Echoes of an Empty Death Chamber

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:

Robin Samsoe, age 12. Marcella Davis, age seven. Samantha Runnion, age five. Gregory Gabriel, age 12. Ernesto Esquivel, age five. Guadalupe “Lupita” Esquivel, age two. Sophia Acosta, age three. 

Any discussion of the death penalty in California, or in any jurisdiction in the United States, must begin with a mention, by name, of those whose lives were taken far too soon.  Those souls named above are but a fraction of the murder victims whose lives intersected with men currently living in San Quentin State Prison, condemned to death. By extension are included the families and loved ones they left behind:  mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, grandparents and caregivers. Governor Gavin Newsom, by virtue of the authority he enjoys as Governor of California, placed a “moratorium” on the process of executions at San Quentin.  His declaration, an act of stunning moral and spiritual clarity, took many by surprise. 

For more than a decade, I worked at San Quentin State Prison as Catholic Chaplain.  The work and ministry there as priest included every member of the condemned population, the correctional staff, and administration.  In my years there I watched the condemned population grow.  As well, I grew to know in a particular way, the men whose lives and circumstances led them to live behind bars.  The learning curve was steep.  What impressed me immediately, all those years ago, was the day-to-day human dignity I encountered.  Many of the men maintained the faith walk that preceded their incarceration.  And once inside, they continued to pursue education and self-help rehabilitation groups.  These human initiatives continue, and are valued, to this day.

I was at San Quentin when the most recent spate of executions took place.  Three inmates were put to death:  Donald Beardsley, Stanley Williams, and Clarence Ray Allen.  Two others, by last minute stays, were spared execution:  Kevin Cooper and Michael Morales.  Since Mr. Morales’s date, the execution procedure has been placed on hold.  I watched as Mr. Allen, 76 years of age, blind, handcuffed to a wheelchair, was prepared for his ‘special event’. Days before, we spoke together of his Native American Spirituality — of being ‘released’ from prison, his ‘regaining’ his sight, and his reunion with his ancestors, all to be accomplished in the presence of his Creator.  This gave Clarence, I hope, some degree of comfort and peace.

In virtually every condemned man, I realized that the ongoing work of God remained, as it does for us all, unfinished.  Yet the work was perceptible and real.  In those years, the force of the Restorative Justice movement began to take on larger consequence at San Quentin.  “Lifers” and “condemned” alike sought to embrace, with greater clarity about their own lives, the Restorative mercy and Rehabilitative justice of God.  I witnessed it personally.

The prophetic gesture of Gavin Newsom accomplishes a kind of prudential witness with real life consequences.  As I referenced above, it has direct impact on families and loved ones of victims of the most violent crime imaginable.  Their personal and legal recourse involves the governor necessarily.  He must now, and in the future, listen to them all.  As well, it signals a twinning of Biblical justice and mercy here in our own State of California.  As this series of operative conditions resets the execution procedure, I stand with the Governor in his pursuit of bringing about a more humane and God-like society.  A society where legal execution — homicide — is no longer an option.

Recently, many have made public outcry regarding the moral mire of the college admissions scandal.  Justice or injustice for the top one percent. We will see where all of this ends up.  What stands so clear, and unambiguous, is the photo of the empty, dismantled execution chamber.  A now former tomb. That picture tells a thousand words. 

Some of those words belong to the prophet Ezekiel: “Cast away from you all the crimes you have committed, says the Lord, and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit.”  (Mass for the Friday of the First Week in Lent) My prayer remains that this ancient prophesy be realized in the families of all victims, as well as in my brothers who live at San Quentin: in East Block, North Seg., and in the Ad. Seg.

God’s Blessing remain with you all, always.

Rev. Stephen A. Barber, S.J.
Emeritus Catholic Chaplain
San Quentin State Prison, California

19 March 2019
Feast of Saint Joseph
Patron of the Universal Church

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/barber-reflection

Laudato si’ Sparks Clean Energy in California’s Monterey Diocese

PDF Version:  English or Spanish

One-third of the parishes, offices and facilities of the Diocese of Monterey have gone solar, and the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz now draw on 100 percent carbon and nuclear-free energy largely thanks to efforts of local Catholics.

The diocesan office and the late Bishop Richard Garcia led the way in union with the faithful in the effort. Now the office runs on 100 percent solar energy, while 18 of the 46 parishes and two of the 12 schools have made the move. More are in process.

Adding in the number of facilities that are preparing for the transition, about half of the diocese’s facilities will soon draw power from a renewable source.

The diocesan Office of Social Concerns, collaborating with local solar companies and consultants, devised a way that parishes could go solar with little overhead risk.

The diocese offers low-interest loans to parishes for the necessary equipment and installation. Parishes begin to save as soon as the equipment becomes operational since the savings on utility bills exceed loan payments.

Father Murrin of Boulder Creek’s St. Michael’s Parish, touched by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si’, noted he was personally motivated by the realization that there is no single group that could make a more positive impact on the environment globally than the Catholic Church — if only for the number of buildings owned by the Church world- wide. St. Michael’s Parish responded quickly becoming a model parish for the Green Diocese, Green Parish project.

The diocese is now investigating a way that this surplus clean energy produced can be put to the service of the disadvantaged, assisting those who cannot pay their power bill. As a nonprofit, the diocese cannot receive payment for the surplus energy, so it is now examining the possibility of creating a special charity account for this purpose.

Beyond this Green Diocese, Green Parish solar initiative, Catholics in the Monterey Diocese were searching for more ways they could make a difference. Responding to this desire, the diocese began close collaboration with the Romero Institute — a nonprofit interfaith organization dealing with public policy — and its subsidiary Green Power to explore what could be done.

Simultaneously, three of the counties within the diocese were looking at launching Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs, allowing local communities the freedom to choose the sources of energy they purchase.

The collaboration between the diocese, the late Bishop Richard Garcia, the Romero Institute and Green Power proved a powerful force. With the clear and expressed sup- port of their bishop, Catholics in the diocese were mobilized to act as crucial agents in community advocacy in the establishment of the local clean energy power company, Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP).

Now, through MBCP, all residents and businesses through- out Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties who do not actively opt-out receive 100 percent carbon-free and nuclear-free energy.

The impact continues to spread as the Diocese of Monterey is being honored for best practices in a large display at the Vatican’s international ecology conference. The Romero Institute also is working to replicate this model of com- munity action to advance the cause of clean energy within other dioceses in California and in other institutions.

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/monterey-electricity

Perspectivas: Moratoria de la pena de muerte; Preparación de impuestos gratuita

Obispos Católicos de California reciben con beneplácito la moratoria de la pena de muerte

El Arzobispo de San Francisco, Mons. Salvatore J. Cordileone, en cuya diócesis se encuentra la cámara de la muerte, ha publicado el siguiente comunicado en nombre de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de California en torno a la declaración del Gobernador de California, Gavin Newsom, sobre la moratoria de las ejecuciones:

“Los obispos católicos romanos de California reciben con beneplácito el anuncio del Gobernador Newsom, el día de hoy, declarando una moratoria del uso de la pena de muerte en el estado de California.  Agradecemos que se haya reconocido que el estado cuenta con los medios adecuados para defender la dignidad humana y la seguridad pública sin recurrir a la pena capital.  Pedimos al Gobernador que inste a la legislatura para que encuentre una solución legislativa permanente que cese la práctica de la pena capital en nuestro estado, de forma permanente.

“También exhortamos al Gobernador que utilice bien el plazo de la moratoria para promover el diálogo civil sobre las alternativas a la pena de muerte, incluyendo el prestar más atención y cuidados merecidos a las víctimas de la violencia y sus familias.  La pena capital no es la cura para el sufrimiento y la confusión que acarrean los delitos violentos; la sanación reparadora para las víctimas y sus familiares, hasta donde sea posible, forma parte esencial de la justicia.

“En lo que se refiere a la práctica de la pena capital en sí,  ha sido evidente por muchos años, que recurrir al máximo castigo no es necesario en una sociedad moderna.

Continúe leyendo

 

La CCC transmite serie de videos acerca de Gaudete et Exsultate

La Conferencia Católica de California (CCC) ahora ha publicado cuatro videos en una serie de ocho partes, analizando Gaudete Et Exsultate (Alegraos y Regocijaos), la Exhortación Apostólica del Papa Francisco sobre la Llamada a la Santidad en el Mundo Actual.

En esta Exhortación, el Papa analiza cada una de las Bienaventuranzas, describiendo éstas como “una tarjeta de identidad cristiana,” e insta a los fieles a que “escuchen una vez más a Jesús, con todo el respeto que merece el Maestro”.  

El segundo video lamenta la debilidad humana y la necesidad de mostrarnos humildes y mansos en un mundo fragmentado.

El tercer video analiza el llamado de la Cruz de acompañar a nuestros hermanos y hermanas que sufren.

El cuarto video analiza la definición y la búsqueda de la justicia, según Cristo.

Vea la página de  YouTube de la CCC para encontrar esta serie. El Papa utiliza la versión de las Bienaventuranzas que se encuentra en el Evangelio de Mateo.

 

Averigüe si califica para servicios de impuestos gratuitos

Falta apenas un mes para El Día en que se vencen los Impuestos y están disponibles servicios gratuitos de preparación de impuestos  para las personas que reúnan los requisitos.

El programa de Asistencia Voluntaria para la Declaración de Impuestos (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – VITA) es un programa federal que ofrece asistencia gratuita para la preparación de impuestos a las personas que generalmente ganan $55,000 o menos, a personas con discapacidades, y a los contribuyentes que hablan inglés limitadamente y que necesitan ayuda para preparar su propia declaración de impuestos.

También existe el programa de Asesoría de Impuestos para las Personas de la Tercera Edad (Tax Counseling for the Elderly – TCE) que ofrece ayuda gratuita en la preparación de impuestos para todos los contribuyentes, particularmente para las personas de 60 años o más, especializados en las preguntas sobre las pensiones y cuestiones relacionadas a la jubilación, exclusivas de las personas de la tercera edad.

Los sitios que ofrecen estos programas VITA y TCE, generalmente se encuentran en ubicaciones convenientes como las escuelas, bibliotecas, y centros comerciales.  Pulse aquí para ver si reúne los requisitos y para saber qué debe llevar a su cita, si califica.

 

Nuevo Comité Selecto referente a los elementos sociales para el bienestar de los niños

El Senado de California ha creado un nuevo Comité Selecto enfocado en los elementos sociales para la salud – las condiciones en que las personas nacen, crecen, viven, trabajan y maduran.  La ciencia comprueba, cada vez más, que el bienestar de los niños, de manera particular, está ligado a sus elementos sociales. Como un ejemplo de esto, casi una cuarta parte de los niños en California vive en la pobreza – un hecho que tiene profundas repercusiones en la educación, la salud y la economía, ahora y a largo plazo porque éstas crean desigualdades que podrían atenuarse. El Comité está viendo a personas desde su nacimiento hasta los 26 años.

El Comité Selecto, con miembros bipartidistas, celebrarán una serie de audiencias informativas con un enfoque en los elementos sociales específicos de la salud que  llevan a resultados negativos, como la vivienda y el no tener techo, el acceso a los cuidados médicos, la situación migratoria, la pobreza y la red de asistencia, el uso de tierras, y la educación.  El Comité procura entender los retos en los sistemas actuales con los diversos elementos y considerar formas en las que puedan mejorar los resultados para los niños. 

