National Migration Week 2016 to be Celebrated January 3-9




National Migration Week 2016 will take place January 3-9 with the theme, “A Stranger and You Welcomed Me.â€� The celebration provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the hardships faced by migrants, including children, refugees, and victims of human trafficking.

The call to welcome the stranger plays an important role in the lives of faithful Christians and has a particularly central place in the Year of Mercy. “People often forget that the Holy Family themselves were refugees fleeing into Egypt,� said Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, auxiliary bishop of Seattle and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration. “Likewise, refugees around the world, all of whom are extremely vulnerable, are fleeing for their lives. As Catholics, we are called to welcome and support these families who also need our help.�nmw-2016-poster

As part of the 2016 National Migration Week celebration, the USCCB established a small grant program that will provide Catholic parishes, schools and other organizations funding to help them better integrate the Church’s teaching on migration into new or existing programs, materials, events and other activities. Grant recipients will be announced during National Migration Week.

The observance of National Migration Week began over 25 years ago by the U.S. bishops to give Catholics an opportunity to take stock of the wide diversity of peoples in the Church and the ministries serving them. The week serves as both a time for prayer and action to try and ease the struggles of immigrants, migrants and vulnerable populations coming to the United States.

Dioceses across the country including Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; Jackson, Mississippi; and Metuchen, New Jersey; have planned special events and Masses throughout the week.

Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are Educational materials and other resources for National Migration Week are available for download at www.usccb.org/nationalmigrationweek. Posters, prayer cards, and booklets are available through the USCCB publishing service at www.usccbpublishing.org

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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2515

Christmas Blessings from the North Dakota Catholic Conference



Christmas1015

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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2511

Follow-Up: Washington Misses Opportunity to Protect the Freedom to Serve

Learn More
About Religious Liberty

“At the very heart of human freedom is the right to religious freedom, since it deals with man’s most fundamental relationship: his relationship with God.” – Pope John Paul II, Address to Diplomats, January 2005

Religious Liberty at USCCB

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/faith-public-square/follow-washington-misses-opportunity-protect-freedom-serve

Washington Misses Opportunity to Protect the Freedom to Serve



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Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2509

Helpful Websites

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/human-dignity/human-trafficking/helpful-websites

Get the Facts: The U.S. has a Rigorous Refugee Screening Process



(photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

(photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

Refugee situations are traditionally resolved through three durable solutions: voluntary repatriation whereby refugees flee to nearby countries and when peace comes they voluntarily return home in safety and dignity, local integration whereby the neighboring host country allows refugees to permanently settle as full-fledged members of the host country, and, resettlement whereby refugees are rigorously screened in neighboring host countries and referred to distant resettlement countries. Resettlement is a life-saving solution for a small percentage of refugees worldwide (less than one half of one percent). They are often the most vulnerable refugees. The U.S. has a proud tradition of taking over half of the world’s resettled refugees. These are the stages of the rigorous U.S. resettlement screening process:RIGOROUS SECURITY SCREENING OF REFUGEES RESETTLED TO THE UNITED STATES …

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2505

Perspectivas: Noticias más importantes del 2015

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-noticias-m%C3%A1s-importantes-del-2015

Insights: Top Stories of 2015

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/insights-top-stories-2015

Fatal flaws in A.5261-B (Paulin) / S.5814 (Bonacic) assisted suicide legislation (The Patient Self Determination Act)

Published on December 16th, 2015

Download printable PDF HERE.

See Memo of Opposition for this bill HERE.

Proponents of the “Patient Self-Determination Act” argue that it contains safeguards which protect vulnerable patients. Yet a close examination of the bill’s language reveals inadequate protections for patients most at risk of abuse, and lower medical standards than elsewhere in the Public Health Law. In addition, the legislation lacks transparency and accountability and contains extremely weak conscience protections for both health care professionals and health care institutions.

1. The bill contains a weak standard for determining capacity.

  • The bill contains a very loose definition of capacity — “a patient has the ability to understand, make and communicate health care decisions to a physician” (section 2899-D (4)).
  • No standard is set for making this determination. Requiring only an opinion about capacity from the attending physician is a much lower standard than analogous New York laws, such as the Family Health Care Decisions Act, where a physician must make determinations “to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.” (Public Health Law section 2994(A)(5)
  • There is no requirement that a second physician be consulted about the patient’s capacity. This is in contrast to the strict procedural requirements of the Health Care Proxy law. (Public Health Law section 2983)
  • The “capacity” standard is clearly inadequate, as the question of whether a patient is “capable” serves as the threshold determination of whether a patient can make a request for suicide drugs.

2. No psychological counseling, diagnosis or treatment is required.

  • The attending physician is responsible for making the determination as to whether or not the patient is acting with capacity and has made a voluntarily request for assisted suicide. (section 2899-G(1)(A))
  • The patient is only referred for psychological counseling if in the “opinion” of the attending physician (section 2899-H), it is “appropriate” (section 2899-G).
  • The optional psychological screening is very limited in nature. It is only to determine if the person’s psychological condition affects their decision-making capacity (section 2899-H).  It does not require an assessment of whether the person might benefit from treatment of their condition (e.g., clinical depression).
  • This poses a significant danger to vulnerable patients who are suffering from psychological conditions. Many general physicians lack the expertise to diagnose these conditions.  In contrast, trained psychologists or psychiatrists are the professionals best suited to examine a patient to determine whether or not they are mentally capable and acting free of duress.

3. The  bill invites coercion and undue influence by others.

  • The bill requires two witnesses to a patient’s written request for assisted suicide, and one of these two witnesses cannot be a relative, a person entitled to a portion of the patient’s estate, or a person associated with the health care facility where the patient is receiving treatment. (section 2899-F)
  • However, the bill does not prohibit the other witness from being a relative, a person entitled to a portion of the patient’s estate, or a person associate associated with the health care facility where the patient is receiving treatment.
  • There is no requirement that either witness be an adult or that they know the patient.
  • This is problematic because patients, particularly isolated elderly patients in long-term care facilities, are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. In theory, one witness may be a person who has a vested financial interested in the patient’s death, and the other witness may be a minor.

