1. Dioceses Start Funds For Abuse Victims.

By Ian Lovett, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2019, Pg. A5

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest in the nation, and five others in California are establishing funds to compensate victims of clergy sexual abuse.

As with similar compensation funds in other dioceses, victims will have a window of time to submit claims.


2. U.S. Births in 2018 Hit 32-Year Low, Fertility decline has big implications for nation’s economy and workforce.

By Anthony DeBarros and Janet Adamy, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2019, Pg. A2

The number of babies born in the U.S. last year fell to a 32-year low, deepening a fertility slump that is reshaping America’s future workforce.

About 3.79 million babies were born in the U.S. in 2018, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. That was a 2% decline from the previous year and marked the fourth year in a row that the number fell. The general fertility rate—the number of births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44—fell to 59.0, the lowest since the start of federal record-keeping.

The expanded use of long-acting contraceptives is another force driving down births. The 2010 Affordable Care Act, which extended health insurance to millions of Americans and mandated contraception coverage in plans, is one factor behind that uptick.


3. Liberals Who Cry Roe.

The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2019, Pg. A16, Review & Outlook

Who would have thought that a Supreme Court ruling in an interstate tax dispute would devolve into a brawl over abortion politics? Such are our political times as the four liberal Justices on Monday chided their conservative colleagues for overturning a 40-year precedent, which progressives warn will create a stare decisis slippery slope to banning abortion.

At issue in Franchise Tax Board v. Hyatt was whether states enjoy sovereign immunity in other states’ courts. California urged the Court to overturn its Nevada v. Hall (1979) precedent, which held that states aren’t required to grant legal immunity to other states. Most do for comity purposes, and state courts have entertained only 14 cases by private citizens against other states in the past four decades.

Justice Thomas is the only Justice who has endorsed overturning Roe. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh are wary enough of abortion politics that they declined to hear a case last year involving Medicaid provider contracts ostensibly because Planned Parenthood was a plaintiff. The High Court will eventually address abortion rights, but it is likely to do so incrementally unless it is forced to take on Casey and Roe directly by some state law. And even then we don’t know what the Justices would do.

Who doubts liberals would overturn Heller, Citizens United on free speech and many other precedents they oppose if they had a majority? Precedents should be overturned on their legal merits, not the politics of the day.


4. No Religious Exemptions From Vaccines.

By Jason L. Riley, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2019, Pg. A16, Opinion

Failing to vaccinate your child against measles because it’s against your beliefs isn’t a crime, but perhaps it should be. This year’s measles outbreak, the nation’s worst in 25 years, stands at 839 reported cases in 23 states as of Friday. The summer months could provide some respite because children are out of school, but many medical professionals expect the situation to worsen before it improves. Last week brought 75 new cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is more than the previous week, when there were about 60 new cases. As a colleague recently quipped, “Both socialism and the measles are back.”

Public-awareness campaigns can make a difference and should continue, but they’re not enough. Opponents of vaccinations are putting the health of others at risk, and they have no right to do that. More laws should be passed and enforced in a manner that makes this crystal clear.


5. Nation’s strictest ban on abortion passes in Ala.

By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux and Chip Brownlee, The Washington Post, May 15, 2019, Pg. A1

Alabama lawmakers voted Tuesday to ban virtually all abortions in the state — including for victims of rape and incest — sending the strictest law in the nation to the state’s Republican governor, who is expected to sign it. 

The measure permits abortion only when necessary to save a mother’s life, an unyielding standard that runs afoul of federal court rulings. Those who backed the new law said they don’t expect it to take effect, instead intending its passage to be part of a broader strategy by antiabortion activists to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide. 


6. Why religious identity still matters.

By Megan McArdle, The Washington Post, May 15, 2019, Pg. A21, Opinion

The idea of a Catholic atheist may seem like nonsense to an American, but in Northern Ireland, religion isn’t merely a tidy matter of private belief, of no more interest to anyone else than your shoe size. It’s a proxy for ethnicity: Were your ancestors Catholics with roots in the island for thousands of years, or were they Protestant imports who arrived during Britain’s 17th-century settlement of the Plantation of Ulster? 

