As Lawmakers Speed to Adjournment Critical Bills Still Undecided
With less than two weeks to go in this Legislative session, legislators are working furiously to shepherd their bills through both houses and onto the Governor’s desk. The California Catholic Conference (CCC) is tracking a number of bills, but several are particularly noteworthy:
SB 1146 (Lara, D-Bell Gardens) a bill that would have threatened the religious freedom of faith-based colleges, is still being negotiated but as of today it appears that the bill will cover only transparency provisions for students. This bill is being carefully tracked and has gone through many versions. With one week left in the session, there is not much time left to alter its provisions.
One extremely troubling bill that recently re-emerged is AB 2531 (Burke, D-Inglewood). A direct endangerment to women’s health, with the ability to impede on the creation of life, the CCC is strongly opposed to the bill. AB 2531 would allow women to be compensated and create a perverse market dynamic for women to sell oocytes, or human eggs, in the name of research. It would also exploit women who are most in need of resources, including college students, immigrants and women with economic challenges.
AB 2531 could be taken up at any moment. Click here to quickly send a letter to your legislator demanding a NO vote. Governor Brown previously vetoed a version of this bill, writing “Not everything for life is for sale nor should it be.”
The CCC is still working on AB 2590, the restorative justice bill authored by Dr. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego). The bill would make legislative findings and declarations that the purpose of sentencing is public safety achieved through rehabilitation, and restorative justice. The bill would state that programs should be available and would encourage the department to allow eligible inmates the opportunity to enroll in programs that promote successful return to the community. AB 2590 promotes redemption and the value of all human life.
AB 1276, authored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), would spare minors ages 13 through 17 from facing additional trauma when testifying in human trafficking cases. The bill provides the opportunities for testimony to take place outside of the courtroom, easing fears about retaliation and anxieties in having to face a perpetrator. AB 1276 is a Catholic Advocacy Day bill and is currently awaiting approval in the Assembly before it heads to the governor for his signature. (Read the background here.)
As the clock continues to tick down, keep watch for ways you can help assist the CCC in these and other bills. Visit www.cacatholic.org for more information on
Election 2016: Faithful Citizenship Resources
"We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern." - Pope Francis
To help Catholics participate in civic life – especially with voting decisions – the California Catholic Conference has assembled an array of Election 2016 resources.
The Conference has already announced its support for Prop 62 to end the use of the death penalty (En Español) and opposition to Prop 66 which would expedite executions in the State. The Bishops have also offered support for Prop 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act (En Español).
In addition to these issues on the November ballot, there is a comprehensive Faithful Citizenship FAQ (En Español) and general Faithful Citizenship resources that include brochures, bulletin announcements and other information to help parishes explore ways parishioners can participate in public life.
As with every election, the Conference has also posted a complete analysis of all the propositions on the November ballot. With 17 measures on the ballot, the Proposition Analysis with Catholic Teaching Reflections guide is long, but a short bulletin insert is also available.
Most material is available in both English and Spanish. Additional resources will be added throughout the election season.
Dallas Bishop to Lead Vatican Department on the Laity
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) President Archbishop Joseph Kurtz welcomed the news that Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, of Dallas, has been appointed as the first prefect of the Vatican's new Laity, Family, and Life dicastery.
“The Holy See's new Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life gained a prefect with deep pastoral roots and strong administrative skill. Our prayers are with Bishop Farrell as he prepares for this new role in service to the universal Church,” said Archbishop Kurtz.
“On making the appointment, Pope Francis wrote that the Dicastery is to ensure "the riches of Jesus Christ are poured out appropriately and with profusion among the faithful." Most recently, Bishop Farrell led the faithful of Dallas in an outpouring of love in response to the terrible violence. I am also grateful for his service to the USCCB as treasurer, where his leadership set the highest standards of good stewardship.”
Mother Teresa Did the Work Herself
Sean Callahan remembers what it was like to work with Mother Teresa. “In those days my vocabulary consisted of two words, ‘Yes Mother, Yes Mother, Yes Mother,’” says the chief operations officer for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and vice president of Caritas Internationalis.
On September 4, 2016, Blessed Mother Teresa will become Saint Teresa of Kolkata. Callahan knew her when he was CRS’ East India zonal director in Kolkata (then called Calcutta) beginning in 1994. He continued a longstanding relationship between CRS and Mother Teresa that dated to a few years after she and her Missionaries of Charity began to bring care and love to people who were infirmed, poor and dying in the early 1950s.
Back to School: Catholic Schools Have a Robust Future
In January of this year, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops issued a comprehensive document focused on Catholic schools. Entitled “Our Catholic Schools in California: A Stellar Past, A Robust Future”, the document recognizes the tremendous benefit that Catholic schools have had and will continue to have on society as a whole.
As children begin returning to school, it’s a good time to review Our Catholic Schools in California to help us appreciate the rich blessing of Catholic education and explore some of the ways the Bishops are asking Catholic schools to prepare for the future.
Read the statement and more on our Education page.
August 19, 2016
Vol. 9, No. 27