The following is an excerpt from the statement of the Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento and President of the California Catholic Conference, on the referendum to overturn the physician-assisted suicide law (ABx2-15) in California:

January 4, 2016

“Dear Fellow Catholics and Friends,

“On behalf of my brother Bishops in California, I express my gratitude on your admirable efforts to overturn the physician-assisted suicide law (ABx2-15) passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown in the fall of 2015. “

“Today is the deadline for turning in petitions. We are disappointed that the required number of signatures has apparently not been reached.”

“Your efforts and those of many other Californians during the regular legislative session stopped the push to allow physicians to give patients a lethal dose of drugs. It was only through the manipulation of the legislative process that the bill eventually passed. The initial defeat of the law – as well as the thousands of signatures gathered in the referendum effort – demonstrate that when the dangers of physician-assisted suicide are allowed to be properly aired, the concept is soundly rejected.

“The Bishops of California are committed to expanding our efforts to explain the richness and love embodied in Catholic teaching surrounding end-of-life. We will work with Catholic health care to further cultivate this tradition among the faithful in the coming years.

Editor: Informed sources say that 156,000 signatures were turned in, out of 500,000 raw signatures needed.