Statement by Bishop Oscar Cantú on U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Dobbs Vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

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Laws should reflect the values of society. We recognize that in a pluralistic society, there are several value systems. Yet, the Catholic Church wishes to uphold the protection of the most vulnerable, especially women in vulnerable situations and children, including those in the womb, as a fundamental human right for all. Therefore, the Church advocates for just laws that defend the vulnerable and for a culture that respects human life, from conception to natural death.

Thus, we welcome the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobb’s v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which has affirmed our dearly held belief that life is precious, valuable, and should be protected and that states have a compelling interest to protect the unborn and limit abortion.

While we celebrate this decision in many ways, our work has just begun.

For decades, the Catholic Church in California has supported women, children, and families – walking hand in hand with those in crisis pregnancies, supporting families by providing maternity services, parenting supplies and resources, housing assistance, mental health support, and advocating for increased social services.

From this experience of holding the hands of those struggling with the decision to have an abortion, we know that for many women, abortion is not a choice they want to make but rather a choice they feel they have to make. From our work with mothers and families, we know they don’t need expanded abortion services. They need housing assistance, prenatal and postpartum care, protection from domestic violence, paid family leave, and maternity accommodations from employers. With rising inflation and soaring housing and healthcare costs, California is not an easy place to raise a child. We, the Church, pledge to expand access to life-affirming services that empower women in our state with the confidence that they won’t walk through pregnancy or parenting alone.

The California Catholic Conference is fervently committed to ensuring women in California know they are supported and that there are options when facing an unplanned pregnancy. We challenge lawmakers to provide equitable assistance and commit new funding and resources for maternity and childcare. California needs to be a sanctuary for women, children, and families struggling to thrive in our state over those seeking abortions.

As we seek to contain the expansion of abortion in California and work to defeat the efforts of state leaders to enshrine abortion into the state constitution permanently, my brother bishops and I ask that all Catholics throughout the state meet this moment and actively engage through the California Catholic Conference, in their dioceses and parishes, and in their communities to help women, children, and families. It is not enough to claim we are for life; we must be the hands and feet of Christ working to make it a reality.

And while the Supreme Court’s decision will save the countless lives, we look to increase our work to support California’s women, children, and families and protect the sanctity of every human life.



Bishop Cantú’s Invitation to the National Eucharistic Revival

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Brothers and sisters in Christ,

On this Solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, we inaugurate the National Eucharistic Revival called for by bishops of the United States. This will be a three-year process so that we might appreciate more deeply the great gift that Jesus left us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

The Church tells us that the Eucharist is the “Source and summit of our faith:” that is, our journey of faith leads us to the Eucharist; and our faith is strengthened by, and flows from, the celebration of the Eucharist!

When Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples at the Last Supper, he said, “Do this in remembrance of me.” The Church has been doing “this” in remembrance of Jesus for 2000 years! When the Church celebrates the Eucharist in memory of Jesus, not only do we enter into the Paschal Mystery of Jesus’ loving and redemptive death and resurrection, but the bread and wine are truly transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ! What a tremendous mystery and blessing: to have Jesus truly present with us, in the form of bread and wine, to nourish us, love us, and lead us!

There are many other beautiful elements of the Eucharist that we will explore during this three-year process of learning about, more deeply appreciating, and joyfully and reverently celebrating the Eucharist. There will be diocesan and parish elements to this Eucharistic Revival, as well as regional and national celebrations.

I ask you to pray, as I will do, that the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds to truly bring us to appreciate this great gift of Jesus to his Church and to the world. During the first year of this process, the Revival will be woven into our Diocesan Synod process. More information will come out on both our Diocesan Synod and the Eucharistic Revival in the coming months.
May the Holy Spirit lead us to Jesus, and Jesus to the Father!

Yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Oscar Cantú

Bishop Cantú Appoints New Vicar for Clergy

SAN JOSE—The Most Reverend Oscar Cantú has appointed Reverend Joseph Benedict as the vicar for clergy for the Diocese of San José. Father Benedict, who will remain pastor of Sacred Heart in Saratoga, will assume the additional responsibilities effective on July 1, 2022. Father Benedict succeeds Monsignor Wilfredo Manrique, who served as vicar for clergy since 2019.

