Insights: September 29, 2023

CCC Applauds Veto of Gender-Affirming Judicial Custody Bill

The California Catholic Conference released the following statement regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s veto of AB 957 by Assemblywoman Lori Wilson, the bill that would have required that judges in custody hearings consider a parent’s affirmation of the child’s gender identity as part of the child’s health, safety, and welfare:

“The California Catholic Conference applauds Gov. Newsom’s decision to veto AB 957. This bill was an egregious legislative overreach that would have elevated a loving, protective parent’s non-consent to a child’s social or medical transition to the same level as abuse, violence, or substance use in the eyes of the court for custody disputes and parenting time.

“AB 957 was also based on the non-evidence-based practice of ‘gender-affirming care,’ which is widely disputed, especially evidenced in progressive European countries that do not recommend social and medical transition of minors and emphasize the need for psychological support for children. Affirmation itself includes a range of actions and will be unique for each child, which is why there was even bi-partisan concern at committee hearings that the bill would create confusion in family court between ‘gender affirmation’ and ‘gender affirmation medical care.’

“Rather than driving an unjustified and unscientific wedge between parents and children, we commend Gov. Newsom’s choice to affirm the rights of parents by vetoing AB 957.”



Newsom Signs Bills Extending Abortion and “Gender-Affirming” Services

With a flick of his pen, Gov. Newsom signed several bills extending abortion services and protections for those providing “gender-affirming medical care” to patients in other states.

Set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2024, the new laws will include legal protections for abortion providers and medical staff who provide medical care to transgender patients to patients from states that prohibit such interventions. New laws will also allow out-of-state patients to obtain medications for abortions and gender transitions via telehealth, with prescriptions shipped from California pharmacies. In addition, law enforcement officials are now blocked from reporting or collaborating with officials from other states to prosecute those seeking those services in California.

In addition, a new law allowing physician assistants to perform surgical abortions without the supervision of a medical doctor and measures to increase the number of abortion providers will also take effect.

“Removing the words ‘unborn baby’ from the code, allowing physician assistants to perform abortions without the oversight of a doctor, and furthering the so-called ‘abortion sanctuary’ only further dehumanizes unborn children and harms women’s health and safety,” said Molly Sheahan, CCC Associate Director for Healthy Families.

Newsom also signed SB 407, which will require new foster parents in the state to commit to showing “ability and willingness to meet the needs of the child regardless of the child’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and that, should difficulties around these issues arise, a willingness to obtain resources offered by the county or foster family agency or other available resources to meet those needs.”

“I’m saddened to see the governor sign legislation that will reduce the number of caring foster families and expand abortion in the state,” said Sheahan. “While children are currently sleeping in motels, offices, and even jail cells, the state’s push for foster families to facilitate gender transitions will only lessen the number of loving families who would welcome a child. California should focus instead on uplifting and responding to the real needs of women, children, and families.”


New Auxiliary Bishops Ordained in Los Angeles, San Diego

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Diocese of San Diego held two ordination Masses this week to welcome four and two new Auxiliary Bishops, respectively.

Fathers Albert Bahhuth, Matthew Elshoff, Brian Nunes, and Slawomir Szkredka were ordained in the afternoon Ordination Mass on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles. This was the first time four auxiliary bishops have been ordained in any diocese since 1986.

“Love is the true meaning of our religion. Spreading that love to the ends of the earth is the Church’s mission,” Archbishop José H. Gomez told new Bishops in his homily during the Ordination Mass this week. “Today, my dear bishops-elect, the Lord consecrates you to lead in that mission.”

Fathers Michael Pham and Felipe Pulido were ordained at St. Therese of Carmel Church in San Diego on Sept. 28. This was the first time in the diocese that two auxiliary bishops were ordained at once, and Father Pham became its first Vietnamese auxiliary bishop.

“For as leaders in the Church, you must help us all to understand that in all of our individual pilgrimages on this earth, it is God who is launching us, God who is guiding us, and God who surrounds us with every blessing we know and cherish in this world,” said Cardinal Robert McElroy during Thursday’s Mass.

“This week, we welcomed 6 new bishops to CA who reflect the wide diversity of the faithful in CA. Four of the six are immigrants to the United States from countries around the globe; several have backgrounds in science, several have served for years in education, and others have experience in diocesan leadership,” said CCC Executive Director Kathleen Domingo.

“The Holy Spirit has called these men to serve the Catholic community in California. At the ordinations, I was struck by their humility and generosity. They are eager to begin their ministry, and we look forward to reaping the benefits of their service, their energy, and their desire to share the Gospel of Jesus throughout our state,” Domingo said.

On behalf of the entire CCC, congratulations and welcome Bishops!


Respect Life Month

Each October, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Month, and the first Sunday of October is observed as Respect Life Sunday. As Catholics, we are called to cherish, defend, and protect those most vulnerable from the beginning of life to its end. During October, the Church asks us to reflect more deeply on the dignity of every human life.

In his recent statementLiving Radical Solidarity, The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Chairman of the USCCB Committee of Pro-Life Activities, challenges us:  “God has given each of us particular gifts, and with those gifts, He entrusts us with a role and duty within the Body of Christ.”

  • There are age-appropriate catechetical materials for Respect Life Sunday on October 1 for all our Catholic children in K-12 faith formation.
  • The USCCB also has various resources to assist with your Respect Life Month celebrations here.


Webinar on Upcoming Apostolic Exhortation 

Join Catholic Climate Covenant and Laudato Si’ Movement-US on Thursday, October 5th at Noon (ET) to learn about and respond to Pope Francis’ very anticipated Apostolic Exhortation (Laudate Deum is scheduled to be released on October 4th) and what it means for the US.

This one-hour webinar will include presentations summarizing the main themes of the Apostolic Exhortation and lifting the voices of scientists, young people, and those most impacted by the ecological crisis. Date: Thursday, October 5th 2023
Time: 12 pm (ET)/11am (CT), 10am (MT), 9:00am (PT)

Register Here

For those who can’t join live, the conversation will be recorded, and the recording will be sent to all who register.







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