1. Pope Francis praises Mexico for welcoming migrants.

The Associated Press, June 26, 2019, 6:20 AM

Pope Francis has complimented the people of Mexico during his weekly audience, praising them for being “so welcoming to migrants. God bless you.”

A group of Mexicans present in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday audience cheered and waved a Mexican flag at the comments.

Francis has frequently been vocal in his support of Mexico’s efforts to help migrants and critical of the United States for blocking migrants at the border. During a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2016, he criticized then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, suggesting that anyone who wanted to build a wall along the border was “not a Christian.”


2. Abortion clinic files suit over state laws.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, June 26, 2019, Pg. A3

North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over two state laws that it believes force doctors to lie, including one measure passed this year requiring physicians to tell women that they may reverse a “medication abortion” if they have second thoughts.

The complaint from the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo and the American Medical Association also targets a law requiring doctors to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The suit says the laws violate the constitutional rights of doctors by forcing them to “convey false information and non-medical statements” to patients. It asks a judge to block enforcement.


3. DIY kits tested as alternative to clinics, Pro-lifers worry about ‘telabortion’.

By Shen Wu Tan, The Washington Times, June 26, 2019, Pg. A1

A coalition of pro-choice advocates is expanding abortion services via shipments of do-it-yourself medications and telemedicine in several states including Georgia, which recently banned the practice after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Clinicians from Gynuity Health Projects, Planned Parenthood and other family planning groups are offering “telabortion” services in eight states in an effort to increase access to abortion.


4. U.S. Bishops Approve the Pope’s Capital Punishment Ban.

By Fr. George W. Rutler, Crisis Magazine, June 26, 2019

The saeve idignatio emerging from the Baltimore meeting, however, was not the response to the Vos estis document. After all, that issue has been a muddle for a long while. Rather, a more astonishing matter, though little noted by the multitude, was the Assembly’s handling of the controversial issue of capital punishment. Indeed, the bishops were informed that they were not to discuss the doctrine itself, but were only to consider the translation of a papal revision of the Catechism on the matter, specifically paragraph 2267. In 1992, John Paul II had revised that section, problematically inserting a prudential opinion discouraging lethal executions. But he also allowed: “Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” Supposedly, the latest revision exalts mercy at the expense of justice, neglectful of what the newly elected John Paul II said in a general audience in 1978: “There is no love without justice.” Until the present day’s climate of disdain for doctrine, “mercy and truth are met together” (Psalm 85:10), but in the new dialectic, mercy has devoured truth altogether.

While John Paul’s revision text maintained the authentic teaching and the legitimacy of such punishment, the inclusion of a prudential opinion in a catechetical exposition of established doctrine opened the way for abuse, as this writer among others predicted. Now that has happened, in a blatant way, all the more confusing for its inarticulateness. Specifically, the new section calls capital punishment “inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” Not for the first time in recent years, this woolgathering has opened a real can of worms. “Inadmissible” is not a theological term, and use of it without explanation is contentious. As a legal term, “inadmissible” means that it is not relevant to the case. In other words, capital punishment is to be treated as no longer relevant to justice, thus dismissing the magisterial structures based on natural law and Scripture. The cavalier treatment of natural law and Scriptural evidence, makes prospects for maintaining all moral doctrine fragile and all moral praxis subjective.

There have even been bishops so impatient with the subtleties that make theology logical, that they have turned two thousand years of Christianity upside down by announcing that the death penalty is absolutely immoral. This epistemological novocaine contradicts an advisory of Cardinal Ratzinger in 1992: “If a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to prevent himself to receive Holy Communion.”

One supposes that the use of the term “inadmissible,” clumsy as it is, is an attempt to shy from being explicit and even heretical on the matter. The canon lawyer Edward Peters wrote that “declaring the death penalty as immoral per se puts one at risk of asserting something that many qualified scholars argue powerfully is opposed to infallible Church teaching, and possibly even to contradicting something divinely revealed. The real possibility of so offending the truth should, I think, trigger more respectful caution by those in positions of authority when speaking on these matters.”