4. Surrogate decision-making by persons other than the patient.

  • The definition of capacity also contains a provision that permits a third party to participate in communicating a patient’s wishes — “a patient has the ability to understand, make and communicate health care decisions to a physician, including communications though persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communicating if those persons are available.” (section 2899-D (4)).
  • This opens the possibility of manipulation by “persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communicating.” These persons are not defined, nor is their relationship with the patient defined.
  • The bill also does not specifically exclude surrogate decisions by a guardian, health care proxy or a person appointed pursuant to the Family Health Care Decisions Act. Thus a person who is mentally competent but incapacitated, who has handed over health care decisions to a health care agent under the health care proxy law, could have the assisted suicide decision made for them by someone else.
  • A patient is permitted to self-administer a legal dose of medication, although this is not a requirement. (section 2899-M) As a result, it is permissible for another person to actually administer the lethal medicine.

5. The system lacks accountability and transparency.

  • There is no requirement that the patient’s family be notified of the patient’s decision to resort to assisted suicide.
  • There is no requirement that the patient be informed of alternative treatments to assisted suicide (i.e., comprehensive pain management, psychological treatment, hospice care, etc.).
  • However, the New York Palliative Care Information Act (Public Health Law Section 2997-C), requires physicians and health care practitioners to offer terminally-ill patients information and counseling concerning palliative care and end-of-life options. This could increase pressure on patients to choose suicide, since there is nothing in the Palliative Care Information Act that would exclude having suicide offered as one of these end-of-life options.
  • There is no reporting to the Department of Health and no internal review process at the facility.
  • There is no oversight as to when, where, with whom, etc. the patient actually takes the lethal dosage of medication. No physician is required to be present, and there is no standard for the person’s mental capacity at the time of taking the medicine. No timeframe is given as to when the legal dose of medication is to be administered.
  • There is thus no way of knowing whether or not the patient is being coerced into taking the medication at the time it is administered nor who is actually administering the pills.
  • The bill requires a false statement to be made on the patient’s death certificate about the cause of death. Instead of listing the cause of death as the lethal dose of medication or assisted suicide, “the death certificate shall indicate that the cause of death was the underlying terminal illness or condition of the patient.” (section 2899-T) This will prevent any independent evaluation of the incidence and circumstances of suicides, and there will be no way to monitor potential abuses.

6. The bill contains very weak conscience protection for individuals.

  • No physician, nurse, pharmacist, or other person is required to “participate in the provision of a lethal dose of medication to a patient.” (section 2899-N)
  • Participating in the actual administering of the lethal dose of medication is only one narrow provision of cooperating in the assisted suicide as a whole. Nurses and doctors are not exempt from cooperating in the assisted suicide in other ways that may also violate their conscience, i.e., counseling, referring, indirect assistance in the procedure, etc.
  • Specifically, individuals are still required to cooperate in the assisted suicide because they must refer the patient to a physician, nurse, or pharmacist, so that the patient may receive the lethal dose of medication. (section 2899-N)
  • These conscience protections are much weaker than those contained in comparable provisions of current New York law (see, e.g., Civil Rights Law section 79-i).

7. The bill contains barely existent conscience protection for health care facilities.

  • Health care facilities must notify physicians in writing of their policy with regards to prescribing lethal doses of medication for assisted suicide. However, the only conscience protection for health care facilities is that they are permitted to prohibit a physician from writing a prescription for a lethal dose of medication to be used on the facility’s premises. (section 2899-O)
  • Facilities thus cannot prohibit physicians from counseling patients, referring patients, or promoting assisted suicide on premises. They also cannot discipline any physician who participates in an assisted suicide off premises.
  • Essentially, this means that a health care facility cannot discipline a physician who recommends an assisted suicide for a patient and then goes off premises to prescribe and/or administer the lethal dose of medication.
  • These institutional conscience protections are much weaker than those in comparable provisions of current law (see, e.g., 10 NYCRR 405.9 (b)(10))

 

Article source: http://www.nyscatholic.org/2015/12/fatal-flaws-in-assisted-suicide-bill/

California Bishops Issue Statement on Wave of Terrorism and Gun Violence Affecting California and the Nation

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/california-bishops-issue-statement-wave-terrorism-and-gun-violence-affecting-california-and-nation

PCHA President Honored with Servant Leadership Award

(l to r) Sister Clare Christi Schiefer, OSF, PCHA President; Sister Michael Ann Orlik, SS.C.M., Superior General, Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius; Sister Romaine Niemeyer, SCC, Chief Adm. Officer, Holy Spirit Hospital

(l to r) Sister Clare Christi Schiefer, OSF, PCHA President; Sister Michael Ann Orlik, SS.C.M., Superior General, Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius; Sister Romaine Niemeyer, SCC, Chief Adm. Officer, Holy Spirit Hospital

Sister Clare Christi Schiefer, OSF, president of the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association, was recently honored with the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Commitment to Servant Leadership Award for Evangelization from the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius.

Sister Michael Ann Orlik, SS.C.M., General Superior, explained why Sister Clare was chosen in a letter, “Your commitment to the health care profession was evidenced early on in your high school years, but you have taken this passion to a new level in your present position.” Sister Michael said that as “an ambassador for Christ in the public square” Sister Clare exemplifies the selfless actions of their patrons, Saints Cyril and Methodius who were sent to the Slavic nations and put the needs of others before all else.

Sister Clare has led the PCHA, an advocacy organization for Catholic health care, since 1982. Congratulations Sister Clare on this well-deserved honor!

