1. Pope rallies Congo’s youth, and gets a thunderous response, By Nicole Winfield, Christina Malkia and Jean-Yves Kamale, Associated Press, February 2, 2023, 6:44 AM Pope Francis urged Congo’s young people to work for a peaceful and honest future on Thursday, directing himself to a generation that has been particularly hard hit by the country’s chronic conflict and getting a raucous response when he acknowledged the corruption that threatens their prospects. Deafening cheers and chants greeted Francis on his last full day in Congo as he joined tens of thousands of young people at the Martyrs’ Stadium in the capital, Kinshasa. The Vatican said more than 65,000 people attended. Pulsing in the stands, the crowd repeatedly interrupted the pope and cheered especially loudly when Francis denounced the “cancer of corruption.” The audience broke into a chant in the Lingala language directed at the country’s president, thundering that his mandate was over. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-rallies-congos-youth-and-gets-a-thunderous-response/2023/02/02/e8b58ed0-a2e3-11ed-8b47-9863fda8e494_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Youngkin is right: Virginians support protections when unborn children can feel pain, 47 out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion at 15 weeks or earlier, By Marjorie Dannenfelser, The Washington Times, February 2, 2023, Pg. B4, Opinion Democrats in the Virginia State Capitol pay plenty of lip service to democracy. Yet it was the majority-Democrat Senate Education and Health Committee that ignored the consensus of Virginians when they blocked legislation to protect unborn children and their mothers from the brutality of abortion at 15 weeks — a point when science shows children in the womb can feel pain. Gov. Glenn Youngkin called out opponents of the bill, saying, “I believe they’re way out of touch, and there’s still a path forward in the House. I sure hope they start listening to the folks that elected them to come represent them.” Mr. Youngkin is right. Virginians have every reason to be appalled, especially by the behavior of Democrat lawmakers who celebrated with photos of themselves symbolically stuffing this compassionate legislation in the trash. Wherever you stand, this subject is serious. Recent polling confirms that Virginians strongly favor protections for the unborn at 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother. That includes 64% of Independents, 55% of rank-and-file Democrats, and 56% of women. Even 60% of likely pro-choice voters agree. This puts our commonwealth in good company with virtually the entire modern world. Forty-seven out of 50 European nations limit elective abortion at 15 weeks or earlier — most around 12 weeks. Even left-leaning Finland and Germany place at least some limits on abortion after 12 weeks, similar to what Americans consistently say they want.  Virginians who reject this out-of-touch thinking will have opportunities to make their voices heard. One is the Virginia March for Life in Richmond this week, where thousands of grassroots advocates from all walks of life will gather at the capitol. Additionally, every member of the General Assembly must defend his or her seat this year. Only by engaging in the democratic process will Virginians ensure that our real views are respected, and basic decency in our laws doesn’t end up in the trash. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/feb/1/youngkin-right-virginians-support-protections-when/__________________________________________________________3. Taiwanese leader blasts lack of freedom in China, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, February 2, 2023, Pg. A8 A top Taiwanese legislator drew a sharp contrast Wednesday between religious freedom on the island democracy compared to the record of the Communist mainland its repression of Uyghur Muslims, Christians and other minority religions. You Si-kun, president of Taiwan‘s legislative Yuan, noted for an audience at the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington on Wednesday that the Pew Research Center in a 2014 survey ranked Taiwan second among 232 nations and areas on its “Religious Diversity Index.” “As its democratic system has developed, Taiwan has proactively protected religious freedom and encouraged religion’s healthy development,” said Mr. You, a member of the ruling Democratic People’s Party and a strong advocate in the past for Taiwanese independence. In China, by contrast, “there is a comprehensive, systematic repression of religion,” Mr. You said, calling the actions an “all-out assault on religion” by the Chinese Communist Party. He said the Beijing regime has worked assiduously to suppress public symbols of faith and challenge the independence of various faiths from government control. