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Tag: catholic church

Why The Supreme Court's Catholic Conservatives Should Be Denied Communion, Too

This week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just flouted an order of the Catholic Church by receiving communion from a priest in Vatican City. Last month, the archbishop of the San Francisco Archdiocese put Pelosi on the “do not serve” list when he informed her that “should [she] not publicly repudiate [her] advocacy for abortion ‘rights’” he would declare that she cannot partake in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Since then, other bishops have voiced their support for that decision. "The church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave evil, and that public advocacy for — and support of — abortion is, objectively speaking, such a manifest grave sin," Portland, Oregon Archbishop Alexander Sample posted on Facebook.

It’s not a new issue. A South Carolina parish priest denied then-candidate Joseph Biden the Eucharist in 2019 because of his pro-choice position during his presidential campaign. Last year, a conference of Bishops deliberated making it official church policy to keep him from Communion. They ultimately didn’t enact the ban.

Even to debate whether President Biden, Speaker Pelosi or any other pro-choice person should receive communion in the Catholic Church while doing nothing to hold Catholic jurists and lawyers accountable for violating other church teachings is enough for me to consider leaving the faith. To wit, no churches have announced that they would withhold the sacrament from Supreme Court Justices who have approved the death penalty, as recently as last week.

When I was incarcerated from 2007 to 2014, I rediscovered my Catholic faith and started attending the weekly masses held on Saturday mornings in the chairs assembled in the prison school hallway. It’s not that I am so pious or good; someone sentenced to years in prison can’t survive without belief in things unseen.

Of course I leaned on the fact that faith supports my redemption — the Bible codifies my visiting rights. But the entire time I was there, the same Church that sustained me would have allowed — indeed, even supported — the state’s taking of the lives of two women who lived in my housing unit. Former nurse Chasity West barely escaped a death sentence for a capital murder conviction and Irish authorities refused to extradite former attorney Beth Ann Carpenter unless the State of Connecticut promised not to pursue such a penalty.

Now they’re both serving life without parole, also known as LWOP, which Pope Francis has condemned.

It was only after I had been home for almost 4 years that the Vatican announced a revision to the official Catechism of the Catholic Church in August 2018. The death penalty, it said, was “an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person” and “inadmissible” in all cases.
Yet, approximately one year after the change in the Catechism, then-Attorney General William P. Barr — and former board member at the Catholic Information Center, an Opus Dei-affiliated bookstore and chapel — resurrected the federal death penalty and oversaw the Justice Department that put 13 people to death. One of them was the first woman to be killed by the federal government, altogether more than had been executed in the previous 56 years combined.

Yet no priest or archbishop called for yanking the wafer from his mouth.

Nor has anyone removed Justices Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh or Clarence Thomas from the communion lines at their Beltway churches.

Since the Catholic Church changed its position in 2018, the Supreme Court has involved itself in a total of 44 capital punishment cases (24 in the 2018-19 term, 14 in the 2019-20 term, 0 in the 2020-21 term, 6 in the 2021-22 term) over four separate court terms. Of those 44, only two decisions ended up protecting the life of the prisoner: the 2019 decision in Flowers v. Mississippi and the 2020 opinion in Sharp v. Murphy. Notably, Catholic justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch dissented in the Flowers case and Justices Alito and Thomas dissented in the Sharp decision.

Many Supreme Court decisions turn on very specific legal questions, and deciding those issues often seems to have nothing to do with the punishment at the end of the case. That’s what happened with the case of Nance v. Ward, decided last week. It was actually the more conservative justices who dissented in approving execution by firing squad. At issue was the legal proceeding that a condemned man could use to challenge his method of execution. But it bears mentioning that in their dissents, the Catholic justices approved of a method of execution — lethal injection — that would likely amount to cruel and unusual punishment for Nance, who has compromised veins.

