Power of Prayer and Fasting, Ignoring Iraq's Christians & More: Thirty Things That Caught My Eye Today -- August 28, 2020


2. Death toll from Kabul University attack rises to at least 35 as anger grows

3. Mother-of-three, 44, ‘died like a warrior’ fighting Nice terrorist and raising the alarm about attack after Islamist fanatic beheaded fellow church-goer and fatally stabbed her

Simone Barreto Silva, a 44-year-old Brazil-born samba dancer turned care worker, managed to escape the Notre Dame Basilica despite being stabbed multiple times.

She fled to a nearby restaurant to seek help but died from her injuries.

Her last words to paramedics were: ‘Tell my children that I love them’.

4. New York Times: Greek Orthodox Priest Wounded in Lyon, France, Shooting

“At this stage, no hypothesis is ruled out nor favored,” the prosecutor’s office said, adding that it had opened an investigation for attempted murder and that it was in touch with the national antiterrorism prosecutor’s office.

But the fact that the national antiterrorism prosecutor was not directly overseeing the case was a sign that authorities did not have evidence of a terrorist motive.

5. Polish pro-abortion leader urges ‘revolt’ against Catholic Church, amid Mass interruptions and protests

6. Alveda King: Ending the abortion industry’s horrible genocide against Black children in America

For many, many decades, Black women and babies have been disproportionately targeted by the abortion industry. Babies of Black mothers are three times more likely to be aborted than White babies, resulting in 20 million Black children having been legally killed in America since 1973. It is without a doubt the most significant civil rights issue of our time.

No racial group in America, historically and currently, has been more left out of societal protection or suffered more deliberate discrimination, dehumanization, agonizing dismemberment and death legally imposed upon them than Black children. Nearly 160 years after auction and purchase of slaves was prohibited, body parts of Black babies are still being sold across America by the abortion industry.

7. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer: The crucial Supreme Court case defending Catholic foster care services

Any attempt to present this as an example of Catholic anti-gay bigotry immediately runs into inconvenient facts. Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia does not oppose certifying and working with gay people. It accepts children for foster care placement regardless of race, sex, creed, disability or sexual orientation. And if it is approached by a same-sex married couple interested in fostering — which it never has been — then it will cheerfully refer the couple to another agency.

Nonetheless, the city stopped referring children to the agency and refused to renew its contract. Its 200 years of care for disadvantaged children counted for nothing, it seemed. At this point long-time foster mothers and their foster care agency filed suit. Another inconvenient detail: the two mothers, Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch, are both single women of color. Fulton has fostered over 40 children while helping them maintain a relationship with their biological parents. She and Simms-Busch have been described as ‘foster care heroes’. They’re also Catholics who want to work with an agency that shares their faith.

. . .

During her confirmation hearings, Justice Barrett explained time and time again that the Supreme Court is not a policymaking body. The justices instead must safeguard the guarantees found in the Constitution and faithfully interpret the law. And sometimes it is unpopular. One need only think back to the fury generated in some parts of the country by Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, which ruled that segregation in schools was unconstitutional.

8. Montse Alvarado: The Next Four Years: Religious freedom needed for a ‘culture of encounter’

In the last 10 months, the organization I work for, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has consistently defended the religious freedom of Americans from diverse backgrounds. 

This includes: the rights of Sikhs and Muslims to have unshorn hair or beards and serve their country; of religious schools and seminaries to choose who will teach the Faith to the next generation free from the meddling hand of government; of religious hospitals not to have to pay for and participate in doctor-assisted suicide, abortion, or gender transition surgeries and therapies for children; of religious foster parents to serve children in their community, of the Jewish community in New York to keep an all-girls school open after proving they can safely operate during the pandemic; and the rights of the Little Sisters of the Poor to care for the elderly poor and dying free from the threat of a government mandate.

Religious freedom is what I like to call “the great litmus test.” If it is being restricted or violated, then our other freedoms will be soon to follow. 

9. Crux: French churches honor Nice attack victims; 6 detained

Investigators in France, Tunisia and Italy are trying to determine the motive of chief suspect Ibrahim Issaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian who transited through Italy last month en route to France, and whether he acted alone.

. . .

Five other people were also in custody Sunday after being detained in Nice and the nearby town of Grasse, the official said. They are between 25 and 63-years-old and were spotted on video surveillance or detained in homes searched by police as part of the investigation, said the official, who was not authorized to be publicly named according to judicial policy.

Their connection to the attack remains unclear.

10. BBC News: Covid-19: Religious groups in England criticize lockdown worship ban

England’s four-week lockdown will see most religious services banned. Funerals will still be allowed, with a maximum of 30 attending.

The Catholic Church described the ban as a cause of “anguish” and demanded the government gives its reasons for stopping services.

. . .

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said in a statement: “The government’s inadequate consultation and poor engagement with faith communities remain a problem as the pandemic endures.”

