Jan 17

TCA Media Monitoring January 30, 2017

1. Pence addresses March for Life: Vice president tells thousands that ‘Life is winning again in America’.
By Bradford Richardson, The Washington Times, January 30, 2017, Pg. A8

Mike Pence, the first sitting vice president to speak at the annual March for Life, told a crowd of hundreds of thousands on Friday that “life is winning again in America.”

“Today, three generations hence, because of all of you, and the many thousands who stand with us in marches like this all across the nation, life is winning again in America,” the vice president said. “That is evident in the election of pro-life majorities in the Congress of the United States of America. But it is no more evident in any way than in the historic election of a president who stands for a stronger America, a more prosperous America and a president I proudly say stands for life, President Donald Trump.”

Speaking in the shadow of the Washington Monument, Mr. Pence said the president “actually asked me to be here with you today.”

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway kicked off the march by reassuring the crowd of Mr. Trump’s commitment to the pro-life movement.

She said the president’s earliest actions in office already show his willingness to “further this conversation and this cause.”

Continuing his “life is winning” theme, Mr. Pence said the pro-life cause is gaining traction due to scientific advancements revealing the human nature of the unborn, the generosity of families who adopt unwanted children and the sacrifices of those who volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers.

“In a word, life is winning in America because of all of you,” he said.

“So I urge you to press on,” Mr. Pence said. “But as it is written, let your gentleness be evident to all. Let this movement be known for love, not anger. Let this movement be known for compassion, not confrontation.”

Mr. Pence said the pro-life movement will continue to succeed only “if our hearts first break for young mothers and their unborn children, and if we each of us do all we can to meet them where they are with generosity, not judgment.”

“To heal our land and restore a culture of life, we must continue to be a movement that embraces all, cares for all and shows respect for the dignity and worth of every person,” he said.


2. Dawn of a New Age: Pro-Life Leader Visits White House.

By Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart, January 30, 2017

Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, agrees that while the March for Life is generally uplifting and joyful, this year pro-life activists are feeling more hopeful and looking to see the promises that were made to them are kept.

“The number one priority for the pro-life movement is to have a constitutionalist jurist appointed to the Supreme Court, someone who will read the text of the Constitution and continue Justice Scalia’s legacy, and not just legislate from the bench,” McGuire tells Breitbart News, adding that things are already moving in a positive direction.

She continues:

“We’ve already had a big accomplishment in the reinstatement of the Mexico City policy – which is very important for the Trump administration to send a message to the pro-life movement that he intends to make good on his pledge to us. I think other important goals will be to redirect the half a billion dollars of taxpayer money that goes to Planned Parenthood toward women’s health clinics that actually provide a comprehensive range of services and aren’t controversial. And I think that passing the Pain-Capable Act – which would put us on par with the rest of the world that has banned late-term abortions – so I think those are some realistic goals for us to achieve.”

McGuire also notes the change in mood among pro-life activists since Trump sent both Pence and Conway to their most significant event.

“It’s an extraordinary mood change,” she says. “It sends a very clear message to us and to the world that things are going to be different. That adds a layer of excitement I’ve never experienced in the years I’ve been going to the March for Life.”

“Planned Parenthood has a real reason to be worried, because public opinion is against them and the dominoes are starting to fall in a way that bodes hopeful for actual women’s health care,” McGuire adds.


3. Gorsuch is right for Supreme Court.

By The Washington Examiner, January 29, 2017, 12:00 AM

President Trump won over many wary conservatives last fall when he pledged to nominate conservative, textualist, justices to the Supreme Court. He underscored his seriousness by releasing a list of 20 sterling names from which he would make his choice. And now, as president, he has shown good judgment by making federal judge Neil Gorsuch the apparent front-runner.

