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October 7, 2016 News, Public Policy Insights

Being Catholic and Voting in 2016

The U.S. is in the midst of a contentious presidential election. The major candidates for the presidency have deeply divided opinions on numerous issues and neither come close to fully supporting important principles in Catholic social teaching. Additionally, Californians are facing significant ethical questions on the November ballot in issues like repealing or altering the death penalty, marijuana legalization, and gun control. This quagmire has led many Catholics to the unfortunate temptation to remain passive and not vote at all.

October 6, 2016 News

Proposition 64, or the “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” isn’t getting as much television and radio air play as some of the other measures on the ballot, but it’s passage could be a much further reaching public health threat than is being portrayed.

Opponents of the measure have created accurate web-ads that focus on the dangers of impaired driving and exposing youth to advertising in favor of the drug, which a recent article in the Sacramento Bee found to be accurate. 

October 6, 2016 News


We are in the midst of a contentious Presidential season while also facing significant ethical questions on the November ballot in California, e.g., marijuana legalization, gun control, healthcare and drug prices, repealing or altering the death penalty. The major candidates for the Presidency have deeply divided opinions on numerous issues and neither come close to fully supporting important principles in Catholic social teaching. This quagmire has led many Catholics to the decision to remain passive and not vote at all.

This is not a wise judgment especially in light of Catholic teaching. The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults teaches that “Catholics have the duty to vote, to participate in the political arena, and to help shape society in light of Catholic teaching.”[1] This directive is based on the belief that the Church is missionary and “through participation in political life – either as voters or as holders of public office – they [Catholics] work for increasing conformity of public policy to the law of God as known by human reason and Divine Revelation.”[2]

October 6, 2016 News

The legislative session officially ended at midnight last Friday, ending the opportunity for Governor Brown to sign or veto any remaining bills passed during the recent legislative session.

Of the 1,059 bills sent to him this year, Governor Brown vetoed only 159, or approximately 15 percent.  Hundreds of new bills became law, including AB 2590, the restorative justice bill the California Catholic Conference and other faith-based groups worked tirelessly to pass.  It adds rehabilitation to the mission statement of California’s prison system. 

September 30, 2016 News, Public Policy Insights

In this edition:

  • Catholics and the Death Penalty
  • Governor Brown Acts on Bills as Signing Period Ends Today
  • Cardinal Dolan Launches 2016-2017 Program with Respect Life Month Statement
  • Bishop Vann Organizes Relief Benefit for People of Amatrice, Italy

Catholics and the Death Penalty

September 30, 2016 Because We Are Catholic, News

(PDF for Bulletin Inserts - English, En Español) Stanley “Tookie” Williams was one of the early leaders in the West Side Crips, a South Central Los Angeles street gang. An openly volatile and violent person, Williams was a drug addict, and had little regard for human life. In 1979, Williams was convicted of four murders, two with special circumstances for their heinous nature. He received the death penalty as punishment.

September 23, 2016 News, Public Policy Insights

Archbishop Cordileone Issues Statement on Death Penalty Propositions 62 & 66

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone has issued the following statement the Bishops’ position of Yes on Prop 62 and No on Prop 66:

September 19, 2016 Election 2016, News

By Gerald D. Coleman, P.S.S.

In Weed the People, the author argues that “America is changing its mind about marijuana. For the past 80 years we’ve treated it as a ruinously dangerous drug, a public health menace, an addictive and illegal scourge. This is changing, and more quickly than many of us once thought possible. At the end of 2014 the U.S. reached a tipping point: for the first time ever, a majority of Americans lived in states with some form of marijuana legality.”[1]

The public perception of marijuana has been steadily shifting over the past decade. Gallup polls in the early 2000s found that about one-third of Americans favored legalization. That climbed to 44% in 2009, 48% in 2012, and 58% in 2013. A major factor behind this surge was the growing approbation of medical marijuana. By 2013 medical marijuana use was seen as helpful and safe.[2] Seventy-seven percent of Americans believed marijuana had legitimate medical uses and 83% thought doctors should be able to prescribe limited amounts for patients with serious illnesses.

One moment crystallized the nation’s new openness to marijuana when on August 8, 2013 CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, publicly changed his mind on the positive effects of medical marijuana. Gupta said that he “mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a Schedule I substance because of sound scientific proof. In fact, the DEA had no such proof. Though government continued to deny it, marijuana has very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.”[3]

The doctor-prescribed use of medical marijuana has led to the worrisome assumption that the recreational use of marijuana enjoys the same level of safety and oversight. This conjecture has led to an increasing number of states to legalize or hope to legalize the use of marijuana for reactional purposes.

This assumption needs careful critique.

September 19, 2016 News, News

As a young man studying at the University of Notre Dame, Frank Schillo’s professors taught him the importance of giving back to his community. Since then, he has not sat idle for very long. Schillo has served on the City Council and as Mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, as well as the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. He was also influential in the creation of several Southern California non-profit organizations focused on providing food, housing and other necessary services to those who need it most.

September 7, 2016 Legislation, News

Wrapping up on the last day of August, the California Legislature completed its two-year session by sending Governor Jerry Brown more than 800 bills.  He now has until September 30 to sign or veto the legislation.  We have been and will continue distributing Action Alerts on most of these bills.  (You can find the complete list here and below.)