1. Prosecutors crack down on clergy abuse as bishops gather.

By Juliet Linderman, Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press, June 11, 2019, 8:16 AM

Hundreds of boxes. Millions of records. From Michigan to New Mexico this month, attorneys general are sifting through files on clergy sex abuse, seized through search warrants and subpoenas at dozens of archdioceses.

They’re looking to prosecute, and not just priests. If the boxes lining the hallways of Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s offices contain enough evidence, she said, she is considering using state racketeering laws usually reserved for organized crime. Prosecutors in Michigan are even volunteering on weekends to get through all the documents as quickly as possible.

A nationwide Associated Press query of more than 20 state and federal prosecutors last week found they are looking for legal means to hold higher ups in the church accountable for sex abuse. They have raided diocesan offices, subpoenaed files, set up victim tip lines and launched sweeping investigations into decades-old allegations.

Some defenders of the church bristle at the notion of increased legal action, saying the Catholic institution is being singled out by overzealous prosecutors. A spokesperson for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops did not respond to requests for an interview Monday. The church has said it is already taking steps to address clergy abuse.


2. Vatican says people can’t choose their genders, releases document as guide.

By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A10

Warning of a society “without sexual differences,” the Vatican on Monday dismissed the idea that a person’s gender can differ from the assigned sex at birth and said a fluid idea of identity was not “based on the truths of existence.”

The right to “choose one’s gender,” the Vatican said in an official document, is in “direct contradiction of the model of marriage as being between one man and one woman.”

The document, released as a guide for Catholic educators, held firm to the religion’s traditional teaching on gender and sexuality. But LGBT members of the faith said it put an official and updated stamp on viewpoints they had hoped were changing. 


3. In hiding, critic of Francis speaks out.

By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A10

In the instant he became one of the most controversial figures in modern Catholic Church history, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò went dark. 

The retired Vatican ambassador to Washington wrote a bombshell letter last summer calling on Pope Francis to resign on the grounds that he had tolerated a known sexual abuser. As that letter was published, Viganò turned off his phone, told friends he was disappearing and let the church sort through the fallout.

Nine months later, in his first extended interview since that moment, Viganò refused to disclose his location or say much about his self-imposed exile. But his comments indicate that, even in hiding, he is maintaining his role as the fiercest critic of the Francis era, acting either as an honorable rebel or, as his critics see it, as an ideological warrior attacking a pope he doesn’t like. 


4. Viganò: The pope is ‘blatantly lying’.

The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A10

In his first extended interview since he called on Pope Francis to resign, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò corresponded by email with The Washington Post over two months, writing 8,000 words in response to nearly 40 questions. Excerpts:

Viganò: I repeat in front of God what I stated in my testimony from last August: On June 23rd, 2013 Pope Francis himself asked me about [then-Cardinal Theodore] McCarrick, and I told him that there was a huge dossier about his abuses at the Congregation of Bishops, and that he corrupted generations of seminarians. How could anybody, especially a pope, forget this? If he really knew nothing until that day, how could he ignore my warning, and continue to rely on McCarrick as one of his closest advisers? 

If you could redo events, would you still ask for the pope’s resignation?

I can see, in retrospect, how certain points might have been better stated . . . .

I would have pointed out that Saint Peter himself denied Christ three times, but then wept bitterly and repented . . . . May Pope Francis imitate St. Peter! But if Pope Francis refuses to admit his mistakes and ask for forgiveness, so he can carry out the mandate he received from Christ, he should resign. 


5. Abortion advocates just helped Trump.

By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A21

One of the largest obstacles to the defeat of President Trump in the 2020 election is the radicalism of the Democratic Party on the issue of abortion. By forcing Joe Biden to abandon his support for the Hyde Amendment — which currently prevents the funding of abortions through Medicaid — the abortion lobby and activist liberals have taken the first, major step toward reelecting Trump.

