1. Pope Avoids Mention of ‘Rohingya’ on Visit to Myanmar: But he urges ‘respect for the rights of all those who consider this land their home’.

By Francis X. Rocca and  Ben Otto, The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2017, 6:19 AM

Pope Francis told Myanmar’s political leaders that their country’s democratization depends on inclusion of all ethnic and religious groups, but he avoided directly referring to the Muslim Rohingya minority whose treatment he has denounced as religious persecution.

In a speech Tuesday to civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other dignitaries in Myanmar’s capital, the pope called on the country to establish a “democratic order that enables each individual and every group—none excluded—to offer its legitimate contribution.”

The pope also praised a peace process initiated by Ms. Suu Kyi last year to end decadeslong conflicts with various ethnic insurgent groups. But he didn’t directly mention the military campaign in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, which, since late August, has driven more than 600,000 Muslim Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh. The United Nations and the U.S. have characterized the campaign as ethnic cleansing.


2. Pope Francis Meets With Myanmar Military Chief Accused of Ethnic Cleansing: ‘Courtesy call’ was an effort to reduce tensions over plight of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

By Francis X. Rocca and  Ben Otto, The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2017, Pg. A7

A few hours after he arrived in Myanmar on Monday, Pope Francis met with the architect of a military campaign that the United Nations and the U.S. have denounced as ethnic cleansing, and which the pope himself has described as religious persecution.

The meeting with Sen. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, commander in chief of Myanmar’s military, was an effort to reduce tensions over the plight of the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. The issue threatens to dominate the papal visit, which ends Thursday.

A Vatican spokesman described the 15-minute meeting as a “courtesy call” by the senior general to the pope, and said only that the two exchanged gifts and spoke about the “great responsibility of the country’s authorities in this moment of transition.”

The pope is scheduled to meet with some Rohingya refugees on Friday in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


3. Pope Francis and the Youth.

By P. J. Smith, First Things, November 27, 2017

The recent meeting of the U.S. Catholic bishops in Baltimore attracted significant notice, with Kansas City’s Archbishop Joseph Naumann defeating Chicago’s Blase Cardinal Cupich for the leadership of the bishops’ influential pro-life committee. The contest between Naumann and Cupich was framed as a contest between the bishops’ historical focus on abortion as the primary pro-life issue and a return to the “seamless garment” approach popularized in the 1970s and 1980s by Detroit’s John Cardinal Dearden and Chicago’s Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. It is thought that the seamless garment approach is more in line with the views of Pope Francis.

Coverage of the race took a predictable turn. The U.S. bishops, we were told, are simply opposed to Francis’s agenda, and their choice is a way of resisting its implementation. This is nonsense—though the progressive narrative about the Church has its flaws, as well. The problem with the conventional wisdom about the Baltimore meeting is that it obscures important preparations by the bishops for the 2018 Synod on Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment.

What the Vatican hopes to see at the Synod is another question. The preparatory document, released back in January, gives a sense. Clearly written by elderly and middle-aged men whose last experience of youth (or with youth) was in 1968 or so, this document is laden with references to young people’s suspicions of the stodgy old ways of doing things. There is little mention of the increasing indications that young people are hungry for tradition and beauty.

Consider this passage:

[“]Pastoral vocational care . . . means to accept the invitation of Pope Francis: “going out”, primarily, by abandoning the rigid attitudes which make the proclamation of the joy of the Gospel less credible; “going out”, leaving behind a framework which makes people feel hemmed-in; and “going out”, by giving up a way of acting as Church which at times is out-dated.[“]

Swap “Francis” for “Paul VI,” and you could not tell that this wasn’t written in 1970.

Given the clarity with which young people see the problems with modern society, and given their hunger for values and great goals, it seems that Francis would find support among the youth for his cultural revolution. So it is unfortunate to see the Synod secretariat falling into the shopworn slogans of the past fifty years. One hopes that the U.S. delegates to the Synod can move the discussions away from such out-of-touch views and toward a more realistic assessment of the issues confronting young people. If they do, they will be in line with Francis’s agenda, notwithstanding the proclamations of the pontiff’s partisans in the press.


4. Parolin: Vatican II continues to shape church life, Pope Francis’s papacy.

By Mark Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, November 27, 2017, Pg. A1

Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the Second Vatican Council continues to have an enduring impact on the Catholic Church and on the papacy of Pope Francis.

That gathering of bishops from around the world presented a new paradigm of a “world church – a church with a global dimension,” said the cardinal, who is the Vatican’s secretary of state.
During a mid-November visit to the United States that included celebrating a Mass in Baltimore to mark the centenary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Parolin stopped in Washington to deliver an address at The Catholic University of America.

He spoke on the topic “The Council: A Prophecy That Continues With Pope Francis.” Afterward, he received an honorary doctorate in theology from the university.

Parolin said the main consequences of the council included the introduction of local languages in the liturgy, and a “new awareness of a church that is historically realized in more diverse cultural contexts.”

Noting themes that have been stressed by Francis, the cardinal said Vatican II sowed seeds of synodality and paved the way for “a church that lives in a conciliar way” with collaborative and consultative efforts underway at every level of the church. “No more parishes or dioceses without pastoral councils, no more countries without episcopal conferences,” he said.

That process, he added, has proven to be irreversible. “In the end, is this not the most beautiful inheritance that the council could have prepared for us?” he asked.