1. AP Interview: Top US Catholic bishop plans for Trump meeting. 

By Michael Graczyk, Associated Press, April 13, 2017, 7:32 AM

The top Roman Catholic bishop in the U.S. lauds President Donald Trump for his anti-abortion views, for comments on the importance of Catholic schools and for promising to defend religious liberties. When it comes to refugees and immigration, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo says he and Trump will “have to agree to disagree.”

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, DiNardo, the archbishop for Galveston-Houston and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed concerns about Trump’s now court-stalled executive order blocking immigration from six Muslim-majority nations and about the effects the Trump administration’s immigration policies could have on families.

The White House had no comment Wednesday on prospects for a meeting, although such a session would continue a common practice for the head of the bishops’ conference to confer with the U.S. president.

“Right now seems to me the administration is still too early,” DiNardo said, but offered no timetable on when would be reasonable for him to speak with Trump. “They’re still working on getting their act together. It’s a massive thing to do to take over a federal administration.”


2. The GOP’s best choice for education reform. 

By Peter Murphy, The Washington Times, April 13, 2017, Pg. B3, Opinion

When it comes to education, the Trump administration and Congress have a historic opportunity to immediately improve the educational landscape and lives of countless children from financially needy and working-class households by including a scholarship donation tax credit in tax reform legislation under consideration this year.

Scholarship organizations exist now to help families access school options beyond the district public school assigned based on residence. A federal scholarship tax credit should encourage charitable donations to scholarship-granting organizations that empower families to have a wide range of schools to attend.

Peter Murphy is vice president for policy at the Invest in Education Foundation


3. ‘On the priesthood, Pope Francis says the devil is in the details. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 13, 2017

Thursday caught Francis in a reflective mood about the character of the priesthood.

The heart of the pope’s case to priests was that the Christian Gospel “is not an object, but a mission,” and that a mission is always expressed in the small, concrete details of life that add up to a joyful commitment.


In the end, Pope Francis laid out three key words to capture an authentically priestly life: “Concrete,” “tender,” and “humble.”

“This meek integrity,” he said, “gives joy to the poor, reanimates sinners, and allows those oppressed by demons to breathe anew.”

In effect, then, what we saw at this chrism Mass was the leader of the universal church insisting that the priesthood is not primarily about universals but particulars, details that become “incarnate” in the lives of concrete people needing the priest’s care.

That may not quite add up to a comprehensive theology of the priesthood, but it does carry the stamp of a man who’s been in the pastoral trenches himself and, in his famous phrase, “carries the smell of his sheep.”


4. Pope off to maximum-security prison for foot washing ritual. 

By Associated Press, April 13, 2017, 8:31 AM

On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis is heading to a maximum-security prison to wash the feet of 12 inmates — including three women and a Muslim — stressing once again that a pope must serve those on society’s margins.

The Paliano detention center, located in a fortress south of Rome, is the only Italian prison dedicated to housing mafia turncoats. These “collaborators of justice” can shave time off their sentences by cooperating with anti-mafia prosecutors.

It’s the third Holy Thursday that Francis has spent at a detention center, part of his longstanding emphasis on ministering to prisoners and giving them rehabilitation and hope.


5. Recognizing Religious Freedom: President Trump should speak out clearly and boldly in defense of the universal human right to religious freedom.

By Grazie Pozo Christie, U.S. News & World Report, April 12, 2017, 3:00 PM

It was just over year ago that then-Secretary of State John Kerry took the historic step of designating the violence against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East as an ongoing genocide.

Sadly, in the year since, very little has changed for the victims of religious persecution in Syria and elsewhere. The climate of aggressive intolerance has, if anything, grown hotter in many regions, while the attention and concern of most Americans remain fixated on other things. Despite the genocide designation, under the Obama administration international religious liberty was decidedly a back-burner issue. A new administration raises the hope of reversing that trend.

President Trump should speak out clearly and boldly in defense of the universally inherent human right to religious freedom. He has the power to shine a bright light on the suffering of so many and to remind them that our country will not forget them while crafting policy and fostering alliances. Therefore, it is crucial that Trump immediately appoint a new international religious freedom ambassador who will be able to inject these objectives into U.S. foreign policy.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves as a senior policy advisor for The Catholic Association


6. The Latest: Trump expected to sign family planning bill, By Associated Press, April 12, 2017, 8:43 AM

President Donald Trump is expected to sign legislation Thursday erasing an Obama-era rule that barred states from withholding federal family planning funds from Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

The rule was finalized shortly before Obama left office in January.

The legislation squeezed narrowly through the Senate last month after Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.