Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a landmark 99-page pastoral letter entitled Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy. Today, with a record number of people suffering in a flailing economy, the letter’s call to promote human dignity in economic, policy and individual actions is as relevant as ever.
We believe that each person has a right to access the basic necessities of life. We advocate for food and income security for all—especially children and the elderly. We believe in policies for decent housing and shelter, especially for farm workers. We support access to basic health care for all. We advocate for employment and promote the idea of fair wages and fair taxes. We oppose unjust discrimination, racism, torture and human trafficking.
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.”
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. 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.”
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.
[The State Budget] concerns profound moral questions about who are we as a society, how we view our future and whether as a people we can look beyond our own self-interest to the interest of the larger society. (In Search of the Common Good, 2011)
Over the course of the next few days, the Governor and Legislative leaders will make decisions regarding the State Budget that will impact millions of Californians.
Faced with an aggressive, far-reaching initiative heading to the November ballot, California lawmakers have enacted the highest minimum wage in the nation. Governor Brown quickly signed the measure which will bring the State’s lowest wage earners to $15 per hour by 2022.
A few weeks ago the California Budget & Policy Center held their annual conference Policy Insights 2016. This presentation dealt with the housing crisis in California. The slide show by the California Housing Parntership Coorporation was a great overview of the issue. You can view the slides here.
Why Is Housing So Expensive in California and What Can Be Done About It?
The Diocese of Stockton, in the heart of California’s Central Valley and facing immense environmental challenges, has joined the Catholic Climate Covenant as well as other Catholic and faith groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the Clean Power Plan, the first-ever federal standards on carbon pollution from power plants.
Catholic Charities of California (CCC) has announced that the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has again chosen to award the organization additional funding to provide Unaccompanied Undocumented Minor (UUM) Legal Services in the current fiscal year. CCC will receive an additional $100,000, bringing the total grant amount to $340,000 for Fiscal Year 2015-16. These funds will allow local Catholic Charities Agencies to provide legal services to 68 unaccompanied undocumented minors.
CCC received the second largest award amount out of the 21 grantees.
This Holy Year will bring to the fore the richness of Jesus’ mission echoed in the words of the prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society…to restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed.-- Pope Francis
Pope Francis has declared 2016 an Extraordinary Year of Mercy. He is asking us to be more aware of God’s mercy in our lives and, just as importantly, to find ways we can extend that mercy to others through service.