Gorsuch is the right judge to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia, who was a towering figure on the Supreme Court for three decades. Gorsuch espouses the judicial restraint and practices the same sort of jurisprudence as Scalia. He is rigorous in sticking to the text of legislation and of the Constitution, and avoiding the urge to act as a super-legislator. He has written plainly on the need for judges to avoid politicization, lamenting that when they are regarded as “little more than politicians with robes” they are subjected to ideological litmus tests wholly inappropriate for their branch of the federal government.

Gorsuch was nominated to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals by President George W. Bush, was confirmed unanimously by voice vote, and was rated unanimously “well qualified” by the American Bar Association. He has written more than 175 published majority opinions and 65 concurrences and dissents.

He is a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and Oxford Universities, and his facility in argument is exceptional. He lays out his thoughts sharply, clearly and analytically, in prose that is mercifully un-lawyerly. Just as Scalia wrote opinions and memorable dissents that could persuade and embolden the public, Gorsuch’s decisions are accessible and convincing to the layman.

Gorsuch has ruled on religious liberty cases and an abortion-related case, and he has argued consistently against the arbitrary exercise of power by government. He’s gotten his hands on the Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, in the latter of which he joined the dissent saying, “The opinion of the panel majority is clearly and gravely wrong — on an issue that has little to do with contraception and a great deal to do with religious liberty. When a law demands that a person do something the person considers sinful, and the penalty for refusal is a large financial penalty, then the law imposes a substantial burden on that person’s free exercise of religion.”

Perhaps Gorsuch’s most interesting religious case was Yellowbear v. Lampert which involved a native American man in prison for murdering his daughter. The prisoner sued for access to a prison sweat lodge, and Gorsuch laid out a clear and convincing case for greater deference to religious liberty and less to the state.

With Democrats someday certain again to control the federal government, Gorsuch’s work to expand the sphere of freedom and the protections for conscience is among the most important work that can be done.

Conservatives of a certain age rightfully distrust supposedly conservative nominees to the high court. Republican presidents in recent decades nominated two full-fledged liberals (John Paul Stevens and David Souter) and two mercurial centrists (Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor).

One thing we’ve learned: The near-absolute power of the high court can corrupt even a good conservative. The best inoculation against this corruption is a battle-hardened justice who eschews ideology and hews to the text of the Constitution. Gorsuch has shown a willingness to swim against the tide. His 2009 book, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia is meticulous and rigorous, and also clear in its conclusion that society should not descend down that dangerous path.

Ed Whalen, president of the Ethics & Public Policy Center, an admirer and recently a vigorous defender of Gorsuch against shabby smears, last week wrote that “the proper lesson to draw from the mix of failures and successes [of Republican presidents trying to nominate conservatives] is that judicial philosophy and character are what really count.”

You never know for sure how a judge will rule before a case is heard. But you can get a good idea, from how he rules and how he writes, about where his head and heart are, and where his learning leads him. With that in mind, it cannot be in doubt that Gorsuch would be an excellent addition to the highest court in the land.


4. Tiff Between Knights and Pope Turns Into All-Out Proxy War. 

By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, January 29, 2017, Pg. A1

For months, an ugly, if quiet, spat over staffing simmered behind the order’s walls before spilling across the Tiber River to the Vatican, setting off a back-and-forth between the two camps. Francis and his lieutenants sent angry letters. The Knights ignored them, claiming sovereignty.

This past week, the dispute finally blew up. Fed up, Francis took the extraordinary steps of demanding the resignation of the order’s leader — a decision the Knights officially accepted Saturday — and announcing that a papal delegate would step in.


5. Why Catholics uncomfortable with ‘Amoris’ aren’t ‘dissenters’.

By Hilary Towers, Crux, January 29, 2017

Most Catholics uncomfortable with ‘Amoris Laetitia’ aren’t dissenters or people with an ax to grind against the pope, but rather people who simply want their children to know and follow the Church’s call to sexual integrity and marital fidelity — and, to be clear, that’s not only possible, but life-giving.

