1. Pope Francis to Appoint 17 New Cardinals, Three cardinals named are Americans, alongside a number from the developing world, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2016, Pg. A12.

Pope Francis will appoint 17 new cardinals in November, including three from the U.S. and a number from the developing world, a move that reflects his goal of rebalancing the college of cardinals toward regions where Catholicism is growing fastest, as well as his preference for liberals over conservatives.

For his choices in the U.S., the pope once again passed over Los Angeles and Philadelphia, archdioceses whose leaders traditionally receive a cardinal’s red hat. They are currently led by Archbishop José Gomez and Archbishop Charles Chaput, respectively, both theological conservatives.

The omission of Los Angeles was especially striking, since it is by far the largest diocese in the U.S. and Archbishop Gomez, a native of Mexico, is a leading advocate for migrants, a cause that Pope Francis has made a signature theme of his pontificate.

Two of the new U.S. cardinals-designate, Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis, are among the more liberal voices in the U.S. episcopate.

The other new cardinal from the U.S., Bishop Kevin Farrell, is a native of Ireland but worked in the U.S. since the early 1980s. In August, Pope Francis named him to head a new Vatican office for laity, family and life.


2. 17 cardinals named, including 3 Americans, By The Associated Press, The Washington Post, October 10, 2016, Pg. A6.

Pope Francis named 17 new cardinals Sunday, adding like-minded prelates from dioceses big and small to the club who will elect the next pope. Three were Americans in a clear signal to the conservative U.S. church hierarchy that Francis wants moderate pastors at the helm of the U.S. church.

The U.S. appointments also sent a more subtle political message, weeks before the U.S. election, with the surprise pick of Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin.

Tobin has openly opposed efforts by Indiana Gov. Michael Pence, now Donald Trump’s running mate, to bar Syrian refugees from being resettled in the state.

The other new U.S. “princes” of the church include the leading U.S. moderate, Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich, and outgoing Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell, whom Francis tapped in August to head the Vatican’s new family and laity office.

Thirteen of the new cardinals, including all the Americans, are under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a future conclave to elect Francis’ successor, the key job of a cardinal. Francis will elevate all 17 at a ceremony Nov. 19, on the eve of the closure of his Holy Year of Mercy.
As is Francis’ tradition, the new cardinals hail from some of the most far-flung and peripheral corners of the globe: Bangui, Central African Republic; Port Louis, Mauritius and Tlalnepantla, Mexico.


3. GOP ideology is curtailing vital medical research, The Washington Post, October 10, 2016, Pg. A22, Editorial.

It was clear from its start that the aim of the House’s perversely named Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives was to put a stop to fetal-tissue research. Unfortunately, it appears the Republican-led panel may be succeeding. This is not because it has found any evidence — or even hint — of wrongdoing, but because its harassment and intimidation of doctors and researchers are having a chilling effect on their lifesaving medical work.

The panel was created after undercover videos purported to show that Planned Parenthood profited from the illegal sale of fetal tissue recovered from abortions. The allegations, the work of antiabortion activists, have been thoroughly discredited. Previous investigations by three House committee s found no misconduct, and 20 states conducted investigations that found nothing amiss or determined there was no credible evidence even to warrant investigation.


4. China Seeks Tighter Grip in Wake of a Religious Revival, By Ian Johnson, The New York Times, October 9, 2016, Pg. A4.

The finances of religious groups will come under greater scrutiny. Theology students who go overseas could be monitored more closely. And people who rent or provide space to illegal churches may face heavy fines.

These are among the measures expected to be adopted when the Chinese government enacts regulations tightening its oversight of religion in the coming days, the latest move by President Xi Jinping to strengthen the Communist Party’s control over society and combat foreign influences it considers subversive.

The new regulations are more explicit about the party’s longstanding requirement that all religious groups register with the government, and the most vocal opposition so far has come from Protestant leaders unwilling to do so.

“These regulations effectively push house churches into taking on an illegal character,” said Yang Xingquan, a lawyer who is one of the signatories of the public statement. “This is very clear.”

Many Christians contend that government-approved churches are tools of the state, as sermons are vetted to avoid contentious political and social issues and clergy are appointed by the party rather than congregants or, in the case of the Catholic Church, the Vatican.


5. In Mexican politics, the religious right is rising, By David Agren, The Washington Post, October 9, 2016 Pg. A4.

Conservatives from all corners of the country converged on Mexico City on a recent Saturday for the National March for the Family, which took aim at the president’s plans to enshrine same-sex marriage in the constitution.

The modern Mexican state was created by revolutionaries at odds with the Catholic Church, and they sought to curb its authority through measures such as introducing a secular school system. For decades, Mexico was considered the most anticlerical country in Latin America outside of Cuba, despite the fact that the country is overwhelmingly Catholic. Census data shows that 83 percent profess the faith.

The LGBT community and its allies launched a counterprotest, waving rainbow flags and carrying pictures of former presidents Benito Juárez and Plutarco Elías Calles — lionized as heroes of the secular state, figures who curbed Catholic Church privileges in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

These contradictory images symbolize a growing conflict in this nation, where the church has been relegated to the sidelines of public life for decades. Now the religious right is rising as a political force, with conservative Catholics and members of the growing evangelical community attempting to influence the National Congress and mobilize the masses.


