1. Pro-life position gave Trump his crucial Catholic comeback, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, November 11, 2016, Pg. A1.

Exit polls show that Catholics backed the Republican nominee over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, 52 percent to 45 percent. Surveys leading up to the election indicated the faith group was shunning the New York real estate developer in droves.

Jay Richards, executive editor of the conservative Christian news website The Stream, said he monitored Catholic opinion up until Election Day and noticed a massive shift at the last minute.

“I think it’s one of the most profound demographic shifts that I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Mr. Richards, who teaches business and economics at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

A Public Religion Research Institute survey in late August showed Mr. Clinton leading Mr. Trump among Catholics by 23 points, 55 percent to 32 percent. A Washington Post-ABC News poll that month similarly put her lead at 27 points, 61 percent to 34 percent.

Catholic voters make up roughly a quarter of the electorate and, partly because their numbers, have a track record of correctly picking the eventual president. The 2016 general election marks the first time since 1972 that the winner of the Catholic vote has not also won the popular vote. (Mrs. Clinton received about 336,000 more votes than Mr. Trump, who garnered at least 279 electoral votes to seal his victory.)

Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser for The Catholic Association think tank, said part of the swing toward Mr. Trump can be explained by a general desire for the country to change direction.

“Partially, I think it’s because of the general shift, because Catholics, being such a huge part of the electorate, they reflect the general shift of the electorate to a great extent,” Ms. Pozo Christie said. “So, in general, Catholics vote like the rest of America, and this was a change election.”

She said Mr. Trump’s populist message resonated with white, working-class Catholics in the Rust Belt, where the billionaire businessman made his biggest electoral gains.

And exit polls showed anxiety about the future direction of the U.S. Supreme Court weighed heavily on the minds of voters. Twenty-one percent of voters said the balance of the court was a major factor in how they voted, and among those voters, 57 percent backed Mr. Trump.

“Part of that is issues of life, all these issues that have come before the Supreme Court that are especially important to Catholics,” Ms. Pozo Christie said. “We have a gender [identity] case coming up that the Supreme Court just accepted. That’s going to be coming up soon, and Catholics understand that these issues are also religious liberty issues.”


2. Closing the Jubilee Door of Mercy and Becoming Living Portals, By Fr. Roger J. Landry, The Anchor, November 11, 2016.

The formal close of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy will take place on November 20 when Pope Francis, at the end of the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King in St. Peter’s Basilica, formally shuts and seals, until probably 2025, the Basilica’s famous Jubilee Door. The other Doors of Mercy in Cathedrals and privileged Churches throughout the world, however, are all supposed to be liturgically closed this Sunday.

I have to admit that I’ll be sad to see the Jubilee Doors close. As a Catholic disciple, I thought having doors of mercy opened for the world is a fitting image for the Church’s mission today, and I loved how easy it was to seek plenary indulgences for myself and those who have died. As a Catholic priest, I know were many this year who crossed through those doors and continued walking through the doors of a confessional. As a Missionary of Mercy — one of the 1,142 priests given special faculties by Pope Francis to absolve the censures due to particular sins reserved to the Pope or to bishops — I loved being able to exercise the sweeping privilege and responsibility of the church’s fullest power to bind and loose. As a columnist, I’ve really enjoyed this 26-part series focusing on the various dimensions of how we’re called to receive and communicate mercy.

Even though the Year regrettably couldn’t last forever, however, I am grateful to have had the doors of mercy opened wide throughout this 349-day Jubilee and to experience it in all of these ways.

The good news is that, even though the Jubilee will officially conclude when Pope Francis closes the Jubilee Door, God’s everlasting mercy will endure. In some respects, every year we’re still breathing is a year of mercy, during which we’re called to celebrate, recognize our need for, receive and share this great gift. St. John Paul II and Pope Francis have both called our time a “kairos of mercy,” and that “acceptable time” does not expire when the chronos hits November 21.

The reason for which Pope Francis called this Jubilee Year, moreover, likewise remains.

