Morning Briefing

The populist "America First" protectionist who won the White House by scorching the globalized worldview of liberal elites who party at Davos every winter suddenly finds himself the star of their show — and he is milking it.

Speaking of the U.S. economy, the government reported to day that it grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the final quarter of 2017, finishing off the year on a firm footing. Such rosy news has Michael Sean Winters wondering whether, now that American public has a few extra bucks in their wallets, they look the other way while President Trump deports people and ignores the environment? (PS: 2.6 percent growth is a far cry from the 4 percent promised in the Republican tax bill.)

This week, we celebrate the first anniversary of the launch of our podcast, NCR in Conversation. Catch the latest episode here.

Kenyan nuns take over hospitals after protracted battle with American priest

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, who (coincidentally?) has a new book out To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism, has been appearing on stages across the country with prominent Catholic thinkers. He was with Fr. James Martin in December. He is supposed to meet Massimo Faggioli, Villanova University professor of theology, next week. (NCR will be there.) Last night he was joined in Dallas by British journalist and Crux contributing editor Austen Ivereigh discussing After stumble in South America, what does Pope Francis' papacy mean for Catholics and the world?

Following the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August, a lot of people asked what was the Catholic Church response? Catholics there are now working on an answer: Charlottesville Catholics challenged to confront sin of racism

Meanwhile in O'Fallon, Missouri, Bishop Edward Braxton offers advice: This is what America must do to end its problem with race Braxton has had his share of problems in his diocese with priest morale and finances and settling with abuse victims but he has been a strong voice on racism in the Catholic Church

Here are the two most read articles (that don't mention the pope) on the website this week:

Let's end todays briefing on a note of hope. Heart of forgiveness: Ugandan women once child soldiers now lead peace

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Or reflect on Pencil Preaching.jpgPencil Preaching by Pat Marrin. Every morning Pat Marrin breaks open the Word with a pencil sketch and a short meditation.

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