Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.
Approximately 140 people from the Diocese of Covington attended [email protected] in Frankfort Feb. 27, making it the largest representation from any diocese for the annual event.
Sponsored by the Catholic Conference of Kentucky, the event invites Catholics to make their voices heard in the public square. This year, the CCK chose separate days for each diocese for a chance to “hone in a more local focus,” according to executive director Jason Hall.
Bishop Roger Foys attended and the diocese arranged for several busses to bring interested laity to Frankfort for the day. After an opening prayer led by Bishop Foys, Mr. Hall and CCK assistant director Andrew Vandiver explained the bills currently in the House of Representatives and Senate that the CCK advocates for or against. They answered questions about the current legislation and offered tips on how to talk to legislators when advocating for a bill.
In addition to Curia members, students from Bishop Brossart High School, Covington Catholic High School, Holy Cross High School, Notre Dame Academy, St. Henry District High School and Villa Madonna Academy attended as well. Mr. Hall said the diocese tripled the record for a diocesan visit.
A notable bill the CCK supports is HB 67, the Abortion Neutrality Amendment, sponsored by Representative Joe Fischer of Campbell County. This would clarify that there is nothing in the state constitution to necessitate a right to an abortion, should Roe v. Wade be overturned in the federal court.
Mr. Hall said that CCK is also advocating for SB 9, sponsored by Senator Whitney Westerfield, protecting infants born alive; HB 237/SB 154, sponsored by Representative Chad McCoy, preventing the death penalty for the severely mentally ill; and HB 350, sponsored by Rep. Chad McCoy, advocating for Scholarship Tax Credits.
Many of the attendees observed the session debating SB 154, which would prohibit the death penalty for those with a severe mental illness. It was passed, but with a request for clarification of language on many points and definitions that remained vague, such as the time of the documentation of the mental illness.
Representatives and senators engaged in candid discussions before and after these sessions with the representatives from the diocese.
“I enjoyed listening to the arguments for and against the bills,” said Jennifer Cox, DPAA secretary, Office of Stewardship and Mission Services. “I was impressed by those politicians who explained why they voted for or against a particular issue. It was nice to hear that some would support it if some of the verbiage was changed or made clearer.”
Kate Hale, a student from Notre Dame Academy, Park Hills, said: “It was a great learning experience, where I not only got to see the Kentucky legislature in action, but I was also exposed to current issues that relate to the Catholic faith.”