William Simon’s Mission to Make Parishes Great Again

“The local church is the greatest engine for good in human history,” businessman and philanthropist Bill Simon says of his hope for Catholic parishes.

CHR Comment: American conservative, Bill Simon, is a devout Roman Catholic who recently published “Great Catholic Parishes,” for which he studied 244 parishes. He advocates Bible Study, church music, and preaching as key to vital parish life.

Source: William Simon’s Mission to Make Parishes Great Again

Poland Abortion Bill Withdrawn

Poland’s deputy prime minister says proposals for a near-total ban on abortion which sparked protests across the country will not go through.

CHR Comment: The article describes the bill as sponsored by the Catholic Church but also mentions the role of an “anti-abortion citizens’ initiative” that gathered 450,000 signatures. Likely the bill is being withdrawn before a vote as the legislators realize the votes are not present for passage. Given the large number of Poles who have expressed concern about abortion, we are likely to see a redraft of the bill, which would garner more support.

Source: Poland abortion: Deputy PM backs away from ban – BBC News

Amoris Laetitia Raising Issues of Authority

Any sort of “creeping infallibility” that would attach the same level of authority to every papal utterance or document must be avoided. To fail to draw appropriate distinctions—whether between binding and non-binding documents of the ordinary magisterium, or between the development and the evolution of doctrine—is to dim the light of the Petrine ministry and impoverish the faithful.

CHR Comment: The Pope’s letter, an “apostolic exhortation,” has some Roman Catholics questioning the clarity and application of the document.

Source: Creeping Infallibility | Jessica M. Murdoch | First Things

Moral Assassinations of Priests

Mexico’s Roman Catholic Church on Monday harshly criticized what it called a campaign to smear three priests murdered in less than a week by suggesting the victims had been involved in questionable behavior.

CHR Comment: Drug cartels and a government prosecutor have condemned ministers serving in Mexico where 28 priests have been killed since 2006.

Source: Catholic Church alleges smear campaign against slain priests – The Washington Post

Catholicism’s Empty Quarter

Québec, a flourishing Catholic region for centuries, is now Catholicism’s empty quarter in the Western Hemisphere. There is no more religiously arid place between the North Pole and Tierra del Fuego; there may be no more religiously arid place on the planet. And it all happened in the blink of an eye.

CHR Comment: Weigel attributes the rapid decline of Catholicism in Quebec to a delayed interaction with modernism and churchmen’s involvement in political intrigue. When they finally lost control, they rapidly lost their congregation. This begs the questions: how should a church address the challenges raised by modernism and how may they act as citizens and as Christians in addressing the issues of governance?

Source: Catholicism’s Empty Quarter | George Weigel | First Things

How the Catholic Church Documented Mother Teresa’s Two Miracles

A cancer patient and a coma victim credit her for their recovery. “You have to accept that there are things that science cannot explain,” says an atheist physician who’s investigated miracle stories.

CHR Comment: Detailed description of the process and the specific miracles and persons involved in the process, including Dr. Jacalyn Duffin, an atheist who investigated miracles.

A confusing statement in the article is that no other Christian denomination teaches that “an individual [is] in heaven mediating between God and humanity.” In fact there are Orthodox and Protestant denominations that do teach persons in heaven intercede for those on earth, though with different emphases and practices. For example, Revelation 6:10 describes martyrs in heaven praying that the Lord would judge the wicked. However, Protestants would encourage those on earth to pray directly to God rather than ask the saints to mediate for them.

Source: How The Catholic Church Documented Mother Teresa’s 2 Miracles : Parallels : NPR

Also, from the Washington Post.

Attacker at Indonesian Church Injures Priest

MEDAN, Indonesia — Indonesian police are investigating a suspected terror attack by a knife-wielding assailant on a priest during Mass at a Catholic church in northern Sumatra.

CHR Comment: This story has fallen out of the news. I have not seen a report about the motives of the attacker or the results of the police investigation. The article describes a growing militant Islamic movement in the largest Muslim nation, which makes this event important. Are Archipeligo Muslims being radicalized?

Source: Attacker at Indonesian church injures priest | Religion News Service