Morning Briefing

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This 1945 photo taken after the atomic bombing in Nagasaki, Japan, was released Dec. 30 by Pope Francis. The photo by U.S. Marine Joseph Roger O'Donnell shows a boy carrying his dead brother on his back as he waits his brother's turn to be cremated. The back side is signed by the pope and above his name it says in Italian "...the fruit of war." (CNS/Joseph Roger O'Donnell via Holy See Press Office)

President Donald Trump threatened nuclear war against North Korea via Twitter last night. A day earlier, on the World Day of Peace, Pope Francis had issued a card showing a 1945 photo of victims of the Nagasaki nuclear bombing as a reminder of "the fruit of war."

Will President Trump's political luck hold in 2018? That depends on what happens with the economy, health care and the mid-term elections, says Michael Sean Winters. (And apparently whether we are engaged in nuclear war or not.)

When some Catholics sisters and millennials got together (billed as a gathering of the "nuns and nones"), they discovered they had quite a bit in common.

A Catholic Worker house in West Virginia has prevailed after some citizens in Wheeling challenged its permit renewal. The founder of the House of Hagar said dialogue with the broader community helped solve the conflict. In other Catholic Worker news: Four Catholic Workers were arrested Dec. 28 in Des Moines, Iowa, at a protest condemning U.S. drone strikes.

And this tidbit from our Justice Action Bulletin is sad: Because of a reduction in the number of refugees admitted to the United States, the resettlement program that has been run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque for 77 years has closed.

ICYMI: Our report on how conservative Catholic donors are trying to shape American culture through "Catholic NGOs," such as the Napa Institute and Legatus.

Two interviews with church leaders: One with Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, who said he is inspired by people who live with hope in seemingly hopeless situations; and another with Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, on the need for racial justice in the United States and other topics. (Also, Ireland got a new bishop today.)

In interreligious news, the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died last night. Condolences to our LDS friends.

Also, the largest group of Mennonite congregations in the U.S. has officially separated from the broader Mennonite community after a long-term disagreement over same-sex marriage and other issues involving sexuality.



Sr. Jeannine Gramick reminds LGBT Catholics that the "Sisters are on their side."

Over at the PrayTell blog, Benedictine Fr. Anthony Ruff makes some predictions about the church for 2018. You probably don’t need special powers to guess that Mass attendance in the West will continue to decline, but his other predictions about women deacons, married priests, Cardinal Sarah and “reform of the reform” are interesting.

The controversial Basilica of the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain, will be the world's tallest church when it is completed (if it is). Our reviewer of a book about the architect Antoni Gaudí and his masterpiece enjoyed the stories, but would have liked some photographs.

Sr. Mary Ann McGivern, a Sister of Loretto, plans to participate in the People's State of the Union. Details on how to create your own Story Circle are here.

Listen up!

A number of Catholic podcasts took the holidays off, but not NCR's: The #MeToo movement is the subject of the NCR in Conversation podcast from last week, with guests exploring Catholic connections of theology and women religious to the explosion of reports of sexual harassment.


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