1. Pope’s pitch for Christmas: Push beyond consumption to conversion, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, December 27, 2022 For believers, Christmas is traditionally a time of joy and celebration. Yet throughout his holiday liturgies this year, Pope Francis stressed it’s also a time for a reckoning, leading to conversion. As usual, the pope participated in a vigil Mass on Christmas Eve, delivered his traditional Urbi et Orbi address and blessing on Christmas day, and led faithful in praying the Angelus the day after Christmas, which, on the liturgical calendar, is the feast of St. Stephen. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/12/popes-pitch-for-christmas-push-beyond-consumption-to-conversion__________________________________________________________ 2. Court Rules Sikh Marine Recruits Can Wear Beards at Boot Camp, The recruits sued the Marine Corps in April, saying its refusal to grant a religious waiver was arbitrary and discriminatory, By Derrick Bryson Taylor, The New York Times, December 26, 2022 Judge Millett wrote that while the Marine Corps had agreed to accommodate the men’s religious commitments after basic training was completed, it had not provided a compelling argument for any safety reasons for the policy nor an argument that unshorn hair would interfere physically with boot camp training.It also did not explain why unshorn hair, kept in compliance with Marine Corps policy, is incompatible with being a Marine after boot camp.  Eric Baxter, a vice president and senior counsel at Becket Law, a nonprofit that defends religious liberty, said in a statement that the ruling was “a victory for our nation, as three brave and dedicated men will soon serve our nation with valor in the Marine Corps.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/26/us/sikh-beard-marine-corps.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope’s lament: Icy winds of war buffet humanity at Christmas, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, December 25, 2022, 7:35 AM Pope Francis used his Christmas message Sunday to lament the “icy winds of war” buffeting humanity and to make an impassioned plea for an immediate end to the fighting in Ukraine, a 10-month-old conflict he decried as “senseless.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/popes-lament-icy-winds-of-war-buffet-humanity-at-christmas/2022/12/25/ae6c98c6-8449-11ed-b5ac-411280b122ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. The Brain, Life and the Meaning of Death, By Prof. Melissa Moschella, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2022, Pg. A12, Letter to the Editor Many of the people working to revise the Uniform Determination of Death Act have argued that the brain-based definition of death should be maintained because whole-brain death is the death of a human being. Contrary to James Bopp Jr.’s claim cited in “Doctors and Lawyers Debate the Meaning of ‘Brain Death’” (U.S. News, Dec. 12), there is no parallel between brain-death debates and debates about when life begins. In the earliest stages of life, organismal integration doesn’t require a brain (at first because of the relative simplicity of the embryo, and then because the placenta plays the central integrating role during gestation). In postnatal humans, however, the brain is an irreplaceable organ responsible for organismal self-integration; when it has died, the body is no longer truly integrated, even though life-support machines can mask this. Human organs and even organ systems can be artificially maintained in a lab outside the body, but no one thinks these are human beings or that the person they came from is still alive. Similarly, that some brain-dead bodies can be artificially maintained doesn’t mean that the human being is still alive, for the hallmark of organismal life is self-integration. When the brain dies, such self-integration has been irretrievably lost. Prof. Melissa Moschella is a professor at Catholic University of America.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/brain-death-medical-ethics-human-life-support-11671742545__________________________________________________________ 5. Why God Became a Baby, Intimidation doesn’t bring peace and joy. Infants do., By Robert Barron, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2022, Pg. A11, Opinion There’s something about a baby. If introduced into a crowded room, everyone will want a glimpse. Conversations will stop, smiles will spread and arms will reach out for a loving embrace. Even the most curmudgeonly denizen will be drawn toward the child. Babies bring peace and joy—it’s what they do. The central message of Christmas is that God became a baby. The omnipotent Creator, the source of finite existence, the reason there is something rather than nothing, became an infant too weak even to raise his head. I’m sure that everyone around the Christ child’s crib did what people always do around babies: smile and coo and make funny noises. They were also surely drawn more closely together by their shared concern for the child. In this we see a stroke of divine genius. For the entire history of Israel, God was endeavoring to attract his chosen people to himself and draw them into deeper communion with one another. Yet a sad and consistent theme of the Old Testament is that despite the Lord’s efforts and institutions, Israel remained alienated from God: the Torah ignored, covenants broken, commandments disobeyed, the Temple corrupted. In the fullness of time, then, God determined not to intimidate or order us from on high but rather to become a baby. At Christmas, the human race no longer looked up to see the face of God but down into the face of a little child.  May I impart some advice? Be particularly attentive to how people react to the baby. Notice the magnetic power the child has over the entire motley crew. Then, remember the reason you’re gathering is to celebrate the baby who is God. And finally, permit yourself to be attracted by the peculiar magnetism of that divine child. Bishop Barron leads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn., and is founder of the ministerial organization Word on Fire. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-divine-magnetism-of-the-christ-child-baby-christmas-kid-children-joy-peace-infant-crib-11671817016__________________________________________________________ 6. When Mary Met The Angel, Two thousand years ago, a young woman in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire received a message that would change the world, By Rebecca McLaughlin, The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2022, Pg. C1, Opinion The first person ever to hear that Jesus is the Son of God was a low-income teenage girl in an obscure backwater of the Roman empire. She went by the most common name for Jewish women of her time and place: She was just another Mary. But then she claimed an angel had appeared to her and told her she would give birth to the Son of God. From the perspective of both Jews and Romans in the first century A.D., her story was completely unbelievable. How has it lasted for 2,000 years?  