A variety of news sources are available to keep informed about issues related to life, marriage and the family. 

The following websites may be of interest to you:

Life Site News

Life News

National Catholic Register

Catholic News Agency

National Right to Life

Marriage In the News (from For Your Marriage)

National Organization for Marriage

Heroic News

Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute

Family Honor


Family Research Council
AUGUST 2014 | VOLUME 6.8

Obama Stays Course on HHS Mandate Fight, Despite Hobby Lobby Ruling

(NCRegister.com) — Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby, a craft-store chain owned by a Christian family, possessed free exercise rights and could not be forced by the government to violate its beliefs by complying with the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate.

The landmark decision led Mark Rienzi, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty lawyer who represents Hobby Lobby, to hope that the White House would finally reassess its strategy for fighting legal challenges to the mandate and approve a broad exemption for family-run businesses and religious nonprofits that objected to the law on moral grounds.

But on Aug. 22, more than two years since the first legal challenge to the mandate was filed in court, the White House issued a new “interim final rule” that left the federal law’s narrow religious exemption intact, dashing hopes for an end to the church-state dispute that has spawned over 300 lawsuits.

“The hope was that … the government would get it right: exempt religious employers and use its own [health insurance] exchanges to provide these services,” Rienzi told the Register, in a reference to the federal and state exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act. MORE


News Briefs


Christian Comics

For Your Marriage

Life Issues Forum

Respect Life Program

Great Quotes




Columbus Facility Stops Performing Surgical Abortions

(OhioLife.org) – After this week, one of Columbus's three abortion facilities, Complete Health Care for Women, will no longer be performing surgical abortions. Operated by Mervyn Samuel and Milroy Samuel, the facility has been open for the last 40 years. The decision to stop surgical abortions appears to be voluntary. "While many lives were lost at this facility, we do thank these men for ceasing to engage in the practice of surgical abortions," said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. "With countless options for pregnant women in central Ohio to receive real prenatal care at free or reduced costs, the abortion industry is becoming more obsolete each day.  We are encouraged by this news and will continue to advocate for the remaining two abortion facilities in Franklin County to offer life saving health care as opposed to abortions." This news comes just one week after Lebanon Road Surgery Center, a Sharonville abortion facility, halted surgical abortions. In all, eight abortion facilities now remain in Ohio. MORE

Cincinnati's 'Ice-Bucket Challenge' Supports John Paul II Institute

(NCRegister.com) — Chances are you’ve viewed at least one video this week of someone dumping a bucket of ice water over his head and challenging others to do the same. The now-viral “ice-bucket challenge” was started by the ALS Association, a leader in funding research for prevention, treatment and an eventual cure of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Sometimes referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative condition for which there are no proven treatments or cure. But when Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, accepted the ice-bucket challenge Aug. 20, the archdiocese announced its donations would be going toward the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa, rather than the originator of the challenge. In a statement released Aug. 20, the archdiocese voiced concerns over the ALS Association’s support of embryonic stem-cell research, which requires the destruction of a human life. MORE

Diocese of Steubenville Respect Life Conference, September 6 >>

Pope Francis challenges with question: How is your faith? >>

Pope Francis tells couples not to substitute dogs and cats for children >>

Supreme Court halts marriage redefinition in Virginia >>

Successful Okla. lawsuit could stop future black masses >>

Hundreds flock to conference looking to revive parish life >>

PBS raked over decision to air late-term abortion film >>

Fired by HGTV for their Christian views, Benham brothers continue to speak out against abortion (VIDEO) >>

New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony >>

Down Syndrome Charity Slams Richard Dawkins for Saying Babies Should be Aborted >>

What Pro-Choice? California Mandates Employers Must Cover Elective Abortions >>

Judge Allows Pro-Life Louisiana Law That May Close Abortion Clinics to Take Effect >>

Webcam abortions, Do-It-Yourself Abortions, and the “Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion” >>

One simple trick to make abortion rare… tell women the truth! >>

Pennsylvania Girl Gives Hope to Down Syndrome Families with “Chloe’s Law” >>

What’s the real issue with commercial surrogacy? >>

Planned pro-life film from Bruce Marchiano aims to save lives >>

NFL Commissioner details sweeping domestic violence initiative worth commending >>

Why I Think We'll Win >>

Law group defends pro-life students restricted to college 'speech zone' >>

EWTN series to profile Catholics who 'come home' >>

Parents Choose Life for Their Baby Born Without Arms >>

Declining Rates of Catholic Weddings >>

No Laughing Matter >>

Top Ten Myths About Pope Francis’ First Year

(dominicanablog.com) - Of the writing of many books there is no end, says Ecclesiastes. If Quoheleth had lived during the last year, he might well have said, “Of the making of many myths about Pope Francis there is no end.” As we give thanks to God for the Holy Father on this first anniversary of his papacy, it’s worth taking a moment to look back on some of the myths about Pope Francis that have made the rounds on the Internet this year. While this list could be many more pages long, what follows is my own Top Ten List of Myths about Pope Francis. Myth #10: That Pope Francis wrote this text: “The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God.” This particular myth could be called the Myth that Facebook Made. Different versions of the quote circled around Facebook feeds for a good couple of months, always paired with sunshiney images of smiling Pope Francis oozing sweetness and light from every pore. MORE

Why is the Abortion Rate Declining?

