1. Pope rebukes climate deniers as ‘perverse’ in Bonn message.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 16, 2017, 6:46 AM

Pope Francis on Thursday rebuked those who deny the science behind global warming and urged negotiators at climate talks in Germany to avoid falling prey to such “perverse attitudes” and instead accelerate efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Francis issued a message to the Bonn meeting, which is working to implement the 2015 Paris accord aimed at capping global emissions.

In it, Francis called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing.” He urged negotiators to take action free of special interests and political or economic pressures, and to instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet.

In his landmark 2015 environmental encyclical, Francis said global warming is “mainly” due to human activity and he called for fossil fuels to be progressively phased out without delay.

In his message, the Argentine pope denounced that efforts to combat climate change are often frustrated by those who deny the science behind it or are indifferent to it, those who are resigned to it or think it can be solved by technical solutions, which he termed “inadequate.”


2. Washington’s New Museum of the Bible Aims to Inform, Not Preach.

By Reuters, November 16, 2017, 6:42 AM

Ancient scripts and rocker Elvis Presley’s Bible will be on display at the $500 million Museum of the Bible, which opens this weekend in Washington after questions about the origin of some of its artifacts and its portrayal of the holy book.

Museum backers say its collections will offer a scholarly, nonsectarian view of one of history’s most-debated sacred writings, following revision of the initial mission statement that called for it to “bring to life the living word of God.”

“It’s not about espousing our faith,” Steve Green, a Southern Baptist who is the museum board’s chairman and president of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, told reporters this week. “We just want to present the facts and let visitors decide.”

Visitors at the Saturday opening will enter through 37-foot-high (11.2-meter-high) brass gates etched with the first 80 lines of the Book of Genesis from the Bible’s first mechanical printing in the 15th century.

The eight-level museum in a prime tourist spot two blocks off the National Mall features the world’s biggest private collection of Torahs, as well as walk-through scenes of biblical stories such as Noah’s flood and a re-creation of a Middle Eastern village at the time of Jesus.


3. Report: US bishops choose delegates for 2018 Synod.

By Catholic News Agency, November 15, 2017, 3:30 PM

Meeting in Baltimore for their annual fall assembly, the U.S. bishops have selected their choices for delegates to next year’s Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment, multiple sources have reported to CNA.

According to these sources, the delegates are Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the bishops’ conference president; Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, conference vice president and head of the nation’s largest diocese; Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who hosted the World Meeting of Families attended by Pope Francis in 2015; and Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, known for his prominent new mediaevangelization presence. These names have not been confirmed by the USCCB.

The 2018 Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment is a global meeting of bishops to be held next year in Rome. Bishops’ conferences vote on delegates to attend the synod. After being elected, delegates’ names are sent to the Vatican for approval.


4. FBI Requests Planned Parenthood Documents, Signaling Possible Investigation: The request was made to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has investigated the abortion provider’s practices of transferring fetal tissue. 

By Catholic News Agency, November 15, 2017

An FBI request for unredacted Planned Parenthood documents from the U.S. Senate could signal an investigation into whether the abortion giant illegally sold fetal tissue from aborted babies.

The request was made to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, referred Planned Parenthood and several other organizations that perform abortions to the FBI after the committee investigated their practices of transferring fetal tissue. The report comes from The Hill news site, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the document request.

The Center for Medical Progress in 2015 released undercover videos appearing to show Planned Parenthood and other abortion industry leaders engaged in the illegal sale of the tissue and body parts.

Grassley’s staff is reportedly working to fulfill the document request in compliance with Senate rules. If copies of the documents need to be transferred to a grand jury, a full Senate vote would be required, The Hill reports.


5. Longing for peace: Pope to preach dialogue in Bangladesh, Myanmar.

By Cindy Wooden, Editor, Catholic News Service, November 15, 2017

While the ongoing crisis of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh will draw much attention during Pope Francis’s visit to the two countries in late November, the pope also is expected to focus on interreligious dialogue, poverty and climate change.

“He will be insisting on economic justice and environmental justice,” said Cardinal Charles Bo of Yangon, Myanmar. Justice in both areas would be “the major promoters of peace and harmony” in the region.

Although to different degrees, the two countries the pope will visit are struggling to establish a democracy that respects the rights of minorities – both religious and ethnic. 

Francis is scheduled to arrive in Myanmar Nov. 27 and stay until the afternoon of Nov. 30 when he flies to Bangladesh. He returns to Rome late Dec. 2.

The core of Francis’s message is likely to be similar to the heart of his message in Sri Lanka in January 2015: “The inability to reconcile differences and disagreements, whether old or new, has given rise to ethnic and religious tensions, frequently accompanied by outbreaks of violence.”