At first glance, this question seems to be a no-brainer: Out of the Diocese of Orange’s 57 parishes and five Catholic Centers, which locale serves the greatest number of the county’s 1.3 million Catholics? That would be Christ Cathedral, right?
Wrong. “The largest collective Catholic population in O.C. is in our local adult jail system and juvenile facilities,” says Fred LaPuzza, director of the Office of Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry (RJ/DM). Incredibly, more Catholics are locked up in Orange County than the number of those who pray and serve at any other single locale in the Diocese.
Something’s obviously wrong with this picture. Caring for everyone in need – including those who are incarcerated – is a foundational value of the Church. Catholic social teaching emphasizes that anyone who is struggling should be restored to a better life – hence the term “restorative justice.”
“Restorative justice is a response to crime and violence that shifts the focus from punishment to responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration,” according to the California Catholic Conference of Bishops. “It holds offenders accountable even as it opens paths to healing, especially with victims. And it addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime: victims, offenders, families, communities and those working in the criminal justice system.”
LaPuzza cites a number of references to restorative justice in the Scriptures: “Jesus says, ‘For I was in prison and you visited me’ (Matt. 25:36). And Hebrews 13:3 says, ‘We must remember those imprisoned as though we were imprisoned with them.’ Theme 1 of Catholic Social Teaching instructs us that human life is sacred and to care for all. This includes those in or out of jail. And Theme 6, Solidarity, reminds us that ‘We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be.’ Even in places like jail.”
Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry exists for this very purpose.
“Our office is involved in a multitude of things,” says LaPuzza, “from providing religious services inside the facilities, to reforming our state’s corrections system through legislative action, to providing resources for families of the incarcerated and referrals for community re-entry services.”
Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry provides 140 scheduled religious services each week in three languages, along with other pastoral-care activities such as one-on-one visits and confessions. The ministry also helps to bring awareness about their work to local parishes and the community as a whole, and advocates for laws that are in line with Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel.
Full story at Orange County Catholic.
This headline is at best very unclear; at worst, totally misleading.
Very difficult ministry. God bless the work of all who do it.
I say, we must thank the folks at California Catholic Daily for publishing this article here. Folks, the Church’s–that is, God’s—response to the capital criminal TODAY even in the face of the most heinous crime is NOT to kill the criminal. This would be a kind of blind “obedience” to this rotting relic of the culture of death called the death penalty even with the existence of other non-bloody means to deter a criminal. But rather, the merciful and the most loving response of the Church and of God is to seek his/her salvation. THIS folks is the TRADITIONAL teaching of the Church with respect to capital punishment as taught in Catechism 2267!
Nobody cares about your attempt to hijack the message board to lean toward your pet topics. Someone seems to crave attention and beg for it.
Totally misleading headline meant to make the reader think there are more prisoners who have self-identified as being Catholic than the total of Catholics registered at all Catholic parishes.
The real issue should be just how well the Diocese of Orange serves the needs of OC jail prisoners. My experience with Catholic prisoners in the San Bernardino County jail system and a Federal prison within the Diocese of Tucson is that both dioceses are failing miserably to serve the Catholic population of these jail/prison facilities. Getting a priest to visit on a weekly basis to celebrate Mass and hear confessions is near impossible. The same goes for getting a lay Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion into these facilities.
Xavier … quick question here. Why can’t some of the prisoners themselves be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist and conduct Communion Services?
Sadly the focus is on the criminals corrections system and not the other side of the story, i.e., the poor participation and attendance of free V2 members in the Novus Ordo rite. The hundreds of thousands out of the 1.3 million claimed members who don’t pay attention t
of their obligations to God.
Doug. Please. There is a time and place for everything. There is a time and place to focus on the people you claim “who do not pay attention to God.” There is a time and place to focus on the many Catholics who are in prison; and their time and place is through this article.
Yes, this ignorance is just one of the fruits of V2. Our Lord told us “You will know them by their fruits “.
Jon, one of the many lost, what does our Lord say in scripture to do with a bush or vine that produces bad fruit . . . . I.e. terribly bad fruit like the loss of the Roman Catholic faith in millions of souls. Yesterday, Sunday, visiting here in Pueblo, I drove by 4 abandoned vacated once flourishing parishes each having their own ornate church, multi-priest rectory, and Catholic school all within a 5 mile radius meaning, yes there are more like them beyond. — A sign of a loss in the Catholic faith.
Doug, what did our Lord in Scripture say to the goats when He sits on the throne of His glory on the Last Day? “I was in prison and you didn’t visit me.” And guess what, those “LOST” goats where sent into their eternal punishment. So Doug, you stand CORRECTED: a greater sign of being lost is neglect for those who are incarcerated, regarding them as sub-human, and not ministering to them, which is what Restorative Justice/Detention Ministry is striving to do. Doug, repent. Listen to the living Magisterium. Respect life!