The Hyde Amendment has played a particularly important role for Catholic politicians. It has allowed them to draw a distinction between permitting abortion and promoting it. Supporting the amendment has let them claim neutrality on abortion even while being effectively pro-choice.

We have come to see abortion as the ultimate culture-war issue, but it is not inherently ideological. The problem with making policy on abortion is this: A conceptus does not appear equal to a person. Yet there is no meaningful distinction between a newborn infant and a fetus the day before birth. Weighing the relative importance of human autonomy and the value of nascent human life is not a typical matter of left and right. Both support for abortion rights and opposition to abortion are argued as matters of inclusion and social justice.

This has left nearly monolithic parties to appeal to a more ethically complex country. A 2018 Gallup poll found 29 percent who believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances, 14 percent in most circumstances, 35 percent in few circumstances and 18 percent in no circumstances. So nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe that abortion should be available in all or some circumstances. And nearly 7 in 10 believe that abortion should be restricted in all or some circumstances.


6. Priests tied to scandal in W.Va. step down.

By Robert O’Harrow Jr. and Shawn Boburg, The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A4

Three high-ranking priests who allegedly enabled “predatory and harassing conduct” by Bishop Michael J. Bransfield when he was leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia have resigned from their leadership posts, church officials announced Monday.

A statement from Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore gave no reason for the resignations. But the three monsignors — Frederick Annie, Anthony Cincinnati and Kevin Quirk — are central figures in a scandal over alleged sexual and financial misconduct by Bransfield, according to a confidential report described in a Washington Post story last week.

The report by five lay Catholics was completed and submitted to the Vatican in February. Lori’s statement said Annie resigned in September, around the time the Vatican launched its investigation. Quirk and Cincinnati resigned on Monday, Lori said. 


7. CEOs sign open letter against abortion bans.

By Rachel Siegel, The Washington Post, June 11, 2019, Pg. A17

More than 180 CEOs signed an open letter opposing state efforts to restrict reproductive rights, as business leaders weigh how to most effectively exert pressure against abortion bans.

Square chief executive and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey as well as fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg and others wrote that restrictions on abortion access threaten the economic stability of their employees and customers and make it harder to build a diverse workforce and recruit talent. 


8. Pompeo Tries to Rescue the Idea of Human Rights, Unmoored from natural law, the ‘liberal world order’ generally hasn’t produced liberty.

By Aaron Rhodes, The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2019, Pg. A19, Opinion

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deserves praise for proposing an Unalienable Rights Commission to help guide American human-rights policy. Defending and promoting freedom is an essential element of U.S. foreign policy, and one that’s been neglected by recent administrations. Too often Washington has cozied up to dictators, embraced moral equivalency in international human-rights institutions, and appeared indifferent to struggles for liberty around the world. The foreign-policy establishment has confused defending human rights with ambitious and costly democracy and nation-building projects. Rather than focus on freedom, they’ve sought to impose particular moral values on other societies. They have ignored and abrogated important standards in their own conduct of U.S. policy.

The principle of natural rights has been all but forgotten on the international scene. Without any transcendent point of reference, human rights are seen as arbitrary “values,” no different from the laws of rulers and legislatures that authentic human-rights standards are there to constrain.

Especially in America, a country founded to protect liberty, human rights should not be the focus of partisan squabbles and culture wars. They should be understood instead as the foundation of pluralism. Natural rights allow us to be different but live peacefully together. That’s the spirit that should animate the Unalienable Rights Commission.

Mr. Rhodes is president of the Forum for Religious Freedom-Europe and author of “The Debasement of Human Rights.”


9. ‘In God We Trust’ money challenge rejected by justices, Supreme Court offers no comment.

By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, June 11, 2019, Pg. A4

The Supreme Court rejected a case Monday brought by an atheist who wanted to scrub “In God We Trust,” the U.S. motto, from the nation’s currency, claiming it was an entanglement of state and religion.

Michael Newdow, an activist who previous challenged reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in schools, had set his sights on money, but lost at the district, circuit and now Supreme Court levels.

