1. Vatican Wants to Hear From Young About Hopes, Concerns. 

By Associated Press, February 16, 2018, 8:12 AM

Pope Francis is inviting 300 young people to the Vatican next month to personally present their hopes and concerns about the Catholic Church, after an online questionnaire failed to generate enough feedback.

The March 19-24 meeting is designed to help the Vatican prepare for a synod of bishops in October dedicated to young people.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who is organizing both meetings, told reporters Friday that 100,500 young people had completed the questionnaires, but acknowledged that the Vatican is seeking greater participation.


2. What I Learned From Michael Novak: His thoughts on faith and economics also had an influence on Pope John Paul II. 

By Robert A. Sirico, Father Sirico is president of the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich. The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2018, Pg. A15, Opinion

I first read Michael Novak’s groundbreaking work “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism” when it was published in 1982, before I entered seminary at the Catholic University of America. The book’s dialogue between economics and theology made a deep impression on me, as it did thousands of others. I wrote the author and asked if we might meet once I arrived in Washington. Thus began a friendship that lasted until Novak’s death last year.

The first anniversary of his passing, Feb. 17, comes at a difficult time. Americans face an uncertain economy and deadlocked government. A vocal critic of capitalism leads the Catholic Church. Young people are showing a strange attraction to socialism, as are many Christians who might have been expected to sustain Novak’s philosophy of virtuous capitalism. The U.S. lacks leaders who combine prudence and moral vision.

People often ask me about Novak’s impact on the thinking of Pope John Paul II. Anyone reading the Polish pontiff and Novak in parallel quickly recognizes that Novak’s engagement with Smith, Hayek, Mises and Israel Kirzner would have strongly resonated with John Paul, who was deeply interested in the workings of human choice and creative action. The pope was familiar with Novak’s thought, especially “The Spirit.” Through that and other writings, Novak’s ideas shaped important sections of John Paul’s 1991 encyclical, “Centesimus Annus.”

The loss of a mentor is difficult—but a legacy is a precious inheritance. Recalling those decades, I am grateful for Michael Novak’s example of intellectual curiosity and engagement in intense yet civilized debate. Likewise for his model of diligent work, and for helping me see the critical distinction between a person and an individual. And I will never forget the artistry of his well-made Manhattans and the joy of many memorable dinners with comrades in arms.


3. Priest at Vatican mission to the U.N. offers ‘Plan of Life’. 

By Kathryn Jean Lopez, Crux, February 16, 2018

Father Roger J. Landry, a priest of Fall River, Massachusetts, is currently assigned to the Holy See’s Mission to the United Nations in New York. At the U.N., he says “you meet people from every country on the planet and come to appreciate the strengths and weakness of their culture and your own, you hear about best and worst practices on countless subjects, you’re exposed to the greatest and most corrupt of humanity in terms of some of the heroes and despots who come to speak and the reports that come in from across the world.” Landry says he is more dependent on his “Plan of Life” to grow in holiness in that environment. He speaks about it in his new book, Plan of Life: Habits to Help You Grow Closer to God which he discussed with Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Lopez: Why are you so confident a plan of life leads to “true happiness”?

Landry: A plan of life on its own doesn’t lead to true and enduring happiness, but, if it’s well lived, it helps us unite ourselves to the Lord better, and he is the source of lasting joy. It’s the open secret of many saints from all walks of life whom we believe now experience the happiness for which we’re made and for which our hearts will never cease to yearn. I urge people to try to live by a solid plan of life and see for themselves!


4. Court likely to withdraw charge of key accuser in Cardinal Pell abuse case. 

By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, February 15, 2018, 10:05 AM

The Melbourne Magistrates Court heard Wednesday that a charge related to a key witness in the case against Cardinal George Pell, accused of historical sexual abuse, is likely to be withdrawn.

In the Feb. 14 hearing, the director of prosecutions for the Melbourne Magistrates Court said that while they had not decided on the matter, the charge of a key complainant who died in January would likely be withdrawn.

Defense attorney Ruth Shann argued against the man’s credibility, saying Pell’s legal team would be examining the credibility of the “unreliable” witness when the formal four-week committal hearing begins March


5. Pope updates resignation norms for bishops, prelates in Roman Curia. 

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Crux, February 15, 2018

Updating the norms and regulations governing the resignation of bishops and of Roman Curia department heads who are not cardinals, Pope Francis said they will continue to hold office until he accepts their resignations.

The update was published in a document titled Imparare a congedarsi (“Learning to say farewell”) and was given “motu proprio,” meaning on the pope’s own initiative. The new rules went into effect Feb. 15, the same day it was released by the Vatican press office.

The Code of Canon Law previously stated that a resignation that requires acceptance “lacks all force if it is not accepted within three months” while one that does not require acceptance “takes effect when it has been communicated by the one resigning.”

However, the pope said that after consultation, he “became aware of the need to update the norms regarding the times and methods of resignation from office upon reaching the age limit.”

Under the new norms, “the acceptance or extension, for a specified or unspecified amount of time, is communicated to the person” resigning.


6. Rights Group Sues to Block Ohio Down Syndrome Abortion Ban. 

By Reuters, February 15, 2018, 10:39 PM

The ACLU filed a lawsuit on Thursday challenging an Ohio law that criminalizes abortions if a doctor performing a termination is aware that the woman has received a diagnosis that her fetus has Down syndrome.

The Ohio state chapter of the American Civil Liberties union filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, arguing the law violated the liberty and privacy clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Cleveland abortion provider Preterm, seeks to delay enforcement of the law, which is scheduled to go into effect March 23.The law was passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor John Kasich last December. Kasich had previously called the law “appropriate.”