So, what did we see, do and think this week? Here's a recap of some of this week's big news stories, and what they might portend for the future:
1) President Donald Trump made his first international trip:
- Campaign promises and vilifications yield to Mideast complexities: All is forgiven in Saudi Arabia as Trump pursues his overarching goal of forming an anti-Iran, anti-ISIS alliance, while his popularity in Israel drops.
- Trump isn’t a huge fan of NATO. But his complaints are off target.
- Trump Hands Putin a Win at First NATO Meeting
- Pope Francis: "I am giving you this [medallion of an olive tree, a traditional peace symbol] because I hope you may be this olive tree to make peace." Trump: "We can use peace." Can 30 minutes with Francis turn Trump into a peacemaker?
2) On the domestic front, the administration revealed its budget proposal for fiscal year 2018, pundits read the tea leaves of local election skirmishes, and we learn more about the House Republican's health care plan.
- Trump budget sees big cuts, big deficits
- Religious leaders fast to protest steep budget cuts for the poor: They pledge to fast every 21st of the month.
- NCR Editorial -- This budget proposal should dispel any notion that Trump is a fighter for "the forgotten Americans." We say: Reject Trump’s cruel budget proposal
- In Montana last night, the Democratic Party received yet another wake-up call, writes Michael Sean Winters
- The Congressional Budget Office’s evaluation of the amended American Health Care Act still sees huge premium spikes for sicker and older people.
- Editorial of The San Diego Union-Tribune: House GOP rush to repeal Obamacare, in a word, laughable. The prognosis for health care in the USA is bleak, and the president and House Republicans don't much care.
3) Trends in the Catholic church that NCR is keeping an eye on:
- High-level church reform and the Francis agenda: Francis stacks the College of Cardinals
- Married priests: Groups call on UK church to have national, courageous conversation
- Parish closings, fewer priests. What's the church to do? No more audible gasps in church, please
4) Some columns worthy of reflection:
Celebration, NCR's sister publication, will publish a new reflection each day during Advent. Learn more here
- Good Shepherd Volunteer Lauren Magee, who used to downplay her birthdays, not wanting a fuss, says the AIDS/HIV patients she works with in Nong Khai, Thailand, are teaching her to use the day to measure time and progress. Birthdays are a reminder that my soul is growing, too
- An invitation to a social justice retreat promotes an eight-grader to ask her teacher: "Sister, I am not trying to be rude, but will there be only white people there?", by Jennifer Wilson of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
- Bishop Tom Gumbleton tells a confirmation class: Commit yourself to be the kind of witness you are called to be
Start your day inspired with daily scripture reflections. Join NCR's sister publication, Celebration, for Daily Bread, a series of short reflections written by four authors who meet regularly to share the readings.
Or reflect on Pencil Preaching by Pat Marrin. Every morning Pat Marrin breaks open the Word with a pencil sketch and a short meditation.