1. Former Cardinal Sued for Abuse.

By Joseph De Avila, The Wall Street Journal, December 6, 2019, Pg. A13A

Two men have filed lawsuits accusing former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of sexual abuse since a New Jersey law went into effect that gives people a new opportunity to sue their alleged assailants.

A law in New Jersey went into effect this month that opens a two-year window for sexual-abuse victims to file civil lawsuits, no matter when the abuse took place.

Mr. Grein’s lawsuit also names the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark as defendants, alleging they were negligent in their management of Mr. McCarrick.

A representative for the archdiocese said it is reviewing the allegations in the lawsuit.


2. Don’t Believe in God? Lie to Your Children, The alternative is to tell them they’re simply going to die and turn to dust.

By Erica Komisar, The Wall Street Journal December 6, 2019, Pg. A17, Houses of Worship

As a therapist, I’m often asked to explain why depression and anxiety are so common among children and adolescents. One of the most important explanations— and perhaps the most neglected—is declining interest in religion. This cultural shift already has proved disastrous for millions of vulnerable young people.

A 2018 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology examined how being raised in a family with religious or spiritual beliefs affects mental health. Harvard researchers had examined religious involvement within a longitudinal data set of approximately 5,000 people, with controls for socio-demographic characteristics and maternal health.

In an individualistic, narcissistic and lonely society, religion provides children a rare opportunity for natural community. My rabbi always says that being Jewish is not only about ethnic identity and bagels and lox: It’s about community. The idea that hundreds of people can gather together and sing joyful prayers as a collective is a buffer against the emptiness of modern culture.

Today the U.S. is a competitive, scary and stressful place that idealizes perfectionism, materialism, selfishness and virtual rather than real human connection. Religion is the best bulwark against that kind of society. Spiritual belief and practice reinforce collective kindness, empathy, gratitude and real connection. Whether children choose to continue to practice as adults is something parents cannot control. But that spiritual or religious center will benefit them their entire lives.

Ms. Komisar is a psychoanalyst and author of “Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters.”


3. Baltimore prelate calls narrative of tension between US bishops, pope bogus.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, December 6, 2019

[Editor’s note: This is part one of a Crux interview with Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore.]

Having met with the pontiff for three hours Tuesday, Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore came away convinced the perception that Pope Francis doesn’t really like Americans very much is not only untrue, but that it’s being used both by the extreme right and left to sow division.

Lori is currently in Rome taking part in his ad limina visit, an every-five-year pilgrimage by bishops from around the world to the Eternal City where they encounter the pontiff and visit different Vatican departments.

Speaking with Crux, the prelate denied the idea that the U.S. bishops are “anti-Francis” or on the brink of a schism.

On other topics, the man tapped to investigate disgraced Bishop Michael Bransfield who was removed from the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, said he believes the Vatican needs to release its long-awaited report compiling the investigation against former priest and cardinal Theodore McCarrick who was removed from the clerical state after being found guilty of sexually abusing minors.

“I think that the only thing worse than releasing it is not releasing it, because a great majority of Catholics expect us to own up to this and I think we have to own up to it,” he said.


4. Pan-African summit opens with pleas for justice for Africa and its people.

By Christopher White, Crux, December 6, 2019

A much-anticipated Pan-African Congress opened on Thursday with a plea for justice, both for the continent and its people.

In the inaugural Mass on the grounds of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Cape Coast, Ghana, encouraged the 80 delegates to seek justice “not from law courts…but justice, which comes through Jesus Christ.”

“Jesus is the one who will bring forth justice to the nations,” said Palmer-Buckle, insisting only once a faith in Jesus is secured “can we go forward…to bring his meekness, tenderness, and justice.”

The theme of the four-day Pan-African Congress on Theology, Society, and Pastoral Life – “What Must We do to Perform the Works of God?” – was elevated by all of the speakers during the opening day’s festivities.

Father Albert Ikpenwa, rector of Bigard, told the crowd that both “human events and social confusion” are “tempting faith,” citing materialism and social and political crises that have challenged the Church.


5. The honor of Archbishop Gomez’s new position.

By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Catholic News Agency, December 5, 2019
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

When Archbishop Jose Gomez was elected to head the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) earlier this month, he tweeted that it was an honor – and not only for him, but for “every Latino Catholic in the country.” He’s right about that. We Latino Catholics feel it a great honor and a point of pride that a fellow Hispanic should take the lead. Not just because he is Latino, but because he’s a man with a sterling character and gentle manner, a man well known both for his sympathetic attitude toward the plight of immigrants and his traditional approach to social issues. This is a powerful and attractive combination to our growing Hispanic Catholic Church.

