Our country attracts people seeking a better life. It is a country of immigrants. Yet, throughout history immigrants from all over the world faced hostility and distrust after their arrival to America. The hostility switches course and is usually aimed at the newcomer. Ironically, most people at some point in history were targets of this hostile prejudice. This is a heated topic throughout the United States but especially in California. More than 25 percent of California is composed of immigrants.
Twenty-five years ago, the U.S. Bishops issued a landmark 99-page pastoral letter entitled Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the US Economy. Today, with a record number of people suffering in a flailing economy, the letter’s call to promote human dignity in economic, policy and individual actions is as relevant as ever.
We believe that each person has a right to access the basic necessities of life. We advocate for food and income security for all—especially children and the elderly. We believe in policies for decent housing and shelter, especially for farm workers. We support access to basic health care for all. We advocate for employment and promote the idea of fair wages and fair taxes. We oppose unjust discrimination, racism, torture and human trafficking.
Masked in political rhetoric, the image of the “welfare mom” pulses with stereotype. These stereotypes persist even after the start of federal caps for assistance that were written into law when “welfare as we know it” was reformed in the 1990’s.
There are currently 15 states in the U.S. including California, that have maintained “family caps” - denying additional benefits to families who have more children and who have received aid in the 10 months prior to the child’s birth.
A phrase increasingly used to describe the financial difficulties of lower- and middle-income Americans is “income inequality.”
State of the State Speech Combined with Inaugural
In the low-key approach that characterizes his second round in office, Governor Jerry Brown combined his Inauguration to a fourth term with his State of the State speech during a joint session of the California legislature on Monday.
Perhaps anticipating this term will cap his public service career, Governor Brown, 76, spent much of the speech talking about consolidating the improvements in the State’s financial affairs which have occurred since 2011 when he began his third term.
By John Huebscher, Executive Director
Wisconsin Catholic Conference
The current debate over immigration policy raises questions that are intertwined with our identity and character as a nation. The story of immigrants is our story. The issues we are engaging in this debate invite us to look in a mirror to recall not only who we are today, but how we got here.
Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, issued the following statement with regard to the President’s Executive Action on immigration:
"Comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue in the United States. The Bishops of California welcome the President’s action to offer some humanitarian relief for hard-working families who have lived in the shadows for too long.
Numerous programs address the material and physical needs of California’s homeless population by providing shelter, clothing and food along with medical and mental health care. But, all too often, a deficit exists in addressing their spiritual concerns.
For almost 17 years now, the Ignatian Spirituality Project (ISP) has offered retreats, days of reflection and one-on-one spiritual counseling for homeless people, many of whom are in recovery from addictions and actively seek a deep relationship with God.
Pope Francis sparked renewed conversations this week by re-iterating his call to address the “structural causes” of poverty and inequality in the world.
He told the World Meeting of Popular Movements, a gathering convened by the Vatican, that the effort to fight poverty “must be done with courage, but also with intelligence; with tenacity, but without fanaticism; with passion, but without violence." He pointed the assembled activists to the message contained in Matthew 25 – the Last Judgment - "whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me."
On October 4, Catholics around the world celebrate the extraordinary life of St. Francis of Assisi. His love for those who are poor and afflicted, as well as his deep affection for God’s creation, is a timely reminder as the Golden State enters the fourth year of a record-setting drought.