Holy See change

This ain’t Pope Benedict’s Catholic Church any more. Benedict’s successor, Pope Francis, signaled he intends to take the church in a very different direction on such issues as abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. In a lengthy interview with an Italian Jesuit magazine that was translated into English by the journal America, the pope said he continues to embrace the church’s no-no-no  doctrine on the three issues, but said he saw no need to talk about “small-minded rules” all the time.

“We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards,” he said.

The pope also signaled a willingness to listen more to women, saying “the feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions.”

Regarding gay people, the pope said that “if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge.” He said someone once asked him whether he approved of homosexuality. “I replied with another question: Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?”

A Boston College professor tells the Globe there is no doubt the pope is trying to shift the church’s emphasis. Keller@Large says the pontiff’s call for moderating the church’s tone on such hot-button issues is a lesson in humility and conciliation for all those in power. Slate declares Pope Francis a liberal, calling him profoundly anti-conservative. The New Yorker asks: “Did the other Cardinals know what sort of priest they were voting for?”

                                                                                                                                                                  BRUCE MOHL

BEACON HILL

The state Ethics Commission grants Sen. Dan Wolf a stay on its resignation ruling and says it plans to formulate some changes in the conflict of interest law that might allow him to remain as a senator. But commissioners indicated that a change allowing him to serve as governor is unlikely unless the Legislature steps in, CommonWealth reports. An Associated Press story suggests the commission may change its rules to allow Wolf to remain a senator and mount a campaign for governor.

The state inspector general finds that Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle’s use of school credit cards for personal matters and his dipping into monies intended for university programs and scholarships violated a number school policies. The Globe reports that a West Coast fundraising trip by Dobelle earlier this year was not nearly as successful as he sought to make it sound.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Many people may not even yet know what “cycle tracks” are, but Boston is getting 20 miles of them. The Times looks at Boston’s building boom.

The president of the Braintree Town Council wants some changes made at the town’s transfer station after he witnessed a “hostile” encounter between a resident and an employee who blocked him in with a front-end loader in a dispute over payment.

CASINOS

The state Gaming Commission confirmed applicants for a casino license in the Southeast region do not have to identify either a gaming partner or a property owner on the first phase of the process, meaning a failed applicant in another region could link up with a property owner in the south. The Herald previews Friday’s high-stakes Boston City Council hearing on November’s Suffolk Downs referendum. A Herald editorial urges the council to restrict the vote to the neighborhood of East Boston.

A study by the state Council on Compulsive Gambling finds that Worcester County residents are most likely to be pathological gamblers while those in Norfolk County are the least likely, and men between 24-34 are most at risk to develop gambling problems.

Washington Post opinion writer Michael Gerson spotlights an Institute for American Values report  that looks at the political and social costs of gambling. The study finds that Massachusetts and Mississippi have much in common when it comes to casinos.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Rep. James McGovern condemns a $40 billion cut in the nation’s food stamp program, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

The government shutdown threat moves to the Senate, where Ted Cruz and Mike Lee want to defund the government if their colleagues won’t defund Obamacare.

Good news! Paul Krugman thinks the GOP took Bobby Jindal’s advice and stopped acting like the “stupid party.” Bad news! Krugman thinks they gave up stupid for crazy.

ELECTIONS

The Boston mayoral candidates clash on casino issues at a UMass Boston forum, WBUR reports. In the fourth installment of his CommonWealth series, James Aloisi examines Boston’s immigrants and the race for mayor.

Globe columnist Larry Harmon says Charlotte Golar Richie has offered “no clear message to voters” and writes that if the quality of her campaign “is a reflection of her future administration, then she doesn’t belong anywhere in the vicinity of the mayor’s fifth floor office at City Hall.”

Greater Boston’s Adam Reilly looks at the impact of race on the Boston mayoral campaign, while the Herald spotlights the piles of money flowing into the race from out of state.

Justo Garcia, a Lawrence parking garage worker and campaign photographer for Mayor William Lantigua, is indicted for allegedly stealing parking funds and doing campaign work on city time. The indictment comes one day after Lantigua garnered 48 percent of the vote in the preliminary mayoral election; Lantigua’s opponent, City Councilor Dan Rivera, says Garcia should be removed from the city payroll, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Rep. Marcos Devers, a Lawrence mayoral candidate who pledged to back the candidate who made it into the final against Lantigua, starts backpedaling, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Abigail Johnson is rich. Very rich.

EDUCATION

The Lawrence school system is showing strong gains after one year of state receivership. Watch this CommonWealth video interview with Jeff Riley, the state-appointed receiver, about the district’s MCAS results and his battle with the teachers union in Lawrence.

Charles Chieppo knocks the state Legislature for failing to lift the number of charter school seats in Boston and other low-performing urban districts.

Andre Dubus III, a best-selling author and UMass Lowell teacher, uses his connections to land Meryl Streep as a speaker at the university. He previously convinced fellow author Stephen King to give a talk, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Enrollment at the five UMass campuses is expected to reach a record 72,000 this year, the Associated Press reports (via Telegram & Gazette).

HEALTH CARE

Eric Byer, the CEO of Tufts Medical Center, abruptly quit yesterday after just two years at the helm. Tufts has struggled against bigger players on the region’s cutthroat health care landscape.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

The Obama administration is announcing tough new limits on carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants, the Daily Beast reports.

Is hydropower renewable or not? asks Governing, raising concerns that state policies may be hindering development of the energy source. CommonWealth explored the issue in

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Ernest Wallace, one of former Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez’s alleged accomplices in the murder of Odin Lloyd, pleaded not guilty to being an accessory after the fact.

California considers dispensing condoms in prison to reduce sexually transmitted infections, Time reports.

MEDIA

The fund for the honest Boston homeless man is now up to $110,000, NECN reports.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The New York Times Co., which is in the process of selling the Boston Globe and Telegram & Gazette, says it will resume paying a dividend for the first time in five years, the New York Times reports. The dividend is a lucrative source of income for the Times Co.’s controlling Ochs-Sulzberger family; last year, New York magazine argued that the desire to restore the family dividend forced out former company CEO Janet Robinson, and accelerated the sale of the Globe.

AllThingsD and Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg may be saying goodbye to Dow Jones, CNN reports.