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Insights: State of the State, End of Life, Walk for Life

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January 22, 2016

Governor Brown Delivers State of the State Speech

Unlike the pomp of Washington, D.C., the California Governor’s State of the State speech has a much lower profile.  To a business-like crowd of officials, judges and guests, Gov. Jerry Brown delivered his 2016 version this week in less than 20 minutes. 

The Governor’s “annual report” tends to be a laundry list of accomplishments and goals, marked by his own wry humor (“maybe I’ll run for a fifth term”).  This year was no different although he did reminisce that he gave his first State of the State speech 41 years ago.

The Governor touched on his signature issues – building the state reserve fund (we must “focus on how we pay for the commitments we have already made”); climate change (“Humankind must change its ways and radically decarbonize the economy”); and water policy (“Our goal must be to preserve California’s natural beauty and ensure a vibrant economy – on our farms, in our cities and for all the people who live here.”) 

On key social service issues, he touted the introduction of the Earned Income Tax Credit in California and vowed to continue it; spoke about full health care coverage for the children of undocumented workers; and pointed proudly to the state’s efforts to raise the minimum wage.

The speech also marked some of the Governor’s ongoing, but stalled, efforts with the Legislature.  Once again, he asked for action on infrastructure – an issue that has been the subject of failed special sessions and continues to fester. 

“Our overall state deferred maintenance is staggering, estimated to total $77 billion,” said the Governor. “Most of that is in our roads, highways and bridges.  Here is our challenge: We have no choice but to maintain our transportation infrastructure.”

His special session on Medi-Cal cost has also stalled but he addressed the issue in his proposed budget earlier in the month.

In closing, the Governor conceded that “[d]ifficulties remain, as they always will. That is the human condition.  And finding the right path forward is formidable.  But find it we will, as we have in the past and as we will again – with courage and confidence.”

You can read the full text on his webpage and view the Republican response from Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield).

Preparing for End-of-Life - Discern Moral, Medical Issues Ahead of Time

Thinking about our own mortality is not easy.  It can be daunting as we consider the moral and medical discernments that often arise at the end of life.   For those very close to death, a tool is available to translate our wishes directly into orders to medical personnel.

Patients can use a Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) to be very specific about what should and should not be done as they near death. When completed in consultation with medical personnel and a good understanding of Catholic teaching, the POLST can help us stay consistent with our faith as death approaches.  (For a copy of the form, click here.)

The POLST differs from advance healthcare directives, which do not guide emergency medical personnel or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, which simply instructs not to treat. It is a "here and now" document for those who are already very close to the end of life.

"It is a legal and medical document that translates a patient's wishes into a physician's order," says Lori Dangberg, Vice President of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care. This is in keeping with ERD 59 (see below), which requires the "free and informed judgment" by which a competent adult patient, or his surrogate, informs his conscience on a course of action in keeping with Catholic moral teaching.

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Stop the Use of the Death Penalty

The Catholic Legislative Network emailed an Action Alert early this week regarding the hearing on death penalty protocols. You can still voice your opposition to the use of the death penalty and the limited role of chaplains in the new protocols. 

Visit our Death Penalty page in the Reverence for Life Section of our website for more information on this issue.  A great deal of information, church teaching and news is also available on the website of Catholic Mobilizing Network to End the Use of the Death Penalty.

Be Glad You’re In California at this Year’s Walks for Life

Walks for Life are happening this weekend all over the country.  Even with an imminent snow storm on the east coast, planners are saying the National Prayer Vigil for Life and the walks will go on.  

Here in California, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego will hold walks on Saturday, January 23rd, to give pro-lifers an opportunity to impact their communities locally. Inspirational speakers on life issues will be in attendance at all walks. Festivities include exhibitors, masses and entertainment. 

Patience and Mercy

“Jesus' attitude is striking: we do not hear the words of scorn, we do not hear words of condemnation, but only words of love, of mercy, which are an invitation to conversation. "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again." Ah! Brothers and Sisters, God's face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. Have you thought about God's patience, the patience He has with each one of us? That is His mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart. "Great is God's mercy," says the Psalm. “ Pope Francis — Angelus on March 17, 2013

January 22, 2016
Vol. 9, No. 3

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