1. Anti-Abortion Protesters at Queens Clinic Did Not Harass Patients, Judge Rules. 

By Jeffery C. Mays, The New York Times, July 23, 2018, Pg. A15

On Saturdays since 2012, protesters have gathered outside the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Jamaica, Queens, starting at 7 a.m. to urge women arriving at the clinic not to have an abortion.

The lawsuit against 13 of the regular protesters asked a federal judge to issue a preliminary injunction against the protests and create a 16-foot buffer zone around the clinic.

But in a ruling issued late Friday denying the request for the injunction, Judge Carol Bagley Amon of the Federal District Court for the Eastern District said the attorney general’s office “failed to show” that any of the 13 defendants “had the intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” patients, their companions or the people escorting women into the clinic.

Under Mr. Schneiderman, who resigned in May after being accused of physically abusing multiple women, the office conducted a yearlong investigation on the actions of protesters outside the clinic. The office set up a hidden camera, used female patient decoys who wore cameras to see what happened when they tried to enter the clinic, and put hidden microphones on people escorting women.

“In our view the attorney general should have never brought this case,” said Stephen Crampton, a lawyer with the Thomas More Society, a Chicago public interest law firm that litigates on behalf of anti-abortion groups, and co-counsel for 10 of the protesters from Church at the Rock in Brooklyn. “This was more about politics than justice.”


2. After suspension, former D.C. archbishop faces new allegations. 

By Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post, July 23, 2018, Pg. B1

A month after the Vatican suspended Cardinal Theodore Mc­Carrick from ministry, saying the prominent former D.C. archbishop had been credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager decades ago, four additional complaints about sexual misconduct by the cardinal have surfaced.

Once a globe-trotting representative of the Catholic Church worldwide and one of the architects of the church’s policy on sexual abuse, McCarrick’s precipitous fall over the past month has shocked Catholics, especially in Washington, where he was a popular archbishop from 2001 to 2006.

McCarrick’s future now rests with Pope Francis, who as pontiff oversees the cardinals. Many church-watchers think this is a make-or-break moment for Francis because of McCarrick’s stature and the fact that Catholic clerical sex-abuse crises are exploding in Chile and Honduras.


3. Leaked letter adds to pressure on Chile cardinal over sex abuse scandals. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 23, 2018

Despite repeated attempts to distance himself from his country’s sexual abuse crisis, including recently asserting there’s a climate of “slander” against the Catholic Church, Chilean Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati of Santiago is facing mounting scrutiny for his role in the scandals both from outside the Church and in.

The latest headache for Ezzati, who heads the Archdiocese of Santiago, Chile’s capital, has come with the revelation of a letter by a brother archbishop, Alejandro Goic, who until recently led the Archdiocese of Rancagua.

Pope Francis accepted Goic’s resignation in June, after the bishop acknowledged he’d taken too long to respond to accusations that priests in his diocese were involved in a ring of abuses, including homosexuality and prostitution. A few days earlier, Goic had resigned his position as head of a national commission for abuse prevention.

On Sunday, a Chilean newspaper published a letter Goic had written as head of that commission on June 11, 2013, which was addressed to Ezzati.

“Sometimes I have the impression, perhaps subjective, that you don’t share the criteria of the national commission in these delicate issues,” he said, referring to the child abuse scandals.

“At the same time, members of the commission share their dissatisfaction with certain situations that you have had to take on,” Goic wrote. “For me, it hasn’t been easy. To maintain communion with you and respect and listen to the critical judgments of the members requires a complex balance.”

The archbishop says that he might be the one at fault, for not “provoking a fraternal dialogue” rooted in shared love for God and the Church. Said dialogue, he argues, would have helped them unify criteria in these issues that have “painfully marked our Church.”

Though the letter comes from a fellow prelate of the 76-year-old Ezzati, it was published on Sunday by the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio after being discovered by local prosecutor Emiliano Arias, whose force raided the archdiocesan archives of both Santiago and Rancagua.

In the letter, Goic speaks of three issues he and Ezzati should discuss further: Pastoral attention for people who’ve been abused and their families; transparency on cases of abuse; and what to do with priests who are found guilty.


4. Abortion and the Brett Kavanaugh Hearings: A Plan for Senate Republicans, They can make the Democrats lose their appetite for this issue.

By Hadley Arkes, National Review, July 23, 2018, 6:30 AM, Opinion

When the Court established, in 1973, a constitutional right to abortion, it suddenly made the issue of abortion the business of the federal government, and a poisonous part then of our national politics.

Since the nomination of Bork, every conservative nominee was thought to bring the Court closer to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and that prospect seems ever more plausible now with the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. He has been the “swing judge,” who has governed the outcome of cases on abortion and same-sex marriage. And 26 years ago he had led the defection of three Republican appointees to preserve Roe v. Wade for yet another generation.

And yet, even as the intensity builds, we have reached a point now where the Conversation/Argument over abortion at the hearings can actually be brought to an end.

