1. Bill aimed at faith colleges stymied, Poor students would have had fewer options, By Bradford Richardson. The Washington Times, August 12, 2016, Pg. A7.

A California state senator is dropping his bid to pass legislation that would strip exemptions for religious universities from state anti-discrimination law, one day after Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders sent an open letter denouncing the bill.

Democratic state Sen. Ricardo Lara said he would amend SB 1146 to strike its most controversial language, which religious colleges say would have imperiled their existence.

“The goal for me has always been to shed the light on the appalling and unacceptable discrimination against LGBT students at these private religious colleges,” Mr. Lara told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “I don’t want to just rush a bill that’s going to have unintended consequences, so I want to take a break to really study this issue further.”


2. New bishop’s to-do list: ‘Be present, give hope, and teach doctrine’, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor. Crux, August 12, 2016.

Part of the charm of Catholicism is that it’s full of quirks that belie its image, one of which is that despite its reputation for top-down systems of command and control, its mid-level managers are almost never told why they were chosen, or, for that matter, what they’re supposed to do.

Here’s how the appointment of a bishop typically works.

A priest is minding his own business somewhere when his cell phone or private line rings, and it’s the apostolic nuncio, meaning the pope’s ambassador in the country, on the other end of the line. (It’s often mysterious how the nuncio gets those numbers, but probably when the pope’s man wants someone’s digits, it’s a “no questions asked” situation.)


3. Next synod likely to focus on ordaining married men, By Austen Ivereigh. Crux, August 12, 2016.

In response to acute priest shortages around the world, Pope Francis may well decide that his next Synod of Bishops should focus on ministry — including the question of whether married men could be ordained to celebrate the sacraments, in effect creating a parallel priesthood.

After the bruising but fruitful experience of the synod on the family, one thing is clear: Francis has created an instrument of discernment that is capable of wrestling with big issues in the contemporary Church. 

The reformed synod – a global consultation, followed by two assemblies separated by a year, concluding in a major papal teaching document that resets pastoral strategy for the next generation – means that big topics can no longer be kicked into the long grass on the basis that they are just too big to deal with.

If a vast topic such as the Church’s preparation for marriage and its handling of divorcés can be discussed, it means other burning issues can be too. And top of that list are questions about ministry: access to the sacraments, the role of women and lay people, as well as the role of deacons.


4. Opinion, Commentary: Church, Chaput stand up for Christian ideal, By Grazie Pozo Christie. Philadelphia Inquirer Online, August 11, 2016.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, is a rich and complex document about marriage and family – both the noble Christian ideals and the troubled and broken ways we too often experience them.

Many have interpreted the exhortation’s merciful tone toward Catholics who are in “irregular” situations as a seismic shift in Church teaching about sexuality and marriage (toward a “modern” sexually liberal outlook). They have been brought back to reality by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who has published pastoral guidelines on Amoris for the priests of his parish.


5.  Missing More: Catholics and Political Life, By  Matthew Bunson. National Catholic Register, August 11, 2016.

As he sat in the Tower of London awaiting his trial for treason in August 1534, St. Thomas More observed to his daughter, “I never intend, God being my good Lord, to pin my soul to another man’s back, not even the best man that I know this day living: For I know not where he may hap to carry it.”

The patron saint of politicians went to the executioner’s block within a year for refusing to abandon his conscience for political expediency and then not even to save his life. Would that more Catholic politicians might follow his lead.

It is almost axiomatic that many Catholic politicians in both political parties are unwilling to form their consciences properly. Even fewer are willing to act on a conscience formed in accord with reason and the divine law, especially if it means enduring political and social martyrdom.


6. Hillary Clinton Is No Champion of Religious Freedom, By Alexandra DeSanctis. National Review Online, August 11, 2016, 4:46 PM.

According to Hillary Clinton’s recent op-ed in the Deseret News, a Mormon news organization in Utah, her dedication to religious liberty entitles her to the votes of all the Mormons in the state. Unfortunately for Clinton, her actual record on religious freedom is atrocious, not least because her interpretation of these guaranteed freedoms is unbelievably narrow. “I’ve been fighting to defend religious freedom for years,” Clinton writes. But her only evidence for this so-called “fight” is her claim that she made protecting religious minorities around the world a cornerstone of her foreign-policy agenda.

That’s all well and good, if indeed it’s true. But such an accomplishment rings hollow given that Clinton has made no effort to defend religious freedom here in the U.S. In fact, she has actively worked against religious minorities for the sake of her other cherished causes, specifically expansive access to abortion and the supremacy of LGBT rights.