1. Gunmen in attack on Christians are slain, Egyptian officials say.

By Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, The Washington Post, November 5, 2018, Pg. A10

Egypt said security forces killed 19 militants in a shootout, including the gunmen suspected of killing seven Christians in an attack on pilgrims traveling to a remote desert monastery.

The Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said the militants were tracked to a hideout in the desert west of the central province of Minya, the site of Friday’s attack, which also left 19 people wounded.

It said the alleged militants opened fire when they realized they were being besieged by security forces. It did not say when the shootout took place or explain how it had determined that the perpetrators of Friday’s attack were among the 19 killed.

The ministry published photographs purporting to show the bodies of the slain militants, as well as rifles, shotguns and pistols. Other images showed the inside of a tent with the black banner of the Islamic State group — which claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack — unfurled on the ground.

“The state now is tasked with building churches for its citizens, because they (Christians) have the right to worship,” he said, alluding to a 2016 law that, in theory, regulates the construction of churches and mosques without bias. “If followers of other religions lived in Egypt, we would have built places of worship for them too,” said the Egyptian leader who has been in office since 2014.


2. Pakistani Seeks Asylum After Wife Is Acquitted.

By Reuters, The New York Times, November 5, 2018, Pg. A10

The husband of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted after spending eight years on death row on blasphemy charges has appealed to President Trump for refuge, citing danger to the family’s lives.

Ashiq Masih, the husband of Asia Bibi, whose case has outraged Christians worldwide and been a source of division within Pakistan, also appealed to Britain and Canada for assistance.

The appeal came as the police said they had arrested more than 150 people on charges of arson, vandalism and violence during the protests that erupted after Ms. Bibi’s acquittal. A senior police officer, Nayab Haider, said on Sunday that officers were using video to identify others involved in committing assaults, torching property and vehicles, and blocking highways, The Associated Press said.

Her case caught the attention of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab Province. He was assassinated by his bodyguard in 2011, after waging a public campaign to save Ms. Bibi’s life and to change the blasphemy laws — a move that angered his bodyguard. Tehreek-e-Labaik was founded out of a movement to support Mr. Taseer’s assassin, who was hanged in 2016.

The federal minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, was also killed after calling for Ms. Bibi’s release.

Ms. Bibi’s location is unknown, but Tehreek-e-Labaik has warned the authorities not to take her out of the country.

“There will be a war if they send Asia out of country,” the party’s leader, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, said after the deal with the government was reached.


3. Pope Francis mourns victims of attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt.

By Courtney Grogan, Catholic News Agency, November 4, 2018, 5:13 AM

Pope Francis expressed sorrow for the victims of an attack on Coptic Christians in Egypt in his Angelus address Sunday.

Islamic militants ambushed a bus carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims to a desert monastery south of Cairo on Friday, killing seven and leaving 19 injured.

“I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they are Christians, and I ask Holy Mary to console their families and the whole community,” Pope Francis said Nov. 4.

“Love for God and love for neighbor are inseparable,” Pope Francis said Sunday. “It would be an illusion to claim to love our neighbor without loving God; and it would be just as illusory to claim to love God without loving our neighbor.”


4. Supreme Court to decide on religious debate over Maryland’s Peace Cross.

By Robert Barnes and Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, November 3, 2018, Pg. A5

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether a 40-foot cross in the median of a busy suburban Maryland highway is a secular memorial to those who died during World War I or an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

The Peace Cross, made of granite and cement, was built in 1925 as a tribute to local men who died during World War I. It was paid for by local families, businesses and the American Legion. But the giant cross sits on a piece of land that has been owned since 1961 by a state commission that pays for its maintenance and upkeep.

The challenge to the 93-year-old cross began with the American Humanist Association, a nonprofit atheist organization that has filed similar lawsuits throughout the country. In September, the group won a similar case in which it sought the removal of a 34-foot-tall cross displayed in a city-owned park in Florida.

The state commission has hired former solicitor general, Neal Katyal, and the American Legion is represented by First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom organization.

Michael Carvin, lead counsel for the American Legion, Jones Day partner and First Liberty network attorney, said, “For nearly 100 years the memorial has stood to honor these 49 sons of Prince George’s County who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.”

He added: “The Supreme Court should not allow their memory to be bulldozed.


