Morning Catholic must-reads: 31/01/13

Pope Benedict with Israeli president Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv in 2009

Vatican officials have expressed doubts over whether talks between Israel and the Holy See that began in 1999 will conclude soon (video).

The American Diocese of Worcester has cancelled a talk by Robert Spencer, a prominent Catholic critic of Islam who runs the Jihad Watch blog (Robert Spencer’s response).

LifeSiteNews reports that several US bishops have said they are willing to go to jail rather than comply with the Obama administration contraception mandate.

This year’s papal message for the World Day of the Sick will be published in Arabic for the first time, the Vatican has announced.

Al Kamen notes that Hillary Clinton is the first US Secretary of State in years not to visit the Vatican.

Samuel Freedman profiles Sister Rose Pacatte, a veteran film critic who describes Quentin Tarantino’s film Django Unchained as “Tom and Jerry on steroids”.

And Fr Damian Ference argues that the Communion of Saints is the antithesis of Jersey Shore and Keeping Up with the Kardashians.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day.