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Bishops Support Ending the Use of Death Penalty, World Youth Day

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August 1, 2016

California Bishops Support Ending the Use of Death Penalty

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops issued the following statement last week, endorsing Prop 62, ending the use of the death penalty, and opposing Prop 66, which would expedite executions in California:

During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we, the Catholic Bishops of California support Proposition 62, which would end the use of the death penalty in California.  Our commitment to halt the practice of capital punishment is rooted both in the Catholic faith and our pastoral experience.

All life is sacred – innocent or flawed – just as Jesus Christ taught us and demonstrated repeatedly throughout His ministry.  This focus on the preciousness of human life is fundamental to Christianity and most eloquently expressed in the two great commandments: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk. 12.30-31) Jesus makes clear that to love God we must love our neighbor.  Each of us holds an inherent worth derived from being created in God’s own image.  Each of us has a duty to love this divine image imprinted on every person.  “Whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (I Jn. 4.20)

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State Agency Tries to Avoid Responsibility for Physician-Assisted Suicide

Only one month after physician-assisted suicide became legal in California, a state agency is proposing to adopt emergency regulations that would transfer implementation and the potentially serious liabilities of the new law from state-run and funded agencies to the private sector. 

The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) is seeking approval of emergency protocol measures that would prevent physician-assisted suicide from taking place in state centers for the disabled. The DDS, arguing that many of its patients are vulnerable to abuse from the law, is asking that those individuals who wish to participate be transferred to private facilities, which would then be responsible for the care and coordination of end-of-life assistance.

In its argument, the DDS writes that the proposed regulations must be adopted on an emergency basis, “in order to avoid serious harm to the public peace, health, safety, and general welfare.” It goes on to read, “Given the intellectual challenges of persons residing in a state developmental center or state-run facility, the [law’s] requirement to provide patients with aid-in-dying drugs can constitute a threat... ”

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THANK YOU - U.S. House Passes Conscience Protection Act

We are pleased to report that the Catholic Legislative Network played an integral role in helping to secure support for the passage of the Conscience Protection Act (HR 2848), which ensures that “religious health care entities are adequately protected against governmental discrimination with a private right of action.”  Thank you to the thousands of members who responded to our Action Alert. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in a bi-partisan vote on July 13.

A recent ruling by the federal government that allows California to continue forcing health plans to cover abortions has highlighted the great need for the legislation. HR 2848 is a milestone step in reversing mandates such as these and securing legal protection for conscience protection. Please remain prayerful with us that this bill reaches the President’s desk.

The Alliance for Conscience Rights issued a statement on the passage of the bill which also includes more background information.

Native Americans Embrace Faith, Face Struggles

As a community, Native American Catholics often come together to worship and grow in their faith.  This week, for instance, more than 750 will gather in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, for the annual Tekakwitha Conference. 

The Conference is aimed at reinforcing Catholic identity while also boosting cultural pride, promoting healing, and nurturing the relationship between indigenous communities and the Catholic Church.  This year, they will celebrate with the theme, “Saint Kateri:  The Bridge Between our Faith and Our Traditions.” 

But Native American communities in the United States still face many very daunting challenges - from unemployment to a high suicide rate. 

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Third-Largest U.S. World Youth Day Attendance

WASHINGTON—More than 40,000 Americans are registered to attend World Youth Day (WYD), July 26-31, in Krakow, Poland. To assist this record-breaking number of participants from the United States, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Secretariat of Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth has lined up a series of resources and a variety of digital platforms to engage youth and young adults at home and abroad.  

Through resources like the free mobile app Pilgrimage, followers will have access to content to help them unpack the meaning of the pilgrimage and put works of mercy into action. Digital content include 360-degree video of World Youth Day events, daily readings and prayers. The app has been developed in collaboration with American Bible Society and can be downloaded from Android and Apple app stores.

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July 22, 2016      

Vol. 9, No. 24


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