The ultimate reason for the Jubilee, he concluded, is “because this is the time for mercy, … the favorable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.”

These stated reasons for the Jubilee of Mercy are perhaps the best way for us, on a personal and ecclesial level, to evaluate it as it comes to an end. Have we perceived better God’s tender closeness and experienced the joy and warmth of merciful love? Have we been touched by that mercy in such a way to become convinced that our mission in life is to be a witness and instrument of that divine give? Have we been transformed to such an extent that we have almost been compelled to draw closer to those in greater need of God’s merciful love?

There’s a common spiritual aphorism that God never closes a door without opening another (see Acts 16:6-12; 2 Cor 12:12-14). In this case, as the Doors of Mercy that led so many into our Churches close throughout the world this Sunday and at St. Peter’s on Christ the King, the intention is not that we be locked inside our sacred edifices. Rather, transformed by the graces of this year to be “merciful like the Father,” we are called to become living portals, taking God’s mercy more effectively, tenderly and joyfully out to those in need and drawing them into the heart of this inexhaustible mystery.


3. Pope on Christian love: No to ideologies & intellectualism, Vatican Radio, November 11, 2016.

Pope Francis warned Christians on Friday against ideologies on love and intellectual theories, saying these strip away the Flesh of the Church and ruin it. He was speaking during his Mass celebrated on Friday morning at the Santa Marta residence.

Taking his cue from the day’s gospel reading coming from the second Letter of St. John, the Pope’s homily was a reflection on the nature of Christian love and how the word ‘love’ is used nowadays to describe many different things. He stressed that the true criterion of Christian love is the Incarnation of the Word, saying whoever denies or does not recognize this is “the antichrist.”

The Pope wrapped up his homily by stressing that whoever does not love in the same selfless way as Christ did, loves in an ideological manner.  He also warned against those who put forward theories on love or intellectualize it, saying they ruin the Church and lead to a situation where we have a God without Christ, a Christ without the Church and a Church without people.

“Let us pray to the Lord so that our walk in love never ever becomes for us an abstract love. May our love be concrete with works of mercy whereby we touch the Flesh of Christ, the Incarnate Christ. It is for this reason that the deacon Lawrence said ‘The poor are the treasure of the Church!’  Why?  Because they are the suffering flesh of Christ!  Let us ask for this grace to not go beyond and not enter into this process, that possibly seduces so many people, of intellectualizing  and ideologizing  this love, stripping away the Flesh of the  Church, stripping away Christian love.  And let’s not arrive at the sad spectacle of a God without Christ, of a Christ without the Church and a Church without its people.”


4. Advocates on both sides strive to make sense of Trump victory, By NCR Staff, National Catholic Reporter, November 10, 2016.

Religious voters, specifically evangelicals, Catholics and Mormons, voted for Trump by strong margins — in some cases larger than they had given to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Catholics in general voted for Trump over Clinton 52 percent to 45 percent. That’s despite Pope Francis’ and other prominent Catholics’ rebuke of the candidate for railing against immigrants and other minority groups.

While the politicians — as they do after every election — called for unity for the sake of the country, scholars and advocates of both sides were striving to make sense of the results.

“I am as yet unable to imagine the future — I can’t think about the Supreme Court, the fate of immigrants, race relations, Obamacare, the economy, or any other issue,” said Cathleen Kaveny a law professor at Boston College. “I cannot get Donald Trump’s Twitter feed and the nuclear codes out of my nightmares.”

Meanwhile, Grazie Pozo Christie, a member of The Catholic Association, which claims to be “dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square,” welcomed Trump’s victory. “Catholics, like the rest of America, have voted for drastic change,” she said in a statement. “Faced with a Democratic Party platform that runs counter to non-negotiable Catholic principles like the dignity of human life, they chose Mr. Trump.”

Trump’s promise to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices was persuasive, Christie said.

Matthew Green, who teaches politics at The Catholic University of America, is cautious about making predictions. “With Trump’s victory, we are entering uncharted territory. Never before in our history have we elected a president with no experience in either elected government or military leadership,” he said.