1. A philosophical Marco Rubio thinks Catholic social beliefs can save capitalism.

By James Hohmann, The Washington Post, November 5, 2019, Pg. A20

The senator argues that the primary purpose of capitalism is to provide for human dignity. He has concluded since losing the Republican nomination to Donald Trump in 2016 that corporate executives, by prioritizing shareholders above workers and quarterly profits above the national interest, have caused an existential crisis of confidence in the underpinnings of the free-enterprise system.

The senator shared with me a 17-page working draft of a lecture he’s preparing to deliver on Tuesday to business students at the Catholic University of America.

The senator will call for an embrace of what he calls “common-good capitalism,” in which employers and workers seek to cooperate more than they do in the pursuit of mutual benefits. “We’ve lost this concept in American life that all of us have a series of rights and obligations,” Rubio said. “I think we’re all well versed on our rights, but the concept of obligation has gone away and oftentimes people forget that this also applies to the business sector.”

Rubio calls for government policies that disincentivize selfish corporate decision-making, such as imposing taxes on share buybacks, while rewarding investment in domestic manufacturing and new research. He also wants to change the tax code to expand the federal per-child tax credit and enact a paid family leave policy.


2. Nicaraguan bishop still experiencing ‘severe social, political and economic crisis’.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, November 5, 2019

Bishop Rolando Álvarez of the Diocese of Metagalpa, is the newest, youngest and shortest bishop in Nicaragua, appointed in 2011 at the age of 44. His diocese is severely affected by the violence from April of last year that left over 500 dead nationwide, but he said that he believes today, “people have lost their fear.”

“Nicaragua is experiencing a severe social, political and economic crisis that has shocked all Nicaraguans, but the vulnerable have been most affected,” Álvarez told Crux. “Visiting a rural community, I found out about a young woman who had died of pneumonia: She was unable to afford the medicine she needed. I met a girl who was basically dying of dengue and who, in a public clinic, was given Powerade as treatment.”

Since the social uprising, the Catholic Church has become what Pope Francis describes as a “field hospital,” opening churches for the thousands wounded during clashes with the police, setting up human rights offices for people to register crimes committed by the government and the security forces, and having bishops and priests mediate the dialogue, both at a national level and also with impromptu sessions during the actual protests.

Self-declared as “Christian, charitable and socialist,” the Nicaraguan government has been openly anti-Church since the crisis began in April 2018, when they tried to modify the country’s social security system. The violence that unfolded was the worst the country has seen since the end of the civil war in 1990.


3. Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks law banning common abortion procedure.

By Jessie Hellmann, The Hill Online, November 4, 2019, 4:29 PM

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a ban on a common abortion procedure.

In a 6-2 decision, the court ruled that Oklahoma could not enforce a ban on dilation and evacuation abortions, the most common method used in second trimester pregnancies.

The preliminary injunction will remain in effect while the Supreme Court decides whether the ban is lawful.


4. Update: USCCB president disinvites Bishop Bransfield from fall assembly.

By Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service, November 5, 2019, 7:49 AM

Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in consultation with the members of the USCCB Administrative Committee, has taken the highly unusual step of disinviting a fellow bishop from the conference’s fall general assembly.

The decision affects Bishop Michael J. Bransfield, retired bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, who left his position in September 2018 under a cloud of allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Pope Francis accepted Bishop Bransfield’s resignation Sept. 13, 2018.

The USCCB meets Nov. 11-13 in Baltimore.

The action comes under one section of the recently adopted “Protocol Regarding Available Non-Penal Restrictions on Bishops.”

Bishop Mark E. Brennan, who succeeded Bishop Bransfield, said he initiated the process under the protocol soon after he was installed Aug. 22 to head the West Virginia diocese.


5. Vatican’s $200 million London property deal financed with borrowed money, sources say.

By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, November 4, 2019, 12:00 PM

Senior Vatican sources have told CNA that a controversial Vatican investment in a London property development was financed with borrowed money, and not with Vatican funds, as has been reported.

Separate high-ranking sources at both the Prefecture for the Economy and APSA, the Vatican’s central reserve bank, told CNA that investments totalling $200 million in a luxury London apartment building were funded through a short-term loan package organized through Swiss banks, at the impetus of Vatican Cardinal Angelo Becciu.

The loan required the Vatican to make only interest payments for a period of three years, and was intended to fund real estate speculation on the London property market. The terms of the loans, including the rate of interest and what, if any, collateral was offered, are not clear.

The 2014 Vatican property investment, authorized by Cardinal Angelo Becciu during his tenure as sostituto at the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, has been the source of media scrutiny since  Vatican police raided the Secretariat of State and the Vatican’s financial watchdog office Oct. 1.

The raid is believed to have focused on the $200 million London property speculation authorized by Becciu.


6. Tokyo archbishop: It is ‘difficult to find success’ on evangelization in Japan.

By Timothy Nerozzi, Catholic News Agency, November 4, 2019, 5:05 PM

Efforts by the Catholic Church to evangelize the Japanese population have frequently collided with roadblocks, according to Archbishop of Tokyo Isao Kikuchi, but the Church is still finding some ways to proclaim the Gospel.

The archbishop answered question from Catholic News Agency on Japan, evangelization, and why breaking through into mainstream Japanese society is so difficult for a religion that has survived persecution and genocide in the country since 1549.

The interview came just weeks before Pope Francis visits the country Nov. 23-26.

“In Japanese society, it is difficult to find tangible success in missionary activities.”

According to the most recent available data, approximately 35% of Japanese claim Buddhism as their religion, while around 3-4% claim an adherence to Shinto or associated Japanese folk religions. Only 1-2% of Japanese claim Christianity as their faith, and only around half of Japanese Christians are Catholic.


7. Prayers for the Fallen Away Do Work Miracles.

By Father Roger J. Landry, National Catholic Register, November 4, 2019
Fr. Roger J. Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts and the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

On Oct. 17, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that showed that 65% of U.S. adults now say that they’re Christians, down 12 percentage points in just the last 10 years. Those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particular” are now 26% of the population, up from 17% in 2009. And while Catholics were 23% of Americans a decade ago, they constitute today — despite large-scale immigration from Catholic countries — just 20% of the adult population.

These are staggering declines, and we have all seen the troubling consequences of these shifts. Many Catholic churches, schools, convents and seminaries are now shuttered. Masses in those parishes that have survived often have plenty of empty pews on Sundays.

Whereas priests are always asked to pray for individual’s family members and friends who might be in need of conversion, and to give encouragement and counsel to those who are concerned about the temporal and eternal stakes of choices their loved ones are making, such requests are coming more frequently now — and with a conspicuous sense of despair and desperation.

Many are saying, essentially, “Father, my prayers have failed. The situation is just getting worse. I’m about to give up. As a last resort, I’m hoping somehow your prayers can work a miracle.”

The conversion of the Good Thief reminds us that as long as they’re alive, there’s still time. Things can happen, like hitting rock bottom, or a diagnosis of a serious illness, that can lead to people opening up to God anew. Even after people have died, since God is eternal, our prayers in time can impact the past, and so we should persevere, praying with hope in God’s mercy and saving will.

The Pew Research Center study is ultimately a summons for the whole Church to pray more and with greater insistence. The Lord has given each of us plenty of people to pray for. And, as we intercede for others, like with St. Monica, the Lord will strengthen our faith, as well.


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