Insights: Religious Rights at Risk; Successful Catholic Advocacy Day

USA Today: Religious Rights at Risk

The following is an op-ed that appeared in USA Today on April 28, 2019.  Voice your opposition to this threat against the seal of confession with this Action Alert.

The Bill of Rights is supposed to protect people from having to choose between the most sacrosanct part of their religious beliefs and imprisonment.

California is considering a proposed law that is nothing less than an attempt to jail innocent priests. California Senate Bill 360 seeks to change its law to force a priest, when he hears of sins in the confessional regarding sexual abuse, to make a choice. He must choose to either maintain the confidentiality of the sacrament and face possible imprisonment or to betray that confidentiality and violate his deepest conscience and the laws of God and the Roman Catholic Church. No priest I know would choose the latter. 

In 1813, the New York Court of General Sessions commented on the Catholic sacrament of confession and the government’s proper role in respecting the secrecy of the confessional as a part of its constitutional duty to protect religious freedom. It said: “To decide that the minister shall promulgate what he receives in confession, is to declare that there shall be no penance; and this important branch of the Roman Catholic religion would be thus annihilated.” 

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Bishop McElroy on Synagogue Shooting

Last week witnessed the tragic shooting at a San Diego area Jewish synagogue that left one dead and three others wounded. Bishop Robert W. McElroy, Diocese of San Diego, issued the following statement and asked all priests in the diocese to say prayers in Sunday Masses for the victims and for the Jewish community.

“Our hearts go out to everyone at Chabad House Poway for the senseless violence that took place earlier today. Houses of worship should be places of peace. Know that the entire Catholic Community of San Diego and Imperial Counties is keeping you in our prayers,” the Bishop said in a general statement.

The Bishop suggested the following prayer be included during Sunday Masses:

“For the victims of the Chabad shootings and their families; for the Jewish community, our elder brothers in faith, who are once again subjected to the evil of anti-Semitic hatred and violence, this time in our own diocese; and for our world, so consumed by anger and division, that we might understand that the gift of peace you give in today’s Gospel is a command for us to love every man and woman in the human family; we pray to the Lord.”


Newsom Entrusts Catholic Charities with Trust of Refugees

Governor Gavin Newsom announced last week plans to transfer $521,000 from the state Rapid Response Reserve Fund to Catholic Charities of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to assist asylum seekers from Central America.

California is a state of refuge,” said Newsom in a statement. “As the federal government demonizes legal asylum seekers, communities are coming together in California to assist those fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. Our state sends deep appreciation to the faith leaders, nonprofit organizations and local officials who are organizing humanitarian efforts in communities across Southern California.”

Read more here.


Catholic Advocacy Day A Success

More than 100 Catholics from throughout the state traveled to the State Capitol in Sacramento on Tuesday for Catholic Advocacy Day.

All of the parishioners met for a morning opening prayer service led by Bishop Gerald Barnes, San Bernardino, and a legislative update from the California Catholic Conference staff. After lunch, participants met with lawmakers and their staff at the Capitol to champion the Catholic voice, discussing issues such as life, families, and education.  

“The bills as a Catholic are really close to my heart because they provide protections for all different members of our community,” said Alicia from the Diocese of Orange. “Our community is super diverse so it’s important for me to be able to represent their voice and my voice.”

Click here to view a video from the event.

A huge thanks to those who participated, and a friendly reminder to submit your reports so we can accurately process the event.  Use this link.

Bills are moving around the Capitol at full throttle right now with upcoming legislative deadlines looming. This, coupled with fiscal bills awaiting action by the Appropriation Committees, means that you can expect to see a lot of Action Alerts once the logjam breaks in Appropriations. When those come your way, please take just a moment to send a note to your legislators and join in the work being done on behalf of the Church. It really does make an impact.

In the meantime, visit our Take Action page for current alerts.


On the Web:

Career Opportunity:

Providence St. Joseph is seeking Regional Program Manager to implement and coordinate training, education and other components of the Whole Person Care Initiative (WPCI), a partnership between the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, and the Institute for Human Caring, intended to transform the way in which society cares for the seriously and terminally ill. 

Click here for more and search Job #222211.


Cantu Takes Reigns in San Jose

Bishop Oscar Cantu, coadjutor bishop of San Jose, California, has assumed pastoral governance of the diocese with the resignation of Bishop Patrick J. McGrath.

Bishop Cantu, 52, had been coadjutor bishop since July. Bishop McGrath, 73, had led the Diocese of San Jose since 1999.

The appointment was announced May 1 in Washington by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States.



Brennan Installed in Fresno

The Mass of Installation of The Most Reverend Joseph V. Brennan, D.D., as the Sixth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno was held yesterday at Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Fresno.

More here.


May 3, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 14


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