California bishops call on laity to be 'voice of life and dignity' in the political sphere

.- The California Catholic Conference is calling on the state's Catholics to join the recently launched Catholic Legislative Network and become more involved in politics, California Catholic Daily reports. The campaign is beginning at the parish level and will encompass the entire state by next year.

The first step in launching the campaign for increased participation in the Catholic Legislative Network began on Oct 24-25, California Catholic Daily reported. Parishioners at St. Anthony's Church in Sacramento watched an introduction by Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto as well as short video about the new initiative. 

The video mentions government funding cuts for programs such as an insurance plan for children from low-income families and protective services for the elderly. It also demonstrates the increased need for such services since many Californians are losing their jobs and homes or facing a severe reduction in their income. It also juxtaposes the cutting of programs that embrace life with the continued push for pro-choice services, such as the advocacy for teenage abortions without parental consent.

More than 400 parishioners signed up to participate in the program, whose next step is the hosting of “Life and Dignity Sunday” within the diocese. According to the Catholic Legislative Network, “'Life & Dignity Sunday' will be held in all parishes in the Diocese of Sacramento on the weekend of December 5 and 6, 2009 and move out to the remainder of the state in the coming months.”

In his introduction to the video, Bishop Soto said, “We believe that a very important voice that is lacking in the decisions that are made both here in the capital and throughout the state is the voice of faith.”

Soto also said that he and his fellow bishops desire that California Catholics become a more vocal “voice of life and dignity” in the state.

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