Syrian Refugees: Should There Be a Religious Test?

11/20/2015 Comments (17)

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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Cardinal Wuerl: Pope Francis is Calling For a Church That is More in Contact With the Gospel

10/18/2015 Comments (28)

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C. dismissed concerns that the Synod of Bishops is being manipulated with the goal of promoting changes in Church discipline that now bars civilly-divorced-and-remarried Catholics from receiving the Eucharist.  He also saw little need for anxiety that the discussions about altering pastoral practices could undermine Church teaching on marriage and related matters.

In an Oct. 18 interview with America magazine, Cardinal Wuerl expressed puzzlement at the anxiety expressed by some Church leaders, as well as the more specific allegations asserting that the 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops may have been "rigged."  

"My read of the synod, apart from...READ MORE

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George Weigel: The Universal Call to Holiness is Universal

10/16/2015 Comments (6)

From Rome, George Weigel has been sifting through the interventions of the Synod Fathers, and is disturbed by a particular thread of the discussion.

Without precisely saying so, some Synod Fathers believe that “pastoral accompaniment” includes the “tacit blessing” of cohabitation and other  arrangements that fall short of the Church's vision of marriage and family life. This approach, writes Weigel, in an Oct. 15 post on First Things, calls into question the “universal call to holiness” and threatens to create a vast class of “Second Class Catholics.“

How else can we interpret “the claim by some members of Synod 2015 that the Church’s teaching on chastity, marriage, and the family is...READ MORE

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Oops! Watch MSNBC's Pro-Abortion Hit Job Backfire on Live TV

10/02/2015 Comments (50)

Photo from YouTube

What happens when a liberal news show executes a hit job on a pro-life target, only to watch their attempt fizzle? Watch this MSNBC interview to find out.

Here is the context for the MSNBC interview: 

Following a slew of undercover videos that appeared to show Planned Parenthood affiliates profiting from the sale of fetal body parts,  the organization and its powerful allies have retaliated with a full-bore assault on the Center for Medical Progress, the pro-life investigative group that produced the videos.

CMP has been attacked for improperly editing the video images to manipulate public opinion and foster support for defunding Planned Parenthood.

Carly Fiorina, the only woman among a...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..