Pacing the waiting room

The Friday Pillar Post

Hey everybody,

Today is Friday, October 1, and this is The Friday Pillar Post.

If you’re a regular reader of the The Pillar Post, you know that JD usually writes to you on Tuesday, and Ed usually writes on Friday. But this is Friday, and you’re getting an email from JD.

Why?

Because Ed and his wife, Mrs. Condon, are at this moment actively engaged in the process of having a baby. The rest of us will have to just pace the waiting room for a while longer.

The News

‘Classified’

The Pillar confirmed this week that back in 2017 and 2018, Cardinal Angelo Becciu signed off on more than AU$2 million in wire transfers from the Vatican City State to Neustar, a technology and security company doing business in Australia.

Becciu, you might remember, is the former Number 2 in the Vatican Secretariat of State, former chief-of-staff to the pope, and is now in the midst of a criminal trial for a host of serious financial crimes, all of which he denies.

Becciu’s attorney told us this week that the transfers to Australia are part of the “classified” business of the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, and “couldn’t be possibly commented on.”

The transfers have been under investigation in Australia since January, and, in the Italian press, are widely rumored to be linked in some way to the trial of Cardinal George Pell, an Australian cardinal, and former Vatican rival to Becciu, who was convicted of sexual abuse, and then saw that conviction overturned.

Becciu’s lawyer said rumors in Italian media that say Becciu tampered with witnesses in Pell’s trial are completely false.

That Becciu signed off on the suspect transfers is important news, because it’s one piece in a longer inquiry into transfers that have raised questions, and red flags. Whether the Australian investigation will bring more clarity to the purpose of the transfers remains to be seen. In the meantime, the next hearing in Becciu’s trial is next week; it will be mostly a procedural formality.

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Investigation pending

Back in 2018, amid the fervor over the McCarrick revelations and the Pennsylvania grand jury report, attorneys general in states across the U.S. announced that they, too, would conduct big, statewide investigations of the Catholic Church: looking about both clerical sexual abuse, and the possibility of diocesan cover-ups.

Since those investigations were announced, the results have been mixed. In some states they’ve led to prosecutions and exhaustive reports, while in other places, they seem to be stalled, or to have fizzled out.

We’ve put together a report tracking the status of statewide probes into the Church, and we’ll aim to update it regularly.

Want to see what’s happening in your state? Take a look.


You won’t find reporting like The Pillar’s anywhere. We do smart, serious, informed coverage of the Church’s life, and we’re willing to dig in to get the whole story. Plus, we’re sometimes funny. If you think that’s important, pony up 5 bucks a month, and become a subscriber.

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Michelle doesn’t like St. Thérèse. But she’s trying

Today is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, who taught the Church about doing small things with great love.

Thérèse is one of those popular saints who seems to be everywhere in the Church, so you might think she’s universally beloved. But it turns out — she’s not.

The Pillar’s Michelle La Rosa is not much of a Little Flower Fan™, and she’s not alone.

But this year, for the Little Flower’s feast, Michelle decided to find out what she could love about St. Thérèse, and what to do about saints you can’t relate to.

Find out what she learned, and what she’s doing about it, here.

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‘A heart of courage’

In Wichita, Kansas, this week, Catholic celebrated the funeral of Fr. Emil Kapaun, the Servant of God with a Medal of Honor. The priest will be entombed in Wichita’s cathedral. For excerpts from his funeral homily, and photos from the Mass, click here.

A preview:

“Jesus said ‘there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ Jesus modeled that love on the cross. He gave his life for us, his friends, so that we might not perish, but might have eternal life. Fr. Kapaun imitated that love all throughout his ministry, but it reached its fulfillment on May 23, 1951, the day of his personal Calvary, in a dark and lonely place, far from here, offering all that he had for those he considered his friends.”

And to learn why a priest who died in a Korean POW camp seven decades ago is just now having his funeral Mass, read this update on the life, ministry, and possible canonization of Fr. Kapaun.

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In case you missed it

In case you missed them, here are a few other recent stories from The Pillar:'

Rwanda’s first canonized saints might be this missionary couple, killed alongside their children in the Rwandan genocide. After 20 years of a very rocky marriage, they might well be the patron saints of struggling couples.

Homeschooling is on the rise in the U.S., even as schools open back up. Catholic homeschooling is also on the rise, and some homeschool programs have seen a big boon. But is that boon sustainable?

The U.S. bishops will discuss “Eucharistic coherence” at their November meeting, including the issue of pro-choice politicians and holy communion. The Pillar talked with bishops who have first-hand experience with that issue, and asked how the process actually works, and when it should be used.

Coming up from The Pillar in weeks to come: We’ll continue to dig into the Vatican’s financial trial, and the constellation of transactions surrounding it. Ahead of a USCCB statement on the subject, we’ll look at what ministry in Native American Catholic communities looks like. We’ll look at a new apostolate aiming to promote racial reconciliation in the Church. And we expect to have important updates on the U.S. bishops under Vos estis lux mundi Vatican investigations coming soon.

In addition to those things, we’re working to uncover some things in the Church’s life that are important, that belong in the light, and that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet. But be assured, they’re worth pursuing.

Again, please continue to pray for The Pillar’s editor Ed Condon and his family, as they will welcome their first child any minute now. And please join me in thanking the Lord for the gift of that child — after years of marriage, and praying for a baby, the Condons were blessed with new life early this year.

In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Condon discovered they were expecting in early January — the week that Ed and I launched The Pillar. That means that your support of our journalistic project — whether as a paid subscriber, a source of news or information, or a friend with a word of encouragement — have really meant a lot. We have confidence in the importance and the future of this project because of you — and by God’s grace, The Pillar’s community will welcome a new life very, very soon.

So thank you.

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Have a great week. Please be assured of our prayers, and please pray for us — we need it.

Yours in Christ,

JD Flynn
editor-in-chief
The Pillar