1. Fourth Anglican bishop in a year joins Catholic Church in UK, By Charles Collins, Crux, February 7, 2022 A fourth Anglican bishop in a year has been received into the Catholic Church. It was confirmed by the Church Times – an independent newspaper covering the Church of England – that the former bishop of Chester, Peter Forster, became Catholic last year. The three other Church of England bishops to become Catholic last year are the former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali; the former Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Jonathon Goodall; and the former Bishop of Burnley, John Goddard. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-uk-and-ireland/2022/02/fourth-anglican-bishop-in-a-year-joins-catholic-church-in-uk___________________________________________________________ 2. Human rights activist: Diplomatic relations between Vatican and China would be ‘totally unacceptable’, By Catholic News Agency, February 7, 2022, 4:40 AM A British human rights activist said on Sunday that it would be “totally unacceptable” for the Vatican to establish formal diplomatic relations with China. Benedict Rogers suggested on Feb. 6 that the Vatican could be preparing to take the step after moving officials from posts in Taiwan and Hong Kong. He pointed to the Vatican’s decision to transfer a representative in Taiwan to Africa, leaving its apostolic nunciature in the country without high-level diplomatic representation.  He appealed to Pope Francis to replace the officials in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and “to reassure us that the Vatican will retain diplomatic relations with Taiwan and not establish relations with [the] CCP.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250311/human-rights-activist-diplomatic-relations-between-vatican-and-china-would-be-totally-unacceptable___________________________________________________________ 3. Sub Petro? Marx, Hollerich, and the ‘synodal path’, By JD Flynn, The Pillar, February 7, 2022 Delegates to the German “synodal way” voted last week in favor of a document calling for liturgical blessings of same-sex couples and the sacramental ordination of women. The day before, a Luxembourg cardinal called for a “fundamental revision of doctrine” on homosexuality. And Germany’s most prominent cardinal, on the same day, gave the controversial view that permitting married men to become priests might ameliorate the sexual abuse crisis. Of course, it seems certain that the Church will not adopt the positions called for by the synodal path and the cardinals in question.  The consequence is that growing numbers of both practicing Catholics and German bishops have begun to lose interest in the whole affair. Some German Catholics decided early on that the process has little to do with them and their faith, and others — even those calling for radical doctrinal shifts — have seemingly begun to realize that much of their caucusing will amount to nothing. As a result, a growing number of delegates has taken to skipping sessions and absenting themselves from votes. The assemblies have had difficulty, in some cases, even getting a quorum.   In short, three years into the German synodal process, and with more than a year before the final and deliberative votes on the process, it seems most likely that the synodal path is going to run out of steam, or collapse under its own weight — losing any support from practicing Catholics it might have mustered, and failing to get votes of approval from enough German bishops for its documents to have any actual force.  While the pontiff has brought down few hammers, his Vatican has made enough steps that it’s clear what Francis will and won’t do with the rest of his papacy. And the idea that Hollerich, Marx, and German synod leaders are aligned with Pope Francis is wearing thin. As a result, each is getting closer to a moment of choice: actually align with Francis, or make a deliberative break, consequences be damned. The ZdK seem likely to go with the break, and with it the German synodal path. For Marx and Hollerich though, the path they’ll choose seems still unclear. And is often the case, the pope’s next move on those fronts is really anybody’s guess. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/sub-petro-marx-hollerich-and-the___________________________________________________________ 4. Pope decries genital mutilation, sex trafficking of women, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, February 6, 2022, 8:26 AM Pope Francis on Sunday decried the genital mutilation of millions of girls and the trafficking of women for sex, including openly on city streets, so others can make money off of them. In remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square, the pope noted that the day was dedicated worldwide to ending the ritual mutilation, and he told the crowd that some 3 million girls each year undergo the practice, “often in conditions very dangerous for the health.” “This practice, unfortunately widespread in various regions of the world, humiliates the dignity of women and gravely attacks their physical integrity,” Francis said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-decries-genital-mutilation-sex-trafficking-of-women/2022/02/06/69dbb616-8750-11ec-838f-0cfdf69cce3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Millions in tax dollars flow to anti-abortion centers in US, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, February 5, 2022 Anti-abortion centers across the country are receiving tens of millions of tax dollars to talk women out of ending their pregnancies, a nearly fivefold increase from a decade ago that resulted from an often-overlooked effort by mostly Republican-led states.  An Associated Press tally based on state budget figures reveals that nearly $89 million has been allocated to such centers across about a dozen states this fiscal year. A decade ago, the annual funding for the programs hovered around $17 million in about eight states.  Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Oklahoma have all funded crisis pregnancy centers for years. But no state has acted as ambitiously as Texas.  This year, Texas lawmakers dedicated a record $100 million in state tax dollars to fund the project over the next two years. https://apnews.com/article/abortion-business-health-nashville-personal-taxes-fffa6f6f86e6eaa448b8ea89087a1c46___________________________________________________________ 6. Top German bishop doubts ‘fresh start’ after abuse crisis, By Associated Press, February 5, 2022, 12:02 PM The head of the German Bishops’ Conference expressed doubts Saturday that the planned return of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki as archbishop of Cologne following a “spiritual timeout” will help the diocese overcome a crisis sparked by the church’s handling of sex abuse allegations. Georg Baetzing, who chairs the Bishops’ Conference, expressed concerns “whether a real fresh start can happen there.” “That’s needed to overcome the crisis that occurred there,” he added. Pope Francis last year granted Woelki leave until early March after criticism over his decision not to publish an independent report into allegations of sexual abuse in the church. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/top-german-bishop-doubts-fresh-start-after-abuse-crisis/2022/02/05/74b39550-86a5-11ec-951c-1e0cc3723e53_story.html___________________________________________________________ 7. Crisis-Pregnancy Center Lawsuit in Connecticut May Affect Abortion Alternatives Elsewhere, Pro-abortion politicians in Connecticut are targeting pro-life pregnancy centers within the state, claiming the omission of abortion as a service is ‘deceptive advertising.’, By Matthew McDonald, National Catholic Register, February 4, 2022 A pro-life crisis-pregnancy center in Connecticut is challenging a new state law that could have repercussions elsewhere in the country. In May 2021, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a bill banning what it calls deceptive advertising by crisis-pregnancy centers. Supporters of the bill call such centers “limited service” because they don’t provide abortion or emergency contraception. Instead, such centers typically offer ultrasound images, pregnancy tests, counseling, baby-care products and referrals to state welfare agencies, among other things. There about 25 in the state. Most are faith-based.  In October 2021, a Christian crisis-pregnancy center in the coastal city of New London sued in federal court to try to overturn the law, claiming that it violates theU.S. Constitution by impinging on the clinic’s right to freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. “The Act is not drafted or intended primarily to limit deceptive speech or inform women where they can receive abortions or abortifacient drugs. The Act’s intent is interfering with pro-life views about life, pregnancy, and motherhood,” states a complaint filed in U.S. District Court by lawyers for Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut. “The Act is a speaker-based, viewpoint-based law targeting the speech only of speakers espousing certain pro-life moral, religious, and philosophical beliefs.” Kevin Theriot, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based advocacy organization representing the crisis pregnancy center, told the Register that the Connecticut law “singles out pregnancy centers for the speech that they engage in, and does so in an unconstitutional way.”  Several cities in the United States have enacted ordinances restricting crisis-pregnancy centers, including Hartford in 2017. The new Connecticut state statute is based on a 2011 ordinance passed by the San Francisco board of supervisors, which was upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court (which declined to hear an appeal) in June 2018, before the additions of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the high court. https://www.ncregister.com/news/crisis-pregnancy-center-lawsuit-in-connecticut-may-affect-abortion-alternatives-elsewhere___________________________________________________________ 8. German ‘Synodal Way’ members back text calling for women priests, By Catholic News Agency, February 4, 2022, 11:57 AM Participants in the German Catholic Church’s “Synodal Way” voted on Friday in favor of a text calling for the ordination of women priests. CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, reported that the text was passed by 174 votes in favor, 30 against, and 6 abstentions on Feb. 4 during a plenary session of the Synodal Way, a controversial multi-year process bringing together the country’s bishops and lay people. The vote will be seen as a direct challenge to the Vatican, which has underlined that the Church has no power to ordain women as priests. The document, entitled “Women in Ministries and Offices in the Church,” said: “It is not the participation of women in all Church ministries and offices that requires justification, but the exclusion of women from sacramental office.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250298/german-synodal-way-members-back-text-calling-for-women-priests___________________________________________________________ 9. Catholic school enrollment numbers rebounding in some of the largest dioceses, and the US overall, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, February 4, 2022, 4:00 PM After a difficult 2020-2021 year for many Catholic schools, enrollment numbers are rebounding nationwide, according to data from the National Catholic Educational Association.  Overall, enrollment in Catholic schools in the U.S. is up from 1.63 million last year to 1.69 million this year, an increase of more than 3.5%, according to the NCEA Despite the increase, enrollment numbers do not appear to have yet reached 2019 levels, which saw 1.74 million students enrolled.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250302/catholic-school-enrollment-numbers-rebounding-in-some-of-the-largest-dioceses-and-the-us-overall___________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.