Psalm 118, 24: This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad!

Pope St. John Paul, 1986, Australia: “‘We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!’”

June 24, 2022: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and solemnity of St. John the Baptist!

Will any of us forget where we were on this day! A huge victory for life! The U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe V Wade by a 6-3 vote, returning legislation on abortion to states where it rightfully belongs. The Court is just that, a tribunal, not a legislative body, and should not have legislated on abortion 50 years ago.

A win for the unborn!   A voice for the voiceless!

Our prayers must continue: We must pray that the promised “rage” and violence against churches, pregnancy centers, etc. because of this decision does not materialize. We must pray for those who simply do not understand what the SCOTUS ruling really means. Perhaps most importantly, we must pray that, somehow, those who say they are pro-choice begin to understand that abortion is truly, really, actually murder, the taking of an innocent human life.


My guest this week in the interview segment of “Vatican Insider” is Blythe Kaufman, Many of you are probably familiar with Blythe, a wife, mother of three, endodontist, and Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. If that was not enough, she founded Children’s Rosary® in 2011, an International Prayer group movement for children.

Blythe is in Rome with her son Asher to speak to Vatican officials about the Children’s Rosary International Prayer Group that she founded in 2011. They will also participate in the 10th World Meeting of Families in Rome from June 22 through the 26th. This week and next, we talk about that as well as the Children’s Rosary, when founded, how it has spread, etc., and Asher explains how a parish can set up a Children’s Rosary group.

At the Meeting for Families – speaking with bishops from Zambia, introducing the Children’s Rosary to interested parties:

Blythe’s husband Seth took this photo Wednesday at the opening of World Meeting of Families:

Blythe and Asher appeared this week on EWTN News Nightly: here’s a link (go to 40 seconds mark):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2YiC6DXuCY

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are searching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.


BREAKING: Supreme Court rejects government control over religion teachers

BREAKING: Supreme Court rejects government control over religion teachers

 High Court rules Catholic schools have sole authority to select teachers of the faith

 WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of two California Catholic schools today, finding that the government cannot control a church school’s decision about who teaches its religion classes. In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty defended two Catholic elementary schools that chose not to renew the contracts of two fifth-grade teachers who were not effectively carrying out the schools’ missions. Becket argued that both Church and State are better off when the government doesn’t entangle itself in the internal religious decisions of religious groups about who best teaches the faith to the next generation.

 Justice Alito wrote for the Court that for religious schools, “educating young people in their faith, inculcating its teachings, and training them to live their faith are responsibilities that lie at the very core of the mission.” He also wrote about the “the rich diversity of religious education in this country,” citing examples of schools from many different religious traditions. The Court also cited “the close connection that religious institutions draw between their central purpose and educating the young in the faith.”

FOR MORE: https://www.becketlaw.org/media/supreme-court-rejects-government-control-religion-teachers/




WASHINGTON, D.C. – Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a 175-year-old religious order of women who care for the elderly poor. The Little Sisters have asked the Supreme Court for protection from a government mandate that is forcing them to provide services against their beliefs.

Little Sister gives landmark statement following Supreme Court hearing

The following statement can be attributed to Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor:


“Hello, my name is Sister Loraine Marie Clare. The Lord has given me a beautiful calling; that of being a Little Sister of the Poor.

We Little Sisters of the Poor are a group of women who make religious vows to God. We dedicate ourselves to serving the elderly poor regardless of race or religion, offering them a home where they are welcomed as Christ, cared for as family and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to Himself.  We have done this for more than 175 years.

But now we find ourselves in a situation where the government is requiring us to include services in our religious health care plan that violate some of our deepest held religious beliefs as Little Sisters.

We don’t understand why the government is doing this when there is an easy solution that doesn’t involve us—it can provide these services on the exchanges.  It’s also hard to understand why the government is doing this when 1/3 of all Americans aren’t even covered by this mandate, and large corporations like Exxon, Visa, and Pepsi are fully exempt, yet the government threatens us with fines of 70 million dollars per year if we don’t comply.

It is a privilege for us to care for the most vulnerable members of our society; serving them, comforting them, being a loving and healing presence in their lives; just being a “Little Sister to them” is our joy.  All we ask, is that we can continue to do this work.

After hearing the argument today, we are hopeful for a positive outcome.  We will continue to trust God because–as our Mother Foundress St. Jeanne Jugan said: “God will help us, the work is His”.

Thank you and God bless.”


I ran into Justice Scalia once, almost literally.

On the Sunday following the 9-11 attacks, Santa Susanna, the church for American and English-speaking Catholics in Rome, celebrated Mass in memory of the victims of that tragic day. The church was packed and it was only afterwards, as we were filing out of the church, I was on the steps and almost bumped into one of the visitors – Justice Scalia. We spoke only briefly and I learned that he had been in Italy on vacation but was unable to return to the States because of the 5 days of travel bans, airport closings, etc. Many people wanted to talk to him and, even though a real conversation was not possible, he smiled graciously and shook a lot of hands. He was waiting to hear word on the possibility of travel resuming to the U.S. that very day, and so was anxious to return to his hotel.

