1. Women to be named to Vatican’s Curia board, Pope Francis picks seven to join governing body.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, July 10, 2019, Pg. A7

Women seeking a greater voice in the all-male hierarchy of the Catholic church are hailing Pope Francis’ announcement that women will be named to a ministerial board of the Vatican’s powerful Curia.

“This is a quite historical in a number of ways,” said Sister Carol Zinn, executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. “These people, traditionally, have been clerics. Now, this office will have members who will actually be impacted by their decisions.”

For the first time, not only women but also persons who are not ordained as priests will have a vote within the Catholic church’s governing body.

Pope Francis on Monday surprised reporters who follow the Catholic Church by naming seven women and the head of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, a religious order of teachers, to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is one of nine congregations within the Roman Curia, and has been described as a disciplinary body — or vetting board — for a variety of religious life and apostolic orders.


2. U.K. Backs Gay Marriage and Abortion Rights in N. Ireland.

By Benjamin Mueller, The New York Times, July 10, 2019, Pg. A10

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to legalize same-sex marriage and extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland as long as the region’s governing coalition remained paralyzed, setting the stage for changes that would bring the region into line with the rest of the United Kingdom.

The votes do not in and of themselves change the law in Northern Ireland. Both issues are traditionally within the realm of the regional government there, but its governing coalition collapsed in 2017, creating a power vacuum that remains unfilled.

Members of Parliament in London argued that as long as the deadlock persisted, they had an obligation to step in.


3. Abortion support is the highest it’s been in two decades as challenges mount, More Democrats than Republicans say the issue is important in determining their 2020 vote.

By Emily Guskin and Scott Clement, Washington Post Online, July 10, 2019, 7:00 AM

Support for legal abortion stands at its highest level in more than two decades according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, even as numerous states adopt restrictions that challenge the breadth of rights established by the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The Post-ABC poll finds a 60 percent majority who say abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 55 percent in a 2013 Post-ABC poll, and tying the record high level of support from 1995. The latest survey finds 36 percent say abortion should be illegal in all or most cases, also tying a record low.

Most Americans have circumstantial views of abortion laws — a majority say that abortion should be either legal in most cases (33 percent) or illegal in most cases (22 percent). About 4 in 10 say it should always be legal or illegal, with roughly twice as many who say abortion should be legal in all cases (27 percent) as say it should be illegal (14 percent).

Even within party ranks, allowing or banning abortion in all cases is a minority position. Among Democrats, 77 percent say abortion should be at least mostly legal, but just over 4 in 10 (42 percent) say it should be legal in all cases. Among Republicans, 52 percent say it should be at least mostly illegal, but fewer than a quarter, 22 percent, want it to be illegal in all cases.

There are sharp differences in support for abortion by religious affiliation. White evangelical protestants remain the most united against legal abortion, with 62 percent saying it should be illegal in all or most cases, virtually unchanged from 66 percent in 2013. White Catholics are largely split, with 51 percent saying abortion should be legal, and 46 percent saying it should be illegal, also little changed from 2013. Fully 85 percent of those with no religion say abortion should be legal.


4. Pope’s visit to Jesuits highlights society friends old and new.

By Elise Harris, Crux, July 10, 2019

On Sunday, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Jesuit headquarters in Rome, which he typically does in the month of July in honor of the feast of the founder of the Society of Jesus, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, celebrated July 31.

Francis makes regular visits to the offices, and on this occasion had lunch with over 45 Jesuits following a private conversation with the Jesuit Father General, Venezuelan Father Arturo Sosa, who recently returned from a visit to Asia.

In comments to Crux, Canadian Jesuit Father Pierre Belanger, who oversees the society’s website and newsletter, said Francis’s relationship with the Jesuits “is normal” in the sense that at an official level between the society and Holy See, it is like that of any other Catholic order.

However, given Francis’s own Jesuit background, “when he speaks with the Jesuits it’s in a personal way,” Belanger said.


5. Iconic glass-paned church converted to Catholic cathedral.

By Amy Taxin, The Associated Press, July 9, 2019, 10:02 PM

An iconic glass-paned church in Southern California that once housed a booming televangelist ministry has been transformed into a cathedral to give the region’s Catholics a long-awaited and much larger place to congregate and pray.

The landmark, with a facade made up of nearly 11,000 glass panes, was long known as Rev. Robert H. Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral.

