Morning Catholic must-reads: 22/10/10

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi (Andrew Medichini/AP/Press Association Images)

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi has expressed “astonishment” at an Italian court ruling that investigators were right to seize Vatican Bank funds as part of a money-laundering probe.

The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East is considering 41 proposals which will form the basis of their final list of propositions to be presented to the Pope on Saturday.

Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has accused an anonymous website commenter of trying to pit him against the bishops of Shanghai.

The Pope has encouraged members of a charity fighting global poverty not to become discouraged.

The L’Osservatore Romano writer who suggested that Homer Simpson is Catholic is standing by his claim despite denials by the show’s producer (video) and by the Jesuit author he quoted in his article.

Cian Molloy says that the inaugural meeting of a new association representing Irish priests was packed.

Paul Moses is appalled by an art exhibition in New York City that maligns the late Cardinal John O’Connor.

John Allen argues that Benedict XVI did not select the 24 new cardinals on an ideological basis. Mary E Hunt disagrees.

Fr Joseph Komonchak asks whether Joseph Ratzinger ever actually called for “a smaller but purer Church”.

Carl Olson considers whether the tea party movement’s philosophy can be squared with Catholic social teaching.

CathNews Asia recalls that Bob Guccione, the late founder of Penthouse magazine, was once an altar boy and a seminarian.

And a Korean priest living in Ireland is helping people to make retreats via Twitter.