1. Study: Intolerance, overturning of Roe lead to rise in church attacks, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, December 15, 2022, Pg. A7 America’s churches are increasingly coming under physical attack as political polarization increases, the Family Research Council found in an analysis to be released Thursday. The District-based advocacy group said 137 attacks on churches were reported in 2022, nearly three times the 50 attacks reported in 2018. Reported vandalism more than doubled, with 99 incidents reported this year versus 41 four years ago. There were 18 reports of arson for 2022, twice the total of 2021 and 61% higher than the 11 arsons reported in 2018.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/dec/14/intolerance-overturning-roe-lead-dramatic-rise-att/__________________________________________________________ 2. The 4th Circuit’s attack on charter schools and religion, The Supreme Court must pick up the petition, By Michael McKenna, The Washington Times, December 15, 2022, Pg. B1, Opinion The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to accept a North Carolina charter school’s petition for certiorari asking the court to “review and reverse” the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ June decision in Peltier v. Charter Day School. The Supreme Court’s decision on the petition may be one of the most consequential it will make this term. Not only does the future of the nation’s roughly 7,700 charter schools (and the nearly 3.5 million students who attend them) hang in the balance, but the independence and integrity of pretty much all nongovernment social-services providers, especially those operated by or affiliated with religious institutions, may also be threatened.  The 4th Circuit, however, in a split decision, sided with the ACLU and concluded that Charter Day School is, in fact, a “state actor” and (most ominously), therefore, must comply with the policies and regulations that apply to government-run schools.  Most importantly, it’s not just charter schools that are likely to be adversely affected by the 4th Circuit’s erroneous decision. Many other nonprofit service providers and the people they help also would be harmed, as Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (Virginia), the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty, the Islam and Religious Freedom Action Team of the Religious Freedom Institute, and Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Clinic all pointed out in briefs supporting Charter Day School. The Catholic Charities brief is direct and succinct: “The 4th Circuit’s overbroad approach to the state-action doctrine threatens far more than charter schools. It also threatens religious social-service providers … [which] could be deemed state actors.” In short, the question confronting the judiciary is whether any organization will be allowed to exist outside the realm and reach of the government (at whatever level). For these organizations and everyone who relies on them, that is a legitimately existential question. The Supreme Court needs to accept the petition and clarify this mess. Michael McKenna, a columnist for The Washington Times, co-hosts “The Unregulated Podcast.” He was most recently a deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the Office of Legislative Affairs at the White House. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/dec/14/4th-circuits-attack-on-charter-schools-and-religio/__________________________________________________________ 3. At ‘Church City,’ a taste of Catholic life in Qatar, By Mariam Fam, Associated Press, December 15, 2022, 4:27 AM In many ways, the service at the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary feels like a standard Sunday Mass. But at this church in Qatar, the small Gulf emirate hosting the World Cup, there are some tweaks. The church sits in a “religious complex” housing other Christian denominations. Its building looks non-descript from the outside, with no crosses on its exterior. Sunday Mass is celebrated also on Fridays and Saturdays, the weekend days in the conservative Muslim country. “This is something very unique here in the Middle East,” said parish priest, the Rev. Rally Gonzaga. “Our Sunday is Friday.”  Sunni and Shiite Muslims and eight Christian denominations constitute the registered religious groups; unregistered religious groups are illegal, but Qatari authorities generally permit them to practice their faith privately, the report added. The complex known as “Church City,” located on government-owned land, provides worship space for Christian denominations, “with clear government instructions that Christian symbols such as crosses, steeples, and statues were not permitted on the exterior of church buildings,” the report said. Gonzaga said having no crosses outside was out of “respect” for the country and its people.  Qatari law restricts public worship for non-Islamic faiths and criminalizes proselytizing on behalf of an organization, society, or foundation of any religion other than Islam, the State Department’s report said. Outside the complex, priests visit Christian inmates and go into hospitals to respond to requests for Communion, confessions or anointing of the sick.