CCC Joins Effort to Eradicate Childhood Poverty
Last week, on the first official day of the new California legislative session, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) joined numerous faith leaders and lawmakers at a press event to introduce several ambitious recommendations aimed at curbing childhood poverty in the state.
The measures are based on the recently released report by The Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force. The Task Force was established by AB 1520 last session and charged with developing a comprehensive, data-based plan that lays the groundwork to end child poverty in California. AB 1520 was sponsored by GRACE and closely supported by the CCC.
“California is the fifth largest economy in the world…and yet we continue to have the highest poverty rate in the nation,” said Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood), who championed AB 1520 last session.
The large press event was attended by eight California legislators as well as approximately 50 faith and business leaders committed to the campaign. The Daughters of Charity, founded by Saint Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul, are major sponsors of the campaign to end childhood poverty.
Legislators will be introducing bills to carry out the recommendations in the Task Force’s report, which concluded that California must significantly increase funding to strengthen early childcare and development, housing, health care, and the overall social safety net for low-income families. Other bills will create the New Targeted Child Tax Credit and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and CalWorks programs. In addition, some of the legislation will deal with childcare, health care, and home visits.
Top California Catholic Conference Stories of 2018
A pastoral letter designed to raise awareness of the mental health crisis in this nation was the top story on the California Catholic Conference’s website this year. In it, the Bishops emphasize the need to find ways to accompany those who struggle with mental health issues.
How the Church is grappling with the sexual abuse crisis gained significant interests after the Pennsylvania Attorney General released his report this fall. Other stories include the ongoing saga over physician-assisted suicide, questions swirling around marijuana use and confusion around sex education in California schools.
Here are the top stories from 2018:
- Hope and Healing – “As pastors and bishops, we are deeply concerned with the heartbreaking prevalence of mental illness in our society and are taking action to address this tragic form of misery and sorrow.”
- Recreational Marijuana: Pleasure, Panacea, Poison? – “The moral slope is worrisome and dangerous as society grows in its support of recreational marijuana use (about 58 percent of Americans).”
- Proposition 2 – No Place Like Home Act of 2018 – “A YES vote on Proposition 2 means the state could use existing county mental health funds to pay for housing for those with mental illness who are homeless.”
- General Election Propositions - General Election Propositions, November 06, 2018
- We Can Help Every Child Get a Strong Start by Exercising Their Brain – “New science from Harvard, UCLA, Columbia, and other research organizations tells us the first three years of life are when billions of neurons connect in each child’s brain — and well exercised brains in those first months and years become stronger.”
- Legislation Would Re-Open Sexual Abuse Claims Yet Again – “The Church in the United States has not only recognized its failure but it continues to go to great lengths to swiftly and openly address the harm caused by some of its members and see that it never happens again.”
- Analysis of Propositions on June Ballot Released – “Staying informed and understanding Catholic teaching when making policy decisions is critical, but it can also be time-consuming.”
- U.S. Bishops Grapple with Abuse Crisis at Annual Meeting – “The Bishops of the United States gathered at their Annual Meeting in Baltimore this week focused on one topic – how to hold themselves and brother Bishops accountable for the protection of minors from sexual abuse.”
- Confusion Continues to Reign Regarding California’s FAIR Act – “Six years after its enactment, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act (“FAIR Act”) continues to generate considerable confusion among school officials and parents.”
- End-of-Life Option Act Unconstitutional – “We are encouraged by yesterday’s ruling by a Superior Court judge in Riverside County overturning the state’s assisted suicide law. Our opposition to assisted suicide is no secret, but this legislation was also opposed by a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, seniors and the disabled community, who fought this bill for many, many reasons.” (UPDATE: This ruling was overturned but the legal process continues.)
Remember Wildfire Victims This Christmas
During this Christmas season, we should seek out ways to assist our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those affected by the recent California wildfires are still reeling from the tremendous loss of life and property, and many have no home for the holidays. In this time of giving, consider supporting the services below:
- Those wishing to help victims of the Camp Fire can donate at this site provided by the Diocese of Sacramento.
- Northern Valley Catholic Social Services, part of the Diocese of Sacramento, is providing extensive relief efforts – especially in their Adopt-A-Family program and, more immediately, through gift cards so that evacuees can purchase necessities now.
- The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which operates in many parishes across the nation, also coordinates relief through its Disaster Services branch. You can follow their efforts on the Twitter feed.
- The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is providing support to the communities affected by the Woolsey and Hill fires through Catholic Charities of Los Angeles and local parishes and schools. Donations can be made here.
- The Diocese of Sacramento has also offered free tuition to any student impacted by the fire. As of mid-December, more than 30 students have been placed in Catholic schools around the diocese.
National Migration Week January 6-10
For nearly half of a century, the Catholic Church in the United States has celebrated National Migration Week, an opportunity for the Church to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants, including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.
The theme for National Migration Week 2019, which falls January 6 through 10, is “Building Communities of Welcome.” In this time of extreme challenge for immigrants in the U.S., it calls to mind that regardless of where we are and where we came from, we remain part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.
Justice for Immigrants has a variety of resources for National Immigration Week including homily suggestions, social media tips, prayers, and community engagement ideas. Click here for the 2019 National Migration Week Toolkit.
Urge Governor Brown to Stop Executions before Leaving Office
Earlier in the year, the Catechism of the Catholic Church was updated to reflect the official teaching of the church that the death penalty is “inadmissible.” State-sanctioned execution is a violent rejection of the inherent dignity of human beings, inconsistently applied across demographic groups and no longer necessary to protect society given modern correctional techniques.
Governor Jerry Brown, with just weeks left in office, has an opportunity to address this appalling inequity in California’s justice system by commuting the sentences of many on death row to life imprisonment. He can grant clemency, mercy to the nearly 750 people sentenced to die in California, or he can issue an executive order halting executions. In either case, the Golden State – which has more people on death row than any other state – can join the 19 other states in the Union who do not use the death penalty.
Take a quick moment to send a letter to Governor Brown and join the thousands of individuals and the many groups around the nation and state who are asking the Governor to take merciful action.
Public Policy Insights will return in January 2019.
December 14, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 34