1. How China Miscalculated Its Way to a Baby Bust, A missile scientist used mathematical models to push the nation’s one-child policy. Its legacy is proving hard to shake, By Liyan Qi, The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2024, 12:01 PM China’s baby bust is happening faster than many expected, raising fears of a demographic collapse. And coping with the fallout may now be complicated by miscalculations made more than 40 years ago. The rapid shift under way today wasn’t projected by the architects of China’s one-child policy—one of the biggest social experiments in history, instituted in 1980. At the time, governments around the world feared overpopulation would hold back economic growth. A Moscow-trained missile scientist led the push for China’s policy, based on tables of calculations that applied mathematical models used to calculate rocket trajectories to population growth. Four decades later, China is aging much earlier in its development than other major economies did. The shift to fewer births and more elderly citizens threatens to hold back economic growth. In a generation that grew up without siblings, young women are increasingly reluctant to have children—and there are fewer of them every year. Beijing is at a loss to change the mindset brought about by the policy.  Births in China fell by more than 500,000 last year, according to recent government data, accelerating a population drop that started in 2022. Officials cited a quickly shrinking number of women of childbearing age—more than three million fewer than a year earlier—and acknowledged “changes in people’s thinking about births, postponement of marriage and childbirth.” Some researchers argue the government underestimates the problem, and the population began to shrink even earlier. Following the data release, researchers from Victoria University in Australia and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences predicted that China will have just 525 million people by the end of the century. That’s down from their previous forecast of 597 million and a precipitous drop from 1.4 billion now.   https://www.wsj.com/world/china/china-population-births-economy-one-child-c5b95901__________________________________________________________ 2. Chemical abortion pill: U.S. bishops issue guide laying out dangers and concerns, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, February 12, 2024, 7:00 AM The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) published a document to explain its concerns about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval and deregulation of a chemical abortion pill, which is the subject of an ongoing U.S. Supreme Court case. A lawsuit filed by the pro-life Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine accuses the FDA of failing to properly study the adverse effects of the drug when approving its use and when eliminating certain safeguards, such as approving delivery via the mail and ending the requirement for an in-person doctor’s visit before getting the prescription.  “Potentially harmful drugs [will] be mailed directly to girls and women who did not see a medical professional in person and may be injured or killed without public knowledge of the cause” if the current FDA policies are allowed to remain in place, the bishops warned in a “Question and Answer” document published by the USCCB’s Secretariat on Pro-Life Activities.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256793/chemical-abortion-pill-us-bishops-issue-guide-laying-out-dangers-and-concerns__________________________________________________________ 3. Cancel-Culture Science: Medical Journal Withdraws Studies That Document Abortion-Pill Harm, For the abortion lobby as a whole, ‘conflict-of-interest’ considerations can arise in only one direction., By National Catholic Register, February 12, 2024, Editorial On Feb. 5, in a shocking display of intellectual cowardice, a supposedly impartial medical journal announced that it was withdrawing three studies it had earlier published documenting the medical injuries that occur among women who take the abortion pill. Why did Sage Publishing, which publishes a host of academic journals, instruct Health Services and Managerial Epidemiology to withdraw publication of these studies? It happened because a single abortion-rights activist complained about one of the three studies, triggering an investigation. The central “flaw” that he flagged is the fact that the study was conducted by scientific researchers who work for pro-life organizations (as were the other two studies that have now been withdrawn). The activist, who is a professor of pharmaceutical science, contended that working for a pro-life group somehow constituted a “conflict of interest” that should have disqualified their findings from being published by a scientific journal. It was also claimed that the study’s researchers had failed to disclose their pro-life connections, even though the study stated clearly at its conclusion that it had been funded by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. The pro-abortion pharmaceutical professor wasn’t troubled by the reality that numerous other studies published by the same medical journal and by other Sage Publishing outlets have been authored by researchers who work for pro-abortion organizations, often without any disclosure of these affiliations. For this activist, as for the abortion lobby as a whole, “conflict-of-interest” considerations can arise in only one direction, when a scientist doesn’t share their own pro-abortion convictions.  https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/cancel-culture-science-medical-journal-withdraws-studies-that-document-abortion-pill-harm__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope and Argentine President Milei embrace after pontiff canonizes Argentina’s first female saint, By Nicole Winfield, Alessandra Tarantino and Gianfranco Stara, Associated Press, February 11, 2024, 3:35 PM Pope Francis and Argentine President Javier Milei embraced Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica, as Argentine faith and politics came together during a Mass to canonize the country’s first female saint. The ceremony to declare Mama Antula a saint marked the first meeting between the Argentine pope and Milei, who once called Francis an “imbecile” for defending social justice. The president, who was seated to Francis’ right on the side of the main altar throughout the ceremony, bent over and gave the pope a big bearhug when Francis was wheeled over to him at the end of the service. “You cut your hair!” Francis quipped as he approached, in reference to Milei’s trademark unruly locks.