Continúe leyendo

 

Fallecen cuatro empleados de CRS en la tragedia de la aerolínea etíope

El Cardenal Daniel DiNardo, presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU., ha enviado una carta al Obispo Gregory John Mansour, presidente del consejo de Catholic Relief Services, tras el trágico accidente aéreo en Etiopía el domingo pasado.

En su carta, el Cardenal expresaba que él y sus hermanos obispos “se unen a toda la familia de CRS, especialmente con CRS en Etiopía y nuestros colegas EARO, en su duelo por la trágica pérdida de Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku, y Mulusew Alemu. Su servicio a los pobres y el acompañamiento brindado a los marginados quedan como testimonio maravilloso de Cristo y su amor por todos nosotros”.

Lea la carta en su totalidad aquí.

 

¡Visítenos en el Congreso Educativo Religioso en Anaheim del 22 al 24 de marzo, en el puesto 465!

 

15 de marzo de 2019
Tomo 12, No. 8

En español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-moratoria-de-la-pena-de-muerte-preparaci%C3%B3n-de-impuestos-gratuita

Insights: Death Penalty Moratorium; Free Tax Prep

California Catholic Bishops Welcome Death Penalty Moratorium

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:

“The Roman Catholic Bishops of California welcome the announcement by Governor Newsom today that he is declaring a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the state of California.  We appreciate this recognition that the state has the adequate means to defend human dignity and public safety without recourse to capital punishment.  We ask the Governor to urge the legislature to find a permanent legislative solution that will end the practice of capital punishment in our state for good.

“We also encourage the Governor to use well the time of the moratorium to promote civil dialogue on alternatives to the death penalty, including giving more needed attention and care to the victims of violence and their families.  Capital punishment is not a cure for the suffering and turmoil inflicted by violent crime; the restorative healing of victims and their families to the extent possible is an essential part of justice.

“With regard to the practice of capital punishment itself, it has been apparent for many years that such recourse to the ultimate punishment is not necessary in a modern society.  

Continue Reading

 

CCC Streaming Video Series on Gaudete et Exsultate

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has now released four videos in an eight-part  series examining Gaudete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.

In the Exhortation, the Pope examines each of the Beatitudes, describing them as “a Christian identity card,” and urges the faithful to “listen once more to Jesus, with all the respect that the Master deserves.”

The second video laments human weakness and the need to show humility and meekness in a broken world.

The third video explores the call of the Cross to mourn with our brothers and sisters who are suffering.  

The fourth video examines the definition and pursuit of justice according to Christ.

Check the CCC’s YouTube page for the series. The Pope uses the version of the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Find Out if You Qualify for Free Tax Services

Tax Day is now just a month away and there are free tax preparation services available for those who qualify.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is a federal program that offers free tax assistance to people who generally make $55,000 or less, those with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.

There is also the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program that offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

VITA and TCE sites are generally located at convenient locations like schools, libraries, and shopping malls.  Click here to see if you qualify and what to bring to your appointment if so.

 

New Select Committee on Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being

The California Senate has created a new Select Committee focused on the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.  Science is increasingly showing that children’s well-being, in particular, is linked to their social determinants.  As an example, nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty – a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term in that they create inequities that could be mitigated.  The Committee is looking at people from birth through age 26. 

The bipartisan Select Committee members will hold a series of informational hearings that focus on the specific social determinants of health that drive negative outcomes, such as housing and homelessness, access to health care, immigration status, poverty and the safety net, land use, and education.  The Committee seeks to understand challenges in the current systems with the various determinants and consider ways to improve outcomes for children. 

Continue Reading

 

Four CRS Employees Lost in Ethiopian Airline Tragedy

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent a letter to Bishop Gregory John Mansour, chairman of the board of Catholic Relief Services, following the tragic plane crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.

In the letter the Cardinal said that he and his fellow bishops “join together with the entire CRS family, especially CRS Ethiopia and our EARO colleagues, in mourning the tragic loss of Sara Chalachew, Getnet Alemayehu, Sintayehu Aymeku, and Mulusew Alemu. Their service to the poor and their accompaniment of the marginalized stand as a great witness to Christ and His love for us all.”

Read the entire letter here.

 

Visit us at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim March 22-24 at booth 465!

March 15, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 8

En Español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/insights-death-penalty-moratorium-free-tax-prep

Statement on Human Services COLA

Published on March 13th, 2019


Catholic Charities and other human services sector employees are a critical link in the social safety net.
(Photo courtesy Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany)

The New York State Catholic Conference and the Council
of Catholic Charities Directors are grateful that the New York State Senate and
Assembly both included in their one-house budget resolutions a 2.9 percent cost
of living adjustment (COLA) for the state’s human services sector.

“Catholic Charities and the state’s other human
services providers are an irreplaceable part of the state’s safety net for
vulnerable individuals and families. The funding of the human services COLA in
the legislature’s one-house budgets recognizes this fact,” said Michael Lawler,
director of Catholic Charities for the Catholic Conference. “We’re grateful to
the Senate and Assembly for acknowledging this economic justice issue, and we
urge that the COLA be included in the final negotiated budget.”

The Senate and Assembly resolutions represents a departure
from the Executive Budget proposal submitted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which
recommended deferring the COLA, as has occurred in eight of the last 10 years.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New
York State in public policy matters.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/human-services-cola/

Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities Council Grateful for Human Services COLA in Budget Resolutions

Published on March 13th, 2019


Catholic Charities and other human services sector employees are a critical link in the social safety net.
(Photo courtesy Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany)

The New York State Catholic Conference and the Council
of Catholic Charities Directors are grateful that the New York State Senate and
Assembly both included in their one-house budget resolutions a 2.9 percent cost
of living adjustment (COLA) for the state’s human services sector.

“Catholic Charities and the state’s other human
services providers are an irreplaceable part of the state’s safety net for
vulnerable individuals and families. The funding of the human services COLA in
the legislature’s one-house budgets recognizes this fact,” said Michael Lawler,
director of Catholic Charities for the Catholic Conference. “We’re grateful to
the Senate and Assembly for acknowledging this economic justice issue, and we
urge that the COLA be included in the final negotiated budget.”

The Senate and Assembly resolutions represents a departure
from the Executive Budget proposal submitted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which
recommended deferring the COLA, as has occurred in eight of the last 10 years.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New
York State in public policy matters.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/cola-statement/

California Catholic Bishops Welcome Death Penalty Moratorium

1119 K Street 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814  |  916 313-4000 | General Email: leginfo@cacatholic.org | © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/moratorium

New Select Committee on Social Determinants of Children’s Well-Being

The California Senate has created a new Select Committee focused on the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.  Science is increasingly showing that children’s well-being, in particular, is linked to their social determinants.  As an example, nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty – a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term in that they create inequities that could be mitigated.  The Committee is looking at people from birth through age 26. 

The bipartisan Select Committee members will hold a series of informational hearings that focus on the specific social determinants of health that drive negative outcomes, such as housing and homelessness, access to health care, immigration status, poverty and the safety net, land use, and education.  The Committee seeks to understand challenges in the current systems with the various determinants and consider ways to improve outcomes for children. 

Interestingly, the Select Committee has decided to have a geographic focus which includes areas of high poverty rates in the state:  Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley, the Inland Empire, the Central Coast, and Northern Border/Tribal Lands. They are clear, though, that this geographic focus is not exclusive of their work. 

The Committee is set to be active throughout the two-year session and all recommendations will be posted on their website.  They held a rally to kick off the Select Committee this week, featuring a special address by labor rights leader Dolores Huerta, and with a focus on the communities in the San Joaquin Valley. 

The members of the Committee are Senators:  Chair, Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles); Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel); Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger); Bill Monning (D-Carmel); Richard Pan (D-Sacramento); and Susan Rubio (D-West Covina).

(Article courtesy of the Alliance for Catholic Health Care)

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/policies-issues/human-dignity/health-care/new-select-committee-social-determinants-children%E2%80%99s-well

Late-Term Abortion Expansion: Resources for Education

Published on March 12th, 2019

Millions of New Yorkers are understandably upset by the state legislature’s 2019 enactment of abortion expansion. We’ve assembled some tools which you can use to educate others about this law, and encourage them to organize, educate, and spread the pro-life message.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/late-term-abortion-resources/

Ten tips for writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about NYS’s new abortion law

Published on March 12th, 2019

Letters to the editor are an important advocacy tool. In addition to educating the public and the news media, elected officials pay attention to Letters Page conversations in their local papers to get a pulse on their constituents’ opinions on controversial issues. Below are 10 tips for effective letter writing, and some sample letters below that are intended solely as examples, rather than to be used exactly.

1. To be considered for publication, a letter to the editor should be a total length of between 100 and 200 words. You can check the specific requirements of any individual paper.

2. Always include your name, address and a daytime telephone number. Many news outlets call the letter-writer for verification.

3. It is best to email your letter to the editor, and place the content of your letter in the body of the email; do not send the letter as an attachment to your email.

4. Be respectful. Never use inflammatory language.

5. A letter is more likely to be published if the topic is tied to a recent news story or event. Keep your eyes on the news: if the legislature is considering new laws to benefit women, a letter about how the new abortion law harms women would be appropriate. If there’s a story about a new safety device for newborn babies, a letter about the harm to infants from the abortion law would fit in nicely

6. Know the facts. See our fact sheet about the new law. Don’t exaggerate or overstate the law. Just state the facts. The truth is powerful.

7. Stick with one main issue or point. Don’t try to include all the flaws in the Reproductive Health Act in one letter. Pick one topic and stay there. Keep it simple and understandable.

8 Use your own words. While we offer sample letters to the editor, it is always best to put the letter in your own words. A person’s passion and true feelings come through most effectively when they use their own heartfelt words.

9. You can use the Action Center on this website to send letters to editors easily and efficiently. Here’s how: Go to the “Take Action!” tab in the main menu above and click on Contact Local Media. Enter your home zip code and then your address. The system will display for you a directory of your federal officials, your state officials, and your local media (make sure to scroll down). Check off the news outlet to whom you’d like to send your letter, then hit the tab at the bottom that says “Compose Message.” Just enter your subject and write your letter in the space marked “Message Body.” Be sure to include your phone number at the end of your message, because many news outlets will not publish a letter without a phone number included for verification. Review your mailing address and click “Send Message.” It’s that simple!

10. Know that each time a letter is published, a seed is planted. The Letters section is one of the most widely read parts of most newspapers. It offers a free platform to reach a broad audience. Use it to provide readers with useful information and a call to take action.

Sample letters to the editor

TOPIC 1: THE NUMBER OF LATE-TERM ABORTIONS

I am shocked and saddened that Governor Cuomo and Democratic
lawmakers have passed a new and even more liberal abortion law than New York State
already had. Supporters say that late-term abortions occur very rarely, but
that’s not really true.

The most recent New York State Health Department statistics
show that in 2016, 1,763 abortions were performed at 20 weeks of pregnancy or
more. That doesn’t sound very rare to me. These are fully formed babies in the
womb who can be legally destroyed by abortion. These are not “clumps of cells”
or merely “parts of the woman’s body.” These are innocent infants, dozing,
kicking and sucking their thumbs.  And
even if those infants have a genetic disease or a prenatal abnormality, they
deserve the right to be born and to die a natural death. They do not deserve a
violent death by abortion.

Now that the state legislature has given permission to late-term abortionists to come in to New York to practice their trade, I fear that the number of abortions will go even higher.

TOPIC 2: THE “HEALTH” EXCEPTION

On January 22, the New York State Legislature passed and the
governor signed the “Reproductive Health Act,” an extreme new law that will
allow late-term abortions for virtually any reason. Here’s why.

