1. The Pope and Opus Dei. 

By Msgr. Thomas G Bohlin, Head of Opus Dei in the United States, The New York Times, April 4, 2018, Pg. A26, Letter to the Editor

In “Francis, the Anti-Strongman” (Sunday Review, March 25), Paul Elie points to Pope Francis’s ease with the outreach Community of Sant’Egidio, while implying that he is not at ease with Opus Dei, a Catholic organization sometimes viewed as conservative. As head of Opus Dei in the United States, I want to affirm that all of us in Opus Dei support the pope and his work as pastor of the universal Church.

I can also say we have seen many signs of Francis’s appreciation for Opus Dei and its activities. He has prayed at the tomb of Opus Dei’s founder in Rome; he has beatified Opus Dei’s first prelate, Álvaro del Portillo; and he has appointed several Opus Dei priests as bishops around the world.

Recently, the pope sent a beautiful letter supporting a project for young people (UNIV) organized by members of Opus Dei. As Mr. Elie points out, Francis’s genius includes his openness to diversity: He can be at ease with both Sant’Egidio and Opus Dei.


2. Trump judiciary creates legal landscape to overturn Roe v. Wade, pro-life activists say. 

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, April 4, 2018, Pg. A1

Pro-life activists say a federal judiciary freshly stocked with Trump appointees presents the best legal landscape in decades to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that created a constitutional right to abortion.

With renewed confidence in the courts, Republican-led states are pushing the envelope on abortion restrictions. Take Ohio, where legislation to protect life from the moment of conception was introduced last month.

The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute said 19 states enacted 63 abortion restrictions last year, the most since 2013.

The trend shows no signs of slowing this year.

The rumored retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, 81, would give President Trump the chance to nominate another jurist in favor of overturning the 1973 decision. Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, 50, who was confirmed to the Supreme Court one year ago, is widely seen as a vote against Roe.

Justice Clarence Thomas is the only jurist who has voted to repeal Roe while on the highest court. He is the sole dissenting vote remaining from Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the 1992 decision co-authored by Justice Kennedy reaffirming Roe.

At issue in Casey was not an abortion ban, but several regulations including spousal and parental notification requirements.

The Supreme Court can use “any case it wants” to review Roe, Mr. Forsythe said, not just those banning abortion at earlier stages of pregnancy.


3. Feds say abortion ruling could spark more illegal immigration: Announce appeal of decision forcing govt. to facilitate abortions for illegals. 

By Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times, April 4, 2018, Pg. A2

The Justice Department said Tuesday it will appeal after a federal court last week ordered the administration to facilitate abortions for pregnant illegal immigrant teens in government custody.

Government lawyers said the ruling by Judge Tanya Chutkan risks “incentivizing illegal immigration by compelling the federal government to facilitate an unaccompanied alien child’s request for an elective abortion.”

The Justice Department asked Judge Chutkan, an Obama appointee to the federal district court in D.C., to stay her own ruling while the appeal is pending.

The case is testing the limits of constitutional rights granted to illegal immigrants.

Judge Chutkan last week granted class-action status to pregnant illegal immigrant teens in government custody who came to the U.S. as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), meaning they arrived without their parents.


4. House Speaker says Catholic Charities should lead anti-poverty fight. 

By Christopher White, Crux, April 4, 2018

Catholic Charities, a network of Catholic charitable groups across the country – not the government – should be on the front lines of fighting poverty, according to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Ryan, a Catholic, spoke to a town hall gathering of clients and supporters at Catholic Charities of Forth Worth, Texas on Tuesday, where he said that they, along with others such as the Salvation Army, are doing “a good job at a human, personal level,” and it was the duty of the government to provide resources but not to dictate their work.


5. Baltimore seeks US Supreme Court review of abortion ruling. 

By Associated Press, April 4, 2018, 8:55 AM

Attorneys in Baltimore are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that struck down as unconstitutional an ordinance requiring pregnancy centers notify patients if they don’t offer abortion or birth control services.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that the ordinance unconstitutionally compelled speech by Christian-based Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns Inc., which opposes abortion.


6. Heeding the Call of St. Francis in the New York Metro-Area: Why have more than 1,250 residents cast off lucrative careers and many of their belongings to help the poor? 

By Anne Kadet, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2018, Pg. A8B

When Zubair Simonson converted to Catholicism and got confirmed in 2012, he wasn’t satisfied. “Ok, I’m Catholic now,” the former Muslim thought. “Now how can I be even more Catholic?”

Mr. Zubair, who is 35 years old, does a lot of religious reading and had fallen in love with the story of St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th-century friar venerated for quitting a life of privilege to serve the poor.

While Mr. Simonson wanted to model his life on his medieval hero, the former marketing professional had little interest in becoming a Franciscan friar.

Instead, he joined the Order of Franciscan Seculars—an international fraternity of men and woman who often work, marry and raise families, but vow to follow the “Way of Life” outlined by St. Francis in 1221.

Following a three-year formation period, Mr. Simonson pledged to place himself on an equal basis with all people, “especially with the lowly,” as the saint’s directives prescribe, and to purify his heart “from every tendency and yearning for possession and power.”

 There are about 400,000 Secular Franciscans worldwide and more than 1,250 live in the New York metro area.

Members pare their possessions, commit to regular volunteer work and recite Psalms twice a day.

Most wear a Tau cross around their neck—which they refer to as their habit.

They also meet to discuss applying Franciscan principles to daily life


7. In Latest Clash, Obamacare Blocked From Further Funding of Abortions: The 2010 decision to allow abortion funding through the Affordable Care Act continues to sow deep division between congressional Republicans and Democrats. 

By Stephen Beale, National Catholic Register, April 3, 2018

Pro-lifers have never been happy with the way abortion funding was handled by “Obamacare,” but they have reason to be happier, after Republicans were able to prevent any additional funds for the health care law from going to pay for abortions in the omnibus spending bill that was signed into law late last month.

In legislative terms, the debate was over whether the Hyde Amendment — the term for the law that bars federal funding of abortions — would apply to potentially billions in funding meant to “stabilize” Obamacare.

For nearly four decades, the Hyde Amendment has been the norm at the federal level.

“The Democrats were really trying to change established principle,” said David O’Steen, the executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. He said the Democrats had insisted that the stabilization funds be allowed to pay for abortions.

Republicans refused to back down, countering that the Hyde Amendment must remain in effect.

As a result, a bipartisan deal to shore up the finances of Obamacare fell through and was left out of the $1.3-trillion omnibus spending bill President Donald Trump signed March 23.

Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser at The Catholic Association, which advocates for Church issues in the public square, said the blame for the collapse of the deal lies squarely at the feet of pro-abortion Democrats.

“They prioritized abortion funding over lowering premiums for working people,” Ferguson told the Register. “The Democrats decided they wanted no Obamacare stabilization funds unless they could include abortion funding, and that is radically out of step with the American people.”