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/at-church-city-a-taste-of-catholic-life-in-qatar/2022/12/15/c01a55fa-7c5a-11ed-bb97-f47d47466b9a_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Paglia used charity funds to renovate apartment, Hundreds of thousands were paid to a contractor instead of going to missionary and charitable projects. Paglia claims they were repaid; while others cry foul., By The Pillar, December 14, 2022, 12:38 PM Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia diverted hundreds of thousands of euros allocated to support missionary and charitable works while he served as president of the Pontifical Council for the Family. Paglia used much of the money to finance building projects in Rome, including the renovation of his personal apartment, The Pillar has learned. According to multiple independent sources with knowledge of the events, Archbishop Paglia confirmed in a 2015 memo to Holy See financial officials that hundreds of thousands of euros had been paid to an Italian construction contractor instead of going to missionary and charitable projects to support poor families and orphans. While Paglia claimed to have repaid some of the money diverted from charitable funds, sources say that he did so with other donations to the pontifical council, and not with money specifically provided for restitution. The archbishop, currently president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, led the Pontifical Council for the Family from 2012 until 2016, when Pope Francis merged the council into the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.  In recent months, Paglia’s leadership of the institution has made headlines, after the publication of the proceedings of a three-day seminar sponsored by the pontifical academy in fall 2021. In an introduction to the book, titled “Theological Ethics of Life. Scripture, Tradition, Practical Challenges,” Paglia said the text was intended to “introduce a paradigm shift” in the theological ethics of life. Critics of the book have said it challenges the Church’s condemnation of artificial contraception, reaffirmed in the 1968 encyclical Humanae vitae, and promotes a relativistic approach to the principles of natural law.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/paglia-used-charity-funds-to-renovate-personal-apartment/__________________________________________________________ 5. Jesuits admit artist excommunicated before new abuse claims, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 14, 2022, 5:23 PM The head of Pope Francis’ Jesuit religious order admitted Wednesday that a famous Jesuit priest had been convicted of one of the most serious crimes in the Catholic Church some two years before the Vatican decided to shelve another case against him for allegedly abusing other adult women under his spiritual care. The Rev. Arturo Sosa, the Jesuit superior general, made the admission during a briefing with journalists that was dominated by the scandal over the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik and the reluctance of both the Vatican and the Jesuits to tell the whole story behind the unusually lenient treatment he received even after he had been temporarily excommunicated.  Sosa was asked what, if anything, Francis knew about Rupnik’s case or whether he intervened. Sosa said he “could imagine” that the prefect of the dicastery, the Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, would have informed the pope of such a decision. Officials at the Dicastery either didn’t respond to emails seeking comment or declined to comment, referring questions to the Vatican spokesman, who in turn referred questions to the Jesuits. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/jesuits-admit-artist-excommunicated-before-new-abuse-claims/2022/12/14/ef1d44ba-7be8-11ed-bb97-f47d47466b9a_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. European Court of Human Rights condemns Bulgaria for discriminating against Christians, By Catholic News Agency, December 14, 2022, 7:20 AM The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday condemned the government of Bulgaria for violating the right to religious freedom of evangelical Christians in the country. The court ruled Dec. 13 that a 2008 campaign by government officials to warn children and families away from Protestant churches constituted a violation of human rights. The case was brought to Europe’s top human rights court on the part of two Bulgarian pastors, Zhivko Tonchev and Radoslav Kiryakov, with the support of ADF International and lawyer Viktor Kostov. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253072/european-court-of-human-rights-condemns-bulgaria-for-discriminating-against-christians__________________________________________________________ 7. Cardinal Zen appeals conviction in Hong Kong court, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, December 14, 2022, 7:47 AM Cardinal Joseph Zen has filed an appeal with Hong Kong’s High Court following his conviction last month for failing to register a fund that helped pay for the legal fees and medical treatments of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. The Hong Kong Free Press reported on Dec. 14 that the 90-year-old cardinal and former bishop of Hong Kong filed an appeal of the verdict this week together with four other trustees of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund who were fined about $500 (HK$4,000) each. Zen’s trial from September to November focused on whether it was necessary for the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund trustees to apply for local society registration between 2019 and 2021. Magistrate Ada Yim ruled on Nov. 25 that the fund was a “local society” and was subject to its rules. In her judgment, she said that the fund “had political objectives and thus it was not established solely for charitable purposes.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253073/cardinal-zen-appeals-conviction-in-hong-kong-court__________________________________________________________

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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