1. Guam Catholic Church to File Bankruptcy Amid Abuse Lawsuits. 

By The Associated Press, November 7, 2018, 2:35 AM

Guam’s Catholic church will file for bankruptcy — a move that will allow the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests and move toward settlements.

Archbishop Michael Byrnes announced Wednesday that mediation efforts that began in September led the church to bankruptcy.

Earlier this year the Vatican removed the suspended Guam archbishop from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of some charges in a Vatican sex abuse trial.

The Vatican didn’t say what exactly Archbishop Anthony Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors.


2. Roots of Catholic Anger.

By George Weigel, First Things, November 7, 2018

After a month out of the country, working in Rome at Synod-2018 and helping mark the fortieth anniversary of John Paul II’s election at events in Brussels and Warsaw, I came home to find Catholic anger over the latest phase of the abuse crisis unabated and intensified in some quarters. That this crisis is not acknowledged for what it is by the highest authorities in Rome is a subject for another reflection at another time. The question today is: What are the roots of today’s Catholic anger and disgust?

Part of the answer to that, surely, is exhaustion. Why must we go through this again? Wasn’t the Long Lent of 2002 enough? Weren’t things fixed then? 

Those whose anger is stoked by these understandable questions might have a look at a recent and thoughtful article by Kenneth Woodward in Commonweal. Woodward understands that ripping the cover off the serial sexual predations of the former archbishop of Washington, Theodore McCarrick, triggered a gag-reflex among the Catholic laity that seems to have been bred out of at least some Catholic clergy, both here in the United States and in Rome. But the longtime religion editor of Newsweek also identifies another factor in today’s Catholic rage that ought to cause all of us to pause and think for a moment.

At the same time, it must be remembered that most priests and bishops in the United States are not narcissists: rather, they’re men with a deep sense of vocation who know they’re earthen vessels through whom flows unmerited but superabundant divine grace. Those men deserve our support, affection, and gratitude as they, like the rest of us, deal with the fallout of this season of humiliation and purification. 

As for the narcissists, they need help—and disciplining.     


3. Pakistan landmark risks becoming horror show for Catholic woman.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, November 7, 2018

Perhaps it’s only fitting that a landmark legal ruling announced in Pakistan on Halloween day, acquitting a Christian woman who’d spent a decade on death row awaiting execution over a blasphemy charge, seemingly has triggered a horror show for the woman and her family.

A week after the country’s Supreme Court absolved 47-year-old Asia Bibi, dismissing the case against her as “nothing short of concoction incarnate,” and ordered her immediate release, Bibi remains under lockdown in the same Pakistani prison over what authorities describe as fear for her life should she exit the prison doors.

Make no mistake, those fears aren’t a fantasy: According to one national survey, at least ten million Pakistanis say they would be willing to kill Bibi with their bare hands, either out of religious conviction, for the money, or both. A Pakistani mullah offered a reward of roughly $10,000 to anyone who kills her, either inside the prison or outside.

However it plays out, one hopes that same network that carried the Bibi case to this point will stay on it and see the job through – and, needless to say, will do so with the backing of the Vatican’s diplomatic team. A great deal is riding on it, beginning with the fate of a simple Punjabi Catholic family that never asked to be anyone’s symbol, but today finds themselves precisely that.


4. Alabama, W.Va. voters approve anti-abortion amendments.

By Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill Online, November 7, 2018, 12:04 AM

Voters in Alabama and West Virginia approved sweeping amendments to state constitutions that could put major limitations on access to abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court.

Alabama’s amendment makes it state policy to protect “the rights of unborn children” and “support the sanctity of unborn life.” It also says there are no constitutional protections for a woman’s right to an abortion.

The vote was 59 percent in favor versus 40 percent against, with 88 percent of precincts reporting.

West Virginia narrowly passed a similar amendment that states nothing in the state Constitution “secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.” That vote was 52 percent to 48 percent.

Proponents of the amendments say the measures signal the opinions of voters, and would not have any impact under current law.

