1. More Catholics likely to vote for a Democrat over Trump, poll finds.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, December 11, 2019, Pg. A6

If the presidential election were held today, more Roman Catholic voters would opt for any major Democratic candidate over President Trump, according to a new poll from EWTN and Real Clear Politics.

Political observers say Catholic voters resemble the rest of the electorate.

“There really isn’t a ‘Catholic vote,’ per say, anymore,” said John Kenneth White, a political science professor at Catholic University. “That’s not an identity that most Catholics carry into the polling booth when they vote, and that’s quite different from say the Kennedy election of 1960.”

Mr. White said the EWTN/Real Clear Politics survey demonstrated the first significant measure of Catholic sentiment in recent memory.

EWTN, based in Alabama, said Tuesday the poll results provide only a glimpse of the Catholic electorate.

“There is still much more to learn in the coming polls over the next year, especially in understanding more about the active Catholics and the key issues of our time, including abortion, secularism, religious liberty, and the polarization of American politics and life,” EWTN News Executive Editor Matthew Bunson said. “This poll, however, provides a starting opportunity to understand where Catholics stand, what they are thinking, how they are living — or not living — the Catholic faith, and how that will shape their vote and participation in American elections.”


2. Johann Baptist Metz, 91, Theologian of Compassion.

By Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times, December 11, 2019, Pg. B12

Johann Baptist Metz, one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century and a pioneer of Jewish-Christian dialogue in the aftermath of the Holocaust, died on Dec. 2 in Münster, Germany. He was 91.

His death was confirmed by the University of Münster, where he taught for many years.

Professor Metz believed that the church must be aligned with the victims of history, and he devoted his work to building solidarity with the oppressed. He challenged German Catholics to face the reality of Auschwitz when many did not.

“Articulating others’ suffering is the presupposition of all claims to truth,” Professor Metz said when he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1994. “Even those made by theology.”

Professor Metz shaped generations of students, as well as influential Catholic bishops, in the years just after the Second Vatican Council, a critical time for the church when it was dealing with the council’s steps toward confronting the modern world. Yet unlike such theological contemporaries as Jürgen Moltmann, Karl Rahner and Hans Küng, he did not achieve international fame.


3. As Christianity grows in Africa, anti-Christian persecution rises.

Crux, December 11, 2019

According to a new Pew Research Center report, there are already more Christians in Africa than any other continent. By 2060, six of the top ten countries with the largest Christian populations will be in Africa, up from three in 2015.

But as Christianity grows in Africa, so does the persecution of Christians.

“Christians are increasingly seen as a threat to Muslim-dominated lands and governments,” said Dede Laugesen, the executive director of Save the Persecuted Christians, a U.S. charity.

“Mass territories of uninhabited, ungoverned regions provide easy cover for Islamic terror group activities. Combined with extreme poverty, joblessness and well-established routes for illegal arms dealing and the illicit slave trade, resource-rich African countries north of the equator provide fertile ground for Islamic State fighters fleeing the Middle East and looking for new territories to dominate,” he told Crux.


4. Vatican to host interfaith meeting on end-of-life issues.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, December 11, 2019

Helping society move from a throwaway culture to “one that cares” is the goal of a Dec. 11-12 conference being co-organized by the Vatican.

“The sick and the elderly are considered people who have nothing left to offer,” said Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, the head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life.

“They are not productive, they are not useful, they constitute a weight for our societies that have efficiency as the absolute goal. This is a challenge denounced by Pope Francis: The throwaway culture.”

Titled “Religion and Medical Ethics Symposium: Palliative Care and Mental Health of the Elderly,” the event will have the participation of 250 people from all over the world.

The conference is being co-hosted by Qatar’s World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), created in 2012, with the support of the BMJ, the UK’s most prominent medical journal.


5. In Tagle, Pope strengthens his Vatican hand and sets up possible successor.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, December 11, 2019

For that reason, personnel is always policy in the Eternal City, which makes Pope Francis’s choice Sunday to name the 62-year-old Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila in the Philippines the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples a key move indeed.

Tagle replaces the 73-year-old Italian Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Vatian’s former ambassador in Iraq who refused to vacate Baghdad in 2003 when American bombs began to fall, and who now moves on to become the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Tagle’s move is important for at least four reasons.

First, it’s another strong Francis bishop in a senior Vatican post. It bolsters the ranks of Vatican personnel on board with the pope’s agenda, thereby giving Francis more leverage to get things done inside his own shop.

Second, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is a big deal on the Vatican scene, and it’s about to become bigger.

Today, under the terms of the pope’s impending overhaul of Vatican structures, it’s set to become the centerpiece of a new mega-Dicastery for Evangelization, taking over the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization as well. The idea is that this new department for evangelization will become number one in the Vatican’s internal pecking order, supplanting the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, traditionally known as La Suprema, or “the supreme.”

Third, Tagle’s appointment also puts an exclamation point on the “Philippines’ moment” in global Catholicism.


6. Tangled Web of Transactions Utilized to Fund Bankrupt Italian Hospital.

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, December 10, 2019

Using costly methods that appear deceptive, Vatican officials diverted 50 million euros belonging to the Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome to guarantee a loan for the same amount to a bankrupt Italian dermatology hospital in 2014, despite warnings from the cardinal appointed to oversee financial transparency not to go ahead with the transaction.

According to documents seen by the Register, the officials, including two lay consultants who received six-figure commissions on top of their other salaries for their efforts, worked with two Curial cardinals to arrange for the Bambino Gesù hospital, which is under Vatican authority, to guarantee the loan to the Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI).

The IDI, then owned by the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception (CFIC), was at the time on the brink of closure, with debts in excess of 600 million euro. A further body, a foundation called the Fondazione Luigi Maria Monti, was set up in 2015 to help save IDI and keep it within the field of Catholic health care.

As reported by CNA in November, the loan was firmly opposed at the time by Cardinal George Pell, then the prefect of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy, but Pope Francis overrode his opposition and agreed to let the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) go ahead with the transaction. The Holy Father later canceled the hospital’s guarantee of the loan when he realized the error, but the 50 million euro has yet to be returned by APSA to the children’s hospital.


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