1. Meet Planned Parenthood’s Tim Kaine, The long campaign to make America safe for pro-choice Catholic Democrats, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2016, Pg. A11, Opinion.

In his classic “Brideshead Revisited,” Evelyn Waugh famously bemoans what he calls “the age of Hooper.”

The reference is to Lieutenant Hooper, the hapless junior officer who appears at the novel’s beginning and end. Though a bit character, he plays an indispensable role. In his unquestioning embrace of the dominant pieties of his day, Hooper is a stand-in for the vapidity of the society Waugh saw emerging from the rubble of World War II.

Tim Kaine is our Hooper.

Has Mr. Kaine ever raised his voice to say he dissents from a worldview in which one life can be taken if it is deemed inconvenient to another’s? To the contrary, Mr. Kaine is that new model of Catholic politician who believes it is the church that must take its creed from the secular culture.

How humdrum and disenchanting. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, the liberal promise was that an American Catholicism coming into its own would help rescue the world’s most hopeful experiment in liberal democracy from the emerging excesses of materialism, relativism and militant secularism. This new birth of freedom would be led by a new generation of modern Murrays and Tocquevilles.

Instead, we got Tim Kaine.


2. Faith and the VP debate, Pols who claim a religious affiliation must explain when they war with its tenets, By Cal Thomas, The Washington Times, October 4, 2016, Pg. B1.

Writing about church teachings on same-sex marriage, Maureen Ferguson of the Catholic Association says, “If Sen. Kaine wants to go beyond politics to opine on the theology of the Catholic Church, he should at least consult Pope Francis’ most recent exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, in which Francis states, ‘There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’ “

The same can be said of consistent Catholic teaching about human life.

In another statement from the Catholic Association, Grazie Pozo Christie writes: “Senator Kaine’s attempt to cloak his political pandering as theological speculation exposes the Clinton campaign’s profoundly anti-Catholic ideological agenda. Hillary Clinton has previously stated that pro-life people of faith will simply have to change their religious views. Now her running mate suggests the Church needs to do the same on the issue of marriage and family .”

These issues of faith and public policy should be raised during the one vice presidential debate Tuesday night.


3. With Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, Faith Is Back in the Mix, By Jonathan Martin, The New York Times, October 4, 2016, Pg. A1.

In a striking departure from the recent history of White House campaigns, there has been almost no discussion of abortion or gay rights, two of the most animating issues for millions of American voters.

“This is more about this year’s candidates than it is about the country,” said Russell Moore, the public face of the Southern Baptist Convention. “I don’t think America is as secular as this campaign would have you think.”

The country may get a reminder of that on Tuesday evening during the vice-presidential debate.
The two men who will face off, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia and Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, share a deep religious faith that is central to their politics, but has been obscured by a more profane than holy race on top of the ticket.

While both men are devout, they represent different strands of Christianity in American life, a contrast that is likely to be on display as they discuss their positions on social issues and how religious beliefs would guide their approach to governing.


4. Protesters in Poland Rally Against a Proposal to Criminalize All Abortions, By Joanna Berendt, The New York Times, October 4, 2016, Pg. A7.

On Black Monday, as it was called, huge protests against the new legislation swept through 90 Polish cities. The Warsaw mayor’s office said 24,000 Poles took to the streets of the capital, waving black flags to draw international attention to the proposed restrictions. On the event’s Facebook page, organizers said the protest drew up to 116,000 participants nationwide.
Poland’s existing abortion law is already one of the most restrictive in Europe. Abortion is permitted in only three cases: a severe fetal anomaly, a threat to the mother’s health and life, or a pregnancy from rape or sexual abuse.

Under the proposed legislation, written by an organization called Stop Abortion, all abortions would be criminalized. Women, doctors and anyone who assisted with the procedure could face up to five years in prison.


5. The beat goes on for the Pope of the Peripheries, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, The Crux, October 4, 2016.

The gist of it is, the pope doesn’t have a lot of time for trips next year, so he’s got to choose carefully. Of course, it’s precisely when a pope has to make hard choices that his real priorities are revealed.

In the spirit of the dog that didn’t bark, the most striking thing about his answer is what’s not there: No mention of a visit anywhere in “the West” beyond a quick stop at Fatima, even as a theoretical possibility – no state visits to Western Europe or the U.K., nothing to North America, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else that conventionally would be recognized as the developed world.

Instead, beyond Fatima, what you have is another trip to Asia, the obvious desire for another trip to Africa, and the now seemingly distant possibility of a stop in Latin America.

If Francis is voting with his feet in terms of what he truly cares about, it’s fair to say the “two-thirds world,” what he would probably call the “peripheries” of the modern world, are winning in a landslide.

By the end of next year, it seems likely that Asia and Africa will have padded their lead over the West in terms of papal visits. In other words, for the Pope of the Peripheries, the beat goes on.


