Morning Briefing

During his trip to Myanmar, Pope Francis did not mention the Rohingya by name, but he did say religious leaders have a responsibility to promote fair treatment of the different groups in a society. (Follow NCR Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee’s reporting on this trip as the pope continues on to Bangladesh tomorrow.)

The latest test missile fired by North Korea has the ability to hit “everywhere in the world basically,” according to U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.

“Today Show” host Matt Lauer has been fired after allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. Meanwhile, the church in India is implementing its first guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued an apology for “any false or inaccurate statements” in the case of a St. Louis priest, for whom two allegations of improper contact resulted  in the charges being dropped. The priest also prevailed in a civil suit that claimed he was discriminated against on racial and religious grounds. 

South Texans are captivated by a sensational “cold case” trial of a former priest for the murder of a young woman 57 years ago. He was originally ruled out as a suspect after local Catholic church officials persuaded authorities to end their investigation of him.

A former Salvadoran army colonel will stand trial in the murder of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter, now that the U.S. has extradited him to Madrid this week.

A highly critical piece about Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich has been published by First Things. On Twitter, America national correspondent Michael O’Loughlin called it “one of those pieces that says much more about the author than the subject.”

Judith Valente, who is a Benedictine Oblate, notes that oblates currently outnumber monks and sisters living in a monastery. She reports from the Fourth International Oblate Congress in Rome.

Here’s something you didn’t know the U.S. bishops cared about: net neutrality. The chair of the bishops’ Committee on Communication said an open internet is “critical to the nation’s faith communities.”


Michael Sean Winters analyzes how the pope’s theme of “the globalization of indifference” seems to be different from what we often hear at Mass on Sunday or pick up from the speeches at a U.S. bishops' conference meeting.

Our review—by Faruq R.A. Nelson, who is Muslim—of historian Garry Wills’ What the Qur'an Meant says no one can afford to remain ignorant about one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing religions.

Among the many problems with the House tax reform bill is its inclusion of a repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt nonprofit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates. This columnist argues that, if passed, it will actually lead to more regulation of churches.

Ken Briggs parses recent data about those who are “spiritual but not religious” and even “religious but not spiritual.”

Finally, news about comments at NCR from Editor Dennis Coday here

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