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About Religious Liberty

"At the very heart of human freedom is the right to religious freedom, since it deals with man’s most fundamental relationship: his relationship with God." - Pope John Paul II, Address to Diplomats, January 2005

Religious Liberty at USCCB


Faith in the Public Square

We affirm our religious liberty, which is guaranteed in both the U.S. Constitution and the California state constitution.

Download a backgrounder on Faith in the Public Square

July 8, 2019 News, Faith in the Public Square

SACRAMENTO, CA -- The day before hundreds of Catholics were planning to voice their opposition by attending a hearing in the Capitol, SB 360 was pulled from the Assembly Public Safety Committee agenda effectively removing it from any further consideration this year.

SB 360  (Hill, D-San Mateo) attempted to deny the sanctity of confession when it comes to priests and to Catholics who work with priests in parishes, Church agencies and ministries.

June 13, 2019 Faith in the Public Square

Priests are willing to be jailed rather than break the sanctity of the confessional, according to several interviewed in a video released by Catholic News Service this week.

June 13, 2019 News, Faith in the Public Square

A sample of some of the statements California Bishops have issued in relation to SB 360:

May 30, 2019 News, News, Faith in the Public Square

The Legislature’s attempts to attack the sanctity of the confessional in Senate Bill 360 is drawing alarm from California Bishops, priests, Catholics and others concerned with the free exercise of religion.

SB 360 (Hill, D-Mateo), would remove the right to privacy between a penitent and confessor during the Sacrament of Reconciliation and other spiritual counseling for priests and employees of the Church. In Catholic teaching, the confessional is sacrosanct and Canon law is very clear that any priest who violates the seal of confession is automatically excommunicated.  

May 23, 2019 Faith in the Public Square

Andy Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement following the passage of SB 360 Mandatory reporting (Hill, D-San Mateo):

May 17, 2019 Faith in the Public Square

Andrew Rivas, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement today regarding amendments to SB 360, which threatened to undermine the seal of confession:

April 24, 2019 Abortion & Procreation, Faith in the Public Square

SACRAMENTO, CA – A string of emails from a religious freedom case have detailed how Planned Parenthood urged California regulators to force religious employers to include abortions in their employees' health insurance coverage even though the rule-makers did not seek or allow any other public comment. 

November 26, 2018 Economic Justice, Human Dignity, Education, Faith in the Public Square

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently approved a new pastoral letter - Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – examining the “persistent” history of racism in this nation.  The report is particularly timely in that the FBI recently reported that hate crimes increased by 17 percent in 2017 with the most common bias being “race/ethnicity/ancestry.”  Fr.

June 26, 2018 Abortion & Procreation, Reverence for Life, Faith in the Public Square

The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, released the following statement today concerning a US Supreme Court ruling overturning a California law restricting the free speech rights of crisis pregnancy centers.  The law, called the “California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act” (“FACT Act”), singled out crisis pregnancy centers and required them to post signs and provide information about the availability of abortion services. 

March 7, 2018 Abortion & Procreation, Bioethics, Health Care, Faith in the Public Square

Now is the time to contact your members of Congress and advocate for the protection of life and freedom of conscience. 

The Conscience Protection Act is common-sense legislation that will clarify federal law and ensure that those who provide health care and health coverage can do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.