1. The Trials and Tribulations of the Vatican’s Finance Chief, Pope Francis trimmed powers of Cardinal George Pell, charged with cleaning up the city-state’s muddled accounts, in setback for broader overhaul of Vatican, By Francis X. Rocca. The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2016, Pg. A1.

Late last year, Cardinal George Pell, the pope’s finance chief, hired PricewaterhouseCoopers to undertake a comprehensive audit of the Vatican’s finances.

… In June, the Vatican announced it had been scrapped, and soon many of Cardinal Pell’s wide-ranging powers were handed to others.

It was a setback for the financial overhaul, a central part of a broader revamp of the Catholic Church’s central bureaucracy, the Roman Curia, which Francis made a centerpiece of his pontificate. It was also a sign that the Vatican’s established interests have gained the pope’s support, just three years after his election as a historic, New World outsider.

… In a series of moves over about 18 months, Francis stripped Cardinal Pell of control over APSA’s real-estate holdings. He declined to approve his recommendations to reorganize the management of the financial portfolio. He wrote and made public a pointed letter making clear that all hiring and transfer of personnel required the approval of the office of Cardinal Parolin. The audit was scrapped, and in July, he took away most of the management functions—for payroll, payment and procurement services—and restored them to APSA.

“When a new administrative body is created, it always takes a while until it fits into the broader organization,” said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke. “We shouldn’t be distracted by the noise.”

Some Vatican officials said they believe Cardinal Pell’s free-market ethos has been unwelcome in the Curia, particularly under a pope who has excoriated the free-market system and warned that some financial practices can lead to corruption.


2. Obama rule would require states to still fund Planned Parenthood, Pro-lifers say ‘stunt’ will protect industry ‘friends’, By Bradford Richardson. The Washington Times, September 8, 2016, Pg. A1.

The Obama administration is proposing a new rule that would require states to continue to fund Planned Parenthood, countering gains by the pro-life movement to defund the abortion provider at the local level in the wake of the undercover video investigation alleging the clinic traffics in fetal body parts from abortions.

Maureen Ferguson, senior policy adviser for The Catholic Association, said the new HHS rule is just the latest effort by the Obama administration to fund abortion providers at all costs.

“The Obama administration is once again unilaterally trampling on the rights of conscientious citizens and of states that object to their taxpayer funds flowing to the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood,” Ms. Ferguson said in a statement.


3. New York Can’t Block Late-Term Abortion in Certain Cases, Schneiderman Says, By Vivian Yee. The New York Times, September 8, 2016, Pg. A22.

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Wednesday took a large step toward making New York one of several states to allow late-term abortions in cases where the mother’s health is in jeopardy or the fetus suffers a fatal complication, relying on Supreme Court rulings he said overrode existing law.

In a new legal opinion, Mr. Schneiderman said the 1970 state law, which criminalizes abortion past 24 weeks of pregnancy unless the mother’s life is endangered, did not square with the later Supreme Court decisions in Roe v. Wade and other cases.

“New York law cannot criminalize what the federal Constitution protects, and thus the Penal Law should be interpreted to be consistent with the Constitution,” the opinion says.


4. Acts of Faith, Opinion, Evangelicals and conservative Catholics, who have voted together for decades, are splitting apart, By Mark J. Rozell. Washington Post Online, September 8, 6:00 AM.

Recent polls contain a finding that is devastating to Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy: He is losing the Catholic vote to Hillary Clinton by an astounding 23 percentage points. However, Trump retains the sort of support from white evangelical Protestants that is typical of recent Republican presidential nominees — around 80 percent.

This contrast doesn’t just matter for Trump’s candidacy. It reveals a startling political splintering of conservative Catholics and evangelicals, who have tracked side by side for decades.

… For four decades, political and religious leaders worked hard to bring together evangelical and Catholic voters on key moral issues. They achieved for some time a truly powerful alliance. The Trump candidacy now threatens to pull these groups back away from each other.


5. Pope: Conferences won’t achieve peace if the heart is at war. Pope Francis’ Daily Homily, September 8, 2016.

Resuming the daily Mass at the Casa Santa Marta after the summer break, Pope Francis, in his homily, spoke about the importance of working for peace in small, daily actions – because, he said, it is in small daily gestures that peace on a global scale is born.

It is not so much great international meetings that produce peace, he said. Rather, peace is a gift from God which is born in small places: in the heart, for instance; or in a dream, as happened to St Joseph when the angel told him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, because she would give the world “Emmanuel”, that is, “God with us.” And “God with us”, the Pope said, “is peace.”


6. Can a witness to mercy unite the Americas?, By Kathryn Jean Lopez. Crux, September 7, 2016.

Three themes quickly emerged during the “Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on the American Continent” event that took place in late August, as participants got talking: Truth, joy, and unity.

After a thirty-minute video message from Pope Francis on August 27, some of what was on the minds of bishops, priests, and laypeople throughout the Americas began to emerge.

“America” here refers to North, South, and Latin America as one continent is consistent with John Paul II’s proposition in Ecclesia in America. True to that tradition, the prominence of bishops from Canada and the United States has been notable at a gathering convened by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) and the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM) happening on Latin American ground.

Sunday Mass was celebrated by the president of the United States Bishops’ Conference, Louisville Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz.