1. Vandals attack churches in Chile three days ahead of Pope visit.

By Antonio De la Jara, Crux, January 12, 2018, 7:55 AM

Vandals in Santiago attacked three churches before dawn on Friday, throwing homemade bombs that caused minor damage and leaving notes threatening Pope Francis just three days ahead of the pontiff’s visit to Chile next week, police said.

The vandals, whose identity is still unknown, set fire to at least one of the churches in the nation’s capital city and tossed pamphlets on the street as they fled.

One of the pamphlets read: “Pope Francis, the next bomb will be in your robe,” authorities said.


2. Diabetics can get assisted suicide in Oregon.

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, January 12, 2018, Pg. A1

If you’re a diabetic in Oregon and refuse treatment, you may qualify for life-ending drugs under the state’s physician-assisted suicide law.

The state’s Death with Dignity Act limits aid in dying to those who suffer from a “terminal disease” and receive a prognosis of six months or less to live. Two physicians must sign-off on the diagnosis and confirm that the patient is capable of making the decision to end his life.

Dr. William Toffler, national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care, which opposes physician-assisted suicide, said there’s nothing in the law to prevent someone with a treatable condition from refusing medical care in order to obtain a terminal diagnosis and lethal prescription.

Jonathan Modie, lead communications director for the Oregon Health Authority, said the Death with Dignity Act is “silent on whether the patient” must exhaust “all treatment options before the prognosis of less than six months to live is made.”

“The determination on disease treatment — and, if appropriate, end-of-life care options — is made between the patient and his or her physician,” Mr. Modie said in a statement.


3. March for Life president seeks ‘big tent’ approach to pro-life cause.

By Christopher White, Crux, January 12, 2018

When Jeanne Mancini attended her first board meeting for the March for Life in 2012, she left undecided as to whether it was the right fit for her. As a long-time pro-life activist, she’d participated in the annual event marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which declared a constitutional right to abortion in the United States, but she had some skepticism about its organization.

The board, she thought, was “old school” in its thinking and operations, and she felt “conflicted and ambivalent” about joining their ranks. Yet several months after attending that meeting, which she recalls as “their chance to interview me, and my chance to check them out,” she received a phone call from March for Life founder Nellie Gray.

“She just said ‘great, you’re on the board’,” Mancini remembers. “She didn’t put it in the form a question, which had she, I would have engaged her a bit, but she didn’t, so I just rolled with it.”

That sort of tenacity is what had cemented Gray as one of the nation’s most prominent pro-life activists in the years following Roe.

Yet she was also entrenched in her ways, and by most accounts, unwilling to compromise and discuss different strategies for pro-life activism – a characteristic that made her the ire of some who proudly identified as pro-life, yet were hesitant to affiliate with the March.

The annual event regularly draws hundreds of thousands of participants to Washington, D.C. each January – often in brutal weather – and Mancini recognized its potential. Yet two months after that phone call, Gray died at the age of 88 and in an emergency board meeting, Mancini found herself elected as acting President of the March for Life.

“Everyone is welcome” 

After successfully shepherding the March through its first year without its founder, Mancini left her work at the Family Research Council and became full-time president of the newly reorganized March for Life Education and Defense Fund. If one phrase could summarize Mancini’s new philosophy of the March for Life, it would be “big tent.”

The event, which was traditionally organized and attended primarily by Catholics, needed fresh blood, and Mancini immediately looked toward evangelicals, who are massively pro-life, but historically have only turned out for the March in comparatively low numbers.

Mancini turned to Focus on the Family, one of the nation’s most influential Christian groups, where she partnered with Kelly Rosati, vice president of advocacy for children, who along with Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, welcomed the opportunity to partner with Mancini.

That emphasis on love – which factors into this year’s official theme for the March, “Love Saves Lives,” – is part of the reason Mancini adopted an open-tent approach to the March, hoping to gain participants from all religious persuasions (and none). Despite its Catholic roots, the March for Life, Mancini told Crux, is non-sectarian and “every one is welcome, short of people who promote violence.”

For that reason, as well, Mancini has also worked hard to ensure that the March is a bi-partisan event. While pro-life activism in recent years has become more closely allied with the Republican party, Mancini says there is a long history of both parties coming together for the event and it’s only been in recent years that partisanship has become an issue.

As she heads into her sixth year leading the March, at age 45 Mancini isn’t necessarily thinking about retirement, but she is thinking a lot about how eager she is to see her mission fulfilled.

Five years from now will be the 50th anniversary of Roe, and I would like to not March,” she told Crux. “I would like for the March to be finished, because we will have done our job and hearts and minds will be changed and abortion will be unthinkable and illegal.”


4. Albany, Pass the Child Victims Act.

By The New York Times, January 12, 2018, Pg. A22, Editorial

Many states — including eight last year alone — have done the right thing and extended or eliminated statutes of limitations for the reporting of child sexual abuse.

New York, which has had no shortage of child sex-abuse scandals, should be on that list…New York requires most child sex-abuse victims to sue by the age of 23, 19 years before the average age at which such victims report their abuse.

Lawmakers have had the solution in their hands for more than a decade. The Child Victims Act would extend the statute of limitations to age 50 in civil cases, and to age 28 in criminal cases. It would also establish a one-year window in which anyone would be permitted to bring a lawsuit, even if the statute of limitations had already expired.


5. Pope letter details concern over Chile bishop.

By Eva Vergara and Nicole Winfield , Associated Press, January 11, 2018, 5:46 PM

The Vatican was so concerned about the fallout from Chile’s most notorious pedophile priest that it planned to ask three Chilean bishops accused of knowing about his decades-long crimes to resign and take a year’s sabbatical — a revelation that comes just days before Pope Francis makes his first visit to Chile as pope.

