1. Meet Jimmy Kimmel’s Nun, Behind the caricature is someone who has spent her life building strong women. 

By William McGurn, Columnist, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2018, Pg. A13, Opinion

It was once understood that a gentleman never holds up a woman’s looks for ridicule. Even now, when the idea of a gentleman has itself become an anachronism, the #MeToo moment might have been thought to re-enforce the old prohibition.

Turns out there’s an exception for nuns.

Last Tuesday, the host of ABC’s “ Jimmy Kimmel Live!” took advantage of this exception during a segment poking fun at the A-listers showing up for this year’s Met Gala in everything from mock papal headgear to cross-bedazzled evening gowns. The gala’s theme was “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” Mr. Kimmel said his boyhood had given him a much different impression of the Catholic sense of fashion. For the laugh line, up popped a photo of a middle-aged nun—he called her “ Sister Mary Frances O’Brien ”—“wearing the latest from JCPenney.”

In reality, Sister Mary Frances O’Brien doesn’t exist. The nun in the photo is Sr. Patricia Pompa. I know because Sr. Pat is principal of Villa Walsh Academy, the Morristown, N.J., high school my daughters attended.

At a time when Christians elsewhere are being beheaded or having their churches torn down, a nun joke doesn’t register high on the outrage meter. But for those who know the real-life woman behind the joke, it stinks of injustice.

It’s true, as Mr. Kimmel’s reference to JCPenney was meant to convey, Sr. Pat’s habit would win no awards for fashion. Then again, it is precisely in this sense she wears it. In its way it is a declaration of higher loyalties and imperatives.

Sr. Pat’s entire life has been about self-sacrifice on behalf of one of these imperatives: the education of girls, which she oversees in a school located a few feet from the convent where she and the sisters live.

A pity Mr. Kimmel and his audience will settle for a cheap laugh line like “Sr. Mary Frances O’Brien.” Because if they could bring themselves to look just beyond the caricatures to the real-life Sr. Pats and the institutions they run, they would be astonished by the strength, selflessness and accomplishment they would find.


2. Pope says he’s thought about when it’s time to ‘take leave’. 

By Associated Press, May 15, 2018, 7:01 AM

Pope Francis says he has thought about when it might be time to “take leave” of his flock.

Francis made the comment during his morning homily Tuesday; the Vatican didn’t release the full text.

Francis was reflecting on St. Paul discerning when to leave his flock in the care of others, a decision Francis said all bishops must make.

Francis may have also been referring to Chilean bishops implicated in a sex abuse cover-up scandal.


3. Church in Germany embroiled in intercommunion debate. 

By Anian Christoph Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, May 15, 2018

The unresolved debate over a proposal to allow Protestant spouses of Catholics to receive communion in German dioceses under some limited circumstances has gathered steam after the country’s president waded into the debate at the major national Catholic conference in the town of Münster.

The planned proposal has been championed by  Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, president of the German bishops’ conference, who announced in February that the conference would publish a pastoral handout for married couples that allows Protestant spouses of Catholics “in individual cases” and “under certain conditions” to receive Holy Communion, provided they “affirm the Catholic faith in the Eucharist”.

Subsequently, seven German bishops, led by Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, ask the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for clarification, asking whether the question of Holy Communion for Protestant spouses in interdenominational marriages can be decided on the level of a national bishops’ conference, or if rather, “a decision of the Universal Church” is required in the matter.

Any solution found in Germany could also not constitute some form of exceptionalism, but would have to be fully compatible with the universal Church, Woelki told EWTN’s Christina Link-Blumrath, again making an ecclesiological point: “As the Catholic Church, we also have to point out that we are a part and parcel of the universal Church. There can be no German exceptionalism.”


4. Pope gets an unprecedented close-up, courtesy of Wim Wenders. 

By Jake Coyle, Associated Press, May 14, 2018, 6:18 PM

In “A Man of His Word” Pope Francis becomes the first pontiff to participate in such a movie. The film premiered Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival, though the Pope, who’s meeting this week in Rome with Chilean bishops to discuss Chile’s sex abuse crisis, was not in Cannes — robbing the festival of the sight of the pontiff on the red carpet.

