1. Pope launches awareness campaign about migrants’ plight.

By Nicole Winfield and Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, September 27, 2017, 7:00 AM

Pope Francis on Wednesday launched a two-year activism and awareness-raising campaign about the plight of migrants to counteract mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S., Europe and beyond.

The campaign encourages people to actually meet with migrants and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as statistics clouded by negative stereotypes.

Francis, the son of Italian immigrants to Argentina, launched the campaign during his weekly general audience, throwing his arms open to welcome the many refugees and asylum-seekers who filled St. Peter’s Square.

He urged individuals and governments to welcome migrants with similarly open arms and share in their plight, as Jesus did. He said migrants are driven by the very Christian virtue of hope, to find a better life, and said receiving countries should share in that hope by welcoming them and integrating them.

Organizers are asking Catholics to take public action in support of migrants, posting pro-immigrant messages on social media and participating in programs where they can meet migrants.


2. There’s nothing Catholic about ‘Catholics for Choice’. 

By Maureen Ferguson, Maureen Ferguson is a senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association, The Washington Examiner, September 26, 2017, 12:34 PM

Earlier this week, Washingtonians who ride the metro were greeted by a shocking advertisement from “Catholics for Choice” – though it was utterly un-Catholic. The cover ad in the Washington Post Express blared the slogan “Public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value” and argued for free abortions for the “poorest women.”

The idea that we ought to fight poverty by eliminating poor children is pernicious. It is also the very antithesis of any Catholic notion of social justice, which is about recognizing the dignity of every human person, including the unborn, and advocating for policies that alleviate and lift people out of poverty.

“Catholics for Choice” is not an authentic voice for any faith, but rather is just another abortion advocacy group with misleading letterhead and a horrid message.

As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor.”


3. U.S. Church joins Francis’s “Share the Journey” campaign for migrants and refugees.

By Christopher White, Crux, September 27, 2017, 7:24 AM

During his weekly audience on September 27, Pope Francis will kick off a two-year “Share the Journey” campaign aimed to encourage Catholics to “encounter” migrants and refugees. In response, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is calling for a National Week of Prayer and Action, scheduled from October 7-13.

The new campaign is focused on providing practical ways for Catholics to break down barriers of fear and build bridges with migrants and refugees.

Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the USCCB are part of a global network of organizations participating in the campaign organized by Caritas Internationalis.

Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas Internationalis, said the primary purpose of the campaign is to encourage a return to the study of scripture, “where God always had a soft spot in his heart for the most vulnerable.”

As a part of the global collective efforts, the participating U.S. organizations have launched a website https://www.sharejourney.org to provide access to ideas and tools to further participation in the campaign.

Among the initiatives are new prayers for the faithful to recite collectively during Mass each week, homily resources for priests, social media tools, volunteer opportunities, and educational resources aimed at sharing stories of migrants and refugees.

The campaign seeks to highlight both international and domestic efforts, such as the plight of Syrian refugees, DACA recipients fearing deportation, and asylum seekers in Egypt.


4. US House to vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks. 

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 27, 2017, 12:24 AM

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act will be voted on by the U.S. House on Oct. 3.

The bill, which has passed the House in previous sessions but has not passed the Senate, would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is deemed to be at stake.

Studies are showing that unborn children as early as 20 weeks old can feel pain, and that a small percentage, with the right treatment, can survive outside the womb. These signs of viability, pro-life leaders say, demand that at least the rights of these babies must be taken into account in the abortion debate.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which was cited by the New York Times, a small number of babies observed who were born prematurely at 22 weeks gestation (or 20 weeks post-fertilization, as observed under the Pain-Capable bill) survived with few health issues.

It is expected to pass the House, which has in recent years already passed several significant pro-life bills including the defunding of Planned Parenthood and a bill that would set up additional protections against taxpayer funding of abortions.

President Donald Trump promised on the campaign trail to sign a Pain-Capable bill if one came to his desk, but the Senate has remained the chamber where the pro-life bills languish. Far fewer than 60 senators – enough votes to bring a bill to the floor for a vote – have consistent pro-life voting records.


5. How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?

By Claire Cain Miller, The New York Times, September 26, 2017, Pg. A15

Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.

Fewer Americans are marrying over all, and whether they do so is more tied to socioeconomic status than ever before. In recent years, marriage has sharply declined among people without college degrees, while staying steady among college graduates with higher incomes.

A big reason for the decline: Unemployed men are less likely to be seen as marriage material.

Americans across the income spectrum still highly value marriage, sociologists have found. But while it used to be a marker of adulthood, now it is something more wait to do until the other pieces of adulthood are in place — especially financial stability. For people with less education and lower earnings, that might never happen.

College graduates are more likely to plot their lives methodically — vetting people they date until they’re sure they want to move in with them, and using birth control to delay childbirth until their careers are underway.

Less educated people are more likely to move in with boyfriends or girlfriends in a matter of months, and to get pregnant at a younger age and before marriage. This can make financial and family stability harder to achieve later on.

Women, meanwhile, have learned from watching a generation of divorce that they need to be able to support themselves. And many working-class women aren’t interested in taking responsibility for a man without a job.

While researchers say it’s stability, not a marriage license, that matters for children, American couples who live together but don’t marry are generally less likely to stay committed.

In reality, economics and culture both play a role, and influence each other, social scientists say. When well-paying jobs became scarce for less educated men, they became less likely to marry. As a result, the culture changed: Marriage was no longer the norm, and out-of-wedlock childbirth was accepted. Even if jobs returned, an increase in marriage wouldn’t necessarily immediately follow.