But as an issue for Ending the Conversation — or making the Democrats lose their appetite for raising the issue any longer — nothing stands as decisive now as the votes already taken on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. That act was passed in the House in January of this year, a follow-up to a bill passed into law in 2002 and billed as the “most modest first step” in legislating on abortion: an act to bar the killing of a child who survived an abortion. That bill was brought forth to break out information that most of the public would find jolting: that the right to abortion was not confined to the first three months of pregnancy, that it extended through the entire pregnancy — and even when the child was born. In one notable case of a child who had survived an abortion for 21 days, a well-known federal judge ruled that “the fetus in this case was not a person whose life state law could protect.” It was a child marked for abortion — which is to say, the right to abortion meant the right to an “effective” abortion, or a dead child.

No more than 24–25 percent of the public, in surveys over the years, have shown a willingness to accept abortion throughout the entire length of the pregnancy, for any reason at all. What most people in the public still do not know is that the “right to abortion” established in Roe, and its companion case of Doe v Bolton, did indeed extend through the entire length of the pregnancy — and it did not find its limit, as we have learned, even when the child came out alive. That is not a position that Democrats will be ready to defend in front of the television cameras and a national audience. The Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, and their nominee, have it in their hands now to dispel that fog of 45 years with the gentlest of moves. The Republicans can challenge their Democratic colleagues to say whether they would stand with President Obama and the Democrats: Would they now truly defend a right to abortion that extends beyond the pregnancy itself? If the Democrats discover now that, whenever they raise the question of Roe v. Wade, they will be compelled to defend the right to kill even the child who survives, we will find that the Democrats, after 45 years, have finally lost their appetite for this issue.


5. Nicaragua Clergy, Siding With Protesters, Is Branded ‘Enemy’ of Ortega. 

By Elisabeth Malkin and Frances Robles, The New York Times, July 22, 2018, Pg. A8

The Roman Catholic Church is on the front lines of an escalating conflict between the increasingly authoritarian government of President Daniel Ortega and the broad-based opposition that wants him gone. In a country where the church has often been immersed in politics, priests are both witnesses and players in the crisis that has racked the nation for the past three months and claimed almost 300 lives.

In the first days of the upheaval, Mr. Ortega appealed to the bishops to act as mediators in talks with the opposition, an alliance of disparate groups including students, business associations and farmers’ organizations. But as the government intensified its crackdown on the opposition, Mr. Ortega has stopped treating the bishops as neutral arbiters, unleashing attacks by his followers on priests and on churches.

On the streets, the church defends the rebellion’s foot soldiers, including the citizens who guarded cobblestone barricades to hold their neighborhoods against Nicaragua’s national police and their paramilitary enforcers.

Protesters die daily, and many more have been injured and arrested as the resistance hardens against the rule of Mr. Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Most of the dead were civilians, some teenagers — but police officers have also been killed.

Now the priests themselves have become targets. Mr. Ortega devoted much of his speech on Thursday to an angry denunciation of the church, accusing the bishops of working to overthrow his elected government and even of using some churches to hide arms.


6. Pope appeals for end of migrant shipwrecks, prays for dead. 

By Associated Press, July 22, 2018

Pope Francis has lamented the latest migrant deaths in shipwrecks of smugglers’ boats and entreated nations to act swiftly to prevent more tragedies.

Francis in his traditional Sunday appearance to faithful in St. Peter’s Square expressed sorrow over recent deaths in the Mediterranean Sea and assured victims’ loved ones of his prayers.

He called on “the international community to act decisively and quickly so similar tragedies aren’t repeated” and said the “safety, respect of rights and the dignity of all must be guaranteed.”


7. UK faces calls to liberalize Northern Ireland abortion laws. 

By Gregory Katz, Associated Press, July 22, 2018, 5:07 PM

The British government faced intensifying pressure Sunday to take steps to legalize abortions in Northern Ireland, where terminating a pregnancy remains a criminal offense even as tight abortion restrictions are being lifted in the Republic of Ireland.

More than 170 politicians from political parties in Britain, Ireland and Northern Ireland sent a letter to the Sunday Times that urged the government to repeal the 19th- century laws that make it a crime to have an abortion in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s power-sharing assembly is not operating at the moment, leaving the British government in control. British Prime Minister Theresa May —busy with Brexit negotiations — has not moved to address abortion access in Northern Ireland.

Her minority government depends on the cooperation of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, which is opposed to abortion.


8. Are Credit-Default Swaps a Cardinal Sin?, The CFTC chairman tangles with the Vatican over Pope Francis’s criticism of the derivatives product. 

By  Gabriel T. Rubin, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2018, 8:02 AM

Can a good Catholic trade credit-default swaps?

A top U.S. markets regulator and the Catholic Church are debating the issue, after a May treatise from the Vatican criticized derivatives—specifically credit-default swaps—as a kind of “economic cannibalism” that leads to profit from the misfortune of others.

J. Christopher Giancarlo, a devout Roman Catholic and chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission—which oversees derivatives and most swaps products—took issue with the church’s position. With the help of his (non-Catholic) chief economist and his hometown priest, Mr. Giancarlo drafted a lengthy rebuttal.

