1. Trump’s Defining Speech: In Poland, he asks the West to defend its values of faith and freedom. 

By The Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2017, Pg. A14, Review & Outlook

The White House description of Donald Trump’s speech Thursday in Warsaw was simply, “Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland.” In truth, Mr. Trump’s remarks were directed at the people of the world. Six months into his first term of office, Mr. Trump finally offered the core of what could become a governing philosophy. It is a determined and affirmative defense of the Western tradition.

Like the best presidential speeches, it contained affirmations of ideas and principles and related them to the current political moment. “Americans, Poles and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty,” he said. This was more than a speech, though. It was an argument. One might even call it an apologia for the West.

But the speech’s most provocative argument was about our way of life. It came when he described how a million Poles stood with Pope John Paul II in Victory Square in 1979 to resist Soviet rule by chanting, “We want God!”

“With that powerful declaration of who you are,” Mr. Trump said, “you came to understand what to do and how to live.”

This is a warning to the West and a call to action. By remembering the Poles’ invocation of God, Mr. Trump is clearly aligning himself with the same warning issued to Europe some years ago by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict.

Cardinal Ratzinger’s argument was that Europe needed to recognize that its turn toward aggressive secularism posed a real threat to its survival. 

This is the speech Mr. Trump should have given to introduce himself to the world at his Inauguration. In place of that speech’s resentments, his Warsaw talk offered a better form of nationalism. It is a nationalism rooted in values and beliefs—the rule of law, freedom of expression, religious faith and freedom from oppressive government—that let Europe and then America rise to prominence. This, Mr. Trump is saying, is worth whatever it takes to preserve and protect.


2. The Vatican’s Failure in the Abuse Scandal.

By The New York Times, July 7, 2017, Pg. A24, Editorial

For all of Pope Francis’ deserved acclaim in leading the Roman Catholic Church to new directions, he is failing badly on his promise to address the child abuse scandal at the crucial level where ranking churchmen systematically protected priests who raped and molested children.

His failure to confront the problem was underlined last week when the pope had to grant one of his closest advisers, Cardinal George Pell of Australia, a leave of absence from the Vatican to answer multiple charges of sexual assault in Melbourne.

The cardinal’s deepening involvement is a severe blow to the Vatican and the pope as they try to convince the world that the scandal has ebbed with a supposedly full and forthright accounting. But while more than 800 rogue priests have been defrocked and some sent to prison, diocesan and parish superiors have largely been spared sanctions and discipline. This, despite their having abetted violators by rotating them to new parishes and concealing serial child abuse from civil authorities. 

Last year, Francis denounced “the sin of covering up and denial.” He had promised reform in 2015, including the creation of a tribunal to try accused bishops, but last year he backed away from the promise under reported pressure by church officials in Rome. He assigned the task instead to the Vatican’s murky bureaucracy, considerably muting hope for a just and public accounting. 

Now Francis is without a trusted adviser because of a scandal he has failed to confront at the highest levels.


3. Aiming at Charlie Gard’s death? The age of creeping infanticide.

By Charles C. Camosy, Crux, July 7, 2017

If I had to pick top Catholic voices in the public sphere I’d want to hear from on a case like that of Charlie Gard, those belonging to the staff at the Anscombe Bioethics Centre at Oxford and Crux’s own Austen Ivereigh would be very high up on the list. It is therefore with some hesitancy that I respond to their critiques of my position on the case.

Everyone who is familiar with Catholic teaching in this area knows that one may licitly remove even life-saving treatment as long as (1) one is not aiming at the death of an innocent person and (2) one has a proportionately serious reason for performing an action with such profound consequences.

In my original argument, I not only emphasized this aspect of Catholic teaching, I highlighted the fact that it has been around for centuries and served as the foundation for secular distinctions between killing and letting die. I’ve also written an entire book about how this distinction would work with regard to babies like Charlie, particularly (but not only) when it comes to just distribution of resources.

My main argument was that the decision of the physicians caring for Charlie, and of the courts which sustained their decision, was one which aimed at Charlie’s death by omission. It seems clear, for instance, that if Charlie were to continue breathing after the court-ordered removal of his ventilator the aim of these deciders would be frustrated. The object of their act, therefore, is the very definition of euthanasia according to Catholic teaching: An omission which by intention causes death.

Ivereigh’s critique was scathing. Because the physicians and judges were acting in “the best interests of the patients” he claimed that it is “grotesquely insulting” to argue, as I did, that they would be displeased if Charlie continued to breathe on his own after ventilation removal.
But I’m honestly perplexed as to why Ivereigh has this view. What in the current trajectory of secular bioethical thought leads him to conclude that there is something incompatible with well-meaning people acting in the best interests of a mentally disabled person and also aiming at their death?

We should take great care never to endorse an omission that aims at the death of an innocent person, period, full stop. But in a bioethical age of creeping infanticide, we should be even more careful than usual to safeguard this principle. The equal moral value of the voiceless and vulnerable depends on it.


4. Oregon on cusp of providing free abortions for all: Governor plans to sign bill with no GOP votes.

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, July 7, 2017, Pg. A1

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Thursday that she plans to sign a sweeping, unprecedented bill requiring insurers to provide free abortions for their customers, including illegal immigrants.

“The ability to control our bodies and make informed decisions about health are critical to providing all Oregonians the opportunity to achieve our full potential and live productive, thriving lives,” the Democratic chief executive said in an email. “Attempts to deny access to contraceptives and family planning are an attack on all Oregonians, particularly women of color, low-income and young women.”

The $10.2 million bill, which cleared the state House and Senate with no Republican votes, also comes as a badly needed boost for Planned Parenthood’s Oregon affiliate, which helped write the measure and pushed for its passage as it struggles to keep its doors open.


5. A Pope and a President in Poland: In a good Warsaw speech, Trump invokes one of Pope John Paul II’s great 1979 orations.

By Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2017, 6:58 PM

The greatest speeches given in Poland in the modern era were delivered in June 1979 by a pope.

John Paul knew his people: They did not want dictatorship, and a primary means of resistance was through their faith. Every time you took communion it was a rebellion, a way of reminding yourself and others that you answered to a higher authority. The Catholic Church of Poland survived precariously, within limits, under constant pressure, as John Paul well knew, having been a cardinal in Krakow for 11 years.

On June 2, in Victory Square in the Old City of Warsaw, John Paul celebrated Mass. Halfway through, the crowd began to chant: “We want God! We want God!” He asked: What was the greatest work of God? Man. Who redeemed man? Christ. Therefore, he declared, “Christ cannot be kept out of the history of man in any part of the globe, at any longitude or latitude. . . . The exclusion of Christ from the history of man is an act against man.” 

The next day he spoke outside the cathedral in the small city of Gniezno.

At both events he was telling Poles that they should see their position differently. Don’t see Europe divided between free and unfree, see the wholeness that even communism can’t take away. The map makers think they’re in charge. We know who’s really in charge.

And so to President Trump’s speech in Warsaw.

Near the top he deftly evoked John Paul’s 1979 visit and the sermon that brought on the chants. 

He spoke as American presidents once did, in the traditional language of American leadership, with respect for alliances.

But he did it with a twist: The West is not just a political but a cultural entity worth fighting for. It is a real thing, has real and radical enemies, and must be preserved.