1. Pope’s Beatitudes Highlight Care for Environment and Outsiders, By Francis Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, November 2, 2016, Pg. A14.

Pope Francis proposed a new set of contemporary Beatitudes here, adding environmentalism and ecumenism to the core set of Christian ideals such as meekness and mercy enunciated by Jesus in the Bible.

“We ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy,” the pope said on Tuesday while celebrating Mass for Sweden’s small Catholic community at the end of a two-day visit to the country, before offering a list of ideals responding to Christianity’s modern challenges.

Pope Francis suggested six new Beatitudes to supplement the Biblical eight, including: “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home,” a reference to the pope’s signature theme of environmentalism, the subject of his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si.’”

“Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians,” he said, evoking the main reason for his visit to Protestant-majority Sweden.


2. Pope Francis Says Ban on Female Priests Is Likely to Endure, By Laurie Goodstein, The New York Times, November 2, 2016, Pg. A4.

The Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that women cannot be ordained as priests is likely to last forever, Pope Francis said on Tuesday as he flew back to Rome from Sweden.

Francis has said before that the Catholic Church’s ban on ordaining women as priests is a closed matter. But questions arose about his intentions after he established a commission to study whether women could be ordained as deacons. (Members of the commission were named in August.)


3. Pope: Ban on female priests may last forever, By Julie Zauzmer, The Washington Post, November 2, 2016, Pg. A1.

Pope Francis said Tuesday that the Catholic Church will probably continue banning women from serving as priests forever, according to journalists who were traveling on a plane with him.

But scholars who study the role of women in the church said Francis’s off-the-cuff statement did not close the door on the possibility of women serving as deacons, an idea that the Vatican is studying.

Advocates for the ordination of women saw a glimmer of hope in Francis’s decision earlier this year to create a commission to study the role of female deacons in the church. Deacons are clergy in the Catholic Church who can perform many of the functions of priests, including officiating at weddings and baptisms and preaching at Mass. Women served as deacons in the early centuries of the church but are currently banned from doing so.

There’s no reason to think that Francis’s statement on Tuesday means that the committee cannot find a role for women as deacons in the modern church, theologians said Tuesday.


4. D.C. Council votes to allow suicide aid for terminally ill, Dignity Act puts city on path to join 5 states, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, November 2, 2016, Pg. A1.

The D.C. Council on Tuesday gave overwhelming preliminary approval to legislation that would authorize doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, placing the District on track to join five states that permit physician-assisted suicide.

Four states — California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have enacted physician-assisted suicide legislatively or via ballot measure since 1994, when Oregon became the first state to legalize the practice through a direct vote. The Montana Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that nothing in state law prohibits doctors from fulfilling requests for lethal drugs from mentally competent, terminally ill patients who wish to die.

The D.C. Council must vote one more time on the bill, which could be as early as Nov. 15, before it goes to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser for final approval. Miss Bowser’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The bill would require terminally ill patients to consult with two doctors over a span of at least two weeks in order to obtain the fatal drugs. Two witnesses must also attest to the voluntary nature of the decision.

During debate on the legislation, several council members expressed reservations with the idea of physician-assisted suicide but said they were more uncomfortable with the idea of imposing their moral views on their constituents.

But a group of physicians practicing in the city wrote a letter to the D.C. Council last month warning against the legislation’s potential for abuse and lack of safeguards.

The doctors noted that terminally ill patients are often depressed, but the bill “does not include a requirement that patients seeking assisted suicide first receive a psychological evaluation.”

Furthermore, they wrote that the Death With Dignity Act “would betray our healing mission enshrined by the Hippocratic Tradition which states, ‘ I will give no deadly medicine to anyone if asked, nor suggest any such counsel. I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.’”


5. Those Catholic WikiLeaks, By George Weigel, First Things, November 2, 2016.

At the risk of causing cardiac distress or cerebral incidents among the bloggers of the Catholic Left, let me begin by saying that I agree with the claim that the recent WikiLeaks dump of “Catholic e-mails” from the higher altitudes of the Clinton Machine is No Big Deal. But if so, why not?

