1. Republicans’ War on Women’s Health.

The New York Times, September 10, 2019, Pg. A26, Editorial

The Trump administration’s recent efforts to undermine the nation’s Title X family planning program are already having their intended effect, making it harder for women’s health clinics to stay afloat and for patients to afford birth control and other services.

Three weeks after Planned Parenthood was effectively forced out of the Title X program, the group has announced that two of its clinics in the Cincinnati area will close this month — a fate that Planned Parenthood officials say was accelerated by the administration’s changes to Title X. Those changes include barring clinics that perform or even refer patients for abortions from receiving federal family planning dollars unless they jump through a near-impossible series of hoops.

The two Planned Parenthood clinics that are closing, which had received sporadic Title X funding over the years, were already in a precarious financial position. That’s because this is hardly the first time that politicians have waged war on Planned Parenthood or on reproductive health care in general. When he was Ohio’s governor, John Kasich was especially fervent in that mission, signing more than a dozen bills targeting women’s health care. Among them was a major rollback of public financing for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state. By 2018, Ohio ranked 48th in the nation for publicly funded women’s health services. Mike DeWine, the state’s new Republican governor, has picked up where his predecessor left off, signing a bill this year that would ban abortions at as early as six weeks of pregnancy.


2. Pope’s deforestation alarm wasn’t a break from tradition – it is tradition.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, September 10, 2019

So stirring was Francis’s rhetoric that the cardinal on the next stop of his African tour, Maurice Piat in Mauritius, announced that he’s asking local Catholics to help plant 100,000 trees before the end of the year.

Summing things up, Bashir closed by saying that the people of Madagascar had met a pope “who’s as much a conservationist as he is a Christian.”

First of all, kudos to the BBC for dispatching a journalist of Bashir’s stature to cover Francis’s Africa swing, illustrating that the pope’s desire to shine a spotlight on oft-forgotten corners of the planet through his travels actually works.

Yet the apparent contrast Bashir seemed to suggest, if not outright tension, between conservationism and Christianity has it exactly wrong, at least as far as Francis is concerned. Had the pontiff himself been writing the script, no doubt he would have described himself as “a conservationist because I’m a Christian.”

Just as generals sometimes fight the last war, Bashir’s reaction shows that the media sometimes covers the last story. The truth is, the idea that there’s something jarring about Christian conservationism was fashionable in the 1960s and ’70s, but it’s been badly outdated for some time.

The bottom line is that when Francis stood Saturday in the Iavoloha Presidential Palace and thundered away at “excessive deforestation, from which some profit,” he was not innovating. Instead, he was articulating a broad Catholic/Christian thrust that’s been gathering strength for decades.

That’s today’s story. Perhaps the next time the pope speaks out on the environment, we in the media can actually cover it.


3. Our Unstable Abortion Regime.

By Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review Online, September 10, 2019, 6:30 AM

According to a new analysis from the Associated Press, recent state-level pro-life laws and closures of abortion clinics have resulted in thousands of women traveling across state lines to obtain abortion procedures.

It’s a mistake to assume that the efficacy of a pro-life bill is determined primarily by whether any residents of a state eventually go elsewhere to obtain an abortion. Presumably, the foremost goal of a state law restricting abortion is to decrease the number of abortions in the state, though pro-life lawmakers surely hope to reduce the overall abortion rate nationwide as well. Those lawmakers can do little via legislation to prevent women from traveling to obtain an abortion in another state; that doesn’t render their state legislative efforts ineffectual.

The AP analysis cites no data showing that the abortion rate for state residents remains just as high in the presence of abortion restrictions as it would be without them, probably because no such data exist. Further along in the piece, the author notes both that the U.S. abortion rate has decreased and that the number of women who had out-of-state abortions rose by only half a percentage point over the six-year period studied.


4. Pope warns of economic ‘idols’ in visit to Mauritius.

By Nicole Winfield and Helena Alves, The Associated Press, September 9, 2019

Pope Francis celebrated Mauritius’ ethnic and religious diversity on Monday during a daylong trip to the Indian Ocean nation, but he also urged the government to resist pursuing an “idolatrous economic model” that sacrifices people for profit.

Francis spent the final day of his weeklong trip to Africa in the Mauritian capital Port Louis, celebrating Mass before an estimated 100,000 people and meeting with government leaders. The trip fell on the feast day of one of Mauritius’ most important figures, the 19th century French missionary the Rev. Jacques-Desire Laval, who ministered to freed slaves.


