1. U.S. Limits Fetal-Tissue Research.

By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2019, Pg. A4

The Trump administration will curtail federal funding for research involving fetal tissue, a victory for conservatives and religious groups that have been pressing the White House since last year to halt all such studies.

The administration’s actions could come close to ending most federal funding for studies with fetal tissue. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health will be barred from doing future research with fetal tissue from abortions. And outside groups that want NIH grants for any new research using fetal tissue will have to get approval under a review process that will include an ethics advisory board.


2. Biden’s Abortion Views Irk the Left.

By Stephanie Armour and Ken Thomas, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2019, Pg. A4

Joe Biden’s longstanding opposition to the use of federal funding for most abortions drew fresh fire from abortion-rights groups, underlining how some of the Democratic front-runner’s centrist positions put him out of step with the rest of his party’s presidential field.

Groups including Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Naral Pro-Choice America issued statements on Wednesday criticizing Mr. Biden’s support for the funding restriction known as the Hyde Amendment.

Six Senate Democrats running for president—Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren—have signed onto legislation to overturn the Hyde Amendment filed by Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.


3. Democrats on Judiciary panel defend asking about judge nominees’ religion.

By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, June 6, 2019, Pg. A2

Democratic senators on Wednesday defended their decision to ask President Trump’s Catholic judicial nominees about their beliefs, saying it’s fair to ask whether they can separate their religion from their jobs as judges.

The issue came to the fore Wednesday as the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing on Peter Joseph Phipps, a judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania who is now nominated to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

During his prior confirmation process for the district seat, Judge Phipps was prodded on his membership in the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic fraternal charity. With Judge Phipps back before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, said those kinds of inquiries had to stop.

“What’s happening in this committee is absolutely nuts,” he said.


4. Putin July Visit to Pope Could Pave Way for Russia Trip.

Reuters, June 6, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Pope Francis next month, the Vatican said on Thursday, an encounter that could help pave the way for an historic papal trip to Russia.

The Vatican said Putin, who will be on a state visit to Italy, will hold talks with the Argentinian-born pope on July 4.

The meeting, their third since Francis was elected in 2013, comes at a time of improving relations between the Vatican and the world’s Orthodox Churches.


5. Bishop spent millions on self, Vatican Report Details Gift-Giving, Top clerics took checks from W. Virginia leader.

By Michelle Boorstein, Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr., The Washington Post, June 6, 2019, Pg. A1

In the years before he was ousted for alleged sexual harassment and financial abuses, the leader of the Catholic Church in West Virginia gave cash gifts totaling $350,000 to fellow clergymen, including young priests he is accused of mistreating and more than a dozen cardinals in the United States and at the Vatican, according to church records obtained by The Washington Post. 

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield wrote the checks from his personal account over more than a decade, and the West Virginia diocese reimbursed him by boosting his compensation to cover the value of the gifts, the records show. As a tax-exempt nonprofit, the diocese must use its money only for charitable purposes. 

The investigation was launched by the Vatican last fall after clerics in West Virginia raised concerns about Bransfield’s behavior. Five lay investigators concluded that the cash gifts were part of a broader pattern of abuse of power by the bishop, including harassing young priests and spending church money on personal indulgences.

During his 13 years as bishop in West Virginia, one of the poorest states in the nation, Bransfield spent $2.4 million in church money on travel, much of it personal, which included flying in chartered jets and staying in luxury hotels, according to the report. Bransfield and several subordinates spent an average of nearly $1,000 a month on alcohol, it says. The West Virginia diocese paid $4.6 million to renovate Bransfield’s church residence after a fire damaged a single bathroom. When Bransfield was in the chancery, an administrative building, fresh flowers were delivered daily, at a cost of about $100 a day — almost $182,000 in all.

The roots of the West Virginia diocese’s unusual wealth date back to the late 1800s, to a friendship struck on a transatlantic cruise ship between a bishop from Wheeling and a New York heiress. When she died in 1904, Sara Catherine Aloysia Tracy left the majority of her estate to the diocese, including a large tract of land in west Texas. Oil was discovered there decades later.

The income from the mineral rights generates annual revenue averaging nearly $15 million in recent years and has funded an endowment now valued at $230 million, according to financial documents. As a result, West Virginia’s parishes are largely supported by the diocese — unlike across the rest of the country, where dioceses must be supported by local parishes.


6. Pope calls euthanasia ‘defeat for all’ after suicide of 17-year-old Dutch girl.

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, June 6, 2019

After experiencing sexual assault and abuse as a child, a 17-year-old Dutch girl suffering from depression was allowed to let herself die of starvation and dehydration on Wednesday.

The Vatican condemned the death as “a great loss” and encouraged Europe to cater to the needs of its youth.

“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are a defeat for all,” Pope Francis tweeted on June 5, “We are called never to abandon those who are suffering, never giving up but caring and loving to restore hope.”


7. Bishop Paprocki: Communion Prohibited to Catholic Lawmakers Who Voted for Illinois Abortion Law.

By Matthew E. Bunson, National Catholic Register, June 6, 2019

This week, Illinois passed the most extreme pro-abortion state legislation in America — with some Catholic lawmakers taking the lead in pushing forward this anti-life bill.

In response, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, today issued a public decree communicating to his priests that all Illinois Catholic lawmakers who voted for the state’s new Reproductive Health Act, or for an earlier 2017 bill that legalized taxpayer funding of abortions, should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield “without first being reconciled to Christ and the Church.” The decree, and an accompanying letter, were mailed earlier in the week to all of the Catholic lawmakers who voted in favor of the bills.