The amendments, however, could lay the groundwork for the states to make abortions illegal if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, or leaves decisions on abortion to individual states.


5. Why the Holy Land is the ‘fifth gospel’ of Christianity.

By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, November 7, 2018, 3:07 AM

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a powerful journey that can ignite Christian faith through seeing the places Jesus walked, worked miracles, died and rose from the dead.

The Franciscans who have served in the region say people should go.

“When you come here, you are very moved by the experience. It puts the gospel in perspective,” Father Athanasius Macora, O.F.M., told CNA from Jerusalem. “It’s a very powerful tool for evangelizing or re-evangelizing Catholics.”

“By going to the Holy Land, the Holy Land becomes real in the life of Christians because of what it stands for,” he continued. “It is, as Pope Paul VI put it, the ‘fifth gospel’ which is not written on ink, but written on stones.”

Owusu works in the pilgrimage office of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, the Franciscan Custody’s outpost in Washington, D.C. The monastery itself hosts replicas of holy sites and holds various events to help link visitors to the land where Jesus Christ walked.


6. Italy Working to Help Pakistani Christian in Blasphemy Case.

By The Associated Press, November 6, 2018, 4:55 PM

Italy said Tuesday that it is working to help relocate the family of a Pakistani Christian woman acquitted eight years after being sentenced to death for blasphemy, amid warnings from her husband that the family’s life is in danger in Pakistan.

The Foreign Ministry said it was coordinating with other countries to ensure safety for Asia Bibi and her family. In a statement, the ministry said it was ready to act on whatever the Italian government might decide — an indication that an offer of asylum might be in the offing.

Also Tuesday, a lawmaker in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party called for Germany to grant Bibi refuge, after her husband Ashiq Masih appealed for help from the West to relocate the family.

Bibi was convicted in 2010 of insulting Islam’s prophet, but Pakistan’s top court acquitted her last week. Protests by hardline Islamists prompted the government to impose a travel ban on Bibi until her case is reviewed.


7. Apologizing for cover-up, diocese vows to ID accused priests

By Ryan J. Foley, The Associated Press, November 6, 2018, 9:33 PM

A Roman Catholic diocese issued an apology Tuesday for covering up an Iowa priest’s sexual abuse of boys for decades and promised to identify all priests who have faced credible allegations.

In a lengthy statement Tuesday, the diocese said more disclosures of misconduct may be forthcoming. It urged all victims to come forward and vowed to use their reports and other files to create and publish a list of credibly accused priests — a step the diocese had long resisted.


8. Paglia says beyond apologies for past, Church must build new future.

By Elise Harris, Crux, November 6, 2018

In the wake of revelations surrounding scandals involving ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and accusations by a former Vatican ambassador that Pope Francis and other curial officials knew and said nothing, a leading Italian prelate has said it’s important to build a new future rather than getting stuck in the past.

“Certainly it’s a difficult moment, we must look forward, not behind,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Life and for the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, said in a brief interview with Crux.

Paglia, who spoke at the Nov. 5 inauguration of the new academic year for the institute, was one of several Vatican officials named in an Aug. 25 letter published by former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who accused Paglia and others of belonging to a “homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality” inside the Roman Curia.

Paglia, who spoke at the Nov. 5 inauguration of the new academic year for the institute, was one of several Vatican officials named in an Aug. 25 letter published by former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Italian Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who accused Paglia and others of belonging to a “homosexual current in favor of subverting Catholic doctrine on homosexuality” inside the Roman Curia.

Viganò also charged that several fellow prelates in the Vatican knew about allegations of misconduct against McCarrick, who has been faulted for sexual misconduct with seminarians and who was credibly accused of abusing a minor over the summer, yet McCarrick’s career advanced regardless.

Studies on the weakness and responsibilities of Church leaders often result in accommodations being made that are “too easy,” he said, adding that a real, critical approach “requires a deepening of conscience and intelligence.”

“This is why between university institutions, in this case the John Paul II and the Gregorian, have treated these two perspectives,” he said, adding that “it’s good that we do it together.”