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pcha-president-honored-with-servant-leadership-award/

Urge Elected Officials to Stay at the Budget Negotiation Table

capitolwebKey budget negotiations are underway. Pennsylvanians can encourage the General Assembly and Governor Wolf to negotiate and pass a budget. The organizations that do the important work of educating our children and serving Pennsylvanians who are vulnerable and at risk can wait no longer.

Much is at stake. Catholic charities and social services agencies are the “boots on the ground” that provide services for state-funded programs like housing, foster care, or drug and alcohol counseling. Without a budget agreement, people in need will be turned away.

Nonpublic schools do not receive basic education tax dollars, but our students do benefit from line items that pay for textbooks, materials, equipment, and services that support their secular education through the Intermediate Units. Thousands also benefit from scholarships funded by the Educational Improvement Tax Credit and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs. Children are missing out on the best education without this support.

Further, the uncertainty of future Medicaid payments and health insurance programs is causing difficulties for Pennsylvania Catholic Health Care Association (PCHA) members as they try to develop financial plans to support their ability to continue meeting the needs of the poor.

The programs affected by the state budget impasse are putting a difficult strain on families and individuals who rely on them.

Please send a message to your legislators and the governor urging them to make the necessary tough decisions to get these essential programs back on track. Tell them to bring this impasse to an end now.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/urge-elected-officials-to-stay-at-the-budget-negotiation-table/

Perspectivas: El Año de la Misericordia, Tragedia en San Bernardino

 Año de la Misericordia inicia el martes

Al iniciar el Año Jubilar Extraordinario de la Misericordia en la Festividad de la Inmaculada Concepción (el 8 de dic.), nos encontramos rodeados por oportunidades caritativas y, debido a que estamos en el tiempo de Adviento, nos podríamos sentir un poco más dispuestos a realizar obras de misericordia.

Podríamos ofrecernos como voluntarios en el comedor de beneficencia local, adoptar a una familia necesitada, con la abundancia de campaneros frente a las tiendas, ofrecer una contribución rápida que pudiera disminuir nuestro sentido de “culpa” por comprar tantos regalos.

En realidad, debido a que Dios ha manifestado su misericordia para con todos nosotros, se nos insta a que incorporemos la misericordia en nuestra vida cotidiana.  Las tareas cotidianas – cuidar a los niños, enseñar la fe a los adultos y niños, cuidar a un padre/madre anciano(a) o el visitar a un amigo(a) enfermo(a) en el hospital – son verdaderas obras de misericordia.   Como dijo Santa Teresa de Ávila:

“Cristo no tiene otro cuerpo que el tuyo,
no tiene manos ni pies en la tierra, excepto los tuyos
Tuyos son los ojos a través de los cuales Él mira
a este mundo con compasión”. 

Pero después de los días festivos, para algunos de nosotros, podría parecer difícil incorporar la misericordia a nuestras ajetreadas rutinas diarias que ya tienen tanta presión.  Sin embargo, el Papa Francisco – haciendo eco del llamado del Evangelio – continuamente nos desafía a que tendamos la mano y nos encontremos con los necesitados y con las personas que viven en los márgenes de la sociedad.

Continúe leyendo

Baje un circular para el boletín en español o inglés
Explicando el Año Jubilar y las obras de misericordia de la Iglesia

 “Otro acto trágico de violencia pública”

Monseñor Gerald Barnes, obispo de la Diócesis of San Bernardino, publicó la siguiente declaración el miércoles después del tiroteo masivo en el Inland Regional Center:

Hoy, hemos experimentado, una vez más, un acto trágico de violencia publica, esta vez dentro de nuestra propia Diócesis de san Bernardino. Por favor únanse conmigo en oración por las víctimas de este horrible incidente, y por sus familias. Por quienes han perdido sus vidas, oremos por su eterno descanso y para que Dios les de la fuerza necesaria a sus seres queridos; por los que están heridos, oremos por su salud y su recuperación. Pidámosle también a Dios que proteja a los hombres y mujeres policías que con valentía se encuentran buscando a los sospechosos en este caso. Nuestra comunidad de San Bernardino ha tenido grandes retos a través de los años. Unámonos ahora para juntos iluminar la obscuridad actual.

 

¡Tome Medidas!

Información sobre el referéndum para anular la nueva ley sobre el suicidio asistido por un médico se encuentra disponible a través de su diócesis.

La decisión de la Legislatura de California y del Gob. Brown de poner a los californianos en riesgo al legalizar el que un médico recete una dosis mortal de fármacos convierte en una farsa la compasión hacia los enfermos, el cuidar a los pobres y la protección de nuestros residentes más vulnerables.

Proteja a los refugiados sirios e iraquís, cuidadosamente investigados y merecedores de nuestra ayuda, que huyen de la violencia

Después de los ataques violentos en Paris, 31 gobernadores ofrecieron declaraciones públicas pidiendo que se detuvieran en sus Estados los reasentamientos de los refugiados sirios. Días más tarde, la Cámara de Representantes de los EE.UU., con intenciones similares, aprobó el proyecto H.R. 4038, El Acta de la Seguridad Americana contra los Enemigos Extranjeros – (American Security against Foreign Enemies – SAFE Act) , la cual efectivamente detendría los reasentamientos de todos los refugiados sirios e iraquís en los Estados Unidos por un largo tiempo. 

Millones de familias pobres y vulnerables están en riesgo. Nosotros podemos ayudarles.

Tomados en conjunto, el Crédito Fiscal por los Ingresos Devengados (Earned Income Tax Credit) y el Crédito Fiscal por los Hijos (Child Tax Credit) son la medida más efectiva que el gobierno federal tiene para combatir la pobreza entre los niños. Tan solo el año pasado, lograron sacar a más de cinco millones de niños de la pobreza.

Proteja los derechos de los proveedores de servicios pro-vida

Ahora es el momento para instar al Congreso a que proteja el derecho de objeción de conciencia para el aborto. Favor de instar a sus representantes electos a que apoyen la Ley de la No Discriminación en el Aborto (Abortion Non-Discrimination Act -ANDA).

