A Message from Becket’s Executive Director
                                                                                                               May 23, 2018
Dear Friends,

As we prepare to honor Rabbi Soloveichik on Thursday, we also continue to
press on with our cases.

Last week, we stepped in to defend foster parents like Mrs. Paul, along with Catholic Social Services, who are asking the City of Philadelphia to end a new policy that is leaving foster homes sitting empty while the City is in a foster care crisis.

In March, the City of Philadelphia issued an urgent call for 300 new foster parents to provide loving homes for some of the over 6,000 kids in Philadelphia foster care. That same month, the City abruptly barred Catholic Social Services, one of the city’s top-rated agencies, from placing children with foster families solely because it disagrees with the agency’s religious beliefs.

Today, two major papers feature this important issue. The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board shared their take on the case, as did
Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post.


No vocations this year in San Francisco archdiocese – 23 May 2018

California Catholic Daily

Dear Reader,

Our lineup for today includes:

No vocations this year in San Francisco archdiocese: Meanwhile, three to be ordained in Oakland

“A welcome and notable change is the increase in funding for mental health services”: California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, issues statement on governor’s revision to 2018-2019 budget

Pope laments vocations ‘hemorrhage’: Speaking to the powerful Italian bishops’ conference, Pope Francis identified three “preoccupations” — a “hemorrhage” of vocations, “evangelical poverty and transparency,” and the need for a “consolidation” of Italy’s sprawling number of dioceses

Pope Francis: let us pray to Our Lady of Sheshan for reconciliation among Chinese Catholics

Rome (Agenzia Fides) – The Feast of the Virgin Mary “Help of Christians”, particularly venerated in the Marian shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai, “invites us to be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful who live in China”. The Pope’s prayer came at the end of today’s general audience and on the eve of the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary Help of Christians, “so that they may live their faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they may carry out concrete gestures of fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter”. Since 2008, the Day of Prayer for the Church in China, established by Pope Benedict XVI, is celebrated on May 24th, all over the world. Referring to this anniversary, Pope Francis also addressed the “dearest disciples of the Lord in China”, reminding them that “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that even amid difficulties you may continue to entrust yourselves to the will of God. Our Lady will never fail to help you and will safeguard you with her maternal love”.

In the Letter to Chinese Catholics, signed on May 27, 2007, on the solemnity of Pentecost, Benedict XVI had suggested that May 24, dedicated to the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians – venerated “with such devotion in the Marian shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai” – could in the future become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China”. To this end, the then reigning Pontiff had established on that date the “Day of Prayer for the Church in China”, to be celebrated in all the Catholic communities of the world. “I encourage you to celebrate it” wrote Benedict XVI “by renewing your communion of faith in Jesus our Lord and of faithfulness to the Pope, and by praying that the unity among you may become ever deeper and more visible. I remind you, moreover, of the commandment that Jesus gave us, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, as well as the invitation of the Apostle Saint Paul: «First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth» (1 Tim 2:1-4)”. 
In that letter the Pontiff, always addressed to Chinese Catholics, had also added that on that same day “the Catholics of the whole world – in particular those who are of Chinese origin – will demonstrate their fraternal solidarity and solicitude for you, asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in witness, in the certainty that your sufferings past and present for the Holy Name of Jesus and your intrepid loyalty to his Vicar on earth will be rewarded, even if at times everything can seem a failure”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/2018)

Permanent deacons: A bright spot for the Church

The number of permanent deacons in the United States is on the rise

[Excerpts] A new study from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostlate at Georgetown University to be released at the end of May has put the deacon population in the United States at 18,045, with the highest numbers in the archdioceses of Chicago, Galveston-Houston, Los Angeles and New York.

Perhaps your parish is one of those that is blessed with a permanent deacon. If so, be sure to thank him for his ministry, which often is done in addition to a “day job” and his everyday family life.

That’s me back in 1987! Still serving after 31 years since ordination!

And consider thanking him with a gift subscription to Deacon Digest. It’s the gift that we know will keep on giving — something that will help him stay energized in his vocation and feeling like a part of a bigger community.

For more information, go to

Source: Permanent deacons: A bright spot for the Church

Reminder: Please Keep Ireland in Your Prayers!

Dear Friends, Our Lady calls to us to protect life, to love life, to live with the sure knowledge that we, and those in the womb who have no voice, are cherished by the Creator of life! The 8th Amendment reminds all of us, in every country, that we are beloved by God especially in our weakness, in our littleness. Ireland’s 8th Amendment protects the right to life of babies in the womb and their mothers. The Amendment saves at least 5,000 lives per year. I am appealing to you today to join in prayer for this intention: that the 8th Amendment is protected by the people of Ireland!
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Pope Francis: it is not a sin to criticise the Pope 

The Pope told Italy’s bishops to speak openly about their concerns

Pope Francis has told the Italian bishops that it is “not a sin to criticize the Pope here” as he opened their General Assembly.

The Pope revealed three “worries” during his speech: the decline in vocations, financial scandals, and the reduction and merging of dioceses.

He encouraged the bishops to “speak openly”, urging them to tell him “all the words, your concerns, criticisms – it is not a sin to criticise the Pope here, yes, not a sin – and inspirations that you carry in your hearts.”

Pope Francis said he was especially concerned at the “hemorrhaging” of vocations to the priesthood and religious life in Italy, adding that “God only knows” how many seminaries and monasteries will have to close.

Read more here:

Source: Pope Francis: it is not a sin to criticise the Pope |

Sad Times: Abuses in Chile, new scandal: bishop suspends 15 priests 


[Chilean Bishop Alejandro Goic] the prelate was forced to make a drastic decision, suspending from the ministry as many as 15 of his 68 priests (22 percent of the diocesan clergy), because suspected of being involved in a network of child abuse and exchange of pornographic material. 


A few days ago, in the city of Rancagua the public learned about a parish priest forced to confess that he had sent pictures of himself naked to some young boys. Chilean TV, Canal 13, during a documented investigation, has suggested the existence of an organized group of diocesan priests, a network that calls itself “la famiglia“ (the family) with the “nonno” (grandfather)” at its top, followed by the “zie” (aunts) and “nipotiˮ (nephews), whose members would allegedly be involved in sexual trafficking through the web that also involves underage children.

Source: Abuses in Chile, new scandal: bishop suspends 15 priests – La Stampa