The law adds a “health” exception to New York law, so that
abortions are now legal in the final three months of a woman’s pregnancy if her
“life or health” is endangered. Previously the law said that only if the
mother’s “life” was in danger was a third trimester abortion legal.

The problem is that the word “health” has been interpreted
by the US Supreme Court as including:

“… all factors – physical, emotional, psychological,
familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All
these factors may relate to health.” (See Doe vs. Bolton 1973)

The health exception allowing late-term abortions is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. We should not be treating innocent human lives as if they were worthless and disposable for any reason. All life is precious.

TOPIC 3: INFANTICIDE

New York’s new abortion law went way beyond abortion. It
legalized infanticide in the Empire State. It specifically removed a section of
Public Health Law (Section 4164) that required medical attention and basic
civil rights be given to any baby who accidentally survives an abortion.

For what possible reason could the governor and lawmakers
have supported this change in our law? Don’t we owe these born, helpless,
voiceless infants basic medical care and protection? This has nothing to do
with the woman’s right to access abortion (she’s already done that) or with
shutting down abortion clinics (clearly they are still out there). We are
talking about denying care and compassion to a living breathing member of our
human family!

I shudder to ask “what’s next”?

TOPIC 4: NEW YORK IS THE ABORTION DESTINATION

New York’s new “Reproductive Health Act” has made abortion in our state an untouchable “fundamental right.” There are virtually no regulations on abortion in New York, unlike most states, where lawmakers have required things like parental notification for minors’ abortions and placed restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion. Now late-term abortions are available for practically any reason, and new regulations will be essentially impossible to enact. It is logical to assume that abortion will become a tourism business in New York, with women coming in from other states to destroy their unborn children. While other businesses flee the state, the abortion business will be booming. How sad.

TOPIC 5: NON-DOCTORS

I find it hard to believe, but New York’s new abortion law allows non-doctors to perform abortions. The law removed previous law that had required a “duly licensed physician” to perform abortion. In its place, the new law allows any “health care practitioner” who is “licensed, certified or authorized” and acting within their “scope of practice” to perform an abortion.  This sounds to me like lesser trained and lesser experienced practitioners will be able to perform both early and late-term abortions. Does this include both surgical and non-surgical abortions? I heard lawmakers say they were passing this law for women, but how can this possibly be good for women’s health?

TOPIC 6: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Moving abortion from the criminal laws to the health laws in
our state has already had at least one horrifying consequence. In February
there were at least two cases of crimes committed against pregnant mothers and
their unborn children, but no charges can be brought for the death of the
innocent infants. In Queens County, a mother was heinously
butchered to death
with a knife, and so was her unborn baby. No
charges can be brought by prosecutors for the death of that baby. In Rockland
County, a man plowed
down a pregnant woman
after an altercation at a convenience store,
resulting in a murder charge for the death of the woman, and no charge for the
death of her baby. That’s because there no longer is an “abortion” crime in New
York.

This is unjust and wrong. It must be made right.

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Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/ten-ten-tips/

Insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Published on March 8th, 2019

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A.2817 Simotas / S.719 Savino
In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

The
above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans
to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo
transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference
opposes this legislation, as well as language proposed in the 2019-2020
Executive Budget which would accomplish the same goals.

While
the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the
joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance
mandate.  These concerns include the
legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human
embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which
promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family
relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual
intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers
and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies.

A) Destruction of Human Embryos

Many
of the assisted reproductive technologies available today, including IVF,
routinely involve the creation, freezing, discarding, and systematic
destruction of living human embryos in
order to bring one healthy child to term. Initially, the process requires the
fertilization of numerous eggs in the laboratory in order to be marginally
effective. The embryos not implanted are then either discarded immediately or
frozen for later use; many do not survive the freezing and defrosting
processes. In reality, the majority of embryonic children created by IVF procedures
will eventually end up deceased.

Practitioners
generally choose to transfer greater numbers of embryos than fewer, to increase
the chance that at least one will implant; this increases the likelihood of
multiple gestations. According to the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law
(Assisted Reproductive Technologies, April 1998, page 128), “The use of
fertility drugs and the transfer of multiple embryos into the uterus during IVF
creates a recognized risk that more embryos will implant than can safely be
carried to term. In recent years, practitioners have relied on access to ‘fetal
reduction’ – the destruction of one or more embryos so the remaining ones have
a better chance – to manage these hazardous situations.” Simply put, fetal
reduction is abortion.

The
Catholic Church views the manipulation and destruction of living human embryos
through assisted reproductive technologies as an assault on the dignity and
value of human life. Each human embryo possesses unique DNA, and need only
nutrition and the safe environment of the womb to grow and develop. Living
human embryos must not be used as a means to an end because they are, like all
precious human beings, an end in and of themselves.

B) Concerns with Assisted Reproductive Technologies

The
Catholic Church supports and assists couples in overcoming infertility through
the use of scientifically-based diagnostics, drugs and procedures that assist
marital sexual intercourse in reaching its natural procreative potential. This
type of “restorative reproductive medicine” can diagnose and resolve underlying
fertility issues and treat reproductive disorders in an effective, less
invasive, less costly manner than IVF. Restorative reproductive medicine can
markedly reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies, premature births and
miscarriages, and decrease other potential maternal complications as well.

The
Catholic Church cannot support in vitro fertilization because it separates the
natural sexual act from the conception of a child. A man and a woman supply the raw material for a technician to produce
a child, grow him or her in a nutrient culture, and insert the child into the
mother’s womb. This is done in exchange for many thousands of dollars.

IVF
procedures are an artificial means of reproduction which treat children as
merchandise to be manufactured, bought, and disposed of at will.

It is easy to see how this
mentality can lead to other abuses as well, resulting from the desire to
manufacture the best product most efficiently. Embryos produced in a laboratory
can be pre-screened for genetic defects or a predisposition to certain
diseases, or even for gender and eye color, and thrown away if they fail
quality control.

C) Lack of Conscience Protection

This
legislation contains no conscience protection for religious employers,
religious organizations or closely held for-profit employers with religious
objections to certain assisted reproductive technologies. Our Conference has
consistently and strongly advocated for the inclusion of protections which
would exempt religious institutional employers from paying for such mandates.

Conclusion

Current
law already requires health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and
treatment of infertility, but does not extend coverage to IVF, gamete and
embryo transfers. Nor does current law extend the coverage mandate to human
cloning, sterilization reversals, and experimental procedures, a policy that
would be maintained under this legislation. For all of the above-mentioned
reasons, we believe New York’s current law draws appropriate lines and we
therefore urge lawmakers to reject A.2817 / S.719.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/insurance-mandate-for-in-vitro-fertilization/

Perspectivas: Papa anuncia nuevos nombramientos de obispos; Se publican estadísticas sobre pobreza

El Obispo-Electo Aclan nombrado para LA; Obispo Brennan se muda a Fresno

El Vaticano anunció esta semana el nombramiento de un nuevo obispo en California y el nombramiento de un nuevo pastor para la Diócesis de Fresno.

El Papa Francisco ha nombrado al Rev. Mons. Alejandro D. Aclan como obispo auxiliar de Los Ángeles. El sacerdote de 68 años ha servido en la Diócesis por 25 años, más recientemente como vicario para el clero en la Arquidiócesis de LA. 

El Papa también anunció el nombramiento del Reverendísimo Joseph V. Brennan como nuevo obispo de la Diócesis de Fresno. Mons. Brennan, de 64 años, sucederá a Mons. Armando X. Ochoa, un ex obispo auxiliar de Los Ángeles, que se jubila y fue pastor de la Diócesis de Fresno desde el 2012. 

Mons. Brennan es actualmente obispo auxiliar de Los Ángeles y ha servido como vicario episcopal para la Región Pastoral de San Fernando de la Arquidiócesis de Los Ángeles por los últimos tres años.

El nombramiento de Mons. Aclan lo convierte en el segundo sacerdote filipino-estadounidense nombrado obispo en los EE.UU. El primero fue Mons. Oscar Solís, quien fue obispo auxiliar en Los Ángeles del 2004 hasta el 2017, antes de que el Papa Francisco lo nombrara Obispo de Salt Lake City. El área de Los Ángeles es hogar de la comunidad filipina más grande en los Estados Unidos.

El Arzobispo de Los Ángeles, Mons. José H. Gómez llamó a Mons. Aclan un “orgulloso hijo de nuestra vibrante comunidad filipina” en un comunicado del 5 de marzo .

“El obispo-electo Aclan es un hombre de oración y tiene a Jesús auténticamente en su corazón — y un profundo interés en el pueblo que ha sido llamado a servir. Y sé que será la voz de los católicos filipinos, que son una hermosa señal de crecimiento y renovación en nuestra Iglesia, aquí en Los Ángeles y por todo el país”, afirmó el Arzobispo Gómez.

Mons. Brennan es nativo de California, nacido en Van Nuys. El noveno de diez hijos, Mons. Brennan tiene a un hermano gemelo que actualmente vive en la Diócesis de Fresno. 

“A lo largo de los años, he llegado a conocer a Mons. Brennan como un hombre de gran fe, talento extraordinario, y un amor profundo a su llamado de servir al pueblo de Dios, con el corazón de Cristo”, declaró el Obispo Ochoa en un comunicado publicado .

“Después de siete maravillosos años como Obispo de la Diócesis de Fresno, sé que los miembros del clero, los religiosos y religiosas, y todo el pueblo de Dios recibirán al Obispo Brennan con los brazos y corazones abiertos”, dijo Mons. Ochoa.

 

Diversas maneras de enriquecer su vivencia de la Cuaresma en este momento

¿Sabía usted que hay más de 40 días de Cuaresma? ¿O que los domingos durante la Cuaresma no son días prescritos de ayuno y abstinencia? Las explicaciones para estas y otras cuestiones, así como una variedad de materiales para alimentar su fe y pastorear su vivencia de la Cuaresma se encuentran disponibles en línea ya.

La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU. (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés) ha publicado un artículo con Preguntas y Respuestas sobre la Cuaresma y las prácticas cuaresmales. En éste encontrará las respuestas a preguntas acerca de la duración de la Cuaresma, qué comidas se consideran carne y cuándo abstenerse de comer éstas, además de si debe aprovechar las ofertas de pescado los viernes.

Muchas organizaciones católicas ofrecen reflexiones cuaresmales para ayudarnos a entrar de lleno en este tiempo litúrgico:

La Universidad de Santa Clara  le invita a que se una a ellos en oración y reflexión cada mañana ya que los miembros de la Escuela de Teología Jesuita y la comunidad de la Universidad de Santa Clara ofrecen una reflexión sobre las lecturas de las Escrituras del día. Inscríbase aquí para recibir el correo electrónico diario que se envía cada mañana a los suscritores.

La Asociación de la Salud Católica de los Estados Unidos (Catholic Health Association of the United States – CHA) está ofreciendo su serie anual de reflexiones cuaresmales para permitirle que reflexione sobre el significado de esta época al descargar y escuchar lo que le ofrecen semanalmente.  Las reflexiones están disponibles en dos formatos: video y forma impresa. Las mismas proveen excelentes formas de reflexión para individuos y para grupos.

La Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) ha también publicado Reflexiones Cuaresmales  para cada Día Santo de la Cuaresma. El conjunto incluye una reflexión del propio director ejecutivo de la CCC, Andy Rivas.

