1. Pro-life lobby begins 40 Days battle: Activists call abortion ‘gas chamber of our time,’ aim to end practice.

By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, March 1, 2017, Pg. A8

Roughly two dozen pro-life activists, students and clergy held a prayer vigil outside a Planned Parenthood facility in the nation’s capital on Tuesday, kicking off an international campaign to hold around-the-clock outreach efforts outside abortion clinics during the season of Lent.

In its 11th year, 40 Days for Life claims it has saved more than 12,000 lives by peaceably assembling outside abortion clinics and ministering to patients and employees as they come and go. The biannual campaign has teams in 340 locations in 40 different countries this year.

A rainstorm greeted activists outside the D.C. Planned Parenthood on Tuesdaynight.

Activists held candles under black umbrellas and open palms in order to keep them lit.

People walked in and out of the Planned Parenthood facility during the vigil, but no one stopped to interact with the crowd.

Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, made an appearance during the vigil and thanked participants for braving the elements. 


2. Why survivor’s exit from papal panel may be a blessing in disguise.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 1, 2017

Although the optics of the exit of the lone survivor serving as an active member of Pope Francis’s anti-sex abuse commission aren’t good, the reality is that naming survivors as members puts them in an extremely awkward spot, trapped between their loyalties to the Vatican and to fellow survivors.

Citing frustrations with resistance to the commission’s work from within the Roman Curia, Collins announced today that she’s stepping down, though she’ll continue to work with the group in delivering anti-abuse training to clergy. 

Both Collins and Saunders [the inactive survivor on the commission] were well-known as survivors of clerical abuse long before their nomination to the commission, with a reputation for outspokenness and leadership in the fight against abuse. That was a large part of the reason they were selected, on the theory that their credibility in the survivors’ community would translate to the papal commission.

The reality, however, is that being perceived as part of the pope’s official team and the Vatican’s power structure often left them trapped between their loyalty to the commission and their loyalties to their fellow survivors. Anytime a controversy arose, whether about the commission’s work or some other decision the pope or the Vatican had made with regard to sexual abuse, it was dicey for them to figure out how much they could say publicly, how hard they could push back, because they also felt obligated to try not to handicap or embarrass the group.

The reality likely is that survivors of clerical abuse will never be fully satisfied with the Church’s response, and that’s as it should be. Survivors, especially those with the courage to go public, need to be free to speak out and to help keep the Church honest, cajoling it to remain eternally vigilant – if necessary, even shaming it into action.

That’s an essential role, but awfully difficult to play when, at the same time, one is also part of the “system.”


3. Chicago cardinal takes stand on immigration enforcement.

By Don Babwin and Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, February 28, 2017, 6:29 PM

The Roman Catholic archdiocese in Chicago told its schools this week not to let federal immigration agents into their buildings without a warrant, in step with guidance given to hundreds of Chicago public schools last week in response to President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

Marking what may be the first such guidance issued by a Roman Catholic church leader, Cardinal Blase Cupich sent the directive in a letter Monday to principals of more than 200 schools and other officials in the nation’s third largest archdiocese. He said that if immigration agents show up without a warrant, to “tell them politely they cannot come on the premises, ask them for their contact information and tell them to contact the (archdiocese) Office of Legal Services.”

The issue is of particular interest in Chicago, where Hispanic students make up nearly half of the 381,000 students in the city’s public school district and a quarter of the 76,000 students in the archdiocese’s schools. The archdiocese covers Chicago and some of its suburbs.


4. Population-Control Advocates’ Vatican Appearance Draws Criticism: Some observers argue that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences’ invitation to Paul Ehrlich and other prominent population-control activists reflects a lack of fidelity to Church teachings.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 28, 2017

A closed-door, contentious workshop at the Vatican this week attended by Paul Ehrlich and other leading advocates of population control — a concept the Church has long condemned — is being described as scandalous by some Catholic experts in the field.

But the chief organizer, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, has insisted it is about learning from world-renowned scientists to enable the Vatican to comment effectively on political, social or economic policies.

The Feb. 27-March 1 conference on biological extinction — entitled, “How to Save the Natural World on Which We Depend” and held jointly by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences — brings together a number of experts on sustainable development, including some who support population control as an indispensable condition for development and environmental protection.

The most controversial and well-known speaker at the workshop is Paul Ehrlich, who, in his much-criticized best-selling book The Population Bomb, published in 1968, strongly advocated population-control measures, including abortion, to protect the environment.

His radicalism has not attenuated over the years: In his 2014 book Hope on Earth: A Conversation, the U.S. biologist criticized “‘God-fearing’ people” for “trying to maintain their rigid positions, especially trying to control the lives of women.”

He added that such “rigid opposition” to “controlling reproduction” is “just as unethical as any major affront to the environment or terrorist act.”

The academy has invited Ehrlich because of his studies in the field of conservation biology. However, as fertility levels have fallen everywhere and stayed deeply depressed in much of the world, the biologist and other population-control advocates have not changed their position.

[I]n Feb. 2 comments to Catholic News Service, the Argentinian chancellor [Bishop Sanchez] said: “Naturally, someone can say, ‘Oh, look who they have invited to the Vatican,’ but the positive side is that he can help us find the truth in the theme we are discussing.”


5. How assisted suicide discriminates against the poor and disabled.

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, February 28, 2017, 2:01 PM

While physician-assisted suicide is promoted as empowering terminally-ill patients, it could result in the poor being coerced to take their lives, experts warned at an event this week.

“When you deal with the issue of poverty, this immediately rises up – care is expensive, assisted suicide is not,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at a Monday panel on physician-assisted suicide at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Physician-assisted suicide is currently legal in the District of Columbia and in six states – Washington, Oregon, California, Vermont, and Colorado via state laws, and in Montana through a state supreme court ruling.

Some 24 states are considering legalizing it, according to the group Death with Dignity that promotes these laws around the country. These so-called “Death with Dignity laws” allow patients diagnosed with a terminal illness with six months or less to live to request a lethal prescription from a doctor.

Critics have also warned about loopholes in the laws that provide room for dangerous abuses to take place.

Patients may “doctor-shop” until they find a physician who approves their request for a lethal prescription, even though the doctor may barely know their medical history. Or one witness for the patient’s decision to request a prescription may be a financial beneficiary of their death.

In California, Catholic opponents of assisted suicide were “told repeatedly by legislators” that “this will never be a publicly-funded benefit,” said Kathleen Buckley Domingo, associate director of life ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Yet $2 million was set aside for these drugs by the state of California while 13 million people on the state’s Medicare fund are not covered for palliative care, she noted.

“Especially in our immigrant communities…especially in our poor inner city communities, there’s a huge disparity in the kind of health care that people are receiving,” she said. “They’re on MediCal, and this is now the cheapest and easiest option.”