Cristo Rey: la doble moral y nuestro Papa Jesuita

Para comprender al Papa Francisco, es útil entender su formación Jesuita.  Nuestra sociedad moderna presenta muchos ejemplos de uno de los conceptos principales de San Ignacio – la doble moral.  La autora de blogs, Judy Barrett, analiza uno de los más recientes:

A finales de septiembre, cientos de miles de personas salieron a las calles de Washington, Nueva York y Philadelphia para mirar al Papa Francisco durante la visita papal y la Reunión Mundial de las Familias.  Desde entonces hemos tenido tiempo para meditar sobre los mensajes del Santo Padre en torno a la paz, el gozo y el amor, y la familia como la piedra angular de cada cultura.  Él habló de mirar los rostros de los pobres en vez de verlos como estadísticas, y de realizar pequeños gestos de bondad.  Si, al igual que yo, usted siguió la visita del Papa a través de los medios de comunicación, usted pudo ver el amor y la alegría en los rostros de las multitudes.  Se escuchaba la esperanza y el respeto en las voces de los comentaristas durante la cobertura televisiva en vivo. 

Mientras tanto, ese mismo fin de semana en septiembre, aproximadamente 400,000 defensores de la libertad sexual se reunieron en la costa opuesta para una feria que celebraba su estilo de vida, la cual incluyó la desnudez en la vía pública y otras actividades inmodestas.  No entraré en mayores detalles.

Continúe leyendo

4 de dic. de 2015
Tomo 8, No. 40

En Español

 

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-el-a%C3%B1o-de-la-misericordia-tragedia-en-san-bernardino

Insights: Year of Mercy, Tragedy in San Bernardino

 Year of Mercy Begins Tuesday

As the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy commences on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), we are surrounded by charitable opportunities and, because we are in Advent, may feel just a bit more inclined to perform works of mercy.

We may volunteer at our local soup kitchen, adopt a needy family or, with the abundance of bell ringers in front of shops, make a quick contribution that may lessen our “guilt” at buying so many gifts.

In reality, because God has shown mercy on all of us, we are encouraged to incorporate mercy into our daily life.  Everyday deeds – taking care of children, teaching adults and children about faith, caring for an elderly parent or visiting a sick friend in the hospital – are true works of mercy.   As Saint Teresa of Avila said,

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks,
Compassion on this world

But after the holidays, for some of us, it may seem difficult to incorporate mercy into our pressure-filled, hectic daily routines.  Yet Pope Francis – echoing the call of the Gospel – continually challenges us to reach out and encounter those in need and those living on the margins of society.

Continue Reading

Download a Bulletin Insert in Spanish or English
Explaining the Jubilee Year and the Church’s Works of Mercy

 “Another Tragic Act of Public Violence”

Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino released the following statement on Wednesday after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center:

Today, we have experienced another tragic act of public violence, this time in our own Diocese of San Bernardino. Please join me in praying for all of the victims of this horrific incident and their families. For those who lost their lives, we pray for their eternal rest and God’s strength to their loved ones left behind; for those who are wounded, we pray for their health and healing. Let us also ask God to protect the brave men and women in law enforcement who are pursuing the suspects in this case. Our community of San Bernardino has faced great challenges through the years. Let us come together now in unity to bring light to the darkness of this day.

Take Action!

Information on the referendum to overturn the new physician-assisted suicide law is available through your diocese.

The decision of California’s Legislature and Gov. Brown to place Californians at risk by making it legal for a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs makes a travesty of compassion for the sick, care of the poor and protection of our most vulnerable residents.

Protect Deserving. Carefully Vetted Syrian and Iraqi Refugees Fleeing Violence

In the aftermath of the violent attacks on Paris, 31 governors made public statements that they wanted resettlement of Syrian refugees halted in their states. Days later, the U.S. House of Representatives, with comparable intentions, passed H.R. 4038, The American Security against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which would effectively halt all resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States for a protracted time. 

Millions of poor and vulnerable families are at risk. We can help them.

Taken together, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are the most effective child antipoverty measure the federal government has. Last year alone they lifted over five million children out of poverty.

Protect the Rights of Pro-Life Care Providers

Now is the time to urge Congress to protect the right of conscientious objection to abortion. Please urge your elected representatives to support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA).

Christ the King: The Two Standards and Our Jesuit Pope

To understand Pope Francis, it helps to understand his Jesuit formation.  Our modern society presents many examples of one of St. Ignatius’ main concepts – the two standards.  Blogger Judy Barrett looks at one of the most recent:

In late September hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets in Washington, New York and Philadelphia to get a glimpse of Pope Francis during the Papal visit and World Meeting of Families.  Since then we’ve had time to meditate on the Holy Father’s messages about peace, joy and love, and the family as the bedrock of every culture.  He spoke of looking at the faces of the poor rather than seeing them as statistics, and of practicing little gestures of kindness.  If, like me, you followed the Papal visit on the media, you could see love and joy in the faces of the crowds.  You could hear hope and respect in the voices of commentators during the live television coverage. 

Meanwhile, on that same September weekend, some 400,000 advocates of sexual freedoms gathered on the opposite coast for a fair celebrating their lifestyle which included public nudity and other immodest activities.  I won’t go into further details.

Continue Reading

Dec. 4, 2015
Vol. 8, No. 40

En Español

 

 

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/insights-year-mercy-tragedy-san-bernardino

Every Student Succeeds Act Will Help Children in Need in All Schools

St. Anthony School Program (2)This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act, and is calling on the Senate to take swift action on the legislation so that it can be signed into law before the end of the year. The White House praised the vote. The bill is poised for a quick vote in the Senate and signed by the president.