When the proposed revision of the Catechism’s section on the death penalty was introduced at the Baltimore assembly, one perceptive bishop asked what “inadmissible” means. The bishop selected to present the text said that the proposed draft provided “a context and justification for the development of this teaching on the dignity of the human person, but also emphasizes the continuity of Catholic teaching on the topic.” Here at work is George Orwell’s Doublethink which mitigates cognitive dissonance by proposing two contradictory statements as mutually complimentary. Thus, Doublethink claims with a straight face that to declare the death penalty inadmissible is identical to the Church’s uninterrupted magisterium which maintained that capital punishment is admissible and even sometimes necessary.

But things got worse. For when pressed to the specific point of what “inadmissible” means as used in the proposed text, the responding bishop said: “To my mind, the pope maintains and our version imitates a certain, if you want, eloquent ambiguity on that point,” Eloquent ambiguity. No bishop asked for further explanation and a silence fell on the room, like the silence when the sons of Noah covered their father’s nakedness, but this time the shame was rhetorical. It was this writer’s pleasure to have been a priest for William F. Buckley who, like Newman’s gentleman, was “merciful to the absurd.” But had anyone described confused and potentially heretical thought as “eloquent ambiguity,” Bill would have replied, as he did indeed do to a guest on his Firing Linetelevision program: “I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.” To that we might add that executing a man is swifter and more humane than torturing him with clichés and hanging him with a frayed syllogism.

At the Baltimore assembly, the bishops approved the eloquently ambiguous statement by a vote of 194 for, 8 against, with 3 abstentions. Perhaps they were thinking like Nancy Pelosi who said of the Affordable Care Act: “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Years from now, whether the Church has risen from its present slough of despondency to a shining new eminence, or lies battered in a heap of broken basilicas and quivering banalities, the wonderful question will be: “How was it that at a meeting in 2019, almost all of the American bishops voted for something without knowing what it means?”


5. Pope Francis: There is no room for selfishness in Christian life.

By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency, June 26, 2019, 3:00 AM

Pope Francis said Wednesday that there is no room for selfishness in the Christian life, pointing to the example of the lives of the early Christians in the Acts of the Apostles.

“The community of believers banishes individualism in favor of sharing and solidarity. There is no place for selfishness if you are a Christian,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square June 26.

Looking at the Acts of the Apostles, one can see that they lived in a very specific way, Pope Francis explained, “They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread, and to the prayers.”


6. American cardinal severs ties with Bannon-linked group.

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press, June 25, 2019

A conservative American cardinal distanced himself Tuesday from former White House adviser Steve Bannon and severed ties with a Bannon-linked institute that wants to train future populist leaders in Europe.

Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a statement Tuesday that he was terminating his relationship with the Dignitatis Humanae Institute immediately because “it has become more identified with the political program of Mr. Bannon.” Burke had been its honorary president.

Bannon and the institute launched plans to establish an academy for future populists at a medieval monastery outside Rome. Italy’s government has blocked the project over what it said were unpaid concession fees and a failure to do necessary maintenance.


7. Purging silence: Vatican expands abuse prevention to lay movements.

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Crux, June 25, 2019

Millions of Catholics live their faith through their association with lay movements and Catholic groups, but some also have lost their faith when they were sexually abused in those groups and felt they had nowhere to turn.

While much of the Church’s recent focus has been on clerical sexual abuse and the accountability of diocesan bishops, the Vatican is making child protection a priority for new movements and lay associations, too.

The Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life brought together close to 100 representatives of Catholic associations and movements for a meeting June 13 on abuse prevention and procedures for reporting and handling allegations.

Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Vatican office, told the representatives that by the end of December every movement and association in the Church must turn in formal guidelines and protocols for reporting and preventing cases of abuse.


8. Trump administration officials promise action for global religious liberty.

Catholic News Agency, June 25, 2019, 5:07 PM

With the latest U.S. report on global persecution of individuals and groups based on their religious beliefs, the Trump administration promised action to counter the human rights violations of the countries and groups listed in the U.S. State Department’s 2018 Report on International Religious Freedom.

“As in previous years, our report exposes a chilling array of abuses committed by oppressive regimes, violent extremist groups, and individual citizens. For all those that run roughshod over religious freedom, I’ll say this: The United States is watching and you will be held to account,” said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo released the report at a June 21 briefing with U.S. Ambassador-at-large for Religious Freedom Samuel Brownback.


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