1. After Ballot Losses, Where Does the Anti-Abortion Movement Go Next?, By Jane Coaston, The New York Times, August 21, 2023, 5:00 AM, Interview It’s a quandary for many of the 2024 Republican presidential candidates set to debate this Wednesday night: how to talk about abortion in America now that their long-held goal of overturning Roe v. Wade has been achieved.  The candidates have offered a range of views, including some pretty squishy talk. But Kristan Hawkins, president of Students For Life of America, is undeterred about her mission — “to see abortion made unavailable and unthinkable in the United States.” Ms. Hawkins, president of the group since 2006, has become one of the anti-abortion movement’s most intransigent activists. Even as Republican presidential candidates shy away from anti-abortion groups that were once reliable comrades, Ms. Hawkins remains committed to her group’s strategy. “Fundamentally, if you don’t think abortion is a federal issue, then you have no business running for federal office, because obviously you haven’t been paying attention,” she said. This interview, which has been edited for length and clarity, is part of an Opinion Q. and A. series exploring modern conservatism today, its influence in society and politics and how and why it differs (and doesn’t) from the conservative movement that most Americans thought they knew.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/21/opinion/kristan-hawkins-abortion-republicans.html __________________________________________________________ 2. Pakistan to compensate Christians who lost homes in rioting over alleged desecration of Quran, By Asim Tanveer and Munir Ahmed, Associated Press, August 21, 2023, 6:19 AM Authorities in Pakistan are promising 2 million rupees ($6,800) in compensation for each of nearly 100 poor Christians who lost their homes when a Muslim mob angered over the alleged desecration of a Quran stormed their neighborhoods, burning at least 19 churches and damaging houses, officials said Monday. Police said they have arrested dozens more rioters in ongoing raids, bringing the total number of detainees to 160. Last week’s attack was one of the most destructive in the country’s history. The violence drew nationwide condemnation, with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar ordering the arrest of all those linked to the rioting.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/21/pakistan-christians-destroyed-homes-compensation/2e406f8a-4003-11ee-9677-53cc50eb3f77_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope Francis writing a second environmental document after Laudato si’, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, August 21, 2023, 3:45 AM Pope Francis announced during an audience with lawyers Monday that he is writing a second part to his 2015 environmental encyclical Laudato si’. The pope said with this new writing he is updating Laudato si’ to cover current issues. He made the statement on the morning of Aug. 21, at the end of a speech to lawyers from the Council of Europe member states that signed the Vienna Declaration on the Support of the Rule of Law in 2022. Pope Francis told the lawyers he is sensitive to their care for the common home and commitment to the development of regulatory frameworks for environmental protection.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255138/pope-francis-writing-a-second-environmental-document-after-laudato-si__________________________________________________________ 4. Catholic School System Directs Students to Use Pronouns Assigned at Birth, The policy will affect more than 5,000 students who attend Catholic schools in the Diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts., By Eduardo Medina, The New York Times, August 20, 2023 A Catholic school system in Massachusetts has issued a new policy that orders students to use their names and pronouns assigned at birth and to conduct themselves in a manner “consistent with their biological sex,” drawing criticism in the latest clash between religious leaders and proponents of gender and sexual fluidity. The policy will affect 21 Catholic schools and more than 5,000 students in Worcester, a city about 45 miles west of Boston, beginning in the fall semester, according to an Aug. 15 statement approved by Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. Some Catholic schools in the diocese already had such policies in place, David Perda, the superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, said in the statement. But “individual situations” had “underscored a need for a single policy,” he said.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/20/us/massachusetts-catholic-schools-pronouns-lgbtq.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis calls for peaceful end to the Niger crisis, By Associated Press, August 20, 2023, 7:47 AMPope Francis expressed hope Sunday for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Niger following the military coup in the West African nation. The pontiff told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square that he is following events with concern, joining an appeal “for peace in the country and stability in the Sahel region.” He called on the international community “to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible, for the good of all.