1. As welfare reform turns 20, Catholics discuss its legacy, By Matt Hadro. Catholic News Agency, August 24, 2016, 12:13 PM.

From the standpoint of Catholic teaching on subsidiarity, welfare reform was indeed a success, John D. Mueller, director of the Economics and Ethics program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., told CNA.

 Mueller defined subsidiarity as “the notion that each function of society should be undertaken by the social unit which is best suited to answer” a particular problem. Welfare reform, he said, “did encourage the sorts of hierarchy of ways of meeting needs” rather than a simple top-down federal approach.

 “It got people off welfare into jobs, which had been doubted,” he added, because the Earned Income Tax Credit also came along at the same time. This tax credit was contingent upon people working and so was a way of “helping people help themselves” rather than something that would “make them less employable.”

Carr agreed that the reform “has been carried out in more flexible ways at the state level,” which is a “good thing.”

 Both Médaille and Mueller agreed that welfare alone is not the best long-term solution for poverty. It makes “disadvantaged” persons “less employable,” Mueller said, while according to Médaille, “welfare creates dependency.”


2. Diocese says government slow to offer ways to resolve impasse on mandate, By Ann Rodgers. Catholic News Service, August 24, 2016, 4:32 PM.

The Pittsburgh Diocese said Bishop David A. Zubik is making every effort to achieve a swift negotiated solution to the diocese’s dispute with the federal government over religious freedom in relation to the federal contraceptive mandate, as directed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

 The plaintiffs, who do not fit the narrow exemption to the contraceptive mandate the government gives to churches, argue that providing contraceptive coverage even indirectly through a third party, as the Obama administration allows through what it calls an accommodation, still violates their religious beliefs.

 The government argues its existing opt-out provision for these employers does not burden their free exercise of religion.

 “Our counsel and counsel for the other Supreme Court litigants had a meeting with representatives of the Department of Justice, at which we attempted to engage in the kind of resolution talks that the Supreme Court intended in its order,” the Pittsburgh Diocese said in its statement. “The government has been slow to offer anything of substance to pursue a negotiated solution, except to mention openness to future meetings.”


3. Top Vatican diplomat says ‘time, patience’ needed in talks with China, By Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent. Crux, August 24, 2016.

The Vatican’s Secretary of State says dialogue between the Holy See and China is continuing “in a spirit of good will” on both sides, with the Church particularly interested in Catholics being allowed to live their faith while remaining good citizens.

“Catholics in China are fully Chinese and, at the same time, fully Catholic,” said Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The path of mutual understanding and trust, he added, “takes time, patience and foresight on both sides. We’re trying to find realistic solutions for the good of all.”

In a lengthy interview with Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishop’s conference published on Wednesday, the prelate also denied the existence of two Catholic Churches in the country, one aligned with the government and one with the Vatican.