1. Pope Francis Names Joseph Tobin to Lead Archdiocese of Newark, By Laurie Goodstein, New York Times online, November 7, 2016 6:19 AM ET.

In his latest move to reshape the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, Pope Francis on Monday named a moderate known for standing up for refugees and nuns to be the next leader of the Archdiocese of Newark, a large and troubled diocese.

Archbishop Tobin is so clearly in the pope’s favor that he is among 17 churchmen being made cardinals in Rome later this month. The Archdiocese of Newark has never before been led by a cardinal, the rank of those entrusted to select new popes.

His transfer to New Jersey places a second cardinal in bridge-and-tunnel proximity of the nation’s media capital, where Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York is now the undisputed spokesman on Catholic matters.


2. Pope taps new cardinal for Newark as he remakes US church, By Associated Press, November 7, 2016, 7:07 AM.

The Vatican on Monday announced Tobin would replace Archbishop John Myers, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 in July.

Tobin, currently archbishop of Indianapolis, is one of three Americans whom Francis will formally elevate as cardinals on Nov. 19.

His new assignment marks a transition away from an archbishop focused on drawing hard lines about Catholic orthodoxy. The leadership change also provides a fresh start for an archdiocese that has been battered by controversies.


3. Pope Francis holds special Jubilee Mass for prisoners, By Associated Press, November 6, 2016, 9:52 AM.

Francis has made it a mission of his papacy to encourage greater compassion for the world’s most vulnerable people, including the poor, the sick, the elderly, migrants and prisoners. He has also urged governments to consider granting a Holy Year amnesty to prisoners, to find alternatives to incarceration and, at the very least, to abolish the death penalty.

He repeated this appeal during his weekly Angelus blessing, calling on political authorities “of each country” to improve prison conditions, favor policies that help offenders return to society and offer them clemency whenever possible.


4. Prisoners Get Out of Jail for Papal Mass at Vatican, By Reuters, November 6, 2016, 7:33 AM.

Prisoners from around the world attended a special Mass by Pope Francis on Sunday, hearing him call for society to put more trust in rehabilitation, improved jail conditions and more clemency.

Francis, who has often criticized the effects of unbridled capitalism, also said those who worship the laws of financial markets are themselves prisoners of their own ideologies because markets often punish the weakest members of society.

The Vatican said about 1,000 prisoners took part in the Mass in St. Peters Basilica. Most were from Italian jails and many of these were foreigners. There were also delegations from about 10 other countries, the Vatican said.

They were accompanied by about 3,000 chaplains, guards, ex-prisoners and family members who came to Rome for a day dedicated to prisoners as part of the Catholic Church’s Jubilee year of mercy, which ends later this month.

In his homily, Francis said society should put more stock in rehabilitation.

“Sometimes, a certain hypocrisy leads to people considering you only as wrongdoers, for whom prison is the sole answer. We don’t think about the possibility that people can change their lives; we put little trust in rehabilitation,” he told the prisoners.

“At times, we are locked up within our own prejudices or enslaved to the idols of a false sense of wellbeing. At times, we get stuck in our own ideologies or see the laws of the market as absolute even as they crush other people,” he said.


5. Pope Francis to prisoners: Never lose hope in God’s mercy, Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, November 6, 2016.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Sunday for the Jubilee for Prisoners in Saint Peter’s Basilica, during which he reminded prison detainees to never lose hope, or fall into the temptation that they can never be forgiven.

Around 1,000 detainees from 12 countries took part in the weekend celebrations, along with their families, prison chaplains and staff, and various associations.

The Jubilee for Prisoners marks one of the final major events of the Jubilee of Mercy, which will come to an end on November 20.


6. Pope: Bankrupt morals to save banks but not suffering people, By Associated Press, November 5, 2016.

Pope Francis has denounced the “scandalous” amounts of money that governments and world institutions have found to save ailing banks but not suffering people, including migrants who are dying as they try to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

The pope on Saturday denounced these policies as a “bankruptcy of humanity.”

The pope spoke during a meeting at the Vatican with an international group that included environmentalists, labor union activists and indigenous rights activists.


7. Democratic ‘Front Groups’ or Faithful Political Engagement?, Despite one current leader’s claim of nonpartisan commitment to Church teachings, the actions of the two groups involved in the WikiLeaks disclosures strongly suggest otherwise, By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Register, November 4, 2016.

For several years now, critics have assailed Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) and Catholics United as front groups for secular progressives by highlighting their connections to each other, the Democratic Party and liberal funding sources.

Hacked emails from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank connected to those groups, and released by WikiLeaks in October, confirmed for many their longtime suspicions that the groups are little more than “astroturf” Catholic organizations planted to sow confusion among the faithful and to dilute the Church’s witness in the public square on issues such as defense of marriage and life.

Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, who has written about CACG and Catholics United for several years, said the 2004 election results moved leaders in the Democratic Party to make inroads with religious voters.

Part of that strategy, as purportedly unveiled in the WikiLeaks emails, was to create groups with “Catholic” in their title that would advocate for political issues that align with the Democratic Party platform while advocating for an active government to achieve those ends.

“They saw an opportunity to cash in on religious voters on the left,” Donohue told the Register. “My problem is these groups were born in deceit.

The goals of groups such as CACG and Catholics United, Donohue charged, is not so much being pro-poor and pro-life as seeking to counter social and moral conservatives and traditional pro-life groups that prioritize the right to life over issues involving prudential matters among which Catholics of goodwill can disagree.