5. Failure at the top, America’s Catholic bishops vowed to remove abusive priests in 2002, In the years that followed, they failed to police themselves.

By Jeremy Roebuck, Julia Terruso and William Bender, Inquirer Staff Writers, Jenn Abelson and Thomas Farragher, The Boston Globe, Philadelphia Inquirer Online, Saturday, November 3, 2018

More than 130 U.S. bishops – or nearly one-third of those still living — have been accused during their careers of failing to adequately respond to sexual misconduct in their dioceses, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe examination of court records, media reports, and interviews with church officials, victims, and attorneys.

At least 15, including Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington who resigned in July, have themselves been accused of committing such abuse or harassment.

Most telling, the analysis shows that the claims against more than 50 bishops center on incidents that occurred after a historic 2002 Dallas gathering of U.S. bishops where they promised that the church’s days of concealment and inaction were over.

But while they imposed new standards that led to the removal of hundreds of priests, the bishops specifically excluded themselves from the landmark child-protection measures.

Boston and Philadelphia have been ground zero for the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal — both cities have endured years of church investigations, allegations, prosecutions and lasting scars. Now, amid a rising tide of revelations about misconduct by U.S. bishops, the Inquirer and Globe pooled their resources for a deeper look at the crisis. Reporters from the two newsrooms visited nine states, conducted scores of interviews, and reviewed thousands of pages of court and church records to produce this report. Funding for the effort came from the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.


6. Metro has spent nearly $1.6 million defending advertising policy, records show.

By Fredrick Kunkle, Washington Post Online, November 3, 2018, 6:00 AM

Metro has spent nearly $1.6 million defending the advertising policy that prohibits issue-oriented ads, newly released records show.

The legal tab, as of Aug. 13, includes hours billed, fees and other costs resulting from legal actions brought by the Archdiocese of Washington and others contesting the policy.

The tally comes as the Archdiocese of Washington presses forward with its court battle over the transit agency’s decision not to run the church’s Christmas ads last year. In July, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Metro.

The archdiocese has since asked the full appeals court to reconsider the decision. Metro’s lawyers oppose a rehearing, saying the church has failed to meet the legal standard that would compel a new look. A spokesman for the archdiocese declined to comment other than to say that the case is proceeding.


7. Asia Bibi: Deal to end Pakistan protests over blasphemy case.

BBC News Online, November 3, 2018

As part of the deal, proceedings will begin to bar Asia Bibi from leaving the country.
The government will also not prevent protesters legally challenging the Supreme Court decision to release her.

Asia Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting the Prophet Muhammad, but was acquitted earlier this week.

The ruling enraged some in the majority-Muslim country.


8. ‘Semblance of Truth,’ the Church’s Standard of Evidence in Sex-Abuse Cases.

By Nicholas Frankovich, National Review Online, November 3, 2018, 3:30 AM

Most people who allege that they were sexually abused by Catholic priests are telling the truth. The record that has accrued over decades of investigation by the Church itself is clear on that point, though only if you accept an evidentiary standard that’s too low for most cases to result in conviction or make it to trial at all in a criminal or even civil court. So what does William McSwain hope to accomplish?

McSwain, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, last month asked the U.S. bishops to preserve their files on sex-abuse complaints. On the same day, October 9, he sent to each of Pennsylvania’s eight dioceses a subpoena for any records that might shed light on alleged sexual abuse by clergy or on efforts by diocesan officials to cover it up.

What the American justice system can deliver to the Church at this point is primarily a message: that the wider world takes the sex-abuse scandals with utmost seriousness, although the Church got that message quite some time ago. The institution of procedures stipulated in the Dallas charter (2002) means that any new complaint filed with a diocese now goes straight to law enforcement, which almost always reports back that it can’t pursue the case, either because a statute of limitations has gone into effect or because not enough evidence could be found to prove or disprove the accusation. The case then goes to the diocesan review board, whose deliberations are informed by lawyers, private investigators, and other experts. Its final recommendation to the bishop may — of necessity, if corroborating evidence is scant — be based largely on its assessment of the accuser’s credibility.

You would not be wrong to worry that it could be unfair to the accused, but then watch a few minutes of this panel discussion among four survivors of clerical sex abuse in Pennsylvania. What is the Church supposed to tell them? Pictures or it didn’t happen?

