Daily Links, Jan. 17: Good Catholic candidates, abortion battles, and sex talk

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As the Republican presidential candidate pool gets smaller, there is now even more focus on the remaining candidates, two of whom are Catholic. Rick Perry, an evangelical Christian, has declared that Rick Santorum is "a good Catholic" but not "a good conservative." Yet Evangelical Christians are backing Santorum, which Mary Curtis at the Washington Post says makes perfect sense.

Meanwhile, there are claims that the vote for Evangelicals to endorse Santorum as their chosen candidate to defeat Mormon Mitt Romney for the presidential bid was rigged, and that they really want the other Catholic, Newt Gingrich, instead.

Does your head feel like it is spinning yet?

For more lighthearted political reading, we asked our readers to rate the performance of the current president and to give us their thoughts on the presidency, and we've posted a sampling of some of the nearly 700 responses we received. Our readers were particularly creative when asked who they'd like to see as U.S. president, naming everyone from Pope Benedict and Father Robert Barron to Bill Gates and Jon Stewart.

In California, the bishops are supporting pro-life issues at both ends of the spectrum in the form of two ballot measures--one to require parental notification for minors to have an abortion and one to end to the death penalty. In Scotland, a battle is also heating up over conscientious objection rights for midwives who oppose abortion. 

After the bad news surrounding Catholic schools in Philadelphia, the Chicago Sun-Times reports some good news: Catholic schools in the city of Chicago are seeing their best growth since the 1960s.

Finally, cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan has been in the news a lot of late (and is apparently a big enough celebrity in New York to make it into the Daily News' gossip pages for going on a diet). On Sunday, Dolan got people's attention by starting his homily with these words: "I'm going to preach about sex." And he did. Maybe next time he should advertise that in advance.