Year of St. Joseph
Pope Francis kicked off the Year of St. Joseph on December 8th and it lasts until this coming December 8th. The Holy Father noted the value of reflecting on St. Joseph at a time when the pandemic has required so many to make hidden sacrifices: "Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation." The USCCB is coming out with lots of resources to deepen your devotion to the patron of the family and the Universal Church, including the Prayer to St. Joseph after the Rosary and the Litany of St. Joseph.
After nearly a year on hiatus, Made for Love is back with its first new episode! Meet our new co-hosts Andrew Buonopane and Kara Eschbach in Episode 59, along with interview guest Fr. Conrad Murphy, host of the Catholic Bytes podcast, who chats with Andrew about the sacramental life and the body. And be sure to check out all episodes on Marriage: Unique for a Reason!
Amoris Laetitia
Overlapping with the Year of St. Joseph will be a "year" of reflection on Amoris Laetitia, starting March 19th and ending with the celebration of the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome on June 26th, 2022. Organized by the Vatican's Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life, the year will be dedicated to "spreading the Christian message on the family in light of the challenges of our time." Throughout the year, the USCCB will hold several events and share resources, so stay tuned for more!
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Legal/Policy Updates

New Congress - On January 4th, as the new term of Congress began, the U.S. House of Representatives amended its internal rules to replace some male and female pronouns, family titles (e.g., "mother" or "uncle"), and professional titles ending in “-man” with gender neutral words; permanently establish an Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and require an antidiscrimination focus (including on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity") by committees.

Parting Gift - On January 7th, the Dept. of Health & Human Services promulgated a rule, changing an earlier regulation that had been invoked by some states and plaintiffs to try to force faith-based foster care and adoption providers to work with same-sex couples or be shut down. Three USCCB chairmen - Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop Coakley, and Bishop Konderla - issued a supportive statement. It is anticipated, however, that the new Administration will work to prevent this rule from taking effect.

Religious Liberty Victory - On January 19th, a federal judge in North Dakota ruled in favor of the Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Benefits Association, holding that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects them from being forced by federal nondiscrimination laws to provide or cover "gender transition" procedures.

Executive Action - On his Inauguration Day, President Biden issued an executive order directing agencies to pursue the redefinition of "sex" across federal law with an overly broad interpretation of last year's Bostock Supreme Court decision. This is likely to impact school sports and restrooms, health care conscience rights, and other contexts. Five USCCB chairmen issued a statement expressing concern. In addition, the president included explicit references to "LGBTQ+" and "sexual and gender minorities" in various other early measures. And on January 25th he reinstated President Obama's policy of allowing members of the military to serve as their preferred "gender identity" and be given medical transition procedures during their service.

State Legislative Sessions - Across the country, state houses began their new sessions in January and there are numerous bills being introduced on "LGBT" issues on all sides. Of note, at least seven states so far are considering bills to protect women and girls' sports, and at least seven states have bills to protect children from gender-related medical interventions. Meanwhile, at least three states have had bills introduced to prohibit counseling (deemed "conversion therapy") that does not affirm "LGBT" identities and conduct.