Insights: CA Healthy Youth Act; Novena to Defeat SB 24

What You Need to Know about the CA Healthy Youth Act

Implementation of comprehensive sexual health education in public schools, per the “California Healthy Youth Act” (“CHYA”) of 2015, is of concern to a growing number of Catholic families.  For those parents or guardians, some state-recommended curricula that may be taught (if school districts decide to adopt) includes graphic instructions and morally objectionable ideas and behavior.  Recognizing this effect, this article, and the link below, seeks to clarify the law and related issues.

Since taking effect on January 1, 2016, the CHYA has required California public school districts to provide students in grades seven through twelve with comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention information.  Under this law, school districts may even choose to offer “age-appropriate” instruction earlier than Grade 7.  While each school district can determine its own curriculum, the instruction must meet certain standards, such as being medically accurate and objective; being appropriate for use with students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds; affirmatively recognizing different sexual orientations and including same-sex relationships in discussions; and teaching about gender, gender expression, gender identity, and the harm of negative gender stereotypes.    

A significant element of the CHYA has been its recognition of the right of parents to supervise their children’s sexual health education: “The Legislature recognizes that while parents and guardians overwhelmingly support medically accurate, comprehensive sex education, parents and guardians have the ultimate responsibility for imparting values regarding human sexuality to their children.” 

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Novena to Defeat Chemical Abortion Bill

More than half of the dioceses in California have accepted Sacramento Bishop and CCC President Jaime Soto’s invitation to join him in a novena dedicated to defeating SB 24, the bill by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) that would mandate California state university health clinics dispense abortion-inducing medications.

“At this critical moment, I urge all Catholics and all Christians to join together in prayer,” said Bishop Soto in a letter to the faithful. “ From August 3 through August 11, pray with me a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of unborn children, asking her powerful intercession to defeat this bill. Our own political action is important but we must also draw wisdom and strength from prayer.”

Angela Gilliard, Director of Health Policy for the UC system, has expressed concern over funding increases for students to accommodate a source of funding for SB 24. Other vocal pro-choice advocates are opposing the bill, including the California Academy for Preventative Medicine.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez, in a column published this week, spoke of the increased need for Catholics to be engaged in the political process.  He referenced SB 24 as exemplifying the need to be involved:

“Right now, in California, there is legislation, Senate Bill 24,” said the Archbishop, “that would require all state colleges and universities to offer students free access to the ‘abortion pill.’ But a compassionate society should have more to offer women in need than the ability to end the life of their children before they are born.”

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will offer a special Mass marking the end of the novena on August 11 at St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The bill currently sits in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and is scheduled to have a hearing this month. Please stay tuned for Action Alerts to help defeat this bill. 

You can find the novena prayer in English and Spanish, as well as Bishop Soto’s message here and the Action Alert here.


SF Archdiocese Mourns Loss of Auxiliary Bishop Robert Christian

Thirteen months after his ordination, San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop Robert Christian, OP, passed away in his sleep at St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park. Bishop Christian, the seminary’s rector-president, was 70 years old. 

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone said “I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the passing of Bishop Christian.  The Archdiocese was greatly blessed to have his wisdom and leadership even if for so brief a time as auxiliary bishop and even briefer time as rector of the Seminary.  We join with the Dominican community in praying for the repose of his soul and for peace and comfort for his wonderful family in their time of mourning.”

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Faithful in Diocese of Orange Celebrate New Cathedral

Thousands joined in a week of celebration for the dedication of Christ Cathedral in the Diocese of Orange.  Originally called the Crystal Cathedral, the Cathedral was built by Dr. Robert Schuller, who began his ministry preaching in drive-in theaters.  Dr.  Schuller’s Hour of Power became the most watched religious show on television in the 1980s.

By 2010, the ministry faced financial hardship at the same time that the Diocese of Orange undertook an effort to build a new Cathedral.  The diocese had already purchased property when the 32-acre Crystal Cathedral site came up for sale.  Dr. Schuller asked the bankruptcy judge to sell the Cathedral to the diocese despite the fact that a higher offer came from Chapman University.

The Diocese of Orange has spent the last seven years renovating the campus, which includes a parish, school, administrative offices, cemetery, cultural center, a television studio and more.

Christ Cathedral is home to the Diocese of Orange and the region’s 1.3 million Catholics.   The dedication made national news.  Read some of the reporting, including architectural reviews of the new church, here.


Role of Policy Makers Highlighted in Caring for Our Common Home

In their recent pastoral statementGod Calls Us to Care for Our Common Home, the California Bishops asked all to heed the call to a spiritual conversion that respects our common home and cares for all.  They also identified specific responsibility for lawmakers, public officials, and other policymakers who “because of their influence over institutions, have extra responsibilities for upholding the common good.”

Of course, the most visible expression of that responsibility for a lawmaker is through legislation and the California Catholic Conference (CCC) continues to advocate on behalf of many proposals, just as it did prior to the release of Laudato Si’.

For instance, a key piece of legislation supported by the CCC was SR 37, which encouraged the California legislature to study and take into account the Papal Encyclical when considering climate change in relevant legislative action. That resolution was adopted the summer of 2015 a few months after the release of the encyclical.

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August 2, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 21


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