1. U.S. abortion politics felt on a global level, Health providers in dozens of countries face cutbacks after a change to foreign aid by Trump, By Max Bearak and Carol Morello, The Washington Post, October 11, 2018, Pg. A1

Madagascar is one of dozens of countries where health providers are facing cutbacks or other disruptions after a dramatic change to foreign aid by the Trump administration. Little noticed by many Americans, the shift could have profound consequences in rural communities like Nana’s.

The policy change was one of Trump’s first acts as president. On Jan. 23, 2017, he signed an executive order that denied U.S. assistance to any foreign-based organization that performs, promotes or offers information on abortion.

A similar plan, known as the Mexico City policy, was in effect under past Republican presidents. But Trump expanded it exponentially to apply not just to around $600 million in overseas family-planning funds, but to the entire $8.8 billion in annual U.S. global health aid.

Trump’s aid policy reflects a larger administration push to defund groups that provide abortions, referrals or information on the procedure. Overseas, a key component of that is the Mexico City policy, named for the city in which it was drafted in 1984. President Ronald Reagan brought it into law, and each Democrat in the office after him rescinded it, while each Republican reinstated it.

Antiabortion advocates say the policy will save the lives of the unborn.

“This is a welcome step toward restoring and enforcing important federal policies that respect the most fundamental human right — the right to life,” said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, when Trump reinstated the policy.


2. Dioceses to release names of accused, By Associated Press, The Washington Post, October 11, 2018, Pg. A3

All 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas will release the names of clergy who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of a minor, the Diocese of Dallas said in a statement Wednesday.

Texas bishops decided last month to release the lists of names by Jan. 31 as part of their effort “to protect children from sexual abuse” while promoting “healing and a restoration of trust” in the church, the statement said.

Dallas Bishop Edward Burns said the investigation constitutes a “major project” because it will include all 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas.

Wednesday’s announcement came a day after Burns told parishioners that his diocese has hired a team of former state and federal law enforcement officers to review the personnel files of 220 priests.


3. Belfast Bakery Was Free to Refuse Baking Gay-Marriage Cake, Supreme Court Rules, By Ed O’Loughlin, The New York Times, October 11, 2018, Pg. A4

Britain’s Supreme Court supported on Wednesday the right of a Belfast bakery to refuse to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage, finding that its Christian owners could not be compelled to reproduce a message contrary to their beliefs.

Although the person who requested the cake was gay, a five-judge panel found that the bakery owners’ refusal was based not on his sexual orientation, but on their Protestant faith’s opposition to gay marriage.

“There was no discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation,” said the judgment, which overturned the rulings of two lower courts.

It cited the United States Supreme Court’s decision in June in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple, a narrow decision that left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on First Amendment rights.


4. ‘Gosnell’: The movie, The gruesome film could move many in a pro-life direction, By Cal Thomas, The Washington Times, October 11, 2018, Pg. B3, Opinion

Arguably, a contributing factor to the continuation of abortion is that it is performed out of sight and thus, out of many minds.

A film about one of the worst practitioners of abortion, Kermit Gosnell, opens Oct. 12 in at least 600 theaters. Gosnell is the Philadelphia abortionist sentenced in 2013 to life in prison without parole for the murder of a baby born alive in a botched abortion.

The film, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer,” is based on trial transcripts and police records.

According to the Pew Research Center, opinions on abortion between 1995 and 2017 have remained fairly stable with “57 percent say(ing) abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 40 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.”

Gosnell” could move those numbers in a pro-life direction.


5. The deadly advocacy of doctor-assisted suicide, By G. Kevin Donovan, The Washington Times, October 11, 2018, Pg. B4, Opinion

It is no wonder that the assisted-suicide lobby has resorted to such tactics — this dangerous public policy is so unpopular here that in the first year after the District of Columbia enacted a law to allow assisted suicide, not one person killed themselves with a doctor’s help, as the new law sanctions. In fact, during that time only two out of nearly 11,000 licensed D.C. physicians were willing to participate, and just one hospital cleared doctors to be involved.

Instead of veiled advertisements for assisted suicide from advocates, patients and physicians deserve to be given the facts, including the attendant abuses, and to know why so few doctors and hospitals are participating.

Despite so-called safeguards, the D.C. assisted-suicide bill fails to adequately protect the most vulnerable in society. The poor, people of advanced years, persons with disabilities, both physical and developmental, and people who experience depression all find themselves at a much higher risk of being placed, even against their will, in that “second class” of people who do not receive the equal protection of suicide prevention.

At a time when public service announcements should be engaged in suicide prevention, patients’ rights and protection of the vulnerable, the opposite is being promoted by one special interest group. As more and more deaths by suicide make the news, and the suicide epidemic unfolds in our country, we should think twice about promoting such harmful messages and patently unpopular public policy.


6. After early votes, it’s clear Pope Francis has ‘his’ Synod of Bishops, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 11, 2018

In its first formal act after convening last Wednesday, the synod elected members to an “Information Commission,” responsible for deciding what information the body releases to the public and how it’s presented. The elections are conducted by what the Vatican considers continents, meaning America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Members from those regions vote for representatives from their region, and not for others.

The Information Commission is led by Paolo Ruffini, the Italian layman who heads the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications, and also features Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, one of the pope’s closest advisors and allies.

One thing that can be said with certainty is that Pope Francis largely has the kind of churchmen on the drafting commission he wants, which means that perhaps even more than his first two bites at the apple, this is “his” synod – his people, his rules (confirmed just before the summit opened), and his approach.

As a result, if this synod is seen as a success, the pope unquestionably will deserve the lion’s share of the credit. If it’s not, there’s really no “opposition” this time to blame.


7. US Catholics React to Cardinal Ouellet’s Letter, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, October 10, 2018

Six weeks after Archbishop Carlo Viganò accused Pope Francis and other Church authorities of engaging in a yearslong cover-up to shield now-disgraced Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, attacked the former nuncio’s denunciation of the Holy Father as “blasphemous” and “far-fetched.”

But the cardinal didn’t deny many of the central elements of Archbishop Viganò’s claims, and reaction to his letter from U.S. Catholic leaders has been mixed.

The prefect reported that he had received permission to respond to Archbishop Viganò’s initial Aug. 26 testimony and a second statement that specifically called on Cardinal Ouellet to confirm that Pope Benedict XVI had directed McCarrick to end his public ministry. 

What followed was a scathing critique of Archbishop Viganò’s allegations and his disloyalty to Pope Francis, along with a warning of possible canonical penalties, should the accusations persist.

The campaign to shore up the moral authority of Pope Francis in the period following publication of Archbishop Viganò’s bombshell testimony has highlighted its corrosive impact.