1. A survey of conflicts Francis sees covered in ‘shameful silence’, By Inés San Martín, Vatican Correspondent. Crux, August 16, 2016.

 As the Catholic Church marked the feast of the Assumption of Mary on Monday, Pope Francis remembered women who suffer “in body and spirit” because of the greed of men, while at the same time decrying the world’s “shameful silence” over some long-standing forgotten conflicts.

“We think, in particular, of the women overwhelmed by the weight of life and the drama of violence, the women enslaved by the arrogance of the powerful, the girls forced into inhuman work, the women forced to surrender in body and spirit to the greed of men,” Francis said.

The pope’s words came as he was addressing the thousands gathered in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square on Monday, feast of the Assumption of Mary, and a national holiday in Italy known as Ferragosto.


2. Indian archbishop’s death marks loss of a giant for new martyrs, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor. Crux, August 16, 2016.

There are more than 5,000 Catholic bishops in the world, and the law of averages being what it is, not all are going to be moral heroes, spiritual giants or intellectual visionaries. Most are simply decent pastors trying to get through the day, with no vast ambition or agenda.

Every now and then, however, you trip across a truly remarkable shepherd, one who embodies what Catholicism is about at its best. The Church lost one such figure on Sunday, with the death of 81-year-old Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, India, who stepped down in 2011.

The Kandhamal district of his archdiocese was the setting for the most violent anti-Christian pogrom of the early 21st century in 2008, when mobs of Hindu radicals set upon Christian villages, killing at least 100 people, torching hundreds of churches, schools and social service centers, and leaving more than 50,000 people stranded in a nearby forest where more died of snakebite and hunger.


3.  Under heavy security, Catholic pilgrims visit Lourdes shrine, By Iain Sullivan and Angela Charlton. Associated Press, August 15, 2016.

Lourdes, France — Watched over by French soldiers and police, Catholic pilgrims from around the world prayed together for healing and peace Monday at a grotto shrine in Lourdes where exceptional security greeted the spiritual travelers due to recent extremist attacks.

A helicopter circled overhead as thousands of visitors bearing candles and banners streamed toward the celebrated grotto and the sprawling plaza of the basilica, apparently undeterred by new security restrictions or the recent attacks.

A special prayer was held for France and for the more than 200 people killed by “the blind violence of terrorism” in Islamic extremist attacks over the past year and a half, including a priest whose throat was slit last month.