Daily Links, Oct. 7: Adoption, contraception, and entertaining homilies

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It's Friday, and boy has this week flown by. It also seems that after being slow earlier in the week, the flow of Catholic news is starting to pick up.

The big story today is the newest development in the ongoing battle between Catholic Charities agencies and the state of Illinois over adoption and foster care services. The Diocese of Peoria announced today that it is pulling out of the legal battle and withdrawing from all state-funded contracts because it will not place children with same-sex couples, as now required by state law.

But there's a silver lining to this story - all of the Peoria diocese's contracts will be transferred as of Feb. 1 to the new Center for Youth and Family Solutions, a new secular entity that will be unaffiliated with the Catholic Church.

Adoption services, however, aren't the only headache for Catholic agencies in the realm of religious freedom. Arguments are still ongoing over the proposed HHS mandate to require health insurance plans to cover contraception. At the Washington Post, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo backs the church's argument against the mandate. Other Catholics, however, have a different view.

Of course, the other story occupying the headlines this week is Occupy Wall Street. Many have noted that they lack organization and focus, but in an insightful commentary, Jeff Mirus at CatholicCulture.org says we should focus on what is causing the movement, and how Catholic teaching on solidarity might factor into our economic situation.

Around the office here at U.S. Catholic, we often use the phrase "that's dumb." Well, Lisa Miller uses the same eloquence in discussing a study that finds those who use reason are less likely to believe in God, concluding that "it's dumb to dismiss religious believers as dumb." Well said.

Finally, how are the homilies in your parish - fun and inspiring or dreadfully boring? Blogger Randy Hain argues that it shouldn't matter, because we don't go to Mass to be entertained. Can't say I agree with his assessment that a good homily is "a bonus" though. Thankfully, the US bishops are working on helping priests perfect the art of a good homily.

Have a good weekend, hopefully one that includes an inspiring homily on Sunday.