1. Americans Are Losing Their Religious Faith, By Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, August 24, 2023, Pg. A17, Opinion While much of the rest of the industrialized world has become more secular over the last half-century, the United States has appeared to be an exception.  Yet evidence is growing that Americans are becoming significantly less religious. They are drifting away from churches, they are praying less and they are less likely to say religion is very important in their lives. For the first time in Gallup polling, only a minority of adults in the United States belong to a church, synagogue or mosque. (Most of the research is on Christians because they account for roughly 90 percent of believers in the United States.)  If this trend continues at the same pace, by the mid-2030s fewer than half of Americans may identify as Christian. There are various theories for what is behind the struggles of Christianity, and multiple factors are probably at work. One noted by Davis and Graham is that to many people the church hasn’t seemed very Christian.  Moore cites data suggesting that the reason people leave churches is not that they lose their belief in God so much as that they lose confidence in religious leaders and in the church’s moral leadership. He thinks faith can still recover; I’m not so sure. Religious charlatans like Falwell may have meant to usher in a new Great Awakening, but in fact they taught millions of Americans to be wary of preening ventriloquists who claim to speak for God. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/08/23/opinion/christianity-america-religion-secular.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Nicaragua bans Jesuits and confiscates all their assets, As the crackdown against the Catholic Church in Nicaragua continues, President Daniel Ortega’s regime declares the Jesuit religious order illegal and orders the confiscation of all its assets., By Lisa Zengarini, Vatican News, August 24, 2023 Despite worldwide protests and condemnation, the Sandinista regime’s crackdown against the Catholic Church and opposition continues unabated. After expelling a community of Jesuit priests from their private residence close to the Central American University (UCA) in Managua, and confiscating the university, on Wednesday, 23 August, Nicaraguan authorities banned the entire Society of Jesus from the country and ordered the confiscation of all its assets, claiming the religious order had failed to comply with tax reporting.  https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2023-08/nicaragua-bans-jesuits-and-confiscates-all-their-assets.html __________________________________________________________ 3. South Carolina Supreme Court upholds 6-week abortion ban, By Carma Hassan, CNN, August 23, 2023, 3:15 PM The South Carolina Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a temporary block on the state’s abortion restrictions, with four justices agreeing and one dissenting in three separate opinions.  The law, known as the ”Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act,” limits most abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when early cardiac activity can be detected in a fetus or embryo. Shortly after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act in May, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic and several other medical providers filed a lawsuit in state court to try to stop it. https://www.cnn.com/2023/08/23/politics/south-carolina-supreme-court-six-week-abortion-ban/index.html__________________________________________________________ 4. South Carolina Supreme Court upholds ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban: ‘Life is winning’, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, August 23, 2023, 2:23 PM South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a law protecting unborn babies with detectable heartbeats from abortion is constitutional and can go into effect. The ruling ended a circuit court’s injunction that had temporarily blocked the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act, which was signed by Republican Gov. Henry McMaster in May. Planned Parenthood and Greenville Women’s Clinic had requested the injunction, claiming the law violates constitutional rights to privacy, equal protection, and substantive due process.  SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement: “Life is winning in the Palmetto State and in hearts and minds nationwide.” “Today’s decision respects the compassionate will of South Carolinians and their legislators, who have repeatedly expressed their desire to protect babies from brutal abortions and provide true aid to mothers.” “We are so thankful to Gov. McMaster for being a champion of life, Attorney General [Alan] Wilson and his team for fighting for the people, and all our allies for their persistence. From this moment on, thousands of lives will be saved,” she said.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255168/south-carolina-supreme-court-upholds-heartbeat-abortion-ban-life-is-winning__________________________________________________________ 5. US Pro-Lifers Fight to Explicitly Exclude Abortion-Related Groups From Global AIDS-Relief Program, The previously bipartisan PEPFAR program has come under scrutiny due to ties with abortion groups during the Biden administration., By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, August 23, 2023 A battle is underway in Congress over reauthorizing the lifesaving, two-decade-old President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) — centered on whether the program now facilitates abortions overseas. Pro-life Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., previously a prime sponsor of PEPFAR, told the Register that he is opposing the program’s reauthorization unless it excludes groups that provide, promote or lobby for abortion because he sees an “existential threat to the children of Africa” in the Biden administration’s alleged inclusion of abortion within the program.  In May, a coalition of 31 pro-life organizations, including Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, Americans United for Life and the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wrote to the heads of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees asking that Mexico City Policy language be added to PEPFAR so that “no grantees or subgrantees are using taxpayer funds to promote a radical sexual and reproductive health agenda.”  Smith is backing the fiscal year 2024 appropriations bill from Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., that would extend PEPFAR — which has provisions that are set to expire Sept. 30 — through 2024 with the full “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” policy protections and other pro-life protections. He called funding programs through appropriations a “common practice,” pushing back against claims, including from Tom Hart, president of the nonprofit ONE campaign, who told The Washington Post that some PEPFAR provisions could be lost in the battle over reauthorization. Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, the chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pro-life committee, along with Sean Callahan, president of Catholic Relief Services, and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, chairman of the USCCB’s international justice and peace committee, wrote to Congress in July urging that pro-life language be a part of the PEPFAR reauthorization  https://www.ncregister.com/news/us-pro-lifers-fight-to-explicitly-exclude-abortion-related-groups-from-global-aids-relief-program__________________________________________________________

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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