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Starting Seven: November 18, 2022

Welcome to Starting Seven, The Pillar’s 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. Rose Philippine Duchesne.

📜 Today’s readings:  Rv 10:8-11  ▪  Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131  ▪  Lk 19:45-48.


🗞  Starting seven

1:  German bishops and Pope Francis discussed “aspects of the synodal way of the Church in Germany, and the worldwide Synodal Process” at the Vatican on Thursday, ahead of today’s meeting with the pope and dicastery heads (German press release, report).

2:  A probe by Maryland’s attorney general has concluded that 158 Baltimore archdiocese priests were accused of abusing more than 600 people in the past 80 years (attorney general’s press release, Catholic Review report, Archbishop Lori letter).

3:  A bishop has said he would “seriously consider” closing Catholic schools if Australia’s Northern Territory Government passes a law preventing the reservation of key posts for practicing Catholics.

4:  Pope Francis has confirmed in a new interview that the Vatican is “willing to do everything possible to mediate” an end to the Ukraine war (Italian full text).

5: Michael R. Heinlein, Shannon Mullen and Katie Yoder, the National Catholic Reporter, and Michael Sean Winters reflect on the U.S. bishops’ fall plenary assembly (elections roundup).

6:  Fr. James Martin discusses last Friday’s private audience with Pope Francis.

7:  And a Protestant YouTube host has announced he is becoming a Catholic.


🇻🇦 Today’s Bollettino


🧐  Look closer

A reckoning begins  Italy’s bishops released their long-awaited first national safeguarding report on Thursday. The 41-page document outlined how the country’s 226 Catholic dioceses helped abuse victims in 2020-2021. The text recorded 68 alleged offenders, including 30 clerics and 15 religious, and 89 presumed victims in the time period.

Italian bishops hailed the report as an “immediate and concrete” response to Pope Francis’ request for an annual report on safeguarding efforts worldwide. But media coverage of their initiative was decidedly negative.

‘Shamefully inadequate’  AP’s Nicole Winfield noted that significant information not contained in the report emerged at the document’s launch. Archbishop Giuseppe Baturi, secretary general of the Italian bishops’ conference, told reporters that the conference was examining 613 files stored at the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith since the year 2000.

  • “The almost haphazard revelation underscored that the initial report by the bishops’ conference was not intended to provide an accurate or historic look at the clergy abuse problem in Italy,” Winfield observed. “The country’s bishops never authorized such research despite demands from survivors for a full accounting, which some other Catholic Churches in Europe have published.”

Francesco Zanardi, the founder of victims’ association Rete L’Abuso, said the report was “shamefully inadequate.”

  • “Sixty-eight abusers in just two years indicates that there is a problem, but the timeframe of the report is a joke and excludes a bunch of figures – there is no data from magistrates or Rete L’Abuso. They only referred to the [Church’s] ‘listening centers,’” he commented.

Italian journalist Maria Antonietta Calabrò asked why bishops’ conference president Cardinal Matteo Zuppi did not attend the press conference unveiling the document. “Zuppi’s presence would have given greater impact to the report’s findings,” she wrote, noting that the cardinal was behind the initiative and recently signed an agreement with the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors to boost safeguarding efforts abroad.

What’s next  Today, the Italian Church is observing a National Day of Prayer for Victims and Survivors of Abuse, coinciding with the European Day on the Protection of Minors against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

Italy’s bishops will continue to face pressure to commission a thorough, independent inquiry into abuse within the Church over decades, following the lead of countries such as France and Spain.


🤔 Friday quiz

Can you put these religious orders in the order they were founded, with the oldest first and the newest last?

1. The Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
2. The Order of St. Clare (Poor Clares).
3. The Order of Preachers (Dominicans).
4. The Order of St. Bruno (Carthusians).
5. The Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines).


🔍 Stories to watch

🇺🇸  The Vatican will consider a plan to elevate the Diocese of Las Vegas to a metropolitan see.

🇲🇽  Mexico archdiocese has published the first photograph of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

🇳🇬  Armed men have reportedly stormed a Catholic church in the Nigerian city of Ihiala.

🇪🇷  Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim has been detained for more than a month in Eritrea (Italian report).

🇵🇱  Poland’s bishops have defended St. John Paul II’s record on clerical abuse amid what they called a “communications media assault.”

🇮🇹  Cardinal Pietro Parolin has celebrated a Mass for peace in Ukraine at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary Major.

🇲🇲  An archbishop has urged Catholics in Myanmar to avoid “high-profile celebrations” at Christmas.


📅  Coming soon

Nov. 19  Pope Francis begins a two-day visit to Asti, Italy; Diocesan phase of Cardinal Gilberto Agustoni’s beatification cause opens.

Nov. 20  Feast of Christ the King; World Youth Day 2022 (in dioceses); Beatification of Fr. Giuseppe Ambrosoli in Gulu, Uganda; Cameroon’s Archdiocese of Bamenda launches Year of the Eucharist; FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar.

Nov. 21  Belgium’s bishops start ad limina visit.

Nov. 22  St. Peter’s Basilica hosts discussion on Petrine primacy.

Nov. 23  Msgr. Alberto Perlasca faces three days of questioning in Vatican finance trial.

Nov. 27  First Sunday of Advent.

Nov. 28  Oceania’s bishops hold online conference in preparation for their 2023 general assembly.

Nov. 30  Feast of St. Andrew.


Friday quiz answers: 5, 4, 2, 3, 1: Benedictines (founded 529 AD), Carthusians (1084), Poor Clares (1212), Dominicans (1216), Jesuits (1540).


Have a happy feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne.

-- Luke


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