1. How is the GOP’s coronavirus recklessness compatible with being pro-life?, By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, December 7, 2021, Pg. A21, Opinion Now, with a conservative legal challenge to Roe nearing fruition, antiabortion advocates are understandably pleased about their political alliance with the anti-government populists. Yet even after the effective overturn of Roe, years of political battles await at both the state and federal levels. And it is hard to see how a GOP increasingly dedicated to needless death can carry an antiabortion message. The effective end of Roe would be an ideal point for responsible pro-lifers to assert their position on abortion as part of a broader culture of life, including the unborn and their mothers, the old and ill, people with intellectual disabilities and refugees fleeing oppression. Instead, in the Trump era, the state of Texas is taking the messaging lead on the topic, ensuring that the antiabortion movement seems as radical, punitive and vicious as possible. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/12/06/how-is-gops-coronavirus-recklessness-compatible-with-being-pro-life/___________________________________________________________ 2. I Couldn’t Vote for Trump, but I’m Grateful for His Supreme Court Picks, By Erika Bachiochi, The New York Times, December 7, 2021, Opinion As a pro-life voter living in heavily Democratic Massachusetts, casting a vote for president feels like a deeply inconsequential act. After all, the pro-choice candidate carries the commonwealth handily every four years. That said, over the past two presidential election cycles, I felt a strong sense of relief that I was free from the hard trade-offs of voters in battleground states and could just cast my vote for a write-in candidate. Yet listening to oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last week, I realized more clearly than before how grateful I am to those pro-lifers who did what I did not, would not, could not: cast a vote for Donald Trump. Politics is an art of prudence, and what I regarded as a deal with the devil they took to be a prudential act to achieve an essential end. For ending the abortion regime must be the keystone of standing against the individualistic libertarianism that characterizes our politics, left and right — and privileges the powerful over the weak and dependent. Ironically, and perhaps accidentally and certainly boorishly, Mr. Trump may have brought about what others could not.  Mr. Trump kept his promises to pro-lifers, nominating justices who now appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade.  If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, the pro-life movement will need to redouble the efforts of pro-lifers on the ground who for a half century have offered support, assistance and care to pregnant women and their children, both born and unborn. And crucially, it should call men to task. Ms. Bachiochi is a conservative legal scholar who has argued that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. She is the author of “The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision.” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/07/opinion/trump-supreme-court-abortion-dobbs-roe.html___________________________________________________________ 3. Swiss Catholic church orders study of past sexual abuse, By Jamey Keaten, Associated Press, December 7, 2021 The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland have asked two academics to lead a study into the Swiss church’s history of sexual exploitation since the mid-20th century, joining other churches in other countries in Europe and beyond to undergo such a reckoning. The Swiss Conference of Bishops and two other organizations announced Monday that two University of Zurich history professors, Monika Dommann and Marietta Maier, will assemble a team in the coming weeks before formally launching the project and detailing its full ambitions in March. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/2021/12/swiss-catholic-church-orders-study-of-past-sexual-abuse___________________________________________________________ 4. Pope: New meeting with Russian Orthodox patriarch possible, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 6, 2021, 10:20 AM Pope Francis said Monday there were plans for a possible second meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, after their historic 2016 encounter in Cuba became a landmark in mending relations severed by the 1,000-year-old schism that divided Christianity. Francis said he planned to meet next week with the Russian church’s foreign envoy “to agree on a possible meeting” with Patriarch Kirill. The pontiff noted that Kirill is due to travel in the coming weeks, but Francis said he was also “ready to go to Moscow” even if diplomatic protocols weren’t yet in place. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-new-meeting-with-russian-orthodox-patriarch-possible/2021/12/06/7adc8946-5699-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Pope says he removed Paris archbishop because of gossip, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 6, 2021, 8:50 AM Pope Francis said Monday he accepted the resignation of the archbishop of Paris because the monsignor could no longer govern effectively thanks to the “gossip” about his relationship with a woman a decade ago. Francis was asked en route home from Greece about the surprise decision, which came only days after Archbishop Michel Aupetit put his fate in Francis’ hands following French media reports about what he said was an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman.  Responding to a question from a French reporter, Francis said there had been some “lapses” with Aupetit involving sexual sins. But he said they weren’t even that serious and only involved “some caresses and massages.” He added, that regardless, everyone is a sinner, including the pope himself.  But Francis said the comments that had ensued made it impossible for Aupetit to continue governing effectively. “We’re all sinners. When the gossip grows and grows and removes someone’s good name, he cannot govern,” Francis said. “This is an injustice,” Francis added. “That’s why I accepted resignation of Aupetit: not on altar of truth but on the altar of hypocrisy.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-says-he-removed-paris-archbishop-because-of-gossip/2021/12/06/730f85b8-569b-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis likens European efforts to ‘cancel Christmas’ to dictatorship, By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service, December 6, 2021, 3:23 PM Pope Francis pushed back against the European Commission’s internal guidelines, which have drawn fire for trying to “cancel Christmas,” likening these efforts to dictatorships as he warned against “ideological colonization.” Internal communications of the European Commission were leaked last week by the Italian daily Il Giornale. The 30-page document, titled “Union of Equality,” advised members to “avoid assuming that everyone is Christian,” especially during the winter holidays. It suggested members of the commission avoid using the word “Christmas” in favor of “holidays.” It also advised against using names “that are typically from one religion,” substituting “Maria and John” with “Malika and Julio” when referring to a hypothetical couple. The document also provided guidelines on how to address gender and sexual orientation, drawing criticism from Vatican representatives, far-right politicians and also the pope. The European Commission retracted the document last Thursday, calling it “a work in progress” and promising in a tweet to publish an “updated version.