1. Retired pope asks pardon for abuse, but admits no wrongdoing, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 8, 2022, 8:39 AM Retired Pope Benedict XVI asked forgiveness Tuesday for any “grievous faults” in his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, but denied any personal or specific wrongdoing after an independent report criticized his actions in four cases while he was archbishop of Munich, Germany.  The conclusion of Benedict’s lawyers was resolute: “As an archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger was not involved in any cover-up of acts of abuse,” they wrote. They criticized the report’s authors for misinterpreting their submission, and asserted that they provided no evidence that Benedict was aware of the criminal history of any of the four priests in question. Benedict’s response was far more nuanced and spiritual, though he went on at length to thank his legal team before even addressing the allegations or the victims of abuse. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/retired-pope-asks-pardon-for-abuse-but-admits-no-wrongdoing/2022/02/08/0c2fa44a-88d7-11ec-838f-0cfdf69cce3c_story.html___________________________________________________________ 2. Benedict XVI Issues Letter on Munich Abuse Report — Full Text, ‘The victims of sexual abuse have my deepest sympathy and I feel great sorrow for each individual case.’, By Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, National Catholic Register, February 8, 2022 Editor’s Note: Benedict XVI released a letter on Tuesday in response to the Munich abuse report. Please find the full letter published with permission below. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/benedict-xvi-issues-letter-on-munich-abuse-report-full-text___________________________________________________________ 3. Benedict flouts bishops’ playbook in facing cover-up charges on abuse, By John L. Allen Jr., February 8, 2022, Opinion What’s most striking about the response Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and his informal team of advisers delivered Tuesday to the accusations leveled in a recent report sponsored by the Archdiocese of Munich – to wit, that then-Archbishop and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had mishandled four cases of abuse during his brief tenure running the archdiocese from 1977 to 1982 – is that it really only follows one of the rules on the new checklist, and even then imperfectly.  Although Benedict himself does not address the charges in a brief personal letter, they are faced head-on in an analysis of the Munich report prepared by four German lawyers and jurists on his behalf.  In sum, the pope emeritus essentially disregarded the bishops’ playbook when it comes to accusations of mismanagement and cover-up. Critics doubtless will see this as further proof that Benedict “just doesn’t get it,” while admirers may style it the last stand of a man who still believes that truth actually matters. In any event, this more robust, head-on approach is now on record as another way to go when facing such charges, and perhaps it won’t be the last time we see someone invoke it. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2022/02/benedict-flouts-bishops-playbook-in-facing-cover-up-charges-on-abuse___________________________________________________________ 4. Fla. GOP sees strategic path with 15-week abortion ban, By Caroline Kitchener, The Washington Post, February 8, 2022, Pg. A10 The momentum behind the 15-week ban in Florida offers a glimpse into what activists on both sides say is an emerging strategy in some GOP-led legislatures to acclimate voters to a post-Roe world. The objective, these activists say, is to portray the Mississippi-style ban as a sensible compromise – even though a 15-week ban represents a dramatic rollback of the standard established by Roe, which protects the right to abortion until a fetus is viable outside the womb, around 22 to 24 weeks. Fifteen-week bans have been introduced recently in West Virginia and Arizona, and just like in Florida, both are moving swiftly through the legislature, even as Texas-style laws in other states have stalled.  Unlike abortion bans in several other states this legislative cycle, the Florida bill materialized without fanfare, introduced a few hours before the filing deadline, with no news conference to mark its introduction. DeSantis did not talk about the 15-week ban in his opening address to the legislature on Jan. 11, mentioning the legislation only when asked about it by reporters, a choice that angered some on the right. Advocates on both sides of the issue say they suspect legislators are trying to “slip in” the 15-week ban without attracting too much attention. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/02/07/abortion-ban-florida-texas-roe-supreme-court/___________________________________________________________ 5. Waiting for Dobbs, By Hadley Arkes, The Catholic Thing, February 8, 2022, Opinion It will come, of course, by the end of June, in the closing hours of the year for the Supreme Court; the moment when it delivers the judgments on the most heated, controversial cases – and the justices then decorously flee town, even the country, as the reactions explode.  Bound to set off tremors this year is the Dobbs case from Mississippi on abortion, for it tees up again the possibility that Roe v. Wade may finally be overruled.  The odds are that the statute in Mississippi will be sustained by a Court now containing Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch.  And that judgment, breaking through the borderline of viability, would be enough to end Roe:  Either the case will be overruled, or the holding will be scaled back in the coming years with most of the substance removed.  If the matter is now seen as Justice White had it, the Court could announce that Roe has not been explicitly overruled;  that there remains a “right to abortion,” tightly confined;  but that it’s open now to governments at every level to scale back Roe dramatically, to protect the unborn child at every point. A judgment of that kind might even ease the mind of many pro-choicers. But it is virtually certain that it would also still be taken in many quarters as the overruling of Roe – and set off conflagrations in the streets of certain cities. The justices then, in sober reckoning, may come finally to this judgment:  if there is rioting in the streets whatever we do, we might as well do the full and rightful thing, and remove Roe in one decisive stroke. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2022/02/08/waiting-for-dobbs/___________________________________________________________ 6. Bakers, therapists would lose conscience protections under equality bill, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, February 8, 2022, Pg. A6 A proposed Arizona bill will require bakers, flower arrangers, photographers and web designers, among other creative professionals, to make available their services regardless of their individual conscience, advocates said Monday. In addition, licensed counselors will no longer be able to offer so-called “conversion therapy” to minors, regardless of whether the minor or their parents want the intervention. Such a provision, state Rep. Daniel Hernandez, a Democrat, told a Phoenix news conference, “will have an enormous benefit to the LGBTQ youth of the state of Arizona.” Religious counselors working in a church, synagogue, mosque or other faith-based facilities will not be subject to this provision, backers said. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/feb/7/bakers-therapists-lose-conscience-protections-unde/___________________________________________________________ 7. Bishop: If you’re at odds with church on abortion, don’t receive Communion, By Catholic News Service, February 8, 2022 The bishop of Las Vegas asked any Catholic politician from the diocese who is “at odds” with church teaching upholding the sanctity of all life, from conception to natural death, to voluntarily refrain from presenting himself or herself for Communion while they hold public office. “I place the onus of that decision upon the individual politician’s shoulders, and not on the backs of pastors or eucharistic ministers,” Bishop George Leo Thomas said.  He made the comments in response to a recent guest column in the Las Vegas Sun daily newspaper by U.S. Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., who identified herself as a Catholic and said she supports unrestricted “reproductive care.” https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2022/02/bishop-if-youre-at-odds-with-church-on-abortion-dont-receive-communion___________________________________________________________ 8. Catholic group condemns DOJ priorities amid uptick in vandalism against churches, CatholicVote faults DOJ for focusing on concerned parents more than attacks on Catholic churches, By Tyler O’Neil, Fox News, February 7, 2022 Roman Catholic organization is condemning the Department of Justice (DOJ) for what it claims is a lackluster approach to investigating an ongoing trend of violence against Catholic symbols after a church in Fairfax County, Virginia, reported that its grotto had been vandalized with several statues destroyed. DOJ officials say they launched a 15-day review on the issue and noted recent hate crimes cases but declined to provide specifics about ongoing investigations.  “Last month we alerted Attorney General Merrick Garland to the disturbing rash of attacks on Catholic symbols, shrines, statues and churches across the country and asked that the Department of Justice investigate,” Brian Burch, president of the organization CatholicVote, said in a statement. “Yet, as more and more incidents of vandalism targeting Catholics are reported, the Biden administration continues to turn a blind eye; choosing instead to devote resources to investigating parents who simply want a say in their children’s education.”  The Catholic Association joined Catholic Vote in calling for a DOJ investigation. “Any violence leveled against Catholic churches and sacred objects is unacceptable, especially in a nation that was founded on religious freedom and built up by the charitable works of people of faith,” Grazie Poso Christie, a senior fellow at The Catholic Association, told Fox News. “But the number of attacks targeting Catholic churches is highly alarming and the Biden administration ought to investigate.” https://www.foxnews.com/politics/catholic-group-vandalism-churches-justice-department-priorities___________________________________________________________ 9. A pro-choice convert’s handbook, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus, February 7, 2022, Opinion My husband says he was a secular, pro-choice liberal when I married him 27 years ago. Whatever he was, I didn’t think of him that way when I handed my life over to him. I saw only a decent, entirely upright soul that was near tabula rasa, as far as things transcendent were concerned. His was a natural innocence. There was no way for him to understand the workings of the Creator, since no one had ever talked to him of God. As far as being pro-choice, I had never heard him advocate for abortion, either individually or collectively. Besides, our first child was born 10 months to the day after our wedding, proof enough that he was as open to life as I could have hoped. Ask him, and he will tell you that his pro-choice position could be attributed to the fact that he had always moved in circles where the right to abortion was considered sacred, where it was assumed that pro-lifers were retrograde theocrats and likely misogynistic. All those years in that environment prepared him, he thinks, for the writing of his new book, “Speaking for the Unborn: 30 Second Rebuttals to Pro-Choice Arguments” (Emmaus Road Publishing, $11.95). He knows pro-choice arguments, as well as the dubious propositions they are based on.  Pro-life advocates need to be ready with a sensible and pithy response, since we usually just have a few seconds to change a mind and move a heart.   Steven’s new book provides rebuttals to the most common pro-choice arguments, employing not religious reasons to defend life but ethical, scientific, and social justice reasons that everyone can understand. Always expressed with sympathy for those who have never been taught better, and real compassion for those who have already been hurt by abortion.  I also recommend the accompanying website, Speakingfortheunborn.org, which has explanatory videos about the science and the ethics of abortion. It has pictures and videos of unborn babies for downloading, because there is nothing better than an image to bring home the truth. As his wife, I’m obviously proud of Steven for writing this (yes, I know I’m biased). But like my fellow Angelus contributors Bishop Robert Barron and Scott Hahn (who have both endorsed the book), I know works like Steven’s are part of a bigger battle to overcome the cruelty of abortion; a battle that will be be won not when the legal stars align, but when every heart aligns with the gentle promise of Our Lord: “I came that they may have life, and have it in abundance.” https://angelusnews.com/voices/a-pro-choice-converts-handbook/___________________________________________________________

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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