 

La USCCB aplaude decisión del Título X; Procuradores generales estatales entablan demanda

El viernes pasado, la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU. (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés) aplaudió la decisión del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, el cual anunció que había finalizado la “Regla de Protección de la Vida”, que requerirá una separación financiera clara y física entre los proyectos que reciben fondos del Título X y los programas o instalaciones donde el aborto es considerado un método de planificación familiar.

Ese mismo día, el procurador general de California, Xavier Becerra, además de otros 19 procuradores generales y el Distrito de Columbia, entablaron demandas para bloquear la implementación de esta regla.

“Aplaudo a la Administración Trump por reafirmar que el aborto no es planificación familiar. El aborto termina con las vidas de los miembros más vulnerables de las familias, además de dañar la salud espiritual, mental y física de las madres”, afirmó el Arzobispo Joseph F. Naumann, presidente del Comité de Actividades Pro-Vida de los Obispos de EE.UU. en un comunicado publicado.

La Regla de Protección de la Vida prohíbe el uso de fondos del Título X para cualquier clínica que realice abortos. Esto impactará de manera especial a Planned Parenthood, la organización proveedora de abortos más grande del país.

Aunque la Corte Suprema previamente ha dictaminado a favor de que el gobierno tiene derecho a establecer reglas que determinen la elegibilidad de los programas de planificación familiar para recibir fondos, el Presidente Bill Clinton anuló ese reglamento cuando él estaba en el poder.

 

Transmisión de serie de videos sobre Guadete et Exsultate

La Conferencia Católica de California (CCC) ha publicado el primer video de una serie que analiza Guadete Et Exsultate (El llamado a la santidad), la Exhortación Apostólica del Papa Francisco sobre el Llamado a la Santidad en el Mundo Actual.

En esta Exhortación, el Papa analiza cada una de las Bienaventuranzas, describiéndolas como un “carnet de identidad para los cristianos”, e insta a los fieles a escuchar a Jesús una vez más, con todo el respeto que el Maestro merece”.  

El primer video es una introducción a lo que significa ser pobre de espíritu, y tener necesidad del amor y la redención de Cristo.

Se publicarán dos videos cada semana. El Papa utiliza la versión de las Bienaventuranzas tomadas del Evangelio de Mateo.

Pulse aquí  para verlo.

 

Caridades Católicas de California publica estadísticas desalentadoras sobre la pobreza

Caridades Católicas de California (CCC) ha publicado su lista actualizada sobre las condiciones de pobreza en cada condado de California.

Más de 5,2 millones de personas viven por debajo del nivel de pobreza en California. La CCC recopiló los índices de pobreza de cada condado por diócesis, en el contexto de tasas de desempleo, el número de personas indocumentadas y sin seguro médico, la deserción escolar en el nivel de preparatoria, la población analfabeta, el número de subscriptores de Cal Fresh y las condiciones de vida, como la falta de techo, los problemas de vivienda y las expectativas de vida.

Los datos indican una impresionante cantidad de personas que viven por debajo del nivel de pobreza en la Diócesis de Fresno. Hay un índice de pobreza de por lo menos 21 por ciento y una cifra tan alta como el 24 por ciento en cinco de sus ocho condados, contrapuestos con el índice nacional y estatal de un poco más del 13 por ciento.

Los datos también sugieren que la vivienda asequible pasa por una crisis a lo largo del estado, poniendo de manifiesto que por lo menos una tercera parte de todos los residentes en cada condado demuestran tener dificultades agobiantes relacionadas a los costos de vida.

Pulse aquí para más información.

El Crédito Fiscal por Ingresos del Trabajo (Earned Income Tax Credit – CalEITC) es una compensación para los individuos y familias trabajadoras en California. Esta temporada de impuestos, el CalEITC estará disponible para aproximadamente 1, 7 millones de familias que reúnan los requisitos. Averigüe si usted califica aquí.

 

8 de marzo de 2019
Tomo 12, No. 7

En español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-papa-anuncia-nuevos-nombramientos-de-obispos-se-publican

Insights: Pope Announces New Bishop Assignments; Poverty Stats Released

Bishop-Elect Aclan for LA; Bishop Brennan Moves to Fresno

This week, the Vatican announced the appointment of a new California bishop and the assignment of a new shepherd for the Diocese of Fresno.

Pope Francis has appointed the Reverend Monsignor Alejandro D. Aclan as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles. The 68-year-old priest has served in the Diocese for 25 years, most recently as the LA Archdiocese’s vicar for clergy. 

The Pope also announced the appointment of the Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan as new Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno. The 64-year-old Brennan will succeed retiring Bishop Armando X. Ochoa, a former Los Angeles auxiliary bishop who has shepherded the Fresno Diocese since 2012. 

Brennan is the current Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and has served as episcopal vicar for the San Fernando Pastoral Region of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for the last three years.

Aclan’s nomination makes him the second Filipino-American priest to be named bishop in the U.S. The first was Bishop Oscar Solis, who served as an auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles from 2004 until 2017, before Pope Francis appointed him Bishop of Salt Lake City. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest Filipino immigrant community in the United States.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez called Aclan a “proud son of our vibrant Filipino community” in a March 5 statement.

“Bishop-elect Aclan is a man of prayer and he has a true heart for Jesus — and a deep concern for the people he is called to serve. And I know he will be a voice for Filipino Catholics, who are a beautiful sign of growth and renewal in our Church here in Los Angeles and throughout the country,” said Archbishop Gomez.

Brennan is a native Californian who was born in Van Nuys. The ninth of ten children, Brennan has a twin brother who currently resides in the Fresno Diocese. 

“Over the years, I have come to know Bishop Brennan as a man of great faith, extraordinary talent, and love of his call to serve God’s people with the heart of Christ,” said Bishop Ochoa in a released statement.

“After seven wonderful years as Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno, I know that the clergy, religious men and women, and all God’s people will welcome Bishop Brennan with open arms and open hearts,” Ochoa said.

 

Several Ways to Enrich Your Lenten Experience Right Now

Are you aware there are more than 40 days during Lent? Or that Sundays during Lent are not prescribed days of fasting and abstinence? The explanations behind these and other questions, as well as a variety of resources to nourish your faith and shepherd your Lenten experience are available to you online now.  

The USCCB has published a QA about Lent and Lenten practices. In it you will find the answers to questions about the duration of Lent, which foods count as meats and when to abstain from them, and whether you should take advantage of those specials on fish on Fridays.

Many Catholic organizations offer Lenten reflections to help us enter more fully into the season:

Santa Clara University invites you to join them in prayer and reflection each morning as members of the Jesuit School of Theology and the Santa Clara University community offer a reflection on that day’s Scripture readings. Sign up here to receive the daily email that is being sent to subscribers each morning.

The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) is offering its annual series of Lenten reflections to enable you to reflect on the meaning of this season by downloading and listening to the weekly offerings. The reflections are available in two formats: video and hardcopy. They provide great avenues for reflection for both individuals and groups.

The Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN) has also published Lenten Reflections for each Holy Day of Lent. The compilation includes a reflection from the CCC’s own Executive Director Andy Rivas.

 

USCCB Applauds Title X Decision; State AGs Sue

Last Friday, the USCCB applauded the decision of the Department of Health and Human Services, which announced it had finalized “The Protect Life Rule,” that will require clear financial and physical separation between Title X funded projects and programs or facilities where abortion is a method of family planning.

The same day, California Attorney General Xavier Bacerra, in addition to 19 other state attorney generals and the District of Columbia filed suits to block implementation of the rule.

“I applaud the Trump Administration for reaffirming that abortion is not family planning. Abortion ends the lives of families’ most vulnerable members, as well as damaging the spiritual, mental and physical health of mothers,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities in a released statement.

The Protect Life Rule bars Title X grant money from any clinic that performs abortion. This will especially impact Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Though the Supreme Court has previously ruled in favor of the government’s right to establish rules determining the funding eligibility of family planning programs, President Bill Clinton reversed that regulation while he was in office. 

 

Video Series on Guadete et Exsultate Streaming

The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has released the first video in a series examining Guadete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.

In the Exhortation the Pope examines each of the Beatitudes, describing them as “a Christian identity card,” and urges the faithful to “listen once more to Jesus, with all the respect that the Master deserves.”

The first video is an introduction to what it means to be poor in spirit, and in need of Christ’s love and redemption.

Two videos will be released each week.  The Pope uses the version of the Beatitudes found in the Gospel of Matthew.

Click here to watch.

 

Catholic Charities of California Releases Disheartening Poverty Stats

Catholic Charities of California (CCC) has published its updated list of the poverty conditions within each county in California.

More than 5.2 million people live below the poverty line in California. CCC compiled poverty rates of each county by diocese against a backdrop of unemployment rates, the number of undocumented and uninsured individuals, high school dropouts, illiteracy, the number of Cal Fresh subscribers and living conditions such as homelessness, housing burdens, and life expectancies.

The data shows a staggering number of people living below the poverty line in the Diocese of Fresno. There is a poverty rate of at least 21 percent and as high as 24 percent in five of its eight counties, juxtaposed that to the national and state rate of just over 13 percent.

The data also suggests affordable housing is in crisis around the state, revealing that at least a third of all residents in each county demonstrate burdening hardships related to cost-of-living expenses.

Click here for more.

 

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a reward for work to California’s working families and individuals. This tax season, the CalEITC will be available to approximately 1.7 million eligible families. Find out if you are eligible here.

 

March 8, 2019

Vol. 12, No. 7

En Español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/insights-pope-announces-new-bishop-assignments-poverty-stats-released

Bishop-Elect Aclan for LA; Bishop Brennan Moves to Fresno

1119 K Street 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814  |  916 313-4000 | General Email: leginfo@cacatholic.org | © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/bishop-elect-aclan-la-bishop-brennan-moves-fresno

Letter to NYS Senate regarding commercial surrogacy

Published on March 6th, 2019

Printable PDF

 Dear Senator: 

The proposed Executive Budget contains a policy proposal unrelated to the state’s finances which repeals New York’s longstanding prohibition on commercial reproductive surrogacy. The language, misleadingly named the “Child-Parent Security Act,” is included in the Public Protection and General Government Article VII legislation (S.1505-A/A.2005-A), Part QQ, beginning on page 200. We strongly oppose this language and urge that it be excluded from the final 2019-2020 SFY Budget. 

Currently, New York Domestic Relations Law declares surrogacy contracts contrary to public policy, void, and unenforceable. Vendors who assist in arranging such contracts are liable for up to a civil penalty of $10,000 and forfeiture of the fee received in brokering the contract; a second violation constitutes a felony. This policy was signed into law in 1992 by then-Governor Mario M. Cuomo, with broad bipartisan support. 

The language in the Executive Budget would undo this policy and allow contractual profit-making arrangements whereby a woman’s womb will be bought/rented for the purpose of breeding a child for a third party, to whom the infant will be relinquished at birth. 

We strongly urge you to oppose the repeal of New York’s prohibition. 

Reproductive commerce is human exploitation. Commercialization denigrates the dignity of women by degrading pregnancy to a service. In states where surrogacy is permitted, surrogate services are advertised, surrogates are recruited — most often on college campuses, in poor neighborhoods, and on military bases — and operating agencies make large profits. Yet the process of surrogacy entails invasive, often burdensome, medical procedures and serious health risks for women. 

Ironically, multiple embryo pregnancies, which are common in assisted reproductive technologies, have been linked to an increased risk of maternal mortality, something which other parts of the proposed Executive Budget call a “serious public health concern” and seek to address and prevent (see S.1507-A/A.2007-A, Part R, beginning on page 93).  

