1. Pope Says He Had Severe Pneumonia, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2023, Pg. A20 Pope Francis said on Sunday that he had suffered from a “sudden, strong illness,” which he described as pneumonia, when hospitalized in late March, and acknowledged that aging was slowing him down, but said he still hoped to continue his international travel. The pope was speaking to reporters on his flight back to Rome after a three-day visit to Hungary. “I had severe acute pneumonia in the lower part of the lung,” accompanied by “a very high fever,” but never lost consciousness, Pope Francis said of the condition that sent him to a Rome hospital for a three-night stay. At the time, the Vatican described the pope’s condition as “infectious bronchitis.”  https://www.wsj.com/articles/pope-francis-says-he-had-severe-pneumonia-when-hospitalized-in-march-f175a548__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope voices willingness to return Indigenous loot, artifacts, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, April 30, 2023, 4:04 PM Pope Francis said Sunday that talks were underway to return colonial-era artifacts in the Vatican Museum that were acquired from Indigenous peoples in Canada and voiced a willingness to return other problematic objects in the Vatican’s collection on a case-by-case basis.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/04/30/vatican-restitution-indigenous-parthenon/d3ac4512-e788-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope speaks of secret peace ‘mission,’ help for Ukraine kids, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, April 30, 2023, 4:04 PM Pope Francis on Sunday revealed that a secret peace “mission” in Russia’s war in Ukraine was under way, though he gave no details, and said the Vatican is willing to help facilitate the return of Ukrainian children taken to Russia during the war. “I’m available to do anything,” Francis said during an airborne press conference en route home from Hungary. “There’s a mission that’s not public that’s underway; when it’s public I’ll talk about it.” Francis gave no details when asked whether he spoke about peace initiatives during his talks in Budapest this weekend with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Hungary. Deportations of Ukrainian children have been a concern since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Francis said the Holy See had already helped mediate some prisoner exchanges and would do “all that is humanly possible” to reunite families.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/04/30/vatican-ukraine-children-pope-russia/5db51e54-e785-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope in final Mass in Budapest urges Hungary to open doors, By Nicole Winfield and Justin Spike, Associated Press, April 30, 2023 Pope Francis urged Hungarians to open their doors to others on Sunday, as he wrapped up a weekend visit with a plea for Europe to welcome migrants and the poor and for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Francis issued the appeal from the banks of the Danube as he celebrated Mass on Budapest’s Kossuth Lajos Square, with the Hungarian Parliament and Budapest’s famed Chain Bridge as a backdrop. The celebration provided the visual highlight of Francis’ three-day visit that has been dominated by the Vatican’s concern for the plight of migrants and the war in neighboring Ukraine.  https://apnews.com/article/pope-hungary-russia-ukraine-95ecb5c9d714c75a39553707c6f2075e__________________________________________________________ 5. The Weekend Interview with Samuel Alito: ‘This Made Us Targets Of Assassination’, By James Taranto And David B. Rivkin Jr., The Wall Street Journal, April 29, 2023, Pg. A11, Interview Justice Samuel Alito was supposed to speak to law students at George Mason University in Arlington, Va., but when they showed up, he wasn’t there. “That Alito was speaking via closed circuit from a room at the Supreme Court seven miles away, rather than in person, was a sign these are not normal times,” the Washington Post reported. The Post didn’t explain what made the “times” abnormal. It wasn’t a lingering fear of Covid-19. In a mid-April interview in his chambers, Justice Alito fills us in on the May 12, 2022, event: “Our police conferred with the George Mason Police and the Arlington Police and they said, ‘It’s not a good idea. He shouldn’t come here. . . . The security problems will be severe.’ So I ended up giving the speech by Zoom,” he says. “Still, there were so many protesters and they were so loud that you could hear them.” By now a noisy mob of law students may sound like any other school day, but last May also was a tumultuous time for the court. The preceding week, someone had leaked a draft of Justice Alito’s opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a landmark abortion case that wouldn’t be decided until late June. The last question at the George Mason event, the Post reported, was about how the justices were getting along in the wake of that unprecedented breach of confidentiality. At the time, Justice Alito said little in response beyond “we’re doing our work.” He now says that the leak “created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust. We worked through it, and last year we got our work done. This year, I think, we’re trying to get back to normal operations as much as we can. . . . But it was damaging.”   Justice Alito says the marshal “did a good job with the resources that were available to her” and agrees that the evidence was insufficient for a public accusation. “I personally have a pretty good idea who is responsible, but that’s different from the level of proof that is needed to name somebody,” he says. He’s certain about the motive: “It was a part of an effort to prevent the Dobbs draft . . . from becoming the decision of the court. And that’s how it was used for those six weeks by people on the outside—as part of the campaign to try to intimidate the court.” That campaign included unlawful assemblies outside justices’ homes, and that wasn’t the worst of it. “Those of us who were thought to be in the majority, thought to have approved my draft opinion, were really targets of assassination,” Justice Alito says. “It was rational for people to believe that they might be able to stop the decision in Dobbs by killing one of us.” On June 8, an armed man was arrested outside the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh; the suspect was later charged with attempted assassination and has pleaded not guilty. A few pundits on the left speculated that the leaker might have been a conservative attempting to lock in the five-justice majority and overturn the constitutional right to abortion. “That’s infuriating to me,” Justice Alito says of the theory. “Look, this made us targets of assassination. Would I do that to myself? Would the five of us have done that to ourselves? It’s quite implausible.”  