1. Congress, Pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. 

By Maureen Ferguson, Maureen Ferguson is Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association, Real Clear Policy, October 3, 2017
We’ve seen images of the standard 20-week ultrasound, in which those tiny fingernails “the size of a half grain of rice” are plainly visible. Babies at this stage are so fully formed they already have distinct fingerprints, are yawning, hiccupping, sucking their thumbs, and have working taste buds. Some can even survive if born.
One such survivor was on Capitol Hill last week. Micah Pickering, born at just 20-weeks (about 5 months of pregnancy), is now an adorable 5-year-old with a ready smile and a mop of curly light brown hair. Micah and his parents appeared at a press conference hosted by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to press for passage of a bill to ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36).  
Micah’s parents can tell you that a premature baby at 20 weeks, whether born or unborn, can feel pain. They could not even touch him when he was first born because his skin was so sensitive. The doctors were careful to administer pain medication to him prior to any procedures, just as surgeons routinely give anesthesia to babies inside the womb prior to the performance of in-utero surgery. The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is premised on the idea that a humane society should likewise not allow babies at this stage to be subject to the pain of abortion.
The House votes on the bill Tuesday, and action will soon follow in the Senate under the leadership of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The bill will have nearly unanimous support from Republicans, but it will be interesting to watch the vote breakdown on the Democratic side. When Congress last considered a ban on late-term abortions, known as partial-birth abortion, about one-third of Democrats supported it, including then Senators Biden, Daschle, Leahy, and Moynihan, who famously said it was “too close to infanticide.”

Abortion groups dodge the viability question by claiming that late abortions are necessary in cases where babies are diagnosed with disabilities. Does the United States really want to move in the direction of countries like Iceland, which recently “eliminated” Down’s Syndrome through abortion? In those tragic and rare cases where babies have severe anomalies and receive a fatal diagnosis, is it not better to let for those little ones slip away peacefully and naturally, rather than suffer the sudden violence of abortion? 
A compassionate society should protect its tiniest and most vulnerable members — like Micah Pickering at five months of pregnancy. Congress should pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

2. The Morality of Charles Koch: A libertarian billionaire embraces a Catholic business school for its ethics. 

By William McGurn, Columnist, The Wall Street Journal, October 3, 2017, Pg. A17, Opinion
For those who regard capitalism and Christianity as mortal enemies, few villains loom as large as Charles Koch, whose name in some quarters has become a synonym for a system based on greed and exploitation. By his own admission, the libertarian-leaning billionaire is not religious. So why would such a man choose the Catholic University of America for a $10 million gift to help relaunch its business school?
The answer explodes many clichés, not only about Mr. Koch but about the morality he encourages with his philanthropy. Turns out the chairman and chief executive officer of Koch Industries finds two aspects of the Washington-based business school highly attractive: at the personal level, its emphasis on character and virtue; at the social level, its message that the right way to get ahead and contribute to your community is by creating wealth and opportunity for others.

This columnist knows the program firsthand, having for years led classroom case studies about business ethics at what is now the Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics.

This points to a key economic reality religious people tend to overlook: The opposite of market competition is not cooperation, as is often assumed. It’s collusion—and almost always the kind that benefits the haves over the have-nots. Which explains why the moral threat to capitalism these days comes not from socialism but from cronyism and corporate welfare.

Pope Francis has written that business can be a “noble vocation.” Mr. Koch is supporting the effort by Catholic University’s business school to produce more men and women who regard their careers this way. In this sense, could it be that Mr. Koch is doing the Lord’s work?

3. Amid child porn scandal, Vatican backs push for child safety online. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 3, 2017
On the heels of its own child pornography scandal involving the computer of a papal diplomat, the Vatican is lining up behind a major summit this week at Rome’s Jesuit-run Gregorian University devoted to the broader theme of keeping children safe in an internet-saturated age.
Titled “Child Dignity in the Digital World,” the Oct. 3-6 conference brings together leading experts on child protection, law enforcement officials, executives of Internet and social media companies, NGOs, and others, to discuss how to promote child welfare online.
The idea is for those various players to hammer out a plan of action, which will be presented to Pope Francis on Friday when conference participants meet him in an audience.

Ernie Allen, an attorney who served as the President and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for 23 years until June 2012, and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children until 2014, called the summit “historic.”

Allen said that while child pornography sites are believed to represent just a small percentage of dark web content, it probably accounts for at least 80 percent of all dark web traffic.

4. Testimony at Vatican trial shows cardinal had hands-on role. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 3, 2017
While there are still many unanswered questions hanging around a Vatican criminal trial for financial misappropriation, one point seems increasingly clear from testimony heard so far by a three-judge panel: Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, despite never being charged or even considered a suspect, nonetheless was intimately involved in crafting the deals at the heart of the case.
On Monday, the judges heard from Gianantonio Bandera, an Italian businessman whose now-bankrupt construction company was personally selected by Bertone, the former Secretary of State under Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, to carry out remodeling work on Bertone’s roughly 4,200-square foot Vatican apartment.

Bandera’s testimony suggested Bertone had a hands-on role in making the arrangements between Profiti and himself.
Bandera told judges that Profiti called him in the first part of September 2013, saying he’d spoken with Bertone and that the cardinal would be in touch. Bertone later called, he said, and they arranged a meeting, at which time Bertone told him he wanted Bandera’s company to carry out the work.

On Sept. 22, the judges heard from an official of the Government of the Vatican City State, which normally handles construction projects on Vatican territory, that such personal involvement by a cardinal in selecting a firm was “anomalous.”

In many quarters, the trial is seen as an x-ray of where things stand on Francis’s effort to promote a sweeping reform of Vatican finances in the direction of accountability and transparency. Most of the critical questions on that front focus on why Bertone has been insulated from liability, while two laymen involved are being prosecuted aggressively.
It’s especially important to the Vatican to show progress, since in December they face an interim evaluation by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering agency. The last time Moneyval carried out a review, the agency applauded tough new laws on financial crime adopted by Francis, but said it wanted to see those laws enforced.
Getting a clean bill of health from Moneyval is key to ending up on global “white lists” of virtuous financial actors, which means reduced transaction costs related to perceived risks, less danger of accounts being frozen, and greater access to financial markets.

5. Vatican No. 2 opens online abuse seminar amid porn scandal. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 2, 2017, 10:58 AM
The Vatican’s secretary of state is headlining an international conference on protecting children from online sexual abuse and exploitation.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin will deliver the keynote address on “The Holy See and its commitment to combatting sex abuse online.” Panelists include leading researchers in public health, law enforcement, government as well as executives form Facebook and Microsoft — evidence of the across-the-board realization that the digital age is bringing exponential new threats to children.

Most of the panelists hail from the U.S. and Europe, where research into the issue of child sexual abuse is a generation ahead of other parts of the world where the issue is still so taboo it isn’t even spoken of, much less considered viable for research funding, [conference organizer Rev. Hans] Zollner said.