1. The U.S. and U.N. Have Abandoned Christian Refugees, The U.N.’s next secretary-general, António Guterres, says that persecuted Christians shouldn’t be resettled in the West, By Nina Shea, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2016, Pg. A13, Opinion.

At a December press conference in Washington, D.C., I asked the U.N.’s then-high commissioner for refugees, António Guterres, to explain the disproportionately low number of Syrian Christians resettled abroad. The replies—from a man poised to be the U.N’s next secretary-general—were shocking and illuminating.

Mr. Guterres said that generally Syria’s Christians should not be resettled, because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.” He added that Lebanon’s Christian president had asked him not to remove Christian refugees. Mr. Guterres thus appeared to be articulating what amounts to a religious-discrimination policy, for political ends.

As for why so few Christians and Yazidis are finding shelter in the UNHCR’s regional refugee camps, members of these groups typically say they aren’t safe. Stephen Rasche, the resettlement official for the Chaldean Catholic Archdiocese in Erbil, Iraq, told Congress last month that in Erbil “there are no Christians who will enter the U.N. camps for fear of violence against them.”

The pontifical Aid to the Church in Need and the American Christian Aid Mission wrote in recent emails to me that no Christians dare shelter in the U.N. Zaatari camp in Jordan, which houses 80,000 Syrian refugees. As one Syrian Christian who was resettled in the U.S. explained in the Sept. 26 Washington Examiner, after fleeing ISIS in Aleppo, his family was too afraid of “becoming targets of Muslim extremists” to go into Lebanon’s camps.


2. New York Archdiocese Panel to Compensate Sex-Abuse Victims, Commission will be led by Kenneth Feinberg, 9-11 victims-fund administrator, By Kate King, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2016, Pg. A15.

The Archdiocese of New York is setting up an independently administered program to compensate survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by clergy, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Thursday.

The initiative will start with about 170 complaints already known to the Roman Catholic Church for alleged assaults that occurred over the last four decades, Cardinal Dolan said.

To administer the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, the archdiocese has tapped Kenneth Feinberg, who served as the special master of the U.S. compensation fund for victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Feinberg and a colleague, Camille Biros, will have autonomy in determining compensation awards, which the church has committed to pay in full, “as an act of reparation, at the cost of sacrifice,” Cardinal Dolan said.

The archdiocese, which oversees 296 parishes with 2.6 million church members, will pay compensation costs by taking out a long-term loan and therefore avoid using money donated to the church for parishes, schools and charitable work.

The loan would be repaid using other assets, such as investments, said Joseph Zwilling, communications director for the archdiocese. Cardinal Dolan declined Thursday to speculate as to how much money might be spent.


3. Poland Steps Back From Stricter Anti-Abortion Law, By Rick Lyman and Joanna Berendt, The New York Times, October 7, 2016, Pg. A12.

WARSAW — After growing protests from Polish women and an embarrassing debate in the European Parliament, Poland’s governing party retreated Thursday from a proposed law that would have made virtually all abortions illegal.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the party, the right-wing Law and Justice Party, said that while the government agreed with the intent of such a law, it opposed the version proposed by an anti-abortion group.

“Observing the social developments, we have come to a conclusion that this legislation will have an opposite effect to the one that was intended,” he said. “This is not the right way to proceed.”


4. The pontiff’s historic trip, Pope Francis’ visit to Azerbaijan underscores the Caspian nation’s special place in the world, By Elin Suleymanov, The Washington Times, October 7, 2016, Pg. B3, Opinion.

As Pope Francis was concluding the trip of the Caucasus, his last stop was the capital of the predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan. In Baku, the pontiff was received with full honors and welcomed by cheering crowds representing the nation’s small Catholic flock as well as more numerous Muslim and Jewish communities. While a papal visit to the once-Soviet Caucasus is significant in itself, visiting a modern, secular Muslim nation like Azerbaijan sends an especially profound message. Even more significant is the fact that this was already a second papal visit in Azerbaijan’s 25 years of independence: Pope John Paul II visited Baku in 2002.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev recognized the significance of the visit by describing it as “historic” and reiterating the nation’s commitment to upholding the long-standing traditions of inclusiveness and tolerance. Mr. Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan is proud to be home for its citizens of all faiths and to serve as “both a geographic and a spiritual bridge between East and West.” This sentiment was echoed by Pope Francis, who spoke of his joy seeing “the cordial relations enjoyed by the Catholic, Muslim, Orthodox and Jewish communities.”

Before departing Baku, Pope Francis visited the hilltop memorial to those, who died defending Azerbaijan’s independence and integrity. Walking along the memorial to lay the wreath, the pope saw the names of men and women of different ethnicities and faiths, who gave their lives when their common home, Azerbaijan, was attacked. This, too, is a reminder that our nation’s diversity and inclusiveness makes us more joyful when we celebrate and stronger when we face hardship.


5. Donald Trump to Catholic Leaders: I Am Pro-Life and I Will Protect Religious Liberty, By CNA/EWTN News, October 6, 2016.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wrote a letter to Catholic leaders who are attending a two-day conference in Denver this week, identifying himself as pro-life and vowing to support core values such as religious liberty and school choice.

“I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you,” he wrote Oct. 5. “I am, and will remain, pro-life. I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions.”

Trump’s letter was addressed to the 18th Annual Catholic Leadership Conference, being held Oct 4-6.

He stated that Catholics are “a rich part of our nation’s history” and that “the United States was, and is, strengthened through Catholic men, women, priests and religious Sisters.”

In his letter, Trump pointed to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s extreme pro-abortion record and support for the HHS mandate, which requires many religious non-profits to fund and facilitate abortion and related products against their religious convictions.


6. Pope at Mass: Be open to the Spirit, Who carries us forward, Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, October 6, 2016.

True doctrine is not a rigid attachment to the Law, which bewitches as ideologies do. Rather, it is the revelation of God, which allows itself to be discovered more and more fully each day by those who are open to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta.

The readings of the day speak of the Holy Spirit, the “great gift of the Father,” the power that allows the Church to go forth courageously even to the ends of the earth. The Spirit, Pope Francis said, “is the protagonist of this ‘going forward’ of the Church.” Without the Spirit, the Church would be shut up within itself, fearful.

The Pope pointed out three “attitudes” that we can have with regard to the Spirit. The first is that which Saint Paul rebuked in the Galatians: the belief that one can be justified through the Law, and not by Jesus, “who makes sense of the Law.” And so they were “too rigid.