6. With Pope’s cardinal picks, Bernardin’s ‘seamless garment’ is back, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, The Crux, October 9, 2016.

Pope Francis on Sunday engineered what may prove to be a seismic shift in the Catholic hierarchy in the United States, elevating not one or two, but a full three new American cardinals seen as belonging to the centrist, non-cultural warrior wing of the country’s hierarchy.

The pontiff announced a consistory, the event in which new members are inducted into the Church’s most exclusive club, for Nov. 19, coinciding with the end of his special jubilee Holy Year of Mercy.

The list includes 13 new cardinal-electors, meaning those under 80 and eligible to vote for the next pope, and features three Americans after Francis bypassed the U.S. in both 2014 and 2015.

What neither Weigel nor anyone else could have anticipated, however, was the rise of a Latin American pontiff who would revive that legacy in his neighbor to the north.

While the realignment probably won’t have any immediate impact on the way the American Church approaches the election on Nov. 8 since the consistory isn’t until ten days later, it likely will reshape how the Church engages the aftermath – both in terms of the kinds of issues it prioritizes, and whom the Catholic leadership of the country is able to talk to about them.


7. Physician-assisted suicide is dangerous and devalues our dignity, a doctor and a theologian say in essay, Patients are susceptible to coercion and control amid debate over dignity, By Allen Roberts and Scott Redd, The Washington Post, October 8, 2016, Pg. B2.

We should not expect to make physicians complicit in what we consider to be a “suicide-on-demand” paradigm, which invites no regulation, oversight, training and accountability to a wider community. Throughout history and across cultural contexts, broader community involvement has discouraged the taking of innocent life.

Under the proposed legislation, involvement in the decision to end the patient’s life, even of a patient’s next of kin (think husband or wife), is optional, thereby skirting the most rational and important safeguard against abuse. Many patients who are dying do not wish to assert a right, as to not be a burden. These patients are susceptible to subtle forms of coercion and control.

Financial pressures will certainly influence some doctors, families and third-party payers. As a result, patients, especially the elderly and disabled, could feel not a right to die so much as a “duty to die.” The safeguards of the larger community, one that will protect all aspects of the patient’s interests and dignity, are necessary.


8. The Banners of Lepanto, By Fr. George W. Rutler, Crisis Magazine, October 7, 2016.

Not to diminish the Battle of Baltimore, the Battle of Lepanto ranks as one of the greatest sea battles of all time, and in one sense it was the most important. There never would have been a Trafalgar or Jutland or Leyte Gulf without it and, as a matter of fact, it is likely that it made possible the survival of everything we know as civilization. Had the Christian fleets sunk off western Greece on October 7 in 1571, we would not be here now, these words would not be written in English, and there would be no universities, human rights, holy matrimony, advanced science, enfranchised women, fair justice, and morality as it was carved on the tablets of Moses and enfleshed in Christ.

Naval historians have extraordinarily detailed resources for studying the battle. Perhaps the most literate remembrance is that of Cervantes who fought heroically at Lepanto despite a severe fever and wounds; later he was able to write Don Quixote with his right hand, the left being totally useless after October 7. Pope St. Pius V never recorded the details of his astonishing vision on that day, but he saw the scene miraculously while in the church of Santa Sabina discussing administrative accounts with his advisor Bartolo Busotti, and announced the victory to him, nineteen days before a messenger of the Doge of Venice Mocenigo reached Rome with news—no longer new—of the great victory. “Let us set aside business and fall on our knees in thanksgiving to God, for he has given our fleet a great victory.” Five years later the astronomer and geographer Luigi Lilio died. He was a principle architect of the Gregorian calendar implemented in 1582. Trained minds like his, acting upon the testimony of witnesses, calculated by the meridians of Rome and the Curzola isles that the pope had received his revelation precisely as Don Juan leaped from his quarter deck to repulse the Turks boarding his vessel and when the Ottoman galley “Sultana” was attacked side and stern by Marco Antonio Colonna and the Marquis of Santa Cruz.


9. Hyde Amendment has a bipartisan past but a cloudy future, By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, October 7, 2016, 3:18 PM.

Most people who keep an eye on life issues know the shorthand about the Hyde Amendment — that it bars the federal government from funding abortions through Medicaid.

But the amendment does more than that — although not everything pro-lifers may wish it could do — and with the amendment’s 40th anniversary Sept. 30 just passed, it may do well to remember how it all came about.

Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, said she believes the Hyde Amendment should be made permanent. “Having to go through this year by year or every couple of years, however it comes about, is ridiculous,” she declared. “Two-thirds of the American public do not want their tax dollars to be used for abortion. We should not have to go through that to keep that as law.”

But the 2016 Democratic Party platform signaled the opposite with a plank that supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment. “Rather than expand the culture of death and shred the Hyde amendment — as (Democratic presidential nominee) Hillary Clinton promises — women and men of conscience have a duty to protect the weakest and most vulnerable from the violence of abortion,” Smith said in remarks on the House floor Sept. 28 before the House went into a pre-election recess.