1. Gosnell the murderer revisited, The movie about his abortion clinic and crimes opens in theaters nationwide.

By David Keene, The Washington Times, October 23, 2018, Pg. B3, Opinion

That the Gosnell case received so little media coverage at the time troubled some journalists, but it wasn’t until Kirsten Powers called her fellow journalists to task in an April 2013 USA Today column titled “We’ve Forgotten What Belongs on Page One” that others picked up the story. The Washington Post defended its failure to cover it because it was “a local murder story” unlike, say, the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida that dominated the news for weeks. Eventually The Post and other media outlets acknowledged missing a blockbuster story and pledged to do better in the future.

On October 12, a movie based on the Gosnell case opened in theaters across the country. Those same publications that ignored the case during the actual trial are either ignoring the movie altogether or reviewing it as cheap propaganda and bad fiction. In one of the rare reviews that have appeared, the reviewer cited the words screenwriters allegedly put into the mouth of the “fictional Kermit Gosnell” in which he compares himself to George Tiller, the Kansas doctor assassinated by right to lifers in 2009 as evidence of their anti-abortion “bias.”

The movie, “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer” is in theaters right now and, believe me, it is worth seeing regardless of one’s views on abortion or the opinions of those few who have bothered to review it.


2. Australia Atones for Sex Abuse Epidemic.

By Rick Rojas, The New York Times, October 23, 2018, Pg. A7

In August, Roman Catholic leaders in Australia responded to the inquiry with their own lengthy report, apologizing for abuse by priests and the church’s failure to confront the problem.

“Until trust is rebuilt,” said Archbishop Mark Coleridge, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, “all the apologies in the world will miss the mark.”

The church agreed to adopt many of the inquiry’s recommendations, but rejected a push to force priests to disclose accusations of sexual abuse heard during confession.


3. Letters From the Synod-2018: #15.

Edited By Xavier Rynne II, First Things, October 23, 2018

After more than two and a half weeks of speech-making and conversation, Synod-2018 begins to grapple today with the product that will help define it. On Tuesday morning, the Synod fathers will be presented with a draft final report, which they will then have a free afternoon to read, reflect upon, and discuss privately. The days following will be spent in refining the draft final report, which will then be voted on Saturday, paragraph by paragraph, a two-thirds majority being required to adopt each paragraph.

And while all this is going on, there will be more synodal end-game activity: On Friday, the Synod fathers will elect fifteen members of the Synod’s permanent council and they’ll also offer suggestions for a theme for the next ordinary general assembly of the Synod, which will presumably be held in 2021. There is considerable interest in Synod-2021 being devoted to the topic of women in the Church and in the world. And while that would indeed be a worthy subject, I’d like to suggest a different possibility: a Synod on chastity. 

The Catholic Church is suffering today from a crisis of chastity, the virtue that St. John Paul II defined as “the integrity of love.” The meltdown of chastity in the world under the pressures of the sexual revolution has now, unmistakably, corrupted the Church; that corruption has deeply damaged the Church’s evangelical mission by making Catholicism vulnerable to the lethal charge of hypocrisy. There is widespread and legitimate anger today over the failures of bishops, priests, and consecrated religious to live their vows of chastity with fidelity. But lay Catholics should also take a close look at our own failures to live the integrity of love, and to be witnesses in the world that sex is sacred, as Bishop David Konderla put it in these LETTERS. 

The Catholic Church is regularly charged with being obsessed about sex. The truth of the matter is that it’s postmodern culture that’s sex-obsessed. What the Catholic Church is obsessed with is love: the love that, as Dante put it at the end of the world’s greatest poem, “moves the Sun and the other stars”; the love that took flesh in the womb of Mary of Nazareth; the crucified love that demonstrated the divine will to redeem; the resurrected love that brought the humanity of the Risen Christ into the life of the Most Holy Trinity. It is hard, these days, for many to see that Catholicism’s true passion is for love. A Synod on chastity—a global Catholic reflection on the integrity of love, and on how living love in integrity makes for happiness and beatitude—might help those whom we are called to evangelize to see more clearly what we’re really all about. 
 -George Weigel 


4. Bridgeport prelate says accountability key for bishops’ fall summit.

By Crux Staff, Crux, October 23, 2018

Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut, has become one of the most closely watched American prelates at a time when the Church in the United States is in full crisis mode, making it perhaps unsurprising that he was the first bishop to raise the issue of clerical sex abuse during this month’s Vatican summit on young people.

