1. Pope Francis Calls on Egypt’s Catholics to Embrace Forgiveness: Christians voice optimism over pontiff’s visit after series of attacks by Islamist extremists.

By Francis X. Rocca and Dahlia Kholaif, The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2017, Pg. A9

Pope Francis celebrated Mass for members of Egypt’s small Catholic community on Saturday morning, urging them to hope and forgive those who terrorize and persecute them.

“True faith…makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome, but a brother or sister to be loved,” the pope said in his homily. “Do not be afraid to love everyone, friends and enemies alike.”

While Christians enjoy equality under the law with Egypt’s Muslim majority, they suffer from widespread social discrimination and have been the targets of large-scale attacks and individual killings by Islamist extremists.


2. Pope Francis taps Notre Dame Investment Guru for Vatican Bank.

By Claire Giangravè, Crux, May 1, 2017

In December 2016 the Vatican announced that the lay board of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), also known as the Vatican Bank, had added three new members bringing the total count to seven.

This represented an effort to think outside the box for the IOR in the sense that it showed not only a strong support for reform and change within the Vatican institution, but also openness toward world-renowned lay experts and professionals to bring attention to the balance sheet.

The newbies are American Scott C. Malpass, Spaniard Javier Marín Romano and the German Georg Freiherr von Boeselager. 

Malpass is not a complete stranger to the inner workings of the IOR; In the early days of Pope Francis’s pontificate he served as an external advisor to the Holy See banking reforms.

But most of his life has been dedicated to his Alma Mater, Notre Dame University in Indiana, where he serves as Vice President and Chief Investment Officer since 1989. Under his supervision, the Notre Dame endowment stepped up from the minor league to become the 12th largest in American higher education and the largest at a Catholic university.

Malpass is joined on the Supervisory board by Georg Freiherr Von Boeselager who, apart from being well versed in banking policies, is also the brother of Albrecht, the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta.

Javier Marín Romano is the other new arrival at the bank and has held various offices with the Spanish Santander Group.


3. Pope Francis Urges U.S. and North Korea to Defuse an Escalating Standoff.

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, April 30, 2017, Pg. A9

Pope Francis urged the United States and North Korea on Saturday to defuse their increasingly tense standoff and avert a potentially horrific conflict.

“I call on them, and I will call on them, as I have on leaders of different places, to work to resolve their problems through diplomatic avenues,” Pope Francis said, speaking aboard his plane as he returned to Rome from a trip to Egypt. Noting that North Korea’s missile program was not a new concern, he added that “things have gotten too hot” and suggested that “the United Nations has the duty to reassume, a little, its leadership because it’s been watered down.”


4. Pope’s Cairo Mass buoys a battered Christian minority: Jubilant crowd greets pontiff amid heavy security at stadium.

By Sudarsan Raghavan, The Washington Post, April 30, 2017, Pg. A20

As helicopter gunships circled above, Pope Francis celebrated Mass here on Saturday with thousands of Egyptians, before ending a short visit aimed at bolstering the nation’s beleaguered Christian minority and rebuilding ties with Muslim leaders.

For many of the worshipers who gathered in a soccer stadium for the ceremony, the 80-year-old pontiff’s two-day visit was a devotional crutch at a time of great tumult that many hoped would also help alter their nation’s image as it grapples with terrorism.

The ceremony came a day after Francis, the second pope to visit the Arab world’s most populous nation, urged Muslim leaders to unite against religious extremism and make concerted efforts in the education of young people to promote tolerance and prevent militancy.


5. Pope’s trip to Egypt may be one of those “big deal” moments.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 30, 2017

Six years ago, a pope addressed Egypt, expressing outrage over an attack on a Christian church and calling for efforts against religious extremism, and the political and clerical establishment bristled. Now, Pope Francis came to Egypt and said much the same thing, and was embraced. One thing that seems to have changed is the mounting frustration of ordinary people here with terrorism and violence.

What’s changed in six years?

For one thing, the political context in Egypt is different. In 2011, the government of then-President Hosni Mubarak was facing widespread protest, and eventually would be swept from power less than a month later. Some of Mubarak’s critics at the time even suggested he was actually behind the attack on the Alexandria church, in a desperate attempt to justify a widespread military crackdown that might blunt the protest movement.

In that context, the government wasn’t in the mood to brook any external criticism, including from the pope. This time, the administration of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi appears to be on more solid footing, enjoying fairly widespread support, and Sisi himself has flagged the struggle against terrorism and religious extremism as a defining national priority.

Further, Francis is not Pope Benedict, who, fairly or not, never quite escaped the legacy of a controversial 2006 speech in Regensburg, Germany, which inflamed Muslim sentiment by appearing to link the Prophet Muhammad with violence.

Francis enjoys a vastly different profile in the Islamic world. His repeated insistence that Islam is a religion of peace, and that there’s no such thing as “Islamic terrorism” because such violence is incompatible with the tenets of the real faith, have helped him amass enormous social and political capital.

Perhaps even more basically, however, one has the impression ordinary Egyptians are simply in a different place than they were six years ago.

Over and over, that’s what I heard from people in Cairo, and not just Christians but the Muslim majority: They’re sick of terrorism, they say. They’re sick of fanatics and “crazies” hijacking the faith they cherish, they’re sick of sectarian battles and upheaval, and they don’t want in Egypt what they’ve watched play out in Syria, Iraq, and other ISIS strongholds.


6. In Egypt, pope Decries Religious Violence: ‘Belief and hatred’ are incompatible, pontiff says; tight security in wake of church blast.

