Fr. Stephen Barber, S.J., served in the chaplain’s office of San Quentin State Prison from 1996 to 2011, the last eight years as the full-time pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Chapel on the prison grounds. He served at San Quentin during the last three executions in California. He is now Director of Cura Personalis, at Loyola High School, Los Angeles, and a minister to the Jesuit community at the school. In light of the death penalty moratorium announced by Governor Gavin Newsom last week, Fr. Barber offers the following reflection:
Reverence for Life
We hold life sacred from conception to natural death. We support policies and services that assist pregnant women to make life-affirming choices. We advocate for restrictions on the practice and public funding of abortion. We support stem cell research that does not destroy or clone human embryos. We support patient-focused, quality end-of-life care and oppose legalizing assisted suicide. We oppose the use of the death penalty.
Download a backgrounder on Reverence for Life (updates coming soon)
San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, in whose Archdiocese the death chamber is located, has issued the following statement on behalf of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops regarding the declaration of a moratorium on executions by California Governor Gavin Newsom:
January 22, 2019
Dear Friends in Christ:
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City called on the faithful "to pray for an end to the human rights abuse of abortion, and for a culture of life, where through God’s grace all will come to know they are made in His Divine Image.”
His statement on January 18 marks the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in all 50 states. Archbishop Naumann, who gave the opening prayer at the March for Life the same day, chairs the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Representative from Catholic and other organizations opposed to the death penalty delivered nearly six thousand letters to Governor Jerry Brown today asking him to commute the sentences of the hundreds of men and women on death row before he leaves office.
All too often, it is only when facing serious and life-threatening illness that people discuss their wishes. But, it’s at this time that a dizzying array of health care choices materialize, concerns over health predominate every waking moment and worry about family and other concerns can become overwhelming.
Better. Talk about your wishes ahead of time. Learn about the options and let your loved ones know your needs.
The following statement is from Edward “Ned” Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, on the news today that Pope Francis has directed that the Catechism of the Catholic Church now teach that the death penalty is “inadmissible”:
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), the Catholic bishops of California, Providence St. Joseph Health and Dignity Health have entered into a groundbreaking national partnership to develop quality palliative care programs that support and accompany the chronically and terminally ill in both clinical and parish settings.
The Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, released the following statement today concerning a US Supreme Court ruling overturning a California law restricting the free speech rights of crisis pregnancy centers. The law, called the “California Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency Act” (“FACT Act”), singled out crisis pregnancy centers and required them to post signs and provide information about the availability of abortion services.
Next month marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant papal encyclical letters in recent history – Humanae Vitae – which was issued by Blessed Pope Paul VI on July 25, 1968.