It’s no big deal in the sense that anyone who’s been paying attention has long known that a lot of money, usually from secular sources allied to fanatic population controllers, has been used to create “Catholic organizations” that are little more than letterheads. And with those letterheads, expensive newspaper ads, press releases, and other forms of propaganda are confected, especially during election season. “Catholics for Choice,” “Catholics United,” and “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good” are all examples of this scam: faux-organizations long on income and high in media visibility, but with virtually no base in the U.S. Catholic community.

This is an old tactic with an unsavory pedigree. “Catholic” front organizations were a staple of communist agitprop during the Cold War, as communist parties in central and eastern Europe tried to replace the real Catholic Church with a Catholicism more to the comrades’ liking. The most notorious of these gangs was the “Pax” movement in Poland, which, as one historian put it, was “almost more Stalinist than the Party”; its founder, Bolesław Piasecki, was a pre-war fascist who bought his way out of a Soviet prison by offering to be a kind of Trojan horse among Polish Catholics. Then there was “Pacem in Terris” in Czechoslovakia; the real Catholics called the toadies who were its fawning, regime-compliant members the “pax terriers.”

The local bishop is the trustee of the Church’s identity in the diocese entrusted to his care—just as he’s the guardian of the Catholic truths to be taught in his schools and the guarantor of the integrity of the sacraments administered under his authority. Given what’s coming in the near future, bishops had better prepare themselves now for being active defenders of the Church’s integrity in all these spheres of Catholic life.


6. On women clergy, Pope Francis fears ‘disease’ of clericalism, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, November 1, 2016.

During his customary in-flight news conference at the end of his trip to Sweden yesterday, Pope Francis took a question on women priests and not only reiterated, as he has several times in the past, that St. Pope John Paul has already said no, but he appeared to suggest that the Church’s “no” is forever.

“If we read carefully the declaration of St. John Paul II, it goes in that direction,” Frabcis said.
What that response didn’t address, however, is the more interesting question currently percolating about women clergy, which is the matter of whether women can, and should, be ordained as deacons. I say it’s more “interesting” largely because Francis’s answer is less predictable, and therefore the outcome is more up for grabs.

Time will tell which of the two is the case with women deacons, but for now it seems the smartest move for pope-watchers is to hedge their bets, because how Francis may come down hardly seems a slam-dunk.


7. Pope speaks on refugees, women priests, Protestants, and more, By Austen Ivereigh, Contributing Editor, Crux, November 1, 2016.

In considering how many migrants and refugees a country should take, governments should have an “open heart” but also exercise prudence in working out how many it’s capable of integrating, Pope Francis told journalists on his return flight from Sweden Tuesday.

Francis also answered questions on women priests, the Vatican’s role in the Venezuelan crisis, his relationship with evangelicals,  as well as secularization.

Responding to a Swedish journalist who asked him about countries which shut their borders to migrants, he said “in theory” a country should never refuse to take refugees, but the obligation was not to only to receive them but to integrate them into society.

He said as an Argentine and South American, he was grateful to Sweden for taking so many exiles fleeing dictatorships, and praised the country for its “long tradition of welcome.”

He said secularization was not to be confused with what he called a “healthy secularity,” in which science and knowledge have their proper autonomy.

It was important to “take up again” this healthy autonomy in the development of culture and sciences while at the same returning to “a strong evangelization”, he said.

Asked if he planned to come to Germany for any of the Reformation events next year, he said that next year’s trips were still undecided, but India and Bangladesh are all but certain.


8. Full text: Pope Francis’ in-flight presser from Sweden, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2016, 11:43 AM.

During his flight from Sweden to Rome on Tuesday, Pope Francis gave a press conference to the journalists assembled aboard the papal plane. He reflected on refugees, the ordination of women, ecumenism, and the crisis in Venezuela.

He also addressed secularization, human trafficking, and his possible international trips in the coming year.

Please find below the full text of the Nov. 1 press conference, translated by Catholic News Agency.