.- The new executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference has his sight set on promoting a consistent ethic of life and creating a culture of life in the southern state. The Virginia bishops established the conference in September to promote the Catholic perspective in the legislative process, and they hired lawyer Jeff Caruso as its executive director.
"Slowly, one step at a time, we will move state policies closer to the vision of respect of human life and dignity," the lawyer said in a report published in the Arlington Catholic Herald. Caruso will begin Jan. 4.
"It’s an opportunity to advance the Church’s public policy in Virginia," the Notre Dame graduate told the diocesan paper. It is also an opportunity to help Virginia Catholics make the connection between Gospel values and what is happening in the legislature, he added.
"The consistent message that human life and dignity are to be valued cuts across political parties," he was quoted as saying. "Public dialogue is enhanced when that [Catholic] perspective is added."
The adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore served six years as associate director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. His tasks in Virginia will include lobbying legislators in Richmond for the eradication of abortion and the death penalty, while supporting health care and anti-poverty initiatives. He will also work on behalf of non-public school students and the growing immigrant population.