Caggiano brushes off such rumors, insisting that he’s focused solely on his diocese and, particularly, building on the energy and ideas coming out of the Synod of Bishops on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” where he has joined nearly 300 bishops around the world for his first-go at a synod.

Among the topics he discussed in an interview with Crux last week are:
– The upcoming meeting of U.S. bishops next month where he insists that the issue of accountability of bishops must be settled.
– His own plans for a youth synod in his own diocese.
– Why hearing stories of Christian martyrdom have challenged him to consider what he’s willing to sacrifice for the faith.


5. In China’s Catholic Heartland, Vatican Deal Brings Communist Party Closer.

By Reuters, October 22, 2018

China says there are six million Catholics in the country, across 98 officially approved dioceses. The Holy Spirit Study Centre, run by the diocese of Hong Kong, estimates that there are 10 million believers spread over 144 dioceses.

Such discrepancies have been the subject of closed-door negotiations for more than a decade between Beijing and the Vatican, which wants to preserve and expand the Catholic community in China.

The Vatican went ahead with the provisional deal, despite it failing to address some outstanding points of contention, because it feared the two Churches would split even further apart, resulting in a schism that would become irreparable, Vatican sources told Reuters

At four recent services attended by Reuters journalists, three official and one at an “underground” church, there was little that was discernibly different between those at churches loyal to Beijing or the Vatican.

The deal between Beijing and the Vatican was struck without resolution of some long-held Church concerns over clerics in detention, Catholic Church sources familiar with the substance of the deal have told Reuters.

As part of the deal, the Vatican approved seven excommunicated Patriotic Association bishops ordained without church approval, meaning all Beijing-approved Bishops have now been accepted by the Holy See. 

It is unclear what, if any, immediate change the deal made for Beijing’s attitude towards China’s approximately 30 underground bishops, whose uncertain fate could still scupper the accord, said Yang Fenggang, a professor at Purdue University in the United States specialising in religion in China. 

“This is a baby step and the relationship looks very fragile,” he said.


6. The #MeToo Movement Has Forgotten Asia Bibi.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, RealClearReligion, October 22, 2018

In the end, the dignity of women lies at the heart of the #metoo movement. Yes, I know that the eerie parades of red-robed “handmaidens,” the mob-ish protests, the wails and shrieks from the Senate gallery of recent weeks are anything but dignified. However, #metoo is – or, at least, should be – about the dignity of women. That is, respect for the right of women to work and act and think free coercion and violence, sexual or otherwise. With this in mind, maybe it’s time for all American women focus their passion on the defense of a Pakistani woman waiting to be hanged for… drinking from the “wrong” cup and speaking her mind.

In 2010, Bibi was convicted of blasphemy as a result of the argument in the field that day. The crime of blasphemy in Pakistan carries a mandatory death sentence, and Bibi was sentenced to death by hanging. Last week, eight years after Bibi’s initial conviction, a special three-judge panel of the Pakistani Supreme Court heard oral argument in Bibi’s last chance to overturn the sentence and announced that it would “reserve judgment in the matter.” The hangman’s noose awaits Asia Bibi.

Is this not incredible? Pakistan, a country considered a U.S. ally in the war against terrorism, plans to execute a poor mother of five for blasphemy.  

Is it also not incredible that American women have not all joined together to mobilize on behalf of Bibi? Where is the raucous uproar?

It is not too late for Asia Bibi be set free. Is it too late for the #metoo movement?

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation