No Room in $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill to Defend Conscience Rights

12/24/2015 Comments (7)

Just days before Christmas, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed alarm at Congress' failure to pass vital legislation to protect conscience rights for Catholic health providers.
“The bishops of the United States are gravely disappointed that the 2016 omnibus funding bill did not include the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA)," read Archbishop Kurtz's Dec. 23 statement.  "While the omnibus bill certainly addresses other critical issues, the modest reform that ANDA represents—to make federal conscience laws on abortion workable and enforceable—was an urgent legislative priority in these final months of the year....READ MORE

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Robert George: “I Am the Most Richly Blessed Man in the World”

12/16/2015 Comments (4)

Princeton University's inimitable Professor Robert George was hospitalized on Dec. 6 for a serious illness. Following is a message he sent to supporters of his organization, the American Principles Project:

Beloved Friends,

Please accept these brief but heartfelt words of thanks from the most fortunate, most richly blessed man in the world. 

As you may have heard, I was hospitalized last week for a rare condition known as mesenteric arterial dissection. Throughout the ordeal that began last Sunday evening, my family and I have been buoyed by your kind and generous words, your steadfast moral support, and above all your fervent prayers. 

Even at the darkest moment, I took enormous...READ MORE

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NPR: 'Hot Rhetoric and the Planned Parenthood Shooting'

12/02/2015 Comments (2)

Just listened to NPR's On Point show, which offered a forum for debate on "Hot Rhetoric And The Planned Parenthood Shooting."

Grab a cup of coffee and take a few moments to listen to this, if only to hear Mona Charon effectively engage all the issues, as well as the charges that have been leveled at the pro-life movement since the recent shootings at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

A syndicated columnist and contributor to National Review, Mona Charon's presentation is smart, thorough, respectful, honest and courageous.

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Syrian Refugees: Should There Be a Religious Test?

11/20/2015 Comments (22)

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, Republican leaders have called for new measures to improve the vetting of refugees applying for asylum from Syria and Iraq, and some, like Jeb Bush, have noted that Christian applicants pose a lower security risk and thus raise fewer issues.

Earlier this week, Obama dismissed any attempt to introduce a "religious test" for refugee applicants as "shameful," sparking a fresh round of partisan attacks in the blogosphere against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., and Bush. 

In my view, what's truly shameful is that the U.S. has been so slow to accept any Syrian refugees --- a problem that partly reflects excessive bureaucratic delays as well as the White...READ MORE

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Teen Sexting: Pornification of America Turns High Schoolers Into Sex Offenders

11/12/2015 Comments (6)

(By Vox Efx, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Last week, a sexting scandal that exploded at a Colorado high school brought to light the mixed messages kids receive in the pornified culture of 21st Century America.

“Consenting adults can do this to their hearts’ content,” said Thom LeDoux, the district attorney, but “if the subject is under the age of 18, that’s a problem.”

LeDoux said that "under state law it doesn’t matter whether a student took and shared explicit photos voluntarily—it is illegal,” reported The Wall Street Journal. “But he said he would use his discretion, looking at factors such as whether students were coerced.”

Most parents and educators don't want kids to be sent to jail or end up on sexual offender...READ MORE

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“No Men in Women’s Bathrooms”: The Message That Won in Houston

11/04/2015 Comments (13)

Yesterday, a controversial Houston, Tex. ordinance that secured protections for LGBT people was defeated by a starkly simple message:  "No men in women's bathrooms."

As I read the news, I wondered if there was a lesson here that deserved wider attention. 

The steady advance of sexual rights has prompted legal experts, Catholic bishops and moral theologians to construct natural-law arguments and issue dire warnings to the public.  We have been told that religious freedom, a child's right to be raised by his biological mother and father, and the legal rights of natural parents are endangered when legislatures and courts put the desires of individual adults ahead of the common good.

As the...READ MORE

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Ross Douthat to Theologians: 'Academic Rank-Pulling' Won't Defuse Fears of Heresy

11/03/2015 Comments (10)

Last week, Catholics were startled by an Oct. 26 letter to the editor from liberal Catholic theologians who attacked the only openly orthodox Catholic voice at the New York Times—Ross Douthat.

The focus of their ire was Douthat's Oct. 18 column, “The Plot to Change Catholicism,” which expressed alarm about the possibility that Pope Francis might approve pastoral changes that would effectively alter Church teaching on marriage.  

"Aside from the fact that Mr. Douthat has no professional qualifications for writing on the subject," the theologians stated in the letter posted on Daily Theology site, "accusing other members of the Catholic Church of heresy, sometimes subtly, sometimes openly,...READ MORE

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No, Cardinal Marx, the Indissolubility of Marriage Isn't a "Dream"

10/25/2015 Comments (42)

Cardinal Reinhard Marx at the German Bishops' Press Conference at the Pontifical Teutonic College on October 5, 2015. (Bohumil Petrik/CNA)

Like everyone else, I am still trying to make sense of the recent Synod on the Family and what it means for ordinary Catholics. But a comment from Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the president of the German Bishops' Conference, really struck a nerve.

The German bishops have mostly backed Cardinal Walter Kasper's proposal to allow divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain situations. But Cardinal Marx apparently sought to balance that priority with a pat on the head for Catholics who remain in their first marriages:

The Church’s message is “one man and one woman will want to be together forever, they say yes and they mean yes, and the Church says be faithful to your...READ MORE

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About Joan Desmond

Joan Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in California..