(LifeNews.com) - Over the most recent decade for which data are available (2001–2011), the overall U.S. abortion rate, calculated as the annual number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (15 to 44), has dropped, continuing a trend that first appeared in 1980. The decline has been steeper since 1990, with a brief plateau in the middle of the past decade. The 2011 rate for the nation is the lowest since 1973. Discussions of U.S. abortion trends must always be accompanied by caveats. The United States has an incomplete national abortion reporting system and what is published by government agencies is subject to wide variation regarding both content and time frames. The most comprehensive report, from the Guttmacher Institute, is not issued each year; is voluntary, like the national surveillance reports issued annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control; and is subject to omissions that, the authors acknowledge, make estimates necessary. MORE

Archbishop: Be vigilant against US religious freedom threats

(CNA/EWTN News).- Amidst increasing violent religious persecution in the Middle East and Africa, it is vital for Christians in the U.S. to remain on guard of their own freedoms, said Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore. “I'm not given to apocalyptic predictions, but I do believe that we have to be vigilant,” Archbishop Lori said. “It's easy to see that the threats to religious liberty in the West are starting to constrict religion more and more.” Archbishop Lori serves as chairman of the U.S. bishop conference's ad hoc committee on religious freedom as well as the supreme chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. He spoke with CNA in early August at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in Florida. There are two main challenges in regards to religious freedom in the United States, he said, and the first is the increasingly popular view of seeing religion as a purely private affair. “(Religion is seen) as reducible simply and solely to freedom of worship, the sentiment that as long as you're in church, do what you want, but don't think about bringing religious values into public, into your place of work, into the political discussion,” he said. MORE

Pro-Lifers Slam Massive Fines Obama Wants on Catholic Nuns Who Oppose HHS Mandate

(LifeNews.com) – On Friday, the Obama administration revised the HHS mandate rules — the first revision since losing to Hobby Lobby at the Supreme Court. The revisions provide no relief from the mandate and essentially restate how pro-life groups, like the Little Sisters, will have to pay huge fines if the violate the mandate. The upshot of the new rules? As Arina Grossu, Director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, tells LifeNews, it’s “the threat of crippling fines on non-profits who stand up for their freedom of conscience.” Congressman Chris Smith, the top pro-life advocate in the House of Representatives, tells LifeNews that resident Obama has resorted to coercion and massive, punitive fines against pro-life organizations and faith-based groups that oppose the mandate because, for moral reasons,they cannot and will not include abortion-causing drugs, sterilization and contraception procedures in their private health insurance plans. MORE

US bishops to honor 50th anniversary of civil rights milestones

(CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops are encouraging commemorations of the 50th anniversary of milestones in the African-American Civil Rights Movement, saying they should inspire further work for the common good. “The Civil Rights Era was an important time in the history of our country,” Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, La., said Aug. 25. “In constructive ways, many priests, religious sisters, religious brothers and lay Catholic faithful were involved in the struggle for civil rights.” “Recalling the Catholic Church’s past participation in these important historic moments serves to challenge the faithful to work constructively today to enhance the common good for people of all races and ethnicities,” said the bishop, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Subcommittee on African-American Affairs. MORE

Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional

(LifeSiteNews.com) – Utah's anti-polygamy law is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled this week. State Attorney General Sean Reyes has already said that he plans to appeal the decision. In December, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups said that the state could keep the ban, but would not be allowed to arrest people who violate it by living together in common-law marriage situations. This week Waddoups followed that decision with a ruling that the state had violated the religious, free speech, and due process rights of the plaintiffs. The state also owes them court fees, said Waddoups. The plaintiffs are Kody Brown, star of the TLC reality series Sister Wives, his legal wife Meri, and three other  women -- Janelle, Christine, and Robyn -- who claim to be three other wives of Brown. MORE

© Inherit the Mirth. All rights reserved.
Used with permission

Learning Love: Theology of the Body and the Family

Saint John Paul II’s catechesis on the human person and love, commonly known as the Theology of the Body, has developed an ever-growing following and continues to captivate the attention of young and old, religious and lay, married and single persons throughout the world.  There are many different ways to learn about this teaching: through programs, courses, personal study, and group reflection.  However, there is one place that serves as an excellent classroom for the Theology of the Body: the family. The family is the domestic Church.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The home is the first school of the Christian life where all learn love, repeated forgiveness, and prayerful worship” (no. 1666). MORE

Copyright © 2014, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
All rights reserved.

Are We Not Dying Fast Enough?


By Tom Grenchik


When the hospice movement began to get traction in the United States in the 1970s, it brought a healthy attitude toward the treatment of patients who were nearing death.  Rather than focusing on curing what could not be cured, hospice care centered on making the dying patient as comfortable as possible.  Naturally, this included medications that kept the patient stable and comfortable, while providing food and fluids.  If the patient was dying from cancer, the family allowed the patient to die from the cancer, and not from starvation, dehydration or a treatable infection.  Throughout the dying process, good hospice care witnesses to the dignity of the human person.   Countless are the patient and compassionate hospice workers who teach us the sacredness of this holy time period when one transitions from this life to the next.        

