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Catholic News Herald

Serving Christ and Connecting Catholics in Western North Carolina

120517 cvncCHARLOTTE — Catholic Voice North Carolina is shrinking, at least for the time being. The public policy organization which had been supported by the state’s two bishops, will now only have the support of Bishop Peter Jugis and the Diocese of Charlotte. The Diocese of Raleigh withdrew from Catholic Voice on Nov. 30.

The nine-year-old organization attempts to influence legislation that supports the teaching of the Catholic Church. Since its establishment in 2008, Catholic Voice has reached out to legislators in Raleigh and Washington through email campaigns.

More than 5,000 Catholics in the state are active participants in Catholic Voice who reach out to their legislators when the Bishops send out email alerts on bills under consideration in either the N.C. General Assembly or the U.S. Congress. Approximately 2,000 of the participants are from the Diocese of Charlotte.

The change in support for Catholic Voice North Carolina will not change its name or its website, www.CatholicVoiceNC.com. Participants from the Diocese of Raleigh will no longer receive alerts from Catholic Voice.

In deciding to continue with the organization, Bishop Jugis recognized the commitment of the Catholics in the diocese who have supported Catholic Voice by responding to the alerts.

Catholic Voice has been active in its support of respect-life legislation and causes. Its first email campaign was in favor of the Choose Life license plates that can now be purchased from the N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

Diocesan Respect-Life coordinator Jessica Grabowski describes Catholic Voice as “imperative” for the work being done in the diocese.

“Having a voice with the weight of Bishop Jugis is highly valued when contacting our local senators and representatives about legislative life issues. With the support of our bishop, we can more greatly highlight the urgency for or against bills that truly are matters of life and death,” she said.

When Bishop Jugis and Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh began Catholic Voice, the organization was in regular contact with legislators via its lobbyist, Monsignor Michael Clay of Raleigh. Monsignor Clay left the lobbying position in 2012 and it was not filled. Bishop Burbidge was transferred to the Diocese of Arlington, Va., in 2016. His successor, Bishop Luis Zarama, who was installed in Raleigh’s new cathedral in August, gave no reason for the withdrawal from Catholic Voice.

Catholic Voice will seek to increase the number of participants and hence its “voice” through a parish bulletin campaign in the early part of 2018.
— David Hains, Director of Communication