1. Were aborted babies kept alive to harvest tissue?, The University of Pittsburgh has some explaining to do, By Ryan Navarro, The Washington Times, August 26, 2021, Pg. B4, Opinion

As the University of Pittsburgh spins a web of confusion about methods by which fetal organs are obtained for research projects, the lips of their affiliated medical center are sealed despite mounting pressure on Pennsylvania’s largest nongovernmental employer to start talking. The University and their health care counterpart UPMC may have been keeping aborted babies alive to ensure an adequate blood supply from the child’s heart to other organs so they could harvest their tissue, according to records obtained by Judicial Watch. The process was described in a 2015 grant application to the National Institutes of Health.

Upon release of the records in early August, Pennsylvania House Health Committee Chair Kathy Rapp submitted a request to review state and federal funding allocated to the university and medical center. Politicians around the country are now echoing calls for an investigation.

As long as Pitt and UPMC’s innovation-driven focus outshines ethical considerations, the pressure for answers will continue. Pulling apart the enmeshed relationship between the two organizations is a challenge in and of itself. How much longer these suspected partners in crime can continue to put up roadblocks to accountability efforts is another question.

Ryan Navarro is a licensed therapist in private practice who previously interned and worked for UPMC.


2. The New Chief Chaplain at Harvard? An Atheist, The elevation of Greg Epstein, author of “Good Without God,” reflects a broader trend of young people who increasingly identify as spiritual but religiously nonaffiliated, By Emma Goldberg, The New York Times, August 26, 2021, 5:00 AM

The Puritan colonists who settled in New England in the 1630s had a nagging concern about the churches they were building: How would they ensure that the clergymen would be literate? Their answer was Harvard University, a school that was established to educate the ministry and adopted the motto “Truth for Christ and the Church.” It was named after a pastor, John Harvard, and it would be more than 70 years before the school had a president who was not a clergyman.

Nearly four centuries later, Harvard’s organization of chaplains has elected as its next president an atheist named Greg Epstein, who takes on the job this week.

Mr. Epstein, 44, author of the book “Good Without God,” is a seemingly unusual choice for the role. He will coordinate the activities of more than 40 university chaplains, who lead the Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and other religious communities on campus.


3. After devastating Haiti quake, Franciscan sisters are resolved to stay, By The Pillar, August 26, 2021

On August 14, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake sent ripples of economic and social destruction across the impoverished island of Haiti.

Sister Martha Ann Abshire was hundreds of miles away in Louisiana, where she currently lives, as she read the calamitous news about her mission field.

While Sister Abshire now lives in the United States, raising funds for the community, two members of her order are currently in Haiti.

Abshire said updates from the pair – Sr. Nordette and Sr. Isabelle – have been spotty. With no cell phone service, the sisters in Haiti can only send intermittent information from internet cafes. Poor road conditions and the presence of gangs have made travel difficult since the earthquake.

The Franciscan convent where the sisters had stayed in Aquin also suffered damage in the quake, leaving the two onsite sisters without a viable option for a home base, according to their last update. They’ve since chosen to live out of their car.

When the Franciscan sisters’ mission in Haiti was initially founded, Abshire said, she was told that they could leave at any time, with no advance permission needed.

But despite the dangerous conditions, the community has no plans to abandon Haiti.

“Our sisters just don’t leave unless we’re thrown out of the country because, quite frankly, if we leave, then we’re not as integrated in the life of the people as we claim to be,” Abshire explained. “Our job as missionaries is to be one with the people, and so that’s for good times and bad times.”


4. Christian legal group decries conditions for Afghan religious minorities, urges aid, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, August 25, 2021, 1:00 PM

A Christian legal group on Tuesday warned of deteriorating conditions for Afghanistan’s religious minorities, and pushed for an immediate international response.

“The harrowing prospects for freedom, democracy and the rule of law, compounded by a deepening humanitarian crisis, are forcing thousands of Afghan men, women and children into displacement within the country, and compelling many more to seek escape from persecution and oppression,” said Giorgio Mazzoli, legal officer at the United Nations for ADF International, in an Aug. 24 statement.

“The unfolding situation on the ground requires an immediate, robust and coordinated response from the international community, whereby respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is considered as an absolute prerequisite for a credible peace and reconciliation process,” he stated.


5. Chicago archdiocese mandates COVID vaccination for clerics, employees, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, August 25, 2021, 3:26 PM

The Archdiocese of Chicago will require all archdiocesan employees and clergy to receive the vaccine for COVID-19 within the next six weeks, and will only allow exemptions for medical reasons.

“We have made this decision convinced that this is the best way to stop the spread of this deadly illness,” Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago, said in an Aug. 19 email sent to clergy and staff.

Cardinal Cupich said that he was “following the lead of Pope Francis” by encouraging vaccinations, and that getting vaccinated is “an act of charity.”


TCA Media Monitoring provides a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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