Fidel Castro, Jesuit-influenced Marxist

(RNS) “I believe Karl Marx could have subscribed to the Sermon on the Mount,” Castro once said.

CHR Comment: Castro was also known for propagandizing his way to power. It is very difficult to discern the beliefs of such a person. Lord, have mercy. Below I’ve added a link to a USA Today story about potential new Catholic efforts in Cuba.

Source: Fidel Castro, Jesuit-influenced Marxist revolutionary | Religion News Service

USA Today

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Why Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Daughter Might Become a Saint

In her forties, she rededicated her life to working with the poor and very sick.

CHR Comment: Fascinating example of how New England Protestantism was breaking down and its children were looking for spiritual direction.

Source: Why Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Daughter Might Become a Saint | Mental Floss

Pope Francis allows priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion

Pope Francis: “I want to insist as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin because it puts an end to an innocent life.”

CHR Comment: The story also includes the closing of the cathedral doors that were symbolically opened for a year of jubilee mercy. The pope’s statement also includes a good example of the Roman Catholic views on repentance in distinction from that traditionally proclaimed by Protestant denominations.

Source: Pope Francis allows priests to absolve ‘grave sin’ of abortion

Pope Francis denounces growing ‘demonization’ of enemies and outsiders

VATICAN CITY (RNS) The pontiff’s exhortation, at a ceremony to elevate 17 new cardinals, seemed to take aim at nationalist anger roiling countries around the world, including the U.S.

CHR Comment: The reporter interprets statements of Francis and applies them to Donald Trump and to conservative Catholics. None of the quotations mention Trump or the conservatives so the writer’s applications to them seem odd and inappropriate. The pope’s comments seem clearly international rather than directed against persons in the United States. The article feels less like reporting and more like editorializing.

Source: Pope Francis denounces growing ‘demonization’ of enemies and outsiders | Religion News Service

Pope Francis Gives N.J. Its First Cardinal

(RNS) By moving Indianapolis Archbishop Joseph Tobin to Newark the pontiff ignored protocol – and showed he’s serious about changing how the Catholic Church operates.

CHR Comment: According to the article, Cardinal Tobin is more progressive and represents a preferred leader for Pope Francis in contrast with conservative Catholics.

Source: Pope Francis gives N.J. its first cardinal – and ups the ante on church reform | Religion News Service

Pope: Women will be banned from priesthood forever

The Catholic Church’s ban on female priests will stand forever, Pope Francis said Tuesday.

CHR Comment: Francis is frustrating progressives in the Roman Catholic Church. Although he has expressed openness on many issues, little is actually changing under his charge. Here is a significant example. Despite his apparent conservatism, he makes many statements that rile conservative Catholics.

Source: Pope: Women will be banned from priesthood forever

“The Art Of Dying Well” Website

The Catholic Church in England and Wales is launching a new website aimed at practically and spiritually helping both Catholics and non-Catholics alike grapple with issues around death and dying, and to prepare, ideally, for a “good death”.

CHR Comment: This is a modern version of the late medieval Ars Moriendi, by which people prepared to face death.

Source: Is It Possible To Have A Good Death? Catholic Church Launches New Site, ‘The Art Of Dying Well’ | Christian News on Christian Today

Pope Francis to Lutheran Pilgrims: Seek Unity through Charity

The full text of Pope Francis’ prepared remarks to Lutheran pilgrims in the Vatican on Thursday

CHR Comment: Nearly 500 years ago, the historic disruption of western Christendom took place as Protestants and Roman Christians disagreed on the doctrine of justification. The dialogue between liberal Lutheran church leaders and the papacy has continued for decades. Pope Francis expresses his hope that the dialogue will end in “communion.” Anticipate something taking place during the upcoming Reformation anniversary observances in 2017.

Source: Pope Francis to Lutheran pilgrims: seek unity through charity – Vatican Radio