Vocations and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
In the newest episode of the podcast, the USCCB's own Fr. Dan Hanley joins to give a comprehensive picture of vocations in Catholic life (as much as that's possible in half an hour)! The call to love takes a variety of forms, and Fr. Hanley helps make sense of them all. Then (30:20) Kara Bach joins to celebrate the 40th anniversary of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Find previous episodes of the podcast here and share it with your friends!
"Families are not a problem, they are first and foremost an opportunity"
The USCCB's national pastoral framework for marriage and family life ministry will assist dioceses as local pastoral planning and implementation continue to take place since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. "Called to the Joy of Love" provides guidelines for the pastoral accompaniment of married couples and families in every phase of life, drawing upon the teachings and recommendations contained in the apostolic exhortation.

Legal/Policy Updates
Medical "Transition" and Minors - A federal court blocked part of Alabama's law prohibiting medical "gender transition" for minors with respect to puberty blockers, though left it standing with respect to surgeries, on May 13th. On the same day, the Texas supreme court overturned much of a lower court's ruling, allowing the state to continue its new practice of investigating parents' providing "gender affirming" medical interventions to their children as child abuse. However, it continued to block investigation with respect to the one plaintiff family, and indicated that the family services departments investigations would not be legally compelled by the governor's recent order to undertake them. 

Sports - South Carolina enacted a women's school sports protection law on May 16th. Indiana's legislature overrode the governor's veto to do the same on May 24th.

Restrooms - A federal judge struck down Tennessee's law requiring public restroom signage to indicate if an establishment allows access based on "gender identity" on May 17th. A week later, on May 25th, Oklahoma passed a law requiring students to use the school restrooms that match their birth certificates.

"Conversion Therapy" - Counselor Brian Tingley's challenge to Washington state's ban on "conversion therapy" for minors was argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 17th. 

"Nonbinary" IDs - On May 27th, Gov. Hochul of New York announced, following years of promises by the state in legislation and court proceedings, that "nonbinary" / "X" sex markers would be available on driver's licenses starting this summer.

Stopping Mandates - The Christian Employers Alliance won a preliminary injunction in federal court on May 16th, against polices by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) that could force religious employers to cover, or provide or otherwise affirm, "gender transition" procedures. On May 27th, Texas won a favorable initial ruling in its lawsuit against EEOC and HHS for their respective, expansive "gender identity" policies on pronouns, restroom access, and treatment of children. Earlier in the month, HHS had postponed a proposal to require insurance policies in the Affordable Care Act exchanges to cover "gender-affirming care" when it finalized a regulatory update for the exchanges on the 6th. The USCCB had submitted comments earlier in the rulemaking process urging it to not include such provisions.

Catholic School Teachers - Lynn Starkey, one of the counselors in a same-sex "marriage" who was let go from Roncalli Catholic High School in Indianapolis, had her appeal argued before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on May 16th.

Defending NFP - On May 25th, a nurse practitioner from Texas sued HHS over its recent removal of fertility awareness-based methods of family planning from those required to be covered copay-free under the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines. The USCCB had previously joined the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Catholic Medical Association in filing comments urging continued inclusion of instruction in fertility awareness-based methods.

Business Benefits - On May 3rd, Gov. Murphy of New Jersey signed an executive order making it the fourth state to certify "LGBTQ+-owned businesses" for special benefits, similar to certain other demographics groups.

Local Schools - Exemplifying the ways in which elementary schools across the country are imposing gender ideology without it needing to be part of an official or public curriculum, in late May an elementary school in North Carolina was reported to be using "LGBTQ" flashcards, including images such as a pregnant "man," to teach colors to preschool-aged children. Also this past month, Maine's department of education was successfully pressured to take down a video teaching kindergarteners about "sexual orientation" and "gender identity," including that doctors can be "wrong" when announcing a baby's sex.