Women who live in dire poverty do not have genuine freedom of choice in making a decision to carry another’s child. Many egg donors and surrogate “carriers” are economically vulnerable women who are desperate for financial income. In states where surrogacy is permitted, it is estimated that gestational surrogates are paid between $20,000 and $30,000 for “reasonable living expenses,” in addition to medical expenses. Egg donors are typically paid $5,000 to $10,000 for each “donation.” Alarmingly, vulnerable women are sometimes exploited repeatedly for their eggs or their wombs, despite the fact that the long-term health dangers to these women are unknown. 

A human baby is not a consumer product to be bought or sold based on the supply and demand of the economy. We would note that the legislative language offers no protection for children in terms of the intended home in which they will reside. As with adoption placements, should there not be background checks and home inspections prior to a child being relinquished? Why does the legislation contain “eligibility requirements” for the surrogate mother but not for the “intended parents”? 

We believe that the surrogacy policy proposed in the Executive Budget fosters grave violations of human rights and human dignity, and will reap many dangerous consequences. It is not in the best interests of women, children, families or society. 

We urge you to oppose the “Child-Parent Security Act” language in the proposed Executive Budget, as well as the freestanding legislation (S.2071) known by the same name. 

Sincerely, 

Kathleen M. Gallagher
Director of Pro-Life Activities 

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/letter-to-nys-senate-regarding-commercial-surrogacy/

Pot slider

Published on March 6th, 2019

marijuana

In its rush to legalize so-called “recreational” marijuana
usage, we believe that our state’s elected officials are preparing to open a
Pandora’s Box that will have multiple deleterious effects on individuals,
families, and all of society.

While the Governor and some legislators see enhanced revenues for the state’s coffers through a new taxable marijuana industry, we are more concerned with consequences ranging from increased teenage and childhood usage, harmful effects on developing brains, addiction, natural progression to harder drug use, increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths, and other potential public health and safety issues.

Of particular concern regarding the movement toward
legalization is the impact on children, and the normalization of usage that
state approval encourages. Proponents argue that usage will be restricted to
age 21 and older but, as we have seen in the alcohol and tobacco industries,
producers of harmful products always find a way to market their products to
children.

Studies appear to show racial and ethnic disparities in
enforcement of marijuana possession, and we take this issue seriously. The
state can and should take appropriate measures to ensure that skin color or zip
code do not result in different outcomes for the same offense, including re-evaluating
the justice of current criminal penalties for low-level possession. At the same
time, we must not simply throw up our hands and legalize a harmful substance in
order to declare the problem of discrimination solved.

The Catholic Church is not prohibitionist but at the same
time we believe the government should not be encouraging destructive behavior,
whether gambling or drug use, to raise revenue. Vice is not an appropriate
economic development engine for a state that prides itself as a national
progressive leader. Our state motto is Excelsior
(ever upward), but policies that exploit addiction instead lead us ever
downward.

We join with our state’s medical, education and law
enforcement communities in urging New York State to reject marijuana
legalization.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York
State in public policy matters.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/statement-on-recreational-marijuana-legalization/

Statement on Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Published on March 6th, 2019

marijuana

In its rush to legalize so-called “recreational” marijuana
usage, we believe that our state’s elected officials are preparing to open a
Pandora’s Box that will have multiple deleterious effects on individuals,
families, and all of society.

While the Governor and some legislators see enhanced revenues for the state’s coffers through a new taxable marijuana industry, we are more concerned with consequences ranging from increased teenage and childhood usage, harmful effects on developing brains, addiction, natural progression to harder drug use, increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths, and other potential public health and safety issues.

Of particular concern regarding the movement toward
legalization is the impact on children, and the normalization of usage that
state approval encourages. Proponents argue that usage will be restricted to
age 21 and older but, as we have seen in the alcohol and tobacco industries,
producers of harmful products always find a way to market their products to
children.

Studies appear to show racial and ethnic disparities in
enforcement of marijuana possession, and we take this issue seriously. The
state can and should take appropriate measures to ensure that skin color or zip
code do not result in different outcomes for the same offense, including re-evaluating
the justice of current criminal penalties for low-level possession. At the same
time, we must not simply throw up our hands and legalize a harmful substance in
order to declare the problem of discrimination solved.

The Catholic Church is not prohibitionist but at the same
time we believe the government should not be encouraging destructive behavior,
whether gambling or drug use, to raise revenue. Vice is not an appropriate
economic development engine for a state that prides itself as a national
progressive leader. Our state motto is Excelsior
(ever upward), but policies that exploit addiction instead lead us ever
downward.

We join with our state’s medical, education and law
enforcement communities in urging New York State to reject marijuana
legalization.

The Catholic Conference represents the Bishops of New York
State in public policy matters.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/statement-on-recreational-marijuana-legalization/

Substantial Equivalency of Private Schools

Published on March 1st, 2019

The revised substantial equivalency guidelines issued by SED, based in part by the amendment to section 3204 of the education law enacted as part of last year’s state budget, set forth three pathways for determining the substantial equivalency of private schools:

  1. those high schools which register with SED and whose substantial equivalency is reviewed and determined by SED;
  2. the subset of bilingual, extended-day schools to be reviewed by local public school authorities who then advance a recommendation regarding substantial equivalency to the Commissioner for a final determination; and
  3. all other private schools which are to be reviewed by local public school officials resulting in a final vote at a public meeting of a public school board. 

Schools in this third pathway do not
have the benefit of having a determination of their equivalence made by the
Commissioner but rather by a vote of the thousands of the locally-elected
school board members across the state. 
At a minimum, this raises equal protection questions.  Moreover, in the case of religious schools,
sending local school authorities to scrutinize private religious schools would
create excessive governmental entanglement in and an infringement of the
exercise of religion. The very process of sending local school boards to
inspect and evaluate religious schools raises these entanglement concerns,
regardless of the outcome of such scrutiny. 
We maintain that in no case should a local public school board have
authority over whether a private school can operate. While we are accountable
primarily to the parents who choose our schools for their children’s formal
education, any government authority over our schools rests with the NYS Board
of Regents.

Because the religious and independent
school community is so diverse, we believe there ought to be multiple options
in measuring the success of these schools without jeopardizing their
independence and unique missions. 
Indeed, multiple options are essential to preserve religious schools’
free exercise and equal protection rights protected by the United States and
New York constitutions, as well as federal Department of Education rules
concerning equal treatment.

As we communicated to the State Education
Department numerous times in the last year, the NYS Council of Catholic School
Superintendents cannot and will not accept a review and vote on their
operations by a local competitor who can, in effect, invalidate the
Regents-issued absolute charters and SED-approved certificates of incorporation
under which our schools have been authorized to operate.  While we believe the Regents and SED have the
discretionary authority to adopt the changes we are proposing, we nonetheless seek
an amendment to Article 65 of the education law to create various options for
determining substantial equivalency with the final authority being vested
exclusively with the State Education Department and Board of Regents.  We further urge restoration of the $2 million
appropriation to support the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools’
efforts to oversee substantial equivalency provisions.

The NYS Council of Catholic School Superintendents is seeking the following additional options including but are not limited to:

  1. Like registered high schools, schools that are accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the Commissioner would be considered as being substantially equivalent.
  2. Schools or school systems that have an absolute charter issued by the Board of Regents would be considered as being substantially equivalent.
  3. For the significant number of schools that administer standardized tests (including state tests), submit BEDS reports, graduation reports, etc., to SED, the department would utilize such data to make a determination of equivalency, just as SED utilizes such data in evaluating public schools.
  4. Expand the voluntary registration process to include elementary level grades.  Currently, the registration process is available for only high school grades.  Just as is the case for registered high schools, any school that is registered with SED would be considered substantially equivalent.
  5. As a last resort, SED would engage BOCES or another contracted entity to conduct reviews.  The BOCES / entity would submit a recommendation to SED on equivalency for a final determination by the Commissioner and/or Regents.

Catholic Schools have a long and solid
record of academic excellence.  We do not
object to demonstrating our success in meeting and exceeding state standards,
but we maintain that authority to determine whether private schools can operate
in the state rests with the Board of Regents and State Education Department
just as is the case with every other educational institution in the state.  The NYS Board of Regents has granted Absolute
Charters to the state’s Catholic dioceses to operate schools.  Those charters are continually amended by the
Regents as those schools are restructured. 
Catholic schools also operate under Certificates of Incorporation
(educational and/or religious corporations) all of which were approved by the
State Education Department.  No local
political subdivision should have the authority to contravene what is in effect
a state-issued license.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/substantial-equivalency-of-private-schools/

Perspectivas: La CCC examina los 2,700 proyectos de ley propuestos; Proyecto amenaza secreto de confesión

Conferencia Católica de CA examina legislación propuesta

Al vencerse la fecha límite para la presentación de nuevos proyectos de ley en la Legislatura de California la semana pasada, la Conferencia Católica de California (CCC) ahora examina más de 2,700 proyectos de ley que se han presentado (probablemente una cantidad sin precedentes para los legisladores). ¡Se presentaron más de 700 proyectos tan solo en el último día!

Estas nuevas propuestas legislativas podrían tener grandes repercusiones en la educación, inmigración, justicia restaurativa y cuestiones sociales dentro del estado.

La CCC seguirá luchando contra el proyecto SB 24 de la Senadora Connie Leyva (D – Chino), un duplicado del proyecto SB 320 de la última sesión, el mandato que requeriría que las universidades públicas del estado provean píldoras abortivas. El proyecto SB 320 fue vetado por el Gobernador Brown en la última sesión.

El proyecto AB 1059 de la asambleísta Autumn Burke (D – Inglewood), el proyecto concebido para disminuir la pobreza infantil, sigue siendo sumamente importante. Las Hijas de la Caridad , son patrocinadoras principales de este proyecto, el cual fue presentado a principios de diciembre. La CCC seguirá abogando a favor de este proyecto de ley. 

LA CCC también apoya el proyecto AB 809 del asambleísta Miguel Santiago (D – Los Ángeles), el cual requeriría que las protecciones del Título IX para las estudiantes que quieran continuar con sus embarazos, se publiquen en el internet y se provean en los centros de salud estudiantiles.

En cuanto a la educación se refiere, hay varios proyectos de ley que la CCC está vigilando.

El proyecto AB 15 del asambleísta Adrin Nazarian (D – Van Nuys) establecería una Cuenta de Ahorros universal para los Niños (CSA, por sus siglas en inglés), al momento de nacer, con una cláusula de exclusión, para todo niño nacido en California, con la finalidad de impulsar el ahorro para la universidad.  Estas Cuentas de Ahorros recibirían fondos inicialmente de una contribución del Estado, con oportunidades para que las familias y grupos comunitarios contribuyan más.

El proyecto SB 673 del Senador Mike Morell (R – Rancho Cucamonga) requeriría que la educación sobre la salud sexual que se presenta en los niveles del Kínder hasta el 6to año sea adecuada a cada edad.  Este proyecto también refuerza los derechos y responsabilidades de los padres de familia de “supervisar” dicha instrucción para sus hijos, al proveer el consentimiento activo de los padres para que sus hijos participen.

Dos proyectos de ley tienen la finalidad de ampliar el acceso y la inversión en la enseñanza preescolar. La CCC cree que cualquier legislación para ampliar la enseñanza preescolar debería, ante todo, apoyar el derecho de los padres de familia para determinar la preparación de sus propios hijos para empezar la escuela y poder elegir el mejor tipo de programa para sus hijos, entre un sistema mixto viable de prestación de servicios para niños por parte de proveedores públicos y privados (incluyendo los sistemas con bases religiosas).

