1. Florida’s Catholic School Promise, By The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2023, Pg. A16, Editorial One goal of robust school choice programs is to broaden quality education alternatives. A new report brings evidence that this is happening in Florida, where Catholic PreK-12 schools are defying national trends. Of the 10 states with the highest Catholic school enrollment, Florida is the only one where Catholic school enrollment has grown over the past decade. It’s a modest 4.4%, or 3,644 students, but compare that to New York and New Jersey, where enrollment dropped by more than 30%. Pennsylvania saw a 25% loss. The report comes from Step Up for Students, a nonprofit that administers Florida’s K-12 scholarships. The Sunshine State’s population growth may have something to do with it, the report acknowledges. But other states showed larger declines in Catholic school enrollment than in the number of school-age children, so other factors seem to be at play. A big one is the state’s private school scholarships. Florida has offered publicly funded scholarships since 2001 and has expanded eligibility over the years. “As a share of total enrollment, the percentage of choice scholarship students in Florida Catholic schools has risen from 16.3 percent to 46.6 percent” from 2012-13 to 2022-23, says the report. This year the Legislature passed a bill to open the scholarships to all students regardless of income, so this percentage will likely grow as parents take advantage of the program to afford tuition at Catholic school.  All of this is a good signal that Florida’s steady school choice expansion has helped students and families. Other states can encourage similar growth and competition by expanding vouchers and scholarships for all children. https://www.wsj.com/articles/florida-catholic-school-enrollment-school-choice-1f25443b__________________________________________________________ 2. Burke claims Pope’s synod will foster ‘confusion, error and division’, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, August 23, 2023 In the foreword to a new booklet by a conservative group criticizing Pope Francis’s looming Synod of Bishops on Synodality, American Cardinal Raymond Burke has slammed the process surrounding the synod, calling it deeply harmful and potentially schismatic. Burke, a hero to the traditionalist wing of the Catholic Church, has been a frequent Francis critic. In his foreword, Burke said the booklet touches on “a most serious situation in the Church today” which he said “rightly concerns every thoughtful Catholic and persons of good will who observe the evident and grave harm which it is inflicting” on the church’s members. “We are told that the Church which we profess, in communion with our ancestors in the faith from the time of the Apostles, to be One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic is now to be defined by synodality, a term which has no history in the doctrine of the Church and for which there is no reasonable definition,” he said. Both the term synodality and its adjective, synodal, he said, “have become slogans behind which a revolution is at work to change radically the Church’s self-understanding, in accord with a contemporary ideology which denies much of what the Church has always taught and practiced.” Titled “The Synodal Process is a Pandora’s Box: 100 Questions & Answers,” by José Antonio Ureta and Julio Loredo de Izcue, the booklet is an initiative of the conservative American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), which also has repeatedly criticized Pope Francis.   https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2023/08/burke-claims-popes-synod-will-foster-confusion-error-and-division__________________________________________________________ 3. Archbishop Fernández and the Learning Curve, By George Weigel, First Things, August 23, 2023, Opinion Pope Francis has just given the Vatican his Ratzinger,” declared one July 2 headline; “Pope Francis Finds His Ratzinger,” announced another, four days later. Both quickie assessments of Argentinian Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández’s appointment as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith were wrong. Archbishop Fernández is no Joseph Ratzinger in either theological heft (a point Fernández himself implicitly acknowledged in one of his post-appointment interviews) or in his relationship to the pope he will serve.  When Joseph Ratzinger became the chief doctrinal adviser to the pope, he was one of the most learned men in the world, deeply versed in biblical studies, philosophy, history, and political theory as well as the various sub-disciplines of theology. Archbishop Fernández is an intelligent man, but no one could possibly claim that he is as competent, across as wide a range of subjects, as Ratzinger was. In fact, in several of his (numerous) post-appointment interviews, the archbishop betrayed a sorry lack of familiarity with the creative moral theology that has been developed in the Church since John Paul II’s 1993 encyclical, Veritatis Splendor (The Splendor of Truth). In one conversation, for example, Fernández opined that, while Veritatis Splendor had been a necessary corrective to certain untoward tendencies in post-conciliar Catholic moral theology, the encyclical had not fostered theological creativity with real pastoral impact. I beg to differ. Serious Catholic moral theology and moral philosophy in the English- speaking world have been energized over the past thirty years by John Paul’s brilliant theological and pastoral analysis of the moral life. As Archbishop Fernández prepares to take up his new duties in Rome, perhaps he could accelerate his learning curve by familiarizing himself with such creative, post–Veritatis Splendor books as Veritatis Splendor and the Renewal of Moral Theology (edited by Joseph Augustine Di Noia, Avery Dulles, and Romanus Cessario); Morality: The Catholic View (by Servais Pinckaers); Living the Truth in Love: A Biblical Introduction to Moral Theology (by Benedict Ashley); The Abuse of Conscience: A Century of Catholic Moral Theology (by Matthew Levering); Biomedicine and Beatitude: An Introduction to Catholic Bioethics (by Nicanor Pier Giorgio Austriaco); Aquinas and the Market: Toward a Humane Economy (by Mary Hirschfeld); Good and Evil Actions: A Journey through Saint Thomas Aquinas (by Steven Jensen); Action and Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (by Stephen Brock); Cooperation With Evil: Thomistic Tools of Analysis (by Kevin Flannery); Sharing in Christ’s Virtues (by Livio Melina); and The Christian Moral Life (by John Rziha).   Veritatis Splendor enraged Catholic Lite moral theologians in 1993 by its vigorous defense of the classic Catholic understanding that some acts are “intrinsically evil”—wrong in any circumstance—and the encyclical has been a bone in the throat of the establishment Catholic theological guild ever since. It would be beyond tragic if the new prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith used that office to promote the guild’s false claim that Veritatis Splendor was an exercise in papal nay-saying that underwrites theological torpidity and pastoral rigidity. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2023/08/archbishop-fernndez-and-the-learning-curve __________________________________________________________ 4. Maryland can disclose more names from Catholic sexual abuse report, court rules, An interim report released in April on decades of sexual abuse claims within the Archdiocese of Baltimore found more than 600 victims, By Fredrick Kunkle, The Washington Post, August 22, 2023, 6:35 PM Maryland’s attorney general can disclose additional names of Catholic clergy accused of child sexual abuse in the Baltimore Archdiocese, a state judge in Baltimore has ruled.The ruling by Baltimore City Circuit Court Associate Judge Robert K. Taylor Jr. also affects clergy who have held prominent positions in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and allegedly helped enable abusers or covered up abuse claims, and other people whose names surfaced in the investigation but were not accused of abuse. Under the ruling — which was issued Aug. 16 and unsealed Tuesday — all but three names can be revealed next month when Attorney General Anthony G. Brown (D) is scheduled to make public a revised version of its report on decades of sexual abuses in the archdiocese.  “These names are being released because the key to understanding the Report is understanding that this did not happen because of anything ‘the Archdiocese’ did or did not do. It happened because of the choices made by specific individuals at specific times,” the judge’s opinion says. His opinion also notes that although some powerful officials appeared to willfully cover up or enable abuse, others found themselves caught in a difficult situation. “To be clear: the Archdiocese did not sexually exploit children. Individuals did. The Archdiocese did not fail to report abuse. Individuals did. The Archdiocese did not transfer alleged abusers to positions where they could abuse again. Individuals did,” the opinion says. “Some of the individuals whose names were redacted were simply doing their job, as best they could, under trying circumstances.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2023/08/22/maryland-catholic-sexual-abuse-report-names/__________________________________________________________

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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