Leo Brian Schafer
Catholic Values Columnist
President Donald Trump tests positive for coronavirus
In a shocking announcement, the White House declared Friday, Oct. 2, that President Donald Trump and his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, had tested positive for COVID-19. The announcement comes just days after Trump debated Democratic candidate Joe Biden on a small stage. Trump, who has been hostile in the past to the wearing of masks, is one of many Republican officials to have tested positive in recent days. White House Senior Counselor Hope Hicks, Trump’s 2016 Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway, RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel, and Sens. Mike Lee, John Cornyn, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson have all reportedly contracted the disease. Trump was admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center late Friday as a precautionary measure and is expected to make a full recovery.
Sports playoffs heating up
Three of the four major North American sports leagues are wrapping up their seasons this month. The National Hockey League crowned their champion after a lengthy post-season. The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in a six-game series after knocking out the New York Islanders, the Bostin Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets. This follows a 43-21-6 regular season where they clinched the number 2 overall seed for the eastern conference. The National Basketball League decided their top two – the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers – during the 2020 season, which took place in a coronavirus-free “Disney Bubble” in Florida . At the time of writing, the Lakers hold a two-game lead over the Heat in their best-of-seven series. Finally, in Major League Baseball, the playoffs have just begun, following a coronavirus-shortened 60 game season. The bracket has been set, with the Houston Astros playing the Oakland Athletics, the New York Yankees set to play the Tampa Bay Rays, the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the San Diego Padres, and the Miami Marlins playing the Atlanta Braves. These series begin on Oct 5.
Tensions flare on Armenia-Azerbaijan disputed zone
Ethnic tensions have begun to resurface in a disputed area of Azerbaijan. The area known as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which is majority Armenian, has been under Armenian control since the mid-1990s, despite being legally a part of Azerbaijan. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Armenian military moved to take control of the area, also known as Artsakh, and either incorporate it into Armenia, with whom it is ethnically identical, or become an independent country. The recent tensions have flared higher than previous conflict and have killed over 200 people in the past week. The Armenian military has shelled much of the surrounding area, including the city of Ganja, the second largest city in Azerbaijan. Majority Christian Armenia is reportedly receiving aid from Russia, while majority Muslim Azerbaijan is receiving aid from Turkey.
Pope releases encyclical letter
In a move not seen since 2015, the pontiff has released an encyclical letter. Speaking on the feast of St. Francis from the tomb of St. Francis, Pope Francis issued his letter addressed to the church entitled “Fratelli Tutti”, or “All Brothers.” The subject of the encyclical is the concept of universal brotherhood and how men are to interact with one another. The pope says that the encyclical was borne from the ashes of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which he realized that “no one can face life in isolation.” The format of this letter breaks traditional form. Past encyclicals have been addressed “From his holiness, Pope Francis, to his venerable brother bishops.” “Fratelli Tutti” omits this traditional greeting, opting for the simpler title: “On the Fraternity and Social Friendship.”