1. Oscar Wilde’s Catholicism, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, October 9, 2018, Pg. A15, Opinion

Wilde’s own life and tastes, after all, were more complicated. When he arrived in Rome in 1900, he found himself attracted to both the Eternal City’s pagan past and its Catholic present, extolling the beauty of the young men he paid for even as he haunted the Vatican for a blessing from the pope. Six months later in Paris, on his deathbed, he was welcomed into the Catholic church.

Wilde wasn’t unusual for his time. To today’s generations, Catholicism may be the Church of Intolerance. But in Wilde’s day, the church was still the Scarlet Woman, home for the disreputable and deplorable. In his play “A Woman of No Importance” the title character, who has a secret past—an illegitimate son—explains why she spends so much time in church.

Notwithstanding its unpopularity, church teaching on homosexuality hasn’t fundamentally changed since St. Paul. What has changed is that the orthodoxy dominating civilization is no longer set by even a residually Judeo-Christian ethos.

“I can resist everything but temptation,” Wilde once quipped. What might he have made of the new orthodoxy trying to impose itself on the church he ultimately called his own—and of pope, cardinals and bishops so plainly embarrassed by their own teaching?


2. Seoul says Kim Jong Un wants Pope Francis to visit N. Korea, By Kim Tong-Hyung, The Associated Press, October 9, 2018, 6:16 AM

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants Pope Francis to visit the officially atheist country, South Korea said Tuesday.

South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement that Kim told President Moon Jae-in during their summit last month that the pope would be “enthusiastically” welcomed in North Korea.

North Korea strictly controls the religious activities of its people, and a similar invitation for then-Pope John Paul II to visit after a 2000 inter-Korean summit never resulted in a meeting. The Vatican insisted at the time that a papal visit would only be possible if Catholic priests were accepted in North Korea.

Francis visited South Korea in August 2014. On the plane ride back to Rome, he expressed hope that the divisions would be overcome, saying “the two Koreas are brothers, they speak the same language.”

The Vatican’s priests were expelled by North Korea long ago and state-appointed laymen officiate services.

Estimates of the number of North Korean Catholics range from 800 to about 3,000, compared to more than 5 million in South Korea.


3. On McCarrick, Chile, and ‘lawyers, guns and money’, By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 9, 2018

As the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ conference meets with Pope Francis, American Catholics naturally will wonder what may result in terms of getting to the bottom of the case of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, whose rise to power despite rumors of sexual misconduct remains a question awaiting an answer.

When conference leaders met with the pontiff last month, he turned down the idea of an Apostolic Visitation, meaning a Vatican-backed investigation. The search is now on for other ways to get Rome involved, on the premise that the answers needed probably aren’t in the States.

Obviously, the Vatican understands the McCarrick scandal is a big deal: It released two separate reactions over the weekend, one a statement on Saturday saying Francis has ordered a “thorough study” of Vatican files on McCarrick, the other a letter from Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops on Sunday, responding to bombshell accusations from a former papal ambassador in the U.S. charging that Francis was in on the cover-up.

An abuse survivor in Chile, however, can probably be forgiven for believing that his or her suffering is as deep as anyone scarred by McCarrick, and as worthy of the Vatican’s best efforts to establish the truth. Whatever decisions are made on that front, one hopes they’re driven by pastoral consideration and not, as Warron Zevon famously put it, “lawyers, guns and money.”


4. Vatican Expert Wants Accountability on Abuse Summit Agenda, By The Associated Press, October 8, 2018

Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna said the February summit of global church leader is the appropriate venue for discussing “a great expectation for more accountability” among Catholic faithful worldwide.

The Vatican said last month that Pope Francis had summoned the presidents of the estimated 130 Catholic bishops’ conferences to a Feb. 21-24 meeting to discuss the “protection of minors.” The announcement was made as clergy sex abuse revelations and cover-up allegations on several continents fueled a scandal that now threatens Francis’ papacy.

Scicluna also revealed that despite being the Catholic Church’s leading authority on clerical sex abuse, he relies on lay experts to investigate allegations in his archdiocese. As archbishop, he must be a spiritual father to both his priests and his flock.

Such lay review boards are a feature of U.S. dioceses, but are by no means the norm around the world.


5. Scicluna says don’t expect ‘quick answers’ on abuse crisis from synod, By Inés San Martín, Crux, October 8, 2018

Just as week one of an Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops on young people opened with talk about the clerical abuse scandals roiling the Catholic waters, so did week two. Yet arguably the Church’s leading expert on the abuse scandals on Monday seemed to try to tamp down expectations of dramatic action from this gathering.

“The synod is not about sexual abuse of minors,” said Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta addressing reporters on Monday. “I don’t expect quick answers here.”

“We’re going to have an important meeting in February, [as] the pope has called the presidents of the bishops’ conferences. I think that’s going to be the best forum [to talk about issues such as the accountability of bishops],” he said.

Scicluna, once the Vatican’s top prosecutor on cases of clerical abuse and who recently carried out an investigation in Chile at Pope Francis’s behest, said the issue is definitely present in the synod, including “in the corridors and at breaks.” He also noted that it’s addressed in paragraph 66 of the working document the prelates are discussing this week.