Focus Features will release the film — an unprecedented big-screen close-up for the Pope — nationwide Friday, bringing the world’s most recognized religious figure into cinemas alongside the likes of “Deadpool 2” and “Show Dogs.”

Wenders, the Oscar-winning 72-year-old filmmaker of “Wings of Desire,” ‘’Paris, Texas” and “Buena Vista Social Club,” says he received “carte blanche” from the Vatican, and final cut. He conducted four lengthy interviews spread out over four years, all inside Vatican walls, and was granted extensive access to the Vatican’s video library.

In between footage of Pope Francis visiting everywhere from a joint session of U.S. Congress to a Philadelphia prison, from an African children’s hospital to a Greek migrant camp, the spiritual leader discusses faith in the modern world, poverty, pollution, female equality, church sex scandals, the suffering of migrants and economic inequality.


5. Chilean bishops open to resignations, reparation for abuse. 

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 14, 2018, 5:33 PM

Chile’s Catholic bishops said Monday they were open to whatever Pope Francis proposes to overhaul the Chilean church, including the removal of bishops, reforms of seminaries and paying financial reparation to victims of a clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

Representatives of the Chilean bishops conference told reporters they were heading into three days of meetings with Francis humbled, pained and shamed for their own errors in handling abuse cases. They said they wanted to listen to Francis and would follow his lead in asking forgiveness of the victims they had discredited.


6. Alfie Evans, toddler at center of legal storm, laid to rest. 

By Associated Press, May 14, 2018, 12:39 PM

Hundreds of mourners have gathered in Liverpool to say goodbye to Alfie Evans, the British toddler whose parents fought an unsuccessful legal battle to keep him on life support.

People applauded as the boy’s funeral cortege passed the Everton Football Club stadium Monday after a private family funeral. Inside a hearse, Alfie’s coffin was decorated with images of toy soldiers and the Everton logo.

Alfie had a degenerative neurological condition that left him with almost no brain function. His parents fought in court to take him to the Vatican children’s hospital and gained support from the pope.

British judges agreed with doctors that more treatment was futile. Alfie died on April 28 at the age of 23 months.


7. Church sets dialogue with Nicaragua’s government this week. 

By Associated Press, May 14, 2018, 6:10 PM

Nicaragua says it welcomes a visit by the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and Roman Catholic bishops announced Monday that a dialogue with the government will start this week.

The Nicaraguan Council of Bishops said talks between civic groups and the administration of President Daniel Ortega will start Wednesday morning, following weeks of anti-government protests in which an estimated 65 people have been killed.

OAS General Secretary Luis Almagro published Nicaragua’s acceptance letter in his Twitter account Monday.

The Nicaraguan bishops had demanded an international observation mission as a condition for dialogue, amid a crackdown on protesters by police and supporters of Ortega’s government. The government initially had rejected an offer by the OAS’s human rights observers.

The rights commission said in a statement Monday that during its visit it plans to meet with government, civil society and other representatives. It did not say when the visit would occur.

Cardenal Leopoldo Brenes said that while the conditions were not the best for starting the dialogue Ortega had offered, the country had to find some way out of the crisis.

Brenes expressed hope the talks could lead to increased democracy in a country tightly dominated by Ortega. He also called for an end to the violence and looting.


8. Cardinal George Pell’s Sexual Abuse Trials May Be Held in Secret. 

By Damien Cave, The New York Times, May 14, 2018

An Australian court is to decide on Wednesday whether two planned trials for Cardinal George Pell, the senior Vatican official accused of sexual abuse, will be conducted in secret with the public barred from knowing what took place until the proceedings are over.

On Friday, prosecutors in the state of Victoria applied for a “super injunction” against news coverage of the separate trials. Legal experts described the application as an extreme move aimed at keeping juries in both cases from learning anything that might cause bias.

But a trial held behind closed doors would also limit accountability for the judge, jury and lawyers in the case.

Super injunctions have become increasingly common in Victoria courts, and the scope of the requested ban is as wide as possible, with the potential to shroud even innocuous information.

News outlets, for example, may not even be able to report when or where the trial is happening, or even why that information cannot be shared.