1. Planned Parenthood faces financial, political challenges
By Paige Winfield Cunningham, The Washington Post, June 5, 2017, Pg. A15

Planned Parenthood is standing on the edge of a deep fiscal cliff as Congress seeks to ban it from the federal Medicaid program. The women’s health and abortion provider has weathered a rough few years, shuttering clinics across the country, reporting a reduction in some of its medical services — and facing new, undercover videos from antiabortion activist David Daleiden.

The organization is operating one-quarter fewer clinics than in 2005 — less than 650, compared with 860 clinics across the United States 12 years ago.

In April, the House passed a bill to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, which also would block Medicaid reimbursements from Planned Parenthood clinics as long as the organization continues to provide abortions.

Furthermore, a new set of undercover videos from Daleiden has further outraged conservatives.

Things aren’t toxic just at the federal level for Planned Parenthood. The group faces big challenges at the state level, too.

And then there is Medicaid. Although the Affordable Care Act extended the health insurance program to millions more low-income women, giving nonprofit organizations such as Planned Parenthood more insured patients, the program is also known for low reimbursement rates, forcing many providers to operate at a loss.


2. One small step for mankind: With Trump’s encouragement, the Saudis open a center for religious tolerance

By The Editorial Board, The Washington Times, June 5, 2017, Pg. B2

Donald Trump thinks big. Ambition large and small stirs in the presidential breast. Even his meanest critics, skeptical of what his ambitions are, give him that. The largest of those ambitions now is to do something to eliminate the radical Islamic terrorism that has set the world aflame.

His mission to Saudi Arabia, the first foreign trip of his administration, has already paid a dividend. Whether it’s a dividend that will pay interest as the years roll by is for the decades ahead to determine.

But with the establishment of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, the Saudis and their like-minded Muslim allies have taken a first step toward relief, if not peace.


3. Civil Rights Attorney Condemns Forcing Pregnancy Centers to Advertise Abortion

By Sarah Stites, NewsBusters, June 3, 2017, 12:06 PM

At the Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, expectant women are met with welcoming staff, free supplies and most importantly, friendship and support. The Center, located in the basement of a Catholic Church, does not terminate pregnancies, and employees clarify this when asked.

However, Baltimore’s Mayor and City Council have now mandated that a sign, informing patrons that abortions are not performed there, be placed inside the waiting area.

But the Center isn’t yielding to this attempt to compel speech – they’ve sued. An amicus brief co-authored by Catholic Association Legal Advisor Andrea Picciotti-Bayer notes that the sign would “clearly violate [the Center’s] religiously informed conscience and core values—namely, that abortion is a viable option.”

In an interview with MRC Culture, Picciotti-Bayer expounded on the importance of the first principles at the heart of the case.

“When [women] call the Center, the receptionist says ‘we don’t provide abortions,’ but she says it with her own voice, not because she’s been forced to,” she explained. “And so the issue here is… compelled speech. There’s a large body of case law out there saying that the government can’t force that.”


4. Pope Francis was at home praying with the Church’s charismatics

By Christopher White, Crux, June 2, 2017

Rather than shunning individuals and movements that at first seem peculiar or different, the lesson of Pentecost is that despite having different parts, “we were all baptized into one body.” And sometimes the force of one of those parts, can serve to strengthen the whole if we allow it the space to operate and grow, including the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

I certainly would have never predicted that I would find myself in Rome at the Golden Jubilee of the Charismatic Renewal where 30,000 Catholics and evangelicals joined together for a vigil before Pentecost Sunday.

This celebration was the penultimate event of a week-long festival marking 50 years since the start of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR). … [T]he CCR is, numerically, the largest of the new moments within the Church-except that it isn’t a formal movement at all, but rather a collection of groups focused on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church.

Pope Francis has shared a particular closeness to the movement dating back to his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires. For Francis, the CCR is a means of promoting greater Christian unity and ecumenism and a way to create greater space for the movement of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church in unity and spiritual renewal.

What the past few days helped make clear to me is that my appreciation for a different kind of music or a distinctive way of praying isn’t what makes me Catholic. Instead, it’s being joined to a universal Church founded by Christ, which is always absorbing whatever is of God-including things that aren’t necessarily of my own particular tastes-and using them for good.