1. Abortion Battleground Shifts To Arizona Supreme Court, Justices to consider allowing near-total ban dating to 1864, animating both sides, By Eliza Collins and Laura Kusisto, The Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2023, Pg. A3 Arizona is poised to take center stage in state-level battles over abortion this week when its highest court weighs whether to allow a near-total ban on the procedure to take effect. The case will kick off an election-year showdown over reproductive rights that isexpected to heavily influence the outcomes of Arizona’s hypercompetitive 2024 races, including contests for Congress and the White House. Activists are gearing up to put an abortion-rights measure on the ballot in Arizona next year.  The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Tuesday about whether to allow a near-total abortion ban dating back to 1864 to take effect. An appellate court a year ago ruled that the 19th-century measure needed to be harmonized with a more recent law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, in effect allowing women in the state to have abortions up until that later point.  If the justices allow the older law to take effect for the first time in some 50 years, it could inflame tensions in the state and boost the ballot measure’s chances of passage.  https://www.wsj.com/politics/elections/arizona-is-the-next-abortion-battleground-afae13a3 __________________________________________________________ 2. No Menorahs, Please, Is allowing a Hanukkah celebration really an endorsement of killing?, By The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2023, 5:26 PM, Editorial The Christmas season is a busy time for our secular scolds. Usually they are taking offense at nativity displays. But this year they have decided to be more ecumenical by going after a proposed menorah lighting in Williamsburg, Va. The lighting was proposed for Dec. 10 at the 2nd Sundays Art and Music Festival. But plans were cancelled. In messages to Rabbi Mendy Heber, festival organizer Shirley Vermillion said the organization decided that it couldn’t approve the lighting because it didn’t “want to make it seem we’re choosing a side—supporting the killing/bombing of thousands of men, women and children.” When the news broke, Gov. Glenn Youngkin tweeted that the decision was “absurd and antisemitic.” Ms. Vermillion claims the festival wasn’t cancelled because it had never officially been approved. She has also told various media outlets that 2nd Sundays doesn’t feature religious events and has turned down many Christian organizations in the past. But at one point Ms. Vermillion suggested the menorah lighting might be okay if an Islamic group were to participate at the same time, or if the lighting took place under a banner calling for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel conflict. So who’s really taking sides here?  Hanukkah has been celebrated for millennia, long before the present conflict in Gaza. To those who say that allowing a menorah lighting is to approve the killing of men, women and children, we’d say that’s a good argument for more light in the midst of such darkness. https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-menorahs-please-hanukkah-holidays-williamsburg-c90be513__________________________________________________________ 3. Wisconsin’s Very Own Roe v. Wade?, A judge finds an 1849 abortion law doesn’t ban abortion after all., By The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2023, 5:22 PM, Editorial Abortion is legal again in Wisconsin, after a judge in Dane County held Tuesday that an 1849 law that had been thought to ban the procedure doesn’t apply as long as the mother consents. This ruling could go to the state Supreme Court, and the liberal Justices there are already flexing their new 4-3 majority. Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper had signaled this was coming in a July opinion, though the law isn’t exactly confusing. “Any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony,” one section says. There’s an exception for when an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother.  Be prepared for more legal contortions, even though the democratic answer is clear. Wisconsinites might want greater access to abortion than the 1849 law provided. If so, that’s an adjustment properly made by state lawmakers who are accountable to voters. https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-abortion-law-judge-diane-schlipper-b6479527__________________________________________________________ 4. There’s Life Yet in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, In the face of war and atrocities, the principles of the 75-year-old document remain sound., By Mary Ann Glendon, The Wall Street Journal, December 9, 2023, Pg. A15, Opinion The United Nations General Assembly approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, 1948, without a single dissenting vote (although Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the Soviet bloc countries abstained). Today that remarkable consensus, achieved in the wake of two world wars and unspeakable atrocities, is falling apart. Hope for global consensus on anything seems remote. But is it really the case that consensus on the relatively small set of fundamental principles in the Universal Declaration can’t be reinvigorated? The history of the declaration suggests three reasons why the effort is worthwhile. And a promising development, as yet little noticed in the West, indicates there may be a fourth. First, in 1948 political realists scoffed at the idea that mere words could make a difference. But by 1989 the world was marveling that a few simple words of truth—a few courageous people willing to call good and evil by name—could change the course of history. The Universal Declaration became the most prominent symbol of the great grassroots movements that hastened the demise of colonialism, brought down apartheid in South Africa, and helped topple the seemingly indestructible totalitarian regimes in Eastern Europe. Its nonbinding principles had more effect than the international covenants that were based upon it.  