CA Catholic legislators “seem very unchurched”

New CA bishops official Andy Rivas frets about sex abuse statutes

Andy Rivas – worked stint for John McCain

The following comes from a Jan. 7 story by Al Donner in the Oakland diocese Catholic Voice.

The Catholic presence at the state Capitol intends to focus on three core issues in the 2019 legislative session — early childhood education, human life, and immigration — says Andy Rivas, new executive director of the California Catholic Conference.

Those are core areas where Catholic teaching has a direct role in shaping public policies, policies that may be targets for new legislative efforts in 2019. He spoke at a recent Catholics@Work presentation in Danville.

Rivas fears that lawmakers may try to expand abortion opportunities, particularly to allow them on college campuses. A bill doing that passed the Legislature in 2018 but was vetoed by retiring Gov. Jerry Brown.

Still, looming in front of those core policy issues is the continuing attention on sex abuse history in the church.

“It is a snowball that is coming, and we have to deal with it,” Rivas cautions.

Regarding sex abuse legislation, Rivas points out that the church in California has already committed to pay $1.4 billion in settlements of sex abuse accusations, and bishops aggressively have removed guilty parties. But Rivas is concerned that a legislator might try to reopen the statute of limitations so that lawyers who have made sex abuse a primary business could continue filing accusations against the Church

Rivas sees many anomalies in the political situation facing Catholics in California. With Gavin Newsom’s inauguration in January, California will have its fourth Catholic governor in a row (Newsom, Brown, Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger). Catholics also make up the largest number of legislators in the state Capitol. Yet many Catholic legislators “seem to be very unchurched.”

Rivas, an East Los Angeles native, came to Sacramento from Los Angeles where he headed Government & Community Relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles under Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. In more than 20 years of Church advocacy efforts, Rivas has been executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, a policy adviser in domestic social development with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and an advocate for Catholic Charities USA in Alexandria, Virginia, plus a stint on a Congressional committee staff working for the late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.



  1. Not so much “unchurched” as pretending to practice a religion they don’t actually believe in.

  2. Lou Cumming says

    When will CA bishops speak out more aggressively on those bills in the legislature (before they are passed) where the central focus is anti-life, anti-marriage, anti-family and anti-the rule of law? The same goes for those
    legislators who also profess Catholic beliefs? Silence is not golden when society is diminished.

  3. When will CA bishops use their authority and fulfill their responsibility to deny Communion to “catholic” lawmakers who manifestly persist in promoting and doing objectively grave evil. The lawmakers give scandal, and so do the bishops by their inaction.

  4. “When will CA bishops use their authority and fulfill their responsibility…”
    They’ve given their authority away by their handling of the abuse crisis. First they need to get their own house in order, then they can speak out on other issues. Right now there’s no reason for anyone to listen to them.

  5. When Catholic bishops help aliens break fair immigration laws, they can’t expect Catholic politicians to do otherwise.

    It’s a good thing to help the poor, but to help them break the Seventh and Tenth Commandments is not Catholic. There are thousands of people waiting in the legal immigration line for decades, obeying our laws, but they don’t get the help our bishops give to those who enter unlawfully. These people who wait up to 20 years are poor people, too, but our bishops would rather have the illegals jump the line and elbow out those who wait. Where is Jesus in this, or do our bishops think of Jesus at all?

    • I agree. We need and have the right to know who is coming across our borders. I suggest that anyone who is against border walls, tear down the fences, walls and gated communities around where they live. Then and only then will I believe they have the right to call us names and tell us no border walls. Hypocrites! Tear down your walls!

      • As I posted below in the wrong area, I regret using the word “hypocrites”, but the walls need to be built because children and adults are being molested, rape and used by human traffickers, and the wall will help contain it.


    CINO (Catholic in name only) permeates our state legislature.

  7. What does he mean when he calls “early childhood education” a core issue? Does he emphasize Catholic teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children or might he be referring to more government control over the education and formation of young children? That certainly should not be entrusted to Newsom and Sacramento politicians.

    • Early childhood education is all about forcing women into the work force and out of the home, so the state can raise them the way they see fit. I caught onto that a long time ago.

      • Clarification: so the state can raise the children the way they see fit. What four year old needs to be put in daycare? That is the same as putting them into an orphanage when they have two parents. Any teacher can tell you that a child does much better when the mother is at home helping them, unless the mother is into drugs, etc. The next best thing is grandparents if they, too, are not into the illegal drug scene, etc.

        • Our pro-abortion bully California government “representatives” need to get out of the business of running our families, eliminate government corruption, abandon fast track train scams, etc., and, reduce the outrageous State taxes so that young parents can afford Mothers staying home to take care of the family. Get our children out. public schools rampant with drugs and the new education laws forcing children to learn from Kindergarten and up about nonsense biology

  8. helen wheels says

    california’s gubernatorial situation for
    the next four years will most
    certainly be a Grievous Nuisance.

  9. William Robert says

    What evidence does the author offer that these legislators are “unchurched”? None! Did Mr Donner follow them around on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning or Sunday night? I think not.

    • Wm. Hamilton says

      Look at their voting records. The evidence that they are “unchurched” is overwhelming — either that, or they are hypocrites.

    • If you think showing up at Mass is all that is expected to live according to the Catholic faith you are also one of the “unchurched”. Sorry to say many go to Mass (at least occasionally) and receive the Eucharist while not in a state of grace as they live by their own moral code, not what Jesus taught. Attending Mass and receiving our Lord while living in sin does not make one a faithful Catholic. Voting for abortion, same sex marriage, euthanasia and attacking the teachings of the Church are not living the Catholic faith. Open your eyes to the fullness of our faith and the grace the Lord gives us to live accordingly.

    • William Robert another non-judgmental type, you are either Catholic completely or you aren’t at all. No more “personally opposed” nonsense…..

  10. ELIZABETH T. says

    Actually, it is about 2 generations of ‘Catholics’ period whom have not received the correct teachings of the Church!!! And in most cases… is like the blind leading the blind.
    Pray for more vocations of teaching Sisters, PRAY!!!

  11. Best to scrap the California Catholic Conference and, by extension, Rivas’s position. The savings can go to more scandal insurance or, better yet, to basic Catholic catechism (now there’s a novel idea).

    Rivas appears young enough to secure a real job in the real world, his curriculum vitae notwithstanding. It’ll do him good. A Win-Win all around.

    • People feel “obliged” to give money. That’s coming to an end, though. And then the church will have to learn to live lean, but by then most of the privilege bishops and lay professionals of today will have retired on their generous pensions and a new generation will have to pick up the pieces of a broken church.

  12. I should not have used the word hypocrites, but children and adults are being used and molested by human traffickers, so the only way to stop it is by a wall.

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