1. Vatican Official Resigns Over Financial Scandal.

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2019, Pg. A8

The Vatican’s head of security has resigned over leaks connected to a widening financial scandal over the Holy See’s investments in London real estate.

The affair, sparked by costly property dealings in London’s upscale Chelsea district, had already led to the suspension of five Vatican employees, including a senior Vatican financial supervisor, according to Vatican officials and a person familiar with the matter. The Vatican has kept the nature of any suspected wrongdoing secret.

The Vatican on Monday said that Domenico Giani, commander of its Gendarmerie police force and chief of the pope’s personal security detail, has stepped down because of the leak to Italian media earlier this month of a document from his office revealing the names and photos of the suspended employees.


2. Mother Cabrini Will Get New York Statue After Political Squabble, Cuomo says state will pay to honor Roman Catholic saint after she failed to make cut in city program to recognize influential New York City women.

By Katie Honan, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2019, Pg. A12A

Over the past several months, Mayor Bill de Blasio has faced mounting criticism for omitting Mother Cabrini, a popular Roman Catholic saint and Italian immigrant, from a New York City initiative to build statues to honor famous women.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had called the snub disrespectful and has frequently sparred on other issues with the mayor, said at Monday’s Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan that he had found a solution: The state would pay for a statue of the saint.

“Mother Cabrini was a great New Yorker, a great Italian-American immigrant,” he said. “She came to this city and she helped scores of immigrants who came to New York.”

Mother Cabrini, whose full name is Frances Xavier Cabrini, died in 1917. She was known for opening dozens of institutions for the poor around the world, and is the patron saint of immigrants. A shrine and a street are named after her in the upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights.

She totaled the most nominations last year when the city started the She Built NYC initiative, asking the public to suggest influential New York City women to honor with statues.


3. Bill Barr ‘Gets’ Religion, The attorney general gives a speech on secularism, and the left goes bananas.

By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2019, Pg. A17, Opinion

Turns out that was William Barr’s second performance on campus. The first came at the law school Friday, when he delivered a bracing speech on the role of religion in the American story of freedom.

The attorney general advanced two broad propositions. First, the waning of religion’s influence in American life has left more of her citizens vulnerable to what Tocqueville called the “soft despotism” of government dependency. Second, today’s secularists are decidedly not of the live-and-let-live variety.

“The secular project has itself become a religion, pursued with religious fervor,” he said. “It is taking on all the trappings of religion, including inquisitions and excommunication. Those who defy the creed risk a figurative burning at the stake—social, educational and professional ostracism and exclusion waged through lawsuits and savage social media campaigns.”

Right out of central casting, critics stepped forward to prove his point.

This is what we have come to expect when someone in public life mentions religion in a positive light. Many didn’t like Mr. Barr’s blaming secularism for social pathologies such as drug addiction, family breakdown and increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males. Yet few engaged his more arresting contention, which is that all these problems have spiritual roots. Whereas religion addresses such challenges by stressing personal responsibility, Mr. Barr argued, the state’s answer is merely to try to alleviate “bad consequences.”

 Mr. Barr’s argument has been echoed throughout American history: “Our Constitution was made for only for a moral and religious people” (John Adams). “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith” (Tocqueville). “In teaching this democratic faith to American children, we need the sustaining, buttressing aid of those great ethical religious teachings which are the heritage of our modern civilization. For ‘not upon strength nor upon power, but upon the spirit of God’ shall our democracy be founded” (FDR). And so on.

That so many would become unhinged by Mr. Barr’s relatively modest contribution to the genre is highly revealing of the absolutism of secularist opponents determined to marginalize and destroy anyone who dares dissent from their own uncompromising orthodoxy.


