1. To Limit Abortions, Kansas Lawmakers Target State Constitution: After the state Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution protected abortion, Republican lawmakers decided it was time for a change.

By Jennifer Calfas, The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2020, 7:00 AM

Republican lawmakers in Kansas aim to amend the state constitution to weaken abortion protections, a strategy increasingly being used by state legislatures to bolster regulations and restrictions on the procedure.

The effort has already passed the state Senate with a two-thirds majority vote. The House is expected this week to consider the amendment, which says the state doesn’t require government funding nor secure a right to the procedure, and state lawmakers may pass regulations.

The move comes in direct response to a Kansas Supreme Court decision last year that affirmed abortion rights were protected by the state constitution.


2. California university reaches settlement with Students for Life in discrimination suit.

By Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2020, 12:40 AM

A California state university has this week agreed to revise its policies and pay more than $240,000 in fees after a federal court last summer found that the university had discriminated against a student pro-life group and had used mandatory student fees to fund only university-favored views.

In 2017, legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the pro-life student group Students for Life, after California State University–San Marcos denied the group access to funding paid for by mandatory student fees that should have been available to all student groups.

According to ADF, CSU-San Marcos has more than 100 student groups but has been discriminatory in distributing funding to those groups. In the 2016-2017 academic year, the university gave the Gender Equity Center and the LGBQTA Pride Center a combined total of $296,498, or 57 times what the other student groups were granted, which was less than $6,000.


3. Catholic Church orders more inquiry into Minnesota bishop.

By Associated Press, February 4, 2020, 4:57 PM

Roman Catholic Church leaders in Rome authorized more investigation into claims that a northern Minnesota bishop interfered with past investigations into clerical sexual misconduct with children, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced Tuesday.

The investigation into Crookston Bishop Michael Hoeppner began in September and was the first known of its kind under a new Vatican protocol designed to hold the Catholic hierarchy accountable for failing to protect their flocks. St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop Bernard Hebda has been leading the investigation into Hoeppner and said Tuesday that the Congregation for Bishops in Rome authorized him to continue.

The investigation centers on allegations that Hoeppner engaged in “acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct.”


4. Buffalo Catholic diocese to close seminary amid $500K losses.

By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press, February 4, 2020, 5:54 PM

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo announced Tuesday it will “cease operations” at its seminary at the end of the academic year, citing annual operating losses and low enrollment.

Christ the King Seminary has trained priests for more than 100 years but has lost an average of $500,000 a year for the past 10 with no end in sight, the diocese said in a statement following a vote by the seminary’s board of trustees.


5. Surrogates could not be forced to abort multiples under bill passed by Va. Senate.

By Laura Vozzella, The Washington Post, February 4, 2020, 6:58 PM

In a major new agreement, the Archdiocese of Chicago has entered into partnership with an independent foundation that will take over the operational control of 30 of the city’s Catholic schools.

A surrogate mother could not be forced to abort a fetus with abnormalities or reduce the number of fetuses she is carrying under a bill that won unanimous support Tuesday in the Virginia Senate.

The surrogate also could not be prohibited from terminating the pregnancy, under an amendment that was critical to winning support from Democrats, who hold a majority of seats in the chamber and were opposed to the idea when it was first proposed last year.


6. Vatican sends masks to China to help with virus outbreak.

By Reuters, February 3, 2020, 2:46 PM

The Vatican has sent hundreds of thousands of medical masks to China to help it deal with the coronavirus outbreak, with each bag marked with Pope Francis’ coat of arms.


7. Pope plans Indonesia trip to promote inter-religious dialogue.

By Reuters, February 3, 2020, 4:55 AM

Pope Francis will promote inter-religious dialogue this year during a trip to the world’s biggest Muslim country Indonesia and make the first papal visit to mainly Catholic East Timor since it won independence from Jakarta, diplomatic sources said.

The trip, which will also include a visit to Papua New Guinea, is likely to take place in September, the sources said. The Vatican has not yet announced the trip.


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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