I can’t say whether writing a judicial opinion is different from active advocacy, which is what the bishops complain of in their communion bans. The actions of Catholic Supreme Court justices may not count as advocacy, but they do amount to complicity. Gorsuch recused himself from a capital case before the country’s highest court, not on the basis of the subject matter; but because he had been involved in the lower courts’ decisions. For the most part, the justices engaged with these cases. They touched them. Their fingerprints remain on the death warrants.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote article about this very issue in the Marquette Law Review in 2008, arguing that if a judge’s moral conviction would have prevented her from imposing the death penalty, then she needs to recuse herself from a case involving capital punishment. Coney Barrett noted the difference between being the judge who imposed the sentence and an appellate judge who is once removed from the penalty, but she didn’t follow her own advice. She failed to recuse herself in the case of Orlando Hall, a man convicted of the rape and murder of the sister of rival drug dealers, but instead noted a dissent to allowing Hall’s execution to proceed.

Conspicuously, though, Coney Barrett didn’t dissent in dismissing a stay order based on the fact that Hall, who is Black, was convicted by an all-white jury. And, just last month, she joined the majority opinion in Shinn v. Ramirez in deciding that potentially innocent men sentenced to die shouldn’t have a chance to prove that their post-conviction attorneys didn’t provide them with adequate representation. The Court’s decision in Shinn v. Ramirez is the least Christian attitude anyone can take toward someone who’s challenging a criminal conviction.

The prohibition on abortion is about 120 years older than the Catechism rule so perhaps it’s an issue of marination in the idea for bishops and judges. But the difference in attitudes toward abortion and death penalty is obvious: one life isn’t culpable, at least not yet. That’s why, before 2018, church leaders operated in “virtually unanimous agreement” that “civil authority, as guardian of the public good, has been given by God the right to inflict punishments on evildoers, including the punishment of death.”

I was baptized as an infant so I never chose the Church. The reason why I came back and stayed is that the Catholic Church is the temple of do-overs. God doesn’t want sacrifice; he wants mercy. And the church’s disparate treatment of reproductive rights supporters and death penalty proponents doesn’t square with that core value.

A healthcare provider can reevaluate their actions and behave differently; they often get a second chance to bring a child to term. Those who carry out death sentences have no such opportunity, unless they prevent the next execution — and not one Catholic with the power to do so was brave or responsible enough to take that stand.

Pelosi and other lawmakers have supported the now-overturned Roe v. Wade precedent out of a moral conviction that women deserve to be protected. It’s a position my God would allow and permit her to participate in the sacrament.

I understand that rules are rules. If public support for abortion services disqualifies someone from receiving communion, then I need to step out of line myself and join the lawmakers sidelined by bishops.

But if rules are rules, then Catholic bishops should impose similar bans on Justices Alito, Coney Barrett, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Thomas. That would be equal treatment under church law.

Chandra Bozelko did time in a maximum-security facility in Connecticut. While inside she became the first incarcerated person with a regular byline in a publication outside of the facility. Her “Prison Diaries" column ran in The New Haven Independent, and she later established a blog under the same name that earned several professional awards. Her columns now appear regularly in The National Memo.

Catholic Parishes Cancel Easter Masses Despite Trump Push For “Packed Churches”

Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that he hopes to see churches “packed” for Easter in a few weeks, even as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country. Despite this, several Catholic archdioceses are canceling their public Holy Week and Easter Masses, and many congregations are moving them to the internet.

As he urged the country to reopen businesses and schools by April 12 — flouting public health recommendations — Trump told Fox News on Tuesday that he chose the date based on his “very special” relationship with the holiday.

“Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?” Trump said. “You’ll have packed churches all over our country … I think it’ll be a beautiful time.”

Despite Trump’s call, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Wednesday that it would hold no public Masses for Holy Week or Easter Sunday.

“The Coronavirus (COVID 19) challenges us to celebrate the Mysteries of Christ for the glory of the Father and our sanctification with reasonable limitations and in cooperation with directives from government and health officials to stem the spread of the virus,” it explained.

