and prohibits an individual from assisting an illegal abortion. The Heartbeat law is the greatest state effort to promote a culture of life in recent years. It uses a novel approach that bans state officials from enforcing the law and empowers citizens to bring civil enforcement action. This protects the new law against precedent set by Roe v. Wade and the U.S. Supreme Court. The law went into effect on September 1, 2021 after the U.S. Supreme Court denied emergency injunctive relief by Texas abortion providers wishing to stop the new law.

Many states have passed legislation to restrict abortion, but most have failed to be enacted due to Roe. The U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged that the Texas Heartbeat law has some constitutional questions, but ultimately the plaintiffs failed to meet procedural burdens or prove potential injury. This means that the law will almost certainly be litigated. However, the decision still represents a legal victory for promoting a culture of life and protecting lives of preborn children.

But as Texas ushers in a culture of life, D.C. attempts to impose the most far-reaching abortion policy America has ever seen – invalidating many state laws protecting preborn children. This is significant as a recent Gallup poll show that 60 percent of Americans think that abortion should either be illegal or only legal in a few circumstances.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court may play a significant role in this debate as it prepares to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on December 1, 2021. Dobbs will determine the constitutionality of laws that prohibit abortion prior to viability. This presents the Supreme Court an opportunity to revisit, and possibly overturn, Roe v. Wade.

In Colorado, there is momentum to both protect lives of preborn children and an increase of out-of-state women seeking abortion because Colorado is one of seven states that allows elective abortion up-to-birth. In 2020, nearly 150,000 Coloradans put Proposition 115 on the ballot, which, if it had passed, would have prohibited abortion after 22-weeks gestation (when the child is viable). Yet at the same time, Colorado Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains saw a 12-factor increase in the number of patients seen from out-of-state and expect more with the enactment of the Texas Heartbeat law.

Despite the WHPA H.R. 3755 federal effort to increase abortion access, pregnant women have support like never before. As of 2018, pregnancy centers outnumber abortion facilities 2,700 to 739, providing women with counseling, material resources such as diapers, food, clothing, etc., shelter, and community. Pregnant women, and their partners and families, are never without assistance regardless of their circumstances of pregnancy or socioeconomic status. Additionally, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops recently launched “Walking with Moms in Need” which connects Catholic parishes with pregnancy centers to expand access to women who may not be aware that they have options to ensure their preborn children live and their families thrive.

The Bishops of Colorado urge state and federal government leaders to work to protect all lives from conception until natural death. While there is more to do to safeguard the rights of preborn children in the womb, Catholics should celebrate public policy victories, such as the Texas Heartbeat law, and pray for the end of abortion in the United States.

Contact your U.S. Senator to VOTE NO on “Women’s Health Protection Act” (WHPA) H.R. 3755 HERE.

 

 

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Most Reverend Stephen J. Berg

Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo

Most Reverend Stephen Berg is a native of Miles City, Montana. He is the son of Connie and Jeanne Berg and the oldest of 10 children. He attended Catholic schools in Miles City, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in 1969. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1973 and a Master of Music from Eastern New Mexico University in Portales in 1975. Upon graduation, Bishop-designate Berg taught music at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth. Subsequently, he worked 14 years in the retail nursery industry as vice president or general manager for divisions of Sunbelt Nursery, Inc. in Fort Worth, Southern California, Phoenix and Atlanta.

Bishop-designate Berg entered Assumption Seminary in San Antonio in 1993 where he received a Master of Divinity degree from Oblate School of Theology in 1999. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1999 by his maternal uncle Bishop Joseph L. Charron, C.PP.S, S.T.D, now the Bishop Emeritus of Des Moines. After his ordination, Bishop-designate Berg served as parochial vicar of St. Michael Catholic Church in Bedford, Texas from 1999 to 2001. In 2001, he became parochial vicar of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in North Richland Hills, Texas. From 2002 to 2008, he was pastor of four rural parishes: St. Mary in Henrietta, St. Jerome in Bowie, St. William in Montague and St. Joseph in Nocona. In 2008, Bishop Kevin Vann appointed him vicar general of the Diocese of Fort Worth and concurrently he served as pastor of St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church. In 2010, he became the Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese under Bishop Vann and also served as administrator of Holy Name of Jesus parish. Upon Bishop Vann’s installation as Bishop of Orange, then Monsignor Berg was elected diocesan administrator in December 2012 by the College of Consultors for the Diocese. Bishop Berg was ordained and installed as Bishop of Pueblo on February 27, 2014, by Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at a Mass in Pueblo.

Most Reverend James R. Golka

Bishop of the Diocese of Colorado Springs

Bishop Golka is the fourth of ten children born September 22, 1966, to Robert and Patricia Golka. He was born and raised in Grand Island, NE. He graduated from Grand Island Central Catholic High School in 1985. He graduated from Creighton University in 1989 with degrees in Philosophy and Theology. He then spent one year as a Jesuit lay missionary volunteer at Red Cloud Indian School on the Native American Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

After applying as a seminarian for his home diocese of Grand Island, Bishop Golka enjoyed seminary formation at the St. Paul Seminary, School of Divinity, of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, where he received both a Masters of Divinity degree and a Masters of Arts degree in Sacramental Theology.

