1. Inside Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘Cult’, If she is the nominee, get ready for a vicious anti-Catholic Senate smear campaign. 

By Adam O’Neal, Mr. O’Neal is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal, The Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2018, Pg. A13, Opinion

Judge Amy Coney Barrett could be President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court—a prospect that thrills many conservatives. A former Antonin Scalia clerk and Notre Dame professor, Judge Barrett, 46, seems an ideal choice. Yet her religious beliefs could lead to a contentious confirmation process. Would it be a risk to pick her?

Video of Mrs. Feinstein’s religious test quickly spread, provoking outrage from thousands of Americans. Yet a New York Times news story suggested she and her colleagues hadn’t gone far enough: The nominee’s “membership in a small, tightly knit Christian group called People of Praise never came up at the hearing, and might have led to even more intense questioning.”

People of Praise was founded in 1971, part of a broader “charismatic renewal” in American Christianity. The group has about 1,800 adult members, with some 350 in South Bend, Ind., where Ms. Barrett taught law. It’s an ecumenical group—the only requirements being Christian baptism and acceptance of the Nicene Creed—but roughly 90% of members are Catholic. A few are priests, and in 2014 Pope Francis appointed one a bishop.

People of Praise members live ordinary Christian lives. They attend church Sunday morning and meet together in the afternoon and during the week. Many are neighbors; some live together. Members provide one another spiritual and practical support. They carry out service projects and have started several Christian schools, which are popular outside the People of Praise community.

People of Praise isn’t for everyone. I prefer doughnuts after mass. But millions of Christians around the world find their faith enriched by joining organizations like it, and that shouldn’t preclude them from participating in public life. The U.S. does best when considering judicial nominees on the basis of their philosophy, intellect and character. Rejecting Judge Barrett because of how she practices her religion would be an insult to millions of Americans—and a dangerous precedent.


2. UK appoints first religious freedom envoy. 

By Catholic News Agency, July 6, 2018

For the first time, a Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief has been appointed in the UK to promote international religious liberty and fight persecution.

Lord Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, was selected for the role. Ahmad also serves as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.

In the role, Ahmad “will promote the UK’s firm stance on religious tolerance abroad, helping to tackle religious discrimination in countries where minority faith groups face persecution,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement Wednesday.

The role of religious freedom envoy, similar to the U.S. position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, will “demonstrate the country’s commitment to religious freedom by promoting inter-faith respect and dialogue internationally,” the government said in a press release.


3. Pope to rich: Stop trampling on the poor, including migrants and refugees. 

By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 6, 2018

According to Pope Francis, the only “reasonable response” to the challenges presented by contemporary migration is “solidarity and mercy,” less concerned with political calculations and more with an equitable distribution of responsibilities.

Quoting a passage from the Bible, the pontiff on Friday said that “the days are coming” in which God will “send a famine on the land… a thirst for hearing the words of the Lord” upon all those who “trample upon the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land.”

Many of the poor, Francis said, are trampled on today.

“How many of the poor are being brought to ruin! All are the victims of that culture of waste that has been denounced time and time again,” including migrants and refugees who “continue to knock at the door of nations that enjoy greater prosperity.”

A just immigration policy, the pontiff said, “is one at the service of the person,” and is capable of providing solutions that can ensure “security, respect for the rights and dignity of all; a policy concerned for the good of one’s own country, while taking into account that of others in an ever more interconnected world.”


4. Pope invites migrants to Mass as governments close doors. 

By Associated Press, July 6, 2018, 5:37 AM

Pope Francis is celebrating a special Mass for migrants in St. Peter’s Basilica, calling attention to their plight and inviting them to the Vatican as Europe, the U.S. and other countries increasingly close their doors to them.

Several migrants and representatives of aid groups that care for them were among the guests at the intimate Mass marking the fifth anniversary of Francis’ landmark visit to Lampedusa, the Sicilian island that for years was the primary destination of migrants smuggled from Libya.


5. Pope warns climate change turning Earth into desert, garbage. 

By Associated Press, July 6, 2018, 5:13 AM

Pope Francis is urging governments to make good on their commitments to curb climate change, warning that continued unsustainable development and rampant consumption threaten to turn the Earth into a vast pile of “rubble, deserts and refuse.”

Francis made the appeal Friday at a Vatican conference marking the third anniversary of his landmark environmental encyclical “Praise Be.” The document, meant to spur action at the 2015 Paris climate conference, called for a paradigm change in humanity’s relationship with Mother Nature.

In his remarks, Francis urged governments to honor their Paris commitments and said institutions like the IMF and World Bank had important roles to play in encouraging reforms promoting sustainable development.


6. Pope taps layman to head communications office after scandal. 

By Associated Press, July 5, 2018, 9:43 AM

Pope Francis has named an Italian journalist as prefect of the Vatican’s communications office, the first time a layman has headed a Holy See department.

Paolo Ruffini fills the position vacated in March by Monsignor Dario Vigano, who was forced to resign after he misrepresented a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Ruffini is currently head of the television broadcaster of the Italian bishops conference, TV2000. He previously worked for state-run RAI and Italian newspapers Il Mattino and Il Messaggero.