4. Beto O’Rourke’s church taxation proposal would hand Trump reelection.

By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, October 15, 2019, Pg. A25, Opinion

Beto O’Rourke, innovative for interpreting a failed Senate campaign as a steppingstone to the presidency, is now famous for (1) his use of profanity on the campaign trail, (2) his pledge that “hell, yes” he wants to confiscate AR-15s and (3) his proposal to tax religious institutions that don’t approve of same-sex marriage.

This is not the normal substance of presidential ambitions. Few young people nursing political dreams say: “When I grow up, I want to be a foul-mouthed, overreaching, anti-religious culmination of every exaggerated liberal stereotype and the embodiment of every fevered conservative nightmare.” Perhaps O’Rourke was just precocious in that way. It is more likely, however, that he was led in this direction by the increasingly desperate pursuit of a spotlight that fell on him once, and briefly.

The proposed O’Rourke rule would only really work by getting rid of the tax “reward” for all religious institutions — institutions that some progressives seem to view with thinly concealed contempt. But the exemption is not really a reward. Through it, according to Burger, the tax code “simply abstains from demanding that the church support the state.” And, as a practical matter, changing this treatment would cripple the provision of social services to the poor and suffering, since religious institutions feed the hungry, treat substance abuse, resettle refugees, provide health care, housing, legal services, mentoring, literacy education and employment training, and make countless other humane contributions to the common good.

O’Rourke’s proposal is manifestly foolish — an example of ideology unleashed by ignorance. The eventual nominee of the party — who will not be O’Rourke — will either repudiate this idea or grant Trump a stout stick to beat Democrats with.


5. The use of chemical abortions is on the rise, Chemical abortion endangers women and ends the lives of their unborn children.

By Jeanne Mancini, The Washington Times, October 15, 2019, Pg. B4, Opinion

The use of chemical abortion (sometimes referred to as “medical abortion”) is on the rise, and there is an alarming push to make it ubiquitous. A recent column for The New York Times advocates for abortion pills to be “everywhere.” But chemical abortion endangers women and ends the lives of their unborn children.

Billed as safe and effective by the abortion industry, the procedure is grueling and takes a toll on a woman’s body.

 Because complications can arise as a result of chemical abortion, the Mayo Clinic providers advise that anyone who has an at-home chemical abortion has access to a doctor and emergency services. Between the years 2000 and 2018, the Food and Drug Administration’s reports that at least 24 women have died from chemical abortion and there have been thousands of other serious adverse events, including hemorrhaging and the need for hospitalization.

Sadly, today the use of chemical abortion is on the rise. The Guttmacher Institute this month says that although abortion in the U.S. is generally in decline the use of chemical abortion in the past two decades has ballooned. “Medication abortions increased from 5% of all abortions in 2001 to 39% in 2017, even while the overall number of abortions declined,” reads the report. Diving into the percentages, that means that — in 2001 — there were about 71,000 chemical abortions compared to 340,000 in 2017.

 It is troubling that, despite all of this, anyone would advocate for more chemical abortion and less oversight. People who really care about women’s health and safety should be very concerned about the rise in chemical abortion in America and look for ways to educate women about the risks.

Jeanne Mancini is president of the March for Life.


6. Thoughts on the surprisingly sudden fall of the Vatican’s J. Edgar Hoover.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 15, 2019

On Monday, the Vatican announced the resignation of Domenico Giani, the 57-year-old commander of the Vatican gendarmes, after 13 years at the helm. His departure comes in the wake of the disastrous leak of an order signed by Giani regarding five Vatican employees who’d been suspended over allegations of financial wrongdoing, following a spectacular raid on the offices of two of the Vatican’s most sensitive departments, the Financial Information Authority and the Secretariat of State.

The affair has produced unusually open talk of a poisoned environment, from people who ought to know.

“Unfortunately, inside the Vatican a sense of loyalty and fidelity to the institutions is diminishing,” said Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, a former number two official in the Secretariat of State and currently the prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

Although there have been whispers for a while that Giani had lost Francis’s favor and might not be long for this world, most longtime Vatican-watchers were still caught off guard Monday because for years he’s been seen as the J. Edgar Hoover of the place, the top cop who simply had too much dirt on too many people to ever be fired.

