Bishops back parental notification initiative; signature gathering expected at parishes across the state

California’s bishops have endorsed a proposed statewide initiative that, if approved by voters, would give parents of girls 17 and younger the right to be informed before a physician could perform an abortion on their daughter.

The endorsement was announced by the bishops last week in a statement posted on the website of the California Catholic Conference. It represents an exception to a longstanding policy of the bishops not to endorse or oppose initiatives until they have qualified for the ballot. 

San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes has already given his approval for signature gathering on petitions to qualify the measure at the diocese’s 93 parishes. Other bishops are expected to follow suit on a diocese-by-diocese basis.

“I expect full participation in this effort by our parish communities,” said Bishop Barnes in a statement posted on the diocesan website.

“The support of the Catholic bishops is a tremendous help for our campaign to ensure that parents have the right to counsel their daughters on one of the most consequential decisions a teenage girl could ever make,” said Astrid Bennett Gutierrez, chairwoman of Californians for Parental Rights and executive director of the non-profit Los Angeles Pregnancy Services.

“As Catholics, we believe and teach that we bear the image of God,” said the Jan. 10 statement released by California’s bishops. “We come to life as the result of humanity’s collaboration in God’s creative work. Ordinarily, each child is the result of the loving union of a man and woman who have formed a family. The family then cradles the newborn, raises up the child and guides the young person’s development to adulthood. As citizens, we believe that government serves best when it supports families in their irreplaceable task of nurturing the next generation.”

The bishops continued, “We therefore wish to express our support for the Parental Notification Initiative… Because current law allows secrecy for ‘confidential medical services’ a young girl could have multiple abortions — at state expense — without her parents’ knowledge. Not only are her parents still responsible for her medical and emotional needs if she suffers complications from the abortion, but current policy denies them accurate information as to how best to care for her. The relationship between that girl and her parents will be forever altered because of her secret.”

Californians for Parental Rights must gather 807,615 valid signatures by April 30 for the measure to qualify for the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot. Campaign insiders say the bishops’ early endorsement will help in that effort because Catholics across the state will now be able to sign petitions at their parishes, depending on the level of involvement authorized by bishops in individual dioceses.

Thirty-five states across the U.S. currently have enforceable statutes requiring parental consent or notice before an abortion can be performed on a minor, and the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of such laws.

“California is sadly out of step with most other states in our failure to safeguard parents’ rights, and teen welfare,” said Bennett Gutierrez. “This policy vacuum has opened up whole new avenues of exploitation. Older men have arranged secret abortions for the teenage girls they’ve impregnated, all for the purpose of covering up their crime of statutory rape.”

For more information on the initiative, Click Here.



Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 12:27 AM By charlio
Since Planned Barrenhood has struck with the poisoned dagger in the dark at prior such initiatives, yet it is now on the run, the initiative just might succeed this time.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:55 AM By Lupe
Charlio’s early comment is right on. Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer-collected dollars produced nasty and dishonest campaigns so that parents would not know about their young daughters’ abortions. This wretched baby-killing industry may now not have the money to kill another parental notification initiative…..Thank you, Bishop Barnes, for being the first to step up. Time is going by, Bishops. Are your dioceses going to make an effort to support this truly pro-family effort or will Planned Parenthood, now on its death’s door, win again?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 7:56 AM By Jim
It’s about time!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:34 AM By Victor R. Claveau
In the Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities: A Campaign in Support of Life we renew our call for individual Catholics and the many institutions and organizations of the Church to unite in an unprecedented effort to restore respect and legal protection for every human life—to be what the Holy Father asks us to be: a people of life and a people for life (The Gospel of Life, no. 78). This action by the California bishops is long overdue. They should have supported the first and subsequent initiatives. It has been estimated that 11,000 lives can be saved, the first year alone. I would also like to see the California leadership of the Knights of Columbus get off their collective backsides and support this initiative as well. Their lack of support in the past has been an embarrassment to its membership. “What is urgently called for is a general mobilization of consciences and a united ethical effort to activate a great campaign in support of life. All together, we must build a new culture of life.” —Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, no. 95 “We must begin with a commitment never to intentionally kill, or collude in the killing, of any innocent human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled or desperate that life may seem” (Living the Gospel of Life, no. 21).

