1. Pope’s hospital strives to overcome scandals, serve peripheries. 

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, July 12, 2018

Facing perceptions of corruption and mismanagement, Rome’s papally-sponsored children’s hospital Bambino Gesù appears to be stealing a page from Francis’s own playbook, putting the emphasis on serving the peripheries of the world.

During the past year, Bambino Gesù suffered through the spectacle of watching two of its former executives face a Vatican trial over charges of diverting funds meant for the care of children into rehabbing the apartment of a powerful Vatican cardinal. The scandal marred the hospital’s reputation and credibility.

Yet during the same year, Bambino Gesù emerged as a global leader in the press to offer care to children with difficult-to-treat disorders, offering to care for UK infants Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans even after both British courts and hospitals had pronounced the situations hopeless.

The hospital has worked to make sure that half of its medical directors are women, that it’s reduced energy consumption by 8.2 percent in keeping with Francis’s 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato si, and employing 700 researchers dedicated to treating rare pediatric diseases.

This “best of times, worst of times” dynamic at the Bambino Gesù was captured in its 2017 “Social Balance and the Health and Science Report,” released on Tuesday, which appears as the hospital undergoes significant change and attempts to recover from economic and financial scandals.


2. Pope pays rare tribute to French cardinal, attends full Mass. 

By Associated Press, July 12, 2018, 8:04 AM

Pope Francis has paid an unusually personal and public tribute to French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran by attending the funeral of the former Vatican foreign minister and interfaith expert.

Usually, popes only preside over the final rites at funerals for cardinals. But in a sign of Francis’ esteem for his close confidante, Francis attended the entire Mass on Thursday in St. Peter’s Basilica, which was celebrated by the dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.


3. Nicaragua: Guterres deplores loss of life, attacks against Catholic Church. 

By UN News, July 11, 2018

Deeply concerned about the continuing and intensifying violence in Nicaragua, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday deplored the loss of life in the protests and the attack against Catholic Church mediators in the National Dialogue.

“The Secretary-General recognizes the important mediation role of the Nicaraguan Catholic Bishops Conference, “said a statement issued by his Spokesperson.

Media reports from the region suggest that Nicaraguan bishops and clergy were attacked by armed groups on 9 July as protest in the Central American country continued.

The Secretary-General urged all parties to respect the role of the mediators, to refrain from the use of violence, and to fully commit to participating in the National Dialogue in order to de-escalate violence and find a peaceful solution to the current crisis.


4. Hawaii Supreme Court sides with lesbian couple in B&B case. 

By Audrey McAvoy, Associated Press, July 11, 2018, 6:55 PM

A Hawaii appeals court ruling that a bed and breakfast discriminated by denying a room to two women because they’re gay will stand after the state’s high court declined to take up the case.

Aloha Bed & Breakfast owner Phyllis Young had argued she should be allowed to turn away gay couples because of her religious beliefs.

But the Hawaii Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously rejected Young’s appeal of a lower court ruling that ordered her to stop discriminating against same-sex couples.

Young is considering her options for appeal, said Jim Campbell, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law firm that is representing her. He said Young might not be able to pay her mortgage and could lose her home if she’s not able to rent rooms.


5. Priests and Marriage Preparation, Rather than being an insurmountable handicap, my priesthood is actually an asset. 

By Father Roger Landry, Father Roger Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, National Catholic Register, July 10, 2018

One of the duties of parish priests is to prepare couples for the sacrament of matrimony. Many priests love this work. Others admit they find parts of it taxing. But almost all parish priests do it, dedicate quite a lot of time to doing it, and, like other aspects of priestly work, try to do it well.

That’s why it came as quite a shock earlier this month when Cardinal Kevin Farrell, the prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery of Laity, Family and Life, which is in charge of the Church’s universal care for the family, declared that priests are basically incompetent to do this work.

In an interview printed in the July/August edition of Intercom magazine, published by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Farrell made headlines when he said, “Priests are not the best people to train others for marriage. They have no credibility. They have never lived the experience. They may know moral theology, dogmatic theology in theory, but to go from there to putting it into practice every day … they don’t have the experience.”

Even though priests don’t have firsthand experience of marital life, St. John Paul underlined, they have a far more extensive secondhand experience than almost anyone because of their pastoral work hearing confessions, counseling couples, and sharing the joys and struggles of their married spiritual sons and daughters. They also have their firsthand exposure to the reality of family life from growing up in a family.

His Eminence, however, not only seems to have forgotten John Paul II’s insights, but also seems unaware of what Pope Francis has said about priests and marriage preparation.

Speaking to parish priests in the Vatican Feb. 25, 2017, Pope Francis commented, “In most cases, you are the first people to be approached by young people desiring to form a new family and marry in the sacrament of matrimony. And it is again you to whom married couples turn in crisis as a result of serious relationship problems, with a need to rekindle their faith and rediscover the grace of the sacrament. … No one better than you knows and is in touch with the reality of the social fabric of the territory and experiences the various complexities: unions celebrated in Christ, de facto unions, civil unions, failed unions, happy and unhappy families and young people.”

I hope that the intense reaction that Cardinal Farrell’s unintentionally offensive remarks have provoked among priests and the faithful might lead him to reassess his conclusions.

I also hope that it will help him, and the dicastery he directs, to better support priests in the trenches in their important labor — together with married laypeople — in preparing couples not just for marriage, but for the sacrament of matrimony in its fullness.

The future of the Church depends on that crucial and ongoing work.