El proyecto AB 123 del Asambleísta Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento) ofrecería Programas Preescolares Universales Específicos para los niños de 4 años que vivan en zonas escolares donde el 70 por ciento de los niños se inscriben en programas de almuerzos gratuitos y de precios reducidos. El SB 217 del Senador Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) proporcionaría a los distritos escolares una subvención suplementaria de $4,000 por cada niño de 3 y 4 años con necesidades especiales que sean atendidos en un entorno inclusivo de educación precoz, incluyendo la enseñanza preescolar pública o privada. Este proyecto también permitiría que los niños de cuatro años se matriculen en el kínder de transición, si tienen necesidades especiales.

El Senador Anthony Portantino (D – La Cañada Flintridge) ha propuesto una medida presupuestaria que abordaría la escasez de maestros titulados en California, lo cual permitiría que los educadores que tienen credenciales preliminares soliciten una deducción fiscal de $2,500 por encima del nivel, para completar su capacitación profesional. Esta propuesta cuenta con el copatrocinio de la CCC y la Federación de Maestros de California. Al apoyar a estos maestros principiantes que ya están activamente enseñando a estudiantes en California – así como a los que posiblemente no estén enseñando ahora, pero que se sumarán o regresarán a las aulas escolares en el futuro – Dicha desgravación fiscal aumentaría significativamente la reserva de educadores titulados y plenamente preparados en California.

El proyecto AB 2 del asambleísta Miguel Santiago (D – Los Ángeles) extendería la Promesa del Colegio en California, para brindar un segundo año de matrícula gratuita para todos los estudiantes a tiempo completo que asisten a un Colegio Comunitario en California (CCC) por primera vez.

El proyecto AB 1307 de la asambleísta Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park) establecería una formula para la beca Cal Grant para los nuevos estudiantes que deseen asistir a colegios y universidades privadas, sin fines de lucro que brinden mayor acceso e igualdad para sus estudios superiores.

Visite la página legislativa  de la CCC para información actualizada tocante a estos proyectos de ley y todos los demás, mientras que éstos avanzan por la legislatura.

 

Proyecto de ley del Senado de California atenta contra el ‘secreto de confesión’

La semana pasada un Senador del estado de California presentó el proyecto SB 360, que propone eliminar la exención de la comunicación penitencial, cuando se trata del abuso sexual de menores. 

El “secreto de confesión” es una de las creencias más sacrosantas de la fe católica y los penitentes confían en esta garantía inquebrantable para confesarse libremente y buscar reconciliarse con Dios. El sacerdote que quebrante el secreto es automáticamente excomulgado (Canon 1388). Históricamente, a lo menos cuatro sacerdotes han sufrido el martirio por proteger el secreto.

El Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica explica:

1467 Dada la delicadeza y grandeza de este ministerio y el respeto debido a las personas, la Iglesia declara que todo sacerdote que oye confesiones está obligado a guardar un secreto absoluto sobre los pecados que sus penitentes he han confesado, bajo penas muy severas. Tampoco puede hacer uso de los conocimientos que la confesión le da sobre la vida de los penitentes.

Los clérigos ya son delatores preceptivos, al igual que muchos otros profesionales que se enteran sobre un posible abuso en el desarrollo habitual de sus tareas administrativas.    Eso no debe cambiar.

Los consejeros espirituales: “sacerdotes, ministros, rabinos, practicantes religiosos, o funcionarios similares de una iglesia, templo, o denominación u organización reconocida” – tienen una relación especial con la persona a la que asesoran, la cual ha sido respetada bajo las leyes de los EE.UU. por más de dos siglos y asimismo reconocida en otros países de todo el mundo.

Sin embargo, el proyecto SB 360 constituye una agresión directa a la práctica religiosa y al derecho cívico al libre ejercicio de la religión plasmado en la Primera Enmienda.

En un nivel muy práctico, el proyecto SB 360 no haría nada para proteger a los niños.  Toda la premisa de la comunicación penitencial consiste en que lo que se comparte con el confesor de uno, jamás se revelará.  Las personas desnudan sus almas en estas comunicaciones, con la esperanza de corregirse ante Dios. La sociedad se beneficia cuando las personas se acercan más a Dios.  Si deja de existir la promesa de la confidencialidad, las personas se resistirán a compartir sus faltas con su confesor elegido.

En California se ha intentado eliminar la exención antes, pero nunca se ha aprobado en la Legislatura del Estado.  Tenemos la esperanza de que una vez que compartamos la enseñanza y los beneficios de que todas las comunicaciones penitenciales sigan siendo confidenciales, nuestra Legislatura nuevamente verá la luz.  

El proyecto SB 360 fue presentado la semana pasada pero aún no ha sido asignado a un comité político. Tan pronto como esto suceda, esperen una Alerta de Acción para que expresen su desaprobación de esta legislación.  

 

Presidente de la USCCB publica comunicado sobre el reciente encuentro en el Vaticano para la protección de menores

El Cardenal Daniel N. DiNardo, Arzobispo de Galveston-Houston y presidente de la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés), ha publicado el siguiente comunicado sobre el último día del encuentro de cuatro días, asistido por los presidentes de las Conferencias Episcopales de todo el mundo.

El comunicado del Cardenal DiNardo dice lo siguiente:

“Cerca está el Señor de los que le invocan, de los que lo invocan de verdad”. Salmo 145:18

“Estos días han sido desafiantes y fructíferos. El testimonio de los sobrevivientes nos ha revelado, nuevamente, la profunda herida en el Cuerpo de Cristo. Escuchar sus testimonios transforma el corazón.  Vi eso en los rostros de mis hermanos obispos. Debemos a los sobrevivientes una vigilancia inflexible para que nunca jamás les volvamos a fallar.

¿Cómo entonces se curan las heridas? Intensificando la Carta de Dallas. El Papa Francisco, a quien quiero agradecer por esta asamblea, hizo un llamado a que tengamos ‘medidas concretas y eficaces’. 

Continúe leyendo

 

Materiales para enriquecer este tiempo de Cuaresma

El tiempo de Cuaresma 2019 inicia el Miércoles de Ceniza, el 6 de marzo y termina con el Domingo de Pascua de Resurrección el 21 de abril.

El emblemático Tazón de Arroz de CRS  es de primera necesidad en la mesa de las familias católicas, a lo largo del país, durante la Cuaresma. Esta sencilla caja de cartón es una herramienta para recoger las limosnas—y viene con un almanaque de Cuaresma que guía a las familias durante los 40 días de Cuaresma con actividades, reflexiones y relatos.

Todos los materiales para el Tazón de Arroz de CRS son gratuitos y están disponibles en línea. Las limosnas cuaresmales donadas mediante el Tazón de Arroz de CRS apoyan la labor de CRS en aproximadamente 45 distintos países cada año. Una cuarta parte de todos los donativos para el Tazón de Arroz de CRS se queda en la diócesis local, apoyando las tentativas para aliviar el hambre y la pobreza.  Desde su creación en 1975, el programa ha recaudado casi $300 millones.

La Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos (USCCB, por sus siglas en inglés) ha publicado un calendario de reflexiones diarias  y otros materiales para enriquecer la experiencia cuaresmal este año. Usted encontrará una variedad de sugerencias y materiales para ayudarle a “elevar,” “ofrecer como sacrificio,” y “ofrecer” durante esta Cuaresma para abrazar su compromiso bautismal.

 

Seguimiento al proyecto de ley federal sobre sobrevivientes del aborto

El lunes pasado, el Senado de los EE.UU. no aprobó la Ley de Protección para los Sobrevivientes del Aborto Nacidos Vivos (S. 311) con una votación de 53 contra 44, con la abstención de tres senadores. En el Senado, se requieren 60 votos para derrotar los discursos obstruccionistas y aprobar un proyecto de ley.  

El proyecto S. 311 de ninguna manera restringía el acceso de cualquier mujer al aborto, como dicen los partidarios del aborto. El proyecto de ley se había propuesto para garantizar los cuidados médicos básicos y humanitarios para cualquier niño que sobreviva a un aborto, una protección que no se presta suficientemente mediante las leyes federales.  

A pesar del resultado sorprendente, no debemos desanimarnos. Favor de tomarse el tiempo para escribirles a sus senadores  para expresarles su agradecimiento por apoyar el proyecto de Nacido Vivo, o su desilusión y desaprobación si ellos votaron en contra.

 

1 de marzo de 2019
Tomo 12, No. 6

En español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-la-ccc-examina-los-2700-proyectos-de-ley-propuestos-proyecto

Insights: CCC Vets 2,700 Proposed Bills; Bill Threatens Seal of Confession

CA Catholic Conference Closely Vetting Proposed Legislation

With the deadline to introduce new bills in the California Legislature expiring last week, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) is now vetting more than 2,700 bills – likely to be a record for lawmakers – that were introduced. More than 700 bills were introduced on the last day alone!

These new legislative proposals could have major impacts on education, immigration, restorative justice and social issues in the state.

The CCC will continue to fight SB 24 by Senator Connie Leyva (D – Chino), the duplicate of last session’s SB 320, the mandate that would require public universities in the state to provide abortion pills. SB 320 was vetoed by Governor Brown last session.

AB 1059 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D – Inglewood), the bill aimed at reducing childhood poverty, continues to be of high importance. The Daughters of Charity, are major sponsors of the bill, which was introduced in early December. The CCC will continue to advocate on behalf of this bill. 

The CCC is also supporting AB 809 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles), which would require that Title IX protections for students who wish to continue with their pregnancies be posted on the internet and provided in student health centers.

As for education, there are several bills the CCC is monitoring.

AB 15 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D – Van Nuys) would establish a universal, at-birth, opt-out Children’s Savings Account (CSA) for every child born in California to jumpstart college savings.  These CSAs would be fund with an initial contribution by the State with opportunities for families and community groups to contribute more.

SB 673 by Senator Mike Morell (R – Rancho Cucamonga) would require that sexual health education in Kindergarten through 6th Grade is age-appropriate.  This bill also strengthens parental rights and responsibilities to “supervise” such instruction of their children by providing the active consent of parents for their children to participate.

Two bills are aimed at expanding access and investment in early childhood education. The CCC believes that any legislation expanding early childhood education should, first and foremost, support the right of parents to determine their own child’s school readiness and to be able to choose the type of program best for their children among a viable mixed delivery system of public and private providers (including those that are faith-based).

AB 123 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento) would offer Targeted Universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds that reside in school attendance areas where 70% of children enroll in free and reduced-priced lunch programs. SB 217 by Senator Portantino (D – D-La Canada Flintridge) Would provide school districts a supplemental $4,000 grant for each 3- and 4-year-old child with special needs who is served in an inclusive early educational setting, including public or private preschool. The bill also will allow four-year-olds to enroll in transitional kindergarten if they have special needs.

Senator Anthony Portantino (D – La Canada Flintridge) has proposed a budget measure that would address California’s shortage of qualified teachers, allowing those educators with preliminary credentials to claim a $2,500 above-the-line tax deduction to complete their professional training. This proposal is co-sponsored by the CCC and the California Federation of Teachers. By supporting these beginning teachers who are now actively educating California’s students – as well as those who may not be teaching right now, but will join or return to the classroom in the future – such tax relief would meaningfully increase California’s supply of qualified and fully prepared educators.

AB 2 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles) would extend the California College Promise to provide a second year of free tuition for all first time, full-time students attending a California Community College (CCC).

AB 1307 by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park) would establish a Cal Grant award formula for new students seeking to attend private, non-profit California Colleges and universities that will provide greater access and equity for their post-secondary learning.

