1. Clinton Challenges Trump for a Traditional Republican Bloc, White Catholics, By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, October 19, 2016, Pg. A13.

Since the election of Ronald Reagan, white Roman Catholics have flocked to Republican nominees for a raft of reasons, including their stances on social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

But this year, something seems different.

Roman Catholics are the country’s second-largest religious group after evangelical Protestants, and they are as diverse as the country itself, with young liberals, cultural conservatives and, increasingly, Democratic-leaning Hispanics.

But now, the Clinton campaign senses a rare opportunity to block Mr. Trump’s narrow path to victory by making inroads with a core part of the church: white Catholics, a prized group of voters that has defied predictions this year.

Though a string of polls had shown Mr. Trump opening a lead among white Catholics, a poll released last week by the Public Religion Research Institute showed Mr. Trump hemorrhaging support. The five-day poll, which ended two days after the release of a recording in which Mr. Trump joked about groping women, and before several women came forward to say he had forcibly kissed or touched them, showed him effectively tied with Mrs. Clinton. The poll showed 42 percent of white Catholics supported him, and 46 percent backed her, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

The Clinton campaign, noting the silence of many bishops in this election and the candidate’s improving poll numbers, hopes Mr. Trump is so off-putting to white Catholics that they will overlook the emails and Mrs. Clinton’s stances on abortion and other social issues.


2. A Century of Social Change, One hundred years after its founding, Planned Parenthood has given us a low birthrate and culture of sexual liberation, By Grazie Pozo Christie, U.S. News, October 18, 2016, 2:30 PM.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.

It is certainly an appropriate moment to take stock when an influential and profitable corporation marks its 100th anniversary. Ford Motor Company did this in 2008, 100 years after the Model T rolled off the world’s first moving assembly line. Henry Ford’s dream – the cheap and sturdy mass-produced car – changed the American landscape and indeed the American psyche: ending the isolation of farmers, allowing workers to move their families to leafy suburbs and creating a new class of well-to-do laborers, including many immigrants – a century of social change.

This year another giant corporation, Planned Parenthood, enthusiastically celebrates its own century of social change. The abortion giant too is the brain-child of a visionary founder: Margaret Sanger. She also had a dream, hailed by the corporation on their website. Her aim was to “liberate” society from the propagation of those she considered unfit (through sterilization and government intervention).

The corporation she founded took that dream and ran wild with it, indelibly changing the American landscape.

Today the birthrate in the United States has plummeted to an all-time low for young women and large families are an anachronism. Much of this is due to legal, cheap and ubiquitous abortion.

The centennial of a rich and powerful corporation is indeed a good time to take stock. In Planned Parenthood’s case, it has helped build a culture of sexual liberation, where children of the poor and racially “unfit” are least likely to be born. It has gotten an entire political party to support its corporate goals and bottom line even in the face of scandal and the opposition of millions of Americans. It has even managed to whitewash the racist and eugenic views of its founder, whose bust graces the National Portrait Gallery. It makes one fearful of what the next 100 years will bring.


3. Syrian Priest Who Escaped ISIS: ‘Our World Needs a Revolution Against Violence’, By Berthold Pelster/Aid to the Church in Need, National Catholic Register, October 18, 2016.

Father Jacques Mourad was prior of the Mar Elian Monastery, a pilgrimage center near Al Quaryatayn, about 65 miles southeast of Homs, until he was abducted by Islamic State militants in May 2015. He managed to escape after nearly five months of captivity, yet that August the Islamic State had captured Al Quaryatayn and destroyed the monastery. The city was later liberated by Syrian forces in April 2016.

Now based in Europe, Father Mourad spoke Oct. 17 with international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need about the situation in Syria.

In early April 2016, Al Quaryatayn was finally freed from ISIS. How is the situation there now?
The city may have been liberated, but normal, everyday life is not yet possible. Most houses have been destroyed. But at least electricity and water have in the meantime been restored. However, most people have not yet returned to Al Quaryatayn. The fear that ISIS will come back is great.


4. It’s not necessarily the end of an era for Castel Gandolfo, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 18, 2016.

To read the Italian press, one would think that this Thursday marks the definitive end of a papal era. As of that day, Castel Gandolfo, the summer residence of popes for the last four centuries, will become a museum, with almost all of the historic palazzo thrown open to visitors.

The complex is about a half-hour outside Rome, depending on traffic, and boasts a jaw-dropping view of Lake Albano. Because it’s higher up, the air is cooler and fresher, making it a destination of choice during sweltering and muggy Roman summers.

The papal palace was built under Pope Urban VIII in the 17th century, and has been used by almost every pope since for their summer vacations, except for the interlude between 1870 and 1929 when popes had declared themselves “prisoners of the Vatican” after the loss of the Papal States.

In reality, the “end of an era” rhetoric is overheated. It’s simply not the case that just because Francis has opted to shun the traditional summer retreat, future popes are obligated to follow his lead.

As a fundamental matter of Church law, one pope cannot bind the hands of his successors. That, for instance, is why a pope may freely choose to resign himself, but he cannot make resignation mandatory – or, if he tried, another pope could simply undo the mandate.

For now, Castel Gandolfo is probably on the must-see list for Catholic visitors to Rome, a space in which one can roam and contemplate the vicissitudes of the papal past.

Knowing how the Church works, however, it’s also a poignant reminder that in Catholicism, the past is not only never really dead, it’s often not even past.


5. Pope: A good shepherd shuns power and money and is never embittered, Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, October 18, 2016.

Pope Francis said a good shepherd is one who follows Jesus rather than power, money or cliques and even if deserted by everybody may be sad but is never embittered. He was speaking at his morning Mass on Tuesday celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta Residence.

Taking his inspiration from the Second Letter to Timothy, the Pope’s homily was a reflection on the difficulties faced by the apostles like Paul in the final stage of their lives when they are left without means, deserted by all and having to ask for things like beggars.

“Alone, begging, abandoned by all and the victim of fury. But this is the great Paul, the man who heard the voice of the Lord, the call of the Lord! The man who went from one place to another, who suffered so many things and so many trials for preaching the Gospel, who made the Apostles understand that the Lord wants Gentiles to enter into the Church as well, the great Paul who when praying rose to the Seventh Heaven and heard things that nobody else had heard before: the Great Paul, there, in that small room of a house in Rome, waiting to see how that struggle would end within the Church between the different sides, between the rigidity of the Judaizers and those disciples faithful to him. And this is how the life of the great Paul ends, in desolation: not in resentment or bitterness but with an inner desolation.”