1. Pompeo to Bolster Defense of Religious Minorities. 

By Carol Morello, The Washington Post, May 30, 2018, Pg. A5

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday that the administration will prioritize religious freedom by working to defend religious minorities around the world.

“The United States will not stand by as a spectator,” Pompeo said as he unveiled the annual international religious freedom report. “We will get in the ring and stand in solidarity with every individual who seeks to enjoy the most fundamental of human rights.”

Pompeo said he will host a meeting of foreign ministers in Washington in July to discuss ways to push back against governments in countries where religious minorities are persecuted.

The State Department’s point man for the issue is Sam Brownback, a former Republican governor of Kansas.


2. Abortion by medication case returns to lower court, Pro-life groups cheer Supreme Court choice.

By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, May 30, 2018, Pg. A1

The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to hear a case challenging Arkansas’ restrictions on medication-induced abortions, effectively clearing a path for the law to take effect while lower courts continue to spar over whether the rules are too strict.

Pro-life groups cheered the decision while pro-choice groups said it marked a major setback, and warned Arkansas could end up with just a single functioning clinic offering surgical abortions, if two others that offer medication abortions close.

Planned Parenthood had already begun telling patients Tuesday that it could no longer offer them medication abortions.

The justices didn’t comment on why they declined to hear the case, and legal scholars warned not to read too much into the decision, which returns the challenge to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

That appeals court had ruled the law could go into effect, though it put its ruling on hold while the justices decided whether to take the case. Analysts said they expect the 8th Circuit to dissolve that hold, allowing the law to quickly take effect.


3. Will risk of abuse turn the tide on ‘vagabond priests’? 

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, May 30, 2018, Opinion

Back in 2001, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples – by the way, everybody in Rome still calls it by its old name, “Propaganda Fidei” – put out a document which, by Vatican standards anyway, was remarkably on-point and practical.

Propaganda Fidei oversees the life of the Church in so-called “mission territories,” mostly in the developing world, and the text was called, “Instruction on the Sending Abroad and Sojourn of Diocesan Priests from Mission Territories.”

Its main concern was the growing phenomenon of priests from places such as Africa and Asia going to Europe or North America, often allegedly to “study,” and then basically never going home – floating around here or there, usually without any specific assignment or supervision, normally because they’ve become accustomed to first world standards of living and don’t want to go back.

Here’s the interesting point: Back in 2001, the arguments made by people concerned about this north-south migration of priests were rooted in two basic considerations.

Distribution of resources: Two-thirds of the Catholic people in the world live in the southern hemisphere, but two-thirds of the Church’s priests are in the north. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in systems analysis or business management to realize something’s probably off there, and this migration is making things worse.

Justice: Often, bishops from the developing world release priests for study or service abroad on the theory they’ll send some badly needed money home, or that the receiving diocese will cough up some support for the sending one. One could argue the Church in the West is plugging its gaps in vocations by “importing” priests from the developing world, even exploiting ones who really aren’t supposed to be there.

In both cases, cracking down on clergy doing God knows what outside their diocese, without real authorization, has struck many people as a good place to start.

Obviously, the fact that the tide has not been turned over the arc of 17 years suggests that, whatever merit those arguments may have, they didn’t do the trick.

Now, however, Dogbo is offering a new cause for alarm: Priests running around on their own, without real ties to anyone, are at greater risk of going off the rails, opening the door to the sort of scandals that have been such a cancer for the Church in recent decades.

It’s too early to tell if that argument will succeed where others have failed to spark a real conversation about what used to be called the clerici vagante, or “vagabond clergy,” but it certainly will be interesting to find out.


4. Catholic charities warn of ‘forgotten crisis’ in South Sudan. 

By Ngala Killian Chimtom, Crux, May 30, 2018

A Catholic aid network has issued a stark warning about what it calls “a forgotten crisis” in South Sudan.

Caritas Sudan and its partners, including the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) and the Ireland-based Catholic aid agency Trocaire met earlier this month to assess the worsening humanitarian situation in the world’s newest nation.

In a release at the end of the meeting, they said the country was “heading towards a scenario of despair.”

South Sudan broke away from Sudan in July 2011, but the euphoria after the hard-won independence was short-lived. Hopes for a more peaceful and prosperous nation were dashed when conflict erupted between President Salva Kiir, from the country’s largest ethnic group, Dinka, and his Vice President, Dr Riek Machar – a Nuer.

The political dispute descended into ethnic violence in late 2013, and since then tens of thousands have been killed, with some estimates as high as 300,000.

