Morning Catholic must-reads: 12/10/10

Pope Benedict XVI speaks during the opening session of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Benedict gave an extemporised speech at the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East yesterday (full text, video).

Benedict XVI will visit the southern Italian Diocese of Lamezia Terme next year.

Of Gods and Men, a film about the murder of seven Cistercian monks in Algeria, has topped the French box office.

Scottish weavers are working hard to cope with demand for the new papal visit tartan.

John Allen rounds up the first day’s discussion at the Synod, analyses the Synod’s approach to Israel, notes that there is also an influx of Catholics into the region and says that religious freedom is emerging as a key theme.

Robert Moynihan says that no one knows whether there will be a consistory to name new cardinals next month.

Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator argues that ObamaCare is responsible for the sale of three Catholic hospitals in Pennsylvania.

Elizabeth Scalia says the Church must lead the world in overcoming the “tolerance disconnect“.

Shouts in the Piazza is thrilled by the unveiling of the new papal coat of arms.

Archbishop Robert Carlson of St Louis has become possibly the highest-ranking churchman to join Twitter.

Catholic Exchange has relaunched its website.

James Preece wonders where all the Catholic laymen are.

And Peter Schineller SJ recommends wines with which to celebrate the canonisation of Mary MacKillop on Sunday.