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Welcome to Starting 7, The Pillar’s new daily newsletter.

I’m Luke Coppen and I seek to guide you each weekday morning to the most interesting Catholic news and comment.

😇 Today’s feast:  St. Abraham the Poor.

📜 Today’s readings:  Eph 6:10-20  ▪  Ps 144:1B, 2, 9-10 ▪  Lk 13:31-35.

🗞  Starting seven

1:  The Vatican has released the synod on synodality’s “Document for the Continental Stage” (full text, analysis, Vatican News report, press conference texts and video).

2: The trial of Cardinal Joseph Zen was adjourned to Oct. 31 after a hearing in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

3:  The Diocese of Buffalo and the New York attorney general have settled a lawsuit over the diocese’s handling of abuse allegations (bishop’s statement).

4:  Prisoners in Bahrain have urged Pope Francis to call for justice during his Nov. 3-6 visit to the Middle Eastern country.

5:  Pope Francis has met with the family of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

6:  Cardinal Charles Bo has said that the Christian presence in Asia is “very effective,” despite accounting for just 2% of the continent’s population.

7:  James Franklin describes Catholic life in a 19th-century Australian colony.

🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino

🧐  Look closer

Vatican peace push  Pope Francis devoted his first Angelus address in October to the Ukraine war. He issued a threefold appeal, to Russian President Vladimir Putin to “stop this spiral of violence and death,” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to “be open to serious proposals for peace,” and to world leaders to “do everything possible to bring an end to the war.”

The appeal seemed to generate little reaction at the time, but there’s been a notable flurry of diplomatic activity in recent days.

Macron’s message  The upsurge follows French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Oct. 24, the day after Macron spoke at a Sant’Egidio Community peace conference in Rome.

In an interview with Le Point magazine, published on Oct. 25, Macron said that he had encouraged the pope to call Putin, Russian Orthodox leader Patriarch Kirill, and U.S. President Joe Biden in pursuit of peace in Ukraine.

  • “We need the United States to come to the table to promote the peace process in Ukraine,” Macron said, suggesting that the pope and Biden enjoyed “a real relationship of trust.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Oct. 25 that Russia welcomed Macron’s proposal. “If it is all in the vein of finding a possible solution, we can evaluate it as a positive one,” he said, according to the Russian news agency Tass.

Peskov noted that Zelenskyy had issued a decree ruling out talks with Putin, but added that Russia was “ready to discuss all of these issues with the Americans, the French, or the pontiff.”

‘A chance to talk’ Speaking to Italian media on Oct. 25, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin described the Russian response as “a positive sign.”

  • “You have to find the right way, you have to look for the way in which everyone can identify with some solution,” he said. “You have to find a way to give everyone a chance to talk to each other, but first of all the war should end, the weapons should be silenced, and then Russians and Ukrainians can talk to each other,” he said.

Parolin explained that so far the Vatican had been unable to talk to Biden. “We did, however, send him the pope’s message of peace, the appeal he made when he asked the Russians to stop the war, Zelenskyy to accept peace proposals, and the international community to facilitate the path, but we didn’t get any response,” said the Vatican’s top diplomat.

What’s next  Attention is now likely to focus on the Biden administration’s reaction to the proposal. Its response should show whether Macron’s proposal has any chance of succeeding or will join the long list of failed initiatives to end the devastating war.

What's Starting Seven? Here's what you're reading, and how to get must-read morning news in your inbox, each day.

🔍 Stories to watch

🇺🇸  U.S. bishops have urged Congress members to consider 15 policy recommendations to support women and families (full text).

🇨🇦  Canadian authorities have said that France rejected a request for the extradition of a priest accused of abusing Inuit children (French report).

🇩🇿  Vatican “foreign minister” Archbishop Paul Gallagher has visited Algeria after the government ordered the closure of the local branch of Caritas.

🇻🇦  A Vatican diplomat has said it is “essential that outer space remain non-militarized permanently.”

🇳🇱  The Archdiocese of Utrecht has canceled a symposium on Cardinal Wim Eijk’s new book on marriage and sexual ethics (Dutch report, statement).

🇵🇱  A Catholic university in Poland has founded a study center at a detention facility (Polish report).

🇪🇸  Bishops in southern Spain have said that a new “trans law” would impose “an anthropological conception contrary to natural law” (Spanish report, full text).

📅  Coming soon

Oct. 28 Cardinal Matteo Zuppi presides at Vespers during the “Populus Summorum Pontificum” pilgrimage to Rome.

Oct. 29  Vatican Cardinal Kurt Koch due to meet Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Porfirije; first anniversary of Joe Biden meeting Pope Francis; second anniversary of Nice basilica attack.

Nov. 1  All Saints.

Nov. 2 All Souls; Pope Francis celebrates Mass in memory of the cardinals and bishops deceased during the year.

Nov. 3  Pope Francis begins visit to Bahrain; French bishops’ plenary assembly starts in Lourdes.

Nov. 5  Beatification of Italian sister Maria Carola Cecchin in Kenya

Have a happy feast of St. Abraham the Poor.

-- Luke

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