In a seven-page directive, the archdiocese’s Office for Divine Worship stated, “All possible electronic and spiritual resources are to be made available to the faithful to enter into these days which celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption,” including livestreaming.

In an email, a spokesperson for the archdiocese noted that the governor had issued Pennsylvania’s public gathering limits.

“In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we are under stay-at-home orders, and large public gatherings are not permitted by directive of the governor,” he wrote. “The Archdiocese of Philadelphia continues to do everything possible to provide for the pastoral needs of the faithful in the five-county area while at the same time respecting and abiding by directives from government agencies and officials that are in place to provide for the health and welfare of the community-at-large.”

The New York Archdiocese has already canceled public Easter masses. So have the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticutthe Diocese of Grand Rapids, Michiganthe Diocese of Camden, New Jerseythe Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon; and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said they “would also love to see its Churches packed for Easter. However, in our current situation, Wisconsin’s Governor [Tony Evers] has issued a ‘Safer at Home’ Executive Order through April 24. We continue to see our archdiocese and community impacted by the CoVID-19/Coronavirus. Our intention is to use sound judgement and common sense in making decisions for the pastoral care of our people without taking unnecessary risk, including for the many priests, and lay men and women who minister within the archdiocese.”

According to the Washington Examiner, it’s not just those archdioceses closing for Easter.

“Catholic and Episcopal dioceses in every state have canceled,” the paper reported Wednesday. “Many megachurches, as well as smaller congregations, have made similar decisions, advising their members to participate in worship through live-streamed services.”

In a March 17 letter published on the website of the Episcopal Church, presiding Bishop Michael Curry urged suspension of all “in-person gatherings for public worship, in most contexts, during the sacred time of Holy Week and Easter Day,” writing, “Because this is a global health crisis, the principles in this letter apply throughout The Episcopal Church, including beyond the United States.”

With a recent poll showing about half of Americans unwilling to attend church due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and with state restrictions on public gatherings still in effect, Trump’s vision of packed Easter services seems increasingly unlikely to come true.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Danziger: Render Unto China

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

Danziger: That’s A Lot Of Hail Marys

Jeff Danziger’s award-winning drawings are published by more than 600 newspapers and websites. He has been a cartoonist for theRutland Herald, the New York Daily Newsand the Christian Science Monitor; his work has appeared in newspapers from theWall Street Journal to Le Monde and Izvestia. Represented by the Washington Post Writers Group, he is a recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army as a linguist and intelligence officer in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. Danziger has published ten books of cartoons and a novel about the Vietnam War. He was born in New York City, and now lives in Manhattan and Vermont. A video of the artist at work can be viewed here.

Why More States Should (Finally) Ban the Death Penalty

Most of the civilized world has come to regard killing someone held in captivity as barbaric. The death penalty has been abolished in the European Union and 19 U.S. states. Governors in four states that do permit capital punishment — Colorado, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington — have imposed a moratorium on executions.

The rest of America is getting there. For the first time in almost 50 years, less than half the public supports the death penalty, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Even states that still put inmates to death seem to be losing the stomach for it. The United States is set to carry out fewer executions this year than it has since the early ’90s.

This November, voters in two very different places, Nebraska and California, will have an opportunity to remove state-sanctioned killing from their books. (Going the other way, a referendum in Oklahoma calls for amending the state constitution to protect the use of the death penalty.)

The most heated battle over the death penalty has taken place in Nebraska. It’s also the most significant one, for it shows how conflicted even conservative Americans have become over the practice. In fact, Nebraska hasn’t performed an execution in nearly 20 years. Conservatives in red states such as Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, Wyoming and South Dakota, meanwhile, have sponsored bills to end the death penalty.

In Nebraska, lawmakers from both parties voted last year to eliminate the death penalty and replace it with mandatory life in prison for first-degree murder. Nebraska’s pro-capital punishment governor, Pete Ricketts, vetoed the bill. The legislature overturned the veto.

