1. Parents of sick UK infant storm out of new court hearing.

By Caroline Spiezio, Associated Press, July 13, 2017, 8:02 AM

The parents of a baby with a rare disease returned to a court in London on Thursday, hoping for a fresh analysis of their wish to take the critically-ill child to the United States for medical treatment.

Charlie Gard’s parents disagree with Britain’s most famous children’s hospital on how best to care for the 11-month-old with a rare genetic condition.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates stormed out of Thursday’s hearing when the judge suggested that their argument has not been consistent. Chris Gard punched a table, while his wife said: “We said he’s not in suffering and in pain. If he was we wouldn’t be up here fighting for that.”

“We are continuing to spend every moment, working around the clock to save our dear baby Charlie,” they said in a statement before the hearing. “We’ve been requesting this specialized treatment since November, and never asked the hospital, courts or anyone for anything – except for the permission to go.”


2Who gets to decide if Charlie Gard’s life is worth living? It shouldn’t be his doctors.

By Charles Camosy, The Washington Post, July 13, 2017, 6:00 AM

y now, many of us are familiar with the case of Charlie Gard, a 10-month-old British boy suffering from a rare condition that has caused seizures and brain damage, leaving him unable to move his arms or legs, eat, or even breathe on his own. Although Charlie’s disease has not been widely studied due to its rarity, most physicians have predicted that he will die of it. And the physicians in charge of Charlie’s care have decided that it is not in Charlie’s best interest to be treated any longer and want him taken off the ventilator.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, disagree.

Understandably, the case has provoked people of good will to offer strong views on multiple sides of this complex case. That is because the moral questions it raises touch on some of the most fundamental values of a culture. One of the questions that has come most prominently to the fore is: Who is qualified — indeed, entitled — to make decisions for a person such as Charlie, who cannot communicate? And what gives these surrogate decision-makers the authority to decide whether Charlie’s life is worth living?

According to the U.K. and E.U., Charlie’s physicians are the ones who should make these decisions.

Let us assume for the sake of argument that we know the physicians in Charlie’s care have everything right about the diagnosis and prognosis. What moral information — that is, about the right thing to do in Charlie’s case — follows from their findings?


Nothing moral follows from mere medical facts. Judgments of the kind made above still need to be made. Are physicians, even with perfect medical knowledge, the best ones to make them?

What to do? Most of us can probably agree that parents ought to have extremely wide latitude in general when it comes to creating moral meaning for themselves and their families. It is their vision of the good that is used to determine how they will form and raise their child. The values used to shape the people these children will become are rightly the values of the parents.

This same latitude should be given when it comes to complex cases such as Charlie’s. The values of the parents should be the ones used when making the decision, especially when they do not require the use of shared community resources. There is no basis for arbitrarily substituting the moral judgment of a physician — and plenty of reasons not to.


3. Pope delivers shot in the arm to catechists, Church’s backbone in global south.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 13, 2017

Pope Francis on Wednesday delivered a shot in the arm to a constituency in the Church that might be under-appreciated by many Catholics in the United States, but which in other parts of the world often amounts to the backbone of the local Church: Lay catechists, in some cases paid, quite often volunteers.

“St. Francis of Assisi, when one of his followers insisted he taught them to preach, answered in the following way: ‘Brother, [when we visit the sick, we help the children and feed the poor], we are already preaching.’ This beautiful lesson encompasses the vocation and task of the catechist,” Francis wrote in a message signed July 5 but released on Wednesday.

The pope’s words came in a letter to the International Catechetical Symposium, being held in Argentina’s Pontifical University in Buenos Aires. In it, Francis also said that catechesis is “not a ‘job,’ one ‘is’ a catechist and one’s whole life turns around this mission.”

The July 11-14 symposium, under the motto “Interpellations for our catechesis in the light of Pope Francis,” is addressed to catechists, theologians and pastoral agents.

Every year, the Vatican releases the statistics for the global Church. According to the numbers released this year, as of Dec. 31, 2015, there were 3.1 million catechists, plus an estimated 351,797 lay missionaries. Though technically different categories, the two are often combined under the “lay ministry” label.


4. What Planned Parenthood offers: Other health-care providers would not be able to fill the gap if Congress defunded the organization.

By The Washington Post, July 13, 2017, Pg. A16, Editorial

OF ALL the magical thinking that has gone into Republican proposals to replace Obamacare, none has been more fanciful than the argument accompanying efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. The yarn that has been spun is that other health-care providers would easily absorb the patients left adrift if Planned Parenthood could no longer receive Medicaid reimbursements. In truth, there is no way community health-care centers cited by Republicans as an alternative could fill the gap. In truth, millions of women would lose access to critical health care.

The impulse to defund Planned Parenthood is grounded, illogically, in opposition to abortion. Set aside the fact that abortion is legal and constitutionally protected. More salient, perhaps, is the fact that federal law already bars the use of federal dollars for abortions except in rare cases. So what is gained by depriving poor and working women of the basic health services that Planned Parenthood provides — and that no one else can provide? Anyone voting to deprive Planned Parenthood of Medicaid reimbursements should have to answer that question.


5. The state is not God: Government must not be allowed to decide who is fit to live.

By Cal Thomas, The Washington Times, July 13, 2017, Pg. B3

Anyone looking for another reason not to leave life-and-death issues to the state need look no further than the conflict between the British government and the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard.

Governments, including the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, have refused to allow Charlie’s parents to take him to the United State for what they believe is lifesaving treatment.

Judges, bureaucrats and politicians should not be allowed to make such a decision, but the growing power of the state is increasingly assuming the power to determine who is fit to live and who should die — and to quote Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” “decrease the surplus population.” Who, or what, can stop them, assuming a majority want to?


When the state is allowed to assign value to a human life, the unwanted, the inconvenient, the sick, the elderly and the handicapped are all at risk. Seeing lives as less than valuable, or of no value, will bring us to the point where only the fit and healthy are allowed to live. Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, wrote in 1921, “The most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the overfertility of the mentally and physically defective.” The Nazis took this thinking to its most inhumane level with horrific results.

It was University of Chicago professor of biology Leon Kass, who issued this stern warning: “We have paid some high prices for the technological conquest of nature, but none so high as the intellectual and spiritual costs of seeing nature as mere material for our manipulation, exploitation and transformation. With the powers of biological engineering gathering, there will be splendid new opportunities for similar degradation of our view of man. … If we come to see ourselves as meat, then meat we shall become.”

Charlie Gard is not “meat.” He and his parents should be allowed to come to America. As long as hope lives, so does Charlie.


6Vatican sets trial for 2 ex-administrators of hospital.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 13, 2017, 8:36 AM

Vatican prosecutors have indicted the former president and the ex-treasurer of the Vatican-owned children’s hospital for allegedly diverting money from the hospital’s fundraising foundation to pay for renovations on a top cardinal’s apartment.

The indictment released Thursday orders Giuseppe Profiti and Massimo Spina to stand trial in the Vatican tribunal, starting next Tuesday.

The indictment accuses the two of using 422,000 euros ($481,000) from the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital’s fundraising foundation to pay for renovations on Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s apartment starting in 2013, when he retired as Vatican secretary of state.

Profiti, whose administration was the subject of a recent AP investigation into quality of care problems at the “pope’s hospital,” has admitted to the payment but said it was an investment so that the foundation could use the apartment for fundraising events.