1. Suit aims to stop release of Planned Parenthood data, Pro-lifer finds ties to university, By Bradford Richardson. The Washington Times, August 8, 2016, Pg. A6.

 Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Washington and pro-life activist David Daleiden to halt the release of public documents.

 Mr. Daleiden, who spearheaded the undercover Center for Medical Progress video series, made a public records request in February for documents detailing transactions between the university’s Birth Defects Research Center and Planned Parenthood.

 The university had planned to release the documents Friday, but Planned Parenthood filed a federal class-action lawsuit two days earlier to suppress their release.


2. California bill threatens religious freedom, minorities and the poor, By Archbishop José Gomez/Bishop Charles Blake. Crux, August 8, 2016.

Current California law exempts religious schools from nondiscrimination laws in cases where applying them violates their beliefs. A new bill on higher education, however, would force faith-based institutions to choose between compromising their deeply held beliefs or risking an endless wave of costly litigation.

 This week the California Assembly begins final deliberations on Sen. Ricardo Lara’s “Equity in Higher Education Act” (SB 1146). The bill, which passed the Senate in late May, has a salutary purpose – to ensure against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at California campuses.

 Unfortunately, this legislation goes far beyond that.

 As it is written today, SB 1146 would violate the religious freedom of faith-based colleges and could jeopardize higher educational opportunities for the tens of thousands of Californians they serve, including many who are black, Latino, Asian and low-income.


3.  Not voting for pro-choice candidates is the least we can do, By Kathryn Jean Lopez. Crux, August 8, 2016.

A few days ago I was sitting in a hotel ballroom here listening to Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus, deliver his annual report on the work the Knights have been up to over the past year.

 During the course of some 10,000 words, he spoke relatively briefly about the upcoming election, but his words made waves when he insisted that Catholics in good conscience can’t vote for candidates who are proponents of legal abortion. (In fact, he was quoting from an address he gave eight years ago on a similar occasion.)

Anderson said abortion must be a priority. He didn’t say it’s the only thing we need to care about, but he did say that when assessing a candidate it ought to be a showstopper and a game-changer, and he’s completely right.


4.  The Meaning of a Martyrdom, By Ross Douthat,Pg. SR9, SundayReview, OP-ED Columnist. The New York Times, August 7, 2016,

In the days since Father Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old French priest, was slaughtered at the altar by two jihadists, his murder has become a contested symbol in his country, continent and church.

To many conservative Catholics, Father Hamel is an archetypal Christian martyr — killed in a sacred space by men motivated by hatred of his faith, dying with the words, “Go away, Satan!” on his lips. To cultural conservatives more broadly, he’s a potent symbol of the jihadi threat to Europe’s peace.

But within Catholicism there is also strong resistance to this interpretation. It starts at the very top, with Pope Francis, who has deliberately steered clear of the language of martyrdom — first describing the priest’s murder as “absurd,” and then using one of his in-flight press conferences to suggest that the killers were no more religiously-motivated than a random Catholic murderer in Italy. 


5. Pope Francis calls continuing violence in Syria ‘unacceptable’, By Crux Staff. Crux, August 7, 2016.

Pope Francis continued his press for peace in Syria on Sunday, using his traditional noontime Angelus address to say it’s “unacceptable that so many unarmed persons, including many children, have to pay the price of the conflict.”

“News of victims of civil war continues to arrive from Syria,” the pontiff said, “in particular from Aleppo.”

 Aleppo is at the center of a battle between rebels and government forces. The rebels have been fighting to break a government siege on rebel-held neighborhoods, where the U.N. says 300,000 people are trapped.


6. On Islam and violence, Pope + Patriarch = Full Story, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor. Crux, August 7, 2016.

 When he visited Assisi on Thursday, Pope Francis had a brief unscheduled encounter with the Imam of Perugia, Abdel Qader Mohammed, who thanked the pontiff for denying that Islam is a religion of violence during an in-flight press conference July 31 on the way back to Rome from his trip to Poland.

