1. Abortion Politics Crosses the Border, Suddenly Canada’s debate sounds a lot like America’s.

By Michael Taube, The Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2019, Pg. A15, Opinion

Canada has a new import from its southern neighbor: abortion politics. Canadian theaters are screening the American movie “Unplanned”—a dramatization of a true story about a Planned Parenthood employee who became an antiabortion activist—and the governing Liberal Party isn’t happy about it.

Katie Telford, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s chief of staff, tweeted that the film’s run was “at least in part, thanks to the support received by federal Conservative politicians.” Female Liberal members of Parliament denounced Tories as “antichoice” and “actively working to restrict women’s rights and access to abortion.”

n fact, the Tory platform has stated for years: “A Conservative Government will not support any legislation to regulate abortion.”

Mr. Trudeau’s tactics are reminiscent of American liberals like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who asserted in 2014 that “extreme conservatives who are right-to-life” have “no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” But even Canadians have their limitations in tolerating abortion. Mr. Trudeau’s approach seems likely to backfire badly in conservative provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan and in rural areas.


2. Democrats Shouldn’t Be Abortion Absolutists, Most voters have a more nuanced view of the situation than the party’s presidential candidates.

By Michael Wear, The New York Times, July 14, 2019, Pg. SR4
Mr. Wear served in the White House as part of President Barack Obama’s faith-based initiative and on both of his presidential campaigns.

This emulation of Mr. Trump’s flattening of our political discourse to its extremes is evident in many areas, but perhaps nowhere more clearly than on abortion. There were several examples of this just in the last month.

In the first presidential debate, Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked if there was any restriction on abortion she supported; she could not name one, and no other candidate on the stage tried to either. Joe Biden was berated by his Democratic competitors and others for his previous support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and announced that he would now oppose it. And yet a Politico/Morning Consult poll from June showed that slightly more Democratic women support the Hyde Amendment (at 41 percent) than oppose it (at 39 percent). Overall, 49 percent of registered voters support Hyde, compared with 32 percent who oppose it. It is not so much that Mr. Biden was out of step with the Democratic electorate, but that the 2020 Democratic candidates are out of step with American voters, even Democratic voters, on the issue of abortion.

The data is clear: A majority of the American people are in the middle on questions of abortion policy. According to a June NPR/PBS/Marist poll, 18 percent of Americans believe abortion should be “available to a woman any time she wants one during her entire pregnancy,” while 9 percent want abortion illegal in all cases or illegal in all cases with an exception for saving the life of the mother (another 9 percent). The majority of Americans want to see abortion restricted to either the first three months of pregnancy (23 percent) or allowed only in the cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother (29 percent).

Many Democrats seem to think that Mr. Trump’s vicious politics of division — his willingness to pit Americans against one another and discount large portions of the electorate — gives them room to take inflexible positions of their own and still win. They may be right this time, but I wouldn’t be so certain.


3. Pope Francis: Judge your own heart first – not that of those in need.

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2019, 5:36 AM

Helping a person in need requires compassion toward their situation, Pope Francis said Sunday, encouraging Catholics to think first about their own hardness of heart, not the sins of others.

“If you go down the street and see a homeless man lying there and you pass by without looking at him, or you think: ‘Eh, the effect of wine. He’s a drunk,’ do not ask yourself if that man is drunk, ask yourself if your heart has hardened, if your heart has become ice,” the pope said July 14.

The true “face of love,” he continued, is “mercy towards a human life in need. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus.”

In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which he called “one of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel.”


4. Pope Francis marks 25th anniversary of attack on Jewish center in Buenos Aires.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 13, 2019

A 1994 terrorist attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that left 85 people dead was an “act of madness,” according to Pope Francis.

The pontiff’s words came in a letter to Jorge Knoblovits, the president of the DAIA, the Delegation of Argentine Israeli Associations, marking the 25th anniversary of the bombing.

Francis said these acts are not limited to his home country of Argentina, but that all over the world there are people whose lives and hopes have been “truncated” in the name of religion.

“This ‘piecemeal third world war’ knows no borders, and has shown its cruel face from the East to the West,” Francis wrote.

He said this conflict has “turned wives into widows, sons and daughters into orphans, and all in the name of God, blaspheming the name of God.”

He closed the letter with what amounts to a marching order: “It’s true that God has created us equal in rights, but he also did so in obligations and dignity. Peace should not be only our right; its construction should be our obligation.”

The anniversary of the attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) is next week, July 18, but the letter, hand-signed by Francis, was sent on July 10.


5. Appeals court blocks Trump administration birth control rules.

By Jessica Campisi, The Hill Online, July 12, 2019, 8:00 PM

A federal appeals court on Friday blocked Trump administration rules that would allow employers to deny workers insurance coverage for birth control due to religious or moral objections.

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to block the rules from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), siding with the Democratic attorneys general of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Trump administration’s rules, which were rolled out in 2017, aimed to exempt employers from an Obama-era mandate that required them to offer contraceptive health care coverage to employees with no co-pay.

Various religious groups, charitable organizations and other opponents of abortion rights had taken issue with the ObamaCare mandate.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Kelly Laco decried the ruling Friday, telling Reuters that “religious organizations should not be forced to violate their mission and deeply-held beliefs.”