The sponsors describe it as bipartisan bill to fix No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The new measure rejects what they call “the overuse of standardized tests and one-size-fits-all mandates on our schools, ensures that our education system will prepare every child to graduate from high school ready for college and careers, and provides more children access to high-quality state preschool programs.” (Fact Sheet: Congress Acts to Fix No Child Left Behind)

Students and educators in non-public schools are cheering the victory as well. There are elements within the bill that improve equitable services to students and teachers in religious and independent schools a long-standing practice that had been eroded under NCLB. It reaffirms that federal education aid should be directed in an equitable way toward helping all children in need, regardless of the type of school they attend.

Different federal programs support local education in many ways. Title I is the biggest federal program that helps students with cognitive and physical disabilities. Title II-D offers continuing education resources to teachers. Title IV helps to create and maintain safe and drug free schools. Once funding streams are more equitable, other federal programs for which non-public school students are eligible will become accessible to them.

How ESSA Benefits Non-Public School Students

  • Removes school district set-asides so a proportional share of all funds received by the local education agency must help the non-public school students in the community. This fixes the past practice of public entities setting aside up to 50% of the total funds for several different categories of funding (under-achieving, unsafe, or financially challenged public schools, or even preschool/kindergarten programs) thus limiting the proportionate share to private schools.
  • Requires state education agencies to hire an ombudsman to monitor and enforce all federal program requirements and ensure equity for private school students and teachers.
  • Strengthens the consultation requirements for public school agencies that provide federal proportional share services to non-public school students. After reaching an equitable and effective service plan for an individual student by both the public and private school stakeholders, the plan must be transmitted to the ombudsmen for review.  This will allow the non-public school student’s advocates to play a greater role in developing the best plan for his/her education.
  • Removes decades of red tape that has burdened the participation of non-public students and teachers in federal education programs. ESSA will protect non-public schools by strengthening the safeguards designed to ensure equity.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/every-student-succeeds-act-will-help-children-in-need-in-all-schools/

Communication Directors

119 K Street 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814  |  916 313-4000 | General Email: leginfo@cacatholic.org | © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/about/communication-directors

Reflecting on the Care for All of God’s Creation

In June, Pope Francis released the encyclical Laudato Si’, or Praised Be, inviting reflection on the care for all of God’s creation.   It is a long document that covers many topics, and some may be wondering how to bring the writings of Pope Francis into their everyday lives.

To help our readers better understand and live out the messages of Laudato Si’, we’ve compiled this list of resources:

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/reflecting-on-the-care-for-all-of-gods-creation/

Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy Begins

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Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/extraordinary-jubilee-year-mercy-begins

Inicia Año Jubilar Extraordinario de la Misericordia

He decidido anunciar un Jubileo Extraordinario el cual tiene como centro la misericordia de Dios. Será un Año Santo de la Misericordia. Queremos vivir en la luz de la palabra de Dios: “Sed misericordiosos, como también vuestro Padre es misericordioso” (cf. Lc. 6:36). ¡Y esto aplica especialmente a los confesores! ¡Tanta misericordia!” –Papa Francisco

Ya que el Año Jubilar Extraordinario de la Misericordia comienza en la Festividad de la Inmaculada Concepción (8 de diciembre), estamos rodeados de oportunidades caritativas y, debido a que nos encontramos en el tiempo de Adviento, podríamos sentirnos un poco más dispuestos a realizar obras de misericordia.

Podríamos ofrecernos como voluntarios en nuestro comedor de beneficencia local, adoptar a una familia necesitada o, con la abundancia de campaneros colocados en frente de las tiendas, ofrecer una rápida contribución que pueda atenuar nuestro sentimiento de “culpa” por comprar tantos regalos.

En realidad, porque Dios ha mostrado misericordia para con todos nosotros, se nos insta a incorporar la misericordia en nuestra vida cotidiana.  Las tareas diarias – cuidar a los niños, instruir a los adultos y a los niños sobre la fe, atender a nuestros padres ancianos o el visitar a un amigo(a) enfermo(a) en el hospital – son verdaderas obras de misericordia.   Como dijo Santa Teresa de Ávila:

“Cristo no tiene otro cuerpo que el tuyo,
no tiene manos ni pies en la tierra, excepto los tuyos
Tuyos son los ojos a través de los cuales Él mira
a este mundo con compasión”. 

Pero después de los días festivos, para algunos de nosotros, podría parecer difícil incorporar la misericordia a nuestras ajetreadas rutinas diarias que ya tienen tanta presión.  Sin embargo, el Papa Francisco – haciendo eco del llamado del Evangelio – continuamente nos desafía a que tendamos la mano y nos encontremos con los necesitados y con las personas que viven en los márgenes de la sociedad.

Porque Somos Católicos se enfocará en las obras de misericordia a lo largo del Año Jubilar de la Misericordia, haciendo énfasis en una de éstas cada mes.  Para empezar, la introducción:

Obras de Misericordia Corporales

  • Alimentar a los que pasan hambre
  • Dar de beber a los sedientos
  • Vestir a los desnudos
  • Albergar a los que no tienen techo
  • Visitar a los enfermos
  • Visitar a los presos
  • Sepultar a los muertos

Obras de Misericordia Espirituales

  • Dar orientación a los que pasan por momentos inciertos
  • Consolar a los afligidos
  • Sobrellevar los agravios pacientemente
  • Perdonar toda las ofensas
  • Instruir a los ignorantes
  • Orar por los vivos y los muertos
  • Advertir al pecador

Las Obras de Misericordia

Las obras de misericordia espirituales y corporales son actos caritativos que realizamos para beneficio de otras personas.  Las obras espirituales incluyen: instruir, aconsejar, consolar y reconfortar a otros. Las obras de misericordia corporales se enfocan en ayudar a las personas necesitadas.

Al realizar estas obras, se ayuda a aliviar la miseria humana en todas sus formas – la pobreza, la opresión, las enfermedades físicas y psicológicas y la aflicción emocional o espiritual. La miseria no discrimina – aflige a todos en algún momento. Nosotros somos quienes decidimos cómo mejorar nuestra situación.

