Pope Francis Made Me Do It

Pope's remarks cited by Illinois lawmakers to justify vote for same-sex marriage.

11/07/2013 Comments (22)

Pope Francis’ comments about “gays” have been cited by some Illinois lawmakers to explain their decision to back the passage of same-sex marriage in the state.

The Chicago Tribune noted the intense struggle to secure passage of “marriage equality” in Illinois, and said that the recent U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that overturned part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act was key. But so was Pope Francis — at least that is the argument floated by some lawmakers to explain a controversial vote that could have repercussions when they come up for re-election. According to the Tribune: 

Advocates soon received additional help from Pope Francis, who warned that the Catholic Church...READ MORE

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130 Catholic Scholars Denounce Common Core in Letter to U.S. Bishops

11/05/2013 Comments (5)

Gerard Bradley, an expert on constitutional law at the University of Notre Dame law school leads a group of about 130 scholars who have called on the U.S. bishops to reassess the Common Core curriculum standards, which are reportedly being implemented in about half  of the nation's  K-12 Catholic schools. 

Bradley's letter was issued in advance of the the U.S. bishps' annual meeting in Baltimore next week, and it offers a broad critique of the new federal standards on philosophical grounds, describing them as a sharp departure from the hoslistic framework of Catholic education, which seeks to form the whole person with deep respect for the nature and dignity of the human person and...READ MORE

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PBS Compares Catholic Identity on two Campuses: Georgetown v. Ave Maria

11/01/2013 Comments (44)

Here's an interesting, balanced presentation of two universities that both call themselves "Catholic"--one in the "Jesuit tradition. This recent PBS show contrasts Georgetown's accomodation of LGBT pride events with Ave Maria's efforts to transmit Catholic teaching, in part, by preparing its students to respond to challenges posed by same-sex marriage.  Check it out here.

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HHS Secretary Sebelius Addresses Transparency on Abortion in State Exchanges

10/30/2013 Comments (8)

[UPDATE 11/1: NPR confirmed today that state health exchanges do not provide informaiton about whether specific plans cover elective abortions. While PBR suggests that both pro-life and pro-choice Americans might want to know whether a prosepctive plan offers that coverage, it also notes that  abortion rights advocates have opposed a proposed bill requiring clear notification. The reason for their opposition? It might "stigmatize" particular plans.The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has also endorsed Congressman Smith's proposed legislation to require information about whehter a plan covers elective abortions.]

During a House Energy and Commerce hearing today, Oct. 30, Congressman...READ MORE

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Syria at the Abyss: Not Our Problem?

The Washington Post editorial board proposes that Obama threaten a U.S. military strike to force Assad to allow the flow of aid to starving and sick children.

10/29/2013 Comments (5)

The Washington Post editorial board has denounced the Obama administration's refusal to intervene in the Syrian civil war, noting recent media reports alleging that the Assad regime is withholding vital emergency relief from internallly displaced people. The editorial board notes Secretary of State Kerry's public denunciation of Assad's

"systematic denial of medical assistance, food supplies and other humanitarian aid to huge proportions of the population.” The regime’s tactics, he said, “threaten to take a humanitarian disaster into the abyss.” They are “intolerable,” and “the world must act quickly.”

So what does the Obama administration propose to do to stop this barbarism?...READ MORE

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Georgetown Law v. the Catholic Church?

A new class at Georgetown's law school offers students the chance to work with an abortion rights advocacy group that opposes legal challenges to the HHS mandate.

10/28/2013 Comments (10)

If you think Georgetown Law School is a place where crusading students--Catholic or not-- learn how to fight for human dignity, or for constitutional liberties, like the free exercise of religion, think again.

The pontifically-erected university offers a class entitled, 
"Regulatory Advocacy: Women and the Affordable Care Act."  The "practicum" part of the course offers students an opportunity to 

work with the National Women's Law Center to develop projects that will assist in the organization's regulatory advocacy efforts. Students will have the opportunity to participate in strategy meetings and conference calls with the partner organization and other coalition members.


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Obama Enthusiastic About the Francis Factor

Washington is taking notice of Pope Francis, but the political implications are still murky.

10/04/2013 Comments (74)

President Obama praised Pope Francis during an Oct. 2 televised interview, and said he was "hugely impressed" with the Argentinian pontiff's tone and message.

Politico reported that Obama did not single out statements made by the pope during his recent blockbuster interview. That said, the brief news story provided relevant context for the president's remarks that might help explain the praise 

The pope has made recent comments arguing that the Catholic Church should focus on more than just a few hot-button social issues. In an interview last month, he said he “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptives.”

Obama told CNBC that he...READ MORE

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No Sunday Mass at Some Military Bases If Government Shutdown Continues

Archdiocese for Military Service's general counsel warns that priests who are under government contract to provide such services, but are not active-duty military chaplains, will not be "permitted to work – not even to volunteer during the shutdown."

10/03/2013 Comments (40)

UPDATE: Secretary of Defense Hagel stated that most DOD workers will return for work. The Times report did not mention contract priests.


The government shutdown has affected a broad swathe of government services, as reported here in the Washington Post. But who would have thought that the standoff on Capitol Hill could disrupt Sunday masses and baptisms  on military bases?

John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA,  warned -- in a statement to the Register -- that if the shutdown continues over the weekend  many military bases will not have Sunday mass or other scheduled sacraments. . 

The nub of the problem is that the shortage of...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 Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.