6. Cardinal Newman and Archbishop Sheen, Pray for Your Suffering Church!, These famed holy, humble men stayed firmly anchored to Christ through a life of prayer, the sacraments and devoted service to the needy.

By The Editors, National Catholic Register, July 12, 2019

What is the Church if not the assembly of all the saints?” asks the Catechism of the Catholic Church (479).

This luminous truth has been dimmed amid a yearlong parade of scandal that continues to exert a powerful gravitational force on many Catholics, tempting them to leave the Body of Christ as the flood of revelations seems too much to bear.

All the more reason, then, to welcome a summer of saints. We celebrate Pope Francis’ announcement that Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman will be canonized with four others Oct. 13, and we rejoice in the Pope’s formal approval of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen, paving the way for his beatification. The date had not been announced at press time.

Courageous and prescient in their reading of the signs of the times, these two Church leaders employed their extraordinary gifts to transmit the faith, serve the faithful, and condemn moral relativism and other powerful ideologies that erode religious belief and practice. And though many prominent evangelists have been corrupted by their celebrity, these famed holy, humble men stayed firmly anchored to Christ through a life of prayer, the sacraments and devoted service to the needy.

His ability to make such commitments reflected a striking simplicity of life. But it was also the fruit of his deep relationship with the Lord, the servant of the servants, who suffered and died for the salvation of the world. “We have a God,” said Archbishop Sheen, “who stumbled to his throne.”

Those words are a fitting reminder today for a suffering Church, in need of forgiveness, healing and greater faith in the Risen Lord, to take heart in the witness of the triumph of God. We must celebrate the causes of these two holy priests who, despite temptations and challenges equal to those we encounter today, made their earthly pilgrimages a light for others.

Blessed John Henry Newman and Archbishop Fulton Sheen, intercede for us.


7. Forced abortion judge ignored family, human rights, appeal court finds.

Catholic News Agency, July 12, 2019, 10:53 AM

Courts in the United Kingdom have released the text of judicial decisions in the case of a disabled woman orginally ordered to undergo a forced late-term abortion.

The decisions, made available July 11, reveal that the woman was hours away from being made to undergo the procedure at the time the Court of Appeals heard her case.

On June 21, Justice Nathalie Lieven from the Court of Protection had ruled that a 24-year-old woman, identified in court as AB, undergo an abortion at 22 weeks pregnant. Neither AB, nor her mother, “CD”, wished for her to have an abortion. Both CD and AB are devout Catholics, and are members of the Nigerian Igbo community. 

The Court of Protection hears cases related to people who do not possess the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Court of Appeal overturned Lieven’s decision just three days later, on June 24, finding that Lieven’s decision disregarded the assessment and wishes of AB’s mother and social worker, and went against her human rights.


8. ‘Unplanned’ Directors on Death Threats and Taking ‘Refuge in the Sacraments’, Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman discuss how and why the pro-life film has struck a chord — despite media suppression.

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, July 11, 2019

Unplanned co-producers, directors and writers Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman recently sat down with the Register to discuss the obstacles they’ve faced in showing the film, which tells the story of Abby Johnson’s journey from an abortion business director to a pro-life advocate, in Canada amid death threats to theater owners.

They also discussed their presence at a July 11 White House social-mediasummit and the role their Catholic faith has played in their work on the movie.

[Question:] I wanted to start by asking about the harassment that movie theater owners in Canada faced. How many theaters have backed out of showing Unplanned over this? How many have been facing harassment?

Chuck: We know of three directly, plus a chain. Well, there’s more than that. As of a week ago, there were only three individual theaters that had faced significant harassment in terms of pro-choicers coming to visit and attempting to discourage exhibition. That was with the first theater in Lethbridge. Leonard Binning is the proprietor there. They tried to discourage him from it, and then death threats started, and two theaters have backed out of exhibition because of death threats, what they believe to be credible death threats against the employees and managers and their families, by extension.

At least two of the chains — I don’t want to name which ones because I don’t want to create any difficulties with the relationships there — have faced a significant pressure to drop [showings]; and at least one of them is now facing a boycott from the pro-abortion crowd. The pro-abortion crowd keeps talking about creating a dangerous situation with the film’s presence, and yet the only danger that has been created has come from the pro-choice side.


9. No answers from Washington archdiocese about McCarrick’s money.

By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, July 12, 2019, 3:00 PM

More than one year after the announcement of allegations of sexual abuse against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archdiocese of Washington has continued to refuse questions about McCarrick’s use of a personal charitable fund. 

McCarrick funnelled hundreds of thousands of dollars through what was known as the Archbishop’s Fund, and reportedly made gifts to senior Vatican officials, even while the fund remained under the charitable auspices of the archdiocese.

The former cardinal’s reputation for gift-giving and participation in so-called “envelope culture” has come under renewed scrutiny following recent revelations concerning former Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Michael Bransfield. 

Like Bransfield, McCarrick has faced a string of allegations of sexual misconduct, dating back years, and his ability to offer large financial gifts to other bishops has come under scrutiny as a possible reason he was able to operate unchecked for so long.


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