U.S. Senate confirms Callista Gingrich as ambassador to Holy See
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Callista Gingrich as the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Voting late Oct. 16, senators approved her nomination 70-23. More than 20 Democrats joined Republicans in supporting Gingrich, the wife of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a vocal ally of President Donald Trump. Gingrich, 51, a lifelong Catholic and a former congressional aide, has been president of Gingrich Productions, a multimedia production and consulting company in Arlington, Va., since 2007. She was expected to present her credentials at the Vatican in the coming weeks.
Catholic group will accept Scouts' decision to allow girls to join
IRVING, Texas — The leaders of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which has its headquarters in the Dallas suburb of Irving, said they "accept and work with the new membership policy of the Boy Scouts of America" to admit girls. "We were informed this morning" of the policy change, said an Oct. 11 statement by George Sparks, the national chairman of the group, and the committee's national chaplain, Father Kevin Smith, a priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y. "Once we have had more time to review the policy and a chance to consult our national membership, we will be able to comment further about how this new policy will reflect changes in the makeup of Catholic-chartered units," they stated.
Federal judge in Hawaii blocks expanded travel ban
HONOLULU — A federal judge in Hawaii Oct. 17 blocked the Trump administration's expanded version of its travel prohibitions issued in late September. In a 40-page ruling issued hours before the new travel ban was to take effect, U.S. District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson granted the state of Hawaii's request for a temporary restraining order and blocking Trump's order nationwide. The new ban now includes travel prohibitions for some Venezuelan government officials and their immediate family, as well as nationals from North Korea, the Central African country of Chad, Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen and Somalia. The new restrictions were to take effect Oct. 18. In his decision, Watson said the latest ban "suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor: it lacks sufficient findings that the entry of more than 150 million nationals from six specified countries would be 'detrimental to the interests of the United States.'"
Pope Francis names Peru native as auxiliary bishop in Miami Archdiocese
WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has appointed Father Enrique Delgado, a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami, to be an auxiliary bishop in the archdiocese. The appointment was announced in Washington Oct. 12 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, papal nuncio to the United States. Born in Lima, Peru, Bishop-designate Delgado, 61, is pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Weston, Fla. He was ordained a priest for the archdiocese in 1996 in his home country. He worked in private business managing a company before immigrating to the United States. Bishop-designate Delgado began studying for the priesthood in 1991. He served in parish ministry in the archdiocese for virtually all his priesthood. He will be the first U.S. bishop born in Peru.
Pope on interviews: Church must listen, respond to people's questions
VATICAN CITY — Replying to questions and giving interviews are a "pastoral risk" Pope Francis said he is prepared to take, because it is the best way to know and respond to people's real concerns. "I know this can make me vulnerable, but it is a risk I want to take," the pope wrote in the introduction to a new book collecting transcripts of question-and-answer sessions he has held all over the world. The collection in Italian, "Adesso Fate le Vostre Domande" ("Now, Ask Your Questions"), was edited by Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro and scheduled for release Oct. 19. The pope's introduction was published Oct. 17 in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. "I want a Church that knows how to enter into people's conversations, that knows how to dialogue," Pope Francis wrote.
Pope announces Synod of Bishops dedicated to people in Amazon
VATICAN CITY — Addressing the challenges of evangelization in one of the world's most remote areas and the connection between faith and environmental concern, Pope Francis announced a special gathering of the Synod of Bishops to focus on the Amazon region. "Accepting the wish of several episcopal conferences of Latin America as well as the voice of pastors and faithful from other parts of the world, I have decided to convene a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region, which will take place in Rome in October 2019," Pope Francis announced Oct. 15. Speaking at the end of a Mass in St. Peter's Square, the pope said the synod would identify new paths of evangelization, especially for indigenous people.
Pope: End war, arms trade in order to fight hunger
VATICAN CITY — It makes no sense to lament the problems of hunger and forced migration if one is unwilling to address their root causes, which are conflict and climate change, Pope Francis said. "War and climate change lead to hunger; therefore, let's avoid presenting it as if it were an incurable disease," and instead implement laws, economic policies, lifestyle changes and attitudes that prevent the problems in the first place, he told world leaders at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization. Pope Francis received a standing ovation after he addressed the assembly at FAO's Rome headquarters to mark World Food Day Oct. 16, the date the organization was founded in 1945 to address the causes of poverty and hunger. The FAO was holding a conference on the theme "Changing the future of migration." Food insecurity is linked to forced migration, the pope said, and the two will be addressed only "if we go to the root of the problem" — conflict and climate change, he said.
—Catholic News Service