Visit the CCC’s legislation page for updates on these bills and all others as they make their way through the legislature.

 

California Senate Bill Would Target ‘Seal of Confession’

Last week a California State Senator introduced SB 360, a bill proposing to eliminate the penitential communication exemption when it comes to child sexual abuse. 

The “seal of confession” is one of the most sacrosanct of Catholic beliefs and penitents rely on this unbreakable guarantee to freely confess and seek reconciliation with God. A priest who breaks the seal is automatically excommunicated (Canon 1388). Historically, at least four priests have been martyred for protecting the seal.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

1467 Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents’ lives.

Clergy are already mandatory reporters, as are many other professionals who learn of potential abuse during the regular course of their administrative duties.  That should not be changed.

Spiritual counselors, such as – “priests, ministers, rabbis, religious practitioners, or similar functionaries of a church, temple, or recognized denomination or organization” – have a special relationship with the person they are counseling which has been respected in U.S. law for more than two centuries and similarly recognized in other nations around the world.

However, SB 360 amounts to a direct assault on the religious practice and the civic right to the free exercise of religion enshrined in the First Amendment.

On a very practical level, SB 360 would do nothing to protect children.  The entire premise of the penitential communication is that what is shared with one’s confessor will never be revealed. A person bares his or her soul in these communications in hopes of getting right with God. Society benefits as people become closer to God.  If the promise of confidentiality no longer exists, people will be reluctant to share their failings with their chosen confessor.

Attempts have been made in California to eliminate the exemption but have never passed the California legislature. The hope is that once we share the teaching and the benefits of keeping all penitential communications confidential our legislature will once again see the light.

SB 360 was introduced last week but it has not yet been assigned to a policy committee.  As soon as it is, look for an Action Alert to express your disapproval of the legislation.

 

USCCB President Issues Statement on Recent Vatican Meeting to Protect Minors

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement on the final day of a four-day meeting attended by Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences from across the globe.  

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18

“These have been challenging, fruitful days. The witness of survivors revealed for us, again, the deep wound in the Body of Christ. Listening to their testimonies transforms your heart. I saw that in the faces of my brother bishops. We owe survivors an unyielding vigilance that we may never fail them again.

How then to bind the wounds? Intensify the Dallas Charter. Pope Francis, whom I want to thank for this assembly, called us to ‘concrete and effective measures.’ 

Continue Reading

 

Resources to Enrich this Lenten Season

The 2019 Lenten season begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6, and ends with Easter Sunday on April 21.

The iconic CRS Rice Bowl is a staple on the table of Catholic families across the country during Lent. This simple cardboard box is a tool for collecting Lenten alms—and comes with a Lenten calendar that guides families through the 40 days of Lent with activities, reflections and stories.

All CRS Rice Bowl materials are free and available online. Lenten alms donated through CRS Rice Bowl support the work of CRS in roughly 45 different countries each year. A quarter of all donations to CRS Rice Bowl stay in the local diocese, supporting hunger and poverty alleviation efforts. Since its inception in 1975, the program has raised nearly $300 million.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has published a calendar of daily reflections and other resources to enrich the Lenten experience this year. You will find a variety of suggestions and resources to help you “raise up,” “sacrifice,” and “offer” during this Lent to embrace your baptismal commitment.

 

Follow Up on Federal Abortion Survivors Bill

On Monday, the U.S. Senate failed to pass the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S. 311) on a vote of 53 to 44, with three senators not voting. In the Senate, 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster and pass a bill.

S. 311 in no way restricted any woman’s access to abortion, as abortion advocates claim. The bill was proposed to ensure basic medical and humanitarian care to any child who survives an abortion, a protection not sufficiently provided in federal law.

In spite of the shocking result, we must not become discouraged. Please take a minute to write to your senators to express appreciation for their support of Born Alive, or disappointment and disapproval if they voted against it.

 

March 1, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 6

En Español

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/insights-ccc-vets-2700-proposed-bills-bill-threatens-seal-confession

CA Catholic Conference Closely Vetting Proposed Legislation

With the deadline to introduce new bills in the California Legislature expiring last week, the California Catholic Conference (CCC) is now vetting more than 2,700 bills – likely to be a record for lawmakers – that were introduced. More than 700 bills were introduced on the last day alone!

These new legislative proposals could have major impacts on education, immigration, restorative justice and social issues in the state.

The CCC will continue to fight SB 24 by Senator Connie Leyva (D – Chino), the duplicate of last session’s SB 320, the mandate that would require public universities in the state to provide abortion pills. SB 320 was vetoed by Governor Brown last session.

AB 1059 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D – Inglewood), the bill aimed at reducing childhood poverty, continues to be of high importance. The Daughters of Charity, are major sponsors of the bill, which was introduced in early December. The CCC will continue to advocate on behalf of this bill. 

The CCC is also supporting AB 809 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles), which would require that Title IX protections for students who wish to continue with their pregnancies be posted on the internet and provided in student health centers.

As for education, there are several bills the CCC is monitoring.

 

AB 15 by Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (D – Van Nuys) would establish a universal, at-birth, opt-out Children’s Savings Account (CSA) for every child born in California to jumpstart college savings.  These CSAs would be fund with an initial contribution by the State with opportunities for families and community groups to contribute more.

SB 673 by Senator Mike Morell (R – Rancho Cucamonga) would require that sexual health education in Kindergarten through 6th Grade is age-appropriate.  This bill also strengthens parental rights and responsibilities to “supervise” such instruction of their children by providing the active consent of parents for their children to participate.

Two bills are aimed at expanding access and investment in early childhood education. The CCC believes that any legislation expanding early childhood education should, first and foremost, support the right of parents to determine their own child’s school readiness and to be able to choose the type of program best for their children among a viable mixed delivery system of public and private providers (including those that are faith-based).

AB 123 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento) would offer Targeted Universal Pre-K for 4-year-olds that reside in school attendance areas where 70% of children enroll in free and reduced-priced lunch programs. SB 217 by Senator Portantino (D – D-La Canada Flintridge) Would provide school districts a supplemental $4,000 grant for each 3- and 4-year-old child with special needs who is served in an inclusive early educational setting, including public or private preschool. The bill also will allow four-year-olds to enroll in transitional kindergarten if they have special needs.

Senator Anthony Portantino (D – La Canada Flintridge) has proposed a budget measure that would address California’s shortage of qualified teachers, allowing those educators with preliminary credentials to claim a $2,500 above-the-line tax deduction to complete their professional training. This proposal is co-sponsored by the CCC and the California Federation of Teachers. By supporting these beginning teachers who are now actively educating California’s students – as well as those who may not be teaching right now, but will join or return to the classroom in the future – such tax relief would meaningfully increase California’s supply of qualified and fully prepared educators.

AB 2 by Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D – Los Angeles) would extend the California College Promise to provide a second year of free tuition for all first time, full-time students attending a California Community College (CCC).

AB 1307 by Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D – Baldwin Park) would establish a Cal Grant award formula for new students seeking to attend private, non-profit California Colleges and universities that will provide greater access and equity for their post-secondary learning.

Visit the CCC’s legislation page for updates on these bills and all others as they make their way through the legislature.

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/ca-catholic-conference-closely-vetting-proposed-legislation

California Senate Bill Targets ‘Seal of Confession’

1119 K Street 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814  |  916 313-4000 | General Email: leginfo@cacatholic.org | © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/california-senate-bill-targets-%E2%80%98seal-confession%E2%80%99

Gestational Surrogacy

Published on February 28th, 2019

Re: A.1071-A Paulin
In relation to Gestational Surrogacy Agreements

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill
would undo New York’s longstanding prohibition of compensated surrogate
parenting contracts. It would thereby encourage the buying and selling of
children and the outsourcing of motherhood. The New York State Catholic
Conference opposes this bill.

A.1071-A would legalize
commercial “gestational surrogacy,” which involves a monetary contractual
arrangement whereby a woman who is genetically unrelated to the child, will
bear that child for someone else, with the intent of relinquishing the child at
birth. Human embryos are created in a laboratory through in vitro fertilization
(IVF), using egg and sperm that may or may not be from the intended parents,
then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate mother (or “gestational
carrier,” as this bill calls her).

Currently, New York Domestic
Relations Law declares such surrogacy contracts to be contrary to public
policy, void, and unenforceable. Baby brokers who assist in arranging such
contracts are liable for up to a civil
penalty of $10,000 and forfeiture of the fee received in brokering the
contract; a second violation constitutes a felony. Importantly, this policy was
signed into law in 1992 by then-Governor Mario M. Cuomo, at the unanimous
recommendation of the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law, with bipartisan
legislative support.

In December of 2017 a deeply
divided NYS Task Force on Life and the Law released a new report on surrogacy
entitled “Revisiting
Surrogate Parenting: Analysis and Recommendations for Public Policy on
Gestational Surrogacy.”
Fifteen of the members signed a majority
report recommending a repeal of New York’s ban on commercial gestational
surrogacy and a complex web of regulations governing the practice. In the
report, NYS DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker called surrogacy a “difficult” and
“controversial” issue, and conceded that “there remain concerns about the
well-being of children born through surrogacy, the surrogate and her family,
and intended parents and their family” among most Task Force members. We
respectfully suggest that with so many concerns outstanding, this is not the
time to be experimenting with the lives of women and children.

Seven members of the NYS Task
Force signed a minority report (which begins on page 93 of the Task Force
report) recommending that New York’s ban be maintained. We concur with the
minority and their well-documented report, and urge that you read it in full.
We summarize here the primary harms of surrogacy as detailed in that minority
report.

It treats children as commodities to be manufactured, bought and sold. Children are human beings with inherent rights and dignity, not products to be purchased and sold. As the minority notes in its report: “When a surrogacy contract provides that a lower fee is paid to the surrogate when the child is stillborn than when he or she is born alive, or when it provides that some fees otherwise due are withheld until the surrogate surrenders the child to the intended parents, it is hard for an objective observer to say that all of the payments are for the surrogate’s services during pregnancy” and not for the child.

It intentionally fractures families. Surrogacy encourages the creation of children conceived with the intent to separate them from one or all of their biological parents.

It therefore deliberately divides the genetic, gestational and social relationships of children with their parents.

When any sperm, egg and uterus can be ‘combined’ to ‘make’ a baby, the potential exists for a child to have up to six parents — the male sperm, two female eggs (one for the nuclear DNA, and one for the mitochondrial DNA) the surrogate mom (womb), the intended dad, and the intended mom (or second dad, or second mom).

The arrangement compels an unnatural and unhealthy act: telling a mother not to bond with the baby she bears in her womb. Moreover, it can result in confusion, pain, loss and abandonment felt by donor-conceived children, who may never know their true biological origins or experience the natural parent-child bond. The personal testimonies found at www.anonymousus.org are enlightening in this regard.

It exploits women, particularly poor women. Reproductive commerce is human exploitation. Commercialization denigrates the dignity of women by degrading pregnancy to a service. In states where surrogacy is permitted, surrogate services are advertised, surrogates are recruited — most often on college campuses, in poor neighborhoods, and on military bases — and operating agencies make large profits. The minority members of the New York Task Force on Life and the Law did the math and found that a surrogate mother in a typical pregnancy would be earning far less than New York’s minimum wage per hour.