Ricketts then pushed a successful petition drive to put the matter on the ballot. Nebraskans will vote on whether to accept the legislature’s decision to strike the death penalty and instead require life without parole.

The outcome is hard to predict. “In certain issues, particularly with a populist strain, Nebraska is not nearly as doctrinaire conservative as people might think,” Paul Landow, professor of political science at the University of Nebraska Omaha, told me.

Ernie Chambers, a progressive from Omaha and the longest-serving state senator in Nebraska history, has introduced a measure to repeal the death penalty 37 times. “That kind of persistence has left an indelible mark on the issue,” Landow noted.

In California, a ballot measure to end the death penalty failed four years ago. This time, there are two referendums that seem at odds with each other. One would abolish the death penalty. The other would speed up the appeals process and thus hasten executions.

The case against the death penalty is well-known by now. Capital punishment exposes a state to the moral horror of killing an innocent person. Over the past 40 years, some 156 people on death row have been exonerated, many with the help of DNA evidence.

Citing church doctrine on the sanctity of life, the Nebraska Catholic Conference is urging voters to retain the repeal of the death penalty. One who opposes abortion on “pro-life” grounds, its argument goes, must also oppose the death penalty.

There’s little evidence that the death penalty deters murder. That leaves the questionable value of retribution — that erasing the monster who committed a heinous crime will bring comfort to the victims’ loved ones.

More and more survivors are countering this line of reasoning. Despite having suffered immeasurably, they hold that executing the criminal would just add to the toll. The state would somehow be justifying the crime of murder by committing it.

The movement away from capital punishment is clearly gathering force. This is one good direction in which our history is moving.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

FILE PHOTO: Protesters calling for an end to the death penalty unfurl a banner before police arrest them outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington January 17, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

Three Years On, Pope Leaves Catholic Conservatives Feeling Marginalized

By Philip Pullella and Tom Heneghan

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Three years after the election of Pope Francis, Roman Catholic conservatives are growing increasingly worried that he is quietly unraveling the legacy of his predecessors.

Francis’ popularity with most Catholics, and legions of non-Catholics, has given him the image of a grandfatherly parish priest who understands how difficult it sometimes is to follow Church teachings, particularly those on sexual morality.

Conservatives worry that behind the gentle facade lies a dangerous reformer who is diluting Catholic teaching on moral issues like homosexuality and divorce while focusing on social problems such as climate change and economic inequality.

Interviews with four Vatican officials, including two cardinals and an archbishop, as well as theologians and commentators, highlighted conservative fears that Francis’ words and deeds may eventually rupture the 1.2 billion member Church.

Chatter on conservative blogs regularly accuses the Argentine pontiff of spreading doctrinal confusion and isolating those who see themselves as guardians of the faith.

“Going to bed. Wake me up when this pontificate is over,” Damien Thompson, associate editor of the British weekly The Spectator and a conservative Catholic commentator tweeted last month. Thompson was among conservatives stung by a freewheeling news conference Francis gave on a flight home from Mexico.

In it, he stirred up the U.S. presidential debate by criticizing Republican candidate Donald Trump’s immigration stance and made comments that were interpreted as an opening to use contraceptives to stop the spread of the Zika virus.

They were the latest in a line of unscripted utterances that have left many conservatives feeling nostalgic for the days of Francis’s two predecessors, Benedict and John Paul, who regularly thundered against contraception, homosexuality and abortion.

“Every time this happens I wonder if he realizes how much confusion he is causing,” said a conservative Rome-based cardinal who took part in the conclave that elected Francis three years ago and spoke on the condition of anonymity. He would not say if he voted for Francis because participants in conclaves are sworn to secrecy.

THE POPE AND THE PEWS

Another senior official, an archbishop in an important Vatican ministry, said: “These comments alarm not only tradition-minded priests but even liberal priests who have complained to me that people are challenging them on issues that are very straight-forward, saying ‘the pope would let me do this’ why don’t you?'”

