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Insights: Archbishop Cordileone on Death Penalty, Marijuana Initiative

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September 23, 2016

Archbishop Cordileone Issues Statement on Death Penalty Propositions 62 & 66

San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone has issued the following statement the Bishops’ position of Yes on Prop 62 and No on Prop 66:

“Three years ago at this time I was part of a delegation of California bishops who paid a pastoral visit to San Quentin State Prison. While there, we had the opportunity to meet with a number of the inmates on death row, hearing their stories, learning of the misfortunes in their lives, and becoming sensitized to their deep spiritual yearnings and innate desire for God. The experience put a human face on the a tragic human condition that we very comfortably can – and usually do – completely ignore.

“This experience highlights the challenge we as a society face in determining how we can foster peace in this increasingly violent and complicated world. The answer is certainly not by inflicting more violence. As we, the Catholic bishops of California, said in our statement reaffirming our opposition to the death penalty: “Our support is to end the use of the death penalty is also rooted in our unshakable resolve to company and support all victims of crime... As we pray with them and mourn with them we must also stress that the current use of the death penalty does not promote healing. It only brings more violence to a world that has too much violence already.”

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Proposition 64 and Attitudes on Marijuana

Marijuana’s use as a medical resource and as a recreational substance is a topic of national debate – and growing concern. On Election Day, Californians will be asked to vote on Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which would allow adults age 21 or older to legally grow, possess, and use marijuana for recreational purposes.

In his article, The Changing Attitudes About Marijuana, Fr. Gerald Coleman has examined the scientific evidence surrounding the drug and its effects, as well as the documented cultural shift in its perception, and explores the moral questions swirling around its use and legalization.  

Over the past 20 years, the use of marijuana has become almost as common as tobacco among adolescents and young adults but the drug has been shown to have a wide range of side effects, both physical and mental.  Those include hallucinations, temporary paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts, lower life satisfaction, a higher likelihood of dropping out of school, and an increase in job absences, accidents and injuries.

With such a long list of detrimental effects, how has this once stigmatized drug become a more accepted recreational substance?

A respected writer and lecturer on bioethics, Fr. Gerald Coleman is currently an adjunct professor of ethics in the Graduate Program of Pastoral Studies at Santa Clara, and formerly served as corporate ethicist for the Daughters of Charities’ health system and President-Rector of St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, CA.

Read Fr. Coleman’s article in its entirety here.

Proposition 66 Aims to Confuse Voters

This summer, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) endorsed Prop 62 to officially end the use of the death penalty in California. The Bishops also publically opposed Proposition 66, which would eliminate important safeguards put in place to help ensure innocent people are not executed.

Since the current death penalty was enacted in California in 1978, more than 900 individuals have received a death sentence.  As of October 2015, 15 have been executed, 102 have died prior to being executed, 747 are in state prison with death sentences, and the remainder have had their sentences reduced by the courts.  Most of the offenders who are in prison with death sentences are at various stages of the direct appeal or habeas corpus review process.

Proposition 66 is a confusing and poorly written initiative that will cost taxpayers millions, add layers of government bureaucracy leading to more delay and increase the risk that Californians will execute an innocent person. Since there are two competing death penalty propositions on the ballot this election cycle, the proposition that receives the most votes prevails.

Click here for more information on Proposition 66 and all the statewide initiatives on the November 2016 ballot.

Man Creates Prayer Card to Stop Genocide in the Middle East

As a young man studying at the University of Notre Dame, Frank Schillo’s professors taught him the importance of giving back to his community. Since then, he has not sat idle for very long. Schillo has served on the City Council and as Mayor of Thousand Oaks, California, as well as the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. He was also influential in the creation of several Southern California non-profit organizations focused on providing food, housing and other necessary services to those who need it most.

In April 2015, just after his eightieth birthday, Schillo prayed to the Holy Spirit for another project to help the community. The answer came one morning around two o’clock, when he woke with words in his head. “I heard, “Stop the killing of Christians, Muslims and Jews,”” Schillo said. He believes those words were a message from the Holy Spirit, who has guided him on his latest project—a prayer card to help stop the killing in the Middle East.

Over the course of the next year, Schillo met with many church leaders and members from both California and Wisconsin, where he and his wife of fifty-eight years reside part time, to come up with a plan to help stop genocide in the Middle East. As the project was evolving, Schillo met with a group of fellow parishioners at St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Thousand Oaks, and shared his latest endeavor. That’s when the concept of a prayer card was formed.

Continue Reading and Download the Prayer Card Here

Last week for Governor to sign bills

Governor Brown has one more week to sign or veto any pending bills that passed this past legislative session.  

Click on the links below to voice your support or opposition to these important bills:

·      Help Make California Safer and Prisons More Humane CATHOLIC ADVOCACY DAY BILL - AB 2590 would declare that the purpose of sentencing in criminal cases is public safety and direct the state prison system to add rehabilitation and restorative justice principles to punishment as part of their mission statement.

·      Defend Quality Investigative Reporting - Urge Veto of AB 1671 AB 1671 would punish individuals for creating secret recordings like those that enveloped Planned Parenthood in controversy last summer. 

·      Allow Families to Visit Incarcerated Loved Ones SB 1157 will ensure prisons maintain person-to-person visiting capabilities.   

·      Act Now to Ensure School Supplies & Afterschool Care for Homeless School Children AB 1789 will support the ongoing use of the School Supplies for Homeless Children Fund. AB 1567 will make afterschool services available to the neediest of children.


September 23, 2016
Vol. 9, No. 31