Office of Public Policy
Principles and Organization
The Office of Public Policy works to educate the public and lawmakers on Catholic social teaching, seeking to promote the common good. The Office provides Catholic moral leadership and guidance in areas including education, marriage, healthcare, the protection of human life, poverty, criminal justice, and the environment.
The Office supports the ministry of the Church by:
• Working with political and community leaders to shape laws and policies that pursue social justice and respect for life
• Sharing Church teaching and 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 are the principles of Catholic Social Teaching?
The principles of Catholic Social Teaching embody traditional Church wisdom as well as particular teachings such as Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum
1. Life and Dignity of the Human Person
We believe that every human life is sacred from conception to natural death; that people are more important than things; and that the measure of every institution is whether or not it enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
2. Call to Family and Community
The God-given institutions of marriage and family are central and serve as the foundations for social life. They must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.
3. Rights and Responsibilities
All people have a fundamental right to life and a right to those things that allow them to live a decent life. Likewise, all people have a duty to fulfill their responsibilities to their families, to each other, and to the larger society.
4. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
The Church calls on us to show a "preferential" care for those who are poor and vulnerable, and to work to ensure that their needs are considered in public policies and priorities.
5. Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's act of creation, a way of fulfilling part of our human potential. The basic rights of workers, owners, and managers must be respected.
Because of the interdependence among all the members of the human family, we have a moral responsibility to commit ourselves to the common good at all levels.
7. Care for God's Creation
Our stewardship of the earth is a kind of participation in God's act of creating and sustaining the world. We must be guided by our concern for the welfare of others and by a respect for the intrinsic worth and beauty of all God's creatures.
The Office of Public Policy directly reports to the bishop and is supported by a Public Policy Committee. The Diocese of Portland employs Ms. Suzanne Lafreniere, JD, who advocates in Augusta for the diocese.
For further information please contact:
Ms. Suzanne Lafreniere, JD
Director, Office of Public Policy
Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
510 Ocean Avenue
Portland, Maine 04103
Telephone (207) 773-6471