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 8:44 AM By Delilah
Thanks to the wonderful work of Lila Rose and Live Action, this initiatIive just might pass. I collected over 100 signatures and parishoners asked to take petitons to work and home. I also plan on goinng door to door in my neighborhood. @ax

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 9:29 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Planned Barrenhood – wow, charlio. That fits like a glove. We should all adopt that new moniker so broadly that even the broader culture picks it up. Planned Barrenhood – who could forget that one? Did you make this up, charlio, or has it been around a while and I missed it?

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:52 AM By Larry
Although they may often be required to condemn and oppose certain immoral measures, I continue to have a problem with bishops endorsing specific political initiatives, no matter how noble the aim, because quite simply, political action is the province of the laity, not the clergy. It is for the bishops to teach right from wrong, and the laity to decide how those teachings must be actualized in the real world. Catholic teaching tells us that abortion is immoral and must be stopped. We are also taught that if it cannot be stopped, then measures can be supported which would reduce the number of abortions. Hopefully, this measure would do that by enabling parents to talk their minor daughters out of an abortion. On the other hand: the above story indicates it is a “parental notification,” not “parental consent” measure. In other words, it would not enable parents to block the abortion. Laymen have a right to debate whether it is enough to merit support. Parental consent measures are obviously much stronger, but they also convey the implication that minor girls have a right to an abortion WITH parental consent. I think laymen have a right to debate and decide whether, all things considered, this should or should not be supported, without the bishops dictating their vote. To my mind, episcopal endorsement of political initiatives is little different, if at all, from endorsing political candidates, which I am convinced the bishops WOULD do if only the IRS Code allowed it. As an aside, the California bishops have also endorsed a measure to ban all capital punishment, without reference to the fact that the moral law requires the abolition of all abortion but allows capital punishment under certain conditions. So they are demanding NO executions of criminals, while at the same time settling for a measure which may or may not somewhat reduce the number of abortions. I don’t think they have their priorities straight.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 3:33 PM By Elizabeth
Alleluia!!!! The Holy Spirit is at work in a major way :)

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 6:34 PM By Laurette Elsberry
To clarify “political”, the parental notification initiative does not involve politics. Politics are “partisan”. Initiatives do not involve taking sides such as Democrat or Republican. It has been established that Catholics, bishops and priests included, can certainly promote and influence public policy through the initiative process. If they choose not to it is because they have little interest in doing so and use “politics” as an excuse. In the case of parental notification many don’t care about the unborn or the young girls who are sexually abused. What a sad Church we have become!

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 10:08 PM By carol
If the bishops/priests/deacons would teach that LIFE IS THE PRIORITY ISSUE that the ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH SAYS IT IS, we wouldn’t be dealing with this insantity. We would HAVE PROLIFE POLITITIANS IN OFFICE – NOT the likes of PRO ABORTS Nancy Pelosi, Loretta Sanchez, AND OBAMA ! (2 of our diocesan priests donated to Obama in 2008!)

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:03 PM By Abeca Christian
I support the Bishops on this. God bless us all and help us to finally make better changes to our current laws that are in place.

