Calif. bishop: Be society’s conscience in face of campus abortion pill mandate

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San Francisco, Calif., Aug 14, 2019 / 06:01 pm (CNA).- At a Mass marking Sunday’s conclusion of a novena for the defeat of a California bill that would require public universities to provide free access to abortion pills for students, the Archbishop of San Francisco challenged parishioners to grow in charity by embracing works of mercy to the most vulnerable – those in the womb.

Confidence in God “gives us the courage to put our identity into action by imbuing our minds and values with the truth of the Gospel so that we may live our faith with integrity and so be vigilant to the Lord’s coming by serving as a moral conscious of our society,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in his homily at an Aug. 11 Mass at the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco.

“And we do so above all, by bearing witness to God by a life of charity, seeking the good of those who are most disadvantaged and defenseless and so fulfill our human vocation of eternal happiness with God in heaven.”

Catholics in California held a novena Aug. 3-11 for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe in order to defeat Senate Bill 24. The state legislature returned from summer recess Aug. 12.

SB 24 is a slightly-amended version of a bill introduced in California’s state legislature last year that was ultimately vetoed.

Former Governor Jerry Brown, a public supporter of abortion, vetoed the similar bill last September, saying it was was “not necessary,” as abortion services are already “widely available” off campus.

California’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, said before his election that he would have supported the abortion pill mandate, but has not commented on the new version of the bill since he took office.

The bill would also create a fund to provide a $200,000 grant to each public university student health center to pay for the cost of offering abortion pills, with money coming from nonstate sources such as private sector entities and local and federal government agencies.

The bill would only take effect if at least $10.29 million in private funds are made available by Jan. 1, 2020, which funding has already been secured according to an Aug. 12 analysis of the bill by the State Assembly’s appropriations committee.

Besides requiring college health centers to provide abortion pills free of charge, SB 24 would also require abortion counseling services to students, but it is “specifically written in such a way to exclude pro-life counseling,” according to the California Catholic Conference.

In his homily Archbishop Cordileone said the US “is a country that tolerates the destruction of human beings in their mothers’ wombs, and it exalts it by calling it choice while actually doing nothing to help a woman in a crisis situation to have the support that she needs to make a truly happy choice, a choice for life.”

The archbishop expanded on three lessons: identity, vigilance, and charity.

He said fathers of the Old Testament understood their identity as children of God and took courage in his providence. He said these people were rewarded for their trust, even if the answer to their prayers was not seen for generations to come.

“As the people of God, we are rooted in the certainty of a past historical saving event, which gives us the certainty of hope for God’s deliverance in his own time and in his own way,” he said.

“The fathers of the chosen people did not see this liberation. This was for a future generation, but they had confidence that God would fulfill his promise so they had the courage to do God’s will in the face of great hardship and uncertainty.”

Secondly, he said, Catholics must rise above worldly concerns and be vigilant in their identity in the faith.

“We are not to be duped by popular fashions, by political convention, or by the cultural pressure of the time,” he said. “Our values and our whole way of thinking is not to be conditioned by popular trends or pressure, but by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

He said parishioners cannot act as the gluttonous and violent man in the Gospel’s parable of the unfaithful steward. He said adopting the values of society condones a culture of death.

Lastly, he pointed to Christ’s words on true wealth.

In order to store up riches in heaven, he said, Catholics should give alms to the poor and the most vulnerable. He said, under the Catholic faith, the action of giving alms can be demonstrated in numerous ways, such as participating in the pro-life movement.

“What can be a greater act of charity than to defend those who have no voice with which to defend themselves? It is precisely by such acts of charity on behalf of the poor, defenseless, and marginalized that we prepare ourselves for the life of heaven.”

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