Insights: COVID Infections Surge; Victories for Religious Liberty

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COVID Surge Forces More Restrictions

With deaths in California soon to exceed 7,500 people and cases doubling every 26.3 days, Governor Gavin Newsome has reinstituted restrictions on places of worship, restaurants, gyms, salons and other operations in most of the Golden State.  About 80 percent of the state’s population fall under the new restrictions

The summer surge of coronavirus cases is a blow to parishes and others across the state that just last month began to cautiously reopen.  Fortunately, with the summer weather, outdoor services are feasible and being allowed in many dioceses.  As they did early in the pandemic, dioceses continue to work with local public health officials on the best way to keep Mass goers safe. 

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Supreme Court Delivers Several Victories for Religious Liberty

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered several victories for religious liberty and DACA recipients in recent weeks.  The one significant life-related case, however, was disappointing as the Court ended its term for the year.

By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, recognizing the rights of religious employers and rejecting the Affordable Care Act’s attempts to mandate religious organizations provide contraception or abortifacients that go against its beliefs.

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California Bishops Speak Out Against Desecration of St. Serra Statue

Saturday night, July 4, protesters in Sacramento’s Capitol Park tore down a longstanding statue of St. Junípero Serra, our nation’s first Hispanic saint, one of the founders of the modern state of California, and a tireless advocate for the rights of native Americans. 

We respect the pain felt by our native brothers and sisters and their anger at the historical abuses committed against their ancestors, both during the Mission Period and especially afterward. But we need to again remind our fellow Californians, St. Junípero Serra had nothing to do with these abuses. The true historical record is clear on this point. St. Junípero loved and bravely defended the native peoples, even writing a bill of rights to protect them from the ambitions of the Spanish colonizers.

Continue Reading or click here to read previous statements and learn more about St. Serra


A Mission Renewed: Fire Ravages Mission San Gabriel

In the early morning hours of July 11, fire broke out at Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, destroying the 249-year-old church’s roof and causing extensive damage. After visiting the mission just hours after the fire was contained, Archbishop Gomez returned the next day to celebrate Mass. The following is adapted from his homily.  The parish has also established a rebuilding fund.

The Lord is all mercy and love and tenderness toward us, and we know that he will wipe away every tear from our eyes, that he will turn our mourning into joy. We know this. We believe in his promises. 

But right now, in this moment, we are sad for what we have lost.  

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COVID-19 Cases Delay Legislature’s Return

In light of several positive COVID-19 cases amongst lawmakers and staff, the California State Assembly and State Senate have delayed their return from recess until July 27.

July 17, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 24

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