The California Catholic Conference (CCC) is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in California. We advocate with policy makers and the public to advance the Catholic vision of human life and dignity, to enhance the honorable and good in society, and to uplift those who are poor and vulnerable. We offer education to Catholics and the general public. We empower Catholics to put their faith into action consistent with Catholic teaching.
The California Catholic Conference is the staff office of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. It is the official voice of the Catholic community in California’s public policy arena.
There are nearly 12 million Catholics in California representing 30 percent of the entire population in the state. They belong to 1,073 parishes located in 12 (arch) dioceses. They are served by 3,280 priests, 16 bishops, two Archbishops and one Cardinal. The Catholic community encompasses 50 Catholic-affiliated acute care hospitals, accounting for nearly 15 percent of all hospitals in California. These hospitals offer close to $3 million in charity care and community benefits to the communities they serve; 14 colleges and universities, which enroll 47, 979 students; 106 Catholic high schools, which serve 64,159 students; 509 Catholic elementary schools, which enroll 122, 942 children; and 231 special centers for social service, which annually serve over 4.5 million people of various ethnicity, social status and religion.
The principles of Catholic Social Teaching embody traditional Church wisdom as well as particular teachings such as Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum .
We believe that every human life is sacred from conception to natural death; that people are more important than things; and that the measure of every institution is whether or not it enhances the life and dignity of the human person.
The God given institutions of marriage and family are central and serve as the foundations for social life. They must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.
All people have a fundamental right to life and a right to those things that allow them to live a decent life. Likewise, all people have a duty to fulfill their responsibilities to their families, to each other, and to the larger society.
The Church calls on us to show a “preferential” care for those who are poor and vulnerable, and to work to ensure that their needs are considered in public policies and priorities.
The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s act of creation, a way of fulfilling part of our human potential. The basic rights of workers, owners, and managers must be respected.
Because of the interdependence among all the members of the human family, we have a moral responsibility to commit ourselves to the common good at all levels.
Our stewardship of the earth is a kind of participation in God’s act of creating and sustaining the world. We must be guided by our concern for the welfare of others and by a respect for the intrinsic worth and beauty of all God’s creatures.
In the course of any 2-year California Legislative session, 5,000-6,000 bills are introduced. Of them approximately 800-1,000 will fall within the customary concerns of the California Catholic Conference. Those bills are followed throughout their “legislative life” using a computerized tracking system that also allows the assignment of “priority status.”
Each bill will be labeled as: major, significant, monitor, or no track. For those bills determined to be major or significant the Conference decides whether to fully support or oppose, either position entailing personal legislator visits, negotiation, letters, and testimony; or to indirectly support or oppose, which usually only generates a phone call, letter or some other modest approach. Occasionally the oppose position is nuanced to be oppose unless amended, in which case the Conference offers language to “solve the problem.”
The categories of important issues identified by the California Catholic Conference have been developed over the years from a variety of sources: the California Catholic Conference of Bishops’ semi-annual meetings, consultations with moral theologians, convening with diocesan ministry staff, and collaboration with like-minded lobbyists. Those categories are: Advancing Education Excellence, Building Sustainable Communities, Cultivating Strong and Healthy Families, Uplifting Vulnerable Populations, and Embracing Our Mission to Serve. These are the legislative priorities of the California Catholic Conference.