https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-samuel-alito-this-made-us-targets-of-assassination-dobbs-leak-abortion-court-74624ef9__________________________________________________________ 6. Catholic bishops praise Senate’s blocking of ERA, cite abortion, religious freedom concerns, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, April 28, 2023, 3:40 PM Catholic bishops praised senators who stood their ground Thursday to prevent efforts to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution. Senate Republicans effectively blocked a resolution that would have eliminated the already-expired 1982 deadline for states to ratify the ERA. The Constitution requires that three-quarters of the states, or 38 states, ratify amendments for them to go into effect. The resolution received majority support in the Senate with a 51-47 vote, but 60 votes are needed for cloture to end debate and bring the resolution to a floor vote. After failing to reach the 60-vote threshold, the motion was defeated.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254199/catholic-bishops-praise-senate-s-blocking-of-era-cite-abortion-religious-freedom-concerns__________________________________________________________ 7. Carrying the Cross of Infertility: An Open Letter, Even with four beautiful children myself, I still consider myself to be infertile. I still carry those scars with me. Though faded, they remain…, By Leigh Snead, National Catholic Register, April 28, 2023, Opinion To Those Carrying the Cross of Infertility, I know you are suffering, and my prayer is that by sharing my own story with you I might offer a glimmer of hope amid such grief. Almost 25 years ago, I was a young Catholic newlywed. Only years later did I wonder why we didn’t suspect something could be wrong, given the half-hearted way we, like many Catholic newlyweds I suspect, practiced NFP.  After a year of actively trying to conceive, unsuccessfully, I tried acupuncture. There were some beneficial effects, but none of them pregnancy. I began to dread the needles. I sometimes cried on the Washington Metro on my way to these appointments. So, when we took a two-week road trip around the United Kingdom to cheer ourselves up, to enjoy the freedom of childlessness while we could, and to distract ourselves from the obvious, I decided it was time to see a doctor. Not prepared at this point for the long wait required to get an appointment with Dr. Hilgers, we decided instead to see a well-regarded and local reproductive endocrinologist. Armed with our “Catholic Fertility Playbook,” we were looking forward to getting a diagnosis that came with an easy, effective and doctrinally licit treatment. Long story short: That didn’t happen.  We wanted a break from all this, but we never stopped thinking of our next step.  If you think you might be called to adopt a child, get that paperwork started. It takes a long time, and it’s tedious. And, even once it is complete, the wait for a child can be long and excruciating, especially since your arms have felt empty for so long already.  You needn’t stop trying to conceive to do this.  Upon our return, we learned that we were among two families being considered by a birth mother. A week later, in the grocery store, we learned that we were chosen. A week after that, our son was born; and, after some frantic shopping and car-seat installation, we drove 140 miles to meet him. When he was around 18 months and we were ready to add to our family, we decided it was finally time to see Dr. Hilgers. … However, after more than a year of treatment — read: needles — I was still not pregnant.   We loved our son beyond measure. “Let’s adopt again,” he said. So when we arrived home that summer in 2010, we got to work again with my husband at the reigns. At the end of February 2010, our agency called to tell us that they had received all the needed paperwork and we were about to “go live.” Then, almost as an afterthought, they asked if we might be interested in matching with a birth mother expecting twins — in three weeks! Three weeks. “Yes, of course,” we said, thinking it was a remote possibility but glad that our family was being considered and hopeful that we might be welcoming a baby within the next year. The next day, we learned that the birth mother wanted to speak with us that evening. She said over the phone that she had chosen us to be her twins’ parents. She also said that the babies would be delivered in three days, not three weeks. Another frantic baby-shopping spree, this time for two. We hit the road shortly thereafter, and I was there for their birth. You may know that identical twin boys will keep you very busy indeed.  But it happened. Almost exactly 11 years after the twins were born, our fourth son arrived. What a blessing he is. As my husband put it, “He just makes everything better.” It can be easy to think that the cure for infertility is a baby. After all, the main symptom of infertility is the absence of a baby. However, the baby is not the full story. Even with four beautiful children myself, I still consider myself to be infertile. I still carry those scars with me. Though faded, they remain. I spent many months over the last 18 years devastated when another month would roll by and I would still not be pregnant. I felt this disappointment even when not under a doctor’s care.  I hope this story of one Catholic marriage and how we became parents and carried the cross of infertility helps anyone suffering and longing for a child. Life is often long and always messy. Whatever path you choose, put your trust in Jesus, and don’t be shy about asking for the interventions of the Blessed Mother and the saints. I’ll be praying for you, too. Love, Your Sister in Christ, Leigh Leigh Fitzpatrick Snead is a fellow for The Catholic Association. She is a writer, editor, speaker and mother of four whose work engages questions of popular culture, motherhood, family, and the Church. She serves on the Executive Board of Human Life Action, a project of National Committee for a Human Life Amendment. Leigh lives with her husband, Carter, and four sons in Granger, Indiana. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/carrying-the-cross-of-infertility-an-open-letter__________________________________________________________

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