1. How a Priest Made the Case for Mother Teresa’s Sainthood, By Laurie Goodstein. The New York Times, August 14, 2016, Pg. A9.

Mother Teresa will be formally canonized on Sept. 4 by Pope Francis in Rome. Widely known as “the Saint of Calcutta,” she founded religious orders of women and men that serve the poor in more than 130 countries. Even for a woman who is an icon of modern saintliness, the Roman Catholic Church requires that someone must gather evidence of miracles and present a case that she is worthy to be admitted to the pantheon of saints.

That someone is the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, a Canadian priest and member of the Missionaries of Charity Fathers, a religious order founded by Mother Teresa. Soon after she died in 1997 at age 87, he was made the postulator — the main promoter of her case for sainthood. Father Brian, who divides his time between Rome and a Missionaries of Charity house in Tijuana, Mexico, is also the editor of a new book, “A Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve,” drawn from Mother Teresa’s teachings and testimony about her life. He was interviewed in August before leaving for Rome to prepare for the canonization ceremonies. This interview has been edited and condensed.


2. Pope Francis strives to back up apologies with action, By Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent. Crux, August 15, 2016.

It might be a cliché, but actions generally speak louder than words, and rarely is that more evident than when a pope apologizes.

On his way back from Armenia in late June, Pope Francis suggested that Christians probably should ask forgiveness from gays who have been offended by the Church, from the poor, from women who have been mistreated, from children exploited for labor, and for having blessed so many weapons – basically, from anyone whom the Church could have defended and failed to do so. 

Last Friday, when Francis visited a Rome center for women rescued from prostitution rackets, he delivered an apology for one of these issues through both deeds and words, asking forgiveness from the women there, in the name of Christianity, for the suffering they’ve endured.


3.  Pope meets with freed sex slaves, By Associated Press. The Washington Post, August 13, 2016, Pg. A6.

Pope Francis has met 20 women from six countries who have been freed from prostitution as part of his Holy Year of Mercy activities focusing on communities that have experienced suffering.

The Vatican said the meeting Friday was a call to combat human trafficking, which the pope has defined as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.”

The Vatican said all of the women, whose average age was around 30, had suffered great physical violence and live under protection. They were from Romania, Albania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Italy and Ukraine.


4. Planned Parenthood defunding law blocked, By Associated Press. The Washington Post, August 13, 2016, Pg. A2.

U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett blocked a state law aimed at diverting public money from Planned Parenthood, saying in a ruling Friday that the group stood to suffer “irreparable injury.”

The Ohio law targets the more than $1.4 million in funding that Planned Parenthood gets through the state Health Department. That money, mostly from the federal government, supports certain education and prevention programs. The law would bar such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions.

The restrictions, which had been slated to take effect in May, were signed into law by Gov. John Kasich (R) during his failed presidential bid.


5. Pittsburgh diocese: Government is violating Supreme Court mandate order, Catholic News Agency, August 13, 2016, 3:18 PM.

Despite a Supreme Court order seeming to protect its religious freedom, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says the federal government continues to exert strong pressure to force contraceptives into its health care plans.   

The federal government has made “an extremely aggressive interpretation” of a recent Supreme Court’s order, the diocese said Aug. 11. The government is “apparently trying to take over” its health plans.

The government aims to force the diocese’s third party administrators to include objectionable coverage in self-insured plans.


6. Memo to Pope Francis: For God’s sake, take a break!, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor. Crux, August 13, 2016.

Monday marks an Italian holiday called ferragosto, which now coincides with the feast of the Assumption of Mary, but which in reality stretches all the way back to ancient Rome and the summertime Feriae Augusti, or “holidays of Augustus,” introduced by the emperor.

Generally speaking, Rome goes into near-total hibernation around this time; the city empties out, restaurants and shops are closed, TV airs re-runs, and basically everyone takes a long nap. The old joke is that only two things move in the Eternal City during this time of August: cani e americani, or “dogs and Americans.”

In the Pope Francis era, however, that’s no longer true, because someone else is on the prowl even now: An Argentinian completely missing an “off” switch.


7. Some personal thoughts on the months ahead, Archbishop Chaput’s Weekly Column, August 12, 2016.

My column this week is a collection of personal comments.  Read it as thoughts from a brother in the faith, not as teachings from an archbishop. 

Presidential campaigns typically hit full stride after Labor Day in an election year.  But 2016 is a year in which two prominent Catholics – a sitting vice president, and the next vice presidential nominee of his party — both seem to publicly ignore or invent the content of their Catholic faith as they go along.  And meanwhile, both candidates for the nation’s top residence, the White House, have astonishing flaws.

This is depressing and liberating at the same time.  Depressing, because it’s proof of how polarized the nation has become.  Liberating, because for the honest voter, it’s much easier this year to ignore the routine tribal loyalty chants of both the Democratic and Republican camps.  I’ve been a registered independent for a long time and never more happily so than in this election season.  Both major candidates are – what’s the right word? so problematic – that neither is clearly better than the other.