Francis first shocked conservatives just months after his election on March 13, 2013, when he said “Who am I to judge?” about Catholic homosexuals who were at least trying to live by Church rules that they should be chaste.

He caused further upset when he changed Church rules to allow women to take part in a male-only Lenten service, ruled out any campaigns to convert Jews and approved a “common prayer” with Lutherans for joint commemorations for next year’s 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

An important crossroads in the conservative-progressive showdown is looming and might come as early as mid-March. It could reveal how far this politically astute pontiff wants to transform his Church.

Francis is due to issue a document called an Apostolic Exhortation after two years of debate and two major meetings of bishops to discuss the family – the Vatican’s way of referring to its policies concerning sex.

The exercise, which began with an unprecedented poll of Catholics around the world, boiled down in the end to one hot-button issue – whether divorced Catholics who remarry outside the Church can receive communion at the central rite of Mass.

Conservatives say any change would undermine the principle of the indissolubility of marriage that Jesus established.

At the end of the synod last year, Francis excoriated immovable Church leaders who he said “bury their heads in the sand” and hide behind rigid doctrine while families suffer.

The gathering’s final document spoke of a so-called “internal forum” in which a priest or a bishop may work with a Catholic who has divorced and remarried to decide privately and on a case-by-case basis if he or she can be fully re-integrated.

That crack in the doctrinal door annoyed many conservatives, who fear Francis’ upcoming document may open the flood gates.

WHOSE CHURCH IS IT ANYWAY?

It is difficult to quantify Catholic conservatives. Liberals say they are a minority and reject conservative assertions that they are the real “base” of the Church.

“The overwhelming majority of Catholics understand what the pope wants to do, and that is to reach out to everyone,” said another cardinal close to Francis.

Regardless of what their actual numbers might be, conservatives have big megaphones in social media.

“It really has gotten more shrill and intense since Francis took over because he seems to get only positive feedback from the mainstream media. Therefore in the strange logic of (conservative) groups, he is someone who is immediately suspect if only for that,” said the Catholic blogger Arthur Rosman.

One of the leading conservative standard bearers, Ross Douthat, the Catholic author and New York Times op-ed columnist, has expressed deep worry about the long-term repercussions of the issue of communion for the divorced and remarried.

“It may be that this conflict has only just begun,” Douthat said in a lecture to American conservatives in January. “And it may be that as with previous conflicts in Church history, it will eventually be serious enough to end in real schism, a permanent parting of the ways.”

PREVIOUS RUPTURE

The last internal rupture in the Church was in 1988 when French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated bishops without Vatican approval in order to guarantee succession in his ultra-traditionalist group, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

The SSPX rejects the modernizing reforms of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council, including the historic opening to dialogue with other religions. While it remains a small group, its dissent continues to undermine papal authority.

The conservative standard bearer in Rome is Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, a 67-year-old American who in 2014 told an interviewer that the Church under Francis was like “a ship without a rudder”.

Francis was not pleased. That same year, he removed Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court and demoted him to the largely ceremonial post of chaplain of a charity group.

Conservatives are also worried about Francis’ drive to devolve decision-making power on several issues from the Vatican to regional, national or diocesan levels, what the pope has called “a healthy decentralization”.

This is an anathema to conservatives, who say rules should be applied identically around the world. They warn that a devolution of power would leave the Vatican vulnerable to the splits seen in the Anglican and Orthodox Churches.

“If you look at these two big Churches, they are not in very good shape,” said Massimo Faggioli, a Church historian and associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. “That’s why conservatives are nervous. They think Francis does not understand the danger.”