Posted Monday, January 16, 2012 11:50 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Larry, Once again you miss an important fact. Without the Bishops’ approval this petition could not be circulated at the Churches! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:06 AM By Sandra 
Planned Barrenhood! Yes! It’s so hard to talk to young people about “Planned Parenthood”–it sounds so non-threatening–but Planned Barrenhood–that’s threatening and ultimately the end result. Thank you great minds of this blog.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:05 AM By Peggy
Good points from Larry. Re: capital punishment: In 2011 there were 43 executions NATIONWIDE of those who committed heinous crimes. There are 4,000+ innocent babies killed EVERY DAY in the US. The outrage from those opposed to Capital punishment is not comparable to their opposition to abortion — and the bishops are largely responsible for this.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:26 AM By The Rose 
Peggy, if I may remind you, Popes John Paul and Benedict are opposed to capital punishment and have asked for its abolition, and yes, both of them are also outraged with abortion as with capital punishment. Respecting the life of every human being, including those on death row, means respecting all life including the unborn. Your logic therefore is false. All human life is of value in God’s eyes, regardless of these statistics and regardless of whether they are an embryo or a criminal—ALL HUMAN LIFE HAS VALUE. The Pope and his bishops are to be applauded, not criticized as you have just done, for they are being mindful of the unborn and the incarcerated. Also, comparing abortion to capital punishment as you have just done is not a valid point of argumentation. Indeed, both have no equal weight for one is an intrinsic evil, but not the other. However Peggy, both are a symptom of the culture of death as Pope John Paul II taught in his Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in America” (article 63). If you want a fuller treatment of this debate, check the posts from the Oct. 12 article “It is barbaric,” on CalCath.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 12:44 PM By The Rose 
Larry the only condition that would allow the use of the death penalty in our time and place is if society has no other means to protect itself against capital criminals. Today there are other means of rendering capital criminals incapable to harming society without recourse to the death penalty, as Pope John Paul pointed out. Therefore, the present Pope and the bishops have continued John Paul’s call for the end to the present use of the death penalty. Check your Catechism please.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:05 PM By FrMichael
Bait-and-switch: the bishops are not only supporting the parental notification, they are also supporting the death penalty abolition initiative simultaneously. Both petitions will be side-by-side at your parishes next month. Don’t take my word for it, go to the California Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website and look for yourselves. IMHO you wouldn’t see episcopal support for the parental notification initiative without the added sweetener of the capital punishment initiative.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:27 PM By Larry
There you go again, Rose–setting yourself up as the pope. I know the catechism. It says that I have a right to disagree with your assertion that no valid justification exists for the death penalty. And I do disagree with that. I believe that grounds do in fact exist. We are free to debate the matter in the public arena. Yes, the pope and bishops have said they would like an end to capital punishment. They have also said, however, that Catholics are free to disagree with them on that count and are free to act upon their convictions. I respect your belief that it ought to be done away with. But ONLY THE POPE has the right to say which of his pronouncements carry the binding weight of eternal dogma and which do not–not you, not me, not anyone else. He is the pope. Not you. Fight against the death penalty if you feel compelled. But do not come on this web page and keep arrogating to yourself the authority to raise papal statements to the level of binding dogma when you do not have the pope’s permission to do so. I’m going to keep calling you on that every time you do.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 5:45 PM By OSCAR
CCC – ” 2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor. If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:19 PM By JLS
Peggy, perfect post. I went over and over these stats despite the extreme cynism of Rose and her cohort at the time. She represents the Cyclops of this era and cares nothing about reality, stumping only to end capital executions even though they amount to the by far least of all causes of death in this nation. The bishops, as employers of the poor, by making them chanceries employees, have long exceeded the limits of creating jobs for the US economy. They’ve all but hyper inflated their business by spending tons and tons of money on the wasteful cause of ending capital punishment.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 6:24 PM By Abeca Christian
The ROSE Check Saint Thomas Aquinas teachings on the death penalty! And I dare to differ than what you are stating! The Rose check out the guy who cut a little girls head and body parts just recently in his refrigerator,. She was 9 years old! It’s not his first criminal charge. Oh no not this topic again, didn’t we just go over this before! Once again people like the Rose (you don’t happen to be the poster formally known as rose?) have false compassion just like Bishop Sheen has preached about, he warned about people who defended to end the death penalty! Bishop Sheen in my opinion should be soon to be a saint! He knew what he was talking about. JLS remember when you once stated that since there are always victims, there is always the need for the death penalty or something like that! To defend heinous criminals is to ignore justice for the slaughtered victims and any future ones. We have a faulty legal system folks, don’t fool yourselves! Don”t ever do that by having false compassion for the criminal!

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 10:44 PM By Maryanne Leonard
Yes, Abeca Christian, you are right. It’s amazing to me how many people posting on this site express misplaced compassion for the perpetrator of the sin or crime. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing and should follow – and not precede – the perpetrator’s open confession, contrition, and taking responsibility by making reparations, amends, returning missing funds, resigning from posts for which one has proven incompetent, and generally restoring the faith of one’s fellow’s in the person at fault as well as the people and/or group harmed. Some people posting here have even gone so far as to damn the person who damns the sin and/or crime that has come to light, a superb example of the kind of twisted inside-out thinking that drives misplaced, bleeding-heart compassion for the perpetrators.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:36 PM By jon
Contrary to Larry, Lumen Gentium (number 25) binds Catholics to adhere to the Supreme Pontiff’s judgments even when not given ex cathedra, and this includes his judgement that the death penalty must end.