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/pope-francis-likens-european-efforts-to-cancel-christmas-to-dictatorship/2021/12/06/6e413158-56d2-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 7. Iowa to pay $1.9M to settle religious, speech rights cases, By David Pitt, Associated Press, December 6, 2021, 7:03 PM A state panel agreed Monday to spend nearly $2 million to settle two federal lawsuits brought against the University of Iowa in 2017 after a religious group denied a gay student a leadership role. The Iowa State Appeal Board, made up of Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, Auditor Rob Sand and Department of Management Director Kraig Paulsen, approved the court ordered settlements.  Both cases stem from actions the University of Iowa took after a gay student said he was turned down for a leadership role in Business Leaders in Christ because he would not accept the group’s position that marriage must be between only a man and a woman. After the student alleged violations of his civil rights, the university reviewed student organizations’ compliance with civil rights and began delisting some organizations that school officials said failed to comply. The two Christian groups were delisted and sued the university. Both won judgments that the university had violated their constitutional rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion. The university appealed and the lower court decisions were upheld by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/iowa-to-pay-19m-to-settle-religious-speech-rights-cases/2021/12/06/2626e7ea-56f1-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 8. An ambiguous papal response to an ambiguous Parisian affair, By JD Flynn, The Pillar, December 6, 2021, Opinion Eight years into the pontificate of Pope Francis, airborne press conferences still have the power to surprise, to illuminate, and, perhaps more often, to confound. The pope’s remarks on his return flight Monday to Rome, after a short trip to Cyprus and Greece, were no exception — while Pope Francis discussed a recent decision to accept the resignation of the Archbishop of Paris, he left many Catholics wondering what exactly he was trying to say, and what had guided his decision.    Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Michel Aupetit last week, announcing the decision Dec. 2, without explanation.  So, as the pope tells it, the archbishop’s conduct did not itself merit removal — a perspective which aligns with canon law on the subject, and tracks with Francis’ decision to appoint him in the first place, in 2018, despite the Vatican apparently knowing of the relationship.  Also according to the pope, it was an injustice that people — presumably members of the media and their sources — had gossipped about Aupetit. But that injustice became the basis for the archbishop’s ouster from office.  While the pope may not face more questions about Paris, he will continue to get questions about how and why he makes critical personnel decisions. An in-flight warning against gossip, coupled with a little je ne sais quoi on the details, is unlikely to demonstrate for many Catholics that the Vatican’s commitment to personnel management reform is a plan that will work when the rubber meets the runway. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/an-ambiguous-papal-response-to-an___________________________________________________________ 9. Atheism Leads to the Most Inhumane of Systems, By The Liberty, November 30, 2021 [Interviewer:] As China is cutting down democracies, there is an increasing need for cooperation among free and democratic nations. At that time, we believe religious freedom will be the mainstay of cooperation among democracies. The Biden administration is planning to hold a democracy summit in December, but what should such a summit be like? How should democracies work together now that China is trying to export its materialistic and atheist state to the world? [Thomas F. Farr:] Any democracy summit that includes China must include religious freedom. No democracy, whether in Japan, Europe, or the United States, can achieve justice or stability without religious freedom for all its citizens. Unfortunately, in this respect (as in many others) China is among the most undemocratic nations in history, let alone the contemporary world. It not only fails to provide religious freedom for its citizens, but its new Cultural Revolution under President Xi is attempting once again to destroy religion in China by absorbing it into the state and the apparatus of the Communist party. The government’s savage treatment of Uighur Muslims, its long-standing assault on the religion and culture of Tibetan Buddhists, and its dystopian “sinicization” of Chinese Catholic and Protestant religions, demonstrates its unwillingness to enter the community of democratic nations. Unless religious freedom is addressed honestly at a summit on democracy, it cannot be said to be a serious gathering of serious governments.  [Interviewer:] Western governments have a tendency to focus on the CCP, but it is becoming more and more important to focus on the Chinese “people” who are under suppression. Could you share with us your thoughts about the power of faith in terms of the liberation of the Chinese people? [Thomas F. Farr:] Religious people of virtually every tradition who have lived as a minority have experienced oppression and violence. Some of them, especially Jews, have suffered terribly over the centuries. Christians too have experienced fierce persecution when they have tried to spread Christianity as they are called to do. In the modern era, they and countless other minorities have suffered at the hands of totalitarians (including China), authoritarians, and terrorists. The power of faith in most of these traditions has enabled a “theology of suffering” – an attempt to understand why God has permitted suffering, and an attempt either to accept, to resist silently, or to resist actively. If I had to guess, the power of faith in China falls into the category of silent resistance. No religious minority can stand up to the power of the Chinese state. However, most of them can survive precisely because they remain faithful to the authority of something or someone greater than the Chinese state or the Communist party. And that faith is precisely why all totalitarian states, including China’s, engage in ever horrific, but ever futile, attempts to destroy the religious impulse in men. Thomas F. Farr is the President of the Religious Freedom Institute https://eng.the-liberty.com/2021/8540/___________________________________________________________

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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