While the rules allow places of worship to remain open for individual prayer, the MCB said the distinction is “not straightforward or practical for many mosques, compared to other faith communities”.

11. John Piper’s Liberty Convocation Pulled After Election Post 

12. The Next Four Years: Promoting a culture of life in health care

The rights of conscience and religious freedom in health care are under the greatest threat in American history. More than 100 U.S. Senators and members of Congress have endorsed a government takeover of health care that would create a federal abortion mandate, shred conscience and religious freedom protections for doctors and nurses, and virtually destroy the ability of Catholic health care to serve the poor and vulnerable.

In just the last 10 months, a Catholic physician in Oregon was fired by a Catholic medical institution because of her beliefs, a Catholic hospital in Maryland that was sued because it refused to violate Catholic teaching in their medical services, and a federal court blocked the Trump administration’s civil rights regulatory action that safeguarded civil rights in health care, while also protecting the rights of medical conscience and religious freedom.

The right of health care workers to provide medical care that is consistent with their moral or religious convictions is one of the most fundamental rights in a society. If our country passes laws that force medical professionals to violate their conscience, our country will do serious damage to civil rights, while putting every other fundamental right at risk. 

13. An America in Need of a Cato

14. Crux: Pope advances causes of four 20th-century martyrs

The pope recognized the martyrdom of Capuchin Fathers Leonard Melki and Thomas Saleh, Lebanese friars who served as missionaries in Turkey, where they were arrested, tortured and murdered during the harsh repression by the Ottoman Turks.

Melki was killed in 1915 together with Blessed Ignace Maloyan, an Armenian bishop, and hundreds of others. Saleh was condemned to death for offering hospitality to an Armenian priest during the genocide. He died in 1917 during a military escort as he was being deported in the middle of winter.

15. Serena Sigillito and Erika Bachiochi: Erika Bachiochi on the Future of Pro-Life Feminism

SS: Many socially conservative women share these convictions, but they reject the label “feminist.” Why do you embrace this label, and how do you define it?

EB: Well, in part, because I’m just trying to be a good Catholic! After all, Pope John Paul II wrote in 1995 that it’s up to women to “promote a ‘new feminism’ which rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination,’ in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation.” As a one-time pro-choice feminist who was steeped in women’s studies classes and activism at Middlebury College in the mid 1990s, I believe I have a personal responsibility to both listen to and speak with those women who, like me, are drawn to those questions and issues that have a disproportionate impact on women. Reproduction is naturally the touchstone of them all.

16. Crux: Vatican letter on pope’s civil union remarks assures doctrine unchanged

Pointing to the pope’s assertion in the film that “Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” the letter said this statement was a reference “to the pastoral need that, within the family, a son or daughter with a homosexual orientation should never be discriminated against.”

. . .

The letter then went on to explain that the pope’s remarks about civil cohabitation were made in response to a separate question about “a ten-year-old local law in Argentina on ‘marriage equality of same-sex couples’ and his opposition to them as the then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires in this regard.”

On this point, the letter said Pope Francis in the interview insisted that “’it is an incongruity to speak of homosexual marriage,’ adding that — in that in the same context — he had spoken about the rights of these people to have certain legal protection.”

17. Kelsey Bolar: What Amy Coney Barrett Means to Conservative Women

Barrett’s respect for the separation of powers, coupled with her unflappable determination to stay above the political fray, perhaps explains her popularity among voters. She answered grueling questions with nothing more than a blank notebook, all the while displaying a level of patience and grace that could only be matched by a working mom of seven. (It’s safe to assume Barrett is used to dealing with temper tantrums and long days.)

Minutes after being sworn in as an associate justice to the Supreme Court, Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News’ “Hannity” that Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination was a triumph not just for the rule of law, but also for conservative women.

“To all conservative women who go through hell for being conservative, who get beat up by the mainstream media for embracing your faith, being pro-life . . . you’re a winner tonight. There’s a seat at the table for you,” he said.

18. UVA Today: Professor Sets the Record Straight on 2020 Divorce Rate

As I wrote in the Washington Post with my colleague Lyman Stone: “Tough and traumatic times can change our priorities, our perspective and our devotion to friends and family for the better. When we face trials with a strong social network, the right perspective or a deep faith — as [former UVA psychology professor] Jonathan Haidt notes in “The Happiness Hypothesis” — adversity is more likely to lead to growth, strength, joy and self-improvement rather than the opposite.”

In particular, COVID time has made plenty of us develop a new appreciation for how much we depend upon our spouse — to help care for older parents, tutor the kids, run to the grocery store, bring in a paycheck, or lend a listening ear when we’re at our wits’ end. In fact, a majority of husbands and wives report COVID has made them appreciate their spouses more. So, for many, the COVID crucible seems to have made their marriages stronger.

19. Cardinal Timothy Dolan: God Can, and Does, Bring Good From Evil

20. Election Outcome Predicted To Have No Major Effect On Eternity

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