It appears unchanged from the outside. But the cavernous house of worship is covered on the inside with quatrefoil window shades that send sunlight cascading across a stone altar, wooden pews and prominent steel crucifix.


6. Catholic school to help fired teacher find new job.

The Associated Press, July 9, 2019, 5:36 PM

An attorney says a Catholic high school teacher fired for being in a same-sex marriage has reached a settlement in which the Indianapolis school will help the teacher with future employment options.

Attorney Kathleen DeLaney announced the settlement with Cathedral High School in a news release Tuesday. In it, the teacher thanks Cathedral for the opportunities and experiences that he has had teaching there and does not wish the school any harm. Cathedral thanks the teacher for the years of service, contributions, and achievements.


7. ‘Never accept’ separation of faith from political engagement.

Chaput says, Catholic News Agency, July 9, 2019, 1:10 PM

Christians are called to win the battle of ideas and values in secular society, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said Tuesday.

In a speech delivered to the Alliance Defending Freedom Summit on Religious Liberty July 9, the archbishop said authentic religious freedom is essential in shaping a society of love, “the animating spirit of all authentically Christian political action.”

“I mean love in the biblical sense: love with a heart of courage, love determined to build justice in society and focused on the true good of the whole human person, body and soul.”

Chaput told the audience of lawyers from around the world that Christians must work to build an authentic vision of society built around the common good, and that “human progress means more than getting more stuff, more entitlements, and more personal license.”

“Real human progress satisfies the human hunger for solidarity and communion,” Chaput said. “When our leaders and their slogans tell us to move ‘forward into the future,’ we need to take a very hard look at the road we’re on, where ‘forward’ leads, and whether it ennobles the human soul or just aggravates our selfishness, our isolation, and our appetite for things.”


8. Building A Culture of Religious Freedom.

By Charles J. Chaput, The Public Discourse, July 9, 2019
Charles J. Chaput, a Capuchin Franciscan, is the archbishop of Philadelphia and the author of Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World.

Adapted from an address delivered at the Alliance Defending Freedom Summit on July 9, 2019.

Back in April, Gerard Baker, the Wall Street Journal’s editor at large, wrote a column called “Persecuted Christians And Their Quiescent Leaders” that I hope all of you will read. In it, Baker hammers home two facts. Christians of every tradition—Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox—are now the most widely and brutally persecuted religious community in the world. And too many Christian leaders in too many countries, including our own, are too cowardly to name this persecution for what it is—especially when it comes at the hands of Muslim extremists.

I want to talk today about “building a culture of religious freedom.” So the question naturally becomes: How do we do it? I think I can help us answer that. But I need to offer a few preliminary thoughts.

Here’s my first point, and it’s very simple. We’re mortal. We’re going to die. My father was a funeral director, and I grew up in a home where death was something sacred, but also a natural part of life. Obviously, life is a gift of God and therefore precious, especially to the people who love us. We need to protect it, preserve it, help it to flourish, and make it meaningful.

But for persons of faith, death isn’t something to fear. God never abandons the people who love him. So I’ve always found it odd that American culture spends such a huge amount of energy ignoring death and distracting us from thinking about it. Our time in this world is very limited; science can’t fix the problem; and there’s no government bailout program. So our time matters. And so does the way we use it. As all of the great saints understood, thinking a little about our death can have a wonderfully medicinal effect on human behavior.


9. California Bill Threatening Seal of Confession Pulled by Sponsor.

By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, July 9, 2019

A measure that required California priests to break the seal of the confessional was pulled by its sponsor, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, July 8, offering a reprieve for state Catholics who strongly opposed the measure.

“The action follows the delivery of tens of thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from Catholics and others concerned with the free expression of religion,” said the California Catholic Conference in a statement released late July 8 that confirmed the news.

If passed, S.B. 360 would have required priests to alert local law enforcement about any knowledge or suspicion of child abuse received while hearing the confession of another priest or colleague. And though the bill’s language had been modified to rule out the reporting of such information from the vast majority of penitents, it continued to stir alarm in dioceses and parishes across the state.

“If any legislature can force believers to reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings shared with God in confession, then truly there is no area of human life that is free or safe from government intrusion.”

At the same time, he also made clear that the Golden State’s Catholic shepherds would continue to firmly support and adhere to mandatory-reporting laws that require pastors and other Church employees to forward allegations and concerns about suspected abuse to civil and Church authorities.


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