1. The Pope Is Catholic After All: Francis’ affirmation of church doctrine is encouraging for anxious parishioners.

By Tim Busch and Mary Rice Hasson, The Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2020, Pg. A13, Opinion

Catholics, take heart. Pope Francis ’ apostolic exhortation on the Amazon Synod, released Wednesday, is no truth-and-tradition-shredding document. On point after point, the Holy Father reiterates the longstanding teaching of the Catholic Church—whether on the role of the priest, the centrality of women to the church’s mission, or the continued importance of priestly celibacy.

Over the past few months the pope’s critics within the church have worried that the Vatican would chip away or discard Catholicism’s moral theology. The rhetoric sometimes made it sound as if the sky were falling, taking the Barque of St. Peter with it. Such fear is unbecoming of all who place their trust in God and believe his promise that the “gates of hell shall not prevail” against the church.

Catholics must remain vigilant about threats to the church’s teaching. We should always defend the truth with charity and clarity, admonishing those who demand that the church bend its teaching to the times. On that score, the apostolic exhortation has some passages that deserve further reflection and explanation, especially those on ecological matters and the relationship between the Gospel and the culture. But there is a profound difference between fighting for what’s right and giving in to fear that things will go terribly wrong. For all Catholics, this is a time for renewed faith.

Mr. Busch is founder of the Napa Institute, a Catholic lay organization. Ms. Hasson, a board member of the Institute, is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.


2. Pope Francis won’t allow married priests in the Amazon. But in this part of the world, married priests are the norm.

By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, February 14, 2020, Pg. A13

Catholic leaders have long resisted the idea of married clerics in the mainstream Latin Church, considering celibacy an essential element for devoted priests, and this week Pope Francis declined to approve the ordination of married men in the Amazon region.

But in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East, in relatively small and distinctive branches of Catholicism that are loyal to the pope, married clerics are the norm — and their lives represent an alternate version of the Catholic priesthood.


3. Amazon’s Catholics mull church future after pope’s letter.

By Manuel Rueda, Diane Jeantet, Franklin Briceno and Gonzalo Solano, Associated Press, February 14, 2020, 12:07 AM

Church leaders in the five countries that are home to the Amazon basin share their thoughts about the pope’s message.


4. Ex-Brazilian Leader Da Silva Meets the Pope, Gets Blessing.

By Associated Press, February 13, 2020

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican, received a papal blessing and said the two discussed prospects for a “more just and fraternal world.”

Da Silva was released from prison in early November after 19 months in detention, when Brazil’s Supreme Court ruled a person can be imprisoned only after all appeals have been exhausted. Later that month, a court upheld the corruption conviction and ruled his sentence should be raised by four years to 17 years.

Francis, the first pope from the global south, has had close ties to leftist Latin American leaders, including Da Silva and former Bolivian President Evo Morales, who resigned the presidency in November after allegations of fraud in Bolivia’s Oct. 20 presidential election.


5. More than 1,000 gather in Richmond to oppose abortion bills.

By Sarah Rankin, Associated Press, February 13, 2020, 7:27 PM

More than 1,000 people rallied at the Virginia Capitol on Thursday, protesting legislation advancing in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly that would ease restrictions on abortion access.

Both the House and Senate have passed bills to undo restrictions on abortion access that were enacted when the legislature was under GOP control, including a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling.

The bills, which Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam supports, would also roll back the requirement that an abortion be provided by a physician and undo strict building code requirements on facilities where abortions are performed. Each chamber must pass the other’s before they could be sent to Northam for his signature.


6. To prevent spread of COVID-19, Hong Kong Diocese cancels Masses.

By Catholic News Service, February 13, 2020

The threat of spreading the coronavirus has forced Catholic officials in Hong Kong to suspend all church programs Feb. 15-28, including Sunday Masses and the Ash Wednesday liturgy that marks the beginning of Lent.

Ucanews.com reported Cardinal John Tong, apostolic administrator of Hong Kong, said the “disappointing” decision had been made “because the next two weeks will be a crucial time to suppress the epidemic.”


7. Senate to vote on 2 pro-life laws.

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, February 13, 2020, 3:00 PM

The Senate will soon vote on two key pieces of pro-life legislation to protect infants surviving abortions and unborn children after they can feel pain.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) filed cloture on Thursday on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection bill (S. 311), as well as a bill “to protect pain-capable unborn children” (S. 3275). “Pain-capable” bills establish protections for babies from around the time they have been medically shown to feel pain, around 20 weeks gestation.

McConnell’s procedural action brings up a Senate floor vote on whether or not to consider the two bills. As a 60-vote majority is needed to consider the legislation, the bills are not expected to pass.


8. Iowa Senate passes abortion constitutional amendment bill.

By David Pitt, Associated Press, February 13, 2020, 6:45 PM

Iowa Senate Republican lawmakers on Thursday approved a resolution that would amend the Iowa Constitution to declare there is no right to an abortion in the state.

It says in part “we the people of the state of Iowa declare that this Constitution shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”

It must pass in the House and then pass in the legislature again in 2021 or 2022 before it would go to a statewide vote.

If it survives and voters eventually approve it, the amendment would make state court challenges to abortion restrictions much more difficult in Iowa.


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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