By Francis X. Rocca and Dahlia Kholaif, The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2017, Pg. A1

Pope Francis opened a two-day visit to Egypt Friday with a forceful denunciation of religiously inspired violence and a call for religious freedom, three weeks after Islamic State terrorists killed more than 40 people in bombings at two of the country’s Christian churches.

The pope used the first speech of the trip to issue one of his most extended condemnations yet of Islamist violence. His remarks, addressed to an audience that included the leader of the most authoritative institution in the Sunni Muslim world, was at once a defense of the Middle East’s besieged Christian population and a challenge to Muslims to repudiate religious justifications for violence.


7. Knights of Malta Find Compromise After Papal Clash.

By Reuters, April 29, 2017, 11:48 AM

The Knights of Malta, a Catholic chivalric order and global charity, elected a new, interim leader on Saturday to oversee a period of reform and restore calm to the organization after its recent row with the Vatican.

The previous grand master, Briton Matthew Festing, resigned in January after a month-long, highly public spat with the Vatican over the running of the group, which laid bare tensions between a reformist Pope Francis and his conservative critics.

In a secret ballot, 56 electors appointed Italian Giacomo Dalla Torre as Lieutenant of the Grand Master, giving him just a one-year mandate while reforms are carried out.


8. Trump Nominates Antiabortion Activist Charmaine Yoest to Health Post: Yoest faces Senate confirmation for post of Health and Human Services assistant secretary overseeing public affairs.

By Michelle Hackman, The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2017, 5:00 PM

President Donald Trump nominated the former president of a prominent antiabortion group to the top communications post in the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House announced Friday.

Charmaine Yoest, a vocal supporter of the president during his campaign, served until February 2016 as the president of Americans United for Life, a group that writes model legislation aimed at curbing abortions. If confirmed by the Senate, she will become an assistant secretary overseeing public affairs.

Under Ms. Yoest’s leadership, Americans United for Life rolled out a state-based legal antiabortion strategy, focusing particularly on drug-induced abortion restrictions.


9. Cardinal Dolan slams DNC pledge to support only pro-abortion candidates.

By Catholic News Service, April 28, 2017

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan described the recent pledge from the Democratic National Committee’s chair to support only pro-abortion candidates “disturbing” and “intolerant.”

The cardinal, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged members of the Democratic party to “challenge their leadership to recant this intolerant position.”

The cardinal’s April 26 statement was in reaction to recent comments by DNC chair Tom Perez who said: “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Dolan, who offered prayers at the Democratic and Republican national conventions in 2012, had strong words for the Democratic party in his April 26 statement saying the party’s “platform already endorses abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy, even forcing taxpayers to fund it; and now the DNC says that to be a Democrat – indeed to be an American – requires supporting that extreme agenda.”


10. Wit and Witness: Remembering Kate O’Beirne, 1949-2017.

By Jonathan V. Last, Weekly Standard, May 8, 2017

Last May, I traveled to Rome with a small group of journalists. … Among all of the pleasures of this pilgrimage, the one I treasure most might be the evening I found myself ambling across the cobblestones of Borgo Pio, arm-in-arm with Kate O’Beirne, on the hunt for late-night gelato.

I did not know Kate well. I almost didn’t know her at all. As Jonah Goldberg wrote last week, Kate had been something like the den mother for just about every young conservative writer in Washington over the last 20 years. But for whatever reason, our paths rarely crossed, and when they did I avoided her. It seems ridiculous now, but the simple fact is that she intimidated me.

There’s something strange and wonderful about meeting someone on a pilgrimage. It’s a period that exists out of time; you are surrounded by constant beauty, each marvel surpassing the last, not one of them like anything in your everyday life. And the pilgrims all share something foundational, even if each experiences it differently. Even if it’s unspoken.

Which may be why, more than her charm, or wit, or generosity—more than her kindness, even—what struck me most about Kate was her holiness. She’d laugh at that, I’m sure. She wasn’t any kind of a hairshirt-and-mantilla Catholic. Even so. She was the real deal. It radiated from her.

Last Sunday, a small army of conservatives lost their godmother. I know that for them and for her family, her death is a heartbreaking loss. I count myself grateful just to have met her, and blessed to have followed in Peter’s footsteps with Kate O’Beirne by my side.


11. The Glamour of Good: Kate O’Beirne.

By Mary Eberstadt, The Catholic Thing, April 29, 2017

W.B. Yeats’s “Beautiful Lofty Things” – a posthumous love letter of sorts to some outsized figures who shaped the poet’s life – ends with wistful longing for “All the Olympians, a thing never known again.” With those eight words, the bard summons a haunting constant of our existence: the knowledge that some human lives are so colossal and rich that they impoverish the whole earth upon their leaving it.

Kate O’Beirne, who died this week and whose funeral was yesterday at the Arlington Diocese’s St. Thomas More Cathedral, was just such a visitor from the Pantheon. She was a massive one-woman media presence, variously, the Washington editor of National Review; a deputy assistant secretary in the Reagan administration; a daunting conservative presence on the CNN show “Capital Gang”; author of a popular column called “Bread and Circuses,” also for National Review; a vice-president of the Heritage Foundation; and president of National Review Institute.

She was a wife and mother who was also a mentor to hundreds, and a sister to untold numbers, especially in the clergy. She was an unapologetic, happy daughter of Rome during years when apologies and unhappiness were thick on the cobblestones. Kate loved the Church, and the Church loved Kate. Her conviction of the truth of the faith tied her every bon mot to bedrock.