5. Two Planned Parenthood clinics to close in Ohio after funding cuts.

By Jessie Hellmann, The Hill Online, September 9, 2019, 1:48 PM

Planned Parenthood on Monday announced that two of its clinics in Ohio will close later this month after losing state and federal funding.

The organization blamed the closures on politicians who moved to “defund” Planned Parenthood for performing abortions. Neither of the two clinics performed the procedure, Planned Parenthood said.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March upheld a 2016 Ohio law banning preventive health funding from going to organizations that perform or promote abortions.


6. Pope calls on Mauritius to welcome and protect migrants.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 9, 2019

During the eight hours Pope Francis spent in Mauritius, a multiethnic island nation in the Indian Ocean about 1,200 miles off the coast of Africa, he urged the inhabitants to remember their immigrant roots and to integrate those who are arriving as they were welcomed by their ancestors.

Francis also urged the local population not to grow tired in their evangelizing efforts, always keeping in mind that this needs a “young face,” telling locals to put the youth front and center.

“Missionary momentum always has a young and invigorating face,” he said during the homily at the Mass, his first official speech on the island. “For it is the young who, by their vitality and generosity, can give it the beauty and freshness of youth, when they challenge the Christian community to renewal and urge us to strike out in new directions.”


7. Cardinal Dolan considering options over scandal-hit Buffalo diocese.

By Christopher Altieri, The Catholic Herald (UK), September 9, 2019

The Catholic Herald has learned that the Archdiocese of New York is closely monitoring the crisis in the Diocese of Buffalo, and that broad consultations are ongoing, with a view to possible action.

The embattled Bishop of Buffalo, Richard J. Malone, faced several new calls for his resignation last week and over the weekend, including one from a group — the Movement to Restore Trust — that had previously sought to work with the bishop, and an editorial published Saturday by The Buffalo News. Rank-and-file clergy and faithful have also begun writing letters calling on Malone to step down, and forwarding them to local news outlets for publication.

Bishop Malone inherited a diocese with serious cultural and disciplinary problems in the chancery and throughout the clergy. Though Malone defends his record of leadership, two whistle-blowers highly placed within his office have brought evidence before the public reasonably purporting to show serious failures and lapses in judgment with regard to several cases involving both minors and adults, as well as evidence Malone participated in efforts to keep information potentially damaging to his reputation from reaching the public.

The director of communications for the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, told the Catholic Herald, “[The Archbishop of New York,] Cardinal [Timothy] Dolan, is very aware of his responsibilities as Metropolitan under Vos estis [lux mundi],” the reform law Pope Francis enacted this past spring to streamline ecclesiastical investigations into clerical abuse and remove obstacles to investigations of abuse coverup.

“[Cardinal Dolan] has been following the situation very closely, and has been consulting extensively,” Zwilling also said in response to email queries from The Catholic Herald at the weekend. “I would anticipate that we will hear something within the near future regarding this matter,” he concluded.


8. Pope appoints three cardinals to help lead synod on Amazon.

Catholic News Service, September 9, 2019, 9:13 AM

Pope Francis appointed three delegate presidents for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

The pope named as delegate presidents for the Oct. 6-27 assembly Cardinals Baltazar Porras Cardozo, 74, of Merida, Venezuela; Pedro Barreto Jimeno, 75, of Huancayo, Peru; and Joao Braz de Aviz, 72, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The Vatican announced the appointments Sept. 7.

Though Pope Francis, as pontiff, is president of the synod, the three cardinals will take turns presiding over the synod’s daily sessions. The delegate presidents are also responsible for guiding the work of the synod and assigning special tasks to certain members, when necessary.

The special assembly on the Pan-Amazonian region will discuss the theme, “New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.”


9. Dutch Euthanasia Case Highlights Europe’s Growing Culture of Death.

By K.V. Turley, National Catholic Register, September 9, 2019

The doctor asked the patient’s daughter and her son-in-law to help hold the woman down. It was then the 74-year-old, who suffered from severe dementia, began to struggle as the doctor proceeded to administer a lethal injection. Moments later, the woman was dead.

This is not the plot of a horror movie. Instead, these are the basic facts of what is alleged to have happened in a Dutch care home in 2016, facts which now form part of the criminal case being brought against the doctor who performed the euthanasia. The case is also gaining world attention as a potential indicator of how euthanasia laws might fare in other countries.  


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