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/08/20/niger-pope-coup-dialogue/5b9a8b6e-3f4f-11ee-9677-53cc50eb3f77_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. A new puritanism is turning Catholics into Salem’s witches, By Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post, August 18, 2023, 9:37 AM, Opinion Religious persecution is nothing new to Massachusetts. But the commonwealth’s recent denial of a Catholic couple’s application to become foster parents because of their faith is a notable variation on the mass hysteria that once sent “witches” to the executioner. My analogy is hyperbolic only insofar as we accept that Catholicism disqualifies one from full participation in civic life. In this instance, Michael and Catherine “Kitty” Burke were told they weren’t qualified to be foster parents unless they vowed to support a child should he or she someday identify as “LGBTQIA.” Talk about a litmus test.  What happened to the Burkes, if once unimaginable, was perhaps inevitable. Less than 40 years ago, conventional wisdom held that children’s best interests were served by a married couple composed of one mother (female) and one father (male). This template was neither controversial nor in conflict with religious teachings of the time. In the 1990s, arguments for same-sex marriage became prominent. In the early 2000s, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize it, via a court ruling. In June 2015, the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality the law of the land. The ruling effectively made same-sex adoption legal in all 50 states, and countless loving families have resulted. However, it is at least ironic to note that, in Massachusetts today, a child could more easily be placed with a gay or transgender couple than with a Catholic heterosexual couple. If the Burkes win their case, as expected, maybe they can find a foster child wearing thin paper scrubs in a windowless hospital room who would love to go home with them. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/08/18/massachusetts-foster-catholics-religious-freedom/__________________________________________________________ 7. On Abortion, How Do We Get to Unthinkable?, Every time the pro-life movement succeeds in protecting laws that save the lives of unborn children, those laws automatically will assist our mission of rebuilding a culture of life in the U.S., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, August 18, 2023, Opinion While the ballot initiative in Ohio that failed earlier this month wasn’t specifically about abortion, it’s undeniable that the outcome in the Buckeye State marks an uphill climb for the state’s pro-life movement.  If passed, Ohio’s Issue 1 would have raised the threshold for amending the state Constitution to 60% of total votes cast from the current 50% plus one. Issue 1 proponents stressed that the provision would apply to all future amendments, in order to better fulfill a state constitution’s purpose of providing a settled legal framework.  But Issue 1 supporters primarily had hoped to increase the likelihood voters will reject the abortion-on-demand constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in Ohio’s November elections.  So it’s accurate to view Issue 1’s defeat as a momentary pro-life disappointment, even as Ohioans gear up for the vote in November that’s entirely about abortion. Pro-lifers in Ohio will face the same challenging factors — the disinformation and deep pockets of the pro-abortion lobby — that resulted in pro-life defeats in all of the six previous abortion-related state ballot measures since last year’s Dobbs decision.  But the underlying issue in any post-Roe debate over abortion policy is something different and more significant: After more than five decades of legal abortion, the majority of Americans no longer recoil in revulsion at the very idea of killing unborn babies in their own mothers’ wombs. We haven’t only been outspent and out-messaged, we have been out-taught.   As I pointed out earlier, the law is a teacher. So each and every time we succeed in reestablishing or protecting pro-life laws in a given state, in turn those laws automatically will assist our mission of rebuilding a culture in America where abortion shouldn’t be merely illegal — it should be unthinkable.  Michael Warsaw is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, and the Publisher of the National Catholic Register. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/abortion-unthinkable__________________________________________________________ 8. The Federal Bureau of Intimidation?, We should be concerned that the FBI is on its way to becoming an agency of intimidation wielded against the Catholic faithful of our nation whenever any member speaks out against abortion and gender ideology., By National Catholic Register, August 18, 2023, Editorial After news leaked out earlier this year about the existence of an internal FBI memo targeting “radical-traditionalist Catholics” as potential domestic terrorists, FBI Director Christopher Wray hastily assured Congress it was merely a highly regrettable blunder initiated by only a single overzealous FBI field office in Richmond, Virginia. Indeed, as recently as last month, he reaffirmed this talking point But we now know that Director Wray’s assurances weren’t accurate. Pressured by the House Judiciary Committee to provide more details about what happened, the FBI released a less-redacted version of the memo. It disclosed that at least two other offices located on the other side of the nation, in Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, had contributed to the drafting of the Richmond office’s memo.  As Catholics, we must hope that the memo was indeed mainly the misguided creation of a single FBI office. But combined with the FBI’s ongoing participation in the Biden administration’s weaponization of the Department of Justice against pro-life advocates, it’s not paranoid to be concerned that the FBI is on its way to becoming an agency of intimidation wielded against the Catholic faithful of our nation whenever we speak out against destructive social agendas like legal abortion and gender ideology. The FBI’s treatment of Pennsylvania pro-life advocate Mark Houck is another notable case in point. After the Department of Justice somehow concluded he ought to be prosecuted because of a minor altercation with a local abortion activist in Philadelphia —  even though local prosecutors earlier had judged that no legal action was warranted — a squad of heavily armed FBI agents arrived at Houck’s home to cart the Catholic husband and father off to jail in front of his horrified wife and seven children.  At his trial in January, a jury exonerated Houck after deliberating for less than an hour. In light of that outcome, it’s not unreasonable to conclude that the federal prosecutors who initiated Houck’s show trial knew from the outset there was little chance of a conviction. But by proceeding as they did, they wanted to send a chilling message to pro-life advocates everywhere. One final thing to remember: Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision, abortion activists have unleashed a wave of violence against pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic churches and other houses of worship. Given this context, which should make it easy for federal law enforcement officials to judge who really poses a serious threat of criminal misconduct, actions like the Richmond FBI memo and the arrest and prosecution of faithful Catholics like Mark Houck are even more repugnant.  They need to come to a permanent end, starting immediately. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/the-federal-bureau-of-intimidation__________________________________________________________ 9. Pennsylvania ends decades long funding for crisis pregnancy centers, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, August 18, 2023, 10:33 AM The state of Pennsylvania announced this month that it would be ending its partnership with a nonprofit group that helps fund crisis pregnancy centers throughout the state.  The state Department of Human Services said in a press release that its contract with Real Alternatives “will come to an end by Dec. 31, 2023,” after nearly 30 years. Real Alternatives says on its website that it routes funding to a “network of social service agencies, pregnancy support centers, maternity residences, and adoption agencies that offer comprehensive, life-affirming alternatives to abortion to women dealing with unplanned pregnancies.” ​​Among the services offered by the program include counseling, food, shelter, childbirth classes, and other amenities. The organization says it has helped hundreds of thousands of pregnant women and mothers since 1996.  Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro in the release tied the decision explicitly to support for abortion. “Pennsylvanians made clear by electing me as governor that they support a woman’s freedom to choose, and I will be steadfast in defending that right,” he said.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255125/pennsylvania-ends-decades-long-funding-for-crisis-pregnancy-centers__________________________________________________________ 10. Vatican secretary of state pledges solidarity with refugees, returnees from Sudan, By Kerbino Kuel Deng, Catholic News Agency, August 18, 2023, 4:50 PM Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, who arrived in South Sudan on Aug. 14 for a four-day visit, comforted returnees and refugees in the Diocese of Malakal who were displaced by the Sudan war that started on April 15 and expressed the closeness of the Holy Father with them. In his address to the returnees and refugees during his visit to the South Sudanese diocese on Aug. 15, Parolin thanked the local authorities and Bishop Stephen Nyodho Ador Majwok for facilitating the visit.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255133/vatican-secretary-of-state-pledges-solidarity-with-refugees-returnees-from-sudan__________________________________________________________

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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