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Baltimore City Council Requires Pro-Life Clinics to Post the Fact They Don't Perform Abortions

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The Baltimore City Council voted earlier today to require pregnancy clinics that do not perform abortions to post a sign that states the fact.

I am always nervous about anything that smacks of an attack on religious freedom, which can be lost in bits and dribbles rather than all at once. I would have voted against the bill because I do not like government meddling overmuch in the work that the Church and others do. But, unlike our friends at LifeSiteNews, for whom this Council vote is little short of Armageddon, I think the law never should have come up because pregnancy clinics that do not perform abortions should revel in the fact and proudly post such a notice.

Evil overload

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My wife and I finally got away this weekend to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, and -- oddly enough -- I found myself thinking about the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Sylvia wasn't particularly flattered that the bishops popped into my brain, but it is all actually tied very closely to our wedding day.

As you know, the bishops recently approved a pastoral letter on marriage that has the words “intrinsically evil” peppered all over it. Some of this language was removed before final passage, but much remained -- divorce and gay marriage were among the items awarded the "intrinsically evil" label.

Since 9/11, "evil" has been tossed around a lot in our national conversation -- and I wonder if it's losing its power. To call something evil (let alone intrinsically evil) is strong stuff; you’d hope religious people most of all would recognize that and hold back.

Apparently not the bishops, not when it comes to marriage. Which makes me think of my wedding day.

U.N. Environment Programme leader warns of high cost of climate change delays

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U.N. environment chief Achim Steiner, director of its Environment Programme, issued a plea for world leaders to avoid failure in the Copenhagen climate change talks next month.

The likely delays in sealing a global deal to fight climate change would have a "human cost", and increase the risks of great harm to the planet and the economic costs of dealing with it, the head of the UN environment programme said today. Achim Steiner also said there was an "extremely high" risk that the UN-hosted talks would drift into deadlock if the summit in Copenhagen next month failed to deliver a meaningful agreement. "The world has been focused on this moment for years," he told the U. K.'s Guardian.

Irish bishops call climate change a most critical issue

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The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference released a pastoral statement "Cry of the Earth" on Nov. 10 in which they referred to global climate change as "one of the most critical issues of our time" and will "have consequences for the future of every person and every form of life."

Launching the statement Archbishop Dermot Clifford, Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, said the statement "reflects on our Christian responsibility towards the environment and outlines the scientific analysis of climate change, the theological and ethical principles as to why we as Christians have a duty to respond, and practical advice as to how we can act now to sustain the environment."

Quoting from Pope Benedict XVI encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Archbishop Clifford continued, "the environment is God's gift to everyone, and in our use of it we have a responsibility towards the poor, towards future generations and towards humanity as a whole. The Church has a responsibility towards creation and she must assert this responsibility in the public sphere."

Fending off the holiday blues

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Holidays bring sadness and depression, as well as joy and happiness. As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's worth recognizing that exercise, diet and mental tricks can fend off some of the seasonal sadness.

Here's a good story about how "some of your basic, everyday choices—what to eat, when to snack, what vitamins to take, how to exercise (or not)—have profound effects on your mood. Making small changes may even alleviate serious depression (which 25 percent of all women experience at some point) as well as garden-variety blues and blahs."

It's worth the read. Happy Thanksgiving.

Why Bishop Tobin is Truly Wrong

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Bishop Tobin and Congressman Kennedy are engaged in an unseemly public spat. We now know that in 2007, the bishop of Providence told Kennedy that he should refrain from presenting himself for communion because of his pro-choice position on abortion. That edict was not publicized until now and Tobin says that he did not even share the information with any other pastors.

I cannot bring myself to defend Congressman Kennedy. I think his explanations for maintaining a pro-choice stance are among the worst I have ever heard, a tired re-hashing of arguments put forth better, but unconvincingly, by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1984. Even if a congressman or a governor thinks that representative democracy demands that they exercise their vote and their veto in a manner that accords with the wishes of their constituents, they have an obligation to raise their voice on behalf of the unborn and try and convince their constituents, and their fellow Democrats, that we got the abortion issue wrong in the 1970s.

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April 11-24, 2014

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