1. Vatican, in Paper, Supports Stricter Market Regulation. 

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2018, Pg. A7

The Vatican denounced the use of offshore tax havens and financial instruments such as debt securitizations that are seen as factors behind past financial crises, calling for new regulation that would “neutralize predatory and speculative tendencies.”

The document, which was released jointly by the Vatican’s offices for Catholic doctrine and social justice, echoed past warnings by Pope Francis over the dangers of unbridled capitalism. Catholic social teaching has long criticized the inequities of finance, but Pope Francis has given special emphasis to the theme in his teaching, even deriding money as the “dung of the devil.”


2. Trump to deny funds to clinics that refer for abortion. 

By Jill Colvin and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, May 18, 2018, 8:34 AM

The Trump administration will resurrect a Reagan-era rule that would ban federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

The Department of Health and Human Services will announce its proposal Friday.

According to a Trump administration summary, the new proposal will roll back the Clinton requirement that abortion could be discussed as an option along with prenatal care and adoption.


3. Trump administration reportedly to cut federal funding to Planned Parenthood. 

By Victor Morton, The Washington Times, May 18, 2018, Pg. A2

The Trump administration will announce Friday long-sought cuts in federal funding to Planned Parenthood, multiple news outlets reported.

The proposed rule change in Title X, a $260 million federal program for contraception and “family planning,” will interpret the 1970 law as requiring absolute separation between contraception and abortion activities, effectively making Planned Parenthood ineligible.

“The proposal would require a bright line of physical as well as financial separation between Title X programs and any program (or facility) where abortion is performed, supported, or referred for as a method of family planning,” a Trump administration official said in an email to the Weekly Standard.

The law says that “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

However, except for a brief period in the Reagan administration, federal bureaucrats have interpreted that as merely requiring that federal money not directly fund abortions, a stance pro-lifers have criticized as defanging the policy because, among other reasons, money is fungible.


4. Chile’s bishops resign en masse over sex abuse cover-up. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 18, 2018, 7:50 AM

Every Chilean bishop offered to resign Friday over a sex abuse and cover-up scandal, in the biggest shakeup ever in the Catholic Church’s long-running abuse saga.

The bishops announced at the end of an emergency summit with Pope Francis that all 31 active bishops and three retired ones in Rome had signed a document offering to resign and putting their fate in the hands of the pope. Francis can accept the resignations one by one, reject them or delay a decision.

It marked the first known time in history that an entire national bishops conference had offered to resign en masse over scandal, and laid bare the devastation that the abuse crisis has caused the Catholic Church in Chile and beyond.

Calls had mounted for the resignations after details emerged of the contents of a 2,300-page Vatican report into the Chilean scandal leaked early Friday. Francis had accused the bishops of destroying evidence of sex crimes, pressuring investigators to minimize abuse accusations and showing “grave negligence” in protecting children from pedophile priests.


5. On Chilean abuses crisis, Francis says removing bishops is ‘needed’ but not enough. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, May 18, 2018

According to Pope Francis, heads will roll in the Chilean Church after his summit with the country’s 34 bishops in Rome this week, but by itself that won’t fix what caused a massive crisis of sexual abuse and abuse of power in the country’s Church.

Though this was hinted at in a letter the Vatican made public on Thursday, a leaked document goes further, with the pontiff saying that removing people, though necessary, is not enough.

The problems facing the Chilean church today are not solved by “addressing the concrete cases and reducing them to the removal of people; this – and I say this clearly – must be done, but it’s not enough, we must go further.”

According to Francis, it would be “a serious omission” not to look into the roots and structures that allowed for the abuse – not only sexual, but also of power and conscience – to happen and to continue over time.

“It is urgent to address and seek to repair in the short, medium, and long-term this scandal to restore justice and communion,” he writes.


6. Pennsylvania dioceses say they won’t block report on clerical sexual abuse. 

By Crux, May 18, 2018

Several dioceses in Pennsylvania have said they will not try to block a report from a grand jury investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the state.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office is overseeing the grand jury investigation into six of the eight Catholic dioceses in the state: Allentown, Harrisburg, Scranton, Erie, Greensburg and Pittsburgh.

[Attorney General Josh] Shapiro commended the three bishops for declining to mount legal challenges to the report’s release.

“The position of Bishop (Joseph) Bambera of Scranton, Bishop (Alfred) Schlert of Allentown and Bishop Persico of the Erie diocese to not mount any challenge that would silence the voices of victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is the right decision. All dioceses should support victims of sexual abuse in this way,” the attorney general said in a statement.

The Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Greensburg dioceses have refused to rule out a legal challenge.

“Each diocese is separate and faces a different situation,” said the Diocese of Harrisburg. “We continue to consider all of our options in law as we move forward.”


7. With 5,000 Children in Foster Care, Why Would the City of Philadelphia Shut Out Catholic Social Services? 

By Kathryn Jean Lopez, Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and an editor-at-large of National Review, National Review, May 17, 2018, 2:59 PM, Opinion

“Catholic Social Services exists to serve those in need, and it wants to continue serving foster children in Philadelphia. Despite a foster care crisis and a need for more foster homes, the City of Philadelphia has decided to cut off foster placements for Catholic Social Services and prioritize political grandstanding over the needs of children.”

That’s the opening paragraph of a legal complaint filed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty yesterday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Sharonell Fulton, who has been a foster parent over the past 20 years, opening her home to over 40 children. Other foster parents join her as plaintiffs.

At the end of June, the City of Philadelphia will be terminating its contract with Catholic Social Services because of its beliefs about same-sex marriage. They will be doing this despite the fact that no same-sex couple has filed a complaint against them. They will be doing this despite that fact that the City of Philadelphia has 5,000 children in foster care and has recently asked for more people to step up to the plate to be foster parents.

Across the country we’ve seen this kind of thing happen. It’s often how adoption and foster care makes news. But you want people like Fulton and Paul caring for children. And a good partner with resources foster parents and children need shouldn’t be shut out of providing solutions because of its religious beliefs about marriage – which weren’t very long ago not only accepted in polite society but were the position of even Democratic presidential candidates.

Now really is a time for adults to consider what is best for children. While adults debate neuralgic issues, how about keeping faith-based providers doing what they do well?


8. Trump plan could strip Title X funds from abortion providers. 

By Catholic News Agency, May 17, 2018, 7:01 PM

The Trump administration on Friday will announce a plan to ensure that Title X family planning funding does not go to programs or facilities that promote or perform abortions, CNA has learned.

The measure would dramatically curtail federal funding to abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood.

According to a Trump administration official, the Health and Human Services Department will file a proposal with the Office of Management and Budget to ensure that abortion is not treated as a method of family planning under Title X.

While federal law currently prohibits money received through the Title X Family Planning Grant Program from being used for abortion, pro-life advocates have long voiced concern that this regulation is not always enforced.

The proposal will require a strict physical and financial line of separation between Title X programs and any program or facility that performs abortion, or supports or refers for abortion as a family planning method, the official said.

It will not decrease the amount of Title X funding, which annually provides $260 million for family planning purposes, including contraception, pregnancy testing, and infertility treatments.

The new rule is based off a regulation issued by President Ronald Reagan, which was upheld by the Supreme Court, but was later reversed by President Bill Clinton. The new regulation differs from that of the Reagan era in that it will not ban Title X recipients from counseling clients about abortion.

Planned Parenthood would not explicitly be defunded under the new proposal. However, it would be required to separate abortion from its services in order to continue receiving Title X funds.