Morning Catholic must-reads: 24/09/13

Benedict XVI makes his final public appearance as Pope in February (AP)

Benedict XVI has said that he “never tried to cover up” clerical abuse in an 11-page letter to Italian thinker Piergiorgio Odifreddi (extracts in Italian).

Archbishop Joseph Coutts, president of the Pakistani bishops’ conference, has described the suicide bomb attack on a church in Peshawar as a “shameful act of cowardice“.

Pope Francis has approved the excommunication of Australian priest Greg Reynolds (comment by Tim Stanley).

Archbishop Jose Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, has said Pope Francis was “not opposing any doctrine” in his interview with Jesuit journals.

Fr Ray Blake, Frank Bruni, Commonweal’s editors, Mary Hunt, Thomas Guarino, Deacon Greg Kandra, Hans Küng, Michael Peppard, R R Reno, Robert Royal, Elizabeth Scalia, Mark Silk and David Willey reflect further on the big papal interview.

Matthew Shadle argues that the Just War tradition is actually “in good health“.

And Philip Jenkins considers why the four Gospel writers came to be depicted as symbolic beasts.

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