(I hope you have been following the extraordinary papal trip to Mexico at ewtn.com, on TV, via Facebook and all social media. My only post today is this piece on Justice Scalia and religious freedom, although I’ve been preparing for my appearance this afternoon on “At Home with Jim and Joy” when I’ll bring you the words of Pope Francis and Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on marriage, the family and the sacredness of life.)


When I learned Saturday night of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, I was filled with shock and dismay, shock at what appears to have been a premature death, and dismay because the Supreme Court – and the American people by extension – had just lost a great voice for reason, a voice of moderation, a powerful voice for conservative values.

My very first thought, a nanosecond after reading the news headlines, was, “Oh my heavens, what will become of religious freedom in America – the main voice for supporting this Constitutional right was just silenced!”


I immediately thought of the Little Sisters of the Poor because this order of Catholic nuns and other non-profits have been forced to ask the Court for relief due to the government’s refusal to exempt them from a regulation (part of the so-called HHS Mandate and Obamacare) that makes them choose between their faith—which prohibits them from providing contraceptives—and continuing to pursue their religious mission of serving the elderly poor.

Because SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) now has 8 members and they are equally divided into liberal (4) and conservative camps (4) the extremely important decisions facing the justices this year on religious freedom could end up in a tie, a “hung jury,” so to speak.

(A little history: The Constitution itself does not mandate 9 members: Article III, Section 1 only says: “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

(There haven’t always been 9 justices on the court. The U.S. Constitution, as we see, established the Supreme Court but left it to Congress to decide how many justices should make up the court. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number at 6: a chief justice and 5 associate justices. “The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at 8 (28 U. S. C. §1).” In 1869, Congress raised the number of justices to 9, where it has stood ever since.)

One of the hot button cases before the Court is Zubik v Burwell (Zubik is Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh): One website that studies SCOTUS wrote: “In Zubik, a host of religious organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, have asked the court to block a requirement by the Obama administration that they sign a form asking for a religious exemption for providing mandatory contraception coverage in their insurance plans for employees that’s required by the Affordable Care Act. Virtually all of the lower courts have ruled against the nuns and the other organizations, declaring that signing a piece of paper isn’t much of a burden on religious liberty. So a tied Supreme Court vote is likely to result in a victory for the Obama administration. Nuns lose.”

And that is why I got the chills when I heard of Justice Scalia’s death.

EWTN is one of the dozens of organizations, institutions, universities and colleges who are suing, along with the Little Sisters of the Poor, for the right to exercise freedom of religion in the face of the HHS Mandate.

Pope Francis, by the way, is aware of their case. If you remember, he paid an impromptu visit on the Sisters in Washington, D.C. on September 23 during his U.S. trip.

On July 23, 2015 I posted a story from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, as it defends the Sisters and many others: The headline was LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT, Forced to choose faith or massive fines, nuns seek relief.

On January 11, 2016, I posted another story from the Becket Fund:


WASHINGTON, D.C. (The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) A diverse coalition of religious leaders representing Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Native American, Catholic, Protestant, and other faiths will be joined by over 200 Democratic and Republican Members of Congress in filing friend-of-the-court briefs at the United States Supreme Court today on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor (view full list).  The briefs are being filed in Zubik v. Burwell, in which the High Court will decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor and other ministries can be forced to change their healthcare plans to offer drugs that violate their religious beliefs when those same drugs could be made available through the healthcare exchanges.

“It’s easy to support religious freedom for the majority,” said Dr. Ossama Bahloul, Imam of The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro. “But the test of America’s commitment to religious diversity and freedom comes when we show we’ll defend minorities and those with whom we do not fully agree.”

“We have great admiration for the Little Sisters who are standing up not just for themselves and the elderly poor they serve but for the rights of all people of faith, including Jews,” said Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin. “Their courage is an example to all of us.” Rabbi Rocklin is a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America.

“We stand with the Little Sisters because America’s proudest moments have come when the many have joined to defend the rights of the few, and we know too well the real cost when our government ignores its promises and puts expediency above principle,” said Pastor Robert Soto of the Lipan Apache Tribe in Texas.

“We are overjoyed and deeply grateful for the diverse outpouring of support we have received from such a variety of people and groups,” said Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “We have been serving the elderly poor for over 175 years and are simply asking the government to allow us to continue our life’s work without being forced to choose between our faith and millions in government fines.”

I am emphasizing the Little Sisters of the Poor case because it is emblematic of what is happening in our country vis-à-vis freedom of religion, that is, attempts to abridge, change, or undermine what our original U.S. Constitution says about religious freedom:

FIRST AMENDMENT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Justice Scalia’s was a voice that clearly, forcefully defended that right.

And now, we wait with bated breath.

President Obama has the right to nominate a new justice. However, President Obama undid DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, so there’s no reason to think he might name a justice who would protect religious freedom.