Giani started off as an official of the Italian secret service, then joined the Vatican gendarmes in 1999 as the vice-inspector. Over his two decades as the Vatican’s supreme law enforcement officer, he acquired a reputation for dedication and hyper-vigilance, exuding a sort of “don’t mess with me” ethos that left most people reacting to a phone call from Giani the same way high school boys typically feel about a summons from the Dean of Men.

It remains to be seen if Francis will use the opportunity of Giani’s departure to rethink how law enforcement works in the Vatican, including whether possible reforms will prevent the emergence of other Hoover-esque personalities perceived as untouchable and therefore able to act with impunity – until, of course, the end comes for them too, as it does for us all.


7. California Mandates Free Abortion at Public Colleges.

By Alexandra DeSanctis, National Review Online, October 15, 2019, 6:30 AM

Democratic governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation making California the first state in the country to require public colleges and universities to provide medical-abortion pills to students at campus health centers.

S.B. 24, or the College Student Right to Access Act, will compel all 34 University of California and California State University campuses to make the RU-486 chemical-abortion pill available through campus health centers by 2023, in theory at no cost to students. Last fall, then-governor Jerry Brown refused to sign the legislation, using talking points similar to those that pro-life groups such as Students for Life of America used when lobbying against the bill.

Official documentation on the use of Mifeprex shows that there have been close to 4,200 women who reported adverse effects from the drug, including infections, follow-up surgery, hospitalization, and other complications. Opponents of the legislation in California lobbied against the bill in part because they argued that college-age women in particular need close supervision and will be put at risk by having abortion drugs made available without proper surveillance to ensure their health and safety.

This year has featured a number of controversial changes to state abortion policies across the country, as several states attempted to limit abortion earlier in pregnancy and a handful of others officially legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. California state senator Connie Leyva, sponsor of S.B. 24, has said she hopes that her legislation will be the beginning of a broader campaign to make chemical-abortion drugs available on campuses across the country — a new frontier in the fight over abortion policy.


8. Pope Mistakenly Tweets Support for U.S. ‘Saints’ Football Team.

Reuters, October 14, 2019

The Vatican employees who manage Pope Francis’ official Twitter account in English confused the two on Sunday when Tweeting about five new saints he canonised in St. Peter’s Square.

“Today we give thanks to the Lord for our new #Saints. They walked by faith and now we invoke their intercession,” the Tweet read.

The hashtag #Saints used by the Vatican on the pope’s English account, however, had the Fleur-de-lis after it, which is the one used by an American football team, the New Orleans Saints.

So the Tweet went viral as thousands of U.S. football fans reacted, with many New Orleans Saints fans jokingly giving thanks for the perceived blessing.


9. George Weigel Discusses St. John Newman’s Rich Legacy, The author and political analyst said that Newman’s canonization should remind the fathers at the Pan-Amazon Synod that doctrinal development is not a break with tradition.

By Solène Tadié, National Catholic Register, October 14, 2019

“Lead Kindly Light: The Story of a Saint” was the title of George Weigel’s speech given in homage to Cardinal John Henry Newman on the day before his much-awaited Oct. 13 canonization by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square.

Weigel was speaking at a one-day conference hosted by the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum, on the theme “Newman the Prophet: A Saint for Our Times.” Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England, and Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney also took part in the conference.

In his address, the author of the best-selling biography on John Paul II Witness to Hope and Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., suggests that despite the many and drastic changes the Church’s newest saint made in his own life, Cardinal Newman’s legacy remains irreducibly marked by a spirit of continuity. Such a spirit of continuity, rooted in an insatiable quest for truth, is further examined in this interview with the Register, in which Weigel discusses Newman’s intuitions and intellectual courage in light of the current confusions over the Church’s moral teachings.


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