1. U.S. Launches The First-Ever International Religious Freedom Alliance.

By Ewelina U. Ochab, Forbes, February 6, 2020, 3:55 AM

On February 5, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched the International Religious Freedom Alliance (IRF Alliance), “an Alliance of like-minded partners who treasure, and fight for, international religious freedom for every human being.” The launch comes a few months after on July 18, 2019, at the second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington DC, Secretary Pompeo announced new initiatives including the creation of the IRF Alliance. “The Alliance is intended to bring together senior government representatives to discuss actions their nations can take together to promote respect for freedom of religion or belief and protect members of religious minority groups worldwide.”


2. Pope, with eye to Argentine debt, urges financial solidarity.

By Associated Press, February 5, 2020, 2:21 PM

Pope Francis urged the International Monetary Fund and finance ministers from across Latin America to work together to end economic “injustices,” saying Wednesday that new forms of solidarity can give hope to the poorest.

The first Latin American pope has long denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality that drives the global economy, and he has seen first-hand how his native Argentina is suffering under the weight of a debt burden of $150 billion.


3. Pope defrocks founder of another Latin America-based order.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 5, 2020, 12:07 PM

Another founder of a Catholic religious movement has been defrocked for sexual misconduct and abusing his power, the latest in a string of purportedly orthodox, charismatic priests who turned out to be predators.

The pope’s decision was made public this week in a statement by the archbishop of La Plata, Argentina, where Yannuzzi in 1994 founded the Miles Christi community. The name is Latin for “Soldier of Christ.”


4. Vatican seeks to explain absence of aide after book scandal.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 5, 2020, 10:01 AM

The Vatican sought Wednesday to explain the absence of a key member of Pope Francis’ protocol team following his role in a controversial book on priestly celibacy co-written by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican press office denied that Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, who works for both the reigning and the retired pope, had been officially suspended as head of Francis’ papal household because of the scandal.

The statement suggested the Holy See was trying to find an elegant way to justify Gaenswein’s unofficial sidelining from Francis’ team by saying he was dedicating himself more full-time to Benedict’s needs.


5. Trump highlights pro-life, school choice issues in State of the Union.

By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, February 5, 2020

School choice also got a shoutout from Trump in his speech, as he focused on two other guests in the House chamber — Janiyah Davis, a fourth grade student from Philadelphia, and her mother, Stephanie, who are from Pennsylvania.

Trump announced Janiyah would be getting a scholarship to attend the school of her choice and he called for federal legislation supporting school choice. He criticized Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf for vetoing a measure last year that would have expanded a private school choice program in that state.

“Parents are their children’s primary educators, and President Trump’s new school choice initiative recognizes this timeless truth,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, legal adviser for the Catholic Association Foundation.

“Giving families, especially low-income and minority families, tuition assistance for private schools like the thousands of Catholic schools across our country puts parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to preparing their kids for the future,” Picciotti-Bayer added.

The Trump administration’s proposal is called Education Freedom Scholarships. It would provide for a $5 billion annual federal tax credit for voluntary donations to state-based scholarship programs.


6. Pro-life leaders rally behind State of the Union.

By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2020, 11:00 AM

Catholic and pro-life leaders have welcomed President Donald Trump’s call for Congress to ban late-term abortion throughout the United States. Trump made the call during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

After introducing two of his guests, 2-year-old Ellie Schneider, who was born prematurely at 21 weeks and six days gestation, and her mother, Trump said that he would be moving to increase funding for neonatal research, and that he hoped Congress would “pass legislation finally banning the late-term abortion of babies.”


7. Pope Francis says international debt can’t be paid at ‘price of unbearable sacrifices’

By Inés San Martín, Crux, February 5, 2020

Speaking at a summit in Rome with some of the world’s most powerful financial officials, Pope Francis said the fact that five million children under five will die this year due to extreme poverty is something that should motivate the world to act.

He also alluded to the situation in his home country of Argentina, which is facing a renegotiation of debt with the International Monetary Fund that could save the country from a default.

“These are solvable problems, there is no lack of resources,” Francis said on Thursday. “There is no determinism that condemns us to universal inequality. Let me repeat: We are not doomed to universal inequality.”

Francis also noted that if the world’s 50 wealthiest people decided to do so, they could save the lives of millions of people each year.


8. Polish bishops call for John Paul II to be named co-patron of Europe.

By Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2020, 1:21 PM

Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, head of the Polish Episcopal Conference, is calling for St. John Paul II to be declared a Doctor of the Church and a co-patron saint of Europe.

The late pope and recent saint should be recognized as a co-patron saint of Europe for his efforts to bring down the Iron Curtain and reunite Western Europe with Central and Eastern Europe, Gadecki said in a letter to the bishops of the world, asking for their support in the effort, according to Poland In.


9. Pope Francis to financial leaders: Ending poverty is our duty.

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2020, 3:12 PM

Pope Francis called on global financial leaders and economists to end economic inequality Wednesday, saying that modern resources make ending global poverty possible – and a responsibility.

“A rich world and a vibrant economy can and should end poverty,” Pope Francis said Feb. 5.

The pope made an unscheduled appearance at a Vatican conference on “New Forms of Solidarity,” organized on the premise that “an outdated financial structure is endangering our planet and dividing our societies.”


10. NY doctors ‘refuse to abandon patients’ at rally against assisted suicide.

By Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2020, 4:00 PM

A group of doctors and advocates against suicide gathered at the New York State Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 4 to oppose efforts to legalize assisted suicide in the state.

The Medical Aid in Dying Act, or S.3947/A.2694, was introduced in the state assembly and state senate in 2019. Both the assembly and senate versions of the bill are currently at the committee stage.

“We are not isolated, self-sufficient individuals. Every human being is part of a huge network of relationships with others,” said Dr. John O’Brien, a family practitioner from central New York who attended the event. “How physicians respond to the patient’s request for life-ending drugs can have a profound effect on the patient‘s choices, as well as on their view of themselves and their inherent worth.”


11. Pro-Life Groups Applaud President Trump Highlighting Premature Baby, Call To Ban Late-Term Abortion.

By Mary Margaret Olohan, Daily Caller, February 4, 2020, 4:57 PM

Pro-life leaders applauded President Donald Trump’s remarks at the State of the Union on Tuesday night when he called on Congress to ban late-term abortions and highlighted the birth of a premature baby at 21 weeks.

The president discussed the birth of Ellie Schneider, a premature baby born at 21 weeks and six days. Her birth took place during the third trimester, a period when many states will still perform late-term abortions.

The Catholic Association senior fellow Maureen Ferguson noted that Schneider “compels us to recognize the humanity of a child at this stage of development.”

“A new groundbreaking study led by a pro-choice researcher suggests that an unborn child can experience pain as early as 13 weeks, and concludes that women considering abortion should be so informed,” Ferguson said. “We ask Congress to ban the inhumane practice of late-term abortion.”


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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