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Insights: State of the State Address; World Communications Day

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January 26, 2018

Questions Raised About State Data, Safeguards in Assisted-Suicide Law

Organizations opposed to physician-assisted suicide responded to an Assembly hearing held today which was called to evaluate the implementation of assisted-suicide by doctors in California but instead appeared to be more a call for expansion of the practice and a lessening of safeguards to protect the vulnerable:

"Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) hosted a Select Committee hearing today at the Capitol on the California End of Life Option Act.   As organizations representing broad constituencies, we are not intending to debate AB2X-15 (Eggman) again, yet we remain opposed to the policy of assisted suicide.

"Since the law was signed, one of the most pressing concerns for us and many in the medical community is the paucity of data collected and reported, as well as transparency of the process.  Last June, following the six-month report on the End of Life Options Act from the California Department of Public Health, Assemblymember Eggman’s spokesperson acknowledged the problem to the Associated Press. Specifically, important data that has been collected but not reported includes information from the attending physicians’ follow-up form, the attending physician’s checklist and from the Patient Request form.

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Brown Delivers State of the State Address

Governor Jerry Brown gave his State of the State address today, his 16th and the final of his tenure as governor of the Golden State.

In his roughly 30-minute speech, Governor Brown celebrated much of his wins while in office and touched on the state of healthcare, education, and California’s prison system and environment. He also spent a significant amount of time defending the Delta water tunnels plan and high-speed rail in the State.

“As the climate changes and more water arrives as rain instead of snow, it’s crucial that we are able to capture some of the overflow in a timely and responsible way. That, along with water recycling and recapture will put us in the best position to use water wisely and in the most efficient manner possible. ”

Brown also spoke of the “not easy, but essential” vote to raise taxes on gasoline in the state to help it’s aging infrastructure system and $67 billion in deferred maintenance costs.

“Tens of millions of cars and trucks travel over 330 billion miles a year; the sun’s only 93 million miles away,” he said. “The funds are absolutely necessary if we are going to maintain our roads in good repair.”

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Undocumented Atlanta Priest Awaits Fate of DACA with Nation

Earlier this week, The Washington Post profiled Rev. Rey Pineda, a Catholic priest serving in Atlanta who is also an undocumented U.S. citizen living in the U.S.

Like nearly 700,000 others, Fr. Pineda is awaiting the fate of the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Obama created in 2012 and the Trump administration canceled late last year.

Pineda, whose family migrated to the United States when he was two-years-old to seek treatment for his mother’s recovery from a car accident, leads a congregation largely divided on how Congress should act on DACA.

The California Catholic Conference and California Bishops are urgently asking for letters to be sent to lawmakers insisting that they preserve DACA, which is set to end on March 5.

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Pope’s World Communications Day Message Focuses on Truth

Pope Francis released his World Communications Day message this week, focusing on the perils of perpetuating ‘fake-news’ and the responsibility of all to discern and propagate only truth through media channels.

While World Communications Day 2018 takes place May 13, the Pope’s January 24 released statement, “The truth will set you free: fake-news and journalism for peace” emphasizes the ability of fallacious reporting to produce calamitous havoc on society. 

Fake news grabs people’s attention “by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration,” Pope Francis wrote in his message.

The Holy Father also referred to “fake news” as “snake-tactics” and likened them to those used by the “crafty serpent” in the Garden of Eden.

Read his statement in its entirety here and his prayer for World Communications Day 2018 here.

 

On the Web:

Chairmen Applaud New HHS Initiatives on Conscience and Religious Freedom

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the USCCB's Committee for Religious Liberty, offered the following joint statement in response to the creation of a new Division on Conscience and Religious Freedom within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights and other related administrative actions:

"We applaud HHS for its significant actions to protect conscience rights and religious freedom. For more than forty years—dating back to the Church amendment of 1973—Congress has enacted federal laws protecting rights of conscience in health care. 

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Bishop Cotta Commissioned to Take the Reigns of Diocese of Stockton

The Vatican announced this week that Bishop Myron Joseph Cotta, currently Auxiliary Bishop of Sacramento, has been tapped to take the reigns of the Diocese of Stockton after Bishop Steven Blaire announced his resignation.

Bishop Blaire is over the age of 75 when Bishops are traditionally asked to retire.

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January 26, 2018
Vol. 11, No. 4