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/11/pope-milei-argentina/275e8008-c8c0-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Hundreds of protesters opposed to bill allowing same-sex marriage rally in Greek capital, By Derek Gatopoulos and Demetris Nellas, Associated Press, February 11, 2024, 11:46 AM More than 1,500 protesters gathered in central Athens on Sunday to oppose legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in Greece. The bill is set for a vote in parliament in days. Greece’s conservative government is sponsoring the bill but it will require votes from center and left opposition parties to be approved. However, even some center-left lawmakers have gone on record as opposing the bill. Organizers of Sunday’s rally — religious groups — described the bill as a threat to the traditional family. Many of the protesters chanted “hands off our children.” “Unfortunately, the woke agenda has also reached Greece and that agenda includes the marriage of homosexuals,” Dimitris Natsios, leader of the far-right and strongly religious Niki party told the Associated Press. “Greece is a Christian Orthodox country and our tradition does not allow this. … We know and respect one type of marriage: The Orthodox Christian wedding. Our Constitution also does not provide for this, so this bill is unconstitutional and runs counter to our faith in Christ,” Natsios said.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/11/greece-same-sex-marriage-legislation-religion-protest/0c47bea0-c8fd-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Nicaragua’s crackdown on Catholic Church spreads fear among the faithful, there and in exile, By Giovanna Dell’Orto, Associated Press, February 11, 2024, 4:35 PM Nineteen priests kicked out of the country, dozens of incidents of harassment and church desecrations, rural areas lacking worship and social services: the situation for Catholic clergy and faithful in Nicaragua is only worsening in 2024, according to exiled priests, laypeople in the Central American country and human rights advocates. The fear of the ongoing crackdown by President Daniel Ortega – on the Catholic Church in particular but not sparing evangelicals – has become so pervasive that it is silencing criticism of the authoritarian government and even mentions of the repression from the pulpit. “All the time the silence gets deeper,” said Martha Patricia Molina, a Nicaraguan lawyer who fled to the United States. Her work recording hundreds of instances of church persecution recently won her an International Religious Freedom Award from the U.S. State Department.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/02/11/nicaragua-catholic-church-crackdown-exile-vatican-us-ortega/1fa3b220-c8de-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Mama Antula, the Jesuit who didn’t want to marry or be a nun, will be Argentina’s first female saint, By DÉbora Rey, Associated Press, February 10, 2024, 12:01 AM A Catholic laywoman who lived in 18th-century Argentina and joined the Jesuits in their evangelical mission throughout the South American country will become the first female saint from the home country of Pope Francis on Sunday. María Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, more commonly known by her Quechua name of “Mama Antula,” was born in 1730 into a wealthy family in Santiago del Estero, a province north of Buenos Aires. At the age of 15, she left the comfortable life of her home and the privileges of her family to join the Jesuits — at a time when women’s options were limited to marriage or joining a convent. Mama Antula collaborated in the performance of spiritual exercises based on the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Company of Jesus in 1534, according to her biographer. When the Spanish crown expelled the Jesuits from America in 1767, considering them a threat to its interests, Mama Antula decided to take up the mantle and continue her work, even at the risk of being imprisoned. She was a very astute woman who, against the prejudices of the time, had the ability to persuade parish priests and bishops to continue the spiritual exercises of the Jesuits despite the prohibition.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/10/argentina-female-saint-mama-antula-pope-francis-canonization/7b022510-c7d1-11ee-bbc9-9b5ca9b20779_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Pope blasts ‘radical individualism’ as he meets with Argentines ahead of big canonization, By Associated Press, February 9, 2024, 10:09 AM Pope Francis on Friday blasted the “radical individualism” that he said was infecting society today, as he greeted Argentine pilgrims who are in town for this weekend’s canonization of the first female saint from his home country. Instead, Francis held up as a model the 18th century Argentine laywoman lovingly known as Mama Antula, who ministered to the poor and helped keep Jesuit spirituality alive in Argentina after the religious order, to which the pope belongs, was suppressed. On Sunday Francis will canonize Mama Antula, whose real name was María Antonia di San Giuseppe de Paz y Figueroa, in a ceremony that will also mark his first meeting with Argentina’s new libertarian president, Javier Milei. Milei, who has spoken in favor of loosening labor laws and suggested people should be allowed to sell their own vital organs, was due to arrive in Rome on Friday from Israel. After the canonization Mass on Sunday, he is to meet formally on Monday with Francis and later Italy’s right-wing leader, Premier Giorgia Meloni.