By Ken Bresnan, Parish Outreach Liaison for Catholic Charities, Des Moines
Members of the newly formed Global Advocacy Team (part of the Catholic Relief Services initiative on the Social Justic Constorium) had a great opportunity last Wednesday to provide a voice for the poor. We held a teleconference with Kurt Kovarik of Senator Grassley’s D.C. staff. Our discussion centered on the senate’s funding of the poverty-focused international assistance funds in the federal budget.
Our group explained how the basis for our concern was our belief in the preferential option for the poor. We explained that this view of the Untied States role in the world was based on not only the beliefs of our Catholic faith and other Christian faiths, but actually is integral tenet of most of the worlds religions. On this issue Kurt was very knowledgeable and showed us how aware he was of the benefits of U.S money spent on these programs.
While I served as our moderator, Kathy Avey explained our group and its purpose, Susie Paloma explained our motivation, Bonnie Reed was our lead on human trafficking, Tom Chapman was the detail man on the poverty-focused international assistance fund, and Mike Beecher as our wrap up speaker.
We also expressed our concern that the Senator supports the reiteration of the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act. Kurt explained that it is due to be moved out of the judiciary committee shortly but there are several concerns expressed by some Republicans. Grant funding and immigration issues seem to be part of those concerns.
In closing, Kurt did tell us how important it was to work for a better understanding of these issues with our congregations. Our group had a positive feeling about the call and Kurt will be helping us to get a face to face in the coming months with Senator Grassley.
The Global Advocay Team is now working on scheduling a sit-down with Congressman Latham or his staff. More on that in the weeks to come.
The Global Advocacy Team is part of the Catholic Relief Services initiative, one of 11 initiatives that are part of Catholic Charities Social Justice Consortium.
The Social Justice Consortium promotes the social justice mission of the Catholic Church. Guided by Bishop Richard Pates, the group’s mission is to work toward a comprehensive and consistent ethic of life for the pursuit of the common good. Initiatives include Respect Life, Biomedical Ethics, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic Charities’ USA Poverty Campaign, Center for Social Ministry, Domestic Violence/Sexual Abuse Advocacy, Justice for Newcomers, the Iowa Catholic Conference, Disaster Preparedness and Response and Rural Life.