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Left: Francis channels his predecessors; Fact check political advertising; Supply chain problems

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A good friend asked if Pope Francis was not addressing the US bishops in his general audience yesterday. Possibly. What I found remarkable, however, was the extent to which Francis met his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. and channeled the other “Communio” theologians like Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar. In any case, it is a beautiful text and I would like to invite those who do not like Francis very much to read it with an open mind and those who claim to be driving a political agenda to read it and see how he challenges them could.

In the Washington Post, fact-checker Glenn Kessler is investigating an ad by GOP Virginia GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin in which a mother talks about how upset her son was when he read Toni Morrison’s novel Lover. Her son might as well. I hope he would get angry reading books on slavery, like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or any account of the Holocaust. Responding to a crime with disgust is an appropriate response. Kessler reveals that the ad lacks significant context – for example, the reading assignment was in an advanced course and the child was a senior – and it reveals one of the curiosities of contemporary politics: it is now conservatives who pose as slightly injured snowflakes, as victims , just like liberals.

At Politico, Nahal Toosi looks at the worsening human rights situation in Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega, still leader of the Sandanistas, and his wife and Vice-President Rosario Murillo are imprisoning all opposition politicians before the next elections. The couple have ruled the country with an increasingly iron fist for the last 14 years. Corruption, not communism, is the threat.

In the New York Times, John Pomfret outlines the building of a strong relationship between the CIA and the Polish secret services and how the US then broke the promise it made to the Poles not to engage in activities, such as torture, that violate Polish law secret detention centers it has set up in this country. In Poland, the moral imperative of the prohibition of torture is as it has always been portrayed by the late Senator John McCain: it is categorical and comprehensive. The Poles have been victims of torture too often not to be recognized as essentially and consistently dehumanizing. Once again great coverage from Pomfret.

Supply chain problems are emerging from NBC 4 in Connecticut, in a devastating way. A Connecticut landmark Rein’s Deli has been unable to get the kosher pastrami and corned beef that it puts in its Reubens and Rachel’s. Rein’s is a little taste of New York City without the hassle of driving into town, but what do you order if you don’t get a Reuben? Seriously, I wonder what impact this supply chain problem is having on the bottom line, which, when enlarged to include thousands of other companies, explains a large part of President Joe Biden’s backlog in the polls.

I just love this story. QSR reports on the A&W fast food restaurant’s decision to restart one of the most classic marketing mistakes in history, the one-third-pound burger. The problem with the original marketing plan? A third appeared smaller to most American consumers, no larger than a quarter. Three is less than four, after all. The chain’s revamped campaign? A 3/9 burger.

The Associated Press reports on the completion of a restoration project on Bernini’s magnificent “St. Theresa in Ecstasy” statue in Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. The sculpture and the chapel in which it is housed were thoroughly cleaned after years of soot and smoke development. It was spectacular before the restoration so I can’t wait to see it in person. The AP story doesn’t mention it, but Santa Maria della Vittoria is the titular church of Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston.

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