Second, religion played a large role in those transformative movements. As one of the lawyers who defended civil-rights workers in Freedom Summer 1964, I can testify that it was religious conviction that motivated many of us to follow Martin Luther King Jr. in the struggle to end legal segregation. The same was the case in freedom movements elsewhere. Today, the role of religion is more complicated. Recent years have seen a rise in regional conflicts that implicate religion and a decline in religious affiliation in the West. That is a bad combination because religious zeal doesn’t necessarily disappear when it ceases to be directed toward religious objects. It is often transferred to some other object, such as ethnic identity, and pursued with deadly dedication. Fortunately, however, it isn’t beyond the power of religious leaders and groups to reject ideologies that manipulate religion for political purposes or use it as a pretext for violence. Nor is it beyond their capacity to find resources within their own traditions for promoting respect and tolerance, as the Catholic Church did in Vatican II and as the world’s largest Muslim political organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, is doing today. Humanitarian Islam, the inclusive, tolerant form of Islam promoted by that 100-million-member group, has real potential to shift the probabilities for peace in many parts of the world. Third, it wasn’t the great powers of the world but a coalition of less-powerful nations that assured that protection of human rights was included among the purposes of the U.N. Human rights weren’t a priority for the five big nations that became permanent members of the Security Council.  Seventy-five years ago, these visionaries forged a consensus that helped millions achieve better standards of life and greater freedom. Before giving up on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we should ask: Is it really going to take more wars, and more horrors, to breathe new life into a few enduring principles of human decency? Ms. Glendon is an emerita law professor at Harvard. She served as U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, 2008-09. https://www.wsj.com/articles/theres-life-yet-in-the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights-460a2be3__________________________________________________________ 5. Pregnant woman in Kentucky sues for the right to get an abortion, By Bruce Schreiner and Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, December 8, 2023, 4:46 PM A pregnant woman in Kentucky filed a lawsuit Friday demanding the right to an abortion, the second legal challenge in days to sweeping abortion bans that have taken hold in more than a dozen U.S. states since Roe v. Wade was overturned last year. The suit, filed in state court in Louisville, says Kentucky’s near-total prohibition of abortion violates the plaintiff’s rights to privacy and self-determination under the state constitution. The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, is about eight weeks pregnant and she wants to have an abortion in Kentucky but cannot legally do so because of the state’s ban, the suit said. She is seeking class-action status to include other Kentuckians who are or will become pregnant and want to have an abortion.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/12/08/abortion-kentucky-aclu-lawsuit/48c1248c-95f1-11ee-9d5c-d462c9032daa_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Cardinal Gregory, and ‘dealing with’ priests, By JD Flynn, The Pillar, December 8, 2023, 6:49 PM Cardinal Wilton Gregory on Wednesday said that priests have caused problems in the U.S. Church by imposing their liturgical preferences on parishes, and that both he and Pope Francis are committed to addressing that problem through restrictions on the extraordinary form of the Mass. While the cardinal’s remark may have been borne out of his own experience overseeing liturgy, they were no doubt evocative for some priests of the dwindling levels of trust between priests and their bishops, and the discontentment expressed by Pope Francis about his perceptions of younger clerics. The remarks, therefore, could seem to exemplify the split between a cadre of bishops in the U.S. and their priests.    “In many of the places where it grew — the Tridentine rite — it grew because priests promoted it. And not because people — in other words, if you had a guy that came into the parish, and said, ‘Well, I like this rite, I’m gonna do it,’ and he gathered people together, and now all the sudden he created the need, in places where there wasn’t a need there.” “So I think that the Holy Father is right to say: ‘Deal with the priests.’” It is possible that Gregory’s observation about the growth of the more ancient liturgy resonates with his own experience as a bishop in Illinois, Georgia, and the Archdiocese of Washington — though some in the DC area have challenged that assertionAnd soon after his remarks began circulating online, priests who celebrate the older liturgy began pushing back, with many of them indicating that they learned the “Old Mass” because parishioners had asked for it — especially among the growing number of young people across the U.S. who say they want to experience the pre-conciliar liturgy.  Of course, some Catholics would say that to the extent that priests did introduce the older liturgy to their people, they were drawing from their formation, their studies, and their experience to offer people a way of worship that might resonate with them — and that doing so was perfectly legitimate under the aegis of the Church’s law at the time. Some Catholics would also suggest that the spread of the older rite among young people — the demand for it at Catholic University, for example — indicates that those priests were right in their judgment, and that it is remarkable to see young people enthusiastic about the question of how they worship, in a period of widespread and accelerating institutional disaffiliation. In other words, some Catholics would wonder if Gregory wouldn’t want to capture the enthusiasm of young people for liturgy, rather than to quell it.  