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/09/argentina-vatican-pope-antula-milei/470099d2-c75d-11ee-bbc9-9b5ca9b20779_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. Archdiocese of Montreal sues Quebec government over MAID forced upon hospice, By Anna Farrow, Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2024, 2:30 PM In what could prove to be a landmark case for religious and conscience rights in Canada, Montreal’s Archbishop Christian Lépine has taken on the attorney general of Quebec. In an appeal for judicial review submitted to the Quebec Superior Court on Feb. 5, Lépine asked for an immediate stay of the application of an amendment to the Act Respecting End-of-Life Care that requires palliative care hospices to offer medical assistance in dying (MAID). The June 2023 amendment specifies that “no palliative care hospice may exclude medical aid in dying from the care they offer.” The palliative care center that Lépine hopes to shield is the St. Raphael Palliative Care Home and Day Centre in Montreal, but the appeal raises larger questions about the future of the collaborative charitable work of faith communities unable to act according to their conscience.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256787/archdiocese-of-montreal-sues-quebec-government-over-maid-forced-upon-hospice__________________________________________________________ 10. Activists prepare to sue Canadian Catholic hospital over assisted suicide refusal, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2024, 11:00 AM Advocates of assisted suicide in Canada are preparing to sue a Catholic hospital over its refusal to take part in the deliberate ending of patients’ lives.  Activists with Dying with Dignity Canada are helping mount a lawsuit against St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver due to the hospital’s not allowing suicide to take place in its facility. Doctor-facilitated suicide is legal in Canada under the country’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law.  The pending lawsuit was reported on this month by Thomas McKenna at National Review. Dying with Dignity Canada confirmed to CNA this week that the legal complaint had not yet been lodged but would be at some point. “The lawsuit has not yet been filed,” group spokeswoman Sarah Dobec told CNA. “We’ll have more to say when it has.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256783/activists-prepare-to-sue-canadian-catholic-hospital-over-assisted-suicide-refusal__________________________________________________________ 11. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday Collide: When Cupid Meets Lent, There’s nothing romantic about Ash Wednesday — or is there? Catholic couples share their thoughts as we celebrate World Day of Marriage!, By Alyssa Murphy, National Catholic Register, February 11, 2024 It’s almost that favorite feast day, when love is in the air, red heart-shaped boxes line the shelves from grocery stores to gas stations, and Catholics remember the great devotion of St. Valentine as we shower our spouses or significant others with heartfelt cards and flowers, hoping to score a seat at a romantic restaurant. But this year, Ash Wednesday lands smack-dab right on the calendar at Feb. 14. Ash Wednesday, when we remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return, kicks off the season of Lent, a period of penance, abstinence and fasting. There’s nothing romantic about Ash Wednesday — or is there? What is a Catholic to do? Is it a time of choosing or is there a way to celebrate both in a creative and holy way?  “Valentine’s Day is not, as you may be pardoned for thinking, a Hallmark holiday aimed at consumers with disposable incomes and romantic hearts. It’s a holy day, in which we remember Bishop Valentine, martyred by Emperor Claudius in the third century for marrying young lovers in secret. You see, the emperor needed soldiers for his army and had banned marriages to keep the young men single and available for cannon fodder. St. Valentine gave his head for young lovers. And this year, you may see a couple in Miami both wearing their ash crosses and sipping at a tiny glass of wine in some quiet corner. That will be my husband and I, celebrating our love and also being heartily sorry for our sins.” — Grazie Christie, host of TCA’s Conversations With Consequences on EWTN Radio  “Mardi Gras, like Valentine’s Day, is a day of indulging, so why not blend the two and give your Mardi Gras celebrations a Valentine’s Day theme? Kids can receive a Valentine’s Day goody bag after dinner, the Mardi Gras king cake can be pink and white instead of purple and green, the wine and chocolates can be consumed the evening before. And then find ways to show affection without indulging on the day-of and encourage your kids to do the same; a handwritten card, an act of service, a wintery bouquet picked from the garden. Showing your love through a small sacrifice for your spouse or children is the perfect way to embody the spirit of Ash Wednesday. “A Valentine’s Eve celebration is the perfect way to put your faith first without skipping the fun. And a Valentine’s Day that is about love and affection without indulging is a good way to reclaim the Christian spirit of the day, which actually began with the ultimate sacrifice.”  — Ashley McGuire of The Catholic Association  “This year, Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday happen to fall on the same day. Penance and abstinence coupled with romance? At first blush, it may seem like an awkward pairing. But for those of us with a vocation to marriage, we can devoutly, enthusiastically and simultaneously embrace the call to both penitential and spousal love on Feb. 14. Abstinence only refers to the food, after all. So forgo the wine and chocolate on your Valentine’s date night but feel free to fully embrace your marital love. Gents: Bring home roses and a sweet card! Ladies: Dim the lights and pull out the candles, spray on your favorite perfume, and get your Spotify playlist ready for some Ash Wednesday romance.” — Maureen Ferguson of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast and The Catholic Association.  “Our four sons were all born in February and March, so postponing celebratory feasts to the following Sunday during Lent is old hat to us. Besides, this year my Valentine will be in Rome so skipping any Valentine’s ideas was always the plan. And though I usually fall short, I do believe in starting Lent as you mean to go on. So fast and wear your ashes on Wednesday, then bust out that waffle maker after Mass on Sunday, and try and sneak out that night for a drink with your sweetheart.” — Leigh Snead, fellow at The Catholic Association  https://www.ncregister.com/features/murphy-valentines-day-ash-wednesday-collide-cupid-lent__________________________________________________________

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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