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Insights: Virtual Catholic Advocacy Day; Prison Chaplains Serve Inmates

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April 20, 2018

Be a Virtual Catholic Advocacy Day Participant

This year’s Catholic Advocacy Day (CAD) will take place next Tuesday, April 24. CAD brings people from dioceses throughout the state to the Capitol on one day. The advocates – two for each legislative district – will meet with their elected representatives and be a voice for life and dignity in a world that often does not seem to value either.

For those who are unable to travel to Sacramento, you have the opportunity to participate virtually by using this form to send letters to your lawmakers.

The chosen bills that will be discussed that day highlight some of the various priority areas established by the Bishops for the California Catholic Conference -- reference for life, economic justice, education, restorative justice and immigration.

Please join with your delegates in witnessing to the importance for the respect of life and dignity by adding your voice to theirs with an email to your elected officials.

Stand in solidarity with your fellow Catholics visiting Sacramento on April 24.

For more information on the bills, including background sheets in Spanish and English, click here.


Legislation Would Re-Open Sexual Abuse Claims Yet Again

The abuse of a minor is a horrific crime.  The failure of institutions, including the Church, to protect children has meant broken lives and broken promises. 

“We hear these children and their cries of pain,” said Pope Francis in 2016.  “It is a sin that shames us. We regret this deeply and we beg forgiveness.”

The Church in the United States has not only recognized its failure but it continue 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.

Nevertheless, for some California lawmakers acting on behalf of the trial lawyers, that is not enough.  They want to permit time-barred claims once more despite already doing so in 2002.

In the aftermath of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, California lawmakers voted in 2002 to remove the statute of limitations on claims of sexual abuse for one year.  The Church did not oppose the legislation. 

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Catholic Chaplains: Providing Spiritual Support Behind Prison Walls

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation manages more than thirty prisons in the state with a combined inmate population of over 130,000. The California Department of State Hospitals also runs five state hospitals, housing mental health patients who have some involvement in the criminal justice system.

As part of restorative justice, it is important that people living in these facilities have their religious needs met. Catholic Chaplains do just that.

Chaplain Teddy Harder has worked at California Rehabilitation Center in Norco for ten years. One of California’s oldest institutions, it houses about 3,000 inmates. Chaplain Harder provides spiritual support to inmates through counseling, small workshops, retreats and more. He said one of the most rewarding parts of his job is the ability to see life from a different vantage point.

In the next calendar year, any person ever harmed by a priest, religious or other person employed by the Church and other institutions was able to file a lawsuit against the Church.  Some of the resulting claims involved alleged abuse that dated back as far as the 1930s. 

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Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People

The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The Charter also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. 

April is Child Abuse Protection Month, so it is good to review the actions of the Church in the aftermath of the abuse scandal.  The Charter directs action in all the following matters:

  • Creating a safe environment for children and young people;
  • Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;
  • Making prompt and effective response to allegations;
  • Cooperating with civil authorities;
  • Disciplining offenders;
  • Providing for means of accountability for the future to ensure the problem continues to be effectively dealt with through the Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and the National Review Board.

Click here for the full booklet version.


April 20, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 14

En Español