Posted Tuesday, January 17, 2012 11:43 PM By jon
Contrary to Abeca’s point about St. Thomas, his words are indeed instructive and valuable. However, and I am sure even St. Thomas would not dispute this—that circumstances have changed since the Middle Ages. Unlike then, society now has the means through the penal system to defend itself without having to use the death penalty, something that did not exist during St. Thomas’ time. That was Pope John Paul II’s judgment and point. The living Magisterium however, (the Pope and the bishops) live in our time, and are the rightful authority to discern and to judge that it is no longer morally permissible to use the death penalty when other means are available to render incapable of harming others those guilty of capital crimes.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:01 AM By Larry
Absolutely wrong, Jon. Lumen Gentium does not say that we must obey the pope even when the pope expressly says that we do NOT.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 6:15 AM By Dottie
Jon, you don’t know the circumstances in each County or State. There are criminals who will kill others in prison and will kill prison guards if given the chance. The death penalty is not 100% wrong, like abortion is 100% wrong. Doing completely away with the death penalty will not allow for – – – rendering incapable of harming others. Prisons are not always safe for those who want to follow the rules, lead a moral life, pay their penalty to society and get out to lead a productive life.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:41 AM By Abeca Christian
Yes Maryanne Leonard you are right. As you can see jon is at it again with his agenda in promoting his personal interpretation on the death penalty again. I wish Bishop Sheen was still with us or someone like him, to set jon on the straight path.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 8:57 AM By Abeca Christian
I bring good news of joy and truth! Jesus reigns now and forever and His truths will set us free. His justice will prevail and so will His protection for an innocent society! Watch Bishop Fulton Sheen – False Compassion REMIX, my kids loved it and now we are watching the False compassion series of Bishop Sheen’s especially part II! That should bring more clarity! Saint Thomas Aquinas pray for us! We pray for the innocent victims who are daily killed, like the unborn, the little 9 year old girl who’s cut up body parts were found in the refrigerator of a sick man! How about the man who raped and sodomized several boys, he escaped the legal system several times before he was caught again sodomizing more boys! Society was not safe! Those children needed to be protected! To the families who saw the injustice in the legal system often too much, we pray for their healing and justice be done.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:07 AM By FrMichael
The Rose and jon: I agree that the abolition of the death penalty is a worthy goal once society has the means to defend itself through non-lethal means. Our society has the physical infrastructure to do so. Unfortunately, we also have nutcases ruling us who routinely release dangerous criminals to prey upon the public. In such a situation, it makes the abolition movement look naive and certainly leaves the option open for Catholics in good conscience (not the cafeteria Catholics) living in such a dangerous state to advocate to keeping the death penalty in force.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:26 AM By Brian S
LARRY, your claim that “It is for the bishops to teach right from wrong, and the laity to decide how those teachings must be actualized in the real world” was directly contradicted by Leo XIII when he wrote that “the Church uses her efforts not only to enlighten the mind, but to direct by her precepts the life and conduct of each and all”. Similar statements could be found from many other popes. ABECA and MARYANNE, please note that the Pope is well aware of evil people, henious acts, and imperfect or absent contrition, yet he still calls for us to reject the death penalty. Your argument is with him, and that should inform your rhetoric . “misplaced bleeding-heart compassion” indeed!

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:31 AM By Ann T.
Thank you to all the bishops who are standing up for our daughters and future grandchildren.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:13 PM By Larry
Brian S–There are five “precepts” of the Church: 1) Attend mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, and rest from servile labor then; 2) Go to confession at least once a year; 3) Receive Communion at least during the Easter season; 4) Observe days of fasting and abstinence; 5) Contribute to the material needs of the Church. The Precepts of the Church apply only to Catholics. CCC #898 says “It pertains to them [the laity] in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and may be to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.” After all, we–the laity–are the Church, just as much as the clergy. The clergy run the Church–but we ARE the Church.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:30 PM By jon
Contrary to Dottie and Fr. Michael, the solution to the problems you raise is not to regress to the death penalty, but to reform and strengthen the justice and penal systems. It may also mean educating the voting public on their choices of candidates. But retrograding to the death penalty is NOT an option given the recent words of Pope Benedict and the teachings of Pope John Paul. Rather than being naive, the Pope’s call to end the death penalty is standing up for the best in human society. This is the same message of John Paul and Benedict.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 5:32 PM By Larry
We’ve gone over this death penalty ground many times before. We can all read CCC, the Catechism of Trent and documents such as “Worthiness to Receive Communion” for ourselves. We know what they say. The anti-death penalty folks aren’t fooling anyone. I say we move on.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 7:26 PM By JLS
Where is this mysterious social infrastructure that would save us all from violent crime? Where is it hiding? Where are those witnesses who have actually seen it? I check reports about repeat violent criminals and the rate is extremely high. How does a society house all these people? It rotates them in and out of prison, because there is not enough room in prison for all of them.

Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:37 PM By Abeca Christian
Larry yes I agree. You are discerning well.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:20 AM By Brian S
John Paul and Benedict well understand evil as well as current incarceration policies, yet they support the abolition of capital punishment. Even if you cannot bring yourself to agree with them, you should at least shift your argument against them from one that implies theirs are based on ignorance of such basic problems.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:26 AM By Catherine
Brian S, I do not recall you ever posting one single word of gratitude for the sidewalk counselors who stand outside murdering mills. Is there a reason that selective silence?

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:47 AM By k
Your argument got me curious so I looked this up: The murder rate in the states that have the death penalty combined is 1 1/2 times higher than in the states who don’t. Individually, the states who don’t have the death penalty run the gamut from almost lowest to almost highest..

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:27 PM By EDITOR

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:06 PM By Brian S
The Church has every place and the obligation to instruct society and the faithful on political matters, as Popes have repeatedly explained. Unfortunately, many people, of all stripes, are willing to denounce the teachings of the Church when they are at odds with their desires.

Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 5:40 PM By The Rose
I would like to second Brian S’s remarks. How can society take the Church seriously, such as in this upcoming campaign for Parental Notification, when its own members are brazen and blatant in their disagreement with their own shepherds on other important issues.

Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 5:12 PM By Abeca Christian
Brian S the big difference is that you have a different view of what the church actually teaches. That is where the problem is!

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 8:27 AM By Brian S.
Abeca. if I am unorthodox, I would seek conformity. I have done this on the issues I comment upon on this website.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:59 AM By JLS
Bl John Paul II has a book out about the radical nature of Catholicism … this is neither conformity nor “unorthodoxy”. It is simply radical, meaning the root of creation, ie what God has given man through Jesus Christ. He uses the term “radical” in a vastly more profound way than it is commonly thought of … like the word “gay”, the word “radical” has been hijacked by those opposed to Catholicism. The Sacraments along with the practices of holy Catholic mystics provide us all with a means of living the radical life called for by the Gospel. You do not conjure any authentic radical life of Christ up by means of laws, fad takes on religion, bisquit and gravey circles of peace, or seminar courses. Read his book; do what is called for. There is nothing new about it other than the radical nature of “new” which is Jesus Christ at work in His members … His mystical members … There is nothing which can compete with the sacraments, especially that of the Holy Eucharist, for it is the gradual effecting of our divinization through the union with God supplied almost directly by the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ … along with our cooperation and our will. People talk about “unity” but they typically fall short of comprehension of what they are using the word for. If union with God could be effected in some way other than through the Eucharist, then there would be no point in what Jesus says in St John chapter six about the Bread of Life. He gives it to us, and we do not make it up ourselves … wishful thinking, various and sundry rituals popular at these religious conferences and seminars simply fail to achieve this union. Union with God is neither a feeling nor a reason. It is a mystery, totally provided to man by God, Who has provided the Church with the authority to deliver it to individual persons.

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:13 PM By Mac
JLS, why do you keep jumping to the conclusions that most Catholics do not understand the Holy Eucharist – Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the other Sacraments instituted by HIM. – These are an understood given. What does your post have to do with the article or other posts?

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:23 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
There are many things our bishops will have to answer for; however when they do something right, we need to thank God for that! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 9:32 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Mac, Regarding your posting of 2:13 PM, I have gone over all of JLS’s postings on this present subject, and I will be darn if I can see where he has stated or even implied what you claim ; however it is a sad fact that over 30% of so called Catholics no longer believe in the True Presence, and you cannot deny that sad fact, it is a matter of record and has been quoted by many in high authority in the Church! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:34 PM By Abeca Christian
That’s fine Brian S, we will leave that for our Lord to judge. God’s peace and blessings to you.

Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 12:02 AM By Abeca Christian
Mac from my experience in my area, there are many Catholics who do not understand those things well, or they have not grasped the reality of them, it broke my heart when I saw many take for granted all those beautiful pearls and abandon them for other unimportant reasons. It could be because they do not know any better and or they are blinded by many sins that are dominant and they neglect the act of free will to soul search.