1. New head of Pontifical Academy of Science a natural Francis choice

By Charles Collins, Crux, June 23, 2017, Pg. A14

With his choice of Joachim von Braun as the new President of the Pontifical Academy of Science, Pope Francis has indicated he wants the institution to take a more active role in trying to find solutions to planetwide problems like ending poverty and saving the environment.

German Joachim von Braun has served as director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF, based on its German acronym) and professor of economics and technological innovation at the University of Bonn.

Before taking up his current position, he was director general of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) headquartered in Washington.

He said the relevant issues are poverty, hunger, inequality, and injustice; and particularly the destruction of the environment and nature.


2. Role of Planned Parenthood in race raises issues

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, June 23, 2017, Pg. A5

Planned Parenthood’s political arm, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, was the second-biggest spender on the Democratic side of the ledger in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, putting more than $734,000 behind Jon Ossoff.

The abortion giant’s spending in Georgia is just a drop in the bucket of its overall political activity. The group said it spent $30 million last year in support of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, more than double what it spent in 2012.

And despite heavy backing from the abortion industry, Mr. Ossoff failed to grab the seat vacated by former Rep. Tom Price. Mr. Trump carried Georgia’s 6th District by just 1.5 points, but pro-life Republican Karen Handel won the seat by nearly 4 points.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said the race turned out to be a referendum on Planned Parenthood.

“Although America’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood, spent six figures in support of her opponent Jon Ossoff, Karen’s record of courageous leadership won the day,” Ms. Dannenfelser said in a statement.

Mr. Ossoff routinely attacked Mrs. Handel for her brief stint at the Susan G. Komen Foundation, where she was vice president for policy. Mrs. Handel resigned from that job in 2012 after she was blamed for attempting to end the partnership between the breast cancer charity and Planned Parenthood.


3. Gov. Cuomo bemoans failure of child victims act

By Associated Press, June 23, 2017, 12:09 AM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he’s disappointed lawmakers have ended their session without loosening the statute of limitations for molestation to give victims more time to report abuse.

The bill would have given victims more time to file civil lawsuits or seek criminal charges against their abusers. It also would have created a one-year window for past victims to file civil suits.

Victims now have until they turn 23 to sue, but supporters say it often takes far longer for victims to report their abuse.

The bill was supported by the Assembly and Cuomo, but never got a vote in the Senate. It faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other institutions.


4. When Pope Francis visits Chile, the story is in the ‘where’

By Inés San Martín, Crux, June 23, 2017

When it comes to papal travel, more often than not, the news lies in the “what” of the trip: what message the pope conveys to give to a particular country or even a continent once he gets there.

Other times, however, the news is in the “where” the pope is going, meaning it comes across loud and clear well before he actually arrives.

In Chile, President Michelle Bachellet and Pope Francis may have many things to clash over – from abortion and gay marriage, both of which she’s pushing to legalize, to the assignment of an embattled bishop linked to child sexual abuse to a southern diocese, who’s openly opposed by forces in the Church and even several members of her cabinet.

However, few destinations along the way will speak louder than his stop in the La Araucanía region in southern Chile. Here, he’ll visit the region’s largest city, Temuco, where the Mapuche, an indigenous community, makes up 23 percent of the population.

Though typically far from the spotlight of the international media, the region has long been afflicted by a historic land conflict being fought by the Mapuche – who, despite long having had the support of the Catholic Church, have resorted to violence against the Church to make their point.

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in southern Chile has long tried to build bridges of dialogue, largely siding with the grievances of the country’s indigenous population, which amounts to 12 percent of Chile’s 17.6 million citizens.

Pope Francis has been made aware of this conflict by the Chilean bishops, who visited him last February, but before then, many players have reached out to history’s first pope from the global south to ask for his help and keep him in the loop.


5. United States Rejects U.N. Call for Access to Safe Abortions

By Reuters, June 22, 2017, 10:33 AM

The United States on Thursday rejected a United Nations resolution on violence against women because it called for access to safe abortion for all women in countries where legal.

The administration of President Donald Trump said last month it was vastly expanding the scope of a policy blocking U.S. assistance to foreign groups that perform or provide information about abortions.

U.S. First Secretary to the U.N. in Geneva Jason Mack said, after a resolution from Canada on eliminating violence against women was adopted by consensus, that the U.S. “must dissociate from the consensus” specifically on access to safe abortions.

“We do not recognise abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance,” he said in a statement read to the Council.


It said all women should have access to “comprehensive sexual and health-care services” including modern contraception, prevention programmes for adolescent pregnancy, and “safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law”.

Despite rejecting that call, the U.S. delegation said that the United States “strongly supports the spirit of this resolution and joins other members of this Council in condemning all acts of violence against women and girls”.