The justices rejected his petition without comment.

 “The result is the right one, but the multiyear process is a grand waste of time and money,” said Eric Rassbach, an attorney for Becket.

He said it’s time for the Supreme Court to revisit the “Lemon test,” a framework the Supreme Court laid out in a 1971 case for reviewing when a government’s action crosses the line into unconstitutional religious entanglement. Under the Lemon test, an action must have a secular purpose, must not advance or inhibit a religion, and must avoid “excessive government entanglement with religion.”

 The Supreme Court has a chance to retire the Lemon test in another case this term involving a nearly 100-year-old war memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland. The Peace Cross, which stands on public land, is dedicated to local soldiers who died in World War I.

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, during oral argument in that case, suggested Lemon’s usefulness was at an end.

“It’s been a long time since this court has applied Lemon,” Justice Gorsuch said. “Is it time for this court to thank Lemon for its services and send it on its way?”


10. Coloradans face serious threats to parental rights, Teachings like chastity before marriage, monogamy and the importance of a mother and father are scorned because such common-sense beliefs are rooted in religious faith.

By Jeff Hunt, The Washington Times, June 11, 2019, Pg. B3, Opinion

The state knows better how to raise your children than you do. That was the clear message sent by Colorado legislators during this contentious legislative session.

Bill after bill, many of which were written by special interest groups like Planned Parenthood and One Colorado, sought to strip rights and responsibilities from parents and hand them to the state.

You read this correctly, the legislature sought to solidify in statute the specific banning of religious perspectives when it comes to teaching human sexuality. Teachings like chastity before marriage, monogamy, and the importance of a both a mother and father, were sidelined because of their religious foundations.

Do you have a child struggling with gender identity? Counselors in Colorado can now only counsel your child to embrace transgenderism. This means encouraging the taking of hormone medication and changing your child’s lifestyle, even if it’s against your guidance.

Do you have a child struggling with depression? Children as young as 12 years old can now see counselors in Colorado an unlimited number of times without your consent.

Sadly, parents lost rights this legislative session, and Planned Parenthood is patting itself on the back. Planned Parenthood gained more control over the children of Colorado.

Loving parents are the most important factors in the development of healthy children. Removing parents from establishing relationship values or guiding the mental health of their children is the wrong approach.

Jeff Hunt is the director of the Centennial Institute.


11. Judge rules state’s last abortion clinic will remain open.

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, June 11, 2019, Pg. A9

A state judge ruled Monday that Missouri’s last abortion clinic will remain open while a battle over its application renewal unfolds, despite what the governor described as “numerous violations of state laws and regulations.”

In his ruling, the judge emphasized that he was making no determination “whether Planned Parenthood’s application to renew its license should be approved or denied,” according to KMOV-TV in St. Louis.

Missouri Gov. Michael Parson, a Republican, said last month that Planned Parenthood had been “reluctant” to address violations raised by a March 11-13 state investigation into the clinic andwaited until “the last minute” to submits its renewal application on May 16.


12. Catholic ‘gender theory’ document: clarity for a wounded, oversexed culture?

By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, June 11, 2019, 3:01 AM

Catholic commentators have welcomed a Vatican document warning that gender theory is a cultural and ideological revolution that undermines both human dignity and the right understandings of sexual difference and complementarity, though the document was not without its critics.

“There’s a lot of confusion out there right now in regards to gender theory in education and this document provides much-needed clarity about the truth of the human person,” said Dr. Joan Kingsland, a moral theologian and curriculum advisor for Ruah Woods, an Ohio-based organization focused on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

The Congregation for Catholic Education’s “Male and Female He Created Them” was released June 10.

“In the mainstream media no doubt there will be the typical ideological reaction against the Church for imposing an antiquated view of sexuality on its members; but others will be relieved that the Church is providing clarity about such an important aspect of the human person,” Kingsland told CNA.


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