1. ‘Heartbeat’ Moves to Center of Abortion Debate, By Roni Caryn Rabin, The New York Times, February 14, 2022, Pg. A1 The Texas law banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy is based on a singular premise disputed by many medical experts: that once an ultrasound detects electrical cardiac activity in an embryo, its heart is beating and a live birth is on the way. At this very early stage of a pregnancy, however, the embryo is the size of a pomegranate seed and has only a primitive tube of cardiac cells that emit electric pulses and pump blood.  Indeed, the most fraught contention, embedded in the Texas abortion law, is that the fetus at that stage has a heart and that its beating represents a “key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth.”  Dr. Robin Pierucci, a neonatologist who is an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, which opposes abortion, said in an email: “Finding a fetal heartbeat is a sign of health.” 2004 study found that when a moving heart tube could be detected at six to eight weeks of pregnancy, a live birth resulted 98 percent of the time, Dr. Pierucci said. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/14/health/abortion-heartbeat-debate.html___________________________________________________________ 2. Many faith leaders wary of religious exemptions for vaccine, By David Crary and Peter Smith, Associated Press February 12, 2022 By the thousands, Americans have been seeking religious exemptions in order to circumvent COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but generally they are doing so without the encouragement of major denominations and prominent religious leaders. From the Vatican, Pope Francis has defended the vaccines as “the most reasonable solution to the pandemic.” The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America declared categorically that its followers would not be offered religious exemptions. Robert Jeffress, the conservative pastor of a Baptist megachurch in Dallas, voiced similar sentiments.  Within the U.S. Catholic Church, there are divisions – even though Pope Francis has been clear in his support for vaccinations. While some bishops have forbidden their priests from assisting in seeking exemptions, other bishops and priests have provided template letters for people claiming conscientious objections from the vaccines on Catholic grounds. https://apnews.com/article/abortion-pope-francis-coronavirus-pandemic-health-religion-86394114e3120aa1dbb80921f1c2bf28___________________________________________________________ 3. Beijing Aims to Cut High Abortion Rate, By Liyan Qi, The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2022, Pg. A7 China is stepping up efforts to reduce abortions in young women, signaling a shift in official attitude toward a widely used procedure that has long been part of state-directed family planning. A recent plan by the government-backed China Family-Planning Association outlined a “campaign of intervention” to reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions among adolescents and unmarried women. It said the aim was to “improve reproductive health.” The plan, posted on the association’s website, was dated Jan. 28 and has been referred to in some Chinese media in recent days. The wording in the plan comes as China faces rapidly declining births. China now allows couples to have three children, a 180-degree policy shift from the decades long one-child policy, one legacy of which is a dwindling number of women of childbearing age. Over the past few years, China has been closing abortion clinics and expanding services to help couples conceive. https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-tries-to-dial-back-its-high-abortion-rate-11644597797?___________________________________________________________ 4. Valentine’s Day Catholic Love Connection: 15 Quotes on the Beauty of Marriage, Marking St. Valentine’s Day and National Marriage Week, Catholic thought leaders and writers discuss the sacrament and what they have learned sharing in this sacred union between husband and wife., By Alyssa Murphy, National Catholic Register, February 11, 2022 To celebrate the sacrament of matrimony, the Register asked 15 well-known Catholics to share their reflections on how the sacrament has transformed them, sharing their own personal experiences, and how the richness of our Catholic faith colors this most sacred of unions, that no man can put asunder.   6. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, and Leigh Snead, fellow at The Catholic Association: At first, marriage is like the best, longest date you’ve ever been on — nobody ever has to go home! But as the years go on (24 for us!) and jobs, family, finances get more complicated, and sometimes difficult, you think, “Wow, this stinks, but I’m so happy to go through it with you!”  13. Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at The Catholic Association and author: These days it feels like sacramental marriage is an almost rebellious act. It’s certainly a revolt against the narcissism and hyper-commercialized and sexualized deification of the self that penetrates seemingly every aspect of life. Almost every road sign in our culture points us away from marriage, especially a sacramental marriage that takes permanence seriously and remains open to life. But our culture’s road signs are wrong: Marriage is an exhilarating off-road adventure, with a permanent partner to boot. https://www.ncregister.com/blog/valentine-s-day-catholic-love-connection-15-quotes-on-the-beauty-of-marriage___________________________________________________________ 5. God and Man at Yale Law, Anthony Kronman grew up in an atheist household. Now he’s determined to convince American elites of the existence of ‘divinity.’, By Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2022, 1:44 PM Was it divinely ordained that a boy raised by aggressively atheist parents would one day, in his eighth decade, make a passionate public case for God? This mischievous thought crosses my mind as I speak to Anthony Kronman, whose book “After Disbelief: On Disenchantment, Disappointment, Eternity and Joy,” forthcoming in March, aims to persuade America’s “relentlessly rational” elites to acknowledge the existence of “divinity.” Those elites include his colleagues at Yale Law School, where Mr. Kronman, 76, is a professor and former dean. “In the academic circles in which I live and work,” Mr. Kronman writes, “the only respectable view of God is that he doesn’t exist.” He elaborates in an interview, saying that they regard his public professions of spirituality with “skeptical bemusement.” To the extent religion figures in their conversations at all, “it often does so as a synonym for prejudice and superstition—the attitude [Barack] Obama expressed, in an unguarded moment, when he made his regrettable comments about ‘guns and religion’ ” while seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. Mr. Kronman’s ambition is to repair “the schism between those for whom religion continues to matter and those who view it with amusement or contempt.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/god-and-man-at-yale-law-anthony-kronman-belief-religion-atheism-divinity-book-professor-11644602649?___________________________________________________________ 6. Cardinal Müller: For Faithful Catholics, It’s a ‘Time of Tribulation and Psychological Terror’, In an exclusive interview with the Register, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith castigated the state of the Church in Germany and its ‘Synodal Way’ process., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 11, 2022 Faithful Catholics are today facing a period of persecution, tribulation and “psychological terror” that, in an unprecedented way, is coming from within their own countries that have ancient Christian traditions, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has observed. The German cardinal made the observation in an exclusive Feb. 5 interview with the Register, during which he issued a blistering attack on the state of the Church in Germany and the “Synodal Way,” a controversial multiyear reform process that grew out of the clergy sexual-abuse crisis. The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) said these attacks on the faithful from within are coming from “secularized” parts of the Church and frequently occur in the workplace or in schools. Now is a “time of tribulation and psychological terror,” and orthodox Catholics are being “persecuted; and in some countries this is culminating in martyrdom,” Cardinal Müller noted. “Usually this has come from the outside, but now it’s from the inside, in our countries that have old Christian traditions. It’s a new situation.”  Looking forward, the cardinal said it is up to Pope Francis and the College of Cardinals to step in and discipline these prelates and the “Synodal Way” before it’s too late. He also called for the Pope to have more German consultants to explain to him exactly what is happening. More broadly, he said correcting these wrong teachings “can only be done by promoting a better, theologically informed episcopate,” as happened “in the time of the Reformation in Germany and in other countries.” https://www.ncregister.com/interview/cardinal-mueller-for-faithful-catholics-it-s-a-time-of-tribulation-and-psychological-terror___________________________________________________________ 7. Are diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Beijing on the horizon?, By Andrea Gagliarducci, Catholic News Agency, February 11, 2022, 8:30 AM According to Vatican sources, the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing is not on the horizon, despite what some recent appointments might suggest. On Jan. 31, the Vatican said that Msgr. Arnaldo Catalan, its chargé d’affaires in Taiwan, was being posted to Rwanda, where he will serve as apostolic nuncio. Days later on Feb. 5, Msgr. Javier Herrera Corona, head of the Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong, was named apostolic nuncio to the Republic of the Congo and Gabon. The appointments leave two Vatican diplomatic missions that deal closely with China with no top officials, prompting the question of whether the Holy See is changing its diplomatic strategy. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250360/are-diplomatic-relations-between-the-vatican-and-beijing-on-the-horizon___________________________________________________________ 8. More than 800 anti-Christian incidents reported in France in 2021, By Catholic News Agency, February 11, 2022, 8:30 AM More than 800 anti-Christian incidents were reported in France in 2021. The provisional figures were announced on Feb. 10 as part of an ongoing study of anti-religious acts in the Western European country, which has a population of 67 million people. Investigators have so far identified a total of 1,659 anti-religious acts last year, with 857 relating to Christianity, 589 to Judaism, and 213 to Islam. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250372/more-than-800-anti-christian-incidents-reported-in-france-in-2021___________________________________________________________

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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