Notes from the Director

December 11, 2023

December 11, 2023

Being a newcomer to the state of Washington, I know I have much to learn and am grateful for the many Catholics who have welcomed me into their hometowns as the new executive director of the Washington State Catholic Conference. As a lifelong Catholic and long-term Catholic advocate, I also know the social doctrine of our Church has relevance and meaning no matter the political climate or issues of the moment in any state and our Catholic voice is needed across Washington.

In my home state of Utah and my newly adopted state, for example, homelessness continues to grow. Catholic teaching makes it clear that safe and stable housing is critical to protect the dignity and sanctity of life, as are the services a person may need to stay housed. Those services may include recovery or mental health treatment, meaningful employment, education, health care, and access to life-sustaining requirements, such as food and clean water. Through Catholic Charities, Catholic Community Services, our Catholic schools, and hospitals, we provide many of these core needs, and through advocacy, we support their efforts and seek to remove barriers out of poverty and to close paths into poverty.

Amid turmoil globally, Catholic teaching provides us with the foundation to speak strongly about our moral obligations to immigrants seeking safety and pathways out of extreme poverty, whether it is building pathways within their homelands through entities such as Catholic Relief Services or across borders into America. Our social teaching urges us to act in solidarity with our global brothers and sisters, to build peace and restore communities torn apart by war or other violence, or negatively impacted by climate change.

Of course, Catholics are known for our teaching on respect for life. The breadth and depth of our teaching on the dignity and sanctity of every life, from the unborn to the lifetime prison inmate and everyone at every stage in between, leads us to acts of charity and justice with and for migrants, the elderly, minority populations, people with disabilities, the poor, the vulnerable, the forgotten.

It is our consistent ethic of life that has led me to Catholic advocacy for over a decade now. As Executive Director of the WSCC, my goal is not only to bring the strong Catholic voice of our bishops to the Washington State Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation, but to also ensure that lay Catholics are able to exercise their vocation to participate in our political community fully and with a deep understanding of the social doctrine of our faith. Developed over centuries, our doctrine is a solid basis for the one million Catholics across Washington to raise our collective voice to help build a more just and peaceful society.