1. Pope Accepts Resignation of Chilean Bishop in Abuse Scandal. 

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, June 12, 2018, Pg. A7

Pope Francis  accepted Monday the resignation of a Chilean bishop accused of failing to report sex abuse, in a case that has led to the biggest scandal of the current pontificate and proved a test of its commitment to fighting clerical abuse.

The Vatican announced that the pope had accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Barros, 61, of Osorno, Chile, along with two other Chilean bishops who had reached the retirement ago of 75.


2. Death penalty support rises, Pew poll finds. 

By Mark Berman, The Washington Post, June 12, 2018, Pg. A4

After declining considerably in recent years, American support for the death penalty increased this year, fueled by an uptick in political independents backing the practice, according to a new survey.

A Pew Research Center poll released Monday found that 54 percent of Americans are in favor of capital punishment for people convicted of murder, up from the 49 percent the same survey found two years ago.

Support still remains far below the modern highs registered in the mid-1990s, when four out of five Americans backed the death penalty amid surging violent crime rates nationwide. Since then, capital punishment has grown far less popular and has been utilized much less frequently, with states imposing and carrying out fewer death sentences.


3. What to expect when the U.S. bishops meet in Florida this week. 

By Christopher White, Crux, June 12, 2018

While the June meeting of the U.S. bishops is often considered to be the more lackluster of their two annual gatherings, at least in terms of news content, as they meet in Fort Lauderdale, Florida this week, major topics are on the agenda including healthcare, immigration, and religious liberty – all of which correspond to pressing issues on the national scene.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the bishops will discuss new revisions to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services. The guidelines, now in their fifth edition and last updated in 2009, have yet to be updated since the Affordable Care Act was put into place.

The proposed revisions revolve primarily around collaboration with non-Catholic healthcare providers, as mergers have become increasingly common. In 2014, the bishops voted overwhelmingly at their November meeting to make revisions to better reflect Catholic moral principles on cooperation with non-Catholic entities.

Just one week after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker who sought legal protections from baking a cake for a gay wedding in one of the most closely watched religious liberty cases in recent years, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, who serves as Chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, will give an update on the work of the Committee.

His report will also come just days before the USCCB kicks off its annual religious freedom week, with this year’s theme dedicated to “Serving Others in God’s Love.” The week will be observed from June 22-28 and has been condensed into a one-week period, rather than the previously marked “Fortnight for Freedom.”

Looming over the entire meeting, however, will be the question of immigration, which has undeniably become the focal point of the USCCB since the election of President Donald Trump.

In addition to the pressing policy matters at hand, the bishops will be discussing three areas of pastoral concern: a response to the Asian and Pacific Island Catholics in the United States, the upcoming Synod on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment, and the V National Encuentro.

And while the eyes of the world are on the Church’s ongoing response to clerical sex abuse as Pope Francis continues to respond to the fallout of the crisis in Chile, a vote will be taken on proposed revisions to the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

The vote will take place as Church officials await the release of a much-anticipated Grand Jury report in Pennsylvania that has investigated six of the eight dioceses in the state and their handling of abuse cases.

The report will be the most extensive probe to take place in the United States and could have broad ramifications throughout the nation.


4. Cardinal Dolan: Let’s not capitulate to the abortion culture. 

By Catholic News Agency, June 12, 2018

Responding to Jesuit Father Thomas J. Reese’s recent suggestion that the pro-life movement abandon efforts to make abortion illegal and focus instead on reducing the number of abortions, Cardinal Timothy Dolan voiced grave concern with the proposal.

“As chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Pro-Life Activities, I want to indicate my serious reservations about Reese’s strategy, considering it a capitulation to the abortion culture, and a grave weakening of the powerful pro-life witness,” the Archbishop of New York wrote in a June 8 opinion piece at Religion News Service.

“Catholic tradition and basic human rights teach us that every human being has an inalienable right to life that must be recognized and protected in law. While the law is not the only means of protecting life, it plays a key and decisive role in affecting both human behavior and thinking. We cannot give up!” Dolan continued.

RNS had published an opinion piece by Reese May 27 asserting that the recent vote for the legalization of abortion in Ireland was a sign the pro-life movement “needs a new strategy.”

Reese’s assertion that the pro-life movement should give up efforts to give legal protection to unborn humans and instead work only to reduce the number of abortions “is an unnecessary dichotomy,” Dolan wrote.


5. Vatican-backed family rally to have speech on welcoming gays. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 11, 2018, 2:14 PM

An international family rally the Catholic Church is hosting in Ireland will feature workshops on hot-button issues facing Catholic families, including protecting children from clergy sexual abuse, weathering divorce and ministering to lesbian and gay faithful.

Pope Francis will join the Aug. 21-26 World Meeting of Families for the last two days and preside over the final Mass in Dublin.

Organizers on Monday unveiled the pastoral program leading up to Francis’ arrival, and it includes some surprising entries. Perhaps none is more surprising than the inclusion of the Rev. James Martin, an American Jesuit scheduled to deliver a presentation on welcoming LGBT Catholics and their families into parishes.


6. Remains of archbishop known for TV preaching can be moved. 

By Associated Press, June 11, 2018, 5:01 PM

The remains of famous Roman Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen can be moved to Illinois from New York, nearly 40 years after his death, a judge said.

Joan Sheen Cunningham, 90, believes moving her uncle’s remains to Peoria, Illinois, will improve his cause for sainthood. New York Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth said that is a “laudable purpose.”

Sheen’s remains are at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. Cunningham sued the cathedral and the Archdiocese of New York, which have opposed her wishes.

Sheen, who died in 1979, was known for his revolutionary radio and TV preaching in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Trustees at St. Patrick’s Cathedral said in a statement that lawyers would review the judge’s decision. They said Sheen indicated in his will that he wanted to be buried in New York.


7. Pope Francis will not visit Northern Ireland on Irish trip. 

By Reuters, June 11, 2018, 9:00 AM

Pope Francis will not visit British-ruled Northern Ireland this summer when he makes the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, the Vatican said on Monday.

Francis arrives in Dublin on August 25 for a two-day visit when the Irish capital hosts the 9th World Meeting of Families, a Roman Catholic event held every three years.

The visit comes after voters in Ireland overwhelmingly overturned one of the world’s strictest bans on abortions in a referendum, despite opposition from the Catholic Church.

Senior clerics, including the Archbishop of Armagh and all-Ireland primate Eamon Martin, had been pressing for the inclusion of Northern Ireland on his itinerary as a contribution to the peace process.