1. Pope’s No. 2 says Francis ‘serene’ despite cover-up claims.

By Associated Press, August 30, 2018, 6:59 AM

The Vatican’s secretary of state says Pope Francis is “serene” despite the “bitterness and concern” in the Vatican over accusations that he covered up for an American ex-cardinal accused of sexual misconduct.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin says accusations from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano created “great pain” within the Vatican.

In an interview Thursday with Vatican Insider, a website close to Francis, Parolin declined to comment on the contents of Vigano’s claims, repeating Francis’ invitation to read it and judge.


2. The Transgender Language War, California threatens to jail health workers who refuse to use ‘preferred’ pronouns.

By Abigail Shrier, Ms. Shrier is a writer living in Los Angeles, The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2018, Pg. A13

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation last year threatening jail time for health-care professionals who “willfully and repeatedly” refuse to use a patient’s preferred pronouns.

Typically, in America, when groups disagree, we leave them to employ the vocabularies that reflect their values. My “affirmative action” is your “racial preferences.” One person’s “fetus” is another’s “baby boy.” This is as it should be; an entire worldview is packed into the word “fetus.” Another is contained in the reference to one person as “them” or “they.” For those with a religious conviction that sex is both biological and binary, God’s purposeful creation, denial of this involves sacrilege no less than bowing to idols in the town square. When the state compels such denial among religious people, it clobbers the Constitution’s guarantee of free exercise of religion, lending government power to a contemporary variant on forced conversion.

But individuals need not be religious to believe that one person can never be a “they”; compelled speech is no less unconstitutional for those who refuse an utterance based on a different viewpoint, as the Supreme Court held in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943).

To the extent that the transgender movement seeks to promote compassion for those who struggle with their biological sex, we should be grateful for it. To the extent that it seeks to regulate others’ perspectives—commanding them to ignore biology and obey the dictates of new, state-mandated perception—we should resist it as an incursion into our most sacred liberties.

If there is any issue that can rouse conservatives and drive them to the polls, it is this one, with good reason. They perceive that their way of life is at stake. They know that if gender activists prevail, they will be left with a world they neither recognize nor like very much. They will be unable to communicate their displeasure; the words will have been stolen from them.


3. Aftershocks of cover-up accusation against Pope felt in Rome.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 30, 2018

Though the Vatican may be trying to ignore the tempest generated by explosive allegations from a former papal ambassador that Pope Francis knew about misconduct allegations against ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and ignored them, that didn’t stop reverberations being felt in Rome on Wednesday.

True to his pledge in an in-flight press conference Sunday night to not “say a word” about the charges, Pope Francis during his regular Wednesday general audience didn’t allude to the McCarrick charge. He did recall his weekend trip to Ireland, which featured an apology for the “sins, scandal and sense of betrayal” of the clerical abuse scandals, said that his meeting with survivors left a “deep impression,” and called for “honesty and courage” in facing the situation.

Yet despite the Vatican’s apparent strategy of riding out the storm, there were at least four aftershocks from the earthquake triggered on Sunday, when an 11-page letter from Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò was released claiming he informed Francis in June 2013 that McCarrick had “corrupted generations of seminarians,” that the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has a thick dossier on the ex-cardinal, and that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI had imposed restrictions as a result.

-Vatican spokesmen were compelled to issue a public denial after Italian news agencies moved a story claiming close aides to the pope described him as “embittered” about the Viganò affair.

-Two American archbishops on Tuesday and Wednesday became the latest prelates in the country to endorse Viganò’s credibility.

-Viganò himself gave an interview to one of the journalists who originally broke the story of his letter, among other things rejecting suggestions that he’s lashing out at Francis now out of sour grapes.

-At the end of Francis’s General Audience on Wednesday, a group in St. Peter’s Square could be heard chanting, and many observers thought they heard “Viganò!” A priest in the square later said it was actually a pilgrimage group chanting the name of their local bishop, but the fact people immediately thought of Viganò illustrates how much his name is in the air.