A confidential 2015 letter from Francis, obtained by The Associated Press, details the behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Vatican and Chile’s bishops to deal with the prelates connected to the disgraced Rev. Fernando Karadima. And it reveals the bishops’ concern about Francis naming a Karadima protege, Bishop Juan Barros, to the helm of the diocese of Osorno — an appointment that roiled the diocese, with hundreds of priests and lay Catholics staging protests against him.

Those protests are expected to greet Francis during his visit to Chile, which begins Monday.

Chile’s Catholic Church was thrown into crisis in 2010 when former parishioners publicly accused Karadima of sexually abusing them when they were minors, starting in the 1980s — accusations they had made years earlier to Chilean church leaders but that were ignored. The scandal grew as Chilean prosecutors and Vatican investigators took testimony from the victims, who accused Barros and other Karadima proteges of having witnessed the abuse and doing nothing about it.

In his Jan. 31, 2015, letter, written in response to Chilean church leaders’ complaints about the Barros appointment, Francis revealed for the first time that he knew that the issue was controversial and that his ambassador in Chile had tried to find a way to contain the damage well before the case made headlines.


6. Argentine faithful flock to Chile as Pope avoids homecoming.

By Caroline Stauffer and Antonio De la Jara, Reuters, January 11, 2018, 11:53 AM

Tens of thousands of Argentines will cross into Chile next week to see Buenos Aires-born Pope Francis, who has yet to return home despite visiting much of Latin America since his election nearly five years ago.

Some 40,000 young Argentines are heading to one of three Chilean cities the pope is to visit, said Mariano Garcia, 36, Argentina’s national coordinator of youth ministry.

“The visit is very important for all the youth of Argentina,” Garcia said. “(Francis) is one of the great leaders, not just for young people inside the Catholic Church but for all young people.”

Anticipating heavy traffic on curvy mountain roads, Argentina will keep border crossings open for longer and increase staffing.

The province of Mendoza, site of one of the busiest crossings into Chile, said up to 800,000 Argentines could make the trip, though a foreign ministry spokeswoman said the number would be much lower.

Many Argentines hold out hope the pope will soon return. In the meantime, they will settle for seeing him in the southern cone.


7. Our Culture is Wrong About Sex, and Chastity is Needed Now More Than Ever: A culture of chastity is one is one in which women are more easily respected as they ought to be.

By Fr. Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, January 12, 2018

Before Christmas, Time Magazine named the “Silence Breakers” their 2017 Persons of the Year. Time focused fundamentally on the women who courageously came forward to bring into the light the sordid sexual abuse and harassment they had suffered silently years at the clutches of powerful entertainment and political leaders who, once acclaimed and admired, are now scorned and humiliated as perverts.

It’s understandable that when there is so much attention on high-profile testimonies of sexual abuse and harassment that people have endured, many others who have suffered similar violence and indignities will gain the strength to tell their story; similarly, those who have repressed the pain and memories for years cannot help but be reminded of the deep wounds that they’ve long tried to cover over and perhaps finally be ready to seek help to understand, name and be partially healed from what happened.

As they turn to those they trust, many will come to priests for a listening ear, counsel and prayer. Similarly those who have hurt others through sexual abuse and harassment will come in greater numbers to beg forgiveness from God for the terrible harm they’ve done, to one or to hundreds. So priests are often witnesses of aspects of this personal and interpersonal cancer of sexual abuse that don’t make the evening news, chat room or kitchen table.

While much ink has been dedicated to the names of celebrity predators and victims and to the breadth of the plague, analysis of the causes has been shallow to nonexistent. With sexual abuse, the problem is popularly framed as fundamentally a lack of any or of true consent; the link to sexual harassment, though — unwanted advances or degrading comments, glances, or other behavior — points us to a deeper root: a total failure to appreciate the other’s personal dignity, through relating to the other mainly as an object for one’s gratification or consumption.

And where does such sexual objectification of the other originate? It comes from not just the lust of the flesh and the desire for domination that are consequences of original sin. It is abetted, and abetted strongly, by a culture that is increasingly celebrating and enslaved to lust, one that, rather than fighting it, features, foments, and fêtes the sexually-addicted objectification of others. We are reaping what we’re sowing. And when we sow poisonous seeds, we shouldn’t be shocked by a harvest of toxic fruit.

If we’re really serious at creating a culture in which no woman ever has to tweet #MeToo, then we must stop sowing toxic weeds and start spreading fruitful wheat. It’s time for an honest conversation about, and vigorous education in, personal and cultural chastity.

Contrary to popular confusion, chastity is not equated with continence, abstinence or celibacy; it’s raising one’s attractions and interactions with another to the dignity of the person a whole. St. John Paul II taught that it’s tied to purity (seeking God in another, for “the pure of heart will see God”), piety (reverencing the other as God’s image) and love (willing the good of the other as other; treating the other as a subject with his or her own ends, rather than as a means to one’s own; and ultimately sacrificing oneself and others desires for the other’s good).

A culture of chastity is one in which woman is more easily respected as she ought to be, so that no woman needs to suffer the objectification that can lead to harassment and abuse.

A culture of chastity forms people with the self-mastery necessary to love rather than exploit others, to recognize lust for the poison it is, to reject the interior attitudes that can lead to objectification and predatory behavior, and to strengthen people courageously to say no to sexual coercion.

A culture of chastity is needed now more than ever.