Insights: SB 905 Clears Key Committee; Social Encyclicals and the Election

St. John Paul II & Pope Francis

Bill to Protect Parish Volunteer Info Advances

A bill which would help protect the privacy of personal and residential information required to volunteer in Catholic and other organizations cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee this week and is headed to the Assembly floor.

The California Catholic Conference is sponsoring SB 905 by Senator Bob Archuleta (D-Pico Rivera).  Many organizations, in order to protect children, require people to be fingerprinted and clear background checks before they can volunteer. But some people who are undocumented are reluctant to volunteer out of concern that their immigration status will be revealed.

“During this COVID-19 crisis, we need volunteers more than ever. Especially now, people should not be held back by procedure from contributing to their community,” said the bill’s author, Senator Archuleta.  “SB 905 protects the privacy of Californians by no longer requiring a residence address on a background check. By not requiring an address on these background checks, we can provide assurance to individuals that they can volunteer in their communities without risking and compromising the safety and security of themselves or their loved ones.”

The bill is needed so that the Church, which is called to be place of safety and refuge, does not become complicit in the targeting of vulnerable populations. 

 “Without SB 905, the state would be limiting the number of volunteers, which limits the support we can provide to our communities during COVID-19,” California Catholic Conference Executive Director Andrew Rivas testified during the Assembly Public Safety Committee hearing on the bill. “Our undocumented brothers and sisters are among those in need of services, and they are also those stepping up to volunteer and assisting the vulnerable, many of whom do so via our charities.”  

Please keep watch for an alert to help ensure the Governor signs this bill.


Social Encyclicals and Papal Letters Address the Issues of the Day

The Church's social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society.  As the nation prepares for the November General Election, a careful examination of the principles of Catholic social teaching is critical to discerning our actions in the public square.  Many of those principles are found in the social encyclicals of the last 130 years.

Pope Francis recently explained, “These principles help the leaders, those responsible for society, to foster growth and also … the healing of the personal and social fabric.” (Read more on his thoughts on social doctrines at 

While none of the social encyclicals will tell you exactly who to vote for, they will provide the principles and moral guidance on issues of the day that you will want in making your voting decisions.   In this issue, we examine what exactly is an encyclical and how can they help us today:

When the pope publishes an encyclical, it is a newsworthy event anticipated by both Catholics and many non-Catholics. Encyclicals can be controversial – both within the Church and in the outside world – but they are almost always relevant, thought-provoking and challenging. What are papal encyclicals and what do they mean for Catholics?

Continue Reading

Keep watch for other upcoming General Election 2020 and Faithful Citizenship resources.  This week, we’ve posted a series of Homily Helps that contain reflections of the readings for the week and information on our responsibility to advance the principles of Catholic teaching in acting as faithful citizens.


Practicing Faith in the Pandemic

Catholics throughout the state are being creative in continuing to practice their faith.  We all long for a return to the Mass but in the meantime dioceses and parishes are reaching out in new ways:


Make Yourself Count – Complete the Census

For those who have yet to complete the 2020 Census, officials are going door to door to ensure the most accurate accounting. The U.S. Census Bureau has moved up the deadline to complete the census, so it’s imperative that you act now if you have not already done so.

Participating in the census is vital as it will decide how billions of federal dollars are distributed in California. An undercount could impact funding for our schools, health services, child care, emergency services, and many other programs.

Based on the Census count, California state officials will also use the results to redraw voter boundaries for local and state legislative districts. This also determines how $675 billion will be spent supporting state, county, and community programs that directly impact our parishioners and their families.

You can complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail and there are no citizenship questions. Visit for more information.

When we pray, God expects that we also be mindful of those who do not think as we do, those who have slammed the door in our face, those whom we find it hard to forgive. Only prayer unlocks chains, only prayer paves the way to unity.   @Pontifex


August 14, 2020
Vol. 13, No. 28

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