1. Pence vows to fund faith-based groups to help Middle East Christians.

By Crux, October 26, 2017

Responding to a long-standing complaint by activists for persecuted Christians in the Middle East, U.S. Vice President announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump has ordered the State Department to stop funding U.N.-sponsored programs, saying the administration will work directly through faith-based groups in the region.

“From this day forward, America will provide support directly to persecuted communities through USAID,” Pence said at the “In Defense of Christians” annual solidarity dinner in Washington.

“We will no longer rely on the United Nations alone to assist persecuted Christians and minorities in the wake of genocide and the atrocities of terrorist groups,” Pence said.

“While faith-based groups with proven track records and deep roots in these communities are more than willing to assist, the United Nations too often denies their funding requests,” Pence said.

“My friends, those days are over,” he said. “This is the moment. Now is the time. And America will support these people in their hour of need.”


2. Pro-lifers say illegal’s abortion ups the demand.

By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, October 26, 2017, Pg. A2

An illegal immigrant teen who fought a major battle with the Trump administration over abortion rights had her abortion Wednesday, less than a day after an appeals court gave her permission.

Pro-life activists said they feared the case could lead to abortion on demand for noncitizens including illegal immigrants, who could try to come to the U.S. to avoid stricter laws in their home countries.

“This is an appalling and unconscionable misuse of taxpayer dollars,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life.

“It threatens to conjure a so-called right to immediate abortion on demand from the U.S. Constitution, and to recast America, which has historically aspired to be a haven and place of refuge for the most vulnerable, into a destination for abortions,” she said.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the abortion was tragic and may have been avoidable.

“This ruling not only cost a life, it could pave the way for anyone outside the United States to unlawfully enter and obtain an abortion. Life and the Constitution are sacred. We lost some of both today,” said Mr. Paxton, noting the Justice Department “failed to appeal” to the Supreme Court before the abortion occurred.

“Even the Obama administration’s Department of Justice acknowledged that unlawfully present aliens without substantial connections to the country lack the same constitutional rights as citizens.”

Mr. Paxton led a coalition of 12 other state attorneys general who signed on to an amicus brief they planned to file with the Supreme Court had the case reached the high court.


3. China’s president seeks more control over religion.

By Catholic News Agency, October 25, 2017, 5:27 PM

President Xi Jinping of China announced this week that he wants to tighten Beijing’s strict government controls on religion in the communist country.

In a speech this week during the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi said that religions not sufficiently conformed to Communist ideals pose a threat to the country’s government, and therefore must become more “Chinese-oriented.”

While these comments were reportedly intended particularly for Tibetan Buddhists, who have lobbied for independence from China, it could also mean a cooling of the already-rocky relations between the Vatican and China.

The Vatican and the Chinese government are in ongoing talks about the recognition and appointment of bishops. The most current proposal would allow the government to select possible episcopal candidates and send the names to the Pope for approval or denial.

In May, Chinese Cardinal Joseph Zen said that the danger of this proposal is that the Pope could be forced to approve a “bad bishop,” or see decisions ignored by the Chinese government.


4. U.S. bishops weigh in on tax reform: Prioritize “the least of these”.

By Christopher White, Crux, October 25, 2017

In the midst of President Donald Trump’s efforts to pass nationwide tax reform legislation, the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB) has sent a letter to members of congress reminding them of “the critical obligation of creating a just framework aimed at the economic security of all people, especially the least of these.”

The letter was sent on Wednesday by Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the USCCB committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development.

The letter outlined six areas of moral principles that the bishops said should shape Congressional priorities: Care for the poor, the strengthening of families, maintaining progressivity of the tax code, raising adequate revenue for the common good, avoiding cuts to poverty programs to finance tax reform, and incentivizing charitable giving and development.