My second news item today is one I am delighted to offer – a story today about a longtime friend, Abp. Michael Banach whom I first met a number of years ago when both of us were working for the Roman Curia – I for the Vatican Information Service and Michael for the Secretariat of State.

The third story is from Vatican Radio and concerns a matter of great interest to Americans in particular as they consider the hot button but also humane issue of migrants, especially in an election year.

And the final story is simply to bring a smile to your face! We really need these good news stories more often!

TODAY’S PAPAL TWEET: New forms of slavery such as human and organ trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution are true crimes against humanity.

Today is the International Day for Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.


Pope Francis sent two ‘thank you’ notes to the Church in Poland, addressing one letter to Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, president of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, and another to Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, the host diocese for the recent World Youth Day celebrations:

To “Venerable brother,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki, archbishop of Poznan,

Having returned from the Apostolic Journey to Poland, I want to renew the expression of my lively gratitude to you, Bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, for your warm welcome and for the zeal with which my visit was prepared. I am deeply moved by your strong faith and the unwavering hope that you have kept in spite of difficulties and tragedies, and by your fervent love, which animates your human and Christian pilgrimage.

The memory of the moving Eucharistic celebration at the Shrine of Czestochowa, for the 1050th anniversary of Poland’s Baptism, and the moment of prayer in the concentration camp at Auschwitz is especially dear to me. I find great joy in remembering the encounter with the young people who came from different nations.

I assure you of my prayers so that the Church in Poland may continue advancing on its path with perseverance and courage, showing the Lord’s merciful love to all. Please, also pray for me. I heartily bless you all.

With fraternal greetings, Francis

To His Eminence, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow

Having returned from my Pastoral Visit to Krakow, during which I had the occasion to express my grateful remembrance of my Venerable Predecessor Saint John Paul II, to live moments of deep communion with your Diocesan Community, and to experience the enthusiasm of faith of the immense crowd of young people from different continents, I wish to express to you, to the priests, the consecrated persons and the entire Diocesan Community my sincere gratitude for the warm welcome in your home, and for the great kindness you showed to me and my collaborators. The memory of the moving liturgical celebrations, characterized by profound participation and animated by lively Faith, are still very present in my heart.

I thank you, the staff of the archdiocesan office, all your collaborators, and those who have worked to ensure the smooth running of these unforgettable days of faith and prayer. I am grateful also for the deep affection for the Successor of Peter, expressed by various ecclesiastical and civil circles, as well as by individual believers: all of this is a sign of love for the Church, in the wake of the perpetual and reverential affection for Pope John Paul II.

While encouraging the Archdiocese of Krakow to perseveringly advance on its path, constantly bearing witness to God’s mercy, I pray, through the intercession of Mary, the Lord for an abundance of gifts and graces for you and all who are entrusted to your pastoral care, especially for the young, that they may grow in an increasingly solid commitment to the Gospel. With these sentiments, I also ask you to pray for me, and I again give to all my Apostolic Blessing.

Fraternally, Francis


(CNA/EWTN News) – On Monday Pope Francis appointed U.S. Archbishop Michael W. Banach as Apostolic Nuncio to Guinea-Bissau, marking the latest in a string of American nuncio appointments so far this year. The announcement that Archbishop Banach, previously nuncio to several other countries, will now be overseeing the Holy See’s relations with Guinea Bissau came in an Aug. 22 communique from the Vatican.

Designated Titular Archbishop of Memphis in 2013, Archbishop Banach was named nuncio to Senegal and apostolic delegate to Mauritania March 19, and as nuncio to Cape Verde July 9. He will continue to hold these positions in addition to his new appointment as nuncio to Guinea Bissau, all of which sit along the Northwest coast of Africa.


Born in Worcester, Mass. and ordained a priest for the diocese in July 1988, Archbishop Banach, 53, was originally made a Vatican ambassador in 2013 when he was named apostolic nuncio to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. His transfer to the four West African nations this year comes amid a string of other appointments by Pope Francis of U.S. Vatican diplomats to the African continent.

In February, the Pope appointed Msgr. Peter Bryan Wells, the highest ranking American in the Vatican Secretariat of State, as both archbishop and his new ambassador to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In July he was also appointed nuncio to Swaziland. Aside from the move of Wells and Banach, in March Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Paul Russell, at the time the head of the Vatican nunciature in Taiwan, as nuncio to Turkey and Turkmenistan – an important post given recent tensions between Turkey and the Holy See over Pope Francis’ use of the term “genocide” during a 2015 Mass commemorating the Armenian martyrs, as well as his recent visit to the country.

While there aren’t too many Vatican ambassadors from the U.S., most of them seem to be making their way to the world’s peripheries.


(Vatican Radio)  A report by UNICEF says thousands of children from Central America are trying to reach the United States, with Mexico being used as their final transit zone.

