1. Pope Likens Abortion To Nazi Eugenics, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2018, Pg. A7

Pope Francis likened abortion to Nazi eugenics practiced “with white gloves,” and said the only real families are those based on marriage between a man and a woman, using uncharacteristically blunt language on two controversial moral issues.

Addressing an Italian family association on Saturday, the pope equated the contemporary termination of pregnancies in response to fetal maladies or defects discovered through prenatal testing to the policies of Hitler’s Germany.

“Children should be welcomed the way they come, the way God sends them to us, the way God allows, even if sometimes they are ill. I’ve heard that it’s fashionable—or at least habitual—to perform certain exams in the early months of pregnancy, to see if the baby is unwell or comes with a certain problem,” the pope said. “And to have an easy life, one does away with an innocent,” he added.

The pope also rejected the concept of nontraditional families not based on heterosexual marriage.

“Today—it hurts to say it—one speaks of ‘diversified’ families: different types of family …but the human family as the image of God, man and woman, is only one. Only one,” the pope said.


2. Immigration Face-Off Looms, Separation of families adds pressure on GOP as lawmakers advance proposals in Congress, By Louise Radnofsky, Michelle Hackman and Alicia A. Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2018, Pg. A1

A Trump administration policy of separating immigrant children from adults at the southern border is putting pressure on Republicans and threatening to engulf broader negotiations on Capitol Hill about dealing with those already in the U.S. illegally.

The administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” of detaining adults attempting to cross into the U.S. has resulted in the division of families traveling with children, and the federal government is beginning to run out of space for its detainees.

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives may vote on two Republican-crafted immigration measures this week, said the office of Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.).

One bill is assembled by negotiators from the GOP’s moderate and conservative wings; another is more conservative. Both aim to address the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought illegally to the U.S. as children, as well as seeking to increase border security.

Each would also broadly allow children arriving at the southern border to be detained with their parents in the same facility, or for the release of a child to a relative.


3. In Geneva, Francis’s ‘ecumenism of encounter’ will be on display, By Christopher White, Crux, June 18, 2018

If Wittenberg, Germany is where the Protestant Reformation began in 1517, Geneva, Switzerland is where it took root. Nearly 20 years after Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the cathedral doors enumerating his theological objections to Roman Catholicism, the French Reformer John Calvin was welcomed to Geneva as the spiritual leader of the then city-state.

Now – nearly 500 years later – on Thursday of this week, the head of another religious city-state, Pope Francis, will arrive in Geneva to celebrate the once-fraught prospect of Christian unity.

In what will mark his 23rd visit outside of Italy since becoming pope, Francis will make a day trip to what is arguably the world capital of diplomacy to engage in some spiritual diplomacy of sorts, as he marks the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches.

Dubbed as an “ecumenical pilgrimage,” Francis will be the third pope to visit the country – though previous trips have taken place over several days. Yet for Francis, the singular intention appears to be to give a booster shot to ongoing ecumenical efforts between various Christian communities. If the past five years of his papacy has been dedicated to the theme of building a “culture of encounter,” it seems fair to summarize this particular visit to Geneva as an “encounter between churches.”


4. Chesterton report could put apologist on road to sainthood, By Charles Collins, Crux, June 18, 2018

One of the best-known writers of the early 20th century could also be a model of sanctity, but the priest charged with compiling a report on the potential of sainthood for G.K. Chesterton says the Church has to determine how much ‘devotion’ to him exists, rather than simple ‘admiration.’

Best known in the United States for Orthodoxy, his groundbreaking defense of Christianity, Chesterton is most famous in his homeland for the invention of Father Brown, a priest detective more interested in converting the criminals he catches than he is in incarcerating them.

After he finishes his report, Udris said it will be up to the bishop to decide – in consultation with the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints – whether to open a formal cause.