“I am most grateful for Msgr. Willie’s loving and dedicated service to the clergy and the diocese, his support to me personally, in priestly fraternity, and in the pastoral and canonical wisdom that he has brought to the table of decision-making. His work as vicar for clergy has been painstaking, thoughtful, and wise, indeed a sign of fraternal and pastoral love,” Bishop Cantú shared.

Bishop Cantú added, “I am grateful to Father Joseph for his willingness to assume this new responsibility in service to me and the priests and deacons of our diocese. I ask for your prayers as we work together in service of the local Church.”

As vicar for clergy, Father Benedict will assist Bishop Cantú in supporting, strengthening, and sanctifying the priests and deacons of the diocese.

Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga since July 2021, Father Benedict was previously pastor of St. Joseph Cathedral Parish for nine years. Originally a native of New Mexico, he was ordained for the Diocese of San Jose in 1997 after completing studies at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park. After serving in several parishes within the Diocese, he completed doctoral studies in moral theology in 2009 at Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley. He has served as the director of the Ongoing Clergy Formation program and the director of the Permanent Diaconate Program. In addition to serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, he is an adjunct lecturer of moral theology in the Graduate Program of Pastoral Ministries at Santa Clara University.

The California Catholic Conference Statement on Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 10

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The California Catholic Conference vehemently opposes Senate Constitutional Amendment (SCA) 10, which looks to enshrine the most extreme forms of abortion into the California Constitution. We believe in protecting life at every age in every stage. We are extremely troubled by the language in SCA 10, which is so broad and unrestrictive that it would encourage and protect even late-term abortions, which most Californians oppose. We also fear the boundless scope of this proposed amendment, which asserts a new constitutional right to “reproductive freedom” but does not define what that means.

This constitutional amendment, as written, will legalize and protect abortion up to the point just prior to delivery. It is distressing that so many California legislators would sign their names to legislation that allows the taking of a human life moments before birth.  In this regard, SCA 10 would more closely align California with the extreme abortion policies of only a few countries rather than those of the majority of western democracies, which do not allow late-term abortions.

The sad reality is that California already has some of the most accommodating abortion laws and services in the nation.  And by providing extensive funding for abortion services without any corresponding equitable funding for pregnant women and mothers, the state exercises a destructive, coercive power in favor of ending innocent lives. Enshrining this amendment’s language into the constitution will extend the danger of coercive abortion to babies with unquestioned viability.

The California Catholic Conference will be actively engaged in opposing the upcoming ballot initiative and asking the state’s 12 million Catholics to work to raise awareness and vigorous opposition in our dioceses, parishes, and communities.


Reverend Michael J. Burns

The Reverend Michael Burns, a retired priest of the Diocese of San Jose, died peacefully at Stanford Hospital on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.  He was 90 years old.

Born on August 22, 1931 in Oakland to Michael J. Burns and Sarah Curran, Father Burns attended St. Joseph’s School in Alameda and St. Joseph’s College in Mountain View.  In 1952 he entered St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Merlin Guilfoyle on June 14, 1958 at St. Mary’s Cathedral for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Father Burns’ first assignment was parochial vicar at St. Rose Parish in Santa Rosa.  This was followed by assignments at St. Elizabeth Parish in San Francisco, Sacred Heart Parish in San Jose, the Church of the Resurrection in Sunnyvale and Visitacion Church in San Francisco.  In 1979, he was appointed pastor of Santa Teresa Church in San Jose.  Upon the creation of the Diocese of San Jose in 1981, Father Burns remained in the new Diocese.  In 1985 he was appointed to St. Mary’s Parish in Los Gatos as associate pastor.  On April 1, 1989 he was appointed administrator of St. William Parish in Los Altos.  He eventually became pastor of St. William Parish in 1992.  He retired from there on June 30, 2004.  Upon retirement, he moved into the rectory of St. Simon Parish until his death.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Father Burns will be held at 11 a.m. on June 14, 2022  at St. Simon Church in Los Altos.

Eternal rest grant unto Father Michael Burns, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.  Amen.