1. Donald Trump’s Victory Looks Set to Renew Battle Over Abortion Rights: Antiabortion activists have high expectations under Republican leadership, but sweeping change looks unlikely, By Beth Reinhard, The Wall Street Journal, November 21, 2016, Pg. A4.

Liberal and conservative groups are girding for battle over abortion rights under President-elect Donald Trump, after nearly a decade in which the Obama administration backstopped the rollback of those rights on the federal level.

Mr. Trump has adopted the antiabortion rights movement’s top priorities, vowing to nominate socially conservative Supreme Court justices, withhold federal funding from Planned Parenthood, and sign legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Key appointments to Mr. Trump’s cabinet also appear to be lining up with antiabortion rights groups. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, picked to serve as U.S. attorney general, and Georgia Rep. Tom Price, one of the finalists for Health and Human Services secretary, are both staunch abortion opponents.

The road to overturning Roe v. Wade begins but doesn’t end with Mr. Trump’s nomination of a socially conservative judge to succeed the late Antonin Scalia. Five current justices—Justice Anthony Kennedyand the four reliable liberals—sided with abortion advocates in June and struck down new regulations on Texas clinics. It is also unclear as to what court case could present the next challenge to Roe v. Wade.


2. Pope indefinitely extends special permission on abortion, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, November 21, 2016, 6:42 AM.

Pope Francis is allowing all priests to absolve women of the “grave sin” of abortion, extending indefinitely special permission he had granted for the duration of the just-ended Holy Year of Mercy.

Because the Roman Catholic Church holds abortion to be such a serious sin, it had long put the matter of granting forgiveness for it in the hands of a bishop, who could either hear the woman’s confession himself or delegate that to a priest who was expert in such situations.

But in 2015, Francis had said he was allowing all rank-and-file priests to grant absolution for an abortion for the duration of the Holy Year, which ran from Dec. 8, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016.


3. Catholic University ‘renaissance’ returns church principles to academic life, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, November 21, 2016, Pg. A12.

The Catholic University of America has entered an era in which church doctrine is central to every aspect of the school’s mission — from educational offerings to dormitory assignments — with some faculty calling the new age a “renaissance.”

Far from being the country’s largest Catholic institution of higher learning, the university, situated in Northeast Washington, is striving to be one of the church’s most influential with its effort to apply its founding principles throughout academic and student life.

Case in point: The Catholic University has opened the Busch School of Business & Economics, which aims to crank out business degrees and to integrate the best of Catholic theology and philosophy with the best of economic and management theory.

“Through principled entrepreneurship, we come to understand that the gifts that God has given — and we all have different gifts — are to be used for the benefit of others,” Mr. Busch said in a speech at The Catholic University last week. “In so doing, we co-create with God goodness for others, our families, our clients, and our communities.”

The expansion of the business school is part of a broader revival at The Catholic University spearheaded by President John Garvey. Shortly after taking office in 2011, Mr. Garvey issued a strategic plan for the university, the first goal of which was to “promote the distinctive Catholic culture of the university.”


4. Pope Francis at End of Year of Mercy: Make Jesus Lord of Our Lives, By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, November 20, 2016.

Having Jesus as our King means little unless we make him Lord of our lives, Pope Francis said in his homily at the closing Mass today of the Holy Year of Mercy.

During the Mass with new cardinals, which coincided with the solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, the Pope closed the Holy Door of St. Peter’s basilica. At the end of the liturgy he signed an apostolic letter, Misericordia et misera, to mark the end of the Holy Year.

The letter, which calls on all the Church to continue practicing mercy with the same intensity as during the Jubilee year, will be published tomorrow.

Drawing on today’s Gospel reading to highlight different approaches to Christ’s kingship, the Pope drew attention to three kinds of people present at Christ’s crucifixion. The first, he said, are those who “stood by, watching”, who are tempted to “keep their distance from Jesus’ kingship, to not accept completely the scandal of his humble love, which unsettles and disturbs us.”

A second group of people are the leaders of the people who mock Jesus, who called on Christ to save himself. They tempt Jesus to give up “reigning as God wills and instead to reign according to the world’s ways: to come down from the cross and destroy his enemies,” the Pope said. It is the most “terrible temptation”, he added, one to which Jesus “does not react” but rather “continues rather to love; he forgives, he lives this moment of trial according to the Father’s will, certain that love will bear fruit.”

The last group of people are represented by the thief who begs Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. He was not “closed in on himself” but rather, aware of his sins, “turned to Jesus”, and asked to be “remembered, and he experienced God’s mercy,” the Pope said.


5. Pope shuts Holy Door, but urges: Stay open to reconciliation, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, November 20, 2016, 6:54 AM.

