Supreme Courts Hears Dobbs; CCC’s Pastoral History

Insights Newsletter

Supreme Court Hears Dobbs Arguments

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case has the opportunity to reverse the rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey that protected legalized abortion in the U.S.

The current case centers on the “Gestational Age Act,” a Mississippi law that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The previous rulings established that abortions are a protected right of women up to 24 weeks of pregnancy (also called the “viability threshold”), triggering pro-choice advocates to file the suit.

“Viability, it seems to me, doesn’t have anything to do with choice,” Chief Justice John Roberts said during the 70-minute hearing. “If it really is an issue about choice, why is 15 weeks not enough time?”

While several of the conservative justices made remarks that hinted they favor overturning Roe and Casey's precedent rulings, the Court will not announce a decision until June 2022.

In a piece exploring what a post-Roe California could look like, CCC Respect Life Director Molly Sheahan writes that if Roe is overturned, 26 states would instantly ban abortion and California would become a beacon for those seeking abortion services. 

“For California, the Guttmacher Institute predicts a 3,000 percent increase in out-of-state women seeking abortions,” she said. “Planned Parenthood and the California Future of Abortion Council want the state to be an abortion hub, even providing hotels, transportation, and childcare for abortion-minded women.”

However, Sheahan argues there is much more work to be done at the state, local, and even parish to protect unborn life, including increasing funding for programs that support pregnant women and mothers and expanding maternity, paid leave, and educational opportunities. 

“At the parish level, it means organizing MealTrains, childcare, and creative ways to help moms in the community,” Sheahan said. “It also looks like providing a listening ear when a mom calls the parish office, followed by a warm handoff to the Gabriel Project or local supports for pregnant and parenting moms.

The CCC has published a series of white papers with background on each significant Supreme Court abortion case and the implications that the ruling in the Dobbs case could have.


California Catholic Conference’s Rich Pastoral History

The following is the fourth article in a series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the California Catholic Conference.

The California Catholic Conference, which for 50 years has advocated for the common good in the California legislature, also offers pastoral initiatives that help Californians in their daily lives.

Every day in parishes and dioceses, countless acts of mercy are offered to those in need through parish ministries, outreach programs, or individual Catholics accompanying a brother or sister. There is never an end to the good work that can be done in Jesus’ name. Certain issues span our state, and the bishops of California come together to create solutions and opportunities for growth.

Over the last 50 years, the CCC, together with dioceses and parishes, have accompanied those who are mentally ill, comforted people who are terminally ill, helped migrants make a new life, provided life-changing support for at-risk youth, crime victims, prisoners and their families, and helped parents create strong, healthy families.

The pandemic has changed our lives in ways we have yet to understand. This is also true for the work of Catholic parishes and dioceses. California’s bishops were continually conscious of the challenges faced by elderly and homebound parishioners, families with young children in school, those who had lost their jobs, and those without access to quality medical care. They relied on the strength of pastoral programs already created and sought innovation to meet current needs.

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Bishops Celebrate 50 years of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

During the USCCB’s November General Assembly meeting, Bishop David G. O’Connell, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), gave an inspiring presentation to the entire body of bishops to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of CCHD.

In his remarks, Bishop O’Connell shared the transformational work of CCHD’s funded organizations in communities across the country. Exemplifying the “art of encounter,” these organizations empower parents, workers, pregnant mothers, immigrants, and young adults to address the root causes of poverty.

You can read the full text of Bishop O’Connell’s remarks and learn about how CCHD is helping end poverty in your community at


2022 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering

Registration is now open for the 2022 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, which will take place virtually from January 29 – February 1.

For more than 30 years, the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering (CSMG) has brought together hundreds of participants whose faith inspires them to address pressing current domestic and global challenges affecting our most vulnerable brothers and sisters at home and around the world. The multi-day event includes webinars, workshops, and virtual meetings with Senators.

Click here to learn more or register.


Advent Resources

As we wind down the second year of the pandemic, though is still uncertainty, there are so many gifts to be grateful for this Advent season.

To help get you started, the USCCB has a variety of resources to help celebrate the season, including video reflections, parish resources, and blessings.

The Laudato Si’ Movement also has creation-themed Advent calendar to help spur recognition of the great gifts with which God has surrounded us.


Service makes our talents bear fruit and gives meaning to our lives. Those who do not live to serve, serve for little in this life.



December 3, 2021
Vol. 14, No. 38

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