1. We’ll Listen to Young People, the Pope Says. Do More, Survivors Respond.

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, October 4, 2018, Pg A6

With pews emptying and clouds of scandal hanging over the church, the Vatican on Wednesday opened a three-week assembly to discuss how to bring young people into the fold.

As the gathering began, Pope Francis said, “This moment has highlighted a church that needs to listen.”

The pope has said he wants to hear the doubts and criticisms of young people. But the scene not far from the Synod of Bishops, as the assembly is known, suggested that the Roman Catholic Church has its work cut out for it.

In a first, some three dozen Catholics under 30 will participate at the Vatican assembly, alongside nearly 270 clerics. They will discuss a variety of issues, including sexuality, pornography and video games as well as a “throw-away culture” that wears away human dignity.

A survey released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday found that 62 percent of Catholics in the United States believe the pope is doing an “only fair” or “poor” job in addressing the problem.


2. High Noon for Kavanaugh.

By Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2018, Pg. A17, Opinion

In the matter of the Democratic Party versus Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court, it is time to have it out.

The coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s past has also put a whiff of anti-Catholicism in the air, with the constant invocations of “Georgetown Prep,” suggesting not subtly that this all-boys school, founded by Jesuits in 1789, was an abusers’ breeding ground. To invoke a legal term, this is a slander, and many at this point resent it.

It is time for Sens. Jeff Flake, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp to stand for one Senate tradition: a public vote.


3. Silence surrounds abuse crisis on day one of Synod of Bishops.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 4, 2018

Heading into an Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops on young people, faith and vocational discernment, one big-ticket question on the Catholic street was whether the 300 or so prelates gathering in Rome would acknowledge the elephant in the room: clerical sexual abuse scandals, and what they mean for the life and moral integrity of the Church.

Judging solely by the official verbiage delivered on the opening day, which may be a premature measure, the answer would appear to be that if such an acknowledgment happens, it’s going to have to come from the floor and not from the event’s official hosts.

For sure, in the days to come, the bishops, religious leaders, and young people gathered for the synod will have multiple opportunities to put the abuse issue on the agenda, and it’s quite unlikely it won’t surface in several forms along the way.

Still, for Catholics around the world wanting to believe that their leaders grasp the hurt and sense of urgency that’s percolating in the Church, the Synod of Bishops’ opening day may not have quite delivered the reassurance they seek.


4. State’s largest Catholic diocese to identify abusive priests.

By The Associated Press, October 3, 2018, 3:07 PM

Ohio’s largest Roman Catholic diocese will join three other dioceses in the state and release a list of priests who have been removed from their posts because of sexual abuse and misconduct allegations.

The Diocese of Cleveland’s list will include the names of abusive priests, even if they are now dead, church officials said Tuesday.

The Diocese of Columbus said last week it would release a list in the next few months that will include the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of abuse, whether they are living or dead.

The Youngstown diocese and Steubenville’s diocese also have committed to releasing the names of abusive priests.

The two remaining dioceses in Ohio — Cincinnati and Toledo — say they already make it a practice to release the names of priests who have been removed, although it’s unclear how far back those lists reach.


5. State down to one abortion clinic amid legal battle.

By The Associated Press, October 3, 2018, 1 PM

Missouri is down to one clinic that can perform abortions after the license of another facility expired.

The Columbia Planned Parenthood clinic’s abortion license expired Tuesday.

The site also has not been able to meet a new state requirement that doctors must have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals before they perform abortions. Federal appeals judges ruled last month that Missouri could enforce that rule as of Monday.

Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis is the last in the state that can provide abortions.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains spokeswoman Emily Miller says the organization hopes the state will issue the Columbia facility another license soon. Planned Parenthood attorneys have asked a federal judge to temporarily exempt the Columbia clinic from the hospital privileges requirement.


6. Ex-Judge to Lead Diocese’s Investigation of Priest Abuse.

By The Associated Press, October 3, 2018

A retired judge has been chosen to lead an investigation of sexual abuse of children by priests in a Roman Catholic diocese in Connecticut.

The Bridgeport diocese announced Wednesday that Robert Holzberg will lead its investigation, which will begin immediately and is expected to be finished next spring. Holzberg retired as a state Superior Court judge in 2012 and returned to private law practice.

Bishop Frank Caggiano announced the probe last month amid continuing sex abuse scandals in the church worldwide, including a Pennsylvania grand jury report in August that detailed decades of abuse and cover-ups.

The Bridgeport diocese says 29 of its priests over the decades have been credibly accused of sexual abuse, and the diocese has settled at least three dozen abuse lawsuits over the years.


7. What to Do About Corruption in the Church?

By Fr. Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, October 3, 2018

Father Roger J. Landry, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, is national chaplain for Catholic Voices USA.

Over the two last weeks, there have been various developments, bad and good, in the clergy sex-abuse scandals.

It was announced that former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is now living a life of prayer and penance  at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, in the Diocese of Salina, which has brought confusion insofar as the friary is located right next to an elementary school. Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert Morneau of Green Bay, Wisconsin, withdrew from public ministry for failing to report an incident of priestly sexual abuse in 1979. More state attorneys general and district attorneys launched investigations into the Catholic dioceses, often with diocesan cooperation. Several priests were removed for accusations of abuse decades ago detailed in newly received letters.

Pope Francis expelled Fernando Karadima, the most notorious sexual-abuser priest in Chile, from the priesthood. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò published another letter. The Catholic Church in Germany presented a comprehensive report describing that, between 1946 and 2014, 1,670 clergy had abused 3,677 minors.

On the positive side, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced Sept. 19 four steps they were taking to try to respond to the crisis: a full investigation of the accusations against Archbishop McCarrick by trained investigators; the creation of a third-party system to receive confidential complains of sexual abuse of minors and sexual harassment and misconduct with adults by bishops; the formation of a canonical committee to develop policies for ensuring proper restriction on bishops who have resigned or been removed because of sexual misconduct; and the formulation of a code of conduct with regard to sexual misconduct by bishops with minors or adults or episcopal negligence with regard to such cases.

Various friends and strangers, journalists and faithful, have continued to ask me various small- and big-picture questions that deserve forthright answers. I will try again to respond to some of those queries.