(It’s a clear sign of the times, by the way, that an Italian city in the region of Umbria, the land of St. Francis, now requires its own imam. For better or worse, followers of different faiths are increasingly fated to live together.)

“A heartfelt thanks to Pope Francis for his closeness to us Muslims,” Mohammed said, according to the official Franciscan magazine in Assisi.


7. Mr. Trump’s plan to repeal the Johnson Amendment would create more problems than it would solve, The Washington Post, August 6, 2016, Pg. A12, Editorial, Pulpit freedom already exists.

In A rare moment of specificity during his speech to the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump called for repeal of the Johnson Amendment, a 62-year-old federal law that prohibits tax-exempt religious, scientific or educational organizations from engaging in politics. His proposal, also contained in the GOP platform, was a sop to Jerry Falwell Jr., the evangelical Christian president of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., who has endorsed Mr. Trump and long opposed the rule. Mr. Falwell and like-minded critics argue that it infringes the free-speech rights of clergy and their congregations — and that the Internal Revenue Service selectively enforces it against right-leaning Christians such as himself.

This is a can of worms better left unopened. To be sure, the law and accompanying IRS regulations are not models of legal clarity. They bar churches from “directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office,” upon pain of losing tax-exempt status. Turning over the Sunday collection plate to, say, the Clinton campaign, would fall on the wrong side of the line. But what about more common activities — publishing voter issue guides, railing about various campaign topics from the pulpit or, of particular relevance to historically black congregations, encouraging people to register to vote or turn out at the polls? Well, says the IRS, “certain activities or expenditures may not be prohibited depending on the facts and circumstances.” Unavoidably, this puts government in the business of evaluating speech’s content and is bound to have some chilling effect on someone.


8. Ex-Philly Church official to be retried on abuse cover-up charge, Associated Press, August 6, 2016,

A former Philadelphia church official will be retried next year over his handling of priest-abuse complaints, even though his child-endangerment conviction has twice been overturned. 

Monsignor William Lynn will face a pared-down trial May 1, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court faulted the trial judge for allowing weeks of testimony from 21 victims to show the alleged cover-up by the Roman Catholic church. 

The court found that testimony prejudiced the jury against Lynn, who was charged with endangering a single boy abused by a problem priest transferred to his parish in the late 1990s.


9. Pondering the parallels between Paul VI and Francis, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor. Crux, August 6, 2016.

 Today marks the 38th anniversary of the death of Blessed Pope Paul VI on August 6, 1978, and to mark the occasion, the news site of the Archdiocese of Milan, which was led by then-Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini from 1954 to 1963, published a talk he gave right after the death of St. Pope John XXIII in which he predicted the election of a non-Italian pontiff. 

“There’s never been as much of a probability as in this hour of the Church that the pope will be a non-Italian,” Montini said. “And there would be nothing strange about it. Ecumenism is carrying us this way, no?”

“Maybe the hour is mature for us to feel like brothers with one who isn’t of our language and our country,” he said.


10. Brave New World Should Be an Election Issue, By Wesley J. Smith. First Things, August 5, 2016.

“The theme of Brave New World is not the advancement of science as such,” wrote Aldous Huxley in a 1946 foreword to the republication of his groundbreaking novel. It is “the advancement of science as it affects human individuals.” Huxley worried that science was leading “a really revolutionary revolution” to “be achieved, not in the external world, but in the souls and flesh of human beings.” In other words, human biology—and indeed, human nature itself—could, Huxley feared, become the subject and object of scientific manipulation.

When Huxley first published Brave New World in 1932, the technologies he described—human cloning, artificial wombs, genetically engineered populations—seemed fantastical. Fast-forward a mere eighty-five years, and some have become realities. With surprisingly little fanfare, human cloning—that is, the creation of viable human embryos using the same technique that manufactured Dolly the sheep—has already been accomplished. These cloned humans have not been brought to term, as animals have been. But there is no reason to think—especially as cloning research proceeds with nonhuman primates—that we will not someday witness the birth of cloned babies. Some already advocate that course.