Pope Francis pulled shut the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday, formally ending the Holy Year of Mercy he declared to stress the need for greater reconciliation and forgiveness in his church and in the world.

After closing the ornate door, Francis urged some 70,000 people attending Mass in St. Peter’s Square to stay open to reconciliation prospects.

A day earlier, at a ceremony to give the church 17 new cardinals, the pope lamented a surge of hostility and polarization in the world, especially toward those many consider enemies simply because they are from different faiths, races or nationalities.

The Holy Year of Mercy, which started on Dec. 8, 2015, drew roughly 20 million pilgrims to Rome, where they passed through the open Holy Door at the Vatican and at other Rome basilicas.

Francis made clear that his papacy, which began in 2013, would continue to press for dialogue and other peaceful means to end conflicts and bring people closer together.

At the end of the Sunday’s Mass in the square, Francis signed a letter addressed to all the church. The Vatican said the letter expressed the pope’s intention that the church “can continue to live out the mercy with the same intensity felt during the entire special Jubilee” Holy Year.


6. Pope Francis, Inducting 17 Cardinals, Criticizes Polarization Over Race and Faith, Associated Press, November 19, 2016.

Pope Francis on Saturday criticized what he called a polarizing surge in much of the world to exclude people of different nationalities, races or beliefs as enemies as he led a ceremony welcoming 17 new cardinals from six continents.

He called for the “conversion of our pitiful hearts that tend to judge, divide, oppose and condemn” and cautioned against those who “raise walls, build barriers and label people.”

Among the new cardinals is Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, who defied the governor of Indiana, Mike Pence — now the vice president-elect — by welcoming Syrian refugees. In January, Archbishop Tobin will become archbishop of Newark.

The new cardinals who pledged loyalty to the pope on Saturday included prelates from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North and South America. Thirteen are under 80 years old and thus currently eligible to vote in a secret conclave for the next pope.


7. The College of Cardinals’ Class of 2016: Capsule profiles of the 17 men who received red hats today from Pope Francis., By Matthew Bunson, National Catholic Register, November 19, 2016.

On Nov. 19, Pope Francis created 17 new cardinals, the newest members of the College of Cardinals, in a ceremony held in St. Peter’s Square.

Thirteen of the new members are cardinal electors, meaning that they are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope should that happen. The cardinals come from 13 different countries, and several — such as Mauritius, Malaysia, Lesotho and New Guinea — are the first from their homelands to become members of the Sacred College.

There are now 121 cardinal electors. That is technically one more than the current limit of 120, although that number will decline quickly through several cardinals reaching the age of 80 in the next weeks. The average age for the new cardinals is 66. In all, Francis has appointed 44 cardinal electors. There are 21 electors named by St. John Paul II and 56 by Benedict XVI.

The New Cardinal Electors
Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio to Syria
Dieudonné Nzapalainga, CSSp, Archbishop of Bangui, Central African Republic
Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid, Spain
Sérgio da Rocha, Archbishop of Brasília, Brazil
Blase Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago
Patrick D’Rozario, CSC, Archbishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida, Venezuela
Josef De Kesel, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium
Kevin Joseph Farrell, Prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life
Carlos Aguiar Retes, Archbishop of Tlalnepantla, Mexico
John Ribat, MSC, Archbishop of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Joseph William Tobin, CSSR, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey

The Holy Father also appointed four new members who are over the age of 80 and therefore ineligible to vote in any future conclave:

Renato Corti, Bishop Emeritus of Novara, Italy
Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I., Bishop Emeritus of Mohale’s Hoek, Lesotho
Ernest Simoni, Priest of Shkodrë-Pult, Albania
Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


8. Pope Francis’ Race Against Time to Reshape the Church, By Laurie Goodstein, Adam Pearce, and Sergio Pecanha, The New York Times, November 18, 2016.

The College of Cardinals is responsible for electing a new pope. Pope Francis’ third set of cardinals will receive their “red hats” at a ceremony on Saturday.
With the new additions, 44 of the 121 cardinals eligible to vote will have been named by Francis. But nearly two-thirds of the current cardinals were appointed by Francis’ predecessors, Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, who were more theologically conservative and whose priorities were different from Francis’. The cardinals, however, do not all share the views of the pope who appointed them.

Of the 121 cardinals eligible to vote, 32 will turn 80 in the next five years, including 25 who were appointed by Benedict XVI and John Paul II. This gives Francis or his successor the opportunity to make new appointments.

The church nearly doubled the number of voting cardinals in the last century. But until recently, the College of Cardinals was dominated by Europeans, especially Italians, even as growth in the church shifted to the Southern Hemisphere.
In the early 1900s, about two-thirds of all Roman Catholics were in Europe. Now, more than half are in Latin America and Africa. But even with the new appointments, less than one third of the voting cardinals are from these two regions.