Dec 16

TCA Media Monitoring December 5, 2016

1. Castro and Human Dignity: Five or six prisoners would be confined for days in very narrow 6-foot-long cells., By Mary Anastasia O’Grady, The Wall Street Journal, December 5, 2016, Pg. A19, Opinion.

Castro left a once-prosperous and promising land in dire poverty. But his legacy is far worse than the material ruin of a nation. His insatiable appetite for absolute power was manifest in an obsession with hunting down every last nonconformist, stripping away the human dignity of the population.

There could be no higher power, no one revered more than Fidel. God was a problem so priests and nuns were imprisoned and exiled, religion was outlawed and the regime did all it could to destroy the Cuban family.

In 1997 Christmas was legalized and Catholic and Protestant churches have slowly been granted some space. But this is allowed only as long as teachings about the sacredness of human life don’t interfere with regime control.

Fidel Castro’s only unique accomplishment was 57 years of repression that sought to exterminate any meaning to life for those who lived under his boot.


2. No matter what anyone says, clarity on ‘Amoris’ remains elusive, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, December 4, 2016, Opinion.

For a document that was intended to settle the debate unleashed by two tumultuous Synods of Bishops called to discuss issues related to marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s treatise on the family, instead seems notable for how much it’s left unresolved and still-disputed.

What are we to take away from all this? For now, two conclusions seem clear.

First, despite the insistence of papal allies that everything is perfectly clear about what the deal is with regard to access to Communion, there’s an important segment of the Church that just doesn’t believe that’s true.

Second, unless and until Pope Francis delivers a binding magisterial response, the forecast is for local control. We’ve already seen various bishops deliver clearly divergent responses about what the implications of Amoris will be in their dioceses, and there’s nothing to suggest that won’t continue in the absence of a clear and indisputable papal declaration.

Depending on one’s point of view, that could either be styled as a long-overdue step towards the “healthy decentralization” in Catholicism to which Francis has often referred, or as doctrinal chaos, but in any event, it clearly seems to be where we are.


3. Pope tells CEOs: If you want to help the poor, empower them!, By Inés San Martín, Crux, December 3, 2016.

Pope Francis has called on the world’s most powerful business people to work towards a more inclusive and equitable economic model, not just for the poor but with the poor, putting a human face on those in need.

The marginalized, the pontiff insisted, “want to make their rightful contribution to their local communities and broader society, and to benefit from the resources and development too often reserved for the few.”

The pope then said that there’s a need for institutional and personal conversion, “a change of heart” that prioritizes humanity, cultures, religious beliefs and traditions.

Among the participants of the Fortune-Time forum was Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the new Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development.

Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana, has long been Francis’s point-man on issues of economic equality.

His presentation at the forum, described as a “call to action,” was a conversation with talk show host Charlie Rose. The program of the event previewed this segment acknowledging that while free markets have delivered economic freedom and prosperity to billions, millions have been left behind.

When through the conversation Rose brought up the fact that a billion people have been lifted from extreme poverty in recent years, Turkson responded by saying that although this is true, so is the fact that inequality has also grown.

His challenge was for the close to 100 CEOs present in the forum to generate creative ways of doing business so that lifting people out of poverty doesn’t increase inequality.


4. Pope recognizes martyrdom of Oklahoma priest killed in Guatemala, By Catholic News Service, December 2, 2016, 2:35 PM.

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, making him the first martyr born in the United States.

The Vatican made the announcement Dec. 2. The recognition of his martyrdom clears the way for his beatification.

Father Rother, born March 27, 1935, on his family’s farm near Okarche, Oklahoma, was brutally murdered July 28, 1981, in a Guatemalan village where he ministered to the poor.


5. The ‘right’ to be spared from guilt, By George F. Will, The Washington Post, December 2, 2016, Opinion.

Down syndrome, although not common, is among the most common congenital anomalies at 49.7 per 100,000 births. In approximately 90 percent of instances when prenatal genetic testing reveals Down syndrome, the baby is aborted. Cleft lips or palates, which occur in 72.6 per 100,000 births, also can be diagnosed in utero and sometimes are the reason a baby is aborted.

In 2014, in conjunction with World Down Syndrome Day (March 21), the Global Down Syndrome Foundation prepared a two-minute video titled “Dear Future Mom” to assuage the anxieties of pregnant women who have learned that they are carrying a Down syndrome baby. More than 7 million people have seen the video online in which one such woman says, “I’m scared: What kind of life will my child have?” Down syndrome children from many nations tell the woman that her child will hug, speak, go to school, tell you he loves you and “can be happy, just like I am — and you’ll be happy, too.”

The French state is not happy about this. The court has ruled that the video is — wait for it — “inappropriate” for French television. The court upheld a ruling in which the French Broadcasting Council had banned the video as a commercial. The court said the video’s depiction of happy Down syndrome children was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices.”

The court has said, in effect, that the lives of Down syndrome people — and by inescapable implication, the lives of many other disabled people — matter less than the serenity of people who have acted on one or more of three vicious principles: That the lives of the disabled are not worth living. Or that the lives of the disabled are of negligible value next to the desire of parents to have a child who has no special, meaning inconvenient, needs. Or that government should suppress the voices of Down syndrome children in order to guarantee other people’s right not to be disturbed by reminders that they have made lethal choices on the basis of one or both of the first two inappropriate principles.


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.