An estimated 4.5 million people have been displaced, and are either living in makeshift camps, or fleeing to neighboring Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya. Some 85 percent of the refugees are women and children.

The crisis has pushed the country into an economic free-fall, with food and fuel prices rising, since trade and local markets have been disrupted and food stock has been depleted.

As a result, millions of people are facing a food crisis. According to the UN, over 40 percent of the population is severely food insecure. In February, the world body declared that some 100,000 people are already living in famine conditions in Leer and Mayendit counties.


5. Vatican’s doctrine czar says all-male priesthood is ‘definitive’. 

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, May 30, 2018

That only men can be validly ordained to the priesthood is a truth that is part of the Catholic faith and will not and cannot change, said Cardinal-designate Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

“It gives rise to serious concern to see that in some countries there still are voices that put in doubt the definitive nature of this doctrine,” the cardinal-designate wrote May 29 in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

St. Pope John Paul II, confirming what he called the constant teaching and practice of the Church, formally declared in 1994 that “the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”


6. U.S. Religious Freedom Envoy Criticizes Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Sam Brownback described the violence directed against Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority as ethnic cleansing.

By Jessica Donati, The Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2018, 1:05 PM

The U.S. envoy for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback, criticized key American ally Saudi Arabia and described the violence directed against Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority as ethnic cleansing during the release of the State Department’s annual report on religious freedom on Tuesday.

During a news conference, Mr. Brownback also announced plans to hold a ministerial meeting for the first time in Washington, D.C., on July 25-26, to bring together “like-minded countries” to discuss ways to protect religious freedom. He declined to say whether U.S.-designated “countries of particular concern,” such as Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Iran and South Sudan, would be invited.


7. Portugal’s parliament to vote on bills legalizing euthanasia. 

By Barry Hatton, Associated Press, May 29, 2018, 1:59 PM

Portuguese lawmakers Tuesday narrowly rejected a proposal to make Portugal one of only a handful of countries in the world allowing euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

After a landmark debate, lawmakers voted to reject four broadly similar bills introduced by left-leaning parties. The bill that came closest to succeeding was the work of the governing Socialist Party, which failed on a 115-110 vote with four abstentions.

Euthanasia — when a doctor kills patients at their request — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Switzerland, and some U.S. states, assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is permitted.


8. Defend right to life, conscientious objection, pope tells doctors. 

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, May 29, 2018

Make medicine and health care more humane by protecting the life and dignity of all patients, particularly the weakest and the unborn, Pope Francis told Catholic doctors and medical specialists.

“The Church is for life and her concern is that nothing be against life,” no matter the stage of development or how weak or defenseless that life is, Francis said.

The pope met May 28 at the Vatican with a delegation from the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations. The federation, which represents more than 100,000 health care professionals in about 80 countries, was to host its 25th world congress May 30-June 2 in Zagreb, Croatia.

The defense of the human person “is essential for humanizing medicine,” the pope told the delegates, urging them to be active nationally and internationally in their field and even in political debates involving legislation on hot-button ethical issues such as “pregnancy termination, end of life and genetic medicine.”

He also encouraged them to remain committed to defending the right of conscientious objection for all health care workers.

“It is not acceptable that your role be reduced to that of being a simple executor of the will of those who are ill or of the demands of the health care system in which you work,” he said.


9. Speaker urges graduates to be ‘politically incorrect’ in era of cry closets and safe spaces. 

By Caleb Parke, Fox News, May 29, 2018

A Catholic bishop urged Thomas Aquinas College graduates earlier this month to be “politically incorrect,” instructing them to stand up for the Christian vision of sex and marriage.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino, from Madison, Wisconsin, told graduates of the Santa Paula, Calif. private college to be “the voice of reason heard in our culture” amid “the darkness of our world,” The College Fix reported.

“People today have been taught to be offended, people live to be offended. That’s why they need a ‘safe space’ and a ‘cry closet,’ and what they mean by that seems to be a space where they can be safe from hearing the voice of reason and truth,” he said. “If you speak the truth, you might not be safe.”

Speaking basic truths today requires courage, Morlino told them.

“So let’s be politically incorrect, like St. John the Baptist, the patron saint of political incorrectness,” Morlino said, pointing to Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical, Humane Vitae, which addressed the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality and contraception.

Morlino pointed out that artificial methods of birth control such as abortion, sterilization, and contraception are all condemned by the Catholic Church.

“The primary purpose of sexual union is the procreation of children; that’s what it’s for; and that’s why contraception is wrong — because it frustrates the purpose of sexual union,” Morlino said.

He followed up by telling the graduates they need patience to find common ground because the Catholic Church’s teachings sound like a foreign language to most people.