Newsom Releases Budget; Synod Listening Sessions

Governor Newsom releases record-setting budget proposal; synodal listening sessions begin in dioceses; Dioceses of Oakland and Santa Rosa celebrate 60th anniversaries; Pope Francis decries politicization of pandemic and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in this week’s Insights.

Gov. Newsom Releases $286.4B Budget Proposal

Amidst the continued surge of the COVID pandemic and its strain on every facet of the economy, Governor Newsom spent three hours Monday unveiling his $286.4 billion budget proposal, which exceeds last year’s record-setting spending plan by nine percent.

One of the most notable developments is the now projected surplus of $45.7 billion – up from the previously estimated $31 billion. The excess surplus is the result of higher tax revenue than anticipated.

The Governor prioritized his spending plan on the “greatest existential threats” facing the state, including COVID-19 testing and response, addressing climate issues such as wildfire and drought, housing and homelessness, cost of living and income equity, and public safety.


Background: Navigating the California State Budget Process

The California Catholic Conference is disappointed and is actively advocating against the Governor’s planned $61 million in additional funding for abortion facilities based on the recommendations of the CA Future of Abortion Council report. The budget also removes the requirement for follow-up visits and ultrasounds for chemical abortion under Medi-Cal.

The first of its kind in the U.S. and arguably one of the closest watched pieces of his budget, Newsom is proposing universal health care coverage for all Californians regardless of immigration status. The program would launch in the 2023-24 fiscal year at a cost of $819.3 million.

Lawmakers and the governor will continue to revise the budget details until the June 15 deadline. The CCC will be monitoring and reporting throughout the budget process.


Synodal Listening Sessions

Listening sessions for Pope Francis’ “For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission” have launched in dioceses throughout the state.

Pope Francis formally launched the two-year global consultation process in October 2021, leading to the 2023 synod with a call to encounter, listen, and learn from others.

“We must personally reach out to the peripheries, to those who have left the Church, those who rarely or never practice their faith, those who experience poverty or marginalization, refugees, the excluded, the voiceless, etc.” (Vademecum no. 4.1).

The diocesan phase of the synod is scheduled to last until April 2022. A second continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023. The third, universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.

For more details on participating or helping to facilitate listening sessions, check with your local diocese.


Diocese of Oakland and Diocese of Santa Rosa Celebrate 60th Anniversaries

The Diocese of Oakland and the Diocese of Santa Rosa are celebrating their 60th anniversaries this week.

The Diocese of Oakland commemorated the milestone by asking for prayers and the Lord’s continued blessing and divine guidance.

Please keep the Dioceses of Oakland and Santa Rosa in prayer as they celebrate and continue their work as stewards of the Church and servants of our loving and faithful God.   


Pope Decries Politicization of COVID Pandemic, Vaccines

Pope Francis Monday told ambassadors accredited to the Holy See that greater political commitment is needed to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and criticized division over the issue which he said is rooted in the politicization of the pandemic and the spread of misinformation.

In his Jan. 10 address, the pope noted that after two years, “The fight against the pandemic still calls for a significant effort on the part of everyone.”

“We have realized that in those places where an effective vaccination campaign has taken place, the risk of severe repercussions of the disease has decreased,” he said, and urged political leaders to “immunize the general population as much as possible.”

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Week of Prayer for Christian Unity