1. Cardinal Müller Suggests Pope Francis Appoint Group of Cardinals to Debate His Critics.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, September 26, 2017

To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation” could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics.

In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.

Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family.

The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”

Vatican: Response Unwarranted

The Register has learned that senior officials believe a response is not warranted, partly because they say it has been signed by only a relatively small number of Catholics they consider not to be major names, and because one of them is Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, whom they view as a renegade in charge of a priestly fraternity not in full communion with Rome.


2. Euthanasia and the Belgian Brothers of Charity. 

By Charles C. Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, First Things, September 26, 2017

Psychiatric care centers run by Roman Catholic Brothers of Charity in Belgium have capitulated to their home country’s embrace of euthanasia. Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2003, and since then the outlook for human dignity has become ever more grim. Initially, euthanasia was to be provided only to terminally ill patients experiencing unbearable physical suffering; increasingly, it has been provided to non-terminal patients who experience psychological suffering. For instance, news in 2016 that a Belgian woman had been granted euthanasia because of her particularly depressed state after breaking up with her boyfriend was deeply troubling, even for those of who follow such trends closely.

The Belgian Brothers of Charity, an order founded in 1807 for the care of the elderly and mentally ill, now countenance euthanasia in precisely these situations. They will grant euthanasia requests for mental health reasons, even when a patient is not terminally ill, or even physically ill at all.

When pressed about Catholic requirements in this area, the chairperson of the board responded by saying, “Jesus also ignored the rules.”

An institution cannot remain authentically Catholic and practice euthanasia. If a bishop were to note officially and publicly that such institutions had placed themselves outside the Church, he would also be right to do so. And if this comes to pass, we should hope and pray that it will serve as a catalyst for repentance and a return to the faith.


3. As deadline for refugee ceiling looms, U.S. church backs greater welcome. 

By Christopher White, Crux, September 26, 2017

As the October 1 deadline looms for President Donald Trump to decide how many refugees the United States will accept during the next fiscal year, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is pushing back against efforts to severely curtail the number of refugees welcomed into the country.

There are nine resettlement agencies in the United States, with the Catholic Church’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) being the largest. Six of the agencies are faith-based.

Officials from Migration and Refugee Services told Crux that they are hoping the presidential determination reached by Trump will be at least 75,000 individuals, as Congress has already approved funding for that many.
Last year, Migrations and Refugee Services resettled 20,000 refugees in the United States, and historically the office has been responsible for approximately thirty percent of the resettlement that takes place in the country.


4. Masterpiece Cakeshop’s case is about artistic freedom, not discrimination.

By Michael Farris, president, chief executive and general counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, The Washington Post, September 26, 2017, Pg. A20, Letter to the Editor

The Sept 14. editorial “Let them eat cake” described the Justice Department as “go[ing] out of its way” to support cake artist Jack Phillips in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, but going out of its way is what the department would have had to do to remain silent.

Masterpiece Cakeshop is one of the most prominent cases in the Supreme Court’s upcoming term and addresses artistic, expressive and religious freedom at a time when those freedoms are increasingly controversial.

While the editorial described Mr. Phillips’s artistic freedom as “a constitutional right to discriminate against gay customers,” elsewhere it conceded that all he declined was a request to custom-design a cake that would celebrate a same-sex wedding in conflict with his faith. Indeed, Mr. Phillips offered to sell the couple anything in his store or design cakes for them for other occasions. As the Justice Department brief explains, Mr. Phillips’s custom wedding cakes are visual art in the context of an event that he and countless others from varying faith traditions consider sacred, and that implicates the First Amendment.

Creative professionals should be free to create art and other expression consistent with their beliefs — in this case, a belief about marriage that the Supreme Court said is “decent and honorable.”


5. Federal judge permanently blocks Indiana abortion limits.

By Rick Callahan, Associated Press, September 25, 2017, 3:48 PM

A federal judge permanently struck down provisions of an Indiana law passed last year that would have banned abortions sought due to fetal genetic abnormalities and required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt’s decision, issued Friday, found that those two provisions and a third one are unconstitutional. She granted an order permanently blocking all three from being enforced and granted summary judgment in favor of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, which had sued the state in April 2016 after then-Gov. Mike Pence signed the provisions into law.

The three restrictions violate women’s due process rights under the Constitution and conflict with rulings by numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, upholding a woman’s right to seek an abortion before a fetus could viably survive outside the womb, Pratt wrote in her ruling.

Indiana is now permanently barred from enforcing a restriction that would have banned abortions sought because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, race, gender or ancestry. Pratt’s order also permanently blocks a requirement that abortion providers tell women that Indiana prohibits such abortions, and another provision that would have required that aborted fetuses be buried or cremated.

As for the fetal disposal provision, Pratt wrote that she could find no legal basis for Indiana to require health care providers “to treat fetal remains in the same manner as human remains.”