Gomez, a native of Monterrey, Mexico and a naturalized U.S. citizen, presides over the Los Angeles diocese, the largest and one of the most diverse dioceses in the country. Its parishes encompass more than thirty ethnicities, celebrating masses in languages from Igbo to Hungarian to Tagalog. The catholicity, that is, the universality–of the Catholic Church is a palpable thing in L.A., not simply a doctrinal concept. It’s the result of a constant and varied immigration.

U.S. Hispanics have a lot to be happy about in Archbishop Gomez’s election. He is a man with a tender heart for the vulnerable people in our midst who can also articulate a way forward on immigration that is attractive and optimistic – one based on the highest ideals that are our shared inheritance in this diverse country. He is also a man who bridges the liberal/conservative divide by quietly affirming the traditional mores and values that Hispanics are bent on preserving. But then, I venture to say that his election gives all American Catholics reason to be happy too.


6. Anti-natalism is so last century.

By Maureen Malloy Ferguson, The Catholic Herald (UK), December 5, 2019
Maureen Malloy Ferguson is a Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association

Ever since the Garden of Eden, we have been told to be fruitful and multiply. Affirmation of this commandment is now coming from the strangest places.

The quirky futurist Elon Musk recently issued a dire warning. “Most people think we have too many people on the planet, but actually, this is an outdated view … The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse. Not explosion. Collapse.”

What, then, is to be done? A simple and beautiful place to start is to contemplate the wisdom of Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.”

Moving from the inspirational to the practical, how can such a profound attitude change be achieved? Government incentives tend to be ineffective. Europeans are offered generous paid family leave, childcare subsidies, even payments for having children, yet these efforts to encourage a new baby boom have been a bust.

We might rein in the West’s obsessive cultural imperialism towards developing countries. Population control zealots at the United Nations, stuck in the 1970s myth of “the Population Bomb”, are now focused on preventing births in the too-fertile continent of Africa via the recent Nairobi conference on population. In England, well-intentioned Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan have popularised the “two maximum” ideal number of children to save an overburdened planet. They seem unaware that that mindset is so last century.

Young couples also need assurance that the Church’s approach to spacing children, when really necessary, actually works. Natural family planning is not your grandmother’s rhythm method, and studies show effectiveness rates of 98 per cent, similar to the pill. Pointing to the side effects of hormonal contraceptives gets the attention of the women in the crowd (none of whom appreciate the increased moodiness and weight gain) and resonates with an environmentally conscious generation. Why buy hormone-free organic chicken while simultaneously ingesting hormones the World Health Organization classifies as Group 1 carcinogens?

This is a multi-faceted problem, but it is not rocket science. On a macro level, policymakers ought to stop promoting harmful, ideologically driven policy. On a personal level, we ought to share the compelling beauty of the Church’s time-tested wisdom of the Garden of Eden: that it is good to marry and be co-creators with God.


7. Religious freedom is a basic human right, says lawyer for Little Sisters.

By Linda Petersen, Catholic News Service, December 5, 2019, 4:00 PM

As an attorney with Becket, a religious liberty law firm, Luke Goodrich is proud to be able to make a difference while earning a livelihood. He sees his work as a calling from God.

It entails representing religious groups or individuals who fall afoul of the federal government simply by trying to follow the dictates of their conscience.

Perhaps the most well-known of his clients are the Little Sisters of the Poor, who operate a number of homes for the elderly poor across the nation. The sisters continue to fight the Obama-era contraceptive mandate in the courts.

“I’m very grateful and very thankful that my life’s work lines up with what I see as a fundamental issue of justice in Scripture,” he said. “It’s a great joy because I do think religious freedom is a basic human right and a basic issue of biblical justice.”

Goodrich is a member of Misseo Dei Community, a nondenominational Protestant church in Salt Lake City. Originally from Florida, Goodrich has for the past seven years lived in Utah with his wife, Sarah, who grew up in Utah, and their seven children.


8. While Embarrassing, Sheen Beatification Delay Could Turn Out Well, The latest development may finally give the Sheen beatification the treatment it deserves.

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, December 5, 2019

That postponement of the beatification of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen is just the latest baffling development in the cause that has brought no small measure of embarrassment to what should have been an occasion of edification.

But the latest fiasco may finally get the Sheen beatification the treatment it deserves, namely a proper celebration for the universal Church, not just a parochial event for the promoters of the cause.

The Sheen saga has had many twists and turns.

The Diocese of Peoria, Illinois, and Bishop Daniel Jenky have been the promoters of Archbishop Sheen’s cause for sainthood. They launched the process in 2002, did the work and raised the money. They got the cause through to the point where beatification was imminent.

The role of diocesan bishops in handling abuse cases was not considered an issue in 1969, when Archbishop Sheen retired. Fifty years later, it is.

That a delay to sort all that out for an American diocesan bishop is shocking in the manner that it took place, after the beatification date had been set. But in the light of history, it is quite understandable.


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