In a last-minute twist, a California bill that would have required priests to break the sacramental seal of confession was shelved by its sponsor amidst a remarkable grassroots campaign mounted by the state’s Catholics, members of other faith groups, and religious liberty advocates from across the country.

Senate Bill 360 was withdrawn the day before a scheduled July 9 hearing in the California Assembly Public Safety Committee,  effectively removing it from any further consideration this year.

The bill’s author, State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), decided to shelve his bill after learning that it did not have enough votes to pass out of the committee. 

The #KeepTheSeal campaign launched in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles resulted in the delivery of more than 140,000 letters to the State Capitol building in Sacramento as of July 8, the day before the committee vote. Another 16,700 emails were sent to representatives from concerned Catholics in Los Angeles.

In the days leading up to the committee vote, opposition to the bill intensified as hundreds of Catholics around the state made plans to travel to Sacramento to attend the July 9 committee hearing. 

On July 8, a statement signed by Muslim, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, and Baptist faith leaders, as well as representatives from Eastern Catholic Rites and historic Black churches was delivered to committee members declaring that “we are all one with American Roman Catholics in condemning the attack on religious freedom that the current version of California Senate Bill 360 represents.”

Full story at Angelus News.