1. Kim Jong Un Issues Pope an Invitation, By Andrew Jeong and Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2018, Pg. A18

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited Pope Francis to Pyongyang, South Korea’s presidential office said Tuesday.

The Vatican doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, which has a history of suppressing religion, but the two sides have had informal contacts over the years


2. Kim Sends Pope Offer To Pay Visit To the North, By Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times, October 10, 2018, Pg. A6

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, which has been condemned as one of the worst suppressors of religious freedom in the world, has invited Pope Francis to visit his country, South Korea’s government said Tuesday.

The invitation will be relayed by South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, a Roman Catholic, when he visits the Vatican for two days next week to seek the pope’s help in easing tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula, said Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman of Mr. Moon.

Mr. Moon met with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last month.

“If the pope visits Pyongyang, we will give him a rousing welcome,” Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon, according to Mr. Moon’s spokesman.

There was no immediate comment from the Vatican on whether Francis would accept the invitation, but it is considered highly unlikely.


3. Effects of reversing Roe would be uneven, By Paige Winfield Cunningham, The Washington Post, October 10, 2018, Pg. A18

Here’s the thing: even if that happened, abortion rights won’t be immediately outlawed throughout the United States.

The truth is the legal framework surrounding abortion rights in the United States is much more complicated, meaning that if the high court acted to overturn Roe, some states would continue allowing women access to abortions, while others may bar them from receiving the procedure — or restrict access to it at various points in a pregnancy and for any number of different reasons.
That means even greater variance in abortion laws across the country depending on whether a state is run by Democrats or Republicans.

Right now, how easily a woman can access an abortion varies dramatically based on whether she lives in a politically red or blue state. Access would become even more segmented if a now solidly conservative high court moved the guideposts on when or how abortion can be restricted.

It’s worth remembering that Roe didn’t guarantee access to legal abortion — the decision states that the procedure can’t be restricted before the point that a fetus is viable. So overturning Roe wouldn’t change much of anything for states mainly run by Democrats who are supportive of abortion rights — they could keep abortion legal within their borders.


4. Pope compares abortion to hiring a hit man to solve problems, By The Associated Press, October 10, 2018, 6:37 AM

Pope Francis has compared abortion to a mafia-style killing, saying it’s the equivalent of hiring a hit man to “take out a human life to solve a problem.”

Francis made the comments, among his strongest yet against abortion, during his weekly Wednesday audience dedicated to the commandment exhorting the faithful not to kill.

Francis said some people justify abortion as respecting other rights. But, he asked, “How can an act that suppresses innocent and defenseless life as it blossoms be therapeutic, civil or simply human?”

He asked if it was fair “to take out a human life” to solve a problem: “Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem? It is not fair. We cannot take out a human being, even if it is small.”


5. The Catholic Crisis, In Perspective, By George Weigel, October 10, 2018

Perspective is at least as important when reading the signs of the times as it is in landscape painting. And so, in this autumn of our Catholic discontent, I was particularly grateful to hear from an old friend, Nina-Sophie Heereman, who offered some needed perspective on the Catholic circumstance in the United States. 

I first got to know Nina Heereman in Rome some ten years ago, when she was doing Christian formation and spiritual direction with women from the University of St. Thomas, who were in the Eternal City as part of the late, great Don Briel’s Catholic Studies Program.

A German baroness by birth, she had grown up in what she described as a “Catholicism hollowed out … a shell with no serious sin and therefore no state of grace [and] no encounter with Christ.” Then, after a powerful experience of the eucharistic Christ at World Youth Day-1997 in Paris, and after pondering John Paul II’s own vocational discernment after seeing him in Rome in 1998, Nina Heereman became a committed missionary disciple, taking vows as a consecrated laywoman in radical dedication to the New Evangelization.

That doesn’t mean backing off from essential and painful reforms in American Catholicism. Not at all. It does mean designing and implementing those reforms with evangelical intent.


6. Bishops at synod ponder ambivalence of the digital realm, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 10, 2018

A week into the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops, it’s abundantly clear that a strong share of the prelates gathered in Rome understand that the clerical sexual abuse scandals have to be a front-burner priority in whatever the synod does or says.

What’s relevant isn’t so much whether the bishops so far have produced compelling answers, but it would at least appear that they’re asking good questions. Today’s young people spend an astonishing share of their time in the digital realm, and no analysis of the forces shaping their lives would be complete without a consideration of the positives and negatives of those experiences.

To bring us back to the beginning, this may be another reason why it’s so critical for the synod to be perceived as handling the abuse crisis responsibly. It’s not just because doing so is long overdue for its own sake, but because it’s the price of admission for being taken seriously on anything else – including the promise and the peril of life online.


7. Bishop: 66 sex abuse claims against 27 priests since 1937, By The Associated Press, October 9, 2018, 10:37 AM

A Catholic bishop in Kentucky says his diocese has received 66 sexual abuse allegations against 27 priests since 1937, the year the diocese was founded.

Bishop William Medley of the Diocese of Owensboro told news outlets in a statement Monday that the diocese has compiled statistics regarding sexual abuse claims against priests and individuals who identified themselves as child sexual abuse victims.

The statement says 62 people made the allegations and 11 of the 27 priests accused were dead at the time of the claim. It says 366 priests have served in the diocese in some capacity.