December 5, 2014, Vol. 7, No. 36
In this Issue:
- Year of Consecrated Life: A Life Devoted to Service and Prayer
- One-Third of the Faces Are New as CA Legislature Convenes
- Lazarus in California: One in Seven Residents Live Below Poverty Line
- Changes Coming to Website, Network Emails
Year of Consecrated Life: A Life Devoted to Service and Prayer
Earlier this week, the California Catholic Conference issued the following statement:
During 2015, the Year of Consecrated Life, the Bishops of California join with Pope Francis and the worldwide Catholic Church in honoring the women and men who fulfill their baptismal vocation by formally consecrating their lives to service, prayer and care for others.
The sisters, brothers and priests in contemplative communities, apostolic institutes and religious orders are a gift to us all. They are a living example of discipleship by their commitment to Christ, holiness, and compassionate service to others. They daily bring the joyful Gospel message to our world. Their fidelity to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience enriches the life of the Church.
Various religious orders of women and men have long graced California with their unique charisms and courageous missionary zeal. With a heartfelt devotion to the people of California and with a particular concern for the poor and immigrants, they have built schools, hospitals, social services, missions, children's homes and other institutions to address the needs of our communities. In doing so, they helped build the virtue and vitality of the Golden State.
One-Third of the Faces Are New as CA Legislature Convenes
To the sound of mariachis and children scurrying in the chambers, the California legislature began its 2015-2016 session on Monday. The Senate welcomes 10 new Senators (out of 40) and the Assembly, 27 new members (out of 80.)
Fully one-third of the members are new or moving from one legislative office to another. The big turnover is the result of voter-approved term-limit rules that allow lawmakers to spend more time in one house rather that jumping between Assembly and State Senate districts.
New leaders include Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), Senate President Pro Tempore; Tony Atkins (D-San Diego), Speaker of the Assembly; Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Senate Minority Leader; and Kristin Olson, (R-Modesto), Assembly Minority Leader.
This week’s opening session was largely ceremonial, with the families of lawmakers visiting the Capitol enjoying the festivities as the newly minted legislatures found their desks in their respective chambers.
Most legislation will not be introduced until the legislature gets down to business in January, but more than 100 bills were introduced on Monday, a practice designed to bring media attention to a lawmaker’s agenda. Many solons, on both sides of the aisle, also took the opportunity to key off the most prominent state news story of the day by criticizing the proposed tuition increases at the University of California.
Lazarus in California: One in Seven Residents Live Below Poverty Line
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?
The “rich man” wasn’t necessarily a bad person, he just never noticed Lazarus. (Nevertheless, the parable doesn’t end well for him.)
With the Census showing that California’s poverty rate is now at 14.9 percent in 2013 – higher than the 12.2 percent, pre-Great Recession – it is incumbent upon Californians to examine and strengthen effective pathways out of poverty.
Catholic principals for that discernment are clear, but not rigid...
Changes Coming to Website, Network Emails
It’s time for an upgrade. You know the drill – a new model phone, a killer app, the latest high-tech gadgetry. Well, it’s that time for www.cacatholic.org and the Catholic Legislative Network software.
During the next several weeks you’ll notice a few changes as we bring the systems up-to-date:
- Public Policy Insights will look a little different next year. We’ll add some images and text boxes to make it easier for you to identify the news you want to follow.
- The email system will be faster and smoother and you’ll be able to tweet your representative on important issues.
- We’ll introduce an entire section listing key votes – making it easier to find out how your lawmaker is doing on important issues.
- Each of the Conference’s priority areas will have its own page, with background information that will help you learn about that issue and communicate more effectively.
Thank you and we hope you enjoy the new look and features!