A longtime friend who’s well informed on the Church scandals — I reached out to him for his insight while writing this piece — just told me that he was abused by a member of a religious order many years ago, shortly after his 18th birthday. The older man had been grooming him for months. My friend was blessed, and cursed, with a kind of holy innocence. It prevented him from recognizing the danger before it was too late. For years afterward, he wondered what was wrong with him that he had let himself walk into such a situation. Then stories similar to his began to show up in the news, and finally he put the concept of sexual abuse to his own experience. Eventually he reported it to Church authorities, asking for no compensation, only the hope that his coming forward would make the wrong he suffered a little less likely to be repeated on others. He later served on a review board.


9. New Orleans Archdiocese Releases List of 57 Alleged Abusers.

By The Associated Press, November 2, 2018

The Archdiocese of New Orleans released a list Friday of 57 priests and other clergy it says faced credible child sex abuse allegations, the first such list to be released in Louisiana.

Those under archdiocesan control have been removed from the clergy or are dead, Archbishop Gregory Aymond wrote in a pastoral letter released with the list on the archdiocesan website. The list named 20 as priests of religious orders which were responsible for investigating the allegations.

“This entire list has been given to the Orleans Parish District Attorney and will be made available to any other District Attorney,” Aymond wrote.

“For our sins of the past, we ask for your forgiveness and the mercy of God,” Aymond wrote. “Our sin is public and it calls us as church leaders to repentance in order that our church can experience renewal.”

In recent months, authorities in at least a dozen states have opened investigations, and federal prosecutors have launched an unprecedented statewide probe in Pennsylvania.


10. French priest says bishops punished him for abuse petition

By The Associated Press, November 2, 2018, 9:16 AM

A Catholic priest said Friday that he has been punished by church leaders in France after he gathered more than 100,000 signatures for a petition calling for a cardinal to resign over his handling of child sexual abuse cases.

The Rev. Pierre Vignon said he learned in an email Thursday that he would no longer be considered for the church court where he has served as a judge since 2002.

In a phone interview, Vignon said the decision showed church leaders are of two minds about how to deal with sex predators within the Catholic clergy.


11. The importance of family in campaigns of love.

By Kathryn Jean Lopez, The Mercury, November 2, 2018

When you Google “Cecilia Paul,” the top result is the Simon and Garfunkel song “Cecilia.” This breaks my heart, because Cecilia Paul lived a life that was a glorious song of a different sort.

Cecilia adopted her son Thomas as a newborn, along with his brother, Drew, who was a year older. Although the brothers would make contact with their biological parents — who were “in some bad stuff” — Cecilia was always Thomas’ mother as far as he was concerned, as he explained to lawyer Andrea Picciotti-Bayer for an amicus brief filed by The Catholic Association. “I think that whoever raised you is your parent,” he says, now in his early 30s with children of his own.

Cecilia Paul welcomed more than 130 foster children into her home over 40 years, adopting six of them. In 2015, the city of Philadelphia honored her with an “Outstanding Foster Parent of the Year” award. At the time, the head of the city’s Department of Health and Human Services emphasized the “desperate need right now for additional foster homes. “We need more families,” she pleaded. A former nurse in a children’s hospital, Paul had explained that “caring for children in need” was her “life’s work.”

Cecilia died this past month, and it seems only right to pause to pay tribute to her during a week when so many eyes are on political matters. The most important campaign isn’t run by politicians or spin doctors, it’s helmed by people like Cecilia: It’s a campaign of love.

Thomas is now a general contractor and a father of two young children. He has nothing but thanks for Cecilia Paul, who encouraged hard work and perseverance. Her heart helped him not become overwhelmed by feelings of abandonment. His mother taught him that “love is everything.”

“I want other kids to have the opportunity that I did,” Thomas told Picciotti-Bayer. “If they get shattered by situations that are not their fault, they should still have the chance to dream.”

November is the month in which Catholics traditionally celebrate All Saints and All Souls. It’s also National Adoption Month. Cecilia Paul seems an apt patron saint for letting no one feel abandoned. It’s a challenge we should rise to, if we can muster the time and attention.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, editor-at-large of National Review Online and founding director of Catholic Voices USA.