1. Archbishop to lead D.C. church as probe starts in his former city, News of Atlanta inquiry is a fresh blow, Many Catholics trust Gregory to restore their faith.

By Julie Zauzmer and Marisa Iati, The Washington Post, May 2, 2019, Pg. B1

The news that Georgia’s attorney general is investigating sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, coming just after Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory was chosen for the top job in Washington’s Catholic church, came as yet another blow to those who had been hoping for a relief from scandal when their new archbishop arrives.

Gregory, 71, has been cast as a much-needed reformer for the Archdiocese of Washington. Within the past year, former archbishop Theodore McCarrick was disgraced and defrocked after accusations that he committed sexual abuse, and then his successor, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the leader of Washington’s Catholics for the past 12 years, retired early due to revelations about his own handling of abuse cases.


2. Veto override of abortion measure fails.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, May 2, 2019, Pg. A2

Republican lawmakers in Kansas narrowly failed Wednesday to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill requiring abortion providers to tell patients about a disputed treatment to stop a medication after it has been started.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 27 to 13 to override Kelly’s veto, exactly the two-thirds majority required. However, in the GOP-controlled House, the 82-to-43 vote left abortion opponents two votes shy, stunning top Republicans who had expected to prevail.


3. ‘Hesburgh’ Review: A Portrait of a Heroic and Scandal-Free Catholic Priest.

By Glenn Kenny, New York Times Online, May 2, 2019, Critic’s Pick

If you’re Catholic, and have an aunt or other relative who’s expressed agitation that pretty much every movie in which the Church figures nowadays focuses on a scandal, “Hesburgh” may do your relative a world of good. The documentary about the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, who was president of the University of Notre Dame for 35 years, is a portrait of a man who can be seen as not merely blameless, but genuinely heroic.

Buttressed by narration culled from the priest’s own reminiscences (read by Maurice LaMarche), the movie, directed by Patrick Creadon, is most impressive in recounting Hesburgh’s tireless work, from the 1950s to the ’70s, on the United States Commission on Civil Rights. This commission, among other things, laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


4. At Rome’s American seminary, scandals aren’t deterring future priests.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, May 2, 2019

According to faculty and students at Rome’s Pontifical North American College, the seminary for future U.S. priests in the Eternal City, that last effect is strikingly common among today’s seminary cohort. If true, it suggests the tantalizing possibility that the horrors of the clerical sexual abuse crisis may, against all odds, result in a stronger generation of priests down the line – or, at the very least, a generation clearer about what’s at stake.

“None of us would have asked for this scandal and the hurt it’s caused,” said Father Peter Harman, a priest of Springfield, Ill., and rector of the NAC since 2016. “But perhaps, and I trust in God’s goodness, if this makes us want to be priests for the right reasons, then let it be.”

When Ferme surveys the landscape, he actually sees fire beneath the ash of the scandals.

“Given where the Church is now, people really need to see someone give everything to the Church, their very lives, because they believe in this and they’re willing to do it, not just for the Church herself but for all of her members,” he said.

“In that sense,” he said, clearly aware of the irony of what he was about to say, “this is a great time to be in the Church.”


5. Conservatives Want Catholic Bishops to Denounce Pope as Heretic.

By Reuters, May 1, 2019

A group of 19 Catholic priests and academics have urged bishops to denounce Pope Francis as a heretic, in the latest ultra-conservative broadside against the pontiff over a range of topics from communion for the divorced to religious diversity.

The most prominent of the group is Father Aidan Nichols, a 70-year-old British priest of the Dominican order who has written many books and is one of most recognized theologians in the English-speaking world. The others are less well known.


6. Satan is real, Pope Francis says.

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 1, 2019, 4:19 AM

Pope Francis Wednesday reminded those who think belief in the devil is antiquated or outdated that Satan really exists and that Jesus himself experienced his temptations and overcame them.

“So began the public life of Jesus, with the temptation that comes from Satan. Satan was present,” the pope said May 1.

“Many people say: ‘But why talk about the devil, which is an ancient thing? The devil does not exist.’ But look at what the Gospel teaches you,” Francis emphasized. “Jesus confronted the devil, he was tempted by Satan. But Jesus rejects every temptation and comes out victorious.”


7. What “Deep Christian Convictions” of “Democratic Socialism”?

By Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, May 2, 2019

I do my best to avoid the New York Times. Truly, I try not to read it. Doing so invariably ruins my day and wastes my time.

That happened again when a friend this week sent me a widely circulated op-ed piece from last weekend’s Times, titled, “Can We Please Relax About ‘Socialism?’” It was written by David Bentley Hart, who—and this particularly caught my eye and prompted me to write here—is a scholar of religion and (according to the tagline) “an affiliated scholar of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.”

Ironically, I just spoke at Notre Dame, where I lectured on the differences and confusion regarding what is “socialism,” what is “democratic socialism,” what is communism, Marxism, etc. Above all, I laid out what the Catholic Church has said about these things. Drawing the necessary distinctions is never easy, constantly blurred by the very people advancing the terms and always telling us that those who are concerned about socialism and communism are the big problem.

But what really got me about Hart’s piece, particularly given his affiliation with Notre Dame, was this passage:

Democratic socialism is, briefly put, a noble tradition of civic conscientiousness that was historically—to a far greater degree than either its champions or detractors today often care to acknowledge—grounded in deep Christian convictions. I, for instance, am a proud son of the European Christian socialist tradition, especially in its rich British variant … but also in its continental expressions (see, for example, Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, with its prescient warnings against the dangers of unfettered capitalism).

Let’s leave aside communism and stick to “socialism.” The Church perceived socialism, too, as a menace. I could go on and on with examples, but here are just a few that stand out—again the kind of stuff that the New York Times has a maddening habit of leaving out of its left-wing op-ed pieces:

Section 120 of Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno states bluntly: “Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”

That’s stated quite clearly. Imagine then—truly, imagine the amazing affront—of a New York Times piece citing Quadragesimo Anno in defense of “democratic socialism” being “grounded in deep Christian convictions” and of a “European Christian socialist tradition” with “continental expressions” in the likes of “Pope Pius XI’s encyclical Quadragesimo Anno.” Could there be a more inappropriate source to have cited for that assertion?

Sure, Dr. Hart also cites Quadragesimo Anno for “its prescient warnings against the dangers of unfettered capitalism.” Fine, no problem there, but Quadragesimo Anno is completely against socialism. In fact, there are some 50 references to “socialism” or “socialist” in Quadragesimo Anno, and they’re pretty damning.

This is a clear rejection of socialism, whether “moderate” or “modified,” and certainly of any conception of “Christian socialism.” Socialism, asserted Quadragesimo Anno, cannot be reconciled with Catholic teachings because its concept of society itself is “utterly foreign” to Christian truth.