Of course, that would just be a first step – if a cause is opened, and the Vatican determines Chesterton had “heroic virtues,” he would become Venerable; a miracle credited to his intercession would then be needed for him to be beatified; and then a second miracle would be needed for him to be formally canonized a saint. The entire process can take years, even decades or centuries.


5. Vatican, Mexico lament suffering of migrant kids, By Associated Press, June 18, 2018

The Vatican and Mexico are lamenting how children “are suffering the most” from migration, as the Trump administration comes under increasing criticism for its policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Vatican on Monday released the conclusions of the second Vatican-Mexico conference on international migration, held last week at the Vatican.

The statement made no explicit reference to the U.S. separation policy, though it stressed the need to “insist on the centrality of the human person in every political act … reaffirming the inviolability of human rights and the dignity of every human being on the move.”


6. Pope apologizes to Chile diocese rocked by sexual abuse scandal, By Inés San Martín, Crux, June 18, 2018

An investigator assigned by Pope Francis to visit Chile’s southern diocese of Osorno, which has been the epicenter of that country’s clerical sexual abuse scandals, has said the pontiff instructed him to ask forgiveness for the suffering those scandals have caused.

“Pope Francis has tasked me to ask each one of the faithful of the diocese of Osorno and all the inhabitants of this territory to apologize for having hurt you and deeply offended you,” said Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta during a Mass he led on Sunday, closing the June 14-17 pastoral visit.

Sicluna, together with Spanish Father Jordi Bertomeu, was sent to Chile by Francis for a June 12-19 pastoral visit in the country. This is the second time this year that the pontiff sent the two men to the Latin American country. The first, in February, was for them to investigate the case of Bishop Juan Barros, whom the pontiff appointed to Osorno in 2015.

Before the Mass, the group known as “Lay Men and Women of Osorno” released a statement, explaining their decision to attend the Mass: “We’ve decided to take a step forth and, after three years, go into our cathedral and participate in the Mass on the Day of the Lord, making it absolutely clear that this is not a Mass of reparation nor reconciliation […], but to welcome the apostolic administrator, hoping that a path of reconciliation will begin with him.”


7. Under pressure from Pence, U.S. aid is directed to Christian, Yazidi communities in Iraq, By Carol Morello, The Washington Post, June 17, 2018, Pg. A13

The premier U.S. aid agency is poised to send millions of dollars directly to Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq under a rarely used, streamlined funding arrangement after coming under pressure from Vice President Pence.

The fast-tracking of the aid is a victory for religious advocates who had sought help for communities that have been present in Iraq for millennia but have been devastated and are on the verge of vanishing from the region after many of their people fled when the Islamic State took over.

The aid push also underscores the priority the Trump administration has placed on helping Christians, even in an era of steep cuts proposed for foreign aid.

But Pence was unhappy with the progress in the field. He recently “directed” Green to go to Iraq before the end of this month and report back to him on plans to get assistance there quickly, according to a statement from the vice president’s office.

In a sharp-edged statement on Friday, Pence’s office said the vice president “will not tolerate bureaucratic delays.”

According to a U.S. official familiar with Pence’s concern that, as he saw it, USAID had failed to prioritize the issue, the vice president told Green that he would support any personnel changes the USAID administrator chose to make.

Before the end of the day, the head of USAID’s Middle East bureau, a career Foreign Service officer, was replaced by a political appointee who had worked on development projects under Green at the International Republican Institute.

“The vice president’s announcement in October made clear the communities targeted for genocide by ISIS would no longer be overlooked by U.S. government aid to the region,” said Andrew Walther, vice president of communications for the fraternal service organization Knights of Columbus.


8. The Lesser Cruelty on Immigration, By Ross Douthat, Columnist, The New York Times, June 17, 2018, Pg. SR 9

Let’s start with the easy part. The policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border, delivering them into a bureaucratic labyrinth while their fathers and mothers await trial or petition for asylum, is the wickedest thing the Trump administration has done so far — and you can tell exactly how wicked by observing how unwilling White House officials are to defend the policy on the merits.

