Morning Catholic must-reads: 12/09/13

Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham (CNS photo/Reuters)

Al-Qaeda-linked rebels shot three Catholics dead and forced others to flee their village in Syria on Saturday, Patriarch Gregory III Laham has said.

A US bishops’ committee has defended Catholic Relief Services against claims that it fails to uphold Church teaching (full text).

Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai has said he will advise his priests to “be sensitive” when they address homosexuality in their homilies.

Zenit has published a full English translation of Pope Francis’s 2,700-word letter to the atheist co-founder of the Italian daily La Repubblica (analysis by John Allen, Irene Niravalambana, Edward Pentin and John Thavis).

Lawrence Krauss of the Daily Beast wonders if it’s wise for the Pope to embrace Twitter.

Robert Christian argues that Pope Francis’s call for peace in Syria is only “a narrow one to oppose American intervention“.

And Pope Francis’s former cobbler has revealed that the Holy Father has flat feet.

Follow me on Twitter @lukecoppen for updates throughout the day