Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC) is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota. MCC supports the ministry of our state’s Catholic bishops by:
- Working with political and community leaders to shape legislation that serves human dignity and the common good
- Educating Catholics and the public about the ethical and moral framework that should be applied to public policy choices
- Mobilizing the Catholic community to make its voice heard in the public arena
What inspired Catholics at the Capitol?
The Church sees politics as a form of civic friendship. At a time when polarization and partisanship are pulling us apart, the world needs the Church more than ever to renew public life by building bridges of friendship, especially with lawmakers. Pope Francis once said, “a good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of himself, so that those who govern can govern.” We created Catholics at the Capitol to help Catholics learn how “meddling” in politics can be an exercise of our faith and to provide an opportunity for Catholics from across the state to build relationships with their representatives and with one another.
What are the main objectives of Catholics at the Capitol?
First, we want Catholics at the Capitol to be a chance for Catholics from across the state to come together and make their voice heard on issues that are important to us. It only takes a handful of people to make a difference in our state legislature; just think what over 2,000 Catholics coming together can do!
“Cat Cap” was also designed to demystify the process of legislative advocacy for those who have little (or even no) experience in politics. Attendees will walk away with more knowledge about the political process and more resources to help them work for the common good in our state.
Finally, we wish to offer a compelling and hopeful vision of faithful citizenship, healing some of the cynicism and division that drives so many people away from politics today. Amid growing skepticism that faith has any place in the public arena, we want to foster a renewed commitment to missionary discipleship precisely through faithful citizenship.
Who should attend Catholics at the Capitol?
Any Minnesota Catholic who wants to learn how to become more active in politics and make positive change as an advocate for human life and dignity. You don’t need to be a policy wonk, an insider, or a dynamo public speaker to make a difference. Your presence will speak volumes to your elected officials! In state and local politics, the most important thing is to show up.
Is this an official Church event?
Yes. Catholics at the Capitol is an initiative of the Minnesota Catholic Conference (MCC). MCC is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota, representing all six dioceses. MCC staff implement the public policy initiatives of the state’s Catholic bishops, who serve as the conference’s board of directors. All our bishops will attend Catholics at the Capitol.
Shouldn’t religious groups stay out of politics? You know, the “separation of Church and State?”
Catholics bring an important perspective on the dignity of the human person and the common good of all into the conversation. We don’t impose our beliefs, but rather propose solutions that not only accord with our faith, but are also in the best interests of Minnesotans. Not only is it perfectly legal and acceptable for religiously- motivated citizens to support certain policies and laws, but it would be a great disservice to our state and its people if religiously-motivated advocates stayed home and stayed out of the public conversation.
The beauty of our system of government is that it allows different people, with different beliefs and visions, to come together and discuss how best to govern. The “separation of Church and State,” after all, refers to a prohibition on government meddling in the affairs of religion—not the other way around.
Is this a partisan event?
No. The Catholic Church is non-partisan. We care about the same issues that all Americans do, but transcend the stiff categories and false dichotomies that too often characterize American politics. Our goal is to protect life and promote human flourishing in all cases, regardless of party lines. At Catholics at the Capitol, we will advocate for issues that don’t neatly line up with a single party platform. This is because we are principled, not partisan, and work to advance a consistent ethic of life that fosters human flourishing at every stage.
Will participating as a parish affect our tax-exempt status?
No. The event is non-partisan. Sponsoring or participating in the event does not convey that your parish endorses a candidate or party—it simply demonstrates that you want to protect life and human dignity in Minnesota. Your parish is well within its rights as a tax-exempt organization to do so.