Vatican on the Zika Virus: Attack the Disease, Not the Victims

02/16/2016 Comments (1)

Ana Carolina Cáceres (Facebook photo via CNA)

Amid growing fears that the  Zika virus epidemic sweeping Latin America could result in a surge of children born with birth defects, the Vatican repudiated efforts by UN agencies and other international organizations to call for the liberalization of abortion laws in the region.

On Feb. 16, the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations released a statement that acknowledged the potential health threats posed by the epidemic, which the World Health Organization described as an international "emergency." But the Holy See said concerns about a possible link between transmission of the virus and a potentially serious birth defect did not justify the promotion of abortion...READ MORE

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Downton Abbey's Own Year of Mercy (Spoiler Alert)

02/03/2016 Comments (1)

(Photo Credit: garybembridge, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


Lady Mary Crawley, the eldest child of the Earl  and Countess of Grantham, has been at war with her sister, Lady Edith, since childhood.  And though most viewers expected Mary would call a truce by now, the satisfaction she derives from wounding her unequal rival has yet to abate.  

Indeed, when commended for being uncharacteristically nice to Edith, in a recent episode during the 6th Season of Downton Abbey, Mary replies with her trademark drawl: “A monkey will type out the Bible if you leave it long enough.” 

Now, Mary's sharp ears have picked up a delicious tidbit that could destroy Edith's reputation. Overhearing a fragment of a conversation between her parents, Mary...READ MORE

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Cruz Tops Trump in Iowa With Boost From “Religious Conservatives”

02/01/2016 Comments (15)

Ted Cruz speaking in Des Moines, Iowa on October 31, 2015. (Photo by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Tonight, amid record turnouts for the 2016 Iowa caucuses, Texas Senator Ted Cruz scored his first victory in the hard-fought race to secure the Republican Party's nomination for president. And with this closely watched accomplishment, Cruz also demonstrated something of even greater importance—the Donald Trump juggernaut must confront two rivals that are far more accomplished and competitive than previously thought.

The Washington Post confirmed Cruz's triumph, with 

 99% of the precincts reporting, Cruz was besting Trump by more than 5,100 votes, with fellow senator Marco Rubio of Florida a close third. Cruz appeared to capitalize on deep support from religious and social conservatives...READ MORE

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National Review Thumps Trump as Candidates Stump in Iowa

01/26/2016 Comments (41)

As Iowa Republicans prepare for their party's first presidential caucus on Feb. 1, National Review has officially thrown down the gauntlet and repudiated Donald Trump as a nominee conservatives can support. Here's one salient passage from the magazine's leading editorial in its latest issue—"Against Trump."

If Trump were to become the president, the Republican nominee, or even a failed candidate with strong conservative support, what would that say about conservatives? The movement that ground down the Soviet Union and took the shine, at least temporarily, off socialism would have fallen in behind a huckster. The movement concerned with such “permanent things” as constitutional...READ MORE

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Could New Tests Lead to “Extinction” of People with Down Syndrome?

01/22/2016 Comments (7)

By a follower of Jan Joest of Kalkar, via Wikimedia Commons

As pro-life Americans prepare for their annual March for Life to end abortion, it is worth remembering that the culture of death engendered by Roe, combined with prenatal screening for birth defects, have conspired to dramatically reduce the number of children born with Down Syndrome.

Now, a British journalist has raised the possibility that people with Down Syndrome will one day be extinct.

“Down's Syndrome people risk 'extinction' at the hands of science, fear and ignorance” read the headline in the British newspaper, The Telegraph.

The words stunned me for a moment, as the  people I know with Down Synrome came to mind: sisters Mary and Margaret, Amy, Danny and another Mary.


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Little Sisters’ Case "Not Nearly as Complicated as Government Would Like it to Be"

01/06/2016 Comments (7)

(Photo Credit: Farragutful, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In 2014, Hobby Lobby won its legal challenge to the Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate in a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Now, during this term, the Little Sisters of the Poor will get their day before the high court. The date for oral arguments has not been set, but the Little Sisters' chief advocate, former solicitor general Paul Clement, swept aside all the government's arguments in a blazing and brilliant brief filed this week that spells out the merits of the Little Sisters' case. 

Catholics who are rooting for the Little Sisters, but find it tough to sift through the legal arguments and terms, should take a few moments to read the summary posted below. ...READ MORE

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Downton Abbey's Carson and Mrs. Hughes Teach Us About Real Love

01/04/2016 Comments (10)

(Photo Credit: garybembridge, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)


Fans of Downton Abbey rejoiced at the close of last year's Season 5, when Mrs. Hughes, the wise, middle-aged housekeeper and spiritual heart of the household, accepted a proposal of marriage from Carson, the aging law-and-order butler.

But in the first episode of Season 6,  which aired on PBS last night, the television audience held its breath as Mrs. Hughes appeared to backtrack on the marriage plans. 

The problem? 

“I’m not sure I can let him see me as I am now,” Mrs. Hughes  confides to Mrs. Patmore, the cook. 

Mrs. Patmore offers sensible advice: “Then keep the lights off.”

But Mrs. Hughes considers another solution: their marriage could be a close friendship...READ MORE

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Did Hillary Clinton Describe ISIS' Persecution of Christians as "Genocide"?

01/01/2016 Comments (18)

Pope Francis and Christian leaders in the Middle East and the U.S. have denounced the Islamic State's treatment of Christians  as "genocide." Yet in a Christmas Eve message that expressed his concern for Christians in the region, President Obama held back from defining ISIS' efforts to stamp out all vestiges of Christianity in territory under its control as "genocide."  

Now, the administration will face more pressure to change its stance, as Hillary Clinton signals her own position on a foreign policy issue that is steadily gaining traction.

During a Dec. 29 town hall meeting in Berlin, N.H., Clinton was asked to let voters know whether she would join Pope Francis and describe the...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..