But why would God become a man? Why would he live in poverty and die in agony? Why would the King of all creation come not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many? According to the Christian story, it was because of love for every human being, rich or poor, weak or strong, enslaved or free. He paid the price for human sin—a word we may not choose to use but a reality we hit upon when we bewail injustice in this world and wonder why it seems so hard to fix. Christians believe that the Son of God was born to die, so that all who trust in him could live as sons and daughters of God—wrapped up more tightly in his love than the newborn Jesus was wrapped up by Mary in his swaddling clothes. When Mary met the angel, she was a no-name girl from a disempowered people in a seemingly inconsequential place. Today, if you worry that you might be insignificant—unknown, unloved and unimportant in this world—perhaps this Christmas you will hear her message with fresh ears. If she was right about her son, then you are worth the birth and life and death and resurrection of the Son of God. Dr. McLaughlin is the author of “Confronting Christianity: Twelve Hard Questions for the World’s Largest Religion” and “Is Christmas Unbelievable? Four Questions Everyone Should Ask About the World’s Most Famous Story,” among other books. https://www.wsj.com/articles/when-mary-met-the-angel-11671810935__________________________________________________________ 7. Pope’s vicar for Rome seeks full truth about Jesuit abuse, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 23, 2022, 2:52 PM The pope’s vicar for Rome called Friday for the full truth to come out about a famous Jesuit priest accused of sexual and spiritual abuses against adult women, and said he was evaluating what to do with the priest’s Rome-based community and diocesan positions. Cardinal Angelo De Donatis became the latest church official to weigh in about the scandal involving the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik, a sought-after artist, preacher and retreat leader whose mosaics grace churches and basilicas around the world. In Rome, where the Slovene priest has lived since the mid-1990s, Rupnik decorated the diocesan seminary chapel as well as the Redemptoris Mater chapel inside the Vatican. Technically speaking De Donatis, who is Pope Francis’ day-to-day manager for the Rome diocese, has little direct oversight over Rupnik because he is a Jesuit and reports to his immediate Jesuit superior. But in an indication of his influence in the pope’s diocese, Rupnik was also rector of an important Rome church and is a member of the diocesan arts council — two jobs that De Donatis said Friday were now up being evaluated. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/popes-vicar-for-rome-seeks-full-truth-about-jesuit-abuse/2022/12/23/634767da-82fb-11ed-8738-ed7217de2775_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. FDA changes Plan B label, clarifies it won’t cause abortion, By Amanda Seitz, Associated Press, December 23, 2022, 6:28 PM The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it will overhaul packaging labels for the emergency contraceptive pill, Plan B, that women can take after having sex to prevent a pregnancy. The federal agency said it will remove references on the contraception’s packaging that claim, without scientific evidence, that the pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. The new labels are intended to further distinguish the emergency contraception — also known as the morning after pill — from abortion pills, which end a pregnancy after a fertilized egg has implanted in the lining of a woman’s uterus. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/fda-changes-plan-b-label-clarifies-it-wont-cause-abortion/2022/12/23/785aade4-8319-11ed-8738-ed7217de2775_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. In States Where Abortion Is Legal, Some Cities Look to Restrict Access, Local measures highlight complexity of abortion access in states after Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, By Jennifer Calfas, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2022, 9:00 AM Some city and county governments in states that allow abortion are exploring ways to restrict it within their communities. The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June returned the issue to the states. But a growing number of municipalities aim to create their own abortion regulations, potentially setting the stage for legal battles or conflicts with state officials. The city-level efforts add to an increasingly complex patchwork of abortion access spilling across state borders. They also raise questions of what role, if any, cities play in determining abortion laws. https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-states-where-abortion-is-legal-some-cities-look-to-restrict-access-11671749172__________________________________________________________ 10. Retired bishop of French Guiana found guilty of sex abuse, By Edgar Beltrán, The Pillar, December 23, 2022, 5:53 PM The Vatican has found French Guiana’s retired Bishop Emmanuel Lafont guilty of sexual abuse and ordered him to observe a life of prayer and penance at a French monastery. The bishop has been accused of sexual misconduct with immigrants whom he had housed in his episcopal residence. The retired bishop is also facing a civil investigation by the Cayenne public prosecutor’s office, for human trafficking, breach of trust, and aiding illegal residents. La Croix reported the Vatican verdict Dec. 19, saying it was actually handed down in October. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/retired-bishop-of-french-guiana-found-guilty-of-sex-abuse/__________________________________________________________ 11. Indian archbishop: Vatican may discipline priests over liturgy protest, An Indian Catholic archbishop warned priests protesting at liturgical changes that they could face “disciplinary actions, even from the part of the Holy See.”, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, December 23, 2022, 11:45 AM An Indian Catholic archbishop warned priests protesting against liturgical changes supported by Pope Francis Friday that they could face “disciplinary actions, even from the part of the Holy See.” In a Dec. 23 letter to clergy in the Archeparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly, Archbishop Andrews Thazhath urged priests to begin celebrating a new form of the Syro-Malabar Church’s Eucharistic liturgy “at least by Christmas 2022.” The Syro-Malabar Church, which regards St. Thomas the Apostle as its founder, is the second-largest of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with Rome, after the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. The Church’s Synod of Bishops urged Syro-Malabar dioceses in August 2021 to adopt a “uniform mode” of the Eucharistic liturgy, in which priests face the people during the Liturgy of the Word, turn toward the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and face the people again after Communion. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/indian-archbishop-vatican-may-discipline-priests-over-liturgy-dispute/__________________________________________________________

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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