This year, the California Legislature has presented us with a rare opportunity—two bills we can support based on the whole of Catholic social teaching. They are SB 899 and AB 1579. But first, some background.
As Catholics, our Church teaches us to respect the sanctity of human life, to uphold the imperative of family, to honor the dignity of work, to understand God’s special love for the poor and to seek justice in our dealings with each other. Those “ideas” are found in Catholic social teaching—the distillation of divine revelation, age-old human wisdom and common sense—and if understood and followed, a framework for human thriving.
However, too often, we Catholics tend to focus on one aspect of the teaching over and against another aspect. Catholic social teaching is of a piece and can only be a reliable guide if taken as seamless. Respecting human life ought to occur throughout the trajectory of that life—from conception to natural death. Families must be seedbeds tended to nourish and guide the new generation. We need to remember the dignity of work and that those who are poor must be loved and brought along if able or carried if not. And overlaying it all, our human interactions must reflect justice—which can bring about peace.