1. Vatican aims to head off US-North Korea nuclear standoff.

By Associated Press, October 30, 2017, 8:04 AM

The Vatican is hosting a conference next week aimed at trying to head off a threatened nuclear confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea, bringing together 11 Nobel peace laureates and top U.N. and NATO officials as well as ambassadors from key countries.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Monday that the Nov. 10-11 conference was part of the Vatican’s long-standing effort to promote a nuclear weapons-free world. 

It wasn’t immediately clear if North Korea or China would be represented at the conference: Neither has diplomatic relations with the Holy See.


2. Pope: Christians can promote political dialogue in Europe.

By Associated Press, October 28, 2017

Pope Francis on Saturday said Christians can play a role in shaping Europe’s future by promoting political dialogue “especially where it is threatened and where conflict seems to prevail.”

Francis addressed European political and church leaders at a moment of broad political crises in Europe. It came a day after the regional parliament in Catalonia made a unilateral declaration of independence from Spain, and as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union after four decades.

Francis’ fifth foreign policy speech on Europe, titled “To be the soul of Europe,” was made to a forum on Europe organized by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community.

The pope outlined how Christians can contribute to resolving political conflict by underlining that Europe is not just institutions and statistics “but made up of people,” by helping recover a sense of community and by promoting political dialogue.


3. Pope Urges EU to Rediscover Unity if It Wants a Future.

By Reuters, October 28, 2017, 12:53 PM

Pope Francis, in a major speech on Europe, on Saturday urged the European Union to “recover the sense of being a single community” if it wants a future of prosperity and fairness for all.

Francis spoke at the end of a two-day conference at the Vatican called “Re-Thinking Europe”. Dozens of participants attended, including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, the vice president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, and religious leaders.

While the pope did not specifically mention the situation in Catalonia, where the region’s leaders want to break away from Spain, or Britain’s decision to leave the EU, he spoke often of solidarity, teamwork and mutual sacrifice.

“A European Union that, in facing its crises, fails to recover a sense of being a single community that sustains and assists its members – and not just a collection of small interest groups – would miss out not only on one of the greatest challenges of its history, but also on one of the greatest opportunities for its own future,” he said.

“Particular and nationalist agendas risk thwarting the courageous dreams of the founders of Europe,” he said.


4. Religious freedom, not secularism, key to Europe’s future, Vatican official says.

By Elise Harris, Catholic News Agency, October 28, 2017, 10:30 PM

Archbishop Gallagher spoke alongside German Cardinal Reinhard Marx at an Oct. 27 press conference on a major conference titled “(Re)Thinking Europe: A Christian Contribution to the Future of the European Project,” taking place in Rome this week, drawing hundreds of high-level European Church and political leaders. 

Running Oct. 27-29, the conference is organized by the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) in partnership with the Holy See, and will consist of a joint, constructive reflection on the challenges facing Europe.

Some 350 participants from 28 delegations representing all E.U. countries are in attendance, including high-level E.U. politicians and Catholic hierarchy, academics, ambassadors, representatives of different Catholic organizations and movements, as well as from other Christian delegations.

Responding to a question posed by CNA on the role religion can play in Europe given its Christian roots, Pope Francis’ continuous call to go back to those roots, and the growing presence of Islam, Gallagher said he believes there is a growing awareness and recognition in the world of “the positive things religion does.”

Although Europe continues to grapple with a high influx of migrants, Gallagher said,“I think we have to stick to principles.  If we believe in religions freedom, then it is valid for a Hindu, for a Muslim or anybody, as it’s valid for a Christian.”


5. Unwelcomed at the Women’s Convention: Yet another “inclusive” event leaves out Republican and pro-life women from America’s sisterhood.

By Grazie Pozo Christie, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a senior policy advisor for The Catholic Association, US News & World Report, October 27, 2017, 2:00 PM

Promoted as a call to action for all women, this weekend’s Women’s Convention has a narrow, exclusionary platform which turns what should be a “big tent” into a tiny umbrella, separating women into camps and pitting them against each other. Instead of a unified American sisterhood powerfully working together to promote justice and the common good, we have an event where Republican women and pro-life women (or just middle-of-the-road pro-choice women) are unwelcome and unwanted. That’s a lot of women to leave out in the rain.

The Women’s Convention takes the same tack as the Women’s March did in January: acting as though only one party has the answer for the question of how to advance the causes of women. Laudable goals like combating discrimination and improving the lives of the poor and vulnerable should be attacked from all angles, because these causes are bigger than one party. The whole country ought to be included in this conversation, not just half. Excluding women who vote Republican is shortsighted and divisive.

The convention, like the march before it, embraces only one way women understand their reproductive health. And, needless to say, this one way is the manner in which Planned Parenthood, one of their major sponsors, does. Planned Parenthood has a financial interest in promoting an extremist view of women’s health in which abortion through all nine months of pregnancy figures prominently. This makes sense for their bottom-line. This doesn’t make sense, however, for the majority of American women who have a more complex view of abortion. Only one third of Americans who describe themselves as pro-choice, for example, think it should be allowed through the third trimester, and this includes women.

The fact is that being pro-life or pro-choice is not determined by one’s sex, but by one’s philosophical understanding of the dignity of life and the humanity of the fetus. The many millions of women in America who wish to see a just society where their sisters encounter fair treatment and are able to flourish – and also respect the life of the unborn – are very much unwelcome at the convention, just as we were at the Women’s March.

With these values, the convention, like the march, can’t harness the power of every American woman to make needed changes to a society that fails the marginalized and vulnerable. It can only inspire a narrow coalition that is out of touch in many ways with mainstream women.