Restorative justice is a response to crime and violence that shifts the focus from punishment to “responsibility, rehabilitation and restoration.” It holds offenders accountable even as it opens paths to healing, especially with victims. And it addresses the needs of everyone impacted by crime: victims, offenders, families, communities, and those working in the criminal justice system. RestoreJustice.com is an outreach of the California Catholic Conference offering healing and support to everyone affected by the criminal justice system throughout the U.S.The purpose of RestoreJustice.com is to offer a place of compassion and assistance, resources and services and educational information for anyone who is affected by crime – victims of crime, offenders and their families, corrections staff, chaplains, criminal justice system employees and management, and advocates for restorative justice.
The fallout has been swift and damaging.
“Prop. 47 was a smoke bomb dropped in every courtroom in California,” said Yolo County Superior Court Judge Dave Rosenberg, “and we are working on clearing out the smoke.”
The retroactive measure reduced several nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors — slashing sentences for those in prison — and made it possible for people who were convicted decades ago to have their felony records disappear.
BILL O’REILLY, HOST: In the “Factor Investigation” segment tonight: As you may know, Vermont has rejected Jessica’s Law, which gives mandatory prison sentences to child molesters. The state did that because it believes in restorative justice, where the child rapist and other heinous criminals must be healed, not punished to a great degree.
Now, we believe that philosophy puts Vermont’s children in grave danger. We began our reporting on the Green Mountain State in January 2006 when Judge Edward Cashman sentenced this man [Mark Hulett], who sexually abused a 6-year-old girl for years, to 60 days in prison.
You have to hand it to Barack Obama. He has unmasked in the most thoroughgoing way the despotic propensities of the administrative entitlements state and of the Democratic Party.
And now he has done something similar to the hierarchy of the American Catholic Church.
At the prospect that institutions associated with the Catholic Church would be required to offer to their employees health insurance covering contraception and abortifacients, the bishops, priests, and nuns scream bloody murder.
But they raise no objection at all to the fact that Catholic employers and corporations, large and small, owned wholly or partially by Roman Catholics will be required to do the same. The freedom of the church as an institution to distance itself from that which its doctrines decry as morally wrong is considered sacrosanct. The liberty of its members – not to mention the liberty belonging to the adherents of other Christian sects, to Jews, Muslims, and non-believers – to do the same they are perfectly willing to sacrifice.
. . .
In my lifetime, to my increasing regret, the Roman Catholic Church in the United States has lost much of its moral authority. It has done so largely because it has subordinated its teaching of Catholic moral doctrine to its ambitions regarding an expansion of the administrative entitlements state. In 1973, when the Supreme Court made its decision in Roe v. Wade, had the bishops, priests, and nuns screamed bloody murder and declared war, as they have recently done, the decision would have been reversed. Instead, under the leadership of Joseph Bernadin, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago, they asserted that the social teaching of the Church was a “seamless garment,” and they treated abortion as one concern among many. Here is what Cardinal Bernadin said in the Gannon Lecture at Fordham University that he delivered in 1983:
Those who defend the right to life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker.
Consistency means that we cannot have it both ways. We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the rights of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.
This statement, which came to be taken as authoritative throughout the American Church, proved, as Joseph Sobran observed seven years ago, “to be nothing but a loophole for hypocritical Catholic politicians. If anything,” he added, “it has actually made it easier for them than for non-Catholics to give their effective support to legalized abortion – that is, it has allowed them to be inconsistent and unprincipled about the very issues that Cardinal Bernardin said demand consistency and principle.” In practice, this meant that, insofar as anyone pressed the case against Roe v. Wade, it was the laity.
By Judie Brown, President, the American Life League
Obamacare and its progeny might never have become law if the bishops, united in their resolve, had opposed it from the start and pointed out the specific flaws in what is now the law of the land.
The backstory on this most recent government requirement goes like this: Obamacare first came to the public’s attention in 2009 as a proposal introduced in both houses of Congress. At the time, American Life League sent out a warning aimed at Catholic charitable organizations including Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent DePaul, and the Catholic Health Association—three major Catholic groups that were not only supporting the newly introduced Obamacare but that were rallying their troops to contact Congress and get involved in helping pass the proposal.
Try as we might to convince those organizations—including the USCCB—that Obamacare was fraught with problems, their support continued with the single caveat that the healthcare proposal must be “abortion neutral.” The USCCB has argued for years that every American has a right to healthcare and that the government should be providing it, though the current law is flawed.
By Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, National Right To Life Committee
The Barack Obama “messaging machine” is now in full overdrive mode, seeking to mislead religiously committed Americans into thinking that Obama has a middle-of-the-road position on abortion policy and will promote “abortion reduction.”
One important part of the “faith outreach” sales pitch has been to insist that Obama would promote “abortion reduction” policies — that is to say, policies that would have the practical effect of reducing the number of abortions performed, without actually restricting abortion directly. This spiel was really a public relations strategy cooked up at a liberal think tank called third way, where veteran pro-abortion activists develop “messaging” strategies to help pro-abortion politicians camouflage their positions. The third way “Culture Program” (responsible for the “abortion reduction” strategy, among other projects) is directed by Rachel Laser, whose previous job was with the Health and Reproductive Rights group at the National Women’s Law Center, and who before that worked for Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, a major abortion provider.
But despite such efforts, more and more Americans are learning that the real Barack Obama is firmly committed to an agenda of sweeping pro-abortion policy changes that, if implemented, could be expected to drastically increase the numbers of abortions performed.
One component of the Obama abortion agenda, the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCAS. 1173), is coming under increased scrutiny from many quarters. The FOCA is the most sweeping piece of pro-abortion legislation ever proposed in Congress. It is a bill that would establish a federal “abortion right” broader than Roe v. Wade and, in the words of the National Organization for Women, “sweep away hundreds of anti-abortion laws [and] policies.”