1. Califf Is Confirmed For FDA Top Post, By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, February 16, 2022, Pg. A4 Robert Califf was narrowly confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday to lead the Food and Drug Administration following a pitched effort by the White House to shore up support. The Senate voted 50 to 46 in favor of the confirmation, which some Democrats had opposed because of Dr. Califf’s industry ties and some Republicans refused to support amid pressure from abortion-pill opponents. Six Republicans voted for confirmation, while four Democrats and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, voted against. Sen. Mike Rounds (R., S.D.) voted present. https://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-narrowly-confirms-califf-for-fda-commissioner-11644949984?___________________________________________________________ 2. Pope’s passion for motu proprio captures a grand irony, and a deep truth, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, February 16, 2022, Opinion Pope Francis made some small but meaningful amendments to church law yesterday, transferring certain powers away from the Vatican and to national bishops’ conferences and local bishops in certain areas. They include the erection of inter-diocesan seminaries, plans for priestly formation, the dismissal of members of religious orders from their communities, the publication of regional catechisms and the reduction of obligatory Masses attached to legacies or donations. In themselves, each change may seem to fall well short of a thunderclap. However, they add to a picture of gradual decentralization in the Catholic Church that Francis has been painting for a while, including returning control over the contentious area of liturgical translation to bishops’ conferences in 2017.  The way in which this program is rolling out, however, reveals both one of the grand ironies about Francis’s papacies and also a fundamental truth about the Catholic Church: To wit, that the pope’s program of decentralization is being enacted in just about the most hyper-centralized fashion possible. The vehicle with which Francis decreed his changes to church law yesterday was a motu proprio, meaning “by his own motion,” referring to a legal step taken without any request from another party. Basically, it’s a way of saying “nobody asked for this, it’s just what I want to do.” In a sense it’s the purest use of papal authority possible, drawing on the canonical codicil that says a pope enjoys “full, supreme, immediate and universal jurisdiction” over the church.  In turn, this irony about Francis illustrates an enduring truth about the Catholic Church, which is that sometimes reform happens bottom-up, with changes at the grassroots eventually compelling the center in Rome to come around, but often enough reform is also top-down, meaning decreed by a pope with a plan and received, sometimes haltingly and half-heartedly, by the people to whom it’s directed.  If it takes a village to raise a child, maybe it takes an emperor-pope to deconstruct the imperial papacy – at least, that is, until the next pontiff invested with “full, supreme, immediate and universal jurisdiction” decides to try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2022/02/popes-passion-for-motu-proprio-captures-a-grand-irony-and-a-deep-truth___________________________________________________________ 3. GOP-controlled Arizona Senate passes 15-week abortion ban, By Bob Christie, Associated Press, February 15, 2022, 8:24 PM Republicans who control the Arizona Senate voted Tuesday to outlaw abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, moving to put a new ban in place ahead of a highly anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision that could bring seismic changes to abortion availability in the United States. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gop-controlled-arizona-senate-passes-15-week-abortion-ban/2022/02/15/87fdd5f8-8ec0-11ec-8ddd-52136988d263_story.html___________________________________________________________ 4. Arkansas Senate rejects push for Texas-styled abortion ban, By Andrew Demillo, Associated Press, February 15, 2022, 7:46 PM Arkansas’ majority-Republican Senate rejected a push Tuesday for an abortion ban modeled after Texas’ restrictive law, with abortion opponents divided about emulating their neighbor’s approach as they await a key ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate rejected resolutions that would have allowed lawmakers to take up legislation banning abortion except to save the life of a mother in a medical emergency. Like Texas’ ban, the measure would be enforced by private citizens filing lawsuits. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/arkansas-senate-rejects-push-for-texas-styled-abortion-ban/2022/02/15/e90e6332-8eb9-11ec-8ddd-52136988d263_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Becciu’s ‘classified’ tech company linked to Trump-Russia allegations, By The Pillar, February 15, 2022 The technology company to which Cardinal Angelo Becciu authorized millions of dollars of payments in Australia has been named in an emerging U.S. political scandal, raising new questions about the Vatican’s business with the firm. Neustar, a technology and security company, has been named in pretrial motions filed by John Durham, the special counsel investigating the handling of a 2016 inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the U.S. general election. The company has also featured in the ongoing Vatican financial scandal and trial, with Cardinal Becciu facing questions over millions of dollars of “classified” payments he authorized to the company. The cardinal has declined to elaborate on the Secretariat of State’s need for classified services from a telecommunications security and intelligence firm. The filing in U.S. court, updated on Friday last week, relates to a case Durham has brought against a cybersecurity lawyer affiliated with the Democratic Party, Michael Sussman.  Sussman allegedly had access to the information via data from servers managed by Neustar and serving both locations. According to the New York Times, Sussman received the data from Rodney Joffe, a client of his, who was until Sept. 2021 the senior vice president and security chief technology officer at Neustar. In court filings, Durham alleges that Joffe “exploited” Neustar’s access to server data for the purposes of gleaning potentially damaging information on Donald Trump.  Durham has not alleged that Joffe or Neustar were paid for the information, but the alleged use of the data gleaned from sensitive servers linked to the White House has become the focus of considerable media attention and debate.  Between 2016-17, the Secretariat of State sent wire transfers amounting to more than 2 million Australian dollars to Neustar’s office in Melbourne. The Pillar has previously reported that Becciu personally authorized two of the payments in writing, and approved the other two. The payments coincided with the investigation and prosecution of Cardinal George Pell by local police on charges of sexual abuse. Pell was initially convicted on the evidence of a single witness-accuser before being exonerated by Australia’s High Court. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/beccius-classified-tech-company-linked___________________________________________________________ 6. Is Archbishop Scicluna Headed for a Leadership Role at the CDF?, The Maltese prelate has served as adjunct secretary at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2018., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 15, 2022 A Maltese prelate who has played a leading role in tackling the clergy sexual-abuse crisis in the Church over the past two decades is being tipped as a possible successor to Cardinal Luis Ladaria as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, a canonist who has investigated and prosecuted the crime of clergy sexual abuse in the universal Church, has been concurrently serving as both archbishop of Malta and adjunct secretary at the CDF since 2018. Cardinal Ladaria, 77, of Spain, is expected to retire soon, possibly in July, leaving Archbishop Scicluna as his likely successor in running the oldest and arguably most prestigious and important of all the Vatican congregations, responsible for safeguarding and promoting faith and morals throughout the Catholic Church. https://www.ncregister.com/news/is-archbishop-scicluna-headed-for-a-leadership-role-at-the-cdf___________________________________________________________ 7. Pope Francis seeks ‘healthy decentralization’ with new changes to canon law, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, February 15, 2022, 7:20 PM Pope Francis unveiled new changes to Church law in an apostolic letter published Tuesday, saying that he was seeking to promote “a healthy decentralization” in the Church. In the letter issued motu proprio (“on his own impulse”) on Feb. 15, the pope said that his intention with the changes was to “foster a sense of collegiality and pastoral responsibility” on the part of bishops, local bishops’ conferences, and major superiors religious communities, as well as to “support the principles of rationality, effectiveness, and efficiency.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250392/pope-francis-seeks-healthy-decentralization-with-new-changes-to-canon-law___________________________________________________________

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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