1. Israel complains after Vatican denounces ‘carnage’ and disproportionate response in Gaza, By Associated Press, February 15, 2024, 6:32 AM Israel has formally complained after a senior Vatican official spoke of “carnage” in Gaza and what he termed a disproportionate Israeli military operation following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks. The Israeli Embassy to the Holy See called the comments by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, “regrettable.” In a statement Wednesday, the embassy said Parolin hadn’t considered what it called the relevant facts in judging the legitimacy of Israel’s actions. Speaking Tuesday at a reception, Parolin condemned the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks against Israel and all forms of antisemitism. But he questioned Israel’s claim to be acting in self-defense by inflicting “carnage” on Gaza. “Israel’s right to self-defense has been invoked to justify that this operation is proportional, but with 30,000 dead, it’s not,” he said.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/02/15/vatican-pope-israel-palestinians-gaza/4998c2e8-cbe8-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Republican lawmakers, pro-life groups demand justice for the ‘D.C. Five,’ By Mallory Wilson, The Washington Times, February 15, 2024 Five House Republicans and pro-life groups on Wednesday called for justice for five aborted fetuses that are to be destroyed by the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Lauren Handy and Terrisa Bukovinac, two activists with the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising group, discovered the fetuses in March 2022 in a box of 115 fetuses outside the Washington Surgi-Clinic in Northwest. The clinic, located at George Washington University, is run by Dr. Cesare Santangelo, an OB-GYN who is known to perform late-term abortions. Dubbed the “D.C. Five,” the fetuses appeared to be late-term abortions. D.C. police later found the fetuses in Ms. Handy’s home. The other 110 were said to have been buried. “We are standing against that kind of callousness against life. We are united to continue to advance the defense of life. We need to protect these individual lives. These five precious lives deserve to be respected,” Rep. Chip Roy of Texas said Wednesday at a press conference. He was joined by fellow Republican Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Pat Fallon of Texas and Chris Smith of New Jersey. The lawmakers and pro-life groups say the abortions violated federal law, including the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act and the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/feb/14/republican-lawmakers-pro-life-groups-demand-justic/__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican hosts veneration of relics of 21 Coptic martyrs of Libya on first feast day, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, February 15, 2024, 9:03 AM The relics of 21 Coptic martyrs killed by ISIS in Libya will be venerated in St. Peter’s Basilica on Thursday evening at an ecumenical prayer service marking their first official feast day in the Catholic Church. The evening vespers at the Vatican will commemorate the ninth anniversary of the martyrdom of the 21 Coptic Orthodox men who were beheaded by the Islamic State on a beach in Sirte, Libya, on Feb. 15, 2015. Pope Francis added the 21 Coptic martyrs to the Roman Martyrology, the Church’s official list of saints, last May as he met with the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, Tawadros II. Cardinal Kurt Koch, the prefect of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, will preside over the ecumenical prayer at 5 p.m. in the Choir Chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica. A Coptic choir will provide the music for the liturgy.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256840/vatican-hosts-veneration-of-relics-of-21-coptic-martyrs-of-libya-on-first-feast-day__________________________________________________________ 4. Missouri high court says Planned Parenthood can receive funding; cites failed appeal by state, By David A. Lieb, Associated Press, February 14, 2024, 6:55 PM The Missouri Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the latest attempt by Republican state officials to block taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood, citing a failure in the state’s legal appeal. The high court’s decision upholds a ruling by a trial judge, who found that a 2022 funding bill violated the state constitution. The budget bill sought to bar Medicaid health care dollars from going to Planned Parenthood because its affiliates elsewhere performed abortions. But the Supreme Court’s ruling was based on procedural grounds, not the merits of the claims. The court said a trial judge had blocked the provisions in the funding bill for two reasons — because they violated the state constitution’s requirement that legislation contain a single subject and because they infringed on equal protection rights. The Supreme Court said Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office failed to appeal the equal protection claim and it thus must stand. As a result, the court said there was no reason to address the single-subject claim.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/14/abortion-medicaid-planned-parenthood/13aa1016-cb92-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Nebraska Republican gives top priority to bill allowing abortions in cases of fatal fetal anomalies, By Margery A. Beck, Associated Press, February 14, 2024, 7:11 PM A Nebraska lawmaker who tanked an effort last year by his fellow Republicans to pass a near-total abortion ban has given top priority this year to a bill that would allow abortions beyond the state’s 12-week ban in cases of fatal fetal anomalies. The bill by state Sen. Merv Riepe would amend Nebraska’s 12-week abortion ban, passed last year, to allow abortions in cases when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb. That diagnosis must come from two doctors who determine that, regardless of any life-saving treatment, a fetus is incompatible with life outside the womb and will result in death upon birth