1. Believers Need Not Apply: Progressives have triumphed spectacularly over faith and tradition. Now they are targeting conscience itself

By Sohrab Ahmari, The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2017, Pg. A15

Does liberalism have any room left for Christians and other believers? The question has been posed countless times, and each time liberals answer more decisively than the previous: No.

On Thursday Britain’s Liberal Democrats delivered that message to their leader, Tim Farron, forcing him to resign over his mildly conservative views on homosexuality and abortion.

Witness, across the Atlantic, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s tirade against Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. During a Senate confirmation hearing last week, the Vermont socialist grilled Mr. Vought about his contention, in a blog post published last year, that Muslims “do not know God, because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Plenty of Americans might disagree with the substance, phrasing or both. But Mr. Sanders went further, arguing that Mr. Vought’s views were “Islamophobic” and “hateful” and therefore disqualifying.

Set aside the senator’s riding roughshod over the Constitution, which prohibits religious tests for office. What was most depressing about his outburst was the bleak vision of civic life behind it.

To wit, Mr. Sanders implied that a devout Christian can’t hold fast to his faith’s most demanding claims and at the same time exercise public authority with decency and honor. If you disagree with someone’s theology, in other words, it must mean you hate him. Yet at its best the West has stood for the opposite principle: that people can build and share a democratic public square across and even through such differences.


2. UK political leader’s resignation heralds a new age of intolerance

By Austen Ivereigh, Crux, June 16, 2017

Tim Farron, an evangelical Christian, decided to stand down as leader of Britain’s third party, the Liberal-Democrats, because “to be a political leader – especially of a progressive, liberal party in 2017 – and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible’s teaching, has felt impossible to me.”

This was not, he made clear, because of the tension between his own personal convictions and the policies of his party, with which he is in full agreement, but because of the way he was relentlessly hounded by the media during the election campaign over his religiously-held moral beliefs.

“I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and who my faith is in,” Farron said, adding: “In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society.”

The hounding began on Channel 4 News early in the campaign when Farron was asked about his personal views on gay sex and abortion. Farron made clear that he supported the current laws on abortion (legal up to 24 weeks) and same-sex marriage – as a matter of civil rights.

Nor did he believe Christians had the right to impose their moral beliefs through the law to curtail those rights. What matters, he insisted, was what people fought for – and he fought for the rights and freedoms of all. “That’s what makes a liberal.”

Farron was upholding a traditional liberalism, the one underpinning western democracy, in which the public sphere is an arena in which people of different moral convictions and beliefs can meet in a shared civic space which defends the rights and freedoms of all, irrespective of those beliefs.


3. U.S. bishops urged to be vigilant, never complacent, in stopping abuse

By Catholic News Service, June 16, 2017

Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the National Review Board, urged the U.S. bishops June 14 during their spring meeting in Indianapolis to continue to keep their commitment to stopping clergy sexual abuse and supporting victims of abuse “at the forefront” of their ministry.

He said sexual abuse of minors by clergy is “not a thing of past” and stressed the bishops have to always be vigilant and be sure to not “let complacency set in” in their efforts to stop it.

The review board is a group working with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to address and prevent sexual abuse of minors in the U.S. by clergy and other church personnel.

Cesareo pointed out there was still work to be done in this area, but he also praised the bishops for what they’ve accomplished and stressed that dioceses in the United States are among the safest places for children and are also models for the rest of the world.

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has appointed four new members to serve on the review board. The new members, announced June 14, are: Amanda Callanan, director of communications for the Claremont Institute, a California-based think tank; Suzanne Healy, victims assistance coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 2007-2016; Dr. Christopher McManus, who practices internal medicine and is an active member of the Northern Virginia Guild of the Catholic Medical Association; and Eileen Puglisi, former director of the Office for the Protection of Children and Young People in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York.

Cesareo will continue to chair the review board until his term expires in 2020.


4. Secretary of 2 popes sheds light on their daily lives

By Monika Scislowska, Associated Press, June 15, 2017, 8:56 AM

A book of interviews with the Polish Rev. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, “Secretary of Two Popes,” released last month, has offered some insight into the daily life at the Vatican with John Paul and his German-born successor, Benedict XVI.

Mokrzycki, now the Archbishop of Lviv, Ukraine, served as John Paul’s secretary from 1996 until the pope’s 2005 death. He then became secretary to Benedict from 2005 to 2008.


5. As Venezuela crisis spirals, Vatican affirms elections are lone solution

By Inés San Martín, Crux, June 15, 2017

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro sent a letter to Pope Francis this week, calling for his help to end the violence in the country. Virtually at the same time, the pope’s Secretary of State was penning a letter to a group of former Latin American presidents, saying the only solution is to hold elections.

The presidents had recently written to the pope to express their concern over what is going on in Venezuela. Parolin said that Francis knew of the letter and its content, and that, to the best of his possibilities, he’s “trying to help find a solution amidst the grave difficulties the county is experiencing.”

The Holy See, the cardinal writes, believes that “serious and sincere negotiations among the parties, based on very clear conditions, beginning with the holding of the constitutionally scheduled elections, could solve the grave situation of Venezuela.”