1. Clinic Hearing Could Decide Fate Of Abortion In Missouri.

By Sarah McCammon, National Public Radio, October 28, 2019, 6:19 AM

The fate of the last remaining clinic that provides abortions in Missouri is set to be decided after a hearing beginning in St. Louis this week. If the clinic is forced to stop performing abortions, Missouri would become the first state in the nation to be without at least one such clinic.

A state commission is reviewing a licensing dispute between Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s administration and Planned Parenthood, which operates the clinic in St. Louis.

Abortion rights opponents also are watching the case closely. Maureen Ferguson, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said states have a right to regulate clinics and if clinics fail to meet those standards, “then they ought to be shut down.”

Ferguson noted that Planned Parenthood is opening a large new clinic to provide abortions across the state line in Illinois, a state with less restrictive abortion laws.

“One can hardly say the sky is falling on abortion access when there’s a new mega-clinic about 15 minutes from the clinic that’s being shut down,” Ferguson said.


2. What are millennials killing now? Churches.

By Christine Emba, The Washington Post, October 29, 2019, Pg. A21, Opinion

The data comes from the findings of two surveys released this month. Analyzing 2017 data from the American Time Use Survey, economist Michelle Freeman of the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that while millennials are more highly educated and spend more time working than their older counterparts, they have stepped back dramatically from religious activities.

At the Pew Research Center, studies tracking America’s religious landscape found that although religious beliefs and practice have been declining at a rapid pace for people of all ages, the drop-off has been most pronounced among people ages 23 to 38. In 2019, roughly two-thirds attend worship services “a few times a year” or less, and 4 in 10 say they seldom or never go. A decade ago, it was more than half and only 3 in 10, respectively.

In longer-range studies, researchers are also seeing that millennials are busier but also much lonelier.


3. The Overstated Collapse of American Christianity, Three reasons the narrative of rapid secularization is incomplete.

By Ross Douthat, New York Times Online, October 29, 2019, 6:00 AM

Now the wheel has turned again, and the new consensus is that secularization was actually just delayed, and with the swift 21st-century collapse of Christian affiliation, a more European destination for American religiosity has belatedly arrived. “In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” ran the headline on a new Pew Research Center survey of American religion this month, summing up a consensus shared by pessimistic religious conservatives, eager anticlericalists and the regretfully unbelieving sort of journalist who suspects that we may miss organized religion when it’s gone.

But the post-Christian possibilities aren’t the only reason to qualify a narrative of secularization.

Some of my fellow Catholic scribblers, confronting Western liberalism’s post-Christian drift, like to quote Alexis de Tocqueville’s prophecy that “our descendants will tend more and more to divide into only two parts, some leaving Christianity entirely, others going into the Roman Church.” Whether true or false for the long term, that prediction does not really describe America in 2019, where evangelical Protestantism looks like a stronger alternative to secularism than the church of Joe Biden, Pope Francis and myself.

But if you tweaked the Tocqueville line slightly it would make a better fit: Exactly how our descendants divide, and exactly how many Americans leave Christianity entirely, will depend above all on what happens in the Church of Rome.


4. Taiwanese authorities to Vatican: China deal not helping Catholics on the ground.

By Elise Harris, Crux, October 29, 2019

A year after the Vatican made its secret agreement with China on the appointment of bishops, top Taiwanese officials have expressed doubt that the deal is making a difference for Catholics on the ground, and voiced hope that the Holy See would not drop Taipei in favor of Beijing.

“Even if the Vatican gives up Taiwan and establishes a relationship with China, (we don’t see that) the situation of Catholics will improve in China,” Ming Chi Chen, Deputy Minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, told Crux during a roundtable discussion with journalists Oct. 24.

“Instead we see the danger that Catholics in China might see that as a signal that the Holy See is waiting to give up on them,” he said, adding that many Christians in mainland China “have paid the price, paid the cost, for insisting on freedom of worship, freedom of faith.”

“Please don’t give them up and don’t give up Taiwan (after) so many years. We have a vice president who is Catholic. We are very strong supporters of the values that are advocated by the Holy See. They should see us as a partner to help Christianity in the Chinese-speaking world,” Chen said.


5. Congress Should Recognize the Armenian Christian Genocide Now.

By Toufic Baaklini, Real Clear Religion, October 29, 2019, Opinion

More than a century after the Ottoman Empire’s systematic and deliberate destruction of millions of its Christian subjects – including Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, and Maronites – the United States, under pressure from Turkey – has not officially condemned or formally commemorated this crime as a clear case of genocide. Congress will likely have a chance to correct this shameful fact this week with a vote on Armenian Genocide recogniztion. In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars unanimously affirmed that: “the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks.”