But regardless of how the older rubrics spread in the U.S., some priests expressed surprise Friday at Gregory’s concluding sentiment, which seemed to say that their pastoral initiative and judgment meant they were in some way causing a problem, and therefore needed to be “dealt with.” The cardinal’s rhetoric seemed to suggest to some priests that they were not believed when they said that young people wanted the older liturgy, or that their efforts to reach young people using an option that had been legally available to them until 2021 made them suspect, or a problem. But the remarkable candor of Gregory’s remarks pointed to an issue worth noting in the Church — the obstacles to restoring trust among priests for their diocesan bishops. In his remarks Wednesday, Gregory emphasized that he agreed with Pope Francis about the need for priests celebrating the older liturgy to be “dealt with.” That emphasis was evocative of the pope’s recent admonition against the “scandal of young priests trying on cassocks and hats, or albs and lace robes.” Gregory’s words, and Francis’, revealed a gap — probably a broad generational gap — in the way that liturgical matters are perceived among clerics. Where older liturgies and attention to vestments are apparently regarded by Gregory and Francis as evidence of “clericalism,” they are, for younger clerics, often seen as a way of both serving their people, and serving God. Generational gaps happen, of course. They are to be expected. But a set of data analytics published earlier this year suggests the particular gap into which Gregory stepped — differing perceptions over liturgy — is part of a specific set of problems that makes difficult establishing trust between bishops and their priests.  In short, the data indicates that simply pushing for a particular style of uniformity within the ordinary form — while bishops across the country restrict even things like the ad orientem posture — will probably backfire for many bishops, and could actually hasten a more significant discussion about post-conciliar liturgy in the decades to come. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/cardinal-gregory-and-dealing-with__________________________________________________________ 7. After pro-life loss in Ohio, Columbus bishop announces several initiatives to promote life, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, December 8, 2023, 4:00 PM Following last month’s referendum in Ohio that enshrined a right to abortion in its constitution, Columbus Bishop Earl Fernandes announced several pro-life and spiritual initiatives that the prelate hopes will make abortion “unthinkable.” The amendment to the constitution, for which a majority of Ohioans voted on Nov. 7, guarantees that “every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions,” including, but not limited to, abortion. “Outside the realm of politics, the true victory will come by winning hearts through our unconditional and relentless love for women and their children,” Fernandes said in a Dec. 7 letter to the faithful published in the diocesan newspaper.  Fernandes encouraged Catholics to “a deeper life of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256225/after-pro-life-loss-in-ohio-columbus-bishop-announces-several-initiatives-to-promote-life__________________________________________________________ 8. Why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Remains Significant After 75 Years, By Andrea M. Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, December 10, 2023, Opinion The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 (UDHR) celebrates its 75th Anniversary on Dec. 10. These days the United Nations is associated with so many disturbing causes, and seeming under the control of powerful governments and interest groups, that it seems strange to be celebrating one of its pronouncements. But, believe it or not, the UDHR is actually worth celebrating.  Don’t take my word for it: Listen to one of the great Catholic public thinkers of our time, professor Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law emerita at Harvard University and a former U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. She is a prolific writer in the fields of human rights, comparative law, and political theory — and, more importantly, is a source of erudite common sense about these subjects rather than recycling the latest jargon.  In a 1999 Notre Dame Law Review article, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UDHR, Glendon described it as “the single most important reference point for cross-cultural discussion of human freedom and dignity in the world today.” She traced the origins of the project and shared her esteem for the “vision of the men and women who, after two world wars which gave them every reason to despair about the human condition, did what they could to help make the world a better and safer place.”   The 75th anniversary of the UDHR is a reminder not to give up on its noble aim of recognizing the dignity of each and every human being. But I think it’s more than that. It’s also a perfect opportunity to celebrate one of the Declaration’s greatest living champions — professor Glendon. And that’s exactly what is happening. The University of Dallas — now acclaimed as one of the finest Catholic institutions of higher education in the nation — is establishing the Mary Ann Glendon Chair and Program in Catholicism, Human Rights, and Constitutional Government. New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former student of Glendon’s, are serving as co-chairs of the initiative. The university’s reason for doing so is inspiring and timely: “As the extremes of left and right intensify their assault on human dignity and freedom, a more robust, coherent, and systematic intellectual response is the need of the hour. To develop such a response, there is no better and more relevant resource than the rich and balanced thought of Mary Ann Glendon.” I couldn’t agree more. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/why-the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights-remains-significant-after-75-years__________________________________________________________

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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