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Insights: Bishop Rojas Named Coadjutor; Bills Coming Back in 2020

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December 6, 2019

Bishop Rojas Named San Bernardino Coadjutor

Pope Francis has named Bishop Alberto Rojas as Coadjutor Bishop of San Bernardino.

Bishop Rojas, 54, will work alongside Bishop Gerald Barnes until his retirement on his 75th birthday, as required by Church law. Bishop Barnes has overseen the diocese for 24 years.

Bishop Rojas, who was born and raised in Aguascalientes, Mexico, has served as an auxiliary bishop of Chicago since 2011.

The Diocese of San Bernardino is the nation’s fifth-largest diocese and second-largest in California. It is home to over 1.7 million Catholics.

Bishop Rojas has fulfilled a number of key assignments on national committees for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Hispanic Affairs, Liturgy, Catholic Home Missions and, most recently, as lead bishop for Region VII of the V Encuentro, a reflection and dialogue of the U.S. church on the growing prominence of Hispanics in the church.

The announcement came on Dec. 2 from Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.  You can watch a video of the welcoming press conference at the Diocese of San Bernardino’s YouTube page.


Two-Year Bills Resurge as New Session Begins

On January 6 lawmakers will get back to work on the second year of their two-year legislative session.  They have spent December on organizational issues and January will be devoted to introducing new legislation but before they get to the new bills several two-year bills that will be back on the table.

Two-year bills come in two versions.  Bills that were introduced last year and did not pass their house of origin will have to be taken up by the end of January. Those that did pass their house of origin can be revived at any time during the legislative session.

For instance, SB 360 (Hill, D- San Mateo), which threatens priests with jail-time if they aren’t willing to break the seal of confession, passed the Senate but stalled in an Assembly committee.  It has been moved to a two-year bill and will be taken up sometime before June at the author’s discretion. SB 298 (Caballero, D – Salinas), the plan to reduce childhood poverty by 50 percent in the state by 2039 is also a two-year bill.

Two-year bills the California Catholic Conference will be tracking include SB 673, dubbed Comprehensive Sexual Health Education (Morrell, R – Rancho Cucamonga), which would amend the California Healthy Youth Act (CHYA) to increase parent oversight of sexual health education of their children and strengthen their right to “supervise” such instruction.  Under the bill, supported by the conference, it would be made clear that any sexual health education of students shall be age-appropriate. Parents would also be able to review, through a school district’s website, all materials used in sexual health education well in advance of actual instruction.

Also coming back is AB 15 (Nazarian, D – North Hollywood), which would expand access to higher education through a universal, at-birth, opt-out Children’s Savings Account for every child born in California to assist with college costs. AB 123 (McCarty, D – Sacramento) would expand access to full-day, full-year preschool for all 4-year-olds who live in a neighborhood where more than 70% of students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals.

Additionally, SB 456, (Archuleta, D – Pico Rivera) would provide protections for places of worship or other faith-based organization from the disclosing personal information of volunteers to a third party without a court-issued subpoena, warrant or order. Volunteers are essential to faith-based organizations and should not have to fear that their service could lead to unexpected repercussions.

Finally, SB 54, the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, would drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste that plagues human health, pollutes our natural environment, and burdens taxpayers/local communities will also likely make another appearance.

Stay tuned with the CCC as these bills move through the Legislature before their January deadlines.


Legislative Network Debuts New Advocacy Tech

With this newsletter, the California Catholic Conference is debuting its new advocacy technology, Voter Voice.  You will notice a few differences in format – starting with this edition of Public Policy Insights – but the basic process of action alerts and communicating with your elected officials will not change much.

The CCC will be using Voter Voice for its electronic communications and advocacy efforts. We hope you enjoy the new format of Public Policy Insights and be on the lookout for revised alerts and other communications from the Catholic Legislative Network.


On the Web


Pope writes Apostolic Letter on the significance of the Christmas crèche - Pope Francis has written an Apostolic Letter on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene. He signed the Letter during his visit on Sunday afternoon to the Italian town of Greccio.  Read more on Vatican News.

Defend dignity of persons with disabilities, pope says - In a letter marking the U.N.'s International Day of Persons with Disabilities Dec. 3, the pope said that humanity needs to "develop antibodies against a culture that considers some lives as class A and others as class B; this is a social sin!"  Continue Reading on Angelus News.

Just for Fun – The Catholic GeoHub - The Catholic GeoHub allows people around the world to gain a global understanding of the Catholic Church. This site provides efficient access to data, maps, and applications about the temporal presence of the Catholic Church and its people.


December 6, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 31

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