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“Since the old ethic has not yet been fully displaced it has become necessary to separate the idea of abortion from the idea of killing, which continues to be socially abhorrent.  The result has been a curious avoidance of the scientific fact, which everyone really knows, that human life begins at conception and is continuous whether intra- or extra- uterine until death.  The very considerable semantic gymnastics which are required to rationalize abortion as anything but the taking of a human life would be ludicrous if they were not often put forth under socially impeccable auspices.” 

There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. (Luke 16: 19-20)

U.S. Census data recently showed that 5.6 million people in the Golden State live below the poverty line – nearly one in seven Californians. Sadly, two million of them are children.

“No shame, no blame, no names”

Early one recent morning, a man rummaging for recyclables in dumpsters behind a Merced, California apartment complex made a heart-stopping discovery.  He heard a noise and began digging to the bottom of the dumpster. There, among discarded pizza boxes, household garbage and bags of trash, he found an hours-old baby girl wrapped in a towel, cold and dirty, with her umbilical cord dangling.

When RU-486, the chemical abortion drug, was fast-tracked to approval by the FDA in the waning hours of Bill Clinton's presidency in 2000, it was hailed by the abortion industry as a godsend, a way for women to procure abortions without having to run the gambit of protesters outside abortion facilities.

“It has always seemed to me possible, and even probable, that there would be a resurrection of Islam and that our sons or our grandsons would see the renewal of that tremendous struggle between the Christian culture and what has been for more than a thousand years its greatest opponent.” Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, 1938

“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcome and protected,” said Pope Francis in a message about the large number of unaccompanied children seeking safety from the violence of their Central American homes. [1]

The concept that people seek safety and security did not start when the media noticed the children crossing the border or when one government or another failed to solve a problem.

Survival is as basic a human instinct as it gets.

For several days I’ve sat at my desk, attempting to write about the third Fortnight for Freedom beginning on June 21. This year’s theme is “Freedom to Serve”. Where do I start? I want to convey my deep concerns about the chipping away of our personal freedom to practice and publicly witness our faith. I want to raise a sense of urgency about the marginalization of the Church in the public square. I want to talk about how restrictions on religious freedom are impeding the ability of Church-related organizations to provide social services such as adoption.

Is the Church’s canonization process a “good ol’ boy network”? That was the opinion expressed by someone in a letter to a Bay Area newspaper a few days after the canonization of John XXIII and John Paul II. The letter writer, who also groused that the Church has seemingly forgotten about Mother Teresa of Calcutta, is apparently uninformed: Mother Teresa has beenBlessed Teresa of Calcutta since 2003. A second miracle is required for her canonization.

This year, the California Legislature has presented us with a rare opportunity—two bills we can support based on the whole of Catholic social teaching. They are SB 899 and AB 1579. But first, some background.

One of my gifts to a friend this Christmas was a “Gratitude Kit” consisting of 52 small thank-you cards and a handsome little journal to keep track of a note sent each week to someone who has extended an unexpected act of kindness or who in some way has gone above and beyond the expected—the barista who always spreads cheer with her smile, the co-worker who does a favor, a neighbor who stops by with a garden bouquet for no special reason, that sort of thing.