Lazarus in California: Millions in Poverty Merit Discernment, Not Politicking

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U.S. Census data recently showed that 5.6 million people in the Golden State live below the poverty line – nearly one in seven Californians. Sadly, two million of them are children.

At the same time, Pope Francis has challenged the world to recognize the poor, who like Lazarus in the Gospel parable, are sitting at our gate (Luke 16). In fact, earlier this year, the Pope took a lot of heat when he tweeted that “Inequality is the root of social evil.”

Many people reacted to the headline, without examining the entirety of the Pope’s challenge to the world, says Bishop Robert McElroy, auxiliary bishop of San Francisco. The Bishop summarized that challenge in a simple way: how do we recognize and help the Lazarus’ of our day?


Safely Surrending Babies

Written by Judy Barrett on . Blog

baby-sleeping“No shame, no blame, no names”

Early one recent morning, a man rummaging for recyclables in dumpsters behind a Merced, California apartment complex made a heart-stopping discovery.  He heard a noise and began digging to the bottom of the dumpster. There, among discarded pizza boxes, household garbage and bags of trash, he found an hours-old baby girl wrapped in a towel, cold and dirty, with her umbilical cord dangling.

He quickly wrapped the baby in his own shirt and yelled for help. Someone called 911. A woman held the baby close while they waited for paramedics to arrive; meanwhile, she massaged and tapped the baby’s chest and the infant gasped for air and began to cry. They called the baby Milagro, a little miracle.

The thirteen year old mother who abandoned the baby has been found. There has to be a sad story there, one of fear, shame or perhaps abuse. Her details haven’t been made public. The good news is that at last report, the baby is healthy and should be just fine. People have already come forward, offering to adopt her.


Chemical Abortions Can Be Reversed

Written by Vicki Evans on . Blog

newbornbaby150When RU-486, the chemical abortion drug, was fast-tracked to approval by the FDA in the waning hours of Bill Clinton's presidency in 2000, it was hailed by the abortion industry as a godsend, a way for women to procure abortions without having to run the gambit of protesters outside abortion facilities.

Before that, surgical abortion was the only alternative in the U.S. But that limited choice still resulted in over 1.3 million abortions per year. By 2010, according to the Washington Post, chemical--also called medical--abortions accounted for about 25 percent of all abortions done in the first nine weeks of pregnancy and 15 percent of U.S. abortions overall.


"Who Cares?" - Thoughts on Christians in the Middle East

Written by Judy Barrett on . Blog

perscpective-150“It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.” Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, 1938

In mid-August all of the European bishops’ conferences (Council of European Bishops, CCEE) issued a joint open letter calling on the United Nations to make urgent “decisions to put an end to the atrocious actions against Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq.” Their letter was sent to all European governments and to the U.N. in response to the rapid expansion of territory held by ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) and its attempt to wipe out Christianity in the region.


Pope Francis: Why are we surprised people flee violence and poverty?

Written by Steve Pehanich on . Blog

statueoflibertycoin150“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcome and protected,” said Pope Francis in a message about the large number of unaccompanied children seeking safety from the violence of their Central American homes.[i]

The concept that people seek safety and security did not start when the media noticed the children crossing the border or when one government or another failed to solve a problem.

Survival is as basic a human instinct as it gets.

Migration to find protection from danger is a fundamental concept. Globalization, says the Pope, has accelerated the process but it certainly didn’t create it.

So why are so many voices demanding a solution to some portion of the migration crisis before we help the children?

One of the most common openings in the debate about helping unaccompanied minors goes something like this: “Yes, we need to help the children, but first we must...” There follows various political posturing. We have heard it all before.


A (Very) Brief Look at Catholics in the American Revolution

Written by Steve Pehanich on . Blog

Independence-Hall “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” - Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776

It’s Independence Day – time for picnics, fireworks and summer vacation. The 3rd Annual Fortnight for Freedom ends today, mid-term elections are still a few months off and the California Legislature begins its summer recess.

In keeping with our annual celebration of democracy and this week’s victory for religious freedom (see Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby: A Great Day for the Religious Freedom of Family Businesses), it seems an opportune time to remember some of the Catholics involved in the American Revolution.

You don’t read much about them during the colonial period. That’s because there weren’t many around – probably about 40,000 or slightly less and 2 percent of the 2.5 million residents of the 13 colonies.

There were more Catholics in the Southwest regions of the continent where the Spanish crown ruled. Same goes for French Louisiana and, once President Jefferson purchased the territory from Napoleon in 1804, the Catholic population jumped significantly.