1. Indian state imposes 10 years in jail for ‘forced conversions’, By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux, August 16, 2022A Catholic bishop says he is “more than disappointed” with changes to the anti-conversion law in Himachal Pradesh, a state in northern India. The new legislation was passed on Friday, and amends the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, which came into force less than two years ago. Despite its name, the Act is aimed at keeping Hindus from changing religion. The amendment forbids a convert to Christianity from benefitting from any privilege attached to his family’s caste – lower caste-Hindus benefit from quotas in education and state employment – and increases the maximum punishment for “forced conversion” to ten years imprisonment. The amendment also defines the conversion of more than one person in a single ceremony as a “mass conversion,” despite the fact that Catholics and other liturgical Christians often perform baptisms for all converts at the Easter vigil. In addition, any “marriage for the sole purpose of conversion is declared null and void” under the Act. Finally, anyone seeking to convert to another religion as well as those performing the conversion must give a month’s notice to a local government magistrate.  Hindu nationalists have been stoking fears over “illegal conversion” for years, and claim Christian groups use their social services – church organizations are overrepresented compared to their percentage of the population in the educational, health, and charitable sectors in India – to illicitly convert Hindus, especially those belonging to the marginalized lower castes.  The northern state is overwhelmingly Hindu: Adherents of the religion make up over 95 percent of the 6.8 million people. Christians only comprise 0.18 percent of Himachal Pradesh’s population, compared to 2.3 percent in the whole of India. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia/2022/08/indian-state-imposes-10-years-in-jail-for-forced-conversions__________________________________________________________ 2. Judge halts Biden’s axing of natural birth control from ACA, Lifts fertility-awareness providers, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, August 16, 2022, Pg. A5 A federal court has blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to exclude fertility-awareness methods from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate in a win for advocates of natural family planning. U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle granted Friday a request for a temporary restraining order from Cami Jo Tice-Harouff, a Texas nurse practitioner who specializes in fertility-awareness contraception. Judge Kernodle, who sits on the court in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, said that the Biden administration “likely violated the law in eliminating cost-free coverage” for counseling in fertility awareness-based methods (FABM). The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Ms. Tice-Harouff, argued that the Health and Human Services Department ran afoul of the Administrative Procedures Act when it removed FABM from the list of covered contraceptive methods without going through the rule-making process. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/aug/15/judge-halts-bidens-bid-remove-fertility-awareness-/__________________________________________________________ 3. Doctor says Boston gender clinic mutilates and sterilizes children, By Edie Heipel, Catholic News Agency, August 15, 2022, 5:00 PM Controversy erupted last week when news of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Gender Clinic for kids took over social media, prompting outrage over the hospital’s “first of its kind” program to facilitate sex-changes for children in the form of hormone treatments and irreversible surgeries.  According to the hospital’s website, Boston Children’s Center for Gender Surgery offers a “full suite of treatment options” for children and teens to “transfer seamlessly” into transition surgeries, including double mastectomies for children as young as 15 and sterilizing genital surgeries for teens. The program has seen over 1,000 patients, as young as 3 years old.  Pediatricians are condemning the program, which comes on the heels of news that youth gender clinics around the world are closing and changing guidance due to evidence that transition procedures harm, rather than help, children with gender dysphoria.Dr. Michelle Cretella, a Catholic pediatrician and a member of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), the largest association of Catholic physicians across the U.S., condemned Boston’s gender program in a statement to CNA. “These surgeries do not treat mental illness nor prevent suicide,” Cretella said in a statement, “[but] they do mutilate and permanently sterilize children who have no capacity to assess let alone consent to such life-changing interventions.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252042/doctor-says-boston-gender-clinic-mutilates-and-sterilizes-children__________________________________________________________ 4. After Maronite archbishop detained in Lebanon, U.S. bishops voice solidarity, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, August 15, 2022, 6:00 PM A Maronite Catholic archbishop was bringing aid back to Lebanon when he was wrongly detained by Lebanese authorities at the Israeli border, his supporters say. The U.S. bishops have spoken in his defense, objecting to the confiscation of medical aid and hundreds of thousands of dollars in monetary aid. “The arbitrary detention and interrogation of Archbishop Moussa El-Hage, the Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land, by Lebanese security, is cause for alarm,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, said Aug. 12. “The archbishop was returning from one of his regular visits to the Holy Land and bringing much-needed aid that the Lebanese diaspora in Israel wanted to send to family members in Lebanon,” Malloy said. “All this was confiscated by Lebanese security forces, along with his cell phone and passport.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252043/after-maronite-archbishop-detained-in-lebanon-us-bishops-voice-solidarity__________________________________________________________

TCA Media Monitoring provides 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. The opinions and views expressed in the articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Catholic Association.
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