An Open Letter to my Priests, Deacons, Seminarians, the City of Fresno, and all of Faithful of the Diocese of Fresno.
Published on September 2, 2022.
“Last Thursday, the Fresno City Council decided to override Mayor Dyer’s veto and passed along $1 million from the state of California to the Planned Parenthood clinic on Fulton Street. Only Council Member Garry Bredefeld opposed the measure.
“The funding is expressly allocated to help Planned Parenthood as they expand their abortion services locally. When the measure was originally voted on back in mid-August, I feared it would set a dangerous precedent of direct city involvement in abortion funding. At that August meeting Council President Nelson Esparza declared as much at the end of the Council debate, expressing his hope that this vote will be the first of several such efforts by the city. That fear was solidified this past Thursday when Council Member Miguel Arias declared the City of Fresno as a Pro-Choice city. This is the same council member who declared himself as a devout Catholic back in August.
“After the first vote on the measure, Councilmember Miguel Arias mentioned his Catholic Faith and his displeasure at Christian leaders in Fresno who are vocal on issues like abortion, but who fail, in his estimation, to do their part to help the homeless and poor. Many comments in the meeting pushed the contention that personal religious views have no part in this public policy discussion, that the First Amendment and the principle of ‘separation of Church and state’ put faith-based opposition to opposition to abortion out-of-bounds.
“Respectfully I think both contentions are false. I feel it is my responsibility to stand up for the record of Catholics and other Christians in the Valley in serving the poor, and to stand up for the rights of religious people to express their views in public debate.”
Bishop Brennan detailed the work of Catholic Charities, the Fresno Mission, and pro-life groups who are dedicated to helping pregnant women in Fresno.
And he cited the non-religious basis for defending innocent human life, explaining the existence of the natural law and mentioning Plato, Aristotle, Cicero.
Brennan closed with an invitation to councilmember Arias to join him at the Fresno office of Catholic Charities to “see a small glimpse of what his church is doing to support women, children, and families in need.”
Read the entire letter from Bishop Brennan here.