1. Expert says Vatican botched response to child porn suspicions about envoy.

By John Allen and Claire Giangravé, Crux, September 28, 2017

Arguably the Catholic Church’s leading expert in the fight against child sexual abuse believes the Vatican dropped the ball on a recent case in which a diplomat at the papal embassy in Washington, D.C., was flagged as a possible suspect in a child pornography investigation, saying, “This should have been handled differently.”

“I really don’t understand this type of reaction [from the Vatican], and I’m pretty sure the American bishops were quite upset about how it was handled,” said German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner.

Zollner heads the Centre for Child Protection at Rome’s Gregorian University and is also a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, a body created by Pope Francis to advise him on the reform effort and led by Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

Zollner called the way the recent case has been handled “tragic” and “unprofessional.”

“The problem isn’t that the diplomat was called back, because every government does the same thing normally, but we should have explained it differently,” he said. “We should have at least clarified the basics, and it doesn’t seem this has happened.”

“I’m pretty sure that, first of all, the local church should have been involved. That doesn’t seem to have been the case,” Zollner said.

“A situation has been created that’s bad for all parties,” he said. “We now have a possible suspect, and some people think that Church leadership, meaning in this case the Holy See, or sections of the Secretariat of State, are labeled as defensive and following the old model of cover-up.”


2. Vatican urges politicians to defend migrants, not stereotype them. 

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, September 27, 2017, 12:30 PM

Pope Francis launched a global Roman Catholic campaign on Wednesday to improve the lot of immigrants and one of his top cardinals urged politicians to “touch the hand of a migrant” before trying to stereotype them.

The pope, who has made defense of migrants a major plank of his pontificate, launched the campaign in comments to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly audience, urging Catholics around the world to be “open, inclusive and welcoming”.

The two-year campaign of “action and awareness” is being spearheaded by Caritas Internationalis, the worldwide umbrella of Catholic charities.

The campaign encourages local communities to facilitate encounters between migrants and those who fear or denigrate them in church halls and private homes.


3. Euthanasia movement is weaker than it seems, expert says. 

By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, September 27, 2017, 6:45 PM

A leading opponent of assisted suicide says that while the movement supporting euthanasia seems strong, the reality is that, at least in the United States, it has had few political victories.

“The difficulty in this issue is that the media sells us this as a tidal wave that’s coming; it’s inevitable, this is people’s rights, it’s going to happen anyway, and in fact none of this is true,” Alex Schadenberg told CNA Sept. 23.

While a handful of states in the U.S. have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide, “over and over and over again [euthanasia] bills have been defeated.”

Assisted suicide became legal in the United States when Oregon approved the practice in 1998. Washington State legalized it in 2009, Vermont in 2013, and Colorado, California, and Washington, D.C. in 2016. In Montana, the practice was permitted by the state Supreme Court in 2009.

However, while the legalization of euthanasia in these states has been “tragic,” the losses for the euthanasia movement far outweigh their victories, Schadenberg said, explaining that thus far in 2017, assisted suicide bills were introduced in dozens of states, and “all of them were defeated.”

“U.S. courts have universally found that there is no right to assisted suicide,” he added. “So in the U.S. you don’t have a tidal wave.”

Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition in Canada, and was a speaker during a Sept. 20-24 conference for MaterCare International in Rome.


4. Kentucky’s abortion law struck down by federal court.

By Associated Press, September 27, 2017, 11:01 PM

Kentucky’s law requiring doctors to conduct an ultrasound exam before an abortion and then try to show fetal images as well as play the fetal heartbeat to the pregnant woman has been struck down by a federal court.

Judge David J. Hale said in the one-page ruling Wednesday night that the law violates the First Amendment rights of physicians.

The ACLU said in a statement that the court recognized that the law “appears to inflict psychological harm on abortion patients,” and causes them to “experience distress as a result.”


5. Appeals court won’t reconsider Arkansas abortion pill ruling.

By Andrew Demillo, Associated Press, September 27, 2017, 4:43 PM

A federal appeals court cleared the way Wednesday for Arkansas to impose new restrictions on the way the abortion pill is administered in the state, saying it won’t reconsider a panel’s decision in favor of the 2015 law.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it won’t reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling lifting a federal judge’s preliminary injunction against the law. The measure requires doctors providing the abortion pill to maintain a contract with another physician with admitting privileges at a hospital who agrees to handle any complications.

The panel in July sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker and said the judge should look into the number of women who would be unduly burdened by the requirement and whether it amounts to a “large fraction” of women seeking the abortion pill in Arkansas. Arkansas can’t enforce the restrictions until the court issues its mandate in the case. Abortion provider Planned Parenthood, which had sued over the restrictions, said it was evaluating its options on the next steps.

A spokesman for Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said she was pleased the court denied Planned Parenthood’s request.


6. Why I Believe in Islam.

By Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., Rev. James V. Schall, S.J., taught political science at Georgetown University for many years, Crisis Magazine, September 28, 2017

Years ago, after another outrage in Beirut, I recall a comment by a Jihadist intellectual. He was disgusted with the then widespread belief that such atrocities only happen within Muslim countries, a sign of their civilizational inferiority. He longed for the day when such frequent bombings would also be an everyday event in Western cities. That shock would soon cure the West of its superiority complex.

As we see almost weekly in European and American cities, that day has now arrived with multiple bombings, shootings, and “truck slaughters.” Each of these is less dramatic than 9/11, but none pass un-noticed, un-agonized over. Each creates its own immediate chaos, be it in Boston, Paris, Brussels, London, Mumbai, or Madrid. We have become used to such “terror,” as we uncritically insist on calling it.

This “getting used to it,” however, is why such atrocities continue to happen. The strategy of those who initiate them is to deflect their enemies’ attention away from understanding Islam, what it says about itself.

These reflections are titled: “Why I believe in Islam.” I am not a Muslim. But I do maintain that those who believe in it are basically doing what they are instructed to do. They are not somehow betraying Islam. To them, it is a divine mandate. The real struggle with Islam is theological, not political. Is the mandate true? If so, why so? If not, why not? If it is true, of course, it should be followed.

Politics and strategy to carry out this clearly enunciated mandate to submit the world to Allah follow the truth question. Until this priority is understood, no solution to “terrorism” can be found. On the basis of their own presuppositions, most academics, politicians, religious, and cultural sources in the West cannot or will not understand what is happening.

The contemporary rise of Islam has much to do with its own faith and the courage to expand it. But it has more to do with the condition of the Western mind itself. Its epistemology has made it incapable of understand either a true or false belief. I do not maintain that Islam’s account of itself is intellectually coherent or in conformity with reality. But I do hold and grant that its most dedicated adherents do believe in its stated mission to convert the world to Allah. Until we are willing and capable of addressing the truth of this belief, not just its effects, we will uncomprehendingly watch it expand from one city to another in our very midst.