1. America’s Extremist Abortion Industry, Why the party of ‘safe, legal and rare’ can no longer bring itself to oppose even infanticide. 

By Meghan McCain and Ben Sasse, The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2019, Pg. A17, Commentary
There are many complicated debates to be had about abortion, and as unapologetic pro-lifers we want to have those conversations based on compassion and science. But infanticide isn’t complicated. The current debate is about whether or not it’s OK to deprive newborns of appropriate medical care.

Last month 44 Democratic senators voted to reject the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. The bill would have required health-care providers to give babies who survive abortions the same care they would give to any other baby at the same gestational age. The bill is necessary because current federal law neither affirmatively requires that these babies receive care nor criminalizes withholding care from them.

Yet under enormous pressure from an abortion industry that spends tens of millions in campaign contributions, Senate Democrats—including six seeking the presidency in 2020—filibustered the bill.
Most Americans don’t share these Democrats’ disregard for newborn life. A recent poll found that a majority of Americans oppose withholding medical care from a viable infant, including 77% who consider themselves pro-choice. If there is ever an opportunity to find common ground, surely this is it.

This debate is about infanticide. Planned Parenthood is defending that crime. Many in the national media are overlooking it. Democratic politicians are hiding from it. But the American people are repulsed by it. The recent vote was a missed opportunity to protect the most vulnerable among us. But it will not be the last.
Ms. McCain is a co-host of “The View.” Mr. Sasse, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Nebraska.
2. ‘I Ask Forgiveness From God’: Archbishop’s Effort to Heal a Church. 

By Rick Rojas, The New York Times, March 11, 2019, Pg. A15
When the Archdiocese of Hartford released a list this year identifying 48 priests accused of sexual abuse, five of them had served at the same church: St. George’s, in the small coastal town of Guilford. One had been a pastor there for more than a decade, baptizing children and hearing confessions.
Some in the large congregation were deeply hurt. Some fumed, saying they held onto Catholic teachings, but saw their faith in the men leading the church disintegrating amid a cascade of allegations.
And so The Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair, the archbishop of Hartford, responded to the crisis with an extraordinary gesture: He held a special Mass of Reparations. He said that he came before the congregation “on my knees as a bishop” in search of forgiveness.
“I ask forgiveness of God, of the wider community and our own Catholic community,” Archbishop Blair said, standing before the packed church in flowing vestments and the red-rose skull cap worn by bishops. “I ask it especially of all the victims of sexual abuse and their families. I ask it for all the church leadership has done or failed to do.”
Bishops across the country are reeling over accusations that they are implicated in a decades-long cover-up to protect priests who had sexually abused children. They are on a campaign of apologizing, often in personal terms, as the Catholic Church wrestles with the fallout of a scandal that has drawn the scrutiny of law enforcement officials and stirred a crisis of confidence among followers.
3. Harming millions of women, The Trump administration is cutting $60 million in Title X family planning funds. 

The Washington Post, March 11, 2019, Pg. A14, Editorial
Having long ago made clear its intent to go after Planned Parenthood, the Trump administration has decided to proceed with a new rule that makes sweeping changes to the federal family planning program. 

A rule announced by the Department of Health and Human Services and published Feb. 25 in the Federal Register would make organizations that provide or refer patients for abortions ineligible to receive funds under Title X. 

Groups receiving money under Title X have for years been prevented from performing abortions with federal funds. But the new rule goes much further, with onerous requirements for separation of facilities, personnel, and medical and financial records.

Planned Parenthood, which receives about $60 million under Title X and serves about 41 percent of patients served by the program, said it would not be able to continue if the rule and its restrictions on information about abortion were implemented.
4. French cardinal’s downfall a lesson in how accountability happens.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, March 10, 2019
After he got done explaining why the Metropolitan may not be the best way to foster accountability, I asked Charley what Church officials ought to do instead. I can’t remember his exact words, but the gist was, “It doesn’t matter, because grand juries and public prosecutors will do it for them.”
Right on cue, three days later Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, France, was found guilty by a French court of failure to report sexual abuse by one of his priests and was given a six-month suspended jail sentence. It’s the third time a Catholic bishop in France has been convicted of a similar offense, and the first time for a cardinal.
Barbarin has said he will appeal the verdict, and he declared in court that “I never tried to hide, much less to cover up, these horrible facts.” Following the verdict, he nonetheless said he’ll submit his resignation to Pope Francis.

Of course, that reality does not let the Church off the hook, because Catholics want to see both civil and ecclesiastical consequences for the abuse crisis. Further, there are parts of the world where the criminal justice system simply isn’t prepared to act, either out of dysfunction or an exaggerated deference to the Church, or both. In those cases, the Church has a moral and legal responsibility to take the needed steps on its own.
Still, the bottom line is that today, at least in most of the West, the outside world is not waiting for the Catholic Church to embrace accountability. It’s acting on its own, without waiting for anyone’s permission.
5. Women inside and outside the Vatican sing the praises of Pope Francis. 