There is a marriage metaphor used throughout the Bible to convey the truth and depth of God’s devotion to His people – His willingness to remain faithful in the face of our infidelity.  First, God the Father, husband to Israel. Then Jesus, the Son, Bridegroom to His Church.
It’s rather astounding how frequently the analogy is employed.

This is a metaphor fashioned for our times, if ever there was one. Lifelong, sexually-exclusive marriage is a reflection of our relationship to God. He is faithful even when we don’t deserve it. It’s like a built-in evangelization tool for parents, no matter how imperfect the marriage.

What happens when fewer and fewer parents model this Gospel of Marriage for their children? To start, the next generation becomes cynical about a faithful God.

Marriage becomes a vehicle for sexual and emotional satisfaction. Sex is severed from procreation. Men use women. Women use men. Women discard their babies. Widespread confusion about gender and sex roles ensues.

The Church seems to be genuinely struggling with whether it is still the loving position to require lifetime fidelity on the part of all married spouses, not just most. Not just during good times, but when the storm comes. And, perhaps most importantly, in the wake of the storm.

Moving on – mentally, physically, emotionally, financially – from the anguish of marital strife or betrayal seems to give us hope, so we reorient ourselves toward fantasies of new love, free from suffering and fresh with romance. It seems to make our loved ones feel happy again, so we encourage them to move on from a first marriage.

In this context, lifelong marriage can seem a burden, not a gift – attainable only to a minority of enthusiasts. No longer is the pastoral question at hand: how can we restore and help reconcile a severed marital relationship? But instead how might this couple’s situation exempt them from the Church’s wisdom on this matter, which is designed solely for their happiness and welfare in this life and the next?

It is understandable and wise, given the preponderance of “irregular situations” in our world today that Christians – who are charged to bring the truth always with charity and sensitivity – would re-examine ancient teachings in the light of new demographics.

One criticism of those concerned about the effects of Amoris Laetitia is that we are out of touch with the real problems of real people.

Perhaps especially in light of our Church’s historic concern for the poor, the defenseless, and those on the fringes, then, we might ask ourselves: is the expectation of sexual fidelity in marriage on the part of the Church still always good? Is it reasonable and attainable in every situation?

Several commentators have listed instances in which the answer could be “no,” such as where an annulment is impossible, where the marriage is irrecoverable, where the couple in the new union have children, where a conversion experience has put the person in a second marriage in a new state, and where the concept of “adultery” is simply unsuited to the reality of the situation.

The question for the Church is this: how can we bring true mercy and love to every single person represented in these scenarios – to adults and children, those who have harmed their families, those who are victims of abandonment, and those who may fall somewhere in between?

Encourage them to trust in and accept God’s plan for marriage and sexuality for all mankind.


6. Pence: ‘Life is winning again in America’: Vice president addresses annual antiabortion march in Washington. 

By Julie Zauzmer, Steve Hendrix, and Michael E. Ruane, The Washington Post, January 28, 2017, Pg. A1

Thousands of abortion opponents gathered in cold, blustery weather near the Washington Monument Friday and heard Vice President Mike Pence tell the annual March for Life that the Trump administration is determined to advance the fight against abortion.

“We will not grow weary,” Pence said in a ten-minute addresss to the throng at the monument. “We will not rest, until we restore a culture of life in America for ourselves and our posterity,”

He said the administration is bent on ending tax-payer funding of abortion and abortion providers.

And he said that “next week President Donald Trump will announce a Supreme Court nominee who will uphold the God-given liberty enshrined in our Constitution in the tradition of the late and great Justice Antonin Scalia.”

“Life is winning again in America,” said Pence, who added that Trump asked him to speak at the rally. “That is evident in…the historic election of a president…who I proudly say stands for the right to life.”

Pence was the first U.S. vice president to address the march in its history.

Also addressing the crowd was key Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway.

“I am a wife, a mother, a Catholic, counselor to the president of the United States of America and, yes, I am pro-life,” she said.

“This is a new day, a new dawn, for life,” she said.