Honesty is generally too much to expect from this administration, but this is a case where it would be useful for everyone if the Trump White House just admitted that this policy was conceived as a deterrent — traumatizing a certain number of families in the hopes of bringing greater order to the border in the long run.

That admission would get us closer to the hard problem in migration policy. Some harshness, some deterrence, really is unavoidable in any immigration system that doesn’t simply dissolve borders. So policymakers are therefore obliged to choose tolerable cruelties over the intolerable one that we’re witnessing in action right now.

This dilemma was apparent (or should have been) in the Obama years, when a far more pro-immigration administration pursued sweeping amnesties, eventually by executive fiat. Liberals hailed those amnesties while paying less attention to the consequences of the Dreamer amnesty in particular: It created the impression that kids brought to the United States illegally would soon gain legal status, which in turn helped drive a  surge in children being sent north without their parents, overwhelming the Border Patrol and saddling the Obama White House with a problem that it ultimately passed along to President Trump.

E-Verify is harsh in its own way, since it locks many people who have been here a long time out of better-paying jobs. But with that harshness comes possible advantages for working-class Americans: E-Verify mandates “lead to better labor market outcomes among workers likely to compete with unauthorized immigrants,” a 2014 study found, with higher incomes for American-born Hispanics and recent-immigrant citizens.

Right now neither party wants these mandates (E-Verify has fallen out of the proposed House immigration compromise), because both immigration activists and business interests hate them. But morally, E-Verify seems vastly preferable to the brutality of family separation and the harsher Obama-era measures that liberals have belatedly discovered. Trump is showing us what the greater cruelty looks like; that makes it a good time to choose the lesser one.


9. Serving Others in God’s Love: Religious Freedom Week 2018, By USCCB Office of Religious Liberty, Crux, June 17, 2018

People of faith are committed to serving others in God’s love in healthcare, child welfare, migration and refugee resettlement, education, and more.  Catholics have built schools, hospitals, and networks of care for the vulnerable, not simply for the sake of building institutions, but to answer the call of Jesus Christ to serve others.

As the Church seeks to serve under intense pressure to conform to secularist ideology, religious freedom protects the space in which we can continue to answer the call of Jesus Christ with integrity.  So, our work for religious freedom is really meant to support the work of all these other great ministries.

Religious Freedom Week will take place from June 22 – 29, 2018.  It begins with the feast day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, includes the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and ends with the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The Committee for Religious Liberty has produced resources for prayer, reflection, and action on a different area of concern for each day of the week.  We encourage Christians to reflect on the importance of religious freedom so that the Church might have room to carry out her mission of service and mercy.  We also invite Christians to pray for our brothers and sisters who face intense persecution in other parts of the world.


10. Pope presses for talks on Yemen amid humanitarian crisis, By Associated Press, June 17, 2018, 10:34 AM

Pope Francis is pressing for negotiations involving the sides in the Yemen conflict so the humanitarian crisis doesn’t worsen.

In public remarks Sunday, Francis said he was following “with worry the dramatic fate of the people of Yemen, already so exhausted from years of conflict.”

He appealed to the international community so that “no effort be spared to urgently bring to the negotiating table the sides in conflict and to avoid a worsening of the already tragic humanitarian situation.”


11. Pope: Abortion is ‘white glove’ equivalent to Nazi crimes, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 16, 2018, 5:38 PM

Pope Francis denounced abortion on Saturday as the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families to accept the children that God gives them.

Francis spoke off-the-cuff to a meeting of an Italian family association, ditching his prepared remarks to speak from the heart about families and the trials they undergo. He lamented how some couples choose not to have any children, while others resort to pre-natal testing to see if their baby has any malformations or genetic problems.

“The first proposal in such a case is, ‘Do we get rid of it?’” Francis said. “The murder of children. To have an easy life, they get rid of an innocent.”

“Last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to purify the race. Today, we do the same thing but with white gloves,” Francis said.