1. In Italy, opposition to Pope Francis paves way to far right’s electoral victory.

By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, May 28, 2019, Pg.A7

The leader of his favorite political party and the leader of his faith had staked out such differing positions that Stefano Dente felt he had to choose. But for Dente, the decision wasn’t so hard. Even if the Catholic Church objected, he was voting for the far-right League party.

The votes cast by Dente, an energy company employee, and 9 million other Italians provided Matteo Salvini’s League with a soaring performance in Sunday’s European parliamentary elections. The League captured 34 percent of the vote, more than any other Italian party, continuing an ascent unequaled by other nationalist groups in Western Europe.

But the far right’s success was particularly noteworthy because it came in the backyard of the Roman Catholic Church, whose leader, Pope Francis, has offered near-weekly warnings about nationalism, closed-border sentiment and the forces propelling the far right.

Salvini, the Italian deputy prime minister and interior minister, did more than simply challenge Francis’s open-door advocacy. He also portrayed himself as a devout torchbearer for the faith — with an alternative message. On the campaign trail, he kissed his rosary beads. He referred to one saint after another. He called on the Immaculate Heart of Mary to “bring us to victory” and said he was upholding Francis’s predecessor Pope Benedict XVI’s vision of a Europe with Judeo-Christian roots. When Salvini, at a major rally in Milan, directly addressed Francis, the crowd let out some boos.


2. John Roberts’s ‘Illegitimate’ Court, Abortion advocates try to intimidate the chief justice into upholding Roe.

By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2019, Pg. A17, Main Street, Opinion

It’s that time again, when news stories about a big case that may end up before the Supreme Court come with a warning that what’s at stake is the “legitimacy of the Roberts court.”

For those not fluent in modern Beltway, let us translate: It’s a threat, aimed at John Roberts. If the chief justice does not produce the desired progressive outcome, the Roberts court will find itself attacked as institutionally illegitimate. In this instance, that outcome is the upholding of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that declared the right to an abortion protected by the Constitution.


3. McCarrick correspondence confirms restrictions, speaks to Wuerl and China.

Crux, May 28, 2019

Correspondence obtained by Crux from an ex-aide to Theodore McCarrick, the former cardinal laicized over charges of sexual misconduct and abuse, confirms that restrictions on McCarrick were imposed by the Vatican in 2008. McCarrick also claims that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, then the Archbishop of Washington, was aware of them and involved in conversations about their implementation.

Though the details of those restrictions have never been made public, the correspondence shows McCarrick promising not to travel without express Vatican permission and to resign from all roles at the Vatican and within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), while contesting an instruction to stop coming to Rome.

The correspondence also shows that despite the restrictions, McCarrick gradually resumed traveling and playing prominent diplomatic roles under both Popes Benedict XVI and, to a greater extent, Francis, including talks with China that may have helped shape a controversial 2018 deal between Rome and Beijing over the appointment of bishops.


4. Pro-life Laws Don’t Establish Christianity and Religious Liberty is Not a License to Kill.

By Mitchell Rocklin and Howard Slugh, The Public Discourse, May 27, 2019

Many pro-choice advocates have begun to employ a new argument: that anti-abortion laws violate religious liberty protections by imposing Christian norms on American society.

In the New York Times, Linda Greenhouse insisted that any restriction on abortion would formally establish a religion: “If the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause means anything, it has to mean that God’s will cannot be a constitutional justification for a law that erases an individual right.”

Ironically, many of the abortion defenders using religious liberty arguments have previously criticized religious liberty, claiming that if states protect it too much, they will be powerless to stop religious people from cruelly imposing their faith on oppressed minorities.

Pro-choice advocates seem to have forgotten that the religious-liberty boogeyman was a monster that they themselves invented in order to scare people into rejecting a fundamental right. Now, they are trying to use their own mythical version of religious liberty to defeat pro-life legislation.


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