Insights: Thoughts on SB 360; Updated DREAM Act Passes House

Thoughts and Defiance on SB 360

Priests are willing to be jailed rather than break the sanctity of the confessional, according to several interviewed in a video released by Catholic News Service this week. The defiance is in response to SB 360, the bill in the California Legislature that would force priests to report any child abuse confessed by penitents.  

“I know no priest who would choose to violate his conscience toward God,” said Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, Canon Law Professor at St. Patrick’s Seminary. “To violate that trust between a penitent and God himself is to so violate a person’s conscience that there are few acts more violative of conscience.”

The CCC is interested in hearing how your priest views SB 360, and conversely, thoughts from clergy on the topic in parishes. Head over to our Facebook page to comment and let us know what you are hearing about this bill.

As amended, SB 360 (Hill, D-Mateo), would remove the right to privacy between a penitent and confessor during the Sacrament of Reconciliation and other spiritual counseling for priests and employees of the Church. Originally, the “penitential exemption” would have been removed for every Catholic.  SB 360 also leaves intact the attorney-client privilege.

In Catholic teaching, the confessional is sacrosanct and Canon law is very clear that any priest who violates the seal of confession is automatically excommunicated.  

The bill is currently in the Assembly but has yet to be assigned to a committee. Click here to quickly send a letter to your lawmaker telling them to stop this bill now.

“People should feel at absolute liberty within the context of Sacramental confession to know that they should be free to reveal the deepest, sometimes darkest aspects of our conscience,” said Fr. Ronald T. Kunkel, a theology professor at Mundelein Seminary.

Stay with the CCC for updates and the latest ways you can help defeat this bill.


USCCB Lauds House Passage of Updated DREAM Act

The USCCB is applauding the House of Representatives for passing the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) this week. This provides a pathway to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants and immigrants with temporary status on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Though this is a significant milestone for the bill, it is unlikely to be taken up in the Senate.

Despite that reality, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration, released a statement praising the House for its action on the measure.

“This is a big step for Dreamers and TPS holders who have called the United States home but have been working and living in uncertainty for years,” said Bishop Vásquez. “Dreamers, TPS and DED holders are working to make our communities and parishes strong and are vital contributors to our country. We welcome today’s vote and urge the Senate to take up this legislation which gives permanent protection to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.”

The updated DREAM Act would grant DACA recipients and other young undocumented immigrants conditional U.S. permanent residency for 10 years if they meet certain criteria. To be eligible, immigrants must have been younger than 18 when they came to the U.S. and must have lived in the U.S. continuously over the previous four years. They must also have an American high school diploma or GED and pass a background check. Those who have committed serious crimes would be ineligible.


USCCB Releases 2019 Report on Charter for the Protection of Young People

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released its 2019 report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The report is the result of an annual compliance audit in accordance with Article 10 of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

“Policies and protocols are important but what is needed now more than ever in the Church today is a return to holiness and a culture that puts Christ and his “little ones” at the center,” the report reads.

Click here to read more.



USCCB Spring General Assembly Meeting

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will gather for the 2019 Spring General Assembly in Baltimore, June 11-14.  

The Bishops will be discussing issues like accountability measures to respond to the abuse crisis, as well as hear from committees on immigration, the death penalty, and ordinations. There will also be a vote on the cause for canonization of Irving (Francis) C. Houle.

Public sessions of the general assembly discussions and votes will be available via livestream at: Click here for more info


On The Web:

Whole Person Care Initiative Gets National Attention

Whole Person Care, the joint project of the CCC and the Alliance of Catholic Health Care, has received attention in the National Catholic Reporter.

The initiative is geared toward creating helping people feel loved, worthy and cared for during serious illness as well as palliative and end-of-life care options.

Read the article here.


New Hampshire 21st State to End Death Penalty

This week, New Hampshire became the 21st state to abolish capital punishment, overriding a veto by the state’s governor.

The Catholic Church has declared the death penalty “inadmissible” in all cases.

Read more here.


June 7, 2019
Vol. 12, No. 18


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