1. A reckoning is due in the case of Cardinal McCarrick, The Vatican must commit to a thorough investigation and accounting of the allegations against him. 

By The Washington Post, July 26, 2018, Pg. A18, Editorial

ONE MONTH after a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor forced the suspension of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the public ministry, there have been disturbing new revelations about his conduct. The additional complaints, including the charge he systemically preyed upon young adult men who were studying to be priests, raise questions about how the Catholic Church hierarchy for years seems to have not just protected him but also blessed him with career advancements.

Who knew? Why did no one act? Why wasn’t he stopped? The questions that surround Mr. McCarrick’s troubling ascent to the church’s highest ranks are unfortunately not new; they echo those that have dogged the Vatican in its response to the scourge of clerical sexual abuse and misconduct. How Pope Francis — who has been able to claim some progress in confronting the problem of child sexual abuse — deals with this scandal involving the abuse and harassment of young priests will show just how serious the Vatican is in cleaning house.


2. What makes the Holy See’s diplomacy unique, according to Vatican’s foreign minister. 

By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency, July 26, 2018

At a religious freedom event in Washington, D.C., this week, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States explained how the Holy See takes a unique approach to diplomacy and the promotion of religious liberty.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who has served as the Vatican Secretary for Relations with States since 2014, explained that he is not a fan of “grandstanding diplomacy,” in which leaders make condemnations from afar.

“It is easy enough for us to say things in Rome or say something in the international press, but the local people have to take the consequences,” Gallagher told CNA.

“What we try to do is to engage, to show concern and, very often, to work through our local networks.”

Speaking at a July 24 event co-hosted by the Religious Freedom Institute and The Catholic University of America’s Center for Religious Liberty, the archbishop pointed to the examples of the Vatican’s recent role in negotiations in both Nicaragua and Venezuela.

“The bishops have taken, at the invitation of the government, a role of accompanying and witnessing a dialogue between the government and those groups that are opposing or in conflict. Now that is very complex, and in the moment it is a dialogue that is in great difficulty, but we remain committed to it.”

He added that “we try to remain committed. We don’t pull out. We don’t give up, because we believe that solutions are possible.”

The July 24 event, entitled “The Fight for International Religious Freedom: Perspectives from the Vatican,” was an offshoot of a larger State Department Ministerial on international religious freedom taking place from July 24 – 25.

U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich and her predecessor Ambassador Miguel Diaz also spoke on how the U.S. and Vatican have worked together to advocate on behalf of persecuted religious communities around the world.


3. Then and now, teaching of ‘Humanae Vitae’ triggers earthquakes. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 26, 2018

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the seventh, and final, encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. Perhaps the most contested papal document in modern history, it was both applauded and bitterly criticized for boldly upholding Church teaching on contraception in the era of the sexual revolution.

Called “On the regulation of birth” in English, but better known by its Latin title, the document struck the late 1960s like an earthquake- so much so that Paul VI, clearly stung by the widespread negative reaction, didn’t publish another encyclical for the remaining ten years of his pontificate.

Tremors both within and outside the Church triggered by Humanae Vitae are still being felt today.

Still today, even outside Church boundaries, there are political and social forces demanding that the current pope renounce the encyclical’s teaching. Two weeks ago, for instance, Great Britain’s International Development Secretary visited the Vatican and urged Church officials to make it easier for young girls to have access to contraception.

On the inside, dissenting voices within Catholicism also abound, with bishops, priests and laypeople often calling either for a change in the teaching, or flat-out ignoring it in the confessional. A 2014 poll from Univision, for instance, showed that 79 percent of Catholics reject the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception.

But there’s nothing new here: The opposition dates all the way back to the year of the publication of Humanae Vitae, when seven conferences of Catholic bishops from around the world more or less challenged it.

Leading the charge were the Canadian bishops, who in September of 1968, two months after the encyclical was released, produced a document known as the ‘Winnipeg Statement.’

It has been widely interpreted as providing a loophole whereby Catholics may feel permitted to use birth control, as it says that “a certain number of Catholics” find it “either extremely difficult, or even impossible, to make their own all elements of this doctrine.”

The Canadians weren’t alone. The Belgian bishops wrote that anyone who, with a “well-founded judgement,” comes to a conclusion on contraception different from that presented in the encyclical should not “be regarded as an inferior Catholic.”

Fast forward 25 years from the publication of Humanae Vitae to the silver anniversary of the encyclical, and the contrasting voices within the Church were still going at it.

In May of 1992, in a debate published by the Italian monthly periodical Jesus with then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, at the time head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, today Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, the late Cardinal Franz König of Vienna, Austria, famously described the encyclical as the “irritating distinction between artificial and natural contraception.”

Yet for every act of defiance against Humanae Vitae that’s come out since 1968, there’ve been others in favor. Nowhere to be found online today, but still representative of the upheaval, is a rousing four-page defense of the document released by the bishops of Scotland in October 1968.

And the debate goes on.

On the one hand, American prelates such as Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington and Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles have recently come out defending Humanae Vitae, with the latter saying it should be read as a “prophecy” and a “promise” on Twitter.

In a series of tweets, Gomez said that looking back one can understand how the world “was not ready” for Humanae Vitae in 1968, as it was a “time of new ideas about human freedom and love and new attitudes toward traditions and authority.”

According to Gomez, much of what Paul VI warned of 50 years ago subsequently has happened: “From rampant divorce, infidelity and pornography, to test-tube babies, widespread abortion, ‘demographic winter,’ and the total confusion about gender, sexuality and the human person that we see in our society today.”

In what might be taken as a further sign of ratification, Francis is set to declare Pope Paul VI a saint in October during a Synod of Bishops on youth.


4. Pope adviser blasts pro-crucifix bill in Italy: ‘Hands off!’ 

By Simone Somekh, Associated Press, July 25, 2018, 4:03 PM

A close adviser to Pope Francis criticized legislation proposed by Italy’s anti-migrant League party to require ports and other public institutions to display a crucifix, saying Wednesday that the religious symbol isn’t “a team emblem” to be shown for political ends.


5. Federal court hears appeal in Kentucky abortion case. 

By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, July 25, 2018, 4:55 PM

A legal feud over stricter abortion laws in Kentucky reached a federal appeals court, where lawyers for an abortion clinic and Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration wrangled Wednesday over requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients prior to abortions.

The 2017 law, enacted soon after the GOP assumed complete control of Kentucky’s legislature, was challenged by the state’s last abortion clinic. The law was struck down last year by a federal judge, prompting an appeal by Bevin, a Republican and abortion opponent.