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/feb/1/taiwan-legislative-leader-says-island-has-religiou/__________________________________________________________4. Faith leaders warn Japan against restrictions on churches, By Mark A. Kellner and Guy Taylor, The Washington Times, February 2, 2023, Pg. A1 Religious freedom is not only under growing threat around the globe from China and other totalitarian regimes, dignitaries warned at a summit this week in Washington, but it also faces challenges from leftists in stalwart democracies such as Japan to curb faith groups since last year’s assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The assassination’s aftermath has emboldened fringe Japanese communists to try to smear and discredit Abe’s long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party over its links to the Unification Church, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who warned this week that Tokyo now finds itself in a “political fight about an ideology of communism, which wants to destroy its major competitor” to “get control of Japan.” “This is a huge problem,” Mr. Gingrich told an audience at the International Religious Freedom Summit 2023, referring to the pressure campaign in Japan against members of the Unification ChurchUnification Church officials and members say they have faced death threats and other forms of harassment in the wake of Abe’s death. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/feb/1/religious-freedom-under-threat-summit-highlights-a/__________________________________________________________ 5. New leader of US bishops challenges Biden on abortion, By John Lavenburg, Crux, February 2, 2023 In his first message to President Joe Biden, the new leader of the Catholic bishops in the United States has rebuked the president’s recent assertion that some prelates and Pope Francis himself do not oppose taxpayer funding of abortion. A reporter recently told Biden that “Catholic bishops are demanding that federal tax dollars not fund abortion,” to which the president replied, “No they are not all doing that. Nor is the Pope doing that.” Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese for the Military Services and who was elected President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November, issued a statement saying Biden’s comments ignore the Catholic Church’s “clear and consistent” teaching that human life is sacred, and that “God calls us to defend and nurture life from the moment a new human being is conceived.” Broglio insisted that the U.S. bishops are in lockstep on the issue. “The Catholic bishops of the United States are united in our commitment to life, and will continue to work as one body in Christ to make abortion unthinkable,” the archbishop said. “As the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has said, ‘It is not right to ‘do away with’ a human being, however small, in order to solve a problem. It is like hiring a hitman.’” Broglio said at the time of his election in November that he would welcome a meeting with Biden, whose simultaneous public devotion to the Catholic faith and pro-abortion stance has created a contentious relationship with the U.S. episcopacy since he took office. …. The archbishop emphasized in the Feb. 1 statement that the taxpayer funding of abortion “would force people of good conscience to participate in this grave evil against their will.” Biden has been a vocal supporter for overturning the longstanding Hyde Amendment, which has prevented taxpayer funding of abortion at the federal level since it passed in 1976. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/02/new-leader-of-us-bishops-challenges-biden-on-abortion__________________________________________________________ 6. In Congo, activists look to Pope to boost forest protections, By Wanjohi Kabukuru, Associated Press, February 1, 2023, 12:05 PM Local climate activists in Congo are hoping Pope Francis’ visit will help spur action to protect the country’s rainforest from oil and gas interests. The Pope’s call to protect Congo’s “great green lungs of the world” on Tuesday was welcomed by campaigners who see the papal visit as a fresh opportunity to highlight threats to the country’s biodiversity and global climate goals. Parts of Congo’s rainforest are up for oil and gas auction and several climate activist groups are petitioning the Pope to support their stance opposing fossil fuels investments. The activists plan to present a petition calling for the cancellation of the oil blocks leases to the Pope, who is in Congo until Friday. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/02/01/df004dd6-a247-11ed-8b47-9863fda8e494_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. The Archdiocese of Baltimore promotes healing and transparency, By Archbishop William E. Lori, The Washington Post, February 1, 2023, 2:34 PM, Letter to the Editor Regarding the Jan. 21 editorial “Perpetuating secrecy”: The Archdiocese of Baltimore was involved in the gravest of betrayals for its historic failure to protect children from sexual predators and for the sinister and cowardly decisions of some individuals to cover their tracks. As long as I am the archbishop of Baltimore, the church will continue to apologize for the pain inflicted and to assist those in the lifelong process of healing. Scrutiny of our past is warranted. When the objective is to protect a child, half-measures are not acceptable. The Archdiocese of Baltimore described in statements by the former Maryland attorney general is not the archdiocese we are today. Then-Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) acknowledged this when he stated that the coverup was over and for at least two decades the church has followed the law and reported child sexual abuse when it is reported to us.  Transparency is the cornerstone of the culture change and the standard of accountability ushered in over the last generation. The church’s reform is being undermined by speculation related to the archdiocese’s motivation for using insurance funds to pay the legal fees for individuals named in the report. Because these individuals are not accused of abuse, and because the attorney general’s office did not give them an opportunity to respond to the report, I made the decision to guarantee they had a voice in the court proceedings. To me, this was a matter of fundamental fairness. The evil carried out by abusive priests is despicable and reprehensible. The church cannot run from or hide this truth, nor does the Archdiocese of Baltimore wish to do so. William E. Lori is the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/02/01/archdiocese-baltimore-healing-transparency/__________________________________________________________  8. Virginia AG opposes prosecuting women seeking abortions, By Sarah Rankin, Associated Press, February 1, 2023, 4:46 PM Speaking at an annual anti-abortion rally and march in Richmond, Republican Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares said Wednesday that he opposes the idea that women should be prosecuted for seeking abortions. “The pro-life message is one of compassion. And there have been some voices in this country saying we should prosecute women who make the decision to have an abortion. That is not right,” he said. Miyares said the anti-abortion movement should instead focus on backing the work of charities that support struggling mothers. The attorney general was one of several speakers at Wednesday’s “Virginia March for Life,” the first time the annual event has taken place since last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade.  For a second year, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin joined the crowd after the speeches. He gave brief remarks before the march stepped off. Youngkin said he was “incredibly disappointed” with Democrats who control the state Senate, who so far this legislative session have proudly blocked a series of measures that would restriction abortion access. Democrats have also pursued a resolution that would start a years-long process of enshrining abortion protections into the state constitution, though that legislation has been defeated in the GOP-led House.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/virginia-ag-opposes-prosecuting-women-seeking-abortions/2023/02/01/d44f5cf6-a279-11ed-8b47-9863fda8e494_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. 20 attorneys general warn Walgreens, CVS over abortion pills, By Jim Salter, Associated Press, February 1, 2023 Attorneys general in 20 conservative-led states warned CVS and Walgreens on Wednesday that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in those states. A letter from Republican Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to the nation’s largest pharmacy-dispensing companies was co-signed by 19 other attorneys general, warning that sale of abortion pills would violate federal law and abortion laws in many states. Missouri is among states that implemented strict abortion prohibitions last summer after the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-missouri-state-government-west-virginia-united-states-us-food-and-drug-administration-a1b1a387788bb5aaa39c9ce4128d77ab__________________________________________________________ 10. Cardinal Dolan criticizes Biden administration for trying to force employers to cover contraception, By Matt McDonald, Catholic News Agency, February 1, 2023, 4:15 PM The Biden administration’s proposal to force employers to offer contraception in their health insurance plans even if they have moral objections to it is “disheartening,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Wednesday. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposed rule that would leave in place the current exemption for religious employers but take away the exemption based purely on moral grounds. Dolan, reacting two days later, said the Trump-era rule issued in 2018 “provided appropriately clear and robust protections for the exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, free from government punishment,” but that the Biden administration’s new proposal wrongly removes at least some of those protections. “While we are pleased that the proposed regulations appear, at this early stage of review, to retain the bulk of the existing religious exemption, their elimination of protections for moral convictions is disheartening,” said Dolan, the archbishop of New York and chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, in a written statement. “It is past time for HHS to leave well enough alone in this regard,” Dolan said. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253527/cardinal-dolan-criticizes-biden-administration-for-trying-to-force-employers-to-cover-contraception__________________________________________________________ 11. Republican and Democrat leaders urge Biden to add Nigeria to list of countries violating religious freedom, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, February 1, 2023, 8:29 AM New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith and a group of Republican and Democrat leaders in Congress introduced a resolution Tuesday to urge the State Department to add Nigeria to its annual list of countries that violate religious freedom, known as the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list.  The resolution also calls for the appointment of a special envoy to monitor and combat human rights violations in the region. Co-sponsored by Arkansas Republican Rep. French Hill and Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar, the resolution will signal U.S. commitment to religious freedom across the world, especially in Nigeria. “Last year alone, 5,014 Christians were killed in Nigeria — accounting for nearly 90% of Christian deaths worldwide as well [as] 90% of Christian kidnappings across the globe,” Smith said in a Tuesday press release. “The Biden administration must act immediately and redesignate Nigeria as a Country of Particular Concern to mitigate this alarming and growing threat to religious liberty.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253517/republican-and-democrat-leaders-urge-biden-to-add-nigeria-to-list-of-countries-violating-religious-freedom__________________________________________________________ 12. The calamity of death and the necessity of mourning, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus, February 2, 2023, Opinion The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us that to everything in life there is a season, and an appointed time for every human experience. Our ancestors understood this — they lived the rhythms of life and respected them, their livelihoods tied to the harvests or the tides. They lived patiently attuned to the muffled cadences of their hearts, both the glad tempos and the dirges. Today it is harder for us to accept the true fullness of human experience, the wide breadth of the seasons of life. We live in rigidly controlled environments, our thermostats set to 73 degrees in summer and winter, our pantries full of the same food the year round. We think we can do the same to our hearts, living narrowly only the experiences we crave, like love’s embrace or at the very least the steady hum of a cheerful, active life. The gloomy seasons we reject as unhealthy or morbid, and we seek the therapist’s couch when a swamping tide of loss or grief doesn’t recede at once. The experience we fear the most is that of death, with its awful finality and hideous separation. And yet death is embedded in life, here to stay. With all our scientific progress we have not been able to extend our lifespan at all, let alone begin to see a way to achieve the pipedreams of billionaires who have poured their capital into “solving” death. What we have been able to do is to mute death — compartmentalize it, box it in, marginalize it, remove it from our sight — as we’ve done with many of our cemeteries and funeral homes. Our old people die in hospices, with trained assistants to sedate them on their way, and are rushed to the crematorium when their souls have barely fled. Ashes are scattered in bodies of water, while wakes and funeral rites have been replaced by “celebrations of life.” We are encouraged to celebrate immediately, because grief hurts and what hurts has no business interrupting the cheerful tempo of our modern lives.  My dear father died a month ago. He was 86 and had been diagnosed with the terrible, terminal illness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more than two years ago. And yet, I was completely unprepared for his going away from us. His death had all the hallmarks of a good death: he died in a state of grace, his soul and mind well prepared, nobly accepting the slow crucifixion that God chose for him as his purifying end. He died at home, with my mother, his wife of 56 years, yearning tenderly over him until his last wracked breath. Children and grandchildren surrounded him on his deathbed, suffering but unwilling to miss a last glance from his eyes. It was “normal,” it was “natural,” it was “to be expected,” and it was “a welcome relief.” Clearly there is nothing for me to complain about. But I am still grieving, and it’s made me reflect on the wisdom of Ecclesiastes: There is, in fact, “a time to mourn,” and I’ve learned there is a blessedness in that time that we do wrong to reject.  It has been more than a month since I watched my father draw his last breath. That day I fed him his last meal, spoon by spoon, and I thank God for that gift. He signed to my mother to comb his bit of hair. To the end he was an elegant, old-world Cuban of a type which is almost extinct. He smiled on all of us — reassuringly, bravely, lovingly — and then he left us. I don’t doubt that God pitied us in the sorrow of that moment. Perhaps, I wonder, he even wept again. https://angelusnews.com/voices/calamity-of-death/__________________________________________________________

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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