4. Archbishop Who Called on Pope to Resign Says Corruption Reaches the Top.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, August 30, 2018, 6:22 AM

The archbishop who sparked a crisis in the Catholic Church by calling on Pope Francis to resign has denied he was motivated by personal vendetta and said he sought to show that corruption had reached the top levels of the Church hierarchy.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano has gone into hiding since conservative mediapublished an 11-page statement in which he alleged the pope knew for years about sexual misconduct by an American cardinal and did nothing about it.

Vigano has been communicating through Aldo Maria Valli, an Italian television journalist who Vigano consulted several times before releasing his statement last Sunday when the pope was in Ireland.

Italian media has reported he was upset because he was never made a cardinal by former Pope Benedict or because Francis blocked his further advancement in the Church.

“I have never had feelings of vendetta and rancor in all these years,” he was quoted as telling Valli, who has been publishing statements from Vigano in his blog.

“I spoke out because corruption has reached the top levels of Church hierarchy,” said Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to Washington.

The Vatican had no comment on the new accusations by Vigano.


5. Pope Francis is facing a crisis of justice. Here are three steps he can take.

By Jason Berry, Jason Berry received the Investigative Reporters and Editors Best Book Award for “Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church” , The Washington Post, August 30, 2018, 6:25 AM, Opinion

What specifically can Francis do to restore the values of justice amid the exploding clerical sex abuse catastrophe? The pope should respond to Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s charge implicating him in the scandal around Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in order to clear the air and put his agenda back in balance. The core problem is a hierarchy of celibate men, honeycombed in sexual secrecy, addicted to structural mendacity — essentially, institutionalized lying.

Francis should take three specific steps.

1.Move forcefully with unused papal power.

Francis should convene a gathering of notable laywomen for consultation, and from their ranks elevate a cross-section as cardinals

The pope also needs an independent criminal judiciary to try negligent or predatory bishops.

2. The American investigation

An American investigation team needs at least one well-qualified laywoman, subpoena power to get church files, and public hearings, similar to a South Africa-like Truth and Reconciliation Commission. This would allow survivors to confront bishops and would create a vital forum for loyal Catholics to advance a strategy for structural reform.

3. The celibacy issue and gay priests.

Francis can strike a serious blow against clericalism by making the celibacy law optional, opening the priesthood to married men.

The law could be changed with a stroke of the papal pen, but popes are highly reluctant to take positions that would seem at variance with a predecessor’s stance. In 1967, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical praised mandatory celibacy (with no psychological citations) as the church’s “brilliant jewel.” Since then, more than 100,000 Americans have left the priesthood, many of them to marry, their hopes dashed by Vatican II reforms eclipsed.

Hard data are elusive, but a substantial body of literature underscores how, alongside that attrition rate, a gay priest culture took root. Father Donald Cozzens, a Cleveland seminary rector, worried in “The Changing Face of the Priesthood” (2000) that the priesthood was becoming “a gay profession.”

A 2002 Los Angeles Times survey of questionnaires to 1,854 priests, found 9 percent gay and 6 percent who “leaned” homosexual, a combined 15 percent — well above other survey data suggesting 5 percent of Americans as LGBT. Many researchers, I among them, consider the gay clergy numbers at least a third or higher.

However many bishops may be gay, the majority culture is just as guilty. By translating crimes into sins, in order to shelter priests who abused girls as well as boys, the bishops in many dioceses also sanctioned brass-knuckle legal tactics that turned survivors into enemies of the church. That is the great moral crime embedded in the clericalism that Pope Francis decries, a culture of self-serving power flaunting the values of people in the pews.

Gay Catholics who take solace in the sacraments ache at pederasty scandals, just like priests, gay and straight, who loyally serve the church.

The problem is the power structure.

The “homosexual subculture” is one strand in a hierarchy warped by pathological secrecy in concealing sexual behavior of all kinds, legal and not. Over the last quarter century, the crisis has grown in America, the root cause unchanged: a power structure of men without women, swamped in secrets that the legal system will no longer let them keep.


