Oppose SB 360 Click here to oppose SB 360.
The State Legislature is considering a bill, SB 360, to regulate the Sacrament of Penance and force priests to break the Seal of Confession. In light of this proposed bill, Bishop Soto is encouraging all parishes from the Diocese of Sacramento to take action on the weekend of June 22-23 to oppose Senate Bill 360.
There is nothing intrinsic to this bill which creates a greater assurance or guarantees that future abuse will not happen. Instead, it mounts an assault on the fundamental liberties of Catholics in the state of California under the guise of greater protection. For this reason, all Catholics, religious people of any affiliation, and indeed all people of good will, should vigorously oppose SB 360” – Bishop Jaime Soto
Statements from Bishop Soto
- May 21, 2019: Bishop Jaime Soto urges Catholics to oppose SB 360 targeting the Seal of Confession
- June 18, 2019: Bishop Jaime Soto issues letter to the faithful regarding SB 360
- Oppose SB 360 In Pew Letter (Spanish)
- US Bishops' Religious Liberty Week. Religious Freedom Week takes place from June 22, the Memorial of Sts. Thomas More & John Fisher, through June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul.
- June 23, 2019 - Corpus Christi | en español
- June 30, 2019 - Sunday before Independence Day | en español
About SB 360
The State Legislature is considering a bill to regulate the Sacrament of Penance and force priests to break the Seal of Confession. It would make the same demands on similar religious practices by other faiths and denominations in California.
It is a bad bill.
The bill is referred to as SB 360 by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo). The motivation for the bill is noble, to uncover and stop the abuse of children, but under certain circumstances, SB 360 would make it a crime if a priest heard the confession of a child abuse victim or a child abuser and failed to break the Seal of Confession to report what they heard in the Confessional to law enforcement.
Confession and Penance are central to the practice of our Catholic faith. Neither the Legislature nor the author of the bill understand the meaning of Confession to Catholics. It is an act where a person reveals his conscience to God. hoping to receive God’s Mercy. It helps us prepare to receive the Eucharist and to participate fully in our Faith. It reminds us and tangibly shows us the power of God’s Love.
For the priest, it is a mortal sin and automatic Excommunication for him to reveal the contents of a person’s confession. In the past, priests have chosen torture and death rather than break their solemn vow to protect the Seal of Confession. That’s how important it is.
The certainty of confidentiality and the knowledge that Confession is a sacred conversation with God encourages Catholics to seek out and receive God’s Mercy.
Reducing, but not eliminating, the number of times a priest has to choose incarceration or excommunication does not make SB 360 a better bill.
Please let your state legislators hear from you. Please tell them SB 360 is a bad bill and should not be approved and sent to Gov. Newsom. Click here to oppose SB 360.