1. Pope sets May 13 as canonization date for Fatima siblings.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, April 20, 2017, 6:31 AM

Pope Francis confirmed Thursday he will use his upcoming visit to the Portuguese shrine at Fatima to canonize two Portuguese shepherd children who say they saw visions of the Virgin Mary 100 years ago.

Francis convened his cardinals to formally set the May 13 date for the saint-making Mass.


2. Killed for love: How new martyrs showcase new kind of martyrdom.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, April 20, 2017

The Catholic Church considers martyrs those who were killed in odium fidei, meaning, out of hatred for the faith. However, St. John Paul II stretched that standard on a few occasions, including the 1982 canonization of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died at Auschwitz because he volunteered to take someone else’s place, not because he was Catholic or a priest.

Through the years, some have even spoken of a de facto new standard for martyrdom – odium amoris, “hatred of love” that could also apply to candidates such as Father Pino Puglisi of Sicily, and that many believe was applied to Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.


3. A Blow to Blaine Amendments: An anti-Catholic law has a bad day at the Supreme Court, By Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2017, 7:15 PM, Review & Outlook

Religious liberty had a good morning at the Supreme Court on Wednesday as the Justices heard arguments in a case about whether Missouri could bar a church from a playground-resurfacing program merely because it’s a church. The state didn’t get many converts.

Discrimination against the church is a “clear burden on a constitutional right,” Justice Elena Kagan said, because “people of a certain religious status are being prevented from competing in the same way everybody else is for a neutral benefit.” Can you say Hallelujah?

Progressives have rallied in opposition to Trinity Lutheran’s case for fear that acknowledging the principle of government neutrality toward religion will undermine their claims that public vouchers for religious schools are unconstitutional. They should have picked a better case.


4. Donald Trump Seeks to Meet Pope Francis on European Trip in May: Men exchanged barbs over president’s immigration stance during 2016 election campaign.

By Rebecca Ballhaus and Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2017, 4:45 PM

The White House is seeking a meeting between President Donald Trump and Pope Francis when the U.S. leader travels to Europe next month, a prospect welcomed by the pontiff, U.S. and Vatican officials said Wednesday.

The U.S. and the Holy See established diplomatic relations in 1984, and to date there have been 10 U.S. ambassadors to the Vatican. Mr. Trump hasn’t yet nominated an envoy, but diplomatic protocol doesn’t require the presence of an ambassador in order for the pope and president to meet.

President Barack Obama paid two visits to the Vatican, meeting Pope Benedict XVI in 2009 and Pope Francis in 2014. Mr. Obama also received Pope Francis at the White House in 2015. That visit included the first address by any pontiff to a joint session of the U.S. Congress.


5. UN council accredits religious rights group stalled by panel. 

By Edith M. Lederer, Associated Press, April 19, 2017, 9:01 PM

One of the U.N.’S main bodies voted Wednesday to grant accreditation to a British-based group that promotes religious freedom, overriding a U.N. committee that had deferred action on the matter for years.

The 54-member Economic and Social Council voted 28-9 with 12 abstentions to approve consultative status for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, giving the group the right to attend open meetings and conferences at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council and other U.N. bodies.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide works in more than 20 countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.