1. The life-saving amendment, Two million Americans are alive today because of the Hyde Amendment, By Chris Smith, The Washington Times, September 30, 2016, Pg. B2, Commentary

Today marks 40 years since the life-saving Hyde Amendment was first enacted. This annual appropriations amendment stops taxpayer dollars from being used to fund most abortions and abortion coverage through government programs like Medicaid.

Thanks to new analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute we now know that as many as two million children — some much older now — are alive today because of the Hyde amendment.

Prior to enactment of Hyde, the Medicaid program paid for about 300,000 abortions annually. Research, including by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, has long shown that stopping taxpayer-funded abortion reduces the abortion rate. In an analysis released just this week, the Charlotte Lozier Institute estimates that the Hyde amendment saves as many as 60,000 lives each year.

Rather than expand the culture of death and shred the Hyde amendment — as Hillary Clinton promises — women and men of conscience have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from the violence of abortion.


2. Trump’s Feisty Pro-Life Coalition, By Jennifer Harper, The Washington Times, September 30, 2016, Pg. A2, Inside the Beltway

Donald Trump is intent on ensuring values voters get his pro-life message, particularly those in battleground states. The GOP nominee has assembled a Pro-Life Coalition poised to spread the word that if elected, Mr. Trump will defund Planned Parenthood, nominate pro-life justices to the Supreme Court and support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — among other things.

The 32-person group boasts a dozen lawmakers, including Sens. David Perdue and Steve Daines, plus Reps. Diane Black, Marsha Blackburn, Trent Franks and Mike Pompeo. Also on the roster: Govs. Sam Brownback and Mary Fallin, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life; Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council; Day Gardner, president of National Black Pro-Life Union and Ralph Reed, founder of Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“Hillary Clinton not only supports abortion on-demand for any reason, but she’d take it a step further: she wants to force the taxpayers to pay for abortions by repealing the bipartisan Hyde Amendment. Hillary Clinton also supports abortion until an hour before birth. And she will only appoint Supreme Court justices who share this view,” Mr. Trump noted in a recent recruitment letter to pro-life leaders.


3. Russia, Syria Geopolitics Frame Pope’s Caucasus Trip, By Associated Press, September 30, 2016, 3:00 AM

Pope Francis’ trip to Georgia and Azerbaijan will be filled with religiously symbolic encounters with Catholics, Orthodox, Muslims and Jews. Current events in Syria and other geopolitical concerns might overshadow the message.

He will issue a strong appeal for peace in Syria and Iraq, where Christians are being attacked and driven from their homes by Islamic extremists and where Francis has strongly condemned the recent assault by Russian and Syrian forces on the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

A special prayer for peace is planned Friday evening in the Chaldean Catholic church in Tbilisi with members of the Assyrian Chaldean church leadership. It comes just days after Francis warned those responsible for the Aleppo siege “will be held accountable before God.”
On the eve of his visit, he met with aid groups working in Syria and urged all governments involved to “renounce their own interests in order to achieve the greater good: peace.”


4. Americans, religious liberty and discrimination: a look beyond the numbers, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 30, 2016

More Americans are siding against the religious freedom of employers when it may conflict with a “nondiscrimination” policy like access to birth control coverage, new Pew Research numbers show.

However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story, because the Pew questions are too “general” and omit the specific consequences of the government forcing employers to violate their religious beliefs, Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, told CNA.

“The questions themselves don’t inform the interviewee of the most important thing that usually changes peoples’ opinions clearly in the favor of religious freedom, and that is that the government is pursuing these mandates with severe penalties, financially crippling fines, plus also potential jail time, simply for exercising your fundamental religious freedom,” he said.

He added that the omission of these factors in the wording of the Pew questions was a “huge oversight on their part.”


5. Francis is a ‘consistent ethic of life’ pope, but its roots are deeper, By Charles C. Camosy, The Crux, September 30, 2016

The consistent ethic of life has its foundation in Scripture and tradition of the Church, but the person who first brought it to the American public in an imagination-catching way was Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago.

The US Bishops had named Bernardin chair of the influential Pro-Life Committee, and when Fordham University invited him to New York City to give the 1983 Gannon lecture the Cardinal gave a now famous talk which he titled: A Consistent Ethic of Life: an American-Catholic Dialogue.

The consistent ethic of life has seen its share of criticism-much of it surrounding abortion. Some on the political left criticize the ethic for uncritically lumping social justice issues in with limiting abortion rights, while some the political right criticize it as not giving the due weight to the millions of lives lost in abortion compared to less significant issues.

John Paul II and Benedict, though obviously laying down a strong foundation for the consistent ethic, clearly left room for it to grow.

Unsurprisingly, Pope Francis has picked up where his predecessors left off. Affirming what they taught on life issues, he has pushed the consistent ethic tradition even further. His metaphor of the “throw-away culture,” I believe, has been especially powerful in its capacity to speak to a new generation.


6. Making Divine Mercy our Mission in Life, By Fr. Roger J. Landry, The Anchor, September 30, 2016
Fr. Roger J. Landry is the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

By far one of the most helpful resources for the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a series of nine short books prepared by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization — the Vatican department in charge of coordinating the Holy Year — and published in English by Our Sunday Visitor.

The books constitute a prayerful novena that accessibly lead readers to understand, receive, and practice different aspects of God’s mercy. Written by nine different authors, they focus on the Psalms and Parables of mercy, mercy in the Fathers of the Church and in the writings of the Popes, mercy expressed in corporal and spiritual works, mercy received in the Sacrament of Penance, mercy celebrated in Mass and the other Sacraments, and how fruitfully to live the Jubilee Year in the opening, closing and prayerful entering of Jubilee Doors.

The most powerful book in the series, however, was written by a Carmelite priest, Fr. Antonio Sicari, and is entitled The Saints of Mercy. It has 15 short chapters broken down as to how the mercy of God was expressed in the lives of those saints who, to quote Pope Francis in his letter beginning the Jubilee Year, “made divine mercy their mission in life” (MV 24). It shows us the many ways in which God through his mercy can and wants to change our life for the better, and through that metamorphosis, begin to change the world.


7. My journey from Tehran to Rome, By Sohrab Ahmari, The Catholic Herald (UK), September 29, 2016

On July 26, I announced my decision to join the Catholic Church. Hours earlier, a pair of jihadists had attacked a church in France and murdered a priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, while he was celebrating Mass.

Two months before that, I had begun studying one-on-one with a priest in London, reading Catholic books and immersing myself in the catechumen’s life. But I had no intention of going public with my conversion, not until after being received into the Church.

Life experience had led me to see the Christian idea of the Fall, and our Lord’s gift of radical repentance, as the most sensible solution to the brokenness all around me. That much was clear. But with Catholicism there was the added assurance that came with two millennia of continuous authority. The Church’s hierarchical character, which so repelled my Evangelical friends, was one of its attractions for me. It meant that, having seen off a thousand heresies, Rome would be less likely to permit the Christian idea to be distorted by the passing fads of the day. And those fads – from leftist politics to “mindfulness” to Indian banana treatments – looked like so many third-rate substitutes for Catholic sacramental life.

So I returned to the Mass. And eventually I knocked on that priest’s door and told him that I wanted to become a Catholic. “OK,” he said simply. “I shall instruct you.” Now, I can pray, more often than not without feeling a shred of hypocrisy, “Hail, Mary, full of grace …” And add with confidence: “Fr Hamel, pray for us.”