1. Nun who advises the Pope says he wants female deacons, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, February 14, 2024 A Spanish nun who has participated in recent meetings of Pope Francis’s top advisory body has said that while women’s priestly ordination is currently off the table, the pontiff is supportive of the female diaconate. Speaking to the news agency Europa Press, Spanish nun and theologian Linda Pocher said, “There is no reflection on the priestly ordination of women in the Catholic Church,” but the pope “is very much in favor of the female diaconate.” Pocher was one of three women, including an Anglican bishop, who addressed the most recent meeting of the pope’s Council of Cardinals, a group of cardinals from around the world who advise the pope on matters of Church governance and reform. For the past two sessions of his Council of Cardinals, called the “C9,” female theologians have been invited to offer input on the role of women in the church, which is among the primary issues the C9 is discussing which is also a key discussion point of the ongoing Synod of Bishops on Synodality, set to conclude this October.  https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2024/02/nun-who-advises-the-pope-says-he-wants-female-deacons__________________________________________________________ 2. Cardinal’s shout-out to a rapper illustrates Pope’s growing Jewish problem, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, February 14, 2024, Opinion The cardinal in question is 81-year-old Gianfranco Ravasi, former president of the Vatican’s erstwhile Pontifical Council for Culture, and for more than two decades now one of the most active minds within the College of Cardinals. A Biblical scholar by training and the former prefect of the Ambrosian Library in Milan, Ravasi is legendary for the breadth of his intellectual interests, ranging from the classics of antiquity to the popular fiction of today. Thus it was that last Sunday night, Ravasi, in tandem with most of the rest of Italy, was glued to his television watching the finale of Sanremo, the country’s largest annual music festival. Near midnight, he tweeted out a few lines from the song that an Italian-born rapper of Tunisian origins named Ghali had performed, which was good enough to earn fourth place in the competition.  What Ravasi may not have realized in the moment, however, is that after the 30-year-old rapper finished his performance and was still standing on stage, he used the spotlight to deliver a brief but explosive political statement: “Stop the genocide,” he said, referring to the Israeli offensive in Gaza.  Though admittedly minor, the Ravasi/Ghali kerfuffle is unfolding at a moment in which signs of a crisis in Jewish/Catholic relations are mounting. Yesterday on the margins of a ceremony marking the 95th anniversary of the Lateran Pacts, which regularized the relationship between the Holy See and the new Republic of Italy in 1929, Cardinal Pietro Parolin flatly told reporters that it’s time for Israel to change course in Gaza. Requests for Israel to stop the bloodshed, Parolin said, have become “a general voice, that it can’t go on like this and other paths have to be found to resolve the problem of Gaza, the problem of Palestine.” Parolin repeated the Vatican’s “sharp and unqualified condemnation” of the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7, as well as every form of anti-Semitism, but nonetheless doubled down on his criticism of Israeli policy. “Israel’s right of self-defense, which has been invoked to justify this operation, must be proportional, and with 30,000 dead it certainly isn’t,” he said, citing the unconfirmed statistics provided by the Gaza Health Ministry.  The bottom line is that among Israelis and Jews, as well as Catholics most invested in relations with Judaism, there’s a growing perception that when the chips are down, Pope Francis and his Vatican team simply don’t have their backs. Whether that impression is fair isn’t the point – it’s real, and it’s getting worse. In such a context, even an innocent reference to a pop song can metastasize into something cancerous – and, once that’s happened, the disease can spread awfully quickly. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2024/02/cardinals-shout-out-to-a-rapper-illustrates-popes-growing-jewish-problem__________________________________________________________ 3. Canterbury Cathedral’s ‘Rave in the Nave’ Draws the Ire of Believers and Nonbelievers, Ancient cathedral goes from sacred space to sacrilege., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 14, 2024 One cannot help but be overawed when entering Canterbury Cathedral, whose origins date back to St. Augustine of Canterbury, the Benedictine monk sent by Pope St. Gregory the Great to evangelize the English in 597.  Perhaps most famous for being the hallowed site of St. Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in the 12th century and the focus of countless pilgrims, including Geoffrey Chaucer, author of the famous Canterbury Tales, the cathedral’s vaulted Romanesque ceiling lifts your eyes and spirits to the heavens just as its architects had intended. The cathedral’s majestic quire, situated behind a magnificent 14th-century stone rood screen lined with the statues of English kings, is home to the Chair of St. Augustine, in which archbishops have been enthroned since the 13th century.  Leading to the cathedral’s farthest east point is the Corona, named after the severed crown of St. Thomas Becket, whose shrine it was built to contain. There lies the resting place of Cardinal Reginald Pole, the last Catholic archbishop of Canterbury.  And yet for two evenings last week all this revered history was set aside as 3,000 revelers entered through the cathedral’s great West Door — an entrance usually restricted to kings, queens, archbishops and civic leaders — to join a disco in full swing.  Strobe lights lit up the nave with colors of the rainbow as three DJs stood behind their computers at the foot of the rood screen, playing music to the bopping partygoers through their wireless, neon-lit headphones.   Squeezing past revelers as they swigged cocktails purchased from makeshift bars in the nave just yards away from where St. Thomas Becket was brutally slain in defense of the faith and the Church, I made my way up through the heaving crowd. As songs played silently through their headphones, the partygoers would occasionally chant well-known song lyrics that jarringly reverberated from the cathedral’s hallowed arches and balustrades.   Outside the cathedral’s medieval front gate, around 20 faithful — mostly Catholics but also some Orthodox, evangelicals, Anglicans and even some atheists and agnostics — had gathered in the pouring rain but in good spirits to protest against the nicknamed “Rave in the Nave” with prayers, hymns and reading of Holy Scripture.  