When a poor woman is bearing a child for a couple who is much better off financially, it is an unequal transaction, and that can easily involve coercion, uninformed consent, and violations of human rights. Surrogacy is not without serious health risks to women. Those who provide the eggs are doused with fertility drugs for superovulation and risk ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can be life-threatening. Those who are surrogates must receive multiple injections of synthetic hormones for embryonic implantation, some of which have not been approved by the FDA for fertility use. If the pregnancy is successful, the surrogate then must endure nine months of  challenges and potential health problems, and a battery of prenatal tests that may lead to mandated abortion or “fetal reduction” if too many embryos grow in her uterus.

The European Parliament has asked its member states “to acknowledge the serious problem of surrogacy, which constitutes an exploitation of the female body and her reproductive organs.”

New York State law prohibits donating an organ for profit; why is renting a womb and purchasing the “reproductive product” any different? Those who live in dire poverty do not have genuine “freedom of choice” in making a decision to carry another’s child.

Insufficient evidence of safety. The minority report of the Task Force is meticulous in documenting the scarcity of long-term, large-scale studies of the effects of gestational surrogacy on the children born of the process, the surrogate mothers who carry them, and the siblings of the children born. Measurable evidence, they say, is “scanty, equivocal, sometimes biased, and often anecdotal.” Their bottom line: insufficient evidence means you don’t take the risks.

As outlined in the December
2017 Minority Report of the Task Force, the legalization of gestational
surrogacy contracts will foster grave violations of human rights and human
dignity. We do not believe it to be in the best interests of children, families,
or society, and we strongly urge you to oppose this legislation.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/gestational-surrogacy/

Home Stability Support Programs

Published on February 27th, 2019

Memorandum of Support

Re:  A.1620 Hevesi / S.2375 Krueger
In relation to Home Stability Support Programs

It is unacceptable that the
Empire State has over 150,000 homeless children and another 80,000 families on
the brink of homelessness. Statewide, over 23,000 more people become homeless
than escape homelessness every year.

The existing shelter
allowance is woefully inadequate compared to the actual cost of housing where
two-thirds of public assistance households are living in housing whose rents
significantly exceed their shelter allowances. More than 82,000 households have
rents that are 1.5 times or more than their shelter allowance. Nearly 21,000
households have rents that are 2.5 times their shelter allowances. As a result,
many families are being forced into homelessness at no fault of their own.

The Home Stability Support (HSS) program is a fiscally responsible solution to this problem. The HSS program, as outlined in the above-named legislation, will:

  • Keep families and individuals on public assistance in their homes and out of homeless shelters;
  • Reduce costs to the state and taxpayers by preventing evictions, reducing emergency shelter utilization and reducing costs of other homeless services; and
  • Provide relief to financially strapped counties.

Through the use of a new
Shelter Supplement, which will support between 85 percent and 100 percent of
the fair market rent, families will be able to afford to stay in their homes
and not be forced to live in shelters or on the street. In addition to the
shelter supplement, eligible recipients will also receive home stability
support services to avoid homelessness and achieve long term housing stability.

The New York State Catholic
Conference enthusiastically supports passage of this bill.

Article source: https://www.nyscatholic.org/home-stability-support-programs/

Perspectivas: Vaticano dialoga sobre la protección de menores; No se cobra matrícula a las víctimas del incendio

Vaticano convoca encuentro sobre la protección de los menores

Ayer inició una  reunión extraordinaria de cuatro días  en el Vaticano para abordar la crisis por abusos que nuevamente sacude a la Iglesia.  Es la primera reunión de este tipo y las presentaciones principales se están transmitiendo en vivo  para que el mundo las vea.

En sus comentarios de apertura, el Papa Francisco destacó lo necesario que es tener un diálogo franco “para hacer frente al mal que aflige a la Iglesia y a la humanidad”.  También recalcó que “el santo Pueblo de Dios nos mira y espera de nosotros no simples y obvias condenas, sino medidas concretas y eficaces por disponer. Es necesario concreción”.  

Se convocó este encuentro tras la publicación de un informe de la Procuraduría General de Pennsylvania acerca de la historia del abuso perpetrado por clérigos en ese estado, además de la revelación de que existían acusaciones de abuso creíbles en contra del  ex Cardenal Theodore McCarrick incluso cuando él iba ascendiendo en la jerarquía de la Iglesia por varias décadas, hasta que llegó a ser nombrado Arzobispo de Washington, DC.

En preparación para la reunión, el Vaticano explicó que el Papa quiere que “los obispos comprendan claramente lo que ellos deben hacer …En primer lugar, quiere que ellos tomen conciencia de esta tragedia y del sufrimiento de las víctimas.  

“En segundo lugar, quiere que sepan lo que ellos deben hacer: los procedimientos a seguir, las tareas que deben realizarse en los diversos niveles (con el obispo diocesano, el obispo de la arquidiócesis, la conferencia episcopal, los dicasterios del Vaticano)”.

Mientras que el Papa llamaba a las acciones concretas, el Cardenal Luis Tagle, Arzobispo de Manila, resumió lo que está en juego a los participantes:

Hermanos y hermanas, esto es lo que está en juego en este momento de crisis provocada por  el abuso de menores y el mal manejo de estos delitos. Nuestro pueblo necesita que nos acerquemos a sus heridas y reconozcamos nuestras faltas si queremos dar un testimonio auténtico y creíble de nuestra fe en la Resurrección. Esto significa que cada uno de nosotros, y nuestros hermanos y hermanas en nuestros lugares de origen, debemos asumir la responsabilidad personal de llevar la sanación a esta herida en el Cuerpo de Cristo y comprometernos a hacer todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para que los niños estén seguros en nuestras comunidades.

Los participantes incluyen a los presidentes de todas las conferencias nacionales episcopales, a los superiores de las congregaciones de mujeres y hombres religiosos, y a otros funcionarios de la Iglesia.  Ellos escucharán los relatos de algunos sobrevivientes durante el encuentro, a la vez que analizan los temas de la responsabilidad, la rendición de cuentas y la transparencia.

Como parte de ese compromiso con la transparencia, el Vaticano transmitirá en vivo todos los discursos principales durante el encuentro, ha proveído el programa, los documentos de referencia y la información de contacto para los diversos departamentos del Vaticano responsables de los distintos aspectos.  Todos los documentos están disponibles en un sitio web especial .

Los Obispos de los Estados Unidos,  representados por el Cardenal Daniel DiNardo, habían previsto abordar el aspecto de la rendición de cuentas, respecto a la crisis, en su reunión regular en noviembre. Sin embargo, el Vaticano, les pidió que esperaran los resultados de este encuentro antes de actuar.

 

Educación gratuita: Ayuda para las familias afectadas por el Incendio Camp

En noviembre de 2018, el pueblo de Paradise y las zonas circundantes, en el Condado de Butte, quedaron devastadas por el peor incendio arrasador en la historia del estado.  El mismo pueblo de Paradise virtualmente desapareció y se perdieron casi 90 vidas en el Incendio Camp, uno de los más mortíferos en el país. 

Como resultado, las familias siguen luchando para recuperar algún sentido de normalidad en sus vidas. Este es un reto extremadamente difícil ya que los hogares de muchas de estas familias quedaron destruidos o inaccesibles. Adicionalmente, muchas de las escuelas también desaparecieron, dejando desplazados a 4,000 estudiantes.

Para aligerar la lucha que enfrentan las familias con hijos de edad escolar, desplazados por el Incendio  Camp, la Diócesis de Sacramento rápidamente les tendió la mano para ofrecerles ayuda. Específicamente, la Diócesis ofreció los lugares que tenían disponibles en las escuelas primarias y secundarias católicas, en el Norte del Valle de Sacramento, a todos los estudiantes afectados por el incendio.  Aunque la matrícula en una escuela católica diocesana normalmente varía entre los  $5,000 a $6,000 por el primer niño(a), estas vacantes no cobrarán matrícula por lo que queda del año escolar.

Para enero de 2019, se habían matriculado 30 niños en las escuelas católicas participantes y se espera que ingresarán más.

Continúe leyendo

 

Febrero es el Mes de la Historia Afro estadounidense

Se conmemora el Mes de la Historia Afro estadounidense de diversas formas para los católicos este mes.

El año pasado, por casi una votación unánime, los Obispos Católicos de los EE.UU. publicaron Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love – Una Carta Pastoral Contra el Racismo. En esta carta pastoral, los obispos analizan la “persistente” historia del racismo en los EE.UU. (descárguela aquí o vea este resumen ).

Según los Obispos, para restaurar las relaciones rotas por siglos de actos opresivos de racismo, se requiere que nosotros “amemos la bondad” y ‘caminemos humildemente con Dios”.

Tendrá lugar una reunión de la Pastoral Social Católica del 2 al 5 de febrero en Washington, D.C. que incluirá el tema del racismo y la justicia restaurativa. Pulse aquí para mayor información.  

El Congreso Mid-Atlantic (MAC, por sus siglas en inglés) que se celebrará del 13 al 16 de febrero de 2019 en Baltimore, MD, tiene varias sesiones que podrían ser de interés especial, como “El Desarrollo de la Aptitud Intercultural para Ministros” conducida por el Secretariado para la Diversidad Cultural en la Iglesia. Pulse aquí para más información.

Como siempre, favor de orar por la canonización de africanos católicos que están siendo considerados para la santidad  - el Padre Augustus Tolton, la Madre Mary Elizabeth Lange, la Madre Henriette DeLille, Pierre Toussaint, Julia Greeley y la Hna. Thea Bowman – o vea el video.

 

Cambios en el Crédito por Ingresos del Trabajo

Está en marcha la temporada de impuestos y también el Crédito por Ingresos del Trabajo (EITC, por sus siglas en inglés) en California, el cual tiene el objetivo de que los trabajadores californianos de bajos ingresos soliciten este crédito fiscal en su declaración estatal (CalETIC) así como también el crédito fiscal federal disponible (ETIC).

El impacto económico del EITC es profundo. El número de familias que solicitan el CalEITC ha incrementado en más del triple en el 2018: más de 1.4 millones de familias, un aumento de las 350,000 que lo solicitaron en el 2017. Eso significa que se han reembolsado más de $2 mil millones en los créditos EITC federales y estatales a los bolsillos de las familias trabajadoras.

Algo nuevo para el 2019, California es el primer estado en el país en donde los trabajadores mayores de 65 años pueden solicitar el EITC estatal.

Para obtener mayor información y para ver si usted califica, visite CalEITC4me.org.

 

En las noticias:

Obispos de los EE.UU. responden a la orden del Presidente para financiar la construcción del muro en la frontera:

“Nos preocupa profundamente la acción del Presidente para financiar la construcción de un muro a lo largo de la frontera de los EE.UU. con México, lo cual circunvala la clara intención del Congreso de limitar los fondos para un muro.  Nos oponemos al uso de estos fondos para impulsar la construcción del muro. El muro, ante todo, es un símbolo de división y animadversión entre dos países amigos. Seguimos firmes y resueltos en la visión articulada por el Papa Francisco de que en estos tiempos es necesario construir puentes y no muros”.  

 

Apoye la Ley de Protección para los Sobrevivientes del Aborto que han Nacido Vivos

Escriba a su senador ya  y pídale que vote a favor de la Ley de Protección para los Sobrevivientes del Aborto que han Nacido Vivos (S. 311). A los bebés que han nacido vivos tras un intento de aborto, deberían recibir el mismo nivel de cuidados para salvarles la vida y su salud que se les brinda a cualquier otro bebé recién nacido.

 

22 de febrero de 2019
Tomo 12, No. 5

 

 

Article source: https://www.cacatholic.org/espanol/perspectivas/perspectivas-vaticano-dialoga-sobre-la-protecci%C3%B3n-de-menores-no-se-cobra