He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Grand Island on June 3, 1994. He has served as a Parochial Vicar and Pastor in various parishes. He has served the diocese in various capacities including Director of Ongoing Formation of Clergy, Chair of the Personnel Board, member of the Diocesan Finance Council, the Presbyteral Council, and as a member of the Diocesan College of Consultors. At the time of his election, he was serving as Rector of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Grand Island, NE. He was also serving as the Vicar General for the Diocese of Grand Island.

Bishop Golka says that he greatly enjoys the pastoral ministry which is provided in a parish setting. Working with people at all stages of life and allowing the gift of our Catholic faith to provide direction, support and new life is greatly rewarding. He also enjoys helping to provide ongoing formation events for the clergy of the diocese to care for the wellbeing of his brother priests.

Bishop Golka has worked with national consultants to better help parishes develop stewardship as a way of life. He has offered numerous retreats across the country preaching the blessings of ordering our lives in recognition that all we are and all we have is a gift from God. A guiding scripture passage is Psalm 116:12 which proclaims: “How can I repay the LORD for all the great good done for me?”

Bishop Golka was Ordained a Bishop in Colorado Springs on June 29, 2021. The Diocese of Colorado Springs has approximately 183,150 Catholics in 39 parishes and missions. The diocese has 82 priests, 85 Deacons and 15 men in seminary formation. The diocese and its parishes provide religious education and formation to more than 9,000 students. There is one private Catholic high school in the diocese that currently serves approximately 254 students, while an additional 1,325 students receive instruction through five parish-based elementary schools. In total, there are more than 5,414 Catholic youths under religious instruction in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

Bishop Golka looks forward to continued growth and expansion in the diocese. With God’s grace and with the support of the faithful, the Diocese of Colorado Springs will know many more years of serving the mission of the Church in Colorado.

Most Reverend Bishop Jorge H. Rodríguez

Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver

Bishop Rodriguez was born March 22, 1955, in Merida, Mexico, located in the state of Yucatan. He is the son of Nery Maria Novelo and Ramon Rodriguez (deceased), and he has one brother and four sisters, who live in Merida. In Merida he attended a primary school run by the Maryknoll Sisters, and then secondary and preparatory schools run by the Marist Brothers. When he finished high school, he joined the Legionaries of Christ to study and become a priest. He was ordained Dec. 24, 1987.

He was awarded a Doctorate in Sacred Theology by the Gregorian in Rome in 1994. He also has a licentiate in philosophy from the same pontifical university, and a diploma in Mariology from the Marianum in Rome.

He was the dean of the Theology Department of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome (1994-1997). He has taught theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, at the Pontifical Institute Regina Mundi and at the Institute for Religious Sciences at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

In 1999, he was invited by then Archbishop Charles Chaput to teach in the newly launched St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, and to serve as Associate Pastor of St. Therese Parish in Aurora.

In 2002, he returned to Rome to serve as Associate Pastor of Stella Maris Parish in the Diocese of Rome, but then returned to Denver in 2006 to be a professor at St. John Vianney.

From 2007-2014, Father Rodriguez served as vice-rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. He was incardinated as a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver in 2008.

Since 2014, he has served as pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Thornton, Colorado, and he continues to teach the seminarians as well as the permanent diaconate candidates.

Pope Francis appointed Father Rodriguez as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Denver on August 25, 2016 and was ordained on November 4, 2016 on the feast of St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of bishops. He is also currently the pastor at St. Joseph parish in Denver.

He speaks Spanish, English and Italian, and reads French, and is the author of various theological publications.

Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila

Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Denver

Samuel J. Aquila was born on September 24, 1950, in Burbank, California.  He was ordained to the priesthood in Denver, Colorado, on June 5, 1976, and served in parish ministry for 11 years.  In 1987, he began graduate studies at San Anselmo University in Rome, earning a Licentiate in Sacramental Theology in 1990.

He served as Director for the Office of Liturgy and Master of Ceremonies in the Archdiocese of Denver from 1990 until 1995.  He served the archdiocese as Co-director for Continuing Education for Priests, as an advisor to the Bishop’s Committee on the Liturgy, and as Assistant Secretary for Catholic Education before being named Secretary for Catholic Education, a position he held from 1995 until 1999.

From 1999-2001, he served as the first Rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and Chief Executive Officer of Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute.  In 2000, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope John Paul II, receiving the honorary title of Monsignor.

He was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Fargo on June 12, 2001, and his Episcopal Ordination Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo on August 24, 2001.  On March 18, 2002, he became Bishop of Fargo, and from 2005 to 2006 he also acted as Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Sioux Falls. On July 18, 2012 he was installed as the Archbishop of Denver, returning to lead the Archdiocese where he had originally served as a priest for 25 years.

Archbishop Aquila serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Papal Foundation, the Bishops’ Advisory Council for the Institute for Priestly Formation and the Board of Trustees for the Augustine Institute.  He is a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in which he has served as a member of various committees. Archbishop Aquila’s episcopal motto comes from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s instructions at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you (Jn 2:5).”