By Elise Harris, Crux, March 10, 2019
This year’s Roman celebration of International Women’s Day happened to fall in a moment when Pope Francis has been drawing some fire over women’s issues, in part for using allegedly sexist language during a recent sex abuse summit and also for a perceived lack of progress on his repeated vows of female empowerment in the Church.
At a couple of high-profile Roman events for Women’s Day, however, leading women from the secular world as well as some of the highest-ranking women in the Vatican all had broadly positive things to say about Francis and the Church.
In one corner of Rome, famed Australian journalist Geraldine Doogue went to bat for major institutions, including the Catholic Church, insisting that while improvements and internal reforms may be needed, they’re fundamental to a well-functioning society.
At a separate event, three of the highest-ranking women in the Vatican said they have seen progress, praising Francis for having a keen grasp on the issue and for taking concrete steps in the right direction.
6. Catholic School Turns Child Away, and Faces Revolt. 

By Christine Hauser, The New York Times, March 10, 2019, Pg. A17
A Catholic school in Kansas is facing pressure to reverse its decision not to enroll a child with married same-sex parents.
More than 1,200 people have signed a petition presented to the institution, St. Ann Catholic School in Prairie Village, urging administrators to allow the child into kindergarten at the school, which serves students through eighth grade. Over a third of the people who had signed by Friday were parish members or had children enrolled in the school; others belonged to different parishes.

In a statement on its website, the archdiocese responded to the controversy and laid out its admissions policy. The statement said same-sex parents “cannot model behaviors and attitudes regarding marriage and sexual morality consistent with essential components of the Church’s teachings.”
“This creates a conflict for their children between what they are taught in school and what is experienced at home,” it continued. “It also becomes a source of confusion for the other schoolchildren.”
7. The Price of Catholic Unity.

By Mary Spencer, National Review Online, March 10, 2019, 6:30 PM
For Love of My People I Will Not Remain Silent: On the Situation of the Church in China, published in English this year, is a series of eight lectures by Joseph Cardinal Zen. Cardinal Zen delivered the lectures in Hong Kong in 2017. The lectures are an account of the state of the relationship between the Church within and the Church outside China from 2000 to 2017, focusing on a letter written by Pope Benedict to Chinese Catholics in 2007 and on diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Church in China.
Though the plight of faithful in China may currently be overshadowed by the many high-profile sexual-abuse scandals within the Church, the persecution faced by Catholics in the avowedly atheist country should not be disregarded. But it is not the Chinese government’s oppression of religious minorities that Zen focuses on. In his lectures he details the incompetence and corruption of Church officials in their handling of the complex and tense relationship between Vatican officials and diplomats, the state-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (PCA), and the underground Catholic Church in China.
The PCA has historically operated under the auspices of the ruling Communist party rather than Rome, appointing its own bishops without Vatican approval and thereby rendering those bishops latae sententiae excommunicants. Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 formally excommunicated two PCA-appointed bishops and the two bishops who had ordained them. The underground Catholic Church in China is in good standing and full communion with Rome but lacks the approval of the Chinese government and therefore suffers persecution.
8. Mormon leader meets with Pope Francis. 

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, March 9, 2019, Pg. A14
The head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with a pope Saturday for the first time, an event that reportedly followed decades of behind-the-scenes relationship building. 
Pope Francis and President Russell M. Nelson — men who hold offices of profound spiritual significance for their faiths — met for 33 minutes at the Vatican to discuss the shared priorities of protecting religious rights, traditional family values and young people and opposing secularism, according to the Mormon Church-affiliated Deseret News. 
There are about 16 million Mormons in the world, compared with more than 1.1 billion Catholics. However, in an era when many people are leaving organized religion, the two religious leaders share goals, including responding together to disasters. The two groups work together on relief efforts in 43 countries.
9. China protests US criticism of policies on religion. 

By The Associated Press, March 9, 2019, 11:13 PM
China has issued a protest over remarks the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom made criticizing Beijing’s polices toward Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist minorities and saying the country was “at war with faith.”

U.S. officials and UN experts say China is believed to be holding 1 million Uighurs, Muslims and members of other majority Muslim ethnic groups in political education camps in Xinjiang. The U.S. and other governments have criticized the crackdown.
The Chinese government says those camps are vocational training centers designed to rid the region of extremism.
Brownback said President Donald Trump’s administration is “deeply concerned and considered it a deliberate attempt by Beijing to redefine and control these Muslim minority groups, (their) identity, culture and faith.”

More generally, Brownback said, China is “at war with faith.”
“It’s a war they will not win,” he said. “The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom.”