(Religion editor Tom Heneghan reported from Paris; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Janet McBride)

Photo: Cardinals arrive in a procession as Pope Francis leads the Palm Sunday mass at Saint Peter’s Square at the Vatican in this April 13, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/Files

Vatican To Trump: It’s Not ‘Personal,’ It’s Religion

By Emily Flitter

MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (Reuters) – The Vatican on Friday tried to tamp down a firestorm ignited by Pope Francis’ comments assailing Donald Trump’s views on U.S. immigration as “not Christian”, assuring the Republican presidential front-runner that it was not a personal attack or attempt to influence the U.S. campaign.

Francis told reporters during a conversation on his flight home from Mexico on Thursday, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Trump has said if elected president, he would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border to keep immigrants from illegally entering the United States.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio the pope’s comments, in response to a reporter’s question on Trump, were an affirmation of his longstanding belief that migrants should be helped and not shut out. He said the pope believed people “should build bridges, not walls”.

“In no way was this a personal attack, nor an indication of how to vote,” Lombardi said.

Trump, who leads Republican candidates in opinion polls, lashed out on Thursday, dismissing the pope’s remarks as “disgraceful” for questioning his faith.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS (Islamic State), which as everyone knows is ISIS’ ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president,” Trump said.

Later, during a television appearance, he rowed back, calling Francis “a wonderful guy.”

EXCHANGE MAKES HEADLINES

The extraordinary exchange between the billionaire real estate developer and leader of the world’s 1.25 billion Roman Catholics, which occurred days before Saturday’s Republican nominating contest in South Carolina, was headline news around the world.

On Friday, New York’s Daily News gave it the front page. Against a backdrop of an image of Trump, a headline blared: Anti Christ! The New York Post ran a front page photo of Trump and the pope wearing boxing gloves with the headline: Trump & pope: Bible belters.

It was unclear what, if any, effect the tussle might have on the vote in South Carolina, a conservative state that is home to many evangelical Protestant Christians.

Patrick Hornbeck, chairman of the department of theology at Fordham University in New York, said on Thursday that Francis’ words were not surprising given the poverty he had just seen in Mexico.

“There is very little common ground between Pope Francis and Donald Trump,” Hornbeck said. He predicted the pope’s words on electoral politics would have little effect on any U.S. Catholics who liked Trump as a candidate.

At a CNN town hall in Columbia, South Carolina, on Thursday night, Trump said he had “a lot of respect” for Francis but that the pope had been influenced by hearing only Mexico’s side of the border issue. The pope’s statement also had been exaggerated by the media, he said.

“I think he said something much softer than it was originally reported by the media,” Trump said.

Earlier on Thursday, Thomas Groome, director of the Boston College Center on the Church in the 21st Century, said Francis’ comments were entirely in keeping with his focus on mercy.

“The pope is commissioned to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s his job,” Groome said. “So when he was asked a direct question, he gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, he said we have to be sure he said this, but if he said this, it is not Christian.”

(Reporting by Emily Flitter; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

Photo: Pope Francis waves at faithful during a meeting with people at the School for College Graduates of Chihuahua, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 17, 2016. Picture taken on February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano Handout via Reuters

Late Night Roundup: The Donald Vs. The Pontiff

Stephen Colbert took on the bizarre campaign development of a political feud between Donald Trump and Pope Francis. “It’s like Jesus said: Blessed are the poor — unless they said something bad about me, then screw ’em.”

“Now I want to try to broker a peace between these two men,” Colbert added. “Mr. Trump, Mr. Pope — I believe that’s his formal name — is it possible that you guys are fighting because you have so much in common? After all, both think you’re infallible; and you both sit on golden thrones; and you both wear very silly things on your heads.”

Stephen also sat down with a very special guest: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, who talked about his new venture into incisive coverage of the presidential campaign.

James Corden said of the Trump-Pope feud: “I know what you’re thinking: There go the Pope’s chances of being on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice.”

Seth Meyers examined the dispute between Apple and the FBI, which is invoking a law from 1789 to try to pressure Apple into developing software to break into the iPhone of the San Bernardino terrorists: “That’s right, the FBI is using a 1789 law to get into an iPhone — 1789, a time when people only used BlackBerries.”