The challenge, of course, is to keep from sliding into the kind of harsh discrimination that is now pushing Christians and Jews from many Muslimdominated countries in the Middle East. That’s a challenge Israel hasn’t always met; I first encountered Mr. Khalloul on the site of Biram, a Maronite village Israel evacuated and destroyed more than 50 years ago, and which he is now fighting to get rebuilt. But then, such tolerance is always a challenge, which is why even the United States, a country that espouses tolerance as a prime virtue, has recently been struggling with how far to accommodate ancient and obdurately illiberal faiths — as when we catapulted almost immediately from “legalize gay weddings” to “force Christian bakers to make their wedding cakes.”

Thinking about the unrepentant ethno-religious identity of Israel, and many Israeli minorities, and indeed of our own traditionalists, forces us to explore the limits of our self-proclaimed tolerance for dissenters. Which is why we need to grapple with that very different way of looking at faith. If we don’t, we risk committing exactly the sins we fear from a state such as Israel: pushing anyone who doesn’t hew to the majority’s creed onto the economic and political periphery.


7. Pope gives joyride to migrant kids newly arrived in Italy.

By The Associated Press, May 15, 2019, 5:46 AM

Pope Francis gave a joyride in his popemobile Wednesday to eight migrant children who recently arrived in Italy from Libya, in his latest gesture to show solidarity with asylum-seekers and those on society’s margins.

Francis picked up the kids, who hail from Syria, Nigeria and Congo, at the start of his weekly general audience and zoomed around St. Peter’s Square with them in the backseat. Some waved, others gave a thumbs up before bidding Francis goodbye with hugs and a selfie.


8. Top Vatican official says Americans misunderstand pope’s social agenda.

By Elise Harris, Crux, May 15, 2019

Cardinal Peter Turkson, tapped by the pontiff to head the Vatican’s superdicastery on integral human develop, said Tuesday that every time he goes to the United States, the pope’s social agenda is misinterpreted as adopting either a socialist or communist approach to the economy.

Speaking to journalists present at a May 14 briefing on the upcoming “Economy of Francesco” event set to take place in Assisi in March 2020, Turkson recalled how after receiving the Charlemagne prize in 2016, Francis was asked what type of economy he preferred.

In response, the pope said he was in favor of “the social economy” – an answer Turkson said was misinterpreted from the beginning, and which continues to be.


9. Catholic women divided over pope’s remarks on female deacons.

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, May 15, 2019

Pope Francis’s cautionary words on the female diaconate made waves in early May, ruffling a few feathers in the Catholic world, especially among women.

However, his remarks were welcomed by some female Catholics.

“Francis’s comments make it clear that he holds to the classical understanding of doctrinal development,” said Dawn Eden Goldstein, theologian and author of numerous books on sexual abuse, in a May 10 email to Crux.

“This is, in fact, what he has indicated all along when questions of female ordination to the priesthood or diaconate come up, as I have noted, so it does not surprise me. The Pope is indeed Catholic,” she added.

During the press conference aboard the flight to Rome from Macedonia on May 7, Francis spoke about a study made by a commission he created in 2016 to discuss the possibility of women deacons.


10. New HHS Rule Strengthens Conscience Rights of Pro-Life Health Care Providers, The rule was crafted by the Trump administration’s new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division.

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, May 14, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released the final version of a new rule that aims to protect health care providers from religious discrimination by strengthening enforcement mechanisms for existing laws that protect conscience rights for those who don’t want to participate in provision of services such as abortion, contraception and sterilization.

While critics claim that the rule is too broad and could limit health care access, religious health care providers and legal experts are welcoming the rule.

The rule comes out of the Trump administration’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which was created in January 2018 to enforce conscience laws and hear complaints of conscience-rights violations.


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