1. Vatican diplomat expresses hope for peace on Korean peninsula. 

By Crux, May 24, 2018

Korea’s path to peace is still in its infancy and will be long and filled with obstacles – according to the new papal representative to South Korea – but recent developments are a cause for hope.

Maltese Archbishop Alfred Xuereb – previously the Secretary of the Secretariat for the Economy, and before that, private secretary to both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis – will take up his new post in Seoul on Sunday.

The archbishop arrives exactly one month after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with South Korean president Moon Jae-in in the demilitarized zone between the two countries.

Xuereb mentioned the fact that for the past 23 years, Catholics in South Korea meet every week in Seoul’s cathedral to pray for the reunification of the country.

“The Church has a very important role in the reunification process, and following the mandate of the Divine Master, she continues to evangelize and to offer her contribution – also at the diplomatic level – to achieve this desired goal,” said the Vatican diplomat.


2. Pilgrimage of John XXIII’s remains refutes religion’s demise. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, May 24, 2018, Opinion

On Thursday morning, a small convoy with police protection will depart from the Vatican bound for the northern Italian city of Bergamo, almost six and a half hours away. In a sense, it’s actually a papal motorcade, but of a highly unusual sort.

A pope will indeed be making his way north, but not the current occupant of the office. Instead, the motorcade will be carrying the remains of another pontiff, one Pope Francis himself canonized – St. Pope John XXIII, “Good Pope John,” who convened the Second Vatican Council and who’s cherished today as the native son of Sotto il Monte, a tiny town of some 4,000 people located near Bergamo.

The outing is intended to mark the 60th anniversary of St. Pope John XXIII’s election to the papacy in 1958.

So many pilgrims are expected to show up in Sotto il Monte over the ten-day period of exposition that the town has essentially shut down the central zone to car traffic, in an effort to ensure that people will be able to move around freely.

Aside from being a welcome economic boom for Sotto il Monte, whose hoteliers, restauranteurs and shop-keepers undoubtedly will be among the throngs in line to express gratitude to “Good Pope John,” the pilgrimage is a reminder of how strong the grip of St. Pope John XXIII remains on the Italian imagination.

John XXIII broke the mold, transforming the pope from a remote and somewhat mysterious presence into the “world’s parish priest,” a figure with whom people all over the world somehow felt they had a personal relationship. Such was his impact that Time named him “Person of the Year” in 1962. The magazine had made that designation every year since 1927, and it had never even occurred to anyone before that the winner might be a pope.

In effect, the indelible marks left on the world by the last six popes – John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis – amount to a sort of “Samuel Johnson” moment for Catholicism, a kicking-the-stone rebuttal of the theory that religion is destined for irrelevance, and it all started with “Good Pope John.”

Watching the ardent crowds make their way into Sotto il Monte’s chapel of Our Lady of Peace between May 27 and June 10, one may be tempted to again exclaim: “I refute it thus!”


3. Humanae Vitae needs no update, commission chair says. 

By Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency, May 24, 2018

The professor who chaired a Vatican study group on Humanae Vitae stressed that the Blessed Paul VI’s encyclical “needs no updating.”

Professor Gilfredo Marengo, of the Pontifical Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, spoke with CNA at the presentation of his latest book, Chiesa senza storia, storia senza Chiesa (“Church without history, history without the Church”), which explores the implications and consequences of Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world.

Marengo told CNA that, according to his studies, “one of the biggest knots in drafting Humanae Vitae was really that of going beyond the polarization between doctrine and pastoral issues.”

Unfortunately, he said, polarization has increased in recent years, but, added that “the question cannot be solved by imagining a new doctrine or a new pastoral activity, but by going beyond the polarization.”

Marengo stressed that “Humanae Vitae is an authoritative document of the Catholic Church, and it is part of the tradition. We are called to welcome it as it is, and to apply it with an intelligent pastoral plan.”

However, despite being “the most discussed encyclical in the last 50 years,” there is “no need to update it,” Marengo stressed.

In the end, all that discussion might be framed into a general debate that took place after the Second Vatican Council, he said.

Marengo heads a study group undertaking a historical-critical investigation into the drafting of Humanae Vitae. The aim is to reconstruct, as well as possible, the whole process of drafting the document.


4. Trump Moves Forward on Partial Planned Parenthood Defunding, Move could spell $50 million loss for nation’s largest abortion provider. 

By Bill McMorris, The Washington Free Beacon, May 23, 2018, 1:05 PM

The Department of Health and Human Services officially issued a new rule that will deny $50 million in taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood.

The proposed regulation will put a dent in the more than $540 million that the nation’s largest abortion provider receives from taxpayers each year. The department proposal would alter the Title X program, which provides federal funding for contraceptive services, to exclude abortion providers and referrals.

Pro-life groups praised the administration for following through on the Title X changes. Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser for the Catholic Association, said low-income women will still be well-served by the program and could also provide more comprehensive care since Planned Parenthood clinics do not provide mammograms.

“Americans are well aware that the $50-60 million pouring into Planned Parenthood annually through Title X grants are subsidizing its main business, abortion, and a majority don’t want their hard-earned money used to pay for abortions or to prop up a rich corporation’s already healthy bottom line,” she said in a statement. “Federally funded Community Health Centers, which deliver all sorts of needed services to socioeconomically disadvantaged women—including mammograms and prenatal care—are the appropriate recipients of these funds.”


5. President Trump Makes Planned Parenthood Defunding Official, Rule Would Cut $60 Million in Taxpayer Funding. 

By Steven Ertelt, Life News, May 23, 2018, 9:42 AM

President Donald Trump yesterday made his proposed rule official to defund Planned Parenthood of the $60 million dollars that it receives via Title X Family Planning dollars. Last week the president said the rule would be forthcomingand late Tuesday the Trump Administration released the text to the proposed rule, which will go into effect after a standard 60-day public comment period.

This is the second time Trump has taken steps to revoke taxpayer funding for the nation’s biggest abortion business — after yanking taxpayer from from International Planned Parenthood during his first week in office.

The proposed rule contains three important parts. The first prohibits recipients of taxpayer funds under Title X from referring women for abortions. The second requires companies that receive Family Planning funds to maintain separate facilities that do abortions as opposed to having their abortion businesses in the same facility as the Family Planning business. Because that is something Planned Parenthood refuses to do, it will no longer be eligible for taxpayer funding under President Trump’s proposed rule.

The final section of the rule requires recipients of the Title 10 Family Planning dollars to ensure that they follow all state and local laws requiring reporting of child abuse. Interestingly, the Planned Parenthood abortion company has repeatedly run afoul of such laws by refusing to report cases of child abuse or rape to law enforcement officials after killing the babies of young teenage girls in abortions.

The proposed rule is available here, and it will be available for public comment for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register.