Daily Links: Tues., Sept. 27: Pro-life questions, last meals, and arguing with Jesus

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With all the talk about the death penalty of late, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate looks at an interesting question on their 1964 blog: is there an overlap between Catholics who consider themselves pro-life and those who support the death penalty? CARA reports that 65% of Catholics are in favor of the death penalty, while 65% also oppose abortion "on demand." On another life issue, assisted suicide, 68% of Catholics think it is OK for patients with a terminal illness to choose to end their life. CARA attempts to sort out what these numbers mean when it comes to being pro-life in today's Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, another pro-life group is taking some heat over their financial practices. National Catholic Reporter yesterday took a close look at some accusations against the American Life League. Seems like there are still a lot of unanswered questions, but I doubt we've heard the last of this story.

On the death penalty issue, BBC News looks at the traditional practice of offering a last meal to a person on death row, which was recently abolished in Texas. The best part of the story, however, might be the sidebar with comments from a former death row chaplain, who says many would decline their last meal. "Those who had spiritual reasons," he explains, "they would say 'Jesus didn't get a last meal on the day he was executed.'"

In Illinois, a judge has denied Catholic Charities’ request to stay the ruling that will cost the agency its adoption and foster care contracts. Catholic Charities plans to file an appeal, claiming that they should be able to retain the contracts even though they would not agree to place children in the homes of couples who are unmarried or in civil union partnerships.

Here's some more positive news about the work of the Church: In Africa, a program run by Catholic organizations is making a positive difference in the lives of those with HIV/AIDS, including orphaned children who lost their parents to the disease. In Europe, however, Catholicism is struggling, so The Guardian asks what it will take for Pope Benedict to recapture Europe

And finally, what would Jesus argue about? In a truly Christian nation, says this RNS commentary, it wouldn't be any of the things we most frequently argue about in America. But if you want to know how the Lord might argue, there's also a book to teach you how to argue like Jesus.