Yet recent articles in the Washington Post are raising concerns about a possible growing trend in some hospice care.  The Post suggests that as hospice programs enroll more patients who are not actually near death, a pattern of life-endangering doses of pain killers is emerging.  Without delving into the accuracy of this charge, it does tend to coincide with other concerns over a perceived growing practice of “stealth euthanasia” in some hospitals, nursing homes and even hospice programs. MORE



Feature Article from the 2014-2015 Program:

Advance Medical Directives: Planning for Your Future

Discover more on the US Bishops' website here.



“The primary reason for a evangelizing is the love of Jesus which we have received, the experience of salvation which urges us to ever greater love of him. What kind of love would not feel the need to speak of the beloved, to point him out, to make them known?” (Pope Francis)


“It is not ideologies that save the world, but only a return to the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who at the same time is everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?” (Pope Benedict XVI)

“The history of mankind, the history of salvation, passes by way of the family. In these pages I have tried to show how the family is placed at the centre of the great struggle between good and evil, between life and death, between love and all that is opposed to love. To the family is entrusted the task of striving, first and foremost, to unleash the forces of good, the source of which is found in Christ the Redeemer of man.” (Pope St. John Paul II)


“Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.” (St. Josemaría Escrivá)


“God is always faithful in His promises, but He often surprises us in the way He fulfills them.” (Pope Benedict XVI)


FHFamily Honor, Inc. 

Rooted in Saint John Paul II's Theology of the Body, Family Honor seeks to is the premiere ministry for empower and equipping parents to educate and guide their children according to God's plan. 

Family Honor offers a variety of programs and resources for parents, as well as programs for parents and teens together.  Learn more from their website. 


The Third Way is a powerful video that seeks to bring together the truth of the Church's doctrine regarding homosexuality and the command of Christ to love one another. 

Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has stated: "'The Third Way' is an exceptional film: a brief, articulate, deeply moving portrait of faithful Catholics living with same sex attraction. Anyone seeking to understand the human realities involved in a very difficult issue needs to see it." See it for yourself here.

UNFILTERED: Equipping Parents for an Ongoing Conversation about Internet Pornography

Covenant Eyes offers a great resource kit to help parents to protect their children from ever-growing saturation of pornography. They also offer an excellent video introduction on their website.

My House Columbus
is a non-pr
ofit lay apostolate working to promote sexual integrity through pornography prevention family protection, theology of the body information and resources, and accountability and healing networks. My House Columbus is a collaborative effort between Columbus Catholic Men’s Ministry, Columbus Catholic Women’s Ministry, and the Diocese of Columbus. My House offers three aspects: Protection, Healing, and Prevention. Learn more from their website.


Catholic Pulse is a service of the Knights of Columbus dedicated to bringing readers the top, daily headlines that Catholics need to know. We seek to present the news from the perspective of Catholics who want to know what’s happening in the Church, nation and world around them. From election coverage and breakthroughs in science, to breaking news and opinions around the globe, Catholic Pulse is the one-stop site that serves up those headlines quickly while providing further resources on social issues that are important to Catholics, such as the sanctity of life and marriage.  Learn more on their website.

 NCBCLooking for Catholic Bio-medical Ethics Information?  FREE consultations are available from the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).  Established in 1972, NCBC conducts research, consultation, publishing and education to promote human dignity in health care and the life sciences, and derives its message directly from the teachings of the Catholic Church. According to their website, they guarantee that a credentialed ethicist will be available 24/7 to assist any person with those most difficult moral health care decisions one must make from the beginning to the end of life. In 2012 alone, the ethicists of the Center helped over 1500 individuals in their time of need; free of charge. Read more about them on their website.

CPYUThe Center for Parent/Youth Understanding is a nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers. At a time when an already confusing youth culture is changing quickly, CPYU helps parents, youth workers, educators, and others understand teenagers and their culture so that they will be better equipped to help children and teens navigate the challenging world of adolescence.  They offer a free e-Update and many other resources.  Read more on their website.



The Culture of Life Update is a monthly email newsletter of the Culture of Life Ministry of St. Mary Basilica in Marietta, Ohio.  A key goal of the Culture of Life Ministry is to help people become better informed about life, marriage and family issues.

The sad reality is that many people simply are not aware of the attacks on life and the family.  Nor are they aware of the many positive actions that are being taken to defend life and build up the family. Here's where our monthly email newsletter can help.

Designed for busy people, the Culture of Life Update provides a once-a-month overview of news stories related to life, marriage and the family.  It's a great and easy way to get informed. For the current and past issues, please visit our website!

To unsubscribe from the Culture of Life Update, simply notify me.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE AND DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this newsletter is simply to inform the public about issues related to life, marriage, and the family. The inclusion of any article is not meant to be an endorsement of a particular author’s viewpoint, nor it is meant to be an endorsement of the organization providing the information. St. Mary Parish Culture of Life Ministry follows the teachings of the Catholic Church, and is subject to the authority of the hierarchy of the Church.