Mexican border residents march in protest on a road towards a detention center for migrants at the border between the U.S and Mexico – Reuters:


The UNICEF report says that in the first six months of this year almost 26,000 unaccompanied children were detained at or around the U.S. Border.

Mexican authorities confirm they apprehended more than 16,000 of these migrant children and youngsters. Thirty thousand families of undocumented migrants were also discovered in this region.

Most come from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, which are ravaged by extreme poverty and criminal gangs which recruit by force, and indoctrinate children as young as eight.

Those children who refuse to obey are often murdered. These three countries have some of the worst homicide rates in the world.

Non-governmental organizations estimate that as many as 20,000 Central American would be migrants annually vanish in Mexico on their way to their so called ‘El Dorado’.

They’re often abducted by drug cartels and criminal gangs. And then there’s the option of their families paying a ransom, them joining the cartel, or death. From USA Today


(USA Today) Youngsville, La. — The day before Carson Boutte’s 9th birthday Saturday, his mom asked what he wanted as a present. He said he wanted lunch — but not for himself.” He said, ‘Really, I know all the poor people whose houses flooded, … what I would really like to do is bring them lunch,’ said his mom, Lanie Boutte. “I suggested sandwiches and chips, and he added cookies. Later that night, the thought of making maybe 500 lunches herself was overwhelming, .“so my husband suggested pizza,” she said. “I said I would spend $100 since that’s what I was going to spend on Carson’s present. I decided to post it on Facebook in case any of my family wanted to chip in, too.”

And the rest is history – click here: http://usat.ly/2bguqtt


I received this item today in my email from an organization I follow closely and with great interest, THE BECKET FUND FOR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY:

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will file a lawsuit today in federal district court in Wichita Falls, Texas, on behalf of Franciscan Alliance, a religious hospital network sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, defending them from the new government regulation. The States of Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Wisconsin also joined the Becket Fund’s legal challenge. More information can be found at www.transgendermandate.org.


Government orders doctors to perform procedures it admits may harm children

Washington, D.C. – Doctors, hospitals and five states will file a lawsuit today against a new federal regulation that would force doctors to ignore science and their medical judgment and perform gender transition procedures on children. The government does not even require Medicare and Medicaid to cover these same gender transition procedures because the Health & Human Services’ (HHS) medical experts found the risks were often too high and benefits too unclear. But any doctor citing the same evidence and their judgment in an individual case would be in violation of the new mandate and face potential lawsuits or job loss.

“No doctor should be forced to perform a procedure that he or she believes will harm a child,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Decisions on a child’s medical treatment should be between families and their doctors, not dictated by politicians and government bureaucrats.”

A new  website provides leading research on this issue, including guidance the government itself relies on demonstrating that up to 94 percent of children with gender dysphoria (77 to 94 percent in one set of studies and 73 to 88 percent in another) will grow out of their dysphoria naturally and will not need surgery or lifelong hormone regimens. Studies also show that there are numerous negative effects when children undergo hormone regimens, such as increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

The government itself does not require coverage of gender transition procedures in Medicare or Medicaid — even in adults — because it has acknowledged that such procedures can be harmful. This rule would be the first time a law forces doctors to break their Hippocratic Oath and is also unique in placing mental health professionals as the final decision-makers on what medical care doctors must provide for their patients.

The new regulation applies to 900,000 doctors — virtually every doctor in the U.S., many of whom have chosen the medical profession because they are inspired by their faith to serve those in need and to heal others. They have taken an oath to put the needs of each patient first and do no harm. But this regulation violates doctors’ ability to exercise both their best medical judgment and their religiously-inspired desire to care for society’s most vulnerable. It will also cost healthcare providers and taxpayers nearly $1 billion.

“This regulation is blatantly hypocritical: The government exempts coverage of gender transition procedures from Medicare or Medicaid because it admits that they may be harmful; but it then tries to force private doctors to perform the same procedures on young children,” said Windham.

NOTE A: I received the Becket Fund email just moments after reading the article in this link: http://www.cnsnews.com/commentary/ryan-t-anderson/nearly-everything-media-tell-you-about-sexual-orientation-and-gender

The article is entitled, “Nearly Everything the Media Tell You About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Is Wrong”

It starts: A major new report, published today in the journal The New Atlantis, challenges the leading narratives that the media has pushed regarding sexual orientation and gender identity.

Co-authored by two of the nation’s leading scholars on mental health and sexuality, the 143-page report discusses over 200 peer-reviewed studies in the biological, psychological, and social sciences, painstakingly documenting what scientific research shows and does not show about sexuality and gender.

The major takeaway, as the editor of the journal explains, is that “some of the most frequently heard claims about sexuality and gender are not supported by scientific evidence.”

NOTE B: cnsnews.com is not to be confused with Catholic News Service, the news arm of the USCCB, but rather is a politically conservative American news and commentary website founded by L. Brent Bozell III and owned by Media Research Center, Bozell’s Reston, Virginia-based organization (formerly known as Cybercast News Service).