1. Vatican tries to reboot priesthood amid crisis over abuses, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 17, 2022, 5:02 AM The Vatican opened a three-day conference Thursday on rebooting the Catholic priesthood amid a drop in vocations and a credibility crisis over the “depraved” clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal. The conference’s organizer, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, said the symposium’s aim is to break down a “clericalized” concept of the priesthood that is at the root of the scandal. He denounced that priests had assumed a perverted place of power over their flock, when the church is really the “People of God.”  Pope Francis opened the conference repeating his call for priests to be close to God, their bishops, other priests and the People of God. Francis didn’t mention the abuse scandals, but he, too, blamed “clericalism” for distorting the true meaning of the priesthood, which he said is a vocation of service, not power. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-tries-to-reboot-priesthood-amid-crisis-over-abuses/2022/02/17/c5558374-8fd8-11ec-8ddd-52136988d263_story.html___________________________________________________________ 2. Florida House passes GOP 15-week abortion ban, By Anthony Izaguirre, Associated Press, February 17, 2022, 12:57 AM Republicans in the Florida House of Representatives early Thursday approved a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, moving to tighten access to the procedure ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that could limit abortion rights in America. The GOP-controlled House passed the 15-week abortion ban after several hours of debate between Democrats who said the measure would impose an unnecessary burden on women and Republicans who said they were protecting the unborn. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/florida-house-passes-gop-15-week-abortion-ban/2022/02/17/ec8a0298-8fb1-11ec-8ddd-52136988d263_story.html___________________________________________________________ 3. Pope calls priestly celibacy ‘a gift,’ says friendship can make it easier, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, February 17, 2022 Speaking to a conference exploring the foundations of the priesthood, Pope Francis Thursday stressed the importance of closeness to God and others in the life of a priest, saying friendship and prayer can make challenges such as living the vow of celibacy easier. “When priestly fraternity thrives and bonds of true friendship exist,” he said, it becomes possible “to experience with greater serenity the life of celibacy.”  “Celibacy is a gift that the Latin Church preserves, yet it is a gift that, to be lived as a means of sanctification, calls for healthy relationships, relationships of true esteem and true goodness that are deeply rooted in Christ,” he said. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/02/pope-calls-priestly-celibacy-a-gift-says-friendship-can-make-it-easier___________________________________________________________ 4. New FDA head criticized for role in expanding availability of abortion pill, By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, February 17, 2022 Pro-life leaders criticized the U.S. Senate’s Feb. 15 confirmation of Dr. Robert Califf as President Joe Biden’s commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, taking issue with Califf’s role in the agency expanding the availability of the drug protocol used for chemical abortions. The FDA head, a cardiologist who also was the agency’s commissioner in 2016 and 2017, faced other criticism over his handling of the nation’s opioid crisis and his ties to the pharmaceutical industry. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2022/02/new-fda-head-criticized-for-role-in-expanding-availability-of-abortion-pill___________________________________________________________ 5. Italy’s constitutional court blocks physician-assisted suicide referendum, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, February 16, 2022, 12:00 PM Italy’s constitutional court on Tuesday blocked a referendum to decriminalize physician-assisted suicide in the country, citing inadequate legal protections for the weak and vulnerable. The leadership of the Italian bishops’ conference welcomed the court’s decision in a Feb. 15 statement. The court’s pronouncement “is a very specific invitation to never marginalize the commitment of society, as a whole, to offer the support necessary to overcome or alleviate the situation of suffering or distress,” the bishops said. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250407/italy-s-constitutional-court-blocks-physician-assisted-suicide-referendum___________________________________________________________ 6. Verdict in Finland’s Bible tweet trial expected in March, By Catholic News Agency, February 16, 2022, 1:00 PM A verdict in the closely watched trial of a Christian MP in Finland is expected in March. The trial of Päivi Räsänen, a physician and mother of five, ended on Feb. 14 at Helsinki District Court. Also standing trial was Juhana Pohjola, a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland. The charges against Räsänen relate to her comments in a 2004 pamphlet, her appearance on a 2018 television program, and a Twitter post in 2019. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250408/verdict-in-finland-s-bible-tweet-trial-expected-in-march___________________________________________________________

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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