The facts are clear; the moral principles compelling. With the world looking to America as leaders of the genocide prevention movement, why has our government been unwilling to speak the simple truth?

The answer lies in Ankara. Successive U.S. administrations and sessions of Congress effectively granted Turkish leaders a veto on this issue, in the hope that Turkey might someday realize its potential as a modern secular democratic Muslim-majority nation – anchored to the West, incorporated into Europe, and a partner in NATO. Over the course of many decades, presidents deployed euphemisms and evasive terminology to avoid saying “Armenian Genocide” and Congressional leaders derailed resolutions commemorating this crime all in the expectation of some return down the road. This was a massive misguided investment of American moral capital in the U.S.-Turkey relationship.

The United States should reject Ankara’s gag-rule and speak in the voice of the American people. We can do that by passing H.Res.296 and H.Res.150, bipartisan measures – strongly supported by our partners at the Armenian National Committee of America – that specifically cite the “campaign of genocide against Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, Maronites, and other Christians.” Adoption of these measures, along with appropriate commemoration from the White House, will send a powerful signal to Erdogan that the United States is done covering up for Ankara’s crimes and will hold Turkey accountable for the crimes across Syria and inside its own borders.

Toufic Baaklini is a Lebanese-American with more than 30 years of business experience in finance and development. Baaklini is the president of In Defense of Christians and has committed years of service to preserving the historic Christian communities of the Middle East.


6. Pope declares Vatican’s Secret Archive not so secret anymore.

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press, October 28, 2019, 4:51 PM

Pope Francis has declared that the Vatican Secret Archive isn’t so secret after all.

Francis on Monday officially changed the name of the Holy See archive to remove what he said were the “negative” connotations of having “secret” in its name.

From now on, the vast trove of documents, manuscripts and papyrus of popes past will be officially known as the “Vatican Apostolic Archive.”

The archive contains the documentation on the life of the universal Catholic Church dating from the eight century to the present. It contains 600 different collections that are organized across 85 kilometers (50 miles) of shelving.


7. William Shakespeare: Poet, Playwright—Catholic?

By Joseph Pearce, Crisis Magazine, October 29, 2019

Let’s examine what is actually known of Shakespeare’s last years.

Shakespeare’s last major legal transaction in London, prior to his retirement and return to Stratford, was his March 1613 purchase of the Blackfriars Gatehouse. Clearly, this large property was not bought for the poet himself to live in. He had already shaken the London dust from his feet and retired to New Place, the large house in Stratford which he had purchased for his family from recusant friends back in 1597. Why, then, did he buy it? It wasn’t, as some of his biographers have claimed, merely an investment.

As Mutschmann and Wentersdorf record in their Shakespeare and Catholicism, the Blackfriars Gatehouse was “a notorious center of Catholic activities.” As its name would indicate, it had originally belonged to the Dominican Order and had been the lodging of the prior until the dissolution of the monasteries.

Shakespeare chose to lease the Gatehouse to John Robinson, son of a gentleman of the same name who was an active Catholic. It was reported, in 1599, that John Robinson senior had sheltered the priest Richard Dudley in his home. Robinson had two sons, Edward and John, the former of whom entered the English College at Rome and became a priest and the latter of whom became Shakespeare’s tenant. It is clear, therefore, that Shakespeare knew that in leasing the Gatehouse to John Robinson he was leaving it in the possession of a recusant Catholic. In consequence—and as Ian Wilson surmised in Shakespeare: The Evidence—Robinson was “not so much Shakespeare’s tenant in the Gatehouse, as his appointed guardian of one of London’s best places of refuge for Catholic priests.” Furthermore, John Robinson was not merely a tenant but was quite obviously a valued friend.

Although very little is known of Shakespeare’s last years in Stratford, the fact that “he died a papist”, as was recorded by the seventeenth-century Anglican clergyman Richard Davies, is suggested by the evidence of Shakespeare’s will. Apart from the reference in the will to the Blackfriars Gatehouse, “wherein one John Robinson dwelleth scituat”, it is noteworthy that Shakespeare bequeathed his property to his daughter Susanna, who had been fined for her recusancy in 1606.

Those of Shakespeare’s friends who were beneficiaries of his will included his old friend Hamnet Sadler, who was godfather to Shakespeare’s twins and who was, like Susanna, listed as a recusant in 1606. Another beneficiary was Thomas Combe, a staunch and defiant Catholic, who would be listed as a recusant in 1621, and again, twenty years later, in 1641. The Catholic brothers John and Anthony Nash, longstanding friends of the poet, were also left money in the will.

William Reynolds, another beneficiary of Shakespeare’s will, was sent to Warwick Jail for his recusancy in the autumn of 1613, languishing there with Shakespeare’s old Henley Street neighbor George Badger.


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