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October 3, 2014, Vol. 7, No. 31
En Español

In this Issue:

  • California Bishops Renew Call for Water Conservations, Prayers
  • CA Bishops File Federal Complaint - Department Accused of Serious Civil Rights Violations
  • 2013-14 Legislative Session Finale: What Did the Governor Sign or Veto?
  • Catholic Agencies Provide Assistance to Unaccompanied Minors
  • Respect Life Month – Prayer and Service

California Bishops Renew Call for Water Conservations, Prayers

“On October 4, Catholics around the world celebrate the extraordinary life of St. Francis of Assisi,” write the California Bishops in a statement released earlier this week.   “His love for those who are poor and afflicted, as well as his deep affection for God’s creation, is a timely reminder as the Golden State enters the fourth year of a record-setting drought.”

“We are part of God’s creation. The shortage of water illustrates how precious, and sometimes precarious, that connection can be. Tens of thousands of jobs are at risk and the state’s economy is straining, especially in the agriculture sector.   The images of our neighbors’ homes, churches, businesses and communities destroyed by drought-intensified fires are even more heart-breaking.”

Read the entire statement: As Summer Ends and Drought Continues California Bishops Renew Call for Conservation, Prayers


CA Bishops File Federal Complaint - Department Accused of Serious Civil Rights Violations

The California Catholic Conference has filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) citing federal civil rights violations by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) resulting in Catholic institutions and others being forced to purchase health insurance covering all forms of voluntary direct abortion, including late-term and gender selection.

The complaint was filed because of an administrative directive issued on August 22, 2014 by DMHC to the heads of eight different health insurance plans (Aetna, Anthem/Blue Cross, Blue Shield of California, GEM Care, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente and United Health Care) ordering them to amend their current health plans and remove any coverage or exclusions regarding voluntary abortions on the basis that abortion for any reason was ‘basic health care” and could not be excluded.

Continue reading – along with a copy of the complaint letter filed with the Office of Civil Rights.

2013-14 Legislative Session Finale: What Did the Governor Sign or Veto?

Governor Jerry Brown completed action this week on all the bills sent to him by the California Legislature for the 2013-14 session. Thank you to all the Catholic Legislative Network members who sent e-mails, placed phone calls and advocated on the many bills we brought to your attention this year.

Below is a summary of some of the measures for which we have been awaiting the Governor’s action, as well as links so that you can determine how your representatives voted:

You can review a list of all the bills that the California Catholic Conference (CCC) has covered during the session on our Legislative Report page.   By following the links for any of the bills, you can read the text, a history of amendments and committee actions; and determine how your elected representatives voted on any of the measures.

Catholic Agencies Provide Assistance to Unaccompanied Minors

Hope was non-existent for a girl in Guatemala, just into her teens, when gang members identified her as a key witness to the horrific kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old friend. The friend’s mutilated body was dumped as a message to people not to interfere. When the gang demanded extortion money from the witness’ family, threatening to kill her, the girl fled to Los Angeles, seeking refuge.

That is where Esperanza (Spanish for “hope”) Immigration Rights Project came to her aid. Strongly supported by Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez and Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Esperanza provides legal education and representation to migrant children who are in detention or recently released.

Esperanza is the largest provider of legal education and assistance in California to unaccompanied children.

Migrant children “do not really understand what the process is, as well as their rights,” explains Caitlin Williams Sanderson, Esperanza’s program director.

The refugee aid organization has 16 attorneys plus support staff. It is entirely focused on helping migrant children and their families understand the law and their rights, in federal immigration courts, in local jails and youth detention centers. Continue reading Hope Where None Existed.

Respect Life Month – Prayers and Service

In his 2014 Respect Life Statement, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities said, “We want to be part of a society that makes affirmation and protection of human rights its primary objective and its boast. Yet to women faced with an unexpected pregnancy, abortion is often presented as their only ‘choice.’”

In response to this and other tragedies that “go directly against respect for life” the Cardinal suggests spiritual growth along with service:

“The Church’s antidote to an individualism which threatens the respect for human dignity is community and solidarity. Are we moved by the suffering of those without shelter? Do we seek to alleviate the fear, confusion and panic that women facing unexpected pregnancies may be experiencing? Do our hearts ache for elderly patients in nursing homes who feel abandoned and unwanted, having no one to visit them?”

The USCCB has assembled a variety of Respect Life Month on-line resources. And this month, blogger Vicki Evans takes a look at a medical development for women who changed their mind after they began an abortion with RU-486. Read Chemical Abortions Can Be Reversed to learn about this new research.