The Catholic Church is also not immune from such events. Just before Christmas, veteran American rock singer Patti Smith performed “peace” concerts of her own music in the cathedrals of Modena, Siena and Naples, Italy. The Italian Catholic daily La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana has also catalogued other incidents of misuse and desecration of churches in Italy in recent years. In 2019 Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna was criticized for allowing LGBT activists to use the city’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral for events, one of which featured a shirtless actor “known for playing homosexual roles standing on the altar rail, loud rock and electronic music, and actors dressed as demons.”  https://www.ncregister.com/blog/pentin-rave-in-the-nave-canterbury__________________________________________________________ 4. Mental health emerges as a dividing line in abortion rights initiatives planned for state ballots, By Christine Fernando, Associated Press, February 13, 2024, 10:27 AM  As advocates push this year for ballot measure initiatives aiming to protect abortion rights, key differences have emerged in the language of proposed measures. Among them is the inclusion of mental health exceptions.  Abortion bans in at least 10 states — Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming — explicitly exclude mental health conditions as a possible exception. Others are murkier, allowing for exemptions for the “life and health” of the woman without defining if mental health is included.  The National Right to Life Committee’s model state legislation for abortion bans explicitly excludes mental health exceptions. These exceptions allow pregnant women “to kind of bypass those laws and still abort pregnancies of children that were viable,” said Ingrid Duran, state legislative director of the NRLC. “We specifically exclude mental health exemptions because we saw how that creates a loophole in a law and it leaves that unborn child at risk of dying for a sometimes treatable, sometimes temporary condition that the mother may be experiencing,” she said.  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-mental-health-ballot-maryland-missouri-arizona-6268ec88d1638009128b55fc56e3610c#__________________________________________________________ 5. A Tennessee House panel advances a bill that would criminalize helping minors get abortions, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, February 13, 2024, 6:59 PM Tennessee would be the latest state to make it illegal for an adult to help a minor get an abortion without parental consent under legislation that advanced Tuesday inside the GOP-controlled Statehouse. The proposal stems from the growing push among anti-abortion advocates to get states to implement abortion bans and convince them to find ways for lawmakers to block pregnant people from crossing state lines to obtain the procedure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. So far, Idaho has been the only state to enact a so-called “ abortion trafficking ” law. The first-of-its-kind measure made it illegal to obtain abortion pills for a minor or help them leave the state for an abortion without parental knowledge and consent. A federal judge blocked the law after reproductive rights groups sued to challenge it.Yet even as legal questions linger in the Idaho case, other states like Tennessee are moving forward with implementing their own versions. Lawmakers in Missouri and Oklahoma have also introduced similar proposals.  A relatively small number of abortions in the U.S. are obtained by minors. Among the 47 states that reported 2019 abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer than 9% of people who received abortions were 15 to 19 years old. Meanwhile, 36 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion, though most allow exceptions under certain circumstances like medical emergencies, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group supporting abortion rights. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/13/abortion-trafficking-tennessee/eb06dbf6-cacb-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Hong Kong activist: Proposed law could worsen religious liberty, persecute Catholics, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, February 13, 2024, 4:15 PM A religious freedom advocate from Hong Kong is warning that proposed legislation could further restrict religious liberty and lead to the persecution of the Catholic Church and other Christians. Frances Hui, a Hong Kong native who has political asylum in the United States, expressed concern about the possible enactment of the controversial proposal Article 23, which would expand a 2020 national security law. She made these comments during a Hudson Institute panel discussion on “The Repression of Hong Kong and Heroism of Jimmy Lai.” Lai, a pro-democracy journalist and convert to Catholicism, was arrested on several charges under Hong Kong’s 2020 national security law and could face life in prison. His newspaper, Apple Daily, frequently published material critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Although the Chinese government charged him with colluding with foreign forces, critics of the prosecution claim that he — and hundreds of other political and religious dissidents — were arrested for their activism. If enacted, Article 23 would expand the law to bolster the government’s crackdown on political dissidents, which has been ongoing for more than three and a half years.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256822/hong-kong-activist-proposed-law-could-worsen-religious-liberty-persecute-catholics__________________________________________________________ 7. Another Byzantine-era church in Turkey to revert to mosque, By ACI MENA, February 13, 2024, 11:00 AM After serving as a museum for more than 79 years, the Turkish government is proceeding with plans to make the Church of the Holy Savior in Istanbul a mosque. Mirroring the 2020 reversion of the Hagia Sophia, prayers and Islamic rites will be performed once again in the ancient church, according to Fides, the information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies. The Church of the Holy Savior, also known as Chora Church, is recognized as one of the most important Byzantine gems in the world and is adorned with many unique icons and frescoes. Turkish media, particularly the Islamist daily Yeni Şafak, initially reported the mosque would reopen for Islamic prayers on Feb. 23, 2023. However, the Turkish Directorate General of Institutions within the government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism denied the report, affirming that the opening date remains unannounced.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256813/another-byzantine-era-church-in-turkey-to-revert-to-mosque__________________________________________________________

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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