1. Pope Pleads for Solidarity With Migrants.

By Gaia Pianigiani, The New York Times, January 8, 2018, Pg. A9

Pope Francis defended “modern multilateral diplomacy” and international institutions against “the resurgence of nationalistic tendencies” in an address at the Vatican on Monday.

Francis did not cite specific countries in his speech, delivered to diplomats at the Holy See, but he appeared to be lamenting the mix of jingoism and isolationism that has emerged in the United States and in European nations where populist governments have risen to power.

The pope seemed to be adding his voice to a chorus of criticism within Italy of the leadership of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, the hard-line leader of the anti-immigrant League party and the most powerful politician in the country.

“Almost a million people have landed in Italy in recent years,” Mr. Salvini said in a Facebook live video last Sunday. “We need to be merciful to the five million Italians who live in poverty.”


2. Opus Dei paid to settle misconduct claim against priest. 

By Michelle Boorstein, January 8, 2018, Pg. B1

The global Catholic community Opus Dei in 2005 paid $977,000 to settle a sexual misconduct suit against the Rev. C. John McCloskey, a priest well-known for preparing for conversion big-name conservatives — Newt Gingrich, Larry Kudlow and Sam Brownback, among others.

The woman who filed the complaint is a D.C.-area Catholic who was among the many who received spiritual direction from McCloskey through the Catholic Information Center, a K Street hub of Catholic life in downtown Washington. She told The Washington Post that McCloskey groped her several times while she was going to pastoral counseling with him to discuss marital troubles and serious depression.

The woman, who remains close to Opus Dei and participates in some of their spiritual activities, said Monday she was grateful to them for going public. She is now in her mid-50s, and was 40 when the incidents with McCloskey occurred.

“I’m very happy with how it’s being handled right now. They listened,” she said.

Later, an Opus Dei priest tried to help her, she said, encouraging her to seek medical and legal assistance.


3. Cuomo Vows to Codift Roe v. Wade.

By Melanie Grayce West, The Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2018, Pg. A12A

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that he will seek to codify Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing a constitutional right to terminate pregnancy, into the state’s Constitution.

The pledge, which would take years to complete and involve a ballot measure, was made during a press conference in Manhattan at Barnard College, where former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined Mr. Cuomo to lend support to his initiatives.

Mr. Cuomo made the announcement in pushing forward on a 30-day deadline to pass the long-languishing Reproductive Health Act. 

That legislation, which in years past has been consistently passed by the Democratic-majority State Assembly, seeks to codify the right to an abortion into state law. It moves a 1970 state abortion law to the public health statute and would permit abortions to be performed by an authorized practitioner within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, or if a fetus isn’t viable, or at any time if a patient’s life is in danger.


4. Judge rejects state’s motion to dismiss Phillips case.

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, January 8, 2019, Pg. A6

A federal judge has rejected Colorado’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Christian baker Jack Phillips, who has accused the state of targeting him based on his religious beliefs with its latest civil rights investigation.

Senior U.S. District Judge Wiley T. Daniel said the Colorado Commission on Civil Rights and Colorado Civil Rights Division Director Aubrey Elenis had shown evidence of “bad faith” by filing a formal complaint against him in October over his refusal to create a cake to celebrate a gender transition.

“The decision to pursue the discrimination charge occurred after Masterpiece I, and this decision by Director Elenis and the Defendant Commissioners supports the existence of bad faith,” Judge Daniel said in his Friday ruling.

“The same agency that the Supreme Court rebuked as hostile to Jack Phillips has remained committed to treating him unequally and forcing him to express messages that violate his religious beliefs,” said Mr. Campbell. “Colorado is acting in bad faith and with bias toward Jack. We look forward to moving forward with this lawsuit to ensure that Jack isn’t forced to create custom cakes that express messages in conflict with his faith.”


5. Facing rising nationalist and populist tide, Pope extols multilateral diplomacy. 

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, January 7, 2019

At a time when the U.S. under President Donald Trump is pursuing an aggressive “America first” approach to foreign policy and populist forces elsewhere are likewise urging a primary focus on national interests, Pope Francis on Monday delivered a stirring defense of a “multilateral” approach to diplomacy seeking the collective common good.

“An indispensable condition for the success of multilateral diplomacy is the good will and good faith of the parties, their readiness to deal with one another fairly and honestly, and their openness to accepting the inevitable compromises arising from disputes,” the pope said.

“Whenever even one of these elements is missing, the result is a search for unilateral solutions and, in the end, the domination of the powerful over the weak,” Francis said.

At the same time, Francis also acknowledged the clerical sexual abuse scandals currently rocking the Catholic Church around the world, expressing determination to pursue a path of reform.

As a final tribute to multilateralism, Francis recalled the birth of a new era of cooperation in Europe after the Second World War.

“In the present climate, marked by new centrifugal tendencies and the temptation to erect new curtains, may Europe not lose its awareness of the benefits – the first of which is peace – ushered in by the journey of friendship and rapprochement between peoples begun in the postwar period,” he said.


6. Stop Hounding the Knights of Columbus.

By The Editors, National Review Online, January 7, 2019 11:33 AM

The provision is lost on some federal lawmakers who, despite taking an oath to uphold the Constitution, are now blatantly engaged in applying de facto religious tests to prospective federal judges. These legislators include, in particular, Democratic senators Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), who are hounding federal judicial nominee Brian Buescher because of his membership in the Knights of Columbus.

This is an assault on religious liberty, freedom of worship and association, and the Constitution. And it is an affront to America’s greatness, historically dependent on and defined by a vibrant civil society and volunteer associations.

There are few of those as respected as the Knights of Columbus. The thrust of the senators’ questioning of Buescher and others is that the Knights represent an out-of-the-mainstream extremist organization opposed to women’s rights, composed of troublesome priests and laymen. (Ramesh Ponnuru and Carrie Severino have provided excellent summaries of recent liberal crusades against nominees who are practicing Catholics.) Membership is disqualifying for public service.

But the volume of such tributes, the size of its membership, the number of its councils, the dollars donated, and the hours volunteered, while inspiring, are irrelevant to the religious liberties of Americans. What troubles us is the principle at stake, which strikes at the core of the republic. The senators who have engaged in this decidedly un-American conduct need to apologize to the nominees unjustly treated, to the Knights of Columbus as an institution, and to their constituents for representing them under false pretenses.