6. Catholics warn against restrictive new rules on religion in China, By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service, October 4, 2016.

Catholic experts warned that new rules on religion in China could severely hamper the church’s work by curbing its foreign contacts and imposing heavy penalties for unauthorized activity.

“Compared with previous drafts, these regulations are more restrictive, since they include references to national security,” said Anthony Lam, executive secretary of the Holy Spirit Study Centre of Hong Kong’s Catholic diocese.

“They may not make a great difference for China’s underground Catholic Church, since it’s illegal anyway. But they’ll have a great impact on the church’s open community, which has to report everything to the government.”

The Catholic Church, estimated unofficially at 14 million members, has 110 dioceses with more than 100 bishops in China. Chinese government regulations require church sites and key leaders register with the government, but about 30 of the 100 bishops have refused to do so.

Sources familiar with the situation note that restrictions on churches often vary according to local government officials. For instance, since 2013, Christian churches in Zheijang province have been subjected to a campaign of cross removals and church demolitions.


7. Investing in Eternal Memory in Iraq, By Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online, October 3, 2016, 4:00 AM.

There’s a “memoricide” happening in the Middle East, as the presence of Christians there diminishes to the point of potential extinction. The Knights of Columbus recently held a forum on the topic of Christians in the Middle East and the genocide many of them have survived, only to find themselves in camps on Church property far away from home. Reading the report of the forum, I was encouraged to see that the quote about memoricide did not come from the Knights of Columbus, who are relatively well known now as leaders on this topic, both in the nation’s capital and on the ground in Iraq. Instead, it was Elizabeth Prodromou, a senior fellow in national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, a think tank on the left, who warned about memoricide. Prodromu noted the left–right partnerships that are already happening and said that we need more such efforts in this area. Frankly, the threat against Christians in the Middle East has reached crisis proportions in large part because of decisions made by both Democratic and Republican leaders.

Prodromou also made a point that I hope people take to heart: There’s always pushback when one talks about Christians in the Middle East. People often ask why you care only about Christians. That’s not very Christian, after all. The answer is that the Christians are being lost and forgotten. Refugee camps aren’t safe for them. International aid efforts don’t reach them. That’s why the Knights of Columbus have gotten involved directly, giving aid to the Church there that is caring for the displaced (who include, as is the Christian way, not only Christians). Prodromou added that “the condition of Christians is a bellwether to the safety and security of other marginalized groups.”

Pope Francis has talked a lot about memory and its importance in identity, the importance of knowing who we are. He also talks a lot about these suffering people, the persecuted Christians, saying that there are more Christians persecuted today than in the days of the early Church. If we get to know these people and their witness — and support them and their efforts — we may even get to know ourselves again, and how we can truly make for great living, in gratitude for the gift of life and liberty.


8. Make the District a place to die with dignity, By Editorial Board, The Washington Post, October 2, 2016.

It has been 21 months since a bill that would allow terminally ill people to end their own lives was introduced in the D.C. Council. Fifteen months have passed since the public hearing in which 69 people testified about the bill. That the measure is only now coming up for a vote is an indicator of the strong emotions stirred by the issue. Hopefully council members will be guided by the experience of states that have been pioneers in the death-with-dignity movement. They have carefully crafted laws giving the terminally ill control over the timing and manner of their death while putting in place safeguards to prevent abuse and medical mistakes.

The council’s Committee on Health and Human Services is set to take up on Wednesday a measure that would offer the option of assisted dying to terminally ill adults. The bill, sponsored by D.C. Council Member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3) and modeled after legislation enacted by Oregon in 1994, would allow terminally ill people who are D.C. residents to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for self-administered lethal doses. Built into the law are stringent safeguards, including a life expectancy of less than six months, a finding of mental capability, a concurring opinion from a second doctor, waiting periods, and mandatory discussion of hospice and other options.

Arguments aired at the council’s July 2015 hearing mirrored a national debate that has intensified as more states take up the issue. People who have watched loved ones endure end-of-life suffering and people who are battling debilitating illnesses talked about the need for humane alternatives. They cited medical advances that have been a two-edged sword, prolonging life but creating situations in which patients are kept alive with extensive suffering and diminished quality of life. Opponents included those who cited religious or moral grounds, physicians who see it as anathema to their oath of healing, and disability rights activists who see it as a risk to people with disabilities and to the elderly.

Worries about assisted dying leading to abuses or being a slippery slope to euthanasia have not been borne out after years of experience in Oregon and other states that have followed suit. The law is invoked sparingly, and many individuals who obtain prescriptions never use them. “For them,” Peg Sandeen of the Death with Dignity National Center told council members, “the Death with Dignity Act provided peace of mind and a modicum of control during their final days.”

Five states allow assisted dying, and 30 states have legislation pending or planned. The District should add its name to the list of places that offer their citizens compassion and control at life’s end.