Messrs. Giancarlo and Tuckman, in the letter, argued for the social utility of derivatives, saying that rather than preying on the vulnerable, derivatives are actually a boon for “the world’s poorest farming communities.”

The two backed up their rebuttal of the Vatican with detailed descriptions of how, for example, derivatives can help stem boom-and-bust cycles in Madagascar’s vanilla-crop prices.


9. Revelations of US cardinal sex abuse will force pope’s hand. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 21, 2018, 5:35 AM

Revelations that one of the most respected U.S. cardinals allegedly sexually abused both boys and adult seminarians have raised questions about who in the Catholic Church hierarchy knew — and what Pope Francis is going to do about it.

If the accusations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick bear out — including a new case reported Friday involving an 11-year-old boy — will Francis revoke his title as cardinal? Sanction him to a lifetime of penance and prayer? Or even defrock him, the expected sanction if McCarrick were a mere priest?

And will Francis, who has already denounced a “culture of cover-up” in the church, take the investigation all the way to the top, where it will inevitably lead? McCarrick’s alleged sexual misdeeds with adults were reportedly brought to the Vatican’s attention years ago.


10. Planned Parenthood asked to prove fetal tissue was not sold for profit. 

By Catholic News Agency, July 21, 2018, 12:00 PM

Attorneys for David Daleiden, a pro-life advocate and journalist who released videos on Planned Parenthood’s fetal tissue procurement, have asked the abortion provider to prove it has not sold fetal tissue for commercial gain.

Daleiden was the project head for the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress, which in 2015 released several videos of conversations with Planned Parenthood executives. The videos alleged that Planned Parenthood affiliates were illegally selling fetal body parts for profit. Those accusations have since been dropped.

At a July 19 hearing at U.S. District Court in Oakland California, Daleiden’s defense team, including attorneys from the non-profit Thomas More Society, asked the court to compel Planned Parenthood to prove that its affiliates have not profited from fetal tissue transactions.

The attorneys have specifically asked for documented invoices.

Planned Parenthood has said previously it followed federal laws that forbid entities to “acquire, receive, or otherwise transfer any human fetal tissue for valuable consideration.”

“We invite them to prove it,” said Peter Breen of the non-profit Thomas More Society, and a member of Daleiden’s legal team.


11. What my overprotective parents and a wise pope got right about family life. 

By Grazie Pozo Christie, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association, Angelus News, July 21, 2018

I was 15 when I went on my first date. It was to a quinceañera, the traditional 15th birthday celebration that serves as the coming-out ball of Hispanic girls.  

Mami and Papi, and my friend’s Mami and Papi, headed to the party also. They climbed into my father’s car, men in the front, women in the back, and followed directly behind us.  

They parked near the quinceañera house and waited for us, talking and napping, until the party ended in the wee hours. We drove home, our parents just behind us. Our mothers slept in the back seat, our fathers peered into our back window, shepherds looking tenderly after their vulnerable sheep. The memory melts my heart.   

Does this scene seem impossibly distant in time and place? It happened right here in the United States in the late 1980s. After that first date, I went on many others, always with a “chaperona” for my safety and reputation, and of course to ensure the good behavior of my date.  

The idea was that even at the age of 15, we were quite right to delight in our beauty and our desirability to the male of the species — no burkas or prairie dresses for us. Our dating was honorable and safe because it assumed and insisted on the avoidance of sex until marriage, and that would be a union permanent, exclusive, fruitful and faithful.  

We would be safeguarded and shielded by our fathers until we were given over to our next devoted protectors: our husbands. If all went well, we would be as pure and heart-whole as the day we were born.  

As I write these words, I am imagining the indignant reaction of a modern feminist reader, and that in my story about tender protection she’ll only perceive condescension and oppression. My imaginary reader is confident that the sexual revolution of the 1960s released women from dependency on fathers and husbands by erasing ancient connections between courting and sex, marriage and children.  

“Deus ex machina,” the birth control pill arrived to finally set things right, freeing both men and women from the remorseless association between healthy sexual attraction and the appearance of a wailing mouth to feed some nine months later.  

It’s been more than 50 years since the ground shifted and all the rules changed, and my modern feminist reader believes that we live now in a better world. But the dismal evidence of her error is all around us. 

Soul-destroying hookups, pornography addictions for men, soft-porn Instagram accounts for girls, loneliness for everyone, single motherhood for way too many.  The honorable and romantic institution of marriage is disappearing, replaced by practical arrangements that lend themselves to casual reshuffling.  

When households are disbanded, everyone pretends that the children will be just fine. 

In 1968, Pope Paul VI wrote in the encyclical “Humanae Vitae” (“Of Human Life”) that turning sex into a casual pleasure would cause men to  “forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”  

When this happens it is not only women who are damaged, but the characters of men who are debased by becoming predators instead of guardians of the vulnerable. And all of society is coarsened in turn.