1. Hillary Clinton’s Catholic Fan Club, Under Pope Francis, Progressive Catholics exaggerate papal authority, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, October 25, 2016, Pg. A13.

In Catholicism, “ultramontanism” is a worldview in which the pope is accorded exaggerated authority. Ultramontane means “beyond the mountains,” and it is today a remnant of European struggles from centuries back when some looked to the pope who lived over the Alps in Rome over their own authorities.

For most of its history “ultramontanism” has been a temptation of the right. But the leaked John Podesta emails on Catholics suggest that there now thrives a progressive ultramontanism—one that welcomes papal authority so long as it confines itself to subjects such as income inequality or fossil fuels.

Now, nothing disturbs the Progressive Catholic more than the preference for the Republican Party shown by American Catholics who attend Mass regularly. But let’s not give the GOP credit for any genius. Most of these Catholics moved to the Republican Party when the Democratic Party of their parents and grandparents moved sharply against them in the 1970s and 1980s.
Say what you will about the prominent Catholics associated with the GOP, moreover, dozens signed a public manifesto co-written by theologian George Weigel and Princeton’s Robert George loudly declaring Donald Trump unfit to be the Republican nominee. These are not people who just go along. In sharp contrast, Progressive Catholicism is all about silence and obedience, to the point where Mr. Kaine tells us Roe v. Wade is beyond question.

Yes, Pope Francis (or at least their interpretation of Pope Francis) has brought them hope. When the pope declares that climate change is man-made or condemns “the increasing use and power of air conditioning,” suddenly they go full St. Augustine: Roma locuta, causa finita est—Rome has spoken, the matter is finished, in the famous paraphrase of the great saint.

It’s hard enough being a Catholic who believes popes have something to say to the world on faith and morals and the dignity of the human person. But to celebrate the pope as an authority on the details of everything from energy to global finance requires a faith far beyond this poor sinner’s.


2. Venezuela’s embattled leader meets pope, By Associated Press, The Washington Post, October 25, 2016, Pg. A8.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Monday with Pope Francis as the Vatican took a more active role trying to defuse a tense political standoff in the South American nation.

Maduro spoke with the Pope in a private meeting on his way back to Venezuela following a tour of oil-producing nations of the Middle East.

The Vatican said the pope urged Maduro to courageously take the path of “sincere and constructive dialogue” to alleviate the suffering of the Venezuelan people, especially the poor. He called on Maduro to promote a climate of renewed social cohesion that would allow everyone to look to the future with hope, the Vatican said in a statement.

It’s not clear how much influence the Vatican will have in bringing the two sides together in a country that for almost two decades has been bitterly divided.


3. Strict building codes lifted for Virginia abortion clinics, By Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post, October 25, 2016, Pg. B1.

The Virginia Board of Health voted Monday to scrap hospital-style building codes for all abortion clinics, saying that they were unconstitutional under a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

The board had signaled months ago that it would lift the requirements for 14 existing clinics but impose them on any new ones. But in an 11-to-4 vote Monday, it decided that the construction requirements should not apply to any of the state’s clinics.

The decision follows a Supreme Court ruling in June that struck down abortion-clinic regulations in Texas. It also fulfills a central campaign promise of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who said during the 2013 campaign that he would be a “brick wall” against abortion restrictions.


4. DePaul University bans ‘Unborn Lives Matter’ signs, By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, October 25, 2016, Pg. A8.

The nation’s largest Catholic university has told a group of pro-life students that they could not display posters reading “Unborn Lives Matter,” lest they provoke the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a letter to the College Republicans, the Rev. Dennis Holtschneider, president of Chicago’s DePaul University, said the posters expressed “bigotry” veiled “under the cover of free speech,” the Daily Wire reported.

“By our nature, we are committed to developing arguments and exploring important issues that can be steeped in controversy and, oftentimes, emotion,” Father Holtschneider said in the letter. “Yet there will be times when some forms of speech challenge our grounding in Catholic … values. When that happens, you will see us refuse to allow members of our community be subjected to bigotry that occurs under the cover of free speech.”

Citing the university’s “Guiding Principles on Speech and Expression,” he said the poster “provokes the Black Lives Matter movement” and must be redesigned.


5. Pope: God’s Kingdom grows through docility not with organization charts, Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, October 25, 2016.

Pope Francis said God’s kingdom grows through its members showing docility and warned Christians against concentrating too much on structures and organization charts. He was speaking during his morning Mass on Tuesday celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence.

Taking his inspiration from the day’s readings, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of God’s kingdom during his homily, saying it is not a fixed structure but constantly evolving and describing what helps it to grow. He stressed that God’s law is not just there to be studied but to journey forward with during our lives.

“What is the Kingdom of God?  Well, perhaps the Kingdom of God is a very well-made structure, everything tidy, organization charts all prepared, everything and the person who does not enter (into this structure) is not in the Kingdom of God. No, the same thing can happen to the Kingdom of God as happens to the Law: unchanging, rigidity…    the Law is about moving forward, the Kingdom of God is moving, it is not standing still. What’s more: the Kingdom of God is re-creating itself every day.”


6. Pope’s address to the Jesuits heals decades of hurt and misunderstanding, By Austen Ivereigh, Contributing Editor, Crux, October 24, 2016.

Given the suspicion with which most Jesuits worldwide regarded him in March 2013, the growing love and affection between Francis and the Society since then has been nothing short of extraordinary.

Read in the light of this history, Francis’s speech yesterday to GC-36 was a chance to articulate a vision of the Jesuits’ purpose and mission that – in his view – they abandoned despite Paul VI’s warning in 1974.

St. Ignatius, Francis reminds the Jesuits, used to make a special effort when he saw sinful structures in the Church to make sure he was acting “in the Good Spirit” when he spoke or acted.
Be reformers and frontiersmen, in other words, but watch out for the temptations of ideology and egotism, and remain true to your original charism.

The address is just five pages, yet in its careful re-balancing helps heal decades.


7. Obamacare on the Ropes as Election Nears, By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, October 24, 2016.

Mere weeks before the 2016 election, Americans who depend on health insurance policies authorized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) learned that their premiums would rise by 30% on average, with approved rates in some states going much higher.

The dispiriting news released last week provided further confirmation that the ACA, better known as “Obamacare,” is in deep trouble.

But specialists disagree on whether it can be fixed or must be replaced, and the outcome of this policy battle will likely be decided by the next president of the United States.

During the second  presidential debate, neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton disputed the fact that the Affordable Care Act faces enormous challenges, with some of the nation’s largest insurance companies fleeing the state exchanges after significant financial losses and the government grappling with sharp increases in health care spending.

“Obamacare will never work,” said Trump during the second presidential debate. “It’s very bad, very bad health insurance.”

Clinton agreed that premiums needed to come down, but added, “if we rip it up and throw it away, what Donald is not telling you is we just turn it back to the insurance companies — the way it used to be. And that means the insurance companies get to do pretty much whatever they want.”

Trump doubled down on his criticisms near the end of the third presidential debate, during a discussion of how to address federal entitlements. “And one thing we have to do: repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said. “It’s destroying our country.”