¿Qué es el Año Jubilar?

El Año Jubilar es un “Año Santo” marcado por obras de fe, caridad y “comunión fraternal” según el sitio web del Vaticano. Los años jubilares ordinarios se celebran cada 25 o 50 años, se declara un jubileo extraordinario para una ocasión transcendental, la última vez fue en el año 1983.

El concepto de un Jubileo tiene su origen en la tradición hebrea antigua donde se celebraba un Jubileo cada 50 años. Era un tiempo en que se procuraba restablecer la igualdad entre los israelitas. Se proveían oportunidades para que las familias volvieran a recuperar el control de la propiedad e incluso conseguir su libertad personal si eran esclavos.

El inicio de un año jubilar se marca abriendo la Puerta Santa de la Basílica de San Pedro. Esta puerta normalmente permanece cerrada con cemento.  Este rito simbólico indica que a los fieles se les ofrece un camino extraordinario hacia la salvación durante el Jubileo.

Para inaugurar este Año de Misericordia, a la Conferencia Católica de California le gustaría recalcar la misericordia que se advierte alrededor nuestro. Durante el próximo año, les pedimos a nuestros socios que nos envíen sus relatos sobre la misericordia que presencian en sus iglesias y comunidades. Favor de enviar sus relatos a: leginfo@cacatholic.org.

Me siento confiado en que la Iglesia entera, la cual está tan necesitada de la misericordia para todos los pecadores, podrá encontrar en este Jubileo el gozo de volver a descubrir la misericordia de Dios y hacer que ésta sea fructífera, atendiendo el llamado de consolar a todo hombre y mujer de nuestra época. No hay que olvidar que Dios perdona a todos, y Dios perdona siempre. Nunca nos cansemos de pedir perdón. – Papa Francisco

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/noticias-en-espanol/inicia-a%C3%B1o-jubilar-extraordinario-de-la-misericordia

PCC Executive Director Receives Defender of Life Award

Robert O’Hara (center), executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, receives the Defender of Life award from the Pro-Life Union’s Edel Finnegan and Bill Wohlgemuth. Credit: Sarah Webb, www.CatholicPhilly.com

Robert O’Hara (center), executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, receives the Defender of Life award from the Pro-Life Union’s Edel Finnegan and Bill Wohlgemuth. Credit: Sarah Webb, www.CatholicPhilly.com

Dr. Robert J. O’Hara, Jr., Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, was honored with the Defender of Life Award by the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia at their annual Stand Up for Life Dinner.

Edel Finnegan, Executive Director of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia said, “We are grateful for Bob’s leadership at the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and his commitment to defending the sanctity of every life. The people of Pennsylvania are blessed to have Bob at the helm of the PCC. We are grateful for his friendship to our organization and it is a privilege to share in this work with him!”

The award is given to a public figure who stands courageously in defense of life.

“I am honored to work with partners in the pro-life cause who will not stop until every unborn child is afforded the right to life. The public policy gains we’ve made are a result of constant collaboration, most closely with Francis Viglietta, the Pennsylvanian Catholic Conference’s Director of Social Concerns, as well as the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Family Institute, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and countless individuals across the state,” said O’Hara.

The Pro-Life Union has hosted the annual Stand Up For Life Dinner since 1982. The event brings together more than 1,500 people to celebrate the Culture of Life, including more than 500 students from area schools. Damon Owens, Executive Director of the Theology the Body Institute, was the evening’s keynote speaker.

O’Hara said, “It is a paradox of our work that while I enjoy this collaboration, I hope and pray that one day it is no longer needed.”

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/pcc-executive-director/

Deadly drugs

Published on December 1st, 2015

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

On Sunday I happened to catch CBS’ “60 Minutes” new episode about the death penalty. It highlighted the case of an Arizona prisoner who was sentenced to die by lethal injection. The state had tried a new combination of drugs for this execution, and instead of death within a few minutes, as expected, it took two hours and 15 injections of drugs to kill the man, who lay gasping and gulping on the gurney. According to the correspondent on 60 Minutes, things went “horribly awry.”Pills

The episode focused on the increasing difficulty states are having in finding execution drugs. Apparently many drug companies have banned the use of their drugs for capital punishment, leaving states to try new drugs, or cocktails of drugs, that will work, and will work in a way that is not considered barbaric or “cruel and unusual.”

So here’s my question:  Since it doesn’t appear that states are having any trouble finding the lethal drugs to use in assisted suicides, why can’t they just use those for executions? Assisted suicide advocates repeatedly remind us that when terminally ill patients self-administer their pills, they simply close their eyes and die a “peaceful” and “humane” death. Now that five states have legalized the practice, with California being the latest and the largest — and even more states considering legalization — the drugs can’t be that hard to come by, can they?

Additional questions:

  • Could it be that the lethal drugs used in assisted suicides don’t always lead to “peaceful” deaths? I mean, how would we know, really?
  • Do you think that pharmaceutical companies will ever ban the use of their drugs for assisted suicides the way they’ve banned them for executions? Ha! That would be political correctness gone horribly awry!

Note: This blog post is purposefully facetious and intended to make a point: Human life is sacred. It is always sacred, no matter whether the life is a convicted killer sitting on death row or a terminally ill cancer patient in his own bedroom. States should not be in the business of killing them or assisting in their deaths in any way.

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Article source: http://www.nyscatholic.org/2015/12/deadly-drugs/

Action Alert: Protect deserving, carefully vetted Syrian and Iraqi refugees and their families fleeing violence and death



(photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

(photo: John E. Kozar/CNEWA)

Protect deserving, carefully vetted Syrian and Iraqi refugees and their families fleeing violence and death

Take Action!

Contact your U.S. Senators NOW

Background: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 4038, The American Security against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which would effectively halt all resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States for a protracted indefinite time.

