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Insights: CA Bishops Meet with Pope Francis; Challenge to Abortion as Health Care

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January 31, 2020

CA Bishops Meet with Pope Francis for ‘Ad Limina’ Visit

Thirty-three bishops, auxiliary bishops and retired bishops from California, Nevada, and Hawaii met Pope Francis for more than two-and-a-half hours last Sunday for the “ad limina apostolorum” (to the threshold of the apostles) visit. An "ad limina" visit is a papal meeting required for every diocesan bishop in the world to provide an update on the state of his diocese.

According to Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, topics included: youth and young adult ministry, Marian devotion, the clerical sexual abuse crisis, marriage and family life, migration, how to be a good bishop, political divisions within the United States and how some of that divisive rhetoric is seen within the church as well.

Read Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron’s account of his time spent with his ‘spiritual father.’

“I told the Pope that we were all grateful to him for giving us the opportunity to be with him as a true spiritual father. And that indeed is what the experience was like: our father speaking to us from the heart and with great affection,” wrote Bishop Barron.

Read more about the visit at Angelus News.


Administration Challenges California’s Definition of Abortion as Health Care

This week, the Trump Administration announced its commitment to enforce the Weldon Amendment, which prohibits states from discriminating against health insurance plans that do not cover abortion.

The Weldon Amendment is designed to protect religious conscience rights in the health care environment.  Violation of its provision mandates that the Federal government withhold ALL funding from a state – something that most observers believe is impractical and why the Amendment has never been enforced.  Catholic organizations and have been advocating for years for more effective consequences and for a private right of action in such cases. 

The Bishops of California filed a complaint in 2014 with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Health and Human Services.  The OCR, under the Obama Administration, contended that the Bishops did not have standing and dismissed the complaint.  (Read more from Bill Cox, president of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, and here.)

USCCB issued a statement on the Administration’s move.


SCOTUS Ruling on Trump Administration Plan Threatens Migrants and Families

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the Trump Administration to broaden the benefit programs that would deem a migrant ineligible for admission to the United States.

For decades, if a migrant was likely to need General Assistance, long-term institutionalization at the government’s expense or disability income, he or she was not allowed to immigrate. 

Under the Trump Administration’s proposal, benefits that would disallow migration would be expanded to include food (SNAP), housing (Section 8) and medical assistance (Medicare).  Read more in “An Overhaul of Legal Immigration Through the Back Door.”

A USCCB statement said that “[i]n our experience serving the poor and vulnerable, we know that many immigrant families lawfully access important medical and social services that are vital to public health and welfare. There is already misinformation about the ‘public charge’ rule circulating in immigrant communities, and this decision will further deter families eligible for assistance from coming forward to access the services they need, such as nutrition assistance and housing. The Supreme Court’s decision will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities, as those impacted are cast into the shadows because they fear deportation and family separation for seeking critical support.”

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Californians Speak Out for Life and Dignity in DC

A heartfelt thank you to all who participated in the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C.  Many of those delegates also participated in the March for Life which took place the day before the Gathering commenced.



Caring for Whole Person Conference Offers Help for Those Caring for Seriously Ill

The good news: For the first time in decades, more Californians are dying at home. The bad news: More Californians are dying at home with their needs unmet.

With more of us caring for seriously ill loved ones at home rather than hospitals – a trend last seen in the mid-1900s – many lack emotional, physical, financial and spiritual support.

Archbishop of Los Angeles and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops José H. Gomez and renowned palliative care physician Ira Byock, M.D, will lead a free, public conference to show how we can better prepare to care for people with serious illness through the end of life.

Read more here.


January 31, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 4

En Español