1. China’s Campaign Against Muslim Minorities, The suppression of the Uyghurs deserves the world’s attention. 

By Marco Rubio, Mr. Rubio, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Florida, The Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2018, Pg. A13, Opinion

The phrase “re-education camp” invokes Mao’s Cultural Revolution or Vietnam after the communist takeover. But this form of repression is alive and well in Xi Jinping’s China. His government is imposing a “political re-education” campaign in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, targeting the Uyghur Muslim population, Kazakhs and other ethnic Muslim minorities.

Xinjiang today is “a police state to rival North Korea, with a formalized racism on the order of South African apartheid,” wrote one expert.

China has detained as many as one million people in camps.

Security personnel subject camp detainees in Xinjiang to torture, medical neglect, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and other deadly forms of abuse. They also force detainees to submit to daily brainwashing sessions and hours of exposure to Communist Party propaganda. The prisoners’ overseers require recitation of party slogans before eating.

Outside the camps, Chinese authorities aggressively suppress expressions of religious identity. Xinjiang residents face daily intrusions in their home life, including “home stays” where Communist Party officials live with local families. Chinese authorities prohibit “abnormal” beards and veils in public, as well as some Islamic names. Standard religious practices—abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and pork, or fasting during Ramadan—provoke the authorities’ suspicions.

Despite its efforts to project a benevolent image around the globe, the Chinese Communist Party remains repressive, brutal and utterly intolerant. Consider what one official reportedly said about the “political re-education” campaign in Xinjiang: “You can’t uproot all the weeds hidden among the crops in the field one by one—you need to spray chemicals to kill them all.” American leaders must find the political will to confront this evil.


2. Speculation continues on possible new deputy at Vatican powerhouse. 

Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency, August 10, 2018

Pope Francis’s trip to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families will be likely his first international trip not to include the “sostituto,” or deputy, of the Vatican Secretariat of State among the papal entourage.

Since the former “sostituto”, Giovanni Angelo Becciu, was created cardinal and promoted to lead the Congregation for the Cause of Saints in May, the position has been vacant.

Now that the trip to Ireland is approaching, reports are spreading that Pope Francis might appoint Becciu’s successor by the end of the week.

Since 1953, the “sostituto” has always had a past in the diplomatic service.

Will Pope Francis keep that tradition?

Vatican observers claim that the pope will likely choose an active nuncio for the position. Some have speculated that the pope might pick Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, nuncio to Peru, or Archbishop Giordano Caccia, nuncio to Philippines. Other reports say that the top candidate for the position might be Archbishop Bernardito Auza, Holy See Observer to the United Nations in New York.

It is also rumored that the pope might appoint Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano as “sostituto” – he is a long term friend of the pope, he is serving as secretary of the Council of Cardinals, and so he would be the well positioned to oversee Curia reform – including that of the Secretariat of State.

Among the possibilities, there is a new entry who could represent a concrete option for the future: Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, apostolic nuncio to Mozambique.

Peña Parra fits many of Pope Francis’ priorities.

First, he is not Italian, and Francis seems keen to dispense with an overreliance on Italians.

Second, he comes from Venezuela: with his appointment, Pope Francis might further show his attention to the situation in that country, where every Church mediation in the messy political situation has thus far failed.

Third, he was apostolic nuncio to Pakistan from 2011 to 2015, a country to which Francis has paid particular attention, even appointing a cardinal from Pakistan at the last consistory.


3. Chilean prosecutor raids office of the military’s Catholic bishop.

By Aislinn Laing, Reuters, August 9, 2018, 6:44 PM

A Chilean prosecutor said on Thursday that the office of the bishop to the armed services had been raided as part of investigations into accusations that senior Roman Catholic Church officials covered up claims of sexual abuse by clergymen in Chile.

Emiliano Arias, a provincial prosecutor leading the investigations, told Reuters that the raid on the office of Santiago Silva had been conducted by court order and authorized by the defense minister and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Silva is also president of the Chilean bishops’ conference.

The raid was one of eight on offices of senior church figures as prosecutors search for evidence of accusations of sexual abuse by clergy not reported to the civilian police, and evidence of cover-ups, Arias has said.


4. Food and Drug Administration signs controversial contract with fetal tissue provider.

By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, August 9, 2018, 7:30 AM

Legislators, pro-life groups, and ethicists have condemned a new government contract to obtain human tissue from aborted children for use in medical research and in the creation of “humanized mice.”

The Food and Drug Administration signed a $15,900 contract to acquire human fetal tissue for use on mice on July 25. The contract was signed with Advanced Bioscience Resources Inc., a California based not-for-profit. It is the eighth contract between the FDA and ABR since 2012, seven of the contracts appear to relate to the same or similar programs.

The fetal tissue used in such research is obtained from elective abortions, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

The fetal tissue the FDA intends to purchase would be injected into mice with compromised immune systems in order to create a “chimeric animal” with an immune system like that of a human being.

ABR was mentioned in a series of videos secretly filmed by the Center for Medical Progress, released in 2015, accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue obtained through abortions.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Co.) tweeted on Tuesday that the FDA was using federal money to create demand for aborted fetal remains, and that “Taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund this grotesque practice.”