The right to life “is not a privilege,” she said. “Its is not a choice. It is God-given…This is a time of incredible promise for the pro-life, pro-adoption movement.”


7. Trump wants to halt abortions funded by D.C. taxes: No word on whether the Senate will vote on it.

By Jenna Portnoy, The Washington Post, January 28, 2017, Pg. B1

President Trump said he will sign a bill blocking the District from spending local tax dollars to subsidize abortions for low-­income women, bolstering antiabortion forces Friday as they marched on the Mall.

Timed to coincide with the March for Life, House Republicans this week passed a bill that would codify what is known as the Hyde amendment into law.

The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) with companion legislation introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), would put into law a prohibition against the use of federal funds for abortion, which lawmakers already routinely insert into larger pieces of legislation. It would also ban the District from using locally raised tax dollars to provide abortion services to poor women.

But Politico on Wednesday reported on a behind-closed-doors exchange in which McConnell said the bill could not pass the Senate because Democrats have enough votes to block it. His office declined to confirm the exchange.

Senate Democrats could filibuster to block a vote on the antiabortion bill. And even if the legislation came up for vote, passage would be difficult. To meet the 60-vote threshold, Republicans would need to deliver all their members — already a tall order — and gain eight Democratic defectors.


8. Pope frets about ‘hemorrhage’ of priests, nuns from church.

By Associated Press, January 28, 2017

Pope Francis says he is concerned about what he calls a “hemorrhage” of priests and nuns from the Catholic church.

The pope on Saturday told participants at a Vatican gathering on religious life that the loss of clergy is weakening the church.

First among the factors he cited as causing nuns and priests to quit their vocations is a society that discourages lifelong commitments. Francis lamented that many conduct their lives based on “a la carte” choices.

For decades, the Catholic church in many developed countries has seen the number of priests and nuns on the decline.


9. Backing March for Life, Pope says nothing can justify ending life of ‘innocent child’.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, January 27, 2017

Popes generally find a way to support the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., and Pope Francis didn’t disappoint: On Friday he applauded the hundreds of thousands who participated in the event, saying that nothing can justify terminating the life of “an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb.”

In a message dated Dec. 6, 2016, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, says that “His Holiness Pope Francis sends warm greetings and the assurance of his closeness in prayer to the many thousands of young people from throughout America” gathered in Washington.

The pope, Parolin continues, is “profoundly grateful for this impressive testimony to the sacredness of every human life.”

Quoting from Francis’s document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, the letter sent to those marching says that “so great is the value of a human life, and so inalienable the right to life of an innocent child growing in the mother’s womb, that no alleged right … can justify a decision to terminate that life.”

Earlier in the month, Pope Francis had joined the March for Life held in Paris, France. In a message that was also sent through the papal representative in the country, the pontiff called for the Catholic Church to never tire of “being an advocate for life and must not neglect to proclaim that human life is to be protected unconditionally from the moment of conception until natural death.”

The pontiff also urged participants of the Jan. 22 rally to “work tirelessly for the building of a civilization of love and a culture of life.”


10. The March for Life in year 44.

By Archbishop Charles Chaput, CatholicPhilly.com, January 27, 2017

Mr. Trump is now President Trump, and curiously, some of the harshest, on-going fury directed at him has nothing to do with his personal character. Rather, it’s a very special brand of “progressive” intolerance for the approach his administration may take toward a range of difficult social issues, including abortion.

It involves a visceral media and leadership-class contempt for people like the hundreds of thousands of stubbornly good persons who continue to march each January — peacefully, respectfully and joyfully — in defense of the unborn child. The contrast with their critics is a lesson in what does, and does not, constitute responsible public witness.

When the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized permissive abortion 44 years ago this month, abortion supporters argued that abortion was a sad necessity. As such, it needed to be made safe, legal and rare. Now it’s celebrated as a sacred right that demands veneration from the whole culture, including the millions of ordinary people who see this kind of officially blessed homicide as a gravely evil act.

