1. Democrats to pass spending bill with Hyde despite 2020 uproar.

By Jessie Hellmann, The Hill Online, June 19, 2019

The House is poised to pass spending legislation on Wednesday that includes the Hyde Amendment, the decades-old ban on federal abortion funding that recently created an uproar in the Democratic race for the White House.

Democrats supporting the funding measure note it also includes provisions, backed by abortion rights groups, that would roll back some of the Trump administration’s anti-abortion policies, making it a little easier for the lawmakers to hold their noses and vote for the bill.

The spending bill would roll back the so-called Mexico City policy, which prevents federal funds from supporting foreign nongovernmental organizations that provide or promote abortions. Trump reinstituted the policy immediately after taking office.

The measure also aims to stop the administration from implementing changes to a federal family planning grant program that would essentially prevent federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood and other clinics that provide abortions.

That funding, known as Title X, is awarded to health clinics that provide reproductive health services to low-income women and men and aren’t used for abortions, as stipulated by the Hyde Amendment.


2. Voluntary euthanasia becomes legal in Australian state.

By Rod McGuirk, The Associated Press, June 19, 2019, 4:51 AM

Voluntary euthanasia became legal in an Australian state on Wednesday more than 20 years after the country repealed the world’s first mercy-killing law for the terminally ill.

The process of dying in an assisted suicide after an initial approach to a doctor in Victoria state takes at least 10 days, so the first patient could die from swallowing a lethal cocktail of chemicals on June 29. Strict rules are designed to prevent terminally ill patients from traveling from overseas or interstate to access the laws.


3. Whose Republic? Which “Liberalism”?

By George Weigel, First Things, June 19, 2019

In my forthcoming experiment in historical revisionism, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform (which Basic Books will publish on September 17), I outline the development of the Church’s social magisterium from Pope Leo XIII to the present, with special emphasis on the social teaching of Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. I don’t know whether either of those voracious readers ever read Father Murray’s We Hold These Truths: Catholic Reflections on the American Proposition. The thinking of these three men about liberal democracy ran along parallel tracks, however.

Murray, John Paul, and Benedict were all convinced that the institutions of liberal democracy—popular self-government through democratic participation in republican representation; separation of powers; rotation in office; enumerated civil and political rights limiting the state’s reach into society—were dependent on a moral and cultural foundation those liberal institutions could not generate. Democracy was not a machine that could run by itself. It took a critical mass of mechanics—mature citizens—to operate the machinery of democracy so that politics helped advance individual human flourishing and social solidarity. Democratic self-governance could fail, and the results would not be pretty if it did.

Yet these three men of the Church were also convinced that there was no plausible, real-world alternative to the institutions of liberal democracy for those interested in a humane future. … Thus the real-world option—the real-world imperative—was the hard work of building and maintaining the moral and cultural foundations essential to the liberal democratic political project, while playing good defense against the temptation of the modern democratic state to impede that reconstruction by using its coercive power to impose on everyone a dumbed-down notion of freedom as personal willfulness or “choice.”


4. Americans weren’t always bitterly divided on abortion, This is how we got that way.

By David Byler, Washington Post Online, June 18, 2019, 1:06 PM

Everyone who cares about abortion has reason to be genuinely alarmed right now. Pro-choice Democrats are watching Republicans put new abortion restrictions into place in a variety of red states, including a new Alabama law that bans almost all abortions, even in the cases of rape and incest. And pro-life Republicans are watching Democrats in blue states like Illinois, Vermont and Nevada pass laws that expand access to abortion rather than playing defense. Former vice president Joe Biden, the polling leader in the Democratic primary, recently dropped his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment, a provision that keeps federal funds from being spent on to abortion.

Neither party is responding to a sea change in public opinion on this issue. For decades, Americans have consistently disagreed with both the extreme pro-choice and pro-life positions. Most Americans are generally against banning all abortions, support abortion in the first trimester and want women to have the right to abortion if they were raped or their health is in serious danger. But most Americans are uncomfortable with totally unrestricted access to abortion, especially in the second or third trimester. And abortion was not the most important issue to nearly all voters in the 2016 or 2018 election.


5. Louisiana governor: Abortion ban decision wasn’t political.

By Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press, June 18, 2019, 7:08 PM

Gov. John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic governor in the Deep South, said Tuesday that he’s not concerned about losing support among his party’s voters in Louisiana because of a strict abortion ban he signed into law .

The governor, seeking a second term on the October ballot, said he knows some people “were disappointed” that he supported the ban on abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

“On the other hand there were a lot of people who were very happy about it as well. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t a political consideration,” Edwards said, asked about the abortion ban after a separate bill signing. “It was me being true to myself and true to what I told the people of Louisiana that I was, and I’ve been very clear about that.”

Louisiana was the fifth state to enact a so-called “heartbeat law,” joining Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio and Georgia. 

Edwards, a Catholic, ran as an anti-abortion candidate four years ago and has signed several abortion restrictions into law since he took office in 2016. But the governor has faced more outspoken Democratic criticism about this latest legislation, with Democrats panning him for weeks leading up to and after his May 30 signing of the abortion ban.


6. California governor calls Native American treatment genocide.

By Andrew Oxford, The Associated Press, June 18, 2019, 9:56 PM

Gov. Gavin Newsom formally apologized Tuesday and pushed the state to reckon with California’s dark history of violence, mistreatment and neglect of Native Americans, saying it amounted to genocide.

Stanford University announced last year it would remove the name of Spanish missionary and Catholic saint Junipero Serra from some parts of campus following criticism over his treatment of Native Americans.


7. Assembly of U.S. Catholics Bishops Reveals an Ugly, Incompetent Bureaucracy.

By Declan Leary, National Review Online, June 18, 2019, 6:30 AM

A procedural crackdown is necessary, to be sure. But a plan and an institution that are by nature and habit reactive cannot possibly meet the challenges that face the USCCB. Does anybody seriously believe that clearer guidelines for reporting abuse after the fact will solve the problem? Does nobody recognize the moral and cultural rot that has brought us to this point in the first place? It is probably no coincidence that the peak of the crisis (from the late 1960s to the early ’80s, roughly) accompanied one of recent history’s most dramatic shakeups in Church culture, and that abuse declined dramatically with the restoration of order and tradition after the post-conciliar dust had settled. The Church, especially in America, has progressed by leaps and bounds on this issue in recent years, but this has largely been a result of careful cultural adjustments and increased standards and formation in seminaries. The major procedural reforms (e.g., the Dallas Charter) have mostly been ineffective and highly controversial. That may be because the problem, and consequently its solution, have never been about procedure.

The USCCB, in preparation for this general assembly, reached out to the laity multiple times with questions such as “If you are a young Catholic who is still Catholic, what has made you stay?” To say nothing of the insane formation of that question and the point we must have reached to even ask it, the answers were surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) uniform. Catholics stay in the Church because they love the Church and believe in the truth and beauty of her teachings. But they’re all but done with churchmen. If there’s one thing that’s tempted even the most faithful of Catholics to leave the Church, it’s the manifest incompetence of her leaders. There are certainly good bishops left — Bishop Baker is a prime example — but the USCCB as a whole is in serious trouble, mostly owing to the actions and inactions of many of its members.

It might have something to do with their desperate, delusional desire to mimic their secular counterparts, to be men of the world. Business suits with Roman collars in place of the ancient cassock. Hotel conference rooms in place of a monastery, or even a cathedral. (The Second Vatican Council held its proceedings in St. Peter’s Basilica.) Everything ready to be packed up and forgotten at the end of the assembly, leaving no trace of the successors of the apostles.


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