or shortly thereafter. The diagnosis and abortion must come before 20 weeks of pregnancy — a timeline consistent with Nebraska’s previous 20-week ban on abortions. The bill also removes criminal penalties for doctors who perform an abortion outside the exceptions for rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/02/14/abortion-fetal-anomalies-nebraska/d672710c-cb96-11ee-aa8e-1e5794a4b2d6_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. More Republicans back spending on child care, saying it’s an economic issue, By Moriah Balingit, Associated Press, February 8, 2024, 9:55 AM Like a lot of mothers, North Dakota state Rep. Emily O’Brien struggled to find infant care when her daughter Lennon was born in 2019. So O’Brien, a Republican who represents the Grand Forks region, brought Lennon along to meetings with local leaders and constituents. O’Brien had her second daughter, Jolene, in 2022, not long before legislators were due to meet. Wanting more time to bond before returning to work, O’Brien brought the newborn with her to Bismarck, where she snoozed through Gov. Doug Burgum’s State of the State address on her mother’s desk. Not long after, O’Brien persuaded her colleagues to back a plan to invest $66 million in child care, an unprecedented sum for a state that had, like others with Republican leadership, long resisted such spending. But O’Brien argued it could help the state’s workforce shortage by helping more parents go to work and attracting new families to the state.  Republicans historically have been lukewarm about using taxpayer money for child care, even as they have embraced prekindergarten. But the pandemic, which left many child care providers in crisis, underscored how precarious the industry is and how many working parents rely on it. In 2021, Congress passed $24 billion of pandemic aid for child care businesses, an unprecedented federal investment. Now, as that aid dries up, Republican state lawmakers across the country are embracing plans to support child care — and even making it central to their policy agendas.  https://apnews.com/article/daycare-cost-child-care-assistance-0f7943d1b6f55dd4452ffd323e038a4f__________________________________________________________ 7. Prepare Yourselves to Live a Eucharistic Lent, Since Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit, the root and center of the Christian life, Lent, too, should draw its life from the Eucharistic Jesus and lead us to him., By Father Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, February 14, 2024 Lent is about going spiritually to the state of the desert, about uniting ourselves to, and imitating, Jesus’ fasting, praying and charity. It’s a time to repent and believe. We’re summoned to render our hearts open to God, to reflect on the meaning and trajectory of our life, as we recall that we are dust and to dust we shall return. It’s a period of mercy and conversion, of grace and holiness that we’re supposed to receive fruitfully and not in vain. This Lent is special, taking place within the parish phase of the three-year-plus Eucharistic Revival. Since Jesus in the Eucharist is the source and summit, the root and center of the Christian life, Lent, too, should draw its life from the Eucharistic Jesus and lead us to him. It’s important, therefore, to look at our major Lenten practices through a Eucharistic lens. The first is fasting. In the Gospel on Ash Wednesday, Jesus says to us, “When you fast …” In contrast to many of Jesus’ contemporaries, who fasted for show, supplication, penance and self-mastery, Jesus wants our fasting to be to bring into communion those parts of our life that are not yet united to him, those areas in which Jesus the Bridegroom has been “taken away” and is not yet present. Through Isaiah, God tells us that fasting is ultimately to learn to hunger for God and for what he hungers. The reason why the Church has a discipline of fasting before receiving Holy Communion is to help us calibrate our appetites to God’s. Jesus told us, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27). Jesus has a huge hunger to feed us. His incarnation, hidden life, public ministry, passion, death and resurrection all culminated in his giving us his Body and Blood, the means by which he would fulfill his promise to be with us always until the end of time. Jesus’ most eager desire, as he told us on Holy Thursday, was to celebrate “this Passover,” the new and eternal covenant, with us. He wants us to hunger for him, to work for the food he himself will give us more than a greedy Wall Street trader works to make money. That’s the ultimate purpose of our specifically Eucharistic fast as well as all fasting. But our hunger to eat his flesh and drink his blood is meant to lead us to draw our whole life from him. A Eucharistic life extends beyond Mass. A second major Lenten theme is the desert. Jesus calls us, especially in Lent, to “come away for a little while to a deserted place to rest a while” (Mark 6:31). Each Lent, the same Holy Spirit whom St. Luke tells us led Jesus into the desert wants to guide us into the desert with him, so that we, apart from distractions, in sacred silence, can prayerfully focus on who we are and on our relationship with God and others — and, with Christ’s help, can confront and overcome the way that the devil seeks to distort those relations and that image.  We’re all called to be contagious witnesses of the mind-blowing self-gift of Jesus in the Eucharist, to take him out in processions in monstrances and within ourselves, to help others learn to relate to him in his Eucharistic presence as those 2,000 years ago related to him in his tunic and sandals.  This Lent is a sacred and propitious time to recommit ourselves to these essential Eucharistic dimensions of our Christian existence, as we, through fasting hunger for Christ in the Mass, go into the desert to adore him outside of Mass, are impelled by him within toward Eucharistic charity, and are commissioned by him to proclaim his presence by word and life. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/live-a-eucharistic-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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