One of the more promising signs from the new administration is its apparent sympathy for some key prolife concerns, from the appointment of Supreme Court justices to the defunding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Of course, being “prolife” involves a great deal more than a defense of the unborn child, though it certainly needs to start there. Maybe the best way to amplify and elevate President Trump’s understanding of that word “prolife” would be for a premier Catholic university – say, for example, the University of Notre Dame – to invite him to campus to offer its commencement address, to explain his personal evolution on the abortion issue, and to share, listen and learn with a cross-section of students and faculty in a respectful dialogue on the meaning of human dignity.

Notre Dame takes pride in its tradition of welcoming to campus U.S. presidents from both parties and with very different views. In that light, the invitation would certainly make sense and might be fruitful in unforeseen ways. God writes straight with crooked lines.

In the meantime, abortion is still with us. As thousands of Catholics and other prolife persons gather in Washington on January 27 and walk together in the annual March for Life, the time has never been better, nor the need more urgent, to pray for our country, to pray for the end of abortion, and to pray for a conversion in the hearts our leaders.

Forty-four years after Roe, a reverence for the sanctity of human life still burns in the spirit of far too many people to ignore.


11. A Latina explains why she backs the March for Life.

By The World staff, PRI, January 27, 2017, 5:45 PM

Latinas are increasingly vocal participants in the March for Life, the gathering of anti-abortion activists that descends yearly on the National Mall.  

That’s according to Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a Miami resident who traveled to Washington, DC, for Friday’s demonstration. 

“The United States is becoming more and more Hispanic. It’s Hispanics that are having children, and, of course, the immigration is very big from Hispanic countries,” she says. “We are very much traditionally a pro-life culture, we believe in the dignity of life, even the very small and vulnerable life.”

“People who are for the dignity of life find contradictions in political parties because we don’t always fit perfectly into any category, and we don’t expect to fit perfectly into neat political categories,” she says. “But Mr. Trump is shaking up the equation tremendously, and we are very hopeful from the pro-life position.”  

Nikki Haley, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, said in her confirmation hearing that although she opposed abortion, she supported funding for contraceptive services in foreign aid programs.

But Christie faults the US for promoting reproductive rights globally under the Obama administration. 

“There are many countries in Latin America where abortion isn’t allowed at all, and that’s because the people of the country don’t believe in it. That’s not part of their culture,” she says. “So, the pressure that the United States places on these countries to align themselves with American values is a kind of imperialism that Latin Americans resist and resent.”


12. Meet the new head of Alliance Defending Freedom.

By Catholic News Agency, January 27, 2017

For Michael P. Farris, the new head of Alliance Defending Freedom, educating the general American public on the rich history of religious liberty in the U.S. is vital.

As a nation, he told CNA, “I think we have a very limited understanding of religious freedom.”

Religious liberty is the foundation for free speech, free press, and free assembly, he continued. Protections for many of the key freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were secured through the battle for religious freedom.

Now, Farris is assuming the role of president, CEO, and general counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, becoming just the second person in that position in the organization’s 23-year history. He is replacing Alan Sears, who after creating and running the legal group for over two decades, will now transition to a founder’s role.

“We here at ADF are chiefly a litigating organization,” Farris explained. The legal organization works to defend religious liberty in court cases across the country, with success in nearly 80 percent of its cases.

Farris is no stranger to litigation. With a specialty in constitutional appellate litigation, he has argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, eight federal circuit courts of appeals, and the highest courts of 13 individual states.

He also has ample experience testifying before both the House of Representatives and the Senate over the last 30 years, and he co-chaired the coalition that successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act


The media monitoring clips provide a snapshot from national newspapers and major Catholic press outlets of coverage regarding significant Catholic Church news and current issues with which the Catholic Church is traditionally or prominently engaged - such as religious liberty and other fundamental Church concerns. The clips are not intended to be an exhausted source of in-depth coverage on any particular issue. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.