1. The Supreme Court review of Sharonell Fulton, et. al v. City of Philadelphia.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Review – Bench Memos, July 29, 2019, 11:22 AM
Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation. Her legal career has been dedicated to civil rights advocacy.

Will Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services soon have to close its foster care program – a program or ministry that has operated for a century in a city that desperately needs more foster homes to take in its most vulnerable kids? It’s now up to the U.S. Supreme Court to decide, or not, to remedy the injustice in Philly. Far beyond Philadelphia, children needing stable, loving foster parents to rescue them from the worst domestic situations and the religious institutions and individuals ready to rescue these children have a stake in the Supreme Court’s decision or non-decision.

Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services and two of its certified foster parents have asked the high court to review the city’s impossible demand that the agency endorse or certify same-sex married couples as foster parents. Catholic Social Services wanted to continue the work it is so good at – finding loving foster homes for vulnerable children – while adhering to long-standing Church teaching on the nature of marriage.

Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services is hoping the Supreme Court will review the Third Circuit ruling and safeguard the right of faith-based agencies to partner with the government without abandoning their religious convictions. It’s an important issue for the Supreme Court to address, because, the Philadelphia story is not unique. Catholic foster care and adoption agencies in Washington, D.C., Boston, the state of Illinois, and Buffalo have closed in the face of similar ideological pressures. Earlier this year, the state of Michigan reached a settlement agreement with the ACLU that requires all private adoption and foster care agencies to work with same-sex couples. State officials agreed to the settlement knowing that at least one Catholic foster care and adoption agency in the state is unable to do so and despite a state law specifically offering accommodations for faith-based agencies. The agency there, along with an adoptive couple and a young woman who was adopted as a child, have filed suit to undo the settlement.

More than 400,000 American children live in foster care today, rescued from the kind of abuse or neglect most of us can (thankfully) only imagine. Some 6,000 of these kids are in Philadelphia. More are waiting for good homes. Shutting out a trusted partner like Catholic Social Services comes at a time when these children deserve as many agencies working for them as possible. Promoting same-sex marriage and foster care among same-sex married couples should not erase the rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion. Nor should it cause the closure of successful faith-based foster care and adoption agencies. American kids in desperate need deserve better. People of faith in the United States deserve better. Supreme Court review of Sharonell Fulton, et. al v. City of Philadelphia can ensure that Americans don’t have to check their religious beliefs at the door in order to care for the most vulnerable among us.


2. What is happening at Rome’s John Paul II Institute?

By Christopher Altieri, The Catholic Herald (UK), July 30, 2019

The Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences issued a communiqué late Monday addressing several points in a major years-old controversy that erupted afresh late last week, in connection with reports of the promulgation of the new institute’s statutes.

In his 2017 Apostolic Letter motu proprio, Summa familiae cura, Pope Francis accomplished both the suppression of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family, and the erection of the new institute: a twofold move that drew intense and sustained criticism from different quarters and across the spectrum of opinion in the Church. The promulgation of the new charter and by-laws for the institute fanned the flames of long-standing disputes over the nature and general direction of the “renewal in continuity” academic authorities maintain is underway.

The news also raised specific questions regarding the future of two renowned and long-serving professors, who held key positions in the old institute. They are Mgr Livio Melina and Fr José Noriega, who held respectively the chairs in fundamental and special moral theology at the (now-superseded) Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.

The new institute did, however, issue a statement to the press late Monday, explaining that the new statutes replace fundamental and special moral theology with “moral theology of marriage and the family” and “theological ethics of life”. The communiqué also said: “The approval of the twofold degree (Licentiate and Doctorate in theology of marriage and the family and in sciences of marriage and the family) assures a gain to the specificity of theological research that is at the same time explicated and connected to the rest of the sciences that study marriage and the family.”


3. Official: Youth called to be leaders and protagonists in the Church.

By Christopher White, Crux, July 30, 2019

More than 100 Catholic theologians and young people will gather this week beginning on Wednesday for the first U.S. summit focused on Pope Francis’s major letter on young people released last spring.

The event is taking place at the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Paul Jarzembowski, who oversees Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops believes the gathering, known as the National Dialogue, will be an occasion to follow in Francis’s footsteps and “mobilize the Church towards greater unity and engagement of youth and young adults.”


4. No, Catholicism and Communism Are Not Compatible.

By Declan Leary & John Hirschauer, National Review Online, July 30, 2019, 6:30 AM

No sensible person has, of this writing, ever alleged that Dorothy Day was insufficiently amenable to Communism. So, that the Jesuit magazine America published a piece titled “The Catholic Case for Communism” — which asserts that Day, despite her relative sympathy for the movement, ends up unfairly dismissing the compatibility of a fully-realized Communism with a Catholic social order — suggests something unfortunate about its editors.

Day’s conclusion is antiquated, in the eyes of author Dean Dettloff. “A whole Cold War has passed since her reflection,” he writes, “and a few clarifying notes are now worthwhile.” It is either a baffling display of historical illiteracy or a dazzling display of commie bravado that Dettloff presumes that the Cold War will aid him in facilitating a positive understanding of his preferred philosophy.

Apparently oblivious to the brutal realities that forced the Cold War in the first place, he praises Day for “affirming the goodness that drives so many communists then and now.” In this, she “aimed to soften the perceptions of Catholics who were more comfortable with villainous caricatures of the communists of their era than with more challenging depictions of them as laborers for peace and economic justice.” Does he honestly believe that in 1933 — 1933, when Comrade Stalin was deliberately starving millions of Ukrainians in pursuit of peace and economic justice — Westerners were unduly harsh in their “caricatures of the communists of their era”? What exactly were they supposed to think of the Holodomor?


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