The week after Thanksgiving, the same bill or similar legislation will likely be introduced and voted on in the U.S. Senate.  Meanwhile, some federal lawmakers may also try to use the Omnibus appropriations bill that must be passed by December 11th as a vehicle for  passing the SAFE Act or similar legislation.

On November 17th, Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration, issued a statement which said, in part, “I am disturbed…by calls from both federal and state officials for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. These refugees are fleeing terror themselves—violence like we have witnessed in Paris. They are extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.â€�

Moreover, Bishop Elizondo urged that, “Instead of using this tragedy to scapegoat all refugees, I call upon our public officials to work together to end the Syrian conflict peacefully so the close to 4 million Syrian refugees can return to their country and rebuild their homes. Until that goal is achieved, we must work with the world community to provide safe haven to vulnerable and deserving refugees who are simply attempting to survive. As a great nation, the United States must show leadership during this crisis and bring nations together to protect those in danger and bring an end to the conflicts in the Middle East.�

Your U.S. Senators need to hear from you, your neighbors and fellow parishioners that you oppose H.R. 4038 and other bills that would stop or halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Action: Send the following message to your U.S. Senators:

Message: 

Dear Senator,
Please oppose H.R. 4038 or similar legislation that would unnecessarily halt the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S.

Where: 

Senator John Hoeven:

Phone: 202-224-2551

Email: http://www.hoeven.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact?p=email-the-senator

Senator Heidi Heitkamp:

Phone: 202-224-2043

Email: https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-heidi

When:  Now.

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2498

State Budget Impasse: Pennsylvanians under Siege

ChainLinkLockA military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside is called a siege. With the state budget now five months overdue, thousands of Pennsylvania families with nothing to surrender are wondering why they are under siege.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) and the Pennsylvania Catholic Health Association (PCHA) track many elements of the budget debate, especially those line items that assist the poor. From our perspective, here are some key issues at stake:

Education

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs are legislatively constructed to be legally independent of the annual budget process. Unfortunately, without a state budget, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) is choosing to withhold the mandatory approval letters to the businesses that applied for tax credits. In turn, the companies cannot make their donations to the scholarship organizations. Thousands of the most vulnerable children are at risk of losing their scholarships. These donations will not be recovered if the tax credit letters are not issued soon.

Nonpublic schools do not receive basic education tax dollars, but their students do benefit from line items that pay for textbooks, materials, equipment, and services that support their secular education through the Intermediate Units. The proposal this year finally achieves equity between public and nonpublic students – the line items increase at the same rate, but Catholic school students cannot benefit until the funds are available. Students are struggling to learn without the necessary textbooks and services they need.

Catholic Charities

Catholic charities and social services agencies are often the “boots on the ground” that provide services for state-funded programs like housing, foster care, or drug and alcohol counseling. Without a budget agreement, people in need will be turned away. Some agencies have resorted to taking out a line of credit hoping it will be enough to last until the reimbursement funding comes through, but there will be no recovery for the expensive interest paid on those loans.

Health Care

Fortunately, payments for Medicaid services are still being paid to health care facilities while the state budget impasse remains unresolved. However, the uncertainty is causing difficulties for Pennsylvania Catholic Health Care Association (PCHA) members as they try to develop financial plans to support their ability to continue meeting the needs of the poor.

Saint John Paul II wrote in Familiaris Consortio (The Church in Service to the Family), “ In the conviction that the good of the family is an indispensable and essential value of the civil community, the public authorities must do everything possible to ensure that families have all those aids – economic, social, educational, political and cultural assistance-that they need in order to face all their responsibilities in a human way.”

The programs affected by the state budget impasse are putting a difficult strain on families and individuals who rely on them. Let us pray that our elected officials in Harrisburg will reach an agreement and lift this unfair siege.

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Article source: http://www.pacatholic.org/state-budget-impasse-pennsylvanians-under-siege/

New Column: The Co-Op Pope


Money at the service of life can be managed in the right way by cooperatives, on condition that it is a real cooperative where capital does not have command over men but men over capital. - Pope Francis

Question: What do Pope Francis and North Dakotans have in common? Answer: A fondness for cooperatives.

North Dakotans are familiar with cooperatives. The Quentin Burdick Center for Cooperatives at North Dakota State University estimates that there exist over 500 cooperatives in the state. We have cooperatives involving agriculture, telecommunications, financing, insurance, electricity, and more. The state has often been called the nation’s leader in the cooperative movement.

Like many legal and economic developments, cooperatives often sprung from necessity. Farmers, for example, sometimes had to join forces to reduce purchasing costs. At other times, producers needed to work together to have sufficient bargaining power when dealing with monopolies like the railroads. Cooperatives have also allowed members to access needed resources for investment.

Cooperatives offer local control, direct ownership, and equitable distribution of the fruits of labor. Interestingly, support for these principles, and cooperatives themselves, are found in Catholic teaching.

Although often mislabeled as a document on climate change, Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si is really an exploration of what the Christian faith means for the economy. It is worth noting that cooperatives are praised twice in the document, once in relation to agricultural cooperatives and again concerning energy cooperatives — two segments of the cooperative model with which North Dakotans are familiar.

Pope Francis has repeatedly hailed cooperatives. Speaking to an audience in Rome, the pope said: “Cooperatives should continue to be the motor that raises and develops the weakest part of our communities and civil society.� In Bolivia he spoke of how he has seen how cooperatives “were able to create work where there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy.� He has often spoke about how he developed an enthusiasm for cooperatives when, as a teenager, he heard his father talk about “Christian cooperativism.� Indeed, Paul Hazen of the U.S. Overseas Cooperative Development Council, has dubbed Francis, the “co-op pope.�

Pope Francis, however, is not unique when it comes to expressing the Catholic preference for cooperative models of ownership and production. Catholic monasteries have operated as cooperatives for centuries. Cooperatives got a significant boost in popularity after Pope Leo XIII issued Rerum Novarum in 1891. It was the first “social encyclical� and rejected by unbridled capitalism and state socialism. Cooperatives provided an alternative. As Pope Francis puts it: cooperatives “are the concrete expression of the solidarity and subsidiarity that the social doctrine of the Church has always promoted between the person and the state.� Nearly ever pope since then, especially the last five, has promoted cooperatives as an alternative to systems where all the economic power is held by those who own the capital, rather than the workers, producers, or consumers.

Catholics have been putting the cooperative alternative into practice.The first credit union in the United States was founded by New Hampshire French-speaking Catholics in 1908. The world’s largest network of worker-owned cooperatives was started by a Catholic priest in Spain. Dorothy Day, one of the four “great Americans� mentioned by Pope Francis in his address to Congress, promoted and founded cooperatives in the United States as an alternative to communism and a form of uncaring, detached capitalism. Even today, Catholic bishops, aid organizations, and lay groups promote and create cooperatives around the world.

Several themes run throughout Scripture and the church’s social doctrine that make cooperative models and worker ownership appealing. As already noted, they can be an alternative between collectivism and individualism run amuck. They also represent ways to respect both solidarity and subsidiarity, stewardship of the land, the dignity of labor and workers, respect for private property and the universal destination of goods, and the ecological integrity Pope Francis discusses in Laudato si.

Cooperatives may not work in every situation. Pope Francis warns that cooperatives, like other types of ownership can succumb to the temptation to put profit before people and thus become “false cooperatives.� Nevertheless, our experience with cooperatives might place North Dakotans in a better position to help create what Pope Francis calls a “healing� “economy of honesty.�

Article source: http://ndcatholic.org/latestnews/?p=2491

California Bishops Issue Statement on Referendum and Initiatives Now Circulating in California

The Executive Committee of the California Catholic Conference has issued the following statement on signature gathering efforts for a referendum to overturn the new physician-assisted suicide law in California and other initiatives dealing with parental notification before a minor receives an abortion and another on the use of the death penalty:

Dear Fellow Catholics and Friends,

As we celebrate the feast of Christ the King and prepare to open the doors on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are compelled to share – as pastors and teachers – some reflections on three interrelated public discussions at play in our state.  

We are living in a moment when relationships in our families and our neighborhoods are being challenged and “reinvented” in an effort to make a deceptive notion of personal autonomy the preeminent value in law and practice.  This emphasis on an individual identity, separate and distinct from any meaningful social relationship, cuts us off from the support of our families, our communities and even from God. 

At a time when Californians need to foster right relationships with God and each other, we have laws that promote a skewed understanding of personal autonomy and freedom, severing the ties that bind us, losing the human connections that can save us.  The flawed thinking of these laws have us embarked on a path of growing  personal isolation and social indifference.

These three on-going debates in California touch on this radical redefinition of the individual and society:  a referendum on the new law legalizing physician assisted suicide; proposed initiatives which would support teens and parents by requiring parental notification prior to abortion; and an initiative addressing whether the use of the death penalty is necessary and right in our state.

As we enter a Jubilee Year of Mercy, in which we examine God’s mercy and compassion toward us, we reflect on Pope Francis’ comment:

“The many situations of inequality, poverty and injustice, are signs not only of a profound lack of fraternity, but also of the absence of a culture of solidarity. New ideologies, characterized by rampant individualism, egocentrism and materialistic consumerism, weaken social bonds, fueling that “throw away” mentality which leads to contempt for, and the abandonment of, the weakest and those considered ‘useless’.”  World Day of Peace, January 1, 2014

The Holy Father calls us to carefully examine the social fabric of California to see how we weave the virtues of solidarity and charity into our lives together in the Golden State.  

Instead of reaching out to the vulnerable terminally ill with proper care and companionship at the end of life, the new law legalizing physician assisted suicide inculcates the perception that those at the end of life are an unnecessary social burden.  As we have said before – and will continue to say – this is a “travesty of compassion.”  

Why should those dying in our midst be considered a burden and not an invitation to be a loving companion on their journey to life’s last juncture?  We should treasure the last moments in this life together in solidarity as we prepare for the next.

In the case of parental notification, for many years concerned citizens have sought to protect the right of parental involvement with their children during what can be one of the most vulnerable and confusing events of their young lives.  Current laws deny all parents the opportunity to compassionately support their daughters presuming some parents are not capable of doing so.

Instead of encouraging a vulnerable teen age girl to turn to her family during what is probably a very desperate and frightful time, California laws persuade her to separate herself from her family and those who most care for her.  These laws leave the young woman a prey to influences other than those who love her.  She is isolated during a life and death decision that will affect the rest of her life.

There are reasonable security measures to handle any tragic domestic threat to a child’s well-being.  Why then, does California law undermine all families by denying parents their role in caring for their daughters?

Finally, in the case of the use of the death penalty in California, rather than strive for healing of victims and praying for the repentance and redemption of the perpetrator, we are asked to sanction the killing of one more human being, perpetuating a cycle of violence and the “throw-away” culture lamented so often by Pope Francis.  A flawed criminal justice system deludes victims with the hope that vengeance will bring healing and closure.  We know it will not.

All of these issues cause us to question how we reverence the human person and cherish our common life, our communion of life.  None of these current laws encourages solidarity.  None of these laws affirm the dignity of the human person or promote solidarity.  And all of them contradict the moral and religious teachings of the Lord Jesus.

In the coming weeks and months, all three of these issues will be before us in California.  You may be asked to sign petitions to place them on the ballot for November, 2016. Signing the petitions will give us, and all Californians, the opportunity to craft laws that truly serve the common good and build up the social fabric of California while enriching the life of all. 

We urge you to study these issues further.  Pray more fervently.  Judge with the heart and mind of Christ.  Act as a faithful disciple and citizen.  St. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20)  Our actions here on earth should already bear the mark of those who long for the heavenly city still to come.

Article source: http://www.cacatholic.org/california-bishops-issue-statement-referendum-and-initiatives-now-circulating-california