Legislative update: Initiative 120 may still need more signatures, death penalty repealed

Avatar

Over the last several months, the Colorado pro-life community has been asked to help change abortion laws in Colorado by signing ballot initiative 120, which would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks through birth. The deadline was reached and over 137,000 signatures were delivered to the Colorado Secretary of State Office on March 4. However, more signatures may be needed to get this initiative on the November ballot.

Initiative 120 would restrict abortions after 22 weeks in pregnancy in the state of Colorado, with the only exception being if the mother’s life is at risk. Under Initiative 120, a person conducting the abortion could be subject to having a medical license suspended and would be subjected to a fine, but it wouldn’t impose a penalty on the woman receiving the abortion.

What happens now?

The turned in signatures are currently being reviewed by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to determine how many of them are valid. They did an initial review of five percent of the turned in signatures, which predicted the total would fall about 3,000 signatures short of the required 124,632. Because the prediction was so close to the required amount, they are now doing a line-by-line review of all signatures to determine the total number of valid signatures.

The Secretary of State is expected to announce the final results in early April, and if the number falls short of the required total, a 15-day “cure period” would begin that allows for an attempt to collect the necessary remaining signatures.

Once the Secretary of State declares the exact number of insufficient signatures, a 15-day “cure period” begins, which means that during this time the issue committee may circulate to gather enough signatures to reach the required number of valid signatures.

As far as what supporters can do at this time, Deacon Geoff Bennett, Vice President of Parish and Community Relations at Catholic Charities of Denver, asked for prayers in a statement to the Denver Catholic. Learn more at respectlifedenver.org

“Pray first, particularly since Initiative 120 faces the same uncertainties as other aspects of civic life given the Coronavirus pandemic and the state of emergency,” Deacon Bennett said. “Then we must continue taking action. Talk to family, friends and neighbors about Initiative 120 to help raise awareness.”

Additionally, Due Date Too Late, the entity that initiated the petition drive, is raising money to fund efforts that include gaining additional petition signatures, if needed.

For more information and make donations, which are not tax deductible, visit duedatetoolate.com

Death penalty repeal signed into law

On March 23, Colorado Governor Jared Polis officially signed into law SB20-100, making Colorado the 22nd state to abolish the death penalty. The Colorado Catholic Conference – which represents the state’s four bishops and three dioceses – actively supported this legislation.

“We thank Gov. Jared Polis for signing this historic piece of legislation, and we commend the many state senators and representatives who worked hard to make this important change to our state law,” the bishops said in a statement. “We believe that human life is sacred from conception until natural death. We believe that, because God made us in his image and likeness, it is not possible to lose the dignity that confers to our lives. We are, as Jesus said, his brothers and sisters, even if we have committed great crimes or sins.”

However, the bishops added, “While today we applaud the repeal of the death penalty, we must never forget about the victims of these horrendous crimes, and as a community we must continue to support their families and loved ones. May they find comfort, healing and forgiveness in the love of Jesus Christ.”

COMING UP: Five Colorado places named after Catholic saints

Sign up for a digital subscription to Denver Catholic!

On Aug. 1, Colorado will have made it way over the hill at a ripe 144 years old. Better known as Colorado Day, the day commemorates the founding of our great Centennial State in 1876.

The Catholic Church has a rich history in Colorado, and believe it or not, various regions, geographic landmarks and places in the state are named after Catholic saints. The San Juan Mountain Range, the San Miguel River and the San Luis Valley are but a few examples.

In honor of Colorado Day, here are five places within “Colorful Colorado” that take their namesake from a Catholic saint. You probably already know a couple of them, but the other three are real “diamonds in the rough” that are worth making the trek; in fact, two of them were built and founded before Colorado was even Colorado.

Mother Cabrini Shrine, Golden, CO

 

One of Colorado’s most popular pilgrimage sites, it’s hard not to be enamored by Mother Cabrini Shrine. Originally founded as a girls’ summer camp by St. Frances Cabrini in 1910, the shrine overlooks the I-70 corridor heading into the mountains and is as charming as it is relaxing. In addition to the praying in the chapel, visitors can stay in the old Stone House that was built in 1914 or one of the various retreat houses that have been added over the years. Aside from being a wonderful space to pray, Mother Cabrini Shrine doubles as a sort of natural Stairmaster to get those steps in with the 373-step staircase leading up to the shrine, affectionately known as the Stairway of Prayer.

St. Catherine of Siena Chapel, Allenspark, CO

Photo by Andrew Wright

Better known as the Chapel on the Rock, this functioning Catholic chapel is perhaps one of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks. As the story goes, in the early 20th century, a man by the name of William McPhee owned the land where the chapel stands, known as Camp St. Malo. McPhee was a parishioner of the Cathedral in Denver, and he often allowed the parish to take kids hiking and camping on his property. During one of those trips, several campers saw a meteorite or shooting star that had appeared to hit the earth. They went looking for it and came upon the Rock that now stands as the foundation of St. Catherine of Siena Chapel. Completed in 1936, the chapel’s official namesake is fitting, as both it and St. Catherine of Siena share a common thread of mystical experiences facilitated by the Lord. It has had many visitors over the years, but perhaps none so famous as St. John Paul II who, ever the outdoorsman, just had to make a stop while in Denver for World Youth Day in 1993.

Abbey of St. Walburga, Virginia Dale, CO

 

Photo courtesy of the Abbey of St. Walburga

Located in the picturesque Virginia Dale, a small community just south of the Wyoming border, the Abbey of St. Walburga is a place where the voice of the Lord lives in the mountains, plains and rivers surrounding it. Named for the patroness of the Benedictine nuns, the abbey was founded in 1935 when three sisters from the Abbey of St. Walburg in Eichstätt, Bavaria were sent to a remote farm in what was Boulder. There, they built a strong foundation for the future of the abbey through hard work, poverty and an immovable trust in God’s providence. Today, the Benedictine nuns of Walburga humbly carry out the good works of the Benedictine order and carry on the legacy started nearly a millennium ago in 1035, when the original Walburg abbey in Eichstätt was founded.

San Luis, CO

Photo by Jeremy Elliot

Moving into the southern most regions of the State of Colorado, the Catholic roots of the region become much more evident. The oldest town in Colorado, San Luis, was founded in 1851 on the Feast of St. Louis, and predates the official founding of Colorado as a state by 25 years. The town is located along the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, which translates to “Blood of Christ.” One of the main attractions of the small town of just over 600 is a shrine at the town’s local Catholic parish. The Shrine of the Stations of the Cross was built by the parishioners of Sangre de Cristo Parish and the beautiful stations were designed and sculpted by native San Luis sculptor Huberto Maesta.

Capilla de Viejo San Acacio, Costilla County, CO

Photo from Wikicommons

Just to the west of the town of San Luis lies one of Colorado’s oldest gems. The Chapel of Old St. Acacius, or Capilla de Viejo San Acacio as it’s known to the locals, is the oldest non-Native American religious site in Colorado that’s still active today. While the building of the church cannot be dated precisely, it was likely completed sometime in the 1860s. The namesake of the church comes from St. Acacius of Byzantium, a third century martyr. Near the church is the small village of San Acacio, which a local tradition holds got its name after one of the earliest San Luis Valley settlements, originally called Culebra Abajo, was attacked by a band of Ute in 1853. As the Ute attackers approached, the villagers asked for the intercession of St Acacius, a popular saint among their people. The Ute suddenly halted and fled before they reached the town, scared off by a vision of well-armed warriors defending it. In gratitude for this salvation, the village was renamed San Acacio, and the villagers built a mission church in honor of the saint.