Prayers Answered. CA SB 360 "Confession Bill" Withdrawn


BREAKING NEWS JULY 8, 2019: California State Bill 360, the bill that would have denied the Seal of Confession to priests and employees of the Catholic Church, has been withdrawn, due to hundreds of thousands of prayers and protests against the bill by Catholics and other concerned Californians, along with objections by nationwide Catholic news organizations, and the Vatican.  California bishops, including San José Bishop Oscar Cantú had asked Catholics in May to contact their state representatives to object.  Immaculate Heart of Mary Chaplain, Canon Raphael Ueda, wants everyone to know our prayers were answered. 

For more details about the amazing scope of the campaign to protest the bill, see this Angelus, LA Catholic News article, "SB 360 withdrawn by sponsor day before key hearing,"

See also the statement below from Bishop Oscar Cantú and the Diocese of San Jose.

Statement from Bishop Oscar Cantú and the Diocese of San José

The Diocese of San Jose has learned that State Senator Jerry Hill has withdrawn his bill, SB 360, regarding the Seal of Confession, from the California Assembly Public Safety Committee, just a day before its scheduled hearings. 

I want to thank the many parishioners who made their voices heard to their Assembly representatives in opposition to SB 360, as it violates the free practice of our faith.  Our priests and I are grateful that we do not have to be subject to prosecution by law for being faithful to the privacy of Confession. The Seal of Confession is sacred and should not be broken.

There is strong evidence that training priests, teachers, staff, parents, and children to recognize suspicious behavior, report any and all instances of abuse and neglect, and prioritize the safety of children is resulting in the dramatic increase of safe spaces for children and families. 

The Church in San José continues to be vigilant in creating an environment which is safe and nurturing for all. The reporting requirements and protections for clergy members are already identical to the requirements and protections for other mandated reporters, except for the provision exempting information acquired during a Confession. 

The Diocese of San Jose conducts background checks and requires recertification training every three years for diocesan bishops, priests, deacons, employees, and volunteers. Since 2002, approximately 52,500 adults in the Diocese have been trained to recognize and report child abuse. Working together to be vigilant and keep children safe, our Catholic community is committed to creating a safe environment for all children and families.

The bill passed the state senate on May 23, 2019. According to Religion News Service, the bill was supposed to move on to the state assembly, where it would need to pass through committees before it received a floor vote.  The withdrawal of the bill before it could be considered by the assembly is expected in September. If passed, the bill will amend the California Penal Code to require priests to divulge information received during confession about child abuse or neglect in certain cases.


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