1. The messages Francis wants to send with his cardinal choices, By Austen Ivereigh, Contributing Editor, Crux, October 11, 2016.

Most obviously this, the pope’s third consistory, deepens his policy of de-Europeanizing the College of Cardinals in order to better reflect the southward shift in Catholicism’s center of gravity. (Two-thirds of Catholics now live in the global south).

But Francis is not only seeking a geographical re-balance; he wants the College of Cardinals to include the voice of the ecclesiastical periphery.

Yet for all that Francis wants to bring in voices from Asia and Africa, the main gravitational center in this pontificate remains Latin America, home to nearly half of the world’s Catholics and the most likely provenance of the next pope.

Compared with the US choices, which – as John Allen has analyzed – are designed to produce a gear-shift, the Latin-American picks are intended to consolidate its existing direction. All three men are heavyweights within the continent’s episcopal bodies, busy implementing the vision of Aparecida agreed at the General Conference of the Latin-American bishops (CELAM) in 2007.

In sum, Francis’s 2016 consistory has some clear messages. It is designed to bring about or consolidate the pastoral conversion of the Church in the Americas, reducing the European and curial numbers while rewarding pastoralists in the old continent. It’s also intended to bring in young, diverse voices from the Church’s fast-growing periphery, while bolstering the Church in places where it needs all the help it can get.


2. New cardinal refused to abandon Syria when things got tough, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 11, 2016.

Next month, it seems highly likely that the star among the new cardinals of 2016 will be Archbishop Mario Zenari, presently the pope’s nuncio, meaning his ambassador, in Syria.

First of all, the appointment itself is break-the-mold. In centuries past there have been cardinals who served as papal envoys, but the practice over the last 100 years or so has been that nuncios hold the rank of archbishop. If they become cardinals it’s only at the end of their career, usually after they’ve been called back to Rome to take over some Vatican department, or assigned to lead a major diocese.

Zenari, however, isn’t going anywhere, but instead will remain on the ground in Syria as the pope’s eyes and ears amid that bloody conflict.

Second, Zenari belongs to a grand tradition in Vatican diplomacy of refusing to leave one’s post when things get rough. It was the same instinct that led the future Cardinal Fernando Filoni to remain in Baghdad in 2003 as American bombs began to fall, after every other Western official had fled the city, and declare that staying in place was “nothing exceptional.”
Likewise Zenari has refused to abandon Syria, saying two years ago, “how could a representative of the pope flee the place where they need him most?”

In the end, Zenari insists that getting a cardinal’s red hat is not a personal honor: “This isn’t a recognition of me, but a sign of closeness to Syria, a people marked by war, blood and death.”


3. Douthat tops rally by Christians to unite voters, Q Commons will be broadcast in 100 cities, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, October 11, 2016, Pg. A6.

In an America increasingly fractured by race, class and presidential politics, a group of Christians is launching an effort to revitalize the nation’s institutions by emphasizing what unites the country rather than divides it.

Headlined by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias — who defends the faith from detractors — hip-hop artist Lecrae and columnists Ross Douthat and Kirsten Powers, the Q Commons forum will be nationally broadcast Thursday in more than 100 cities.

The discussion topics include how Christians should approach the problems that plague the nation after the election, the role Christians should play in the political process, why Christians are perceived as part of the problem and how evangelicals can bring healing to the current atmosphere of racial strife.

Individual venues will switch between the national broadcast and in-person talks organized by local Christian leaders, which are aimed at applying solutions to problems afflicting individual communities.


4. Divided Supreme Court Begins New Term in Shadow of Election Politics, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, October 11, 2016.

Amid the mud-slinging at the second presidential debate, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were asked to comment on their plans for the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality,” Clinton answered.

“Donald has put forward the names of some people he would consider; and among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality,” she added. “I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards.”

When Trump got his turn, the GOP presidential nominee repeated his pledge to “appoint justices very much in the mold of Justice [Antonin] Scalia … people that will respect the Constitution of the United States,” though he did not explicitly address the issues of abortion and marriage equality.

As the U.S. Supreme Court began it 2016-2017 term, the striking exchange reminded the public that a shorthanded Supreme Court has emerged as a key election-year issue.


5. These nuns provide ‘death with dignity’ – but it’s not assisted suicide, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, October 11, 2016.

As states around the country consider legalizing physician-assisted suicide, “death with dignity” looks markedly different for patients under the care of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

In her nearly 30 years with the order that cares for the “elderly poor,” Sister Constance Veit, L.S.P. says she has never seen or heard a patient asking for a lethal prescription.

“I think that’s because they are surrounded with a caring human and spiritual presence in our homes,” she told an audience at the Heritage Foundation.

Sister Constance was part of a 2015 panel in Washington, D.C., on caring respectfully for the elderly sick. The event was titled “Living Life to Its Fullest.”


6. Against ‘Blood-Curdling Clichés’, by Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online, October 10, 2016 12:27 PM.

In 1974, not long after the U.S. Supreme Court made abortion legal in all three trimesters of pregnancy, William F. Buckley, the founder of National Review, wrote a column titled “How to Argue about Abortion.” He cautioned against the use of “blood-curdling clichés” on both sides of the abortion debate. He said it would be a tragedy if Americans tuned out the debate because of them.

I thought of this during the recent vice-presidential debate. We’ve seen blood-curdling clichés of the kind that do indeed give people fatigue about the issue on the campaign trail this year, on both sides of the aisle. The mind and heart of Mike Pence are not with the top of the Republican ticket, as Mike Pence was reminded during the recent vice-presidential debate when Tim Kaine brought up Donald Trump’s previous unfamiliarity with the fact that most people who oppose abortion are motivated by love of women and their children, not a desire to put women behind bars.

Blood-curdling clichés abound in the Democratic platform, which promises not just the status quo but expansion of abortion. It promises to oppose the long-standing prohibition on taxpayer funding of abortion and to overturn other state and federal laws that restrict abortion (and that in some cases, frankly, protect women). This is all euphemistically couched, of course, in terms of women’s health care and equal rights, and Tim Kaine faithfully kept to script. The problem with the script — and what should irk all Americans, who would like to think of themselves as a generous and loving people — is that it is a lie that covers up what is really going on. Further, as Catholic cover on what is a human-rights issue — a matter of common-good morality and science — he robs us of the rich guidance his Church offers, which could make him an agent of healing instead of immiserating politics.

It’s long past time to put to rest the bad arguments propping up and increasingly expanding abortion. Americans do not prefer abortion, but politicians can increasingly tend to sound like they do. If you want a better politics and culture, work to protect and celebrate the most natural love there is.