Bishops Ballot Recommendations Focus on Restorative Justice, Mercy
November’s ballot contains multiple propositions dealing with California’s criminal sentencing system. As the Extraordinary Year of Mercy comes to a close, California voters have a tremendous opportunity to live out mercy in the Golden State.
The California Catholic Conference of Bishops are urging support for Prop 62, which would end the use of the death penalty, and are opposing Prop 66, which would streamline the legal process in capital cases and weaken critical safeguards against executing an innocent person.
The Bishops are also urging support for Prop 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, which would introduce basic restorative justice principals into the dangerously overcrowded prison system, improve the way in which judicial system handles juvenile cases and encourage programs to reduce recidivism rates.
The California Catholic Conference (CCC) has a wide variety of documents and resources to help you understand the issues and applicable Catholic teaching on these three propositions:
As Faithful Citizens we are called to form our consciences by understanding Church teaching then prayerfully and prudentially make our own voting decisions. (See our FAQ on Faithful Citizenship for more information.) Please peruse these resources and use them in your discernment and prayer.
Analysis of Ballot Propositions
The Conference has examined all 17 statewide ballot propositions and posted analysis that provides non-partisan background, examines the impact of the proposed measures and offers reflections from Catholic teaching on each proposal. A summary of the measures, suitable for bulletin inserts, is also available. (English or Spanish).
Archbishop Cordileone: Don’t legalize marijuana
This op-ed appeared in Catholic San Francisco on October 18, 2016:
When the State of Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana, traffic fatalities related to cannabis doubled. Emergency room visits have risen sharply in Colorado primarily among toddlers who consume marijuana edibles. And this spring, right here in San Francisco, 19 people went to the emergency room when they unknowingly ingested marijuana-laced candies during a celebration.
In California, Proposition 64 asks voters to follow the same path. As these two states have demonstrated, such a dramatic change will have radical consequences – some predictable and others unanticipated. Why would we want to legalize a substance with such potentially dangerous impacts, especially when we don’t understand the full extent of those impacts?
Increased road fatalities alone should give us pause. Incredibly, California voters are being asked to allow the widespread use of marijuana despite the fact that, unlike alcohol, there is no reliable standard for measuring the effect marijuana has on a driver.
Drivers are well aware of the .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) standard in the Golden State. Yet we still take chances and tell ourselves we are “OK” to drive.
Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with how easily we can fool ourselves, as four years ago I myself was found to be over the BAC standard at a sobriety checkpoint. While at the time I judged myself safe to drive, I recognize the wisdom of such a strict standard in order to avoid drivers endangering others and jeopardizing the precious gift of life and health entrusted to us by God.
Temperance, the virtue which extols moderation and restraint, leads to healthy relations with others and care for our own health. Excessive use of almost any substance or overindulgence in any activity can damage our own health and the well-being of others.
Don’t Stay Away on Election Day
While some offices and issues may be frustrating, there are many candidates and ballot propositions that voters can enthusiastically support or assertively oppose (while being civil in the process!) Don’t disenfranchise yourself. Exercise your right and VOTE on November 8 or with your absentee ballot!
In case you missed it, Public Policy Insights featured Being Catholic and Voting, by Fr. Gerald Coleman, is a great examination of our civic responsibility and guidelines for determining the moral obligations of the Catholic voter.
In addition, the Conference has prepared an in-depth FAQ on faithful citizenship to help explore Catholic teaching and promotion of the common good. Take some time to explore these documents and in combination with prayer determine your voting conscience.
Share New Anti-Death Penalty Video ThankssA
Last week, the CCC released a new video featuring the Yes on 62 and No on 66 messages.
Prop 62 seeks to end the use of the death penalty while Prop 66 will reduce the safeguards needed to prevent the execution of an innocent person. Since both are competing measures, whichever receives the most votes on Election Day will prevail.
Please take a moment to watch the short video and be sure to share with others. Human nature seeks punishment for criminal acts, but we must also consider the redemptive value of forgiveness and how it permeates God’s love. The passage of Prop 62 would be a huge milestone in this front.
October 21, 2016
Vol. 9, No. 34