6. Pope’s cover-up crisis turns battle lines into first salvo.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, August 29, 2018, 6:05 PM

The author of the bombshell accusation of sex abuse cover-up against Pope Francis denied Wednesday he acted out of revenge or anger, breaking his silence as his claims continued to divide a Catholic Church already polarized under Francis’ reformist agenda.

While the Vatican is no stranger to scandal, leaks or plots, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’s j’accuse has weakened a papacy already under fire for Francis’ poor record on dealing with sex abuse cases, and has intensified a long-simmering ideological battle between right and left for the soul of the Catholic Church.

Both sides, however, agree Vigano’s accusations require a response given that, as the former chief Vatican diplomat in the U.S., he was in a position to know certain information. Francis’ decision to punt — “I won’t say a word on this,” he declared Sunday — hasn’t helped his cause or satisfied the faithful.

The Vatican declined to comment Wednesday beyond Francis’ remarks Sundaynight, when he was asked by a reporter on a flight home from Ireland if Vigano’s claims were true.

“I think the text speaks for itself, and you have sufficient journalistic ability to draw conclusions,” he said. “If time passes and you’ve drawn your conclusions, maybe I’ll speak.”


7. California closer to making colleges offer abortion drugs.

By Associated Press, August 29, 2018, 8:04 PM

A measure that would make California the first state to require all public universities to offer abortion medication at their campus health centers cleared a hurdle Wednesday.

None of the 34 University of California or California State University campuses currently offer abortion services. The California Assembly approved the measure, which returns to the Senate for a final sign-off.

Medication that instigates an abortion can be administered up to 10 weeks into a pregnancy. One medication is administered in the clinic and a patient is given a second drug to take later at home.


8. “I Will Not Say a Single Word on This”, What to make of Francis’ insufficient response to the serious allegations against him.

By Isaac Chotiner, Slate, August 29, 2018, 6:05 PM

To talk about what this all means, I recently spoke by phone with John L. Allen Jr., the editor of Crux, an independent Catholic news site, and one of the leading experts on the church. During the course of our conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, we discussed the reasons to both trust and distrust Viganò, where Francis has gone wrong in his response to the crisis, and the church’s biggest blind spot when it comes to confronting sexual abuse.

Isaac Chotiner: Now that we’ve had a few days of reporting and follow-up, how much credence do you give the allegations that were made?

John L. Allen Jr.: Well, I approach this as a reporter. What I would note is that much of the reaction to these allegations, both those who have said they find them credible and those who have said they really don’t, appear to be driven a lot more by politics than any hard evidence. The more a particular Catholic likes Pope Francis, the more inclined they are to dismiss all this, and the more they don’t like him, the more inclined they are to take it seriously. I think it is premature right now to draw hard conclusions one way or the other.

I think there are good grounds to be skeptical, but at the end of the day I also think that the charge has to be taken seriously. There ought to be some kind of review.

How do you think Pope Francis on the whole has dealt with the sex abuse crisis?

I think the kind of consensus view is that Pope Francis has been a mixed bag to date.

I think the most glaring would be the issue of accountability, not for the abuse itself but for the cover-up. The Catholic Church now has a strong system of accountability when a cleric is accused of sexually abusing a minor. That guy is removed from ministry. There’s an investigation. He’s reported to the cops. If it’s found to be credible, he usually is kicked out of the priesthood. There is no equivalent system for bishops or other leaders in the church who are accused of covering up that abuse. Nobody really knows where you report that. There’s no clear system for how it would be looked into and the facts established. There’s no clear sense of what the appropriate punishment for that would be. This has been going for, depending on where you start the clock, let’s call it two decades. It just strikes people as difficult to explain … particularly under a reforming pope.

Will anyone who knew about McCarrick in the Vatican own up or lose their jobs?

I think people want to know: When was the Vatican made aware of the concerns about McCarrick? If it is true—and there are indications that it probably is—that some sort of restrictions were imposed upon McCarrick under Pope Benedict, why wasn’t that made public and why did McCarrick appear to ignore them and how was he allowed to get away with that? Ultimately, who should have seen this train wreck coming and done something about it? I agree the question doesn’t just apply to Francis. It applies to anyone who was in leadership at the time.