1. Report finds ‘no evidence’ of racist talk by students. 

By Frances Stead Sellers and Kevin Williams, The Washington Post, February 14, 2019, Pg. A1

A report released Wednesday about an encounter between Kentucky high school students and Native American activists at the Lincoln Memorial found “no evidence” that the students made “offensive or racist statements,” either in response to the Black Hebrew Israelites who shouted slurs at them or to a drum-beating Native American.

The Jan. 18 incident drew national attention after a participant posted a short video clip of the Native American, Nathan Phillips, in what initially appeared to be a standoff with one of the students, Nick Sandmann, who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat. The clip drew immediate and widespread condemnation online, with many commenters accusing Sandmann and other students from the private school, Covington Catholic near Cincinnati, of mocking and intimidating Phillips. 

Officials at the high school and the Diocese of Covington initially were among those who conthe boys’ actions. However, after a fuller picture of the encounter emerged in other video clips, including a clip in which Sandmann appears to try to calm a fellow student, the diocese commissioned an independent firm to interview the students and their chaperones, locate third-party witnesses, review social media posts and news articles, find any additional video of the standoff and determine exactly what happened. 


2. Va. bishops release lists of accused priests.

By Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, The Washington Post, February 14, 2019, Pg. B1

Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses on Wednesday released lists of clergy who officials say were deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing youth, the latest in a slew of U.S. dioceses to make public such names amid a national crisis over clerical abuse and coverups. 

The Diocese of Arlington, which covers the northeastern corner of Virginia, released a list of 16 names. It said the list was the product of two former FBI agents contracted by the diocese and given access to clergy files and information dating to its founding in 1974. It was not immediately clear whether any of the names of the accused were not previously known to Catholics of the diocese. 

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge said in a letter that he ordered the list be released to help “victims and survivors of clergy abuse to find further healing and consolation.” 

The Diocese of Richmond, which covers the rest of the state, released 42 names. 

Bishop Barry Knestout, who came to Richmond in January 2018, wrote in a letter that the church is called to be “immersed” in reconciliation. “We need to bring to light the damage that has been done by child sexual abuse in the Church in order for healing to take place,” he wrote. “We must continue to demonstrate our commitment to never let this happen again.”


3. N.J. Clerics Named in Sex-Abuse Cases.

By Joseph De Avila, The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2019, Pg. A8A

New Jersey’s five Catholic Church dioceses on Wednesday released the names of 189 clergy members they said have been credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors.

Each diocese disclosed its own list of priests and deacons, all of whom are either dead or no longer serve the church. The Archdiocese of Newark, which is the largest and most populous in New Jersey, reported 63 clergy members accused of sexual abuse, the most among the state dioceses.

“It is our sincerest hope that this disclosure will help bring healing to those whose lives have been so deeply violated,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, wrote in a letter to parishioners that was posted on the archdiocese’s website.

The diocese of Metuchen released 11 names. The diocese of Camden had 57. The diocese of Paterson disclosed 28 names. And the diocese of Trenton issued the names of 30 credibly accused clerics. All five dioceses previously have reported the accused clergy members to law enforcement. The disclosures follow last fall’s announcement that the attorneys general of New York and New Jersey had launched investigations into sexual-abuse allegations against clergy members at dioceses in both states.


4. ‘Few Have Too Much’: Pope Condemns Global Food Inequality.

By Reuters, February 14, 2019

Pope Francis condemned unfair access to food around the world as “perverse” on Thursday, saying it threatened disaster for humanity if not remedied.

The Roman Catholic Church’s leader made his comments during a visit to the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization for a session of the governing council of its sister agency, the International Fund for Agricultural Development.


5. Rome remembers celebrated Jesuit missionary kidnapped in Syria.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, February 14, 2019

Last night, a torchlit rally took place in front of Rome’s Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore for Father Paolo Dall’Oglio, a native Roman and Jesuit missionary in Syria who disappeared in 2013, along with the thousands of both natives and foreigners who’ve been subject to kidnapping or arbitrary detention in Syria since violence broke out in 2011.

Pope Francis met the family of his fellow Jesuit priest on Jan. 30 in his residence at the Domus Santa Marta on Vatican grounds, in a gesture a spokesman said was intended to show his “affection and proximity” to Dall’Oglio and his relatives.

The pope had met the family once before, in 2014, near the first anniversary of Dall’Oglio’s disappearance.

He’s lived in the country for 35 years, spending most of that time rebuilding an abandoned sixth-century monastery called Deir Mar Musa, turning it into a center for Muslim-Christian friendship. He launched the community al-Khalil, or “Friend of God” community, promoting a more appreciative understanding of Islam among Christians and vice versa. He’s known among locals as “Abuna Paolo,” Arabic for “Father Paolo.”

His commitment to inter-religious relations earned him the Nobel Missionary Prize, which was awarded by the Cuore Amico Fraternità Missionary Association in his absence in 2014.

Perhaps once peace is achieved, there can be an accounting for what happened during the violence – beginning with the fate of the disappeared, for whom Paolo Dall’Oglio may well serve as a patron saint.


6. Vatican, Microsoft team up on artificial intelligence ethics.

By The Associated Press, February 13, 2019, 1:29 PM

The Vatican says it is teaming up with Microsoft on an academic prize to promote ethics in artificial intelligence.

Pope Francis met privately on Wednesday with Microsoft President Brad Smith and the head of a Vatican scientific office that promotes Catholic Church positions on human life.

The Vatican said Smith and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy for Life told Francis about the international prize for an individual who has successfully defended a dissertation on ethical issues involving artificial intelligence.


7. Satanic Temple Member Loses Fight on Missouri Abortion Law.

By The Associated Press, February 13, 2019

The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a Satanic Temple member’s religious challenge to a state law that requires one of the nation’s longest waiting periods for abortion and mandates that women be offered an ultrasound first.

At issue is Missouri’s “informed consent” law that says women must wait three days to receive an abortion and requires those seeking abortions to be provided with a booklet that says “the life of each human being begins at conception.” Under the law, abortion providers also must give women a chance to view an ultrasound and hear the fetal heartbeat.

But Supreme Court judges wrote in their ruling that the plaintiff, an anonymous member of the Satanic Temple listed as Mary Doe in the court documents, failed to show that her religious rights were violated because Missouri law does not require women to read the booklet, receive an ultrasound or listen to a heartbeat.