1. Cardinal George Pell’s Via Crucis in Sydney, What was present last week on College Street in Australia was a dramatic public witness of the Cross of Christ not in life, but in death., By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, February 8, 2023, Opinion The funeral of the late Cardinal George Pell was not just a historic moment in the national life of Australia. It was the unforeseen fulfillment of an aspiration articulated 20 years earlier. At World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto, the live action Via Crucis along University Avenue was a dramatic and spiritual highpoint, a secular city transfixed by the Cross of Christ. It was one of the most discussed aspects of WYD Toronto, considered a triumph of imagination and public witness. Watching it all carefully with his group of Aussie pilgrims in Canada, Cardinal Pell expressed his admiration and then told his friends, “We will do even better when we get World Youth Day in Sydney.” He had only been archbishop of Sydney for less than 18 months at the time. In due course, he got WYD for Sydney in 2008. And WYD-SYD delivered a Via Crucis that was even better than Toronto, traveling not by road but by water through the harbor. Cardinal Pell did not know then that he would provide another Via Crucis for Sydney, another dramatic public witness of the via dolorosa, not in life, but in death. As the procession of priests — more than 250 — entered St. Mary’s Cathedral for his funeral Mass, protesters shouted abuse at them, chanting for Cardinal Pell “to go to hell.” After the Mass, his casket was carried out of the cathedral onto College Street, a major avenue, to proceed alongside the length of the cathedral to the entrance of the crypt where the archbishops of Sydney are buried. The priests and bishops led the way. Across the street in the park, protestors held signs and hurled abuse — “Cardinal Pell go to hell,” “Shame on the Catholic Church,” “Pedophile enablers” and variations of same. For many of the priests it was their first such encounter. The eight seminarians carrying the heavy, zinc-lined coffin, had to determinedly maintain their focus, not distracted from their task by those shouting at them. Some of those faces carried great pain, marked by evident suffering. Some faces were contorted by rage. Some faces were corrupted by hate. As the procession turned off College Street back to the cathedral precincts, those who had been in the cathedral forecourt for the Mass greeted the procession with cheers and the singing of the Ave Maria. In death, as in life, Cardinal Pell was both hailed and heckled.  On the Via Dolorosa a great many who had formerly followed Jesus kept their distance. So it was in Sydney. Not only in the state, but in the Church, too. There were churchmen who, when Cardinal Pell was under sustained and unjustified attack, kept their distance. Like the young man in Mark’s Gospel (14:52), they ran away, not naked, but in full pontificals. That group was represented by Archbishop Denis Hart, Pell’s successor as archbishop of Melbourne. He did not come to the funeral. It should have been a shocking absence. It was not. Archbishop Hart had long abandoned Cardinal Pell in life. His absence in death was both painful — and predictable.  Cardinal Pell was not the savior, the redeemer. He was a sinner in need of salvation and redemption. And he was a witness that in the cross of Christ we find that salvation and redemption. That’s why he wanted to bring the via dolorosa to the highways and waterways of Sydney. He did so in 2008. And he did it again in 2023. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/cardinal-george-pell-s-via-crucis-in-sydney__________________________________________________________ 2. Chicago alderman calls cardinal’s concerns on labor rule ‘a bunch of baloney’, By John Lