Opinion | The Pope Causes More Pain for Priests’ Victims

Pope Francis arrived in Chile with the right message: He was “pained and ashamed,” he said on Tuesday, about the irreparable damage abusive priests have inflicted on minors. Yet he refused to meet with victims of the country’s most nefarious sexual abuser, and when pressed about his support of a bishop linked to that priest, he dismissed the accusations as slander.

For all his professions of horror at the revelations about predatory priests whose activities were covered up by the hierarchy — and for all his other admirably enlightened and pastoral actions — it seems the pope has yet to fully appreciate that the abuse of minors is not simply a matter of a few deviant priests protected by overzealous prelates but of his church’s acceptance of a horrible violation of a most sacred trust: that of a devout and questioning youth and a spiritual guide.

Acknowledging and regretting the damage is not enough. If the Catholic Church is ever to lift the deep stain of child sex abuse, the pope must take every opportunity to reject not only clear violations but also the slightest appearance of tolerance for such behavior.

He missed that opportunity by attending the funeral last month for Cardinal Bernard Law, the powerful former archbishop of Boston who resigned after revelations that he protected abusive priests for years and became, in effect, the image of a hierarchy that concealed and thereby enabled sexual abuse. He missed it in the failure of the Vatican so far to appoint a new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors after the commissioners’ terms expired in December.

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Opinion | A Threat to the Justice Dept. and the F.B.I.

To the Editor:

Undercutting the credibility of the Justice Department, and the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has grave consequences, not least the harm it does to the administration of the federal criminal justice system.

Accordingly, “Sessions Silent as Trump Attacks His Department, Risking Its Autonomy” (news article, Feb. 5) prompts me to share my experiences working in the department and with many F.B.I. field agents.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, left, in Washington last week with his top leaders, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and Rachel Brand, the associate attorney general.Credit…Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters


Oklahoma’s Trae Young, the Superstar Nobody Saw Coming

The college basketball predictions arrived in early November, as they always do, with their purveyors, like their counterparts in politics, expecting little punishment for the sin of getting things wrong.

But this season, those time capsules of preseason conventional wisdom contained a particularly stark oversight. Trae Young, this season’s most important, most electrifying and, arguably, just plain best player, somehow hardly earned a mention.

In a universe where the best basketball prospects are minutely dissected from their freshman years of high school, the collective whiff among the cognoscenti is stunning. It contains lessons for evaluators prone to overlooking players who spurned more distant programs with bluer blood in favor of a hometown team — and also, perhaps, for future prospects who want to shine immediately.

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Wendell Castle, 85, Dies; Blurred the Line Between Furniture and Art

Wendell Castle, the whimsical designer who coaxed wood into weird, mind-bending shapes that blurred the boundary between serviceable furniture and fine art, died on Jan. 20 at his home in Scottsville, N.Y., near Rochester. He was 85.

The cause was complications of leukemia, his brother, Wayne, said.

“Wendell is the most important postwar American furniture designer, by a long shot,” Glenn Adamson, senior research scholar at the Yale Center for British Art and the former director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, told Hyperallergic, an online arts forum.

Trained as an industrial designer and a sculptor, Mr. Castle was after World War II part of what was known as the American studio craft movement. His idiosyncratic works became prized as collectibles, if not necessarily for comfort.

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Opinion | Shutdown, Showdown, Sure Thing

It’s already tiring to watch the jockeying among the partisans over who is to be blamed for the government shutdown and who will likely face political consequences because of it.

There is absolutely no reason that a deal couldn’t have been reached on the Dreamers, something that the vast majority of Americans want. But Republicans used the threat of withholding the fix as a bargaining chip, and Democrats held to the fix as imperative.

Donald Trump proved himself both woefully inept at making tough deals and also demonstrated that his yearlong strategy of trying to govern to the exclusion of Democrats and playing to a narrow base is fatally flawed.

Trump is an unrepentant, unremitting liar. That makes deal-making impossible. His word is meaningless and his policy principles are murky. He is mercurial and inconsistent. This may well have worked in business, to keep people off kilter, but it won’t work in politics.

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43rd Time’s the Charm: Caroline Wozniacki Wins Her First Major Title

MELBOURNE, Australia — One by one, former Grand Slam champions welcomed Caroline Wozniacki to the club late Saturday night at Melbourne Park after her 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 victory over Simona Halep.

Billie Jean King was first. She handed the beaming Wozniacki the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, which is awarded to the women’s singles champion at the Australian Open.

Chris Evert and Mats Wilander were next. Rod Laver chimed in on Twitter. So did Serena Williams, Wozniacki’s friend and tennis role model, after watching her breakthrough match on television in the United States.

It took Wozniacki more than a decade to join the club by winning her first major singles title, and it required two final weeks of struggle in Melbourne.

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Kushner’s Financial Ties to Israel Deepen Even With Mideast Diplomatic Role

Last May, Jared Kushner accompanied President Trump, his father-in-law, on the pair’s first diplomatic trip to Israel, part of Mr. Kushner’s White House assignment to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Shortly before, his family real estate company received a roughly $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim, an insurer that is one of Israel’s largest financial institutions, according to a Menora executive.

The deal, which was not made public, pumped significant new equity into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Mr. Kushner’s firm. While Mr. Kushner has sold parts of his business since taking a White House job last year, he still has stakes in most of the family empire — including the apartment buildings in and around Baltimore.

The Menora transaction is the latest financial arrangement that has surfaced between Mr. Kushner’s family business and Israeli partners, including one of the country’s wealthiest families and a large Israeli bank that is the subject of a United States criminal investigation.


Opinion | Chile’s ‘Radical’ Approach to Addressing Obesity

To the Editor:

Re “Waging a Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger” (“Planet Fat” series, front page, Feb. 8):

Far from being criticized by a Chilean food industry association for creating confusion, Chile should be applauded for its radical approach. Obesity may not be spread by bacteria, but it is communicated in a social sense, not least through the commercial promotion of unhealthy food and by misleading language that diverts attention from the underlying toxicity of these products.

It is an uncannily similar response to the perverse yet predictable reaction from tobacco companies when advertising was curtailed. This fall, the United Nations will include a focus on tackling chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer as well as obesity among children and adults.

Chile’s example can help reverse the sad fact that not a single country has successfully brought down obesity rates in the last three decades.


The writer is chief executive of the World Obesity Federation.

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Chilean government for taking the lead in fighting obesity. This worldwide epidemic cries out for leadership to fight the food industry.

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M.T.A. Delays: How Did the Subway Get So Bad?

New York City’s subway system includes 665 miles of track, 472 stations and 27 subway lines. It also has the worst on-time performance of any major rapid transit system in the world. Here are three reasons your train might be delayed.

The M.T.A.’s budget has been mismanaged since the 1990s.

The ’90s were the golden era of subway functionality — Gov. George Pataki even called it “a transit Renaissance.” But then, the city started to take the system for granted.

Mayors and governors began diverting their budgets away from the M.T.A. and toward other priorities, then blamed one another for the problems that followed. While the city and state contributions got smaller, subway ridership went up. Even increased fares weren’t enough to make up for the budget cuts.

Finally, a group of Wall Street executives came to the M.T.A. with a deal: Give us your debt; we’ll pay you cash. Governor Pataki agreed, and that debt lives on today.