Skip to main content

Insights: Top Stories of 2015

Printer-friendly version
December 18, 2015

Welcome to the end of an extraordinary year in California.  It was certainly mixed. 

California was honored by Pope Francis when he canonized St. Junípero Serra during his Apostolic Visit in September.  But it was also stunned when the Legislature rammed through and the Governor signed a physician-assisted suicide bill during a special session -- even after the measure was defeated though the normal legislative process!  (Have you signed the referendum to overturn this “travesty of compassion”?)

We’ve assembled the most-visited stories from our website in 2015.  Not surprisingly, physician-assisted suicide and St. Junípero  were top of the list, but you were also very interested in the vaccination debate, marriage and Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment.

More importantly, you also advocated on these issues and many other issues using the Catholic Legislative Network email system.  Tens of thousands of emails were sent this year to all levels of elected officials in the state and federal government.  You stood up for life and dignity in California in an unprecedented way.  Thank you for your voice, your compassion and your diligence.

Next year will be an election year and we look forward in joining you on this journey but before we borrow trouble from the future, here’s a look at what you were interested in during 2015:

  1. Statement of the California Catholic Conference on Governor Brown Signing ABx2-15 to Legalize Physician-Assisted Suicide - The physician-assisted suicide legislation (ABx2-15) signed today by Governor Brown makes it legal to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to assist terminally ill patients to take their own life.  This law stands in direct contradiction to providing compassionate, quality care for those facing a terminal illness.
  2. Art of Being Well While Dying - Dying is just that, an art! According to leading experts in the newly formed medical specialty of palliative care, there is definitely an art to dying, a way to die well. This art, when practiced while alive and well, enables a patient to seamlessly, effortlessly, and spiritually make the transition to the next part of his or her journey.
  3. Padre Junípero Serra – The Path to Canonization - On September 23, 2015, Pope Francis will preside over the canonization ceremony of Father Junipero Serra in Washington D.C.  Long considered the “Apostle of California,” Serra will be honored by the Catholic Church as a symbol of heroic sacrifice and evangelization.
  4. The Question of Parental Rights and Mandated Vaccinations - The vast majority of questions being posed by Catholic parents with regard to mandated vaccinations fall into two categories: the rights of parents and the morality of certain vaccines. The Catholic Church has made it very clear that we must all be free to follow our conscience and that parents are primarily responsible for their children.  It also teaches that respect and promotion of families must be one of the paramount drivers of public policy.
  5. Retreat from Marriage Reaches Working, Middle Class - New trends underscore need to strengthen family stability.  Marriage is in decline in America, but recent studies have highlighted the latest trends that will help religious and civic institutions find new paths to strengthen marriage, the pillar of family life.
  6. The Miracle of Blessed Father Serra The impending canonization of Blessed Father Junípero Serra is striking for its incongruities. Although he's been an ubiquitous influence in California for centuries, the announcement by Pope Francis that he would canonize Blessed Serra this year has raised some eyebrows. Though Blessed Serra is widely venerated, the announcement has stirred up controversy among critics, many of them Native Americans who feel his canonization is an affront to their culture and history.
  7. In New Encyclical Pope Invites the World to Dialogue About Our Common Home and Its Ecological Future - In Laudato Si, a letter addressed to all the people of the world, Pope Francis presents a clear and compelling case for placing people at the center of a renewed commitment to caring for the planet.
  8. Medical Ethics Professor: Roll Back Assisted-Suicide Law Before It’s Too Late - On Oct. 5 Governor Jerry Brown signed ABx2-15 (Eggman) the so-called “End-of-Life Option Act,” authorizing physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to patients who are determined to have a terminal illness and less than six months to live. “What happened” that day “was an enormous culture shift in our country, not unlike Roe v. Wade,” said Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Program in Medical Ethics at UC Irvine School of Medicine, at the Sacramento Catholic Forum on Oct. 15.  The law also changes the “culture of medicine” from a focus on saving lives to helping end them, he said. 
  9. California Catholic Leaders Commit to Reconciliation Process with Mission Indians; 18-month Project Aimed at Enriching the Mission Experience and Enhancing School Curriculum - The  Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento and president of the California Catholic Conference, today announced an ambitious 18-month program to review and revise the cultural content and displays at the California missions under Church authority and to undertake a similar effort to review the Third and Fourth Grade curriculum in Catholic schools to better reflect modern understandings of the Mission Era and the relationship between Spanish civil authority, the Catholic Missions and local Indian tribes.
  10. The Cost for Parents to Educate Their Children - Each year, at the end of August and beginning of September, many families with school-age children look forward to the start of a new school year. Along with this excitement, parents often must also face the not so thrilling reality of paying for a number of education-related expenses. In fact, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released in August of 2014, a middle-income family with a child born in 2013 is expected to spend about $54,806 (adjusted for projected inflation) for childcare and education up to age 18.


Dec. 18, 2015
Vol. 8, No. 41

En Español