And the new decree singles out by name House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, stating that because of their important leadership roles in the passage of the pair of pro-abortion bills, they “are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois because they have obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime and very grave sin of abortion.”

In this interview with the Register, Bishop Paprocki discusses why he felt impelled to issue the decree, the harm being caused to the faith nationwide by U.S. Catholic politicians who continue to ignore their bishops and pastors by supporting extreme pro-abortion laws like the one just passed in Illinois, and the Church’s unequivocal and unchanging teachings regarding the intrinsic evil of abortion.


8. ‘No excuse, no adequate explanation’: Lori releases findings of Bishop Bransfield investigation.

Catholic News Agency, June 5, 2019, 2:20 PM

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has released a letter to the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston addressing the findings of a preliminary investigation into the former head of the diocese, Bishop Michael Bransfield.

In the June 5 letter, the archbishop states that accusations of sexual and financial misconduct by Bransfield had been determined to be “credible” by an independent investigation. Investigators discovered that Bransfield had managed to erode and evade oversight and policy controls by fostering “a culture of fear of retaliation and retribution” in the diocese.

“There is no excuse, nor adequate explanation, that will satisfy the troubling question of how his behavior was allowed to continue for as long as it did,” Lori wrote in the letter, addressed to the clergy and faithful of the diocese.

Lori was named apostolic administrator of the diocese in September 2018 by Pope Francis, following a series of allegations made against Bransfield including sexual and financial misconduct.


9. ‘Do no harm’ to medicine with gender identity and abortion politics.

By Grazie Pozo Christie, Washington Examiner Online, June 5, 2019, 12:26 PM
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

In former President Barack Obama’s last year in office, the Health and Human Services Department launched a progressive parting shot that set off a storm of protests from medical professionals everywhere.

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, the administrative regulation popularly known as the transgender mandate, sought to change the longstanding and eminently rational definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” to include perceived gender identity and abortion. Two federal courts promptly enjoined Section 1557, and President Trump’s Health and Human Services Department has now proposed a reversion to the status quo pre-Obama. This is a great relief. Physicians and nurses will no longer have to fear being accused of discrimination for refusing, for instance, to perform a late-term abortion or amputate the healthy reproductive organ of a patient suffering from gender dysphoria.

Current medical debate remains unsettled on the issue of gender dysphoria, and may never be settled in the direction of Obama’s Section 1557. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit denied a prisoner’s request for opposite sex-hormones and cosmetic surgery to treat his gender identity issues, writing: “[I]t is indisputable that the necessity and efficacy of sex reassignment surgery is a matter of significant disagreement within the medical community.”

In rolling back the Section 1557 transgender mandate, the Trump administration brings the regulation into compliance with both court decisions that support religious liberty and the medical judgment of doctors who put the well-being of their patients first. It also brings back the commonsense definition of “discrimination on the basis of sex” — free from attempts to reshape medicine around the progressive shibboleths of abortion and gender ideology.


10. Trump halts fetal tissue research by government scientists.

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press, June 5, 2019, 9:05 PM

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it is ending medical research by government scientists that uses human fetal tissue.

Administration officials said the federal policy changes will not affect privately funded research.

Ending the use of fetal tissue by the National Institutes of Health has been a priority for anti-abortion activists, a core element of President Donald Trump’s political base. A senior administration official said it was the president’s call.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said in a statement that the Trump administration has “once again done the right thing in restoring a culture of life to our government.”


11. Pro-Life Groups Celebrate Trump Admin Cutting Funding Of Research With Aborted Fetal Tissue.

By Amber Athey, Daily Caller, June 5, 2019, 2:27 PM

Pro-life groups are celebrating the Trump administration’s decision to cut funding for research involving the use of aborted fetal tissue.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Wednesday that they are canceling a contract with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) that provides funds for research with fetal tissue procured from elective abortions. The HHS is also discontinuing “intramural” research within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) using aborted fetal tissue. (RELATED: Trump Cancels Government Contract For Fetal Tissue Research)

Prentice and Dr. Tara Sandra Lee of CLI both stressed that they view the Trump administration’s decision as a “preliminary step” in preventing the use of aborted fetal tissue in scientific research. They pointed to the millions of dollars in “extramural” funding for the practice, which essentially refers to federal grants given to universities to conduct such research. Prentice also noted that federal funding of research with aborted fetal tissue was banned by law between 1988 and 1993.

“It is utterly dehumanizing to use a preborn human being as raw material for scientific experiments,” Maureen Ferguson, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said of the Trump administration’s decision. “And it is wholly inappropriate for taxpayers to support such unethical research.”


12. President Trump Cancels $2 Million Contract to Purchase Body Parts of Aborted Babies for Research.

By Steven Ertelt, Life News, June 5, 2019, 12:23PM

President Donald Trump has canceled another contract to purchase the body parts of aborted babies for research.

The Trump administration has heard the concerns of pro-life organizations and pro-life Americans upset by the news that the FDA and NIH had purchased the body parts of aborted babies for research and this is the second time a federal contract has been scrubbed.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association, added, “Experimentation using the liver, lungs, hearts, skulls or any other body part of an aborted baby is morally corrupt. Taxpayers have been forced to fund inhumane procedures conducted by corporations looking to make a buck. President Trump made the moral and ethical call to end taxpayer funding of this gruesome experimentation.”


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