Fresno Bishop Joseph Brennan alerts the faithful

Urges Catholics to contact legislators about two pending bills

Bishop Joseph V. Brennan (image from LA Archdiocese)

The following is an excerpt from a message from Bishop Brennan on SB 24 and SB 360:

May 28, 2019

To the faithful of the Diocese of Fresno and all people of good will:

Attempting to imitate the Good Shepherd who defends his sheep at the approach of wolves (John 10:11-12), I wish to alert the faithful of the Diocese of Fresno to two bills currently before the California Legislature. The first is a direct attack upon innocent unborn life through an alarming expansion of state-furnished abortion. The second is an attack upon the Confessional Seal, an unprecedented and gross infringement on the First Amendment rights of the Catholic Church and other religious bodies.

• SB 24: This legislation requires that the student health centers at every CSU and UC campus prescribe and distribute so-called medication abortion. Abortion by medication is the process wherein a woman takes a series of two drugs over two days to induce an artificial miscarriage at 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. According to the FDA, 22 women have died from this medication, with thousands suffering serious adverse outcomes. In addition to facilitating this attack on human dignity on our college campuses, the legislation could impose various costs that will be shouldered by our taxpayer dollars and student tuition fees. It also makes no provision for the conscience rights of healthcare personnel who work in CSU and UC health centers, to allow them not to participate in abortion. Governor Brown vetoed this legislation last year, but Governor Newsom expressed his intention to sign it into law, should the bill pass through the Senate and the Assembly.

• SB 360: Catholic clergy are mandatory reporters for incidents of child abuse or neglect. The Church supports maintaining this status for its ordained ministers, and is dedicated to constant vigilance in the protection of minors. This legislation, however, would require Catholic priests to report incidents of abuse or neglect communicated during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Maintaining confidentiality during Confession is essential for the Church to pass on the merciful love of Jesus Christ to sinners. At the state and federal levels, American law has consistently recognized the sacredness of confessional statements among all religious bodies—not just among Catholics—and provides carve-out exceptions to protect religious ministers from being compelled to reveal information communicated in a penitential setting. Any legal measure requiring priests to violate the Confessional seal is a direct attack on the liberty of the Church, and an infringement on our First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.

I exhort the Catholic faithful of the San Joaquin Valley to call their state legislators and urge them to block these attacks on life and liberty. I particularly urge our Valley legislators—Senators Andreas Borgeas, Anna Caballero, Melissa Hurtado, and Shannon Grove; and Assembly Members Jim Patterson, Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Frank Bigelow, Devon Mathis, Rudy Salas, Vince Fong, and Adam Gray—to oppose these disastrous bills. I also call upon the Governor to veto these unprecedented attacks on the human person and religion.

Let us ask the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Empress of the Americas and patroness of the unborn, for her intercession on behalf of our Golden State. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

In Christ,

Most Rev. Joseph V. Brennan, D.D.

Full story at Diocese of Fresno website.


  1. Anonymous says

    Why do bishops urge Catholics to oppose bills that Democrats introduce but never make preemptive calls for Catholics to vote against Democrats in elections? These warnings are too little too late in the electoral process to be effective.

    • Yup. Catholics and the clergy vote Democrats in then are told to not support their policies. I guarantee a Republican state would not be going through this.

      • Reverend Jerald W. Thompson says

        As a Catholic Priest, I have told people that they can not be catholic and vote democrat period unless the democrat publicly states they are PRO-LIFE . Any political party that supports abortion and infanticide should not lead our government. The sanctity (for those who don’t know what that means, “Holiness”) of life supersedes even individual parental rights. A par3ent can not say that a three year old child belongs to them and can do what they want with them, The parent can’t arbitrarily terminate a child’s life (even our laws state that.) I have been a republican since the age of 18 except one time when I accidentally check the wrong box and became a democrat for one voting cycle and didn’t notice it until to late. rectified…

  2. Ditto to both comments above! Voting in Democrats and then trying to deal with them rationally just doesn’t work. How is that “seamless garment” working for you — bishops, priests, USCCB, nominal Catholics??

  3. manuel lopez says

    Unfortunately while many of the policies advocated by the Democratic Party violate church teachings the church often has a conflict of interest. Many of the dioceses receive tens of millions of taxpayer dollars from the state and local governments to support other democratically supported programs such as refugee legal services and housing, healthcare, programs for the homeless etc. The church has also been developing another revenue stream from charter schools. They are closing Catholic schools losing money and then turning around and renting the buildings for use as charter schools.

    • Anonymous says

      Maybe someday soon the churches will be rented out for use as mosques. (sarcasm)

    • E. Ireland says

      How is it a conflict of interest to defend the sacredness of life and the confessional, just because the Church receives some government welfare funding to augment its natural role of service to the poor and needy? And how is renting out old school buildings relevant? You would rather the buildings sit vacant and become an eyesore?

      • Anonymous says

        Ireland, it’s the principle that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

        • E. Ireland says

          Yes, in that sense it is an indirect conflict of interest, and Cdl. Dolan seems to be in it up to his ears. Catholics taking government money to do explicitly non- or anti- Catholic things would be a direct conflict of interest.

      • Manuel Lopez says

        The church is being lured by the promise of money to make compromises. Schools such as St Benedict Joseph Labre which was actually profitable was closed because there was more income to be made renting the building for a charter school. In Oakland ca the diocese closes a school leaves it empty a year or so then rents it out. In sf the city used the threat to cut off funds to require health benefits for gay partners or gay spouses thought they found a face saving way. I have worked on east coast and west coast and while I totally support the church’s mission I have often seen the dark business side.

  4. Peggy Hall says

    Hold their feet to the fire does not work. Once elected they do as they want not what constituents want. Stop the slaughter in the voting booth. Stop the attacks on Christianity at the voting booths. If you do not like the way things are going vote for someone else. A different party. The Rs and Ds are the ones who brought us to this. They will not get my vote anymore. My candidate may not get elected due to corruption, but I can hold my head high and say I voted for America, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Thank you military for your service. God bless.

    • E. Ireland says

      In a system where the two parties, R & D, control the overwhelming number of votes, if a person votes for someone who is not R, that essentially makes it one vote easier for the D to win. With the D party’s consistent anti-life, anti-Catholic, anti-family agenda, it has become immoral to vote D. In a practical sense, making it easier for a D to win by not voting R, is immoral as well.
      Corruption has nothing to do with 3rd party candidates never getting elected. Thy don’t ever have enough votes to win.

      • E. Ireland says

        Just to reinforce my point — third party and independent national candidates, no matter how appealing, never come even close to winning. Even Trump, a complete outsider, ran as a Republican because he knew he couldn’t win as an independent. A vote for anyone other than a R or D is a vote wasted.

        Worse, independent candidates only serve to help the other side win. In 1992, Clinton beat the Republican Bush by less than 6% of the vote, while the independent candidate, Ross Perot, took nearly 19% of the vote. There can be no question, that Perot split the conservative vote, allowing Clinton to win. (some analysts use pre-election polling data to indicate that the deeply conservative Perot took more votes from the liberal Clinton than…

        • E. Ireland says

          … than from Bush; but the claim is absurd. First, it is beyond belief that some people who liked Clinton would rather vote for Perot; second, polling data is notoriously unreliable; and third, the actual vote showed Perot taking 3 times as many votes from Bush as Bush needed to win.

          Again, a vote for a third party candidate is not merely a vote wasted. If it splits the conservative vote, it could allow the D to win, an entirely immoral thing.

  5. “Here, here!” to the previous two comments. Follow the money trail. And the mosque takeover of previous Catholic churches has already begun……….

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