Aug 20, 2018

Pope Francis' historic letter

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Pope Francis released a first-of-its-kind letter today mourning the Catholic Church's "atrocities" and failures to protect children from abusive clergy.

Why it matters: The Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal is global, with victims and coverups from Australia to Chile, Ireland and the United States.

Details from Reuters' Philip Pullela:

  • "[T]he pope appeared to be launching an appeal for all Catholics to face the crisis together and not let it tear the Church apart."
  • "In his letter, the pope referred to the suffering endured by minors due to sexual abuse at the hands of a 'significant number of clerics and consecrated persons.'”
  • "The Vatican said it was the first time a pope had written to all of the world’s some 1.2 billion Catholics about sexual abuse. Past letters on sexual abuse scandals have been addressed to bishops and faithful of individual countries."
  • In Francis' own words: “We have realized that these wounds never disappear and that they require us forcefully to condemn these atrocities and join forces in uprooting this culture of death."

What they're saying:

  • “More actions, less words,” said Anne Barrett-Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org. "He needs an effective discipline process for bishops and religious superiors who are known to have enabled abuse."
  • Irish abuse survivor Colm O'Gorman: "He says the church must condemn the crimes of clerics who abused, and seek forgiveness for its own 'sins'... And again, fails to acknowledge the plain fact of the Vatican’s willful cover up of those very crimes. Of their facilitation of them."

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White House recommends Americans wear masks in public

New Yorker wearing a homemade face covering. Photo: Selcuk Acar/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The White House announced that the CDC is recommending Americans wear cloth masks or face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, President Trump said at a press briefing on Friday — emphasizing the guidance is "voluntary."

Why it matters: The use of face coverings could stop people who have the virus, whether they have symptoms or not, from spreading it further when they go out in public.

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Driving the news: Trump’s comments came Friday during a televised portion of a meeting he hosted with industry CEOs to discuss ways to help the sector. It’s reeling from a historic drop-off in demand with the world shutting down to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,083,084 — Total deaths: 58,243 — Total recoveries: 225,422Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 266,671 — Total deaths: 6,921 — Total recoveries: 9,445Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Wisconsin governor calls for last-minute primary election delay.
  4. Oil latest: The amount of gasoline American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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