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October 17, 2014, Vol. 7, No. 32

En Español


In this Issue:

  • Election 2014: Becoming an Informed Faithful Citizen
  • Examining Safely Surrender Baby Law during Respect Life Month
  • On the Web

Election 2014: Becoming an Informed Faithful Citizen

vote-boxOn Tuesday, November 4, 2014, California voters will be faced with several key ballot initiatives.  But despite the importance of these policies, many experts continue to forecast a very low voter turnout.

Catholics, however, are called by their faith to offer the Gospel’s perspective on life and dignity to society through active participation in politics. Voting is the most basic – and one of the easiest – ways to do so.

Pope Francis expressed this rather powerfully:

“I say that politics is the most important of the civil activities and has its own field of action, which is not that of religion. Political institutions are secular by definition and operate in independent spheres. All my predecessors have said the same thing, for many years at least, albeit with different accents. I believe that Catholics involved in politics carry the values of their religion within them, but have the mature awareness and expertise to implement them. The Church will never go beyond its task of expressing and disseminating its values, at least as long as I'm here.”

To this end, has brief policy summaries of all the statewide measures on the ballot and reflections from Catholic Social Teaching to help Catholics and others make informed decisions.

The California Catholic Conference is officially supporting only one of the ballot propositions this year -Proposition 47, The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act. The Bishops’ unanimous support stems from the fact that “the criminal justice system in California remains desperately in need of significant reform.”  

“All human life is sacred and, therefore, all social policies and actions in the realm of criminal justice – as with all of our individual and societal actions - must begin with respect for the life and dignity of the human person,” say the Bishops in their statement of support.

Details on the Bishops’ support for Prop 47, a Frequently Asked Questions section and an exploration of the principals of restorative justice are all available on the Restorative Justice page.

A one-page summary of all the measures on the statewide ballot is also on our Election page. Most items are available in English and Spanish. Summaries of each proposition can be found by clicking on its title:

Examining Safely Surrender Baby Law during Respect Life Month

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.

October is Respect Life month. This is a good time to publicize the Safely Surrendered Baby law, especially because Baby Milagro, discarded in a dumpster, is in the news now. Posters and brochures are available at in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian, and at where materials can be downloaded. The statewide toll free number is 1-877-222-9723.

Read more about how the Safely Surrender Baby law works.

On the Web