1. Ferment over pope’s supposed Hell bombshell mounts in Italy.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, April 5, 2018

Ferment around Pope Francis’s latest bombshell “interview,” in which the pontiff was quoted denying Hell, shows no signs of fading, as an Italian columnist was fired this week after saying the interview was “fake news,” and the Italian bishops’ daily defended the pope’s friendship with 93-year-old journalist Eugenio Scalfari as a healthy challenge to the “catholically correct.”

After the interview appeared on Holy Thursday the Vatican issued a denial, saying it was not a “faithful transcript” of what the pope had said. The language echoed denials the Vatican issued after earlier “interviews” published by Scalfari in 2013 and 2014.


2. ‘A Woman’s Voice’ showcases women with ‘powerful, loving’ roles.

By Christopher White, Crux, April 5, 2018

“A Woman’s Voice: Conversations of Discernment and Grace” was released on Easter Sunday by Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, and profiles 11 different Catholic women around the globe in their various capacities as mothers, diocesan chancellors, teachers, nuns, lawyers, and chief executive officers.

According to Father Thomas Rosica, CEO of Salt and Light, the Easter release was an intentional effort to highlight the role of women as the first witnesses to Christ’s Resurrection.

“Anyone who thinks that the early Church invented its accounts of the resurrection must ask themselves why the Gospels all insist on telling the story of the women who were the first witnesses,” Rosica said in a statement. “What was once believed to be ‘idle tales’ is now a bold, transparent testimony to the resurrection with real historical credibility.”

“Today, the Church still struggles to give women their due voice as witnesses to our risen life in Christ. Pope Francis has invited the Church to develop a deeper theology of women,” Rosica continued.


3. Air Turbulence and the Resurrection.

By George Weigel, First Things, April 4, 2018

If there’s anything Catholics in the United States should have learned over the past two decades, it’s that order—in the world, the republic, and the Church—is a fragile thing. And by “order,” I don’t mean the same old same old. Rather, I mean the dynamic development of world politics, our national life, and the Church within stable reference points that guide us into the future.

Many of those reference points seem to have come unstuck, and that’s why we’re experiencing an unusual amount of air turbulence these days. Or so I argue in The Fragility of Order: Catholic Reflections on Turbulent Times, which has just been published by Ignatius Press. The book collects thirteen essays that I’ve written in recent years on world history and politics, American history and politics, and the post–Vatican II Church. The set-up is a new essay on the way things seem in 2018, contrasted with the way they looked a quarter-century ago, with the Cold War won and the Church beginning to experience the renewal John Paul II defined and promoted in his authoritative interpretation of Vatican II. 


4. Catholics Honor Martin Luther King on the 50th Anniversary of Assassination.

By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, April 4, 2018, 3:16 AM

Bells will ring out in honor of civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination April 4, and Catholic bishops say it is a time for Christians to ask God what they need to do to counter racism.

“The moment is also an opportunity for us to pause and reflect individually on what we are doing to build the culture of love, respect and peace to which the Gospel calls us and to also ask ourselves how we seek to help our brothers and sisters still suffering under the weight of racism,” the bishops said.

April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of the civil-rights leader’s 1968 assassination in Memphis, Tennessee. Commemorations will include a moment of silence and a worldwide bell-ringing campaign.

In Washington, D.C., the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception will also take part. Its bells will peal 39 times, King’s age at his death, “in homage to Dr. King’s legacy and his many contributions, including the principle of nonviolent resistance,” the U.S. bishops said.


5. Archbishop Chaput: Paul VI would not be surprised by the #MeToo movement.

By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency, April 4, 2018, 7:01 PM

“The #MeToo movement, emotional wreckage, sexual disease and date rape are the realities we’ve inherited from the sexual revolution. Paul VI would not be surprised,” said Archbishop Charles Chaput in a speech Wednesday.

“The Church in Humanae Vitae identified and rejected sexual exploitation of women years before that message entered the cultural mainstream,” said Chaput.

The Archbishop of Philadelphia spoke April 4 on the need to heal the wounds in human sexuality and marriage by embracing God’s vision for love and marriage. He was delivering the opening keynote for a symposium at the Catholic University of America celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Humanae vitae.

The April 4-6 conference gathers scholars from across the US in Washington, D.C., to discuss the encyclical, from the philosophical underpinnings of the Church’s teaching on contraception to pastoral initiatives with natural family planning.

Chaput pointed out how prescient was Blessed Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on the regulation of birth in its predictions of the societal effects of widespread use of contraception. 
Humanae vitae predicted that the pill would contribute to increased objectification of women and conjugal infidelity.

“Turn on the radio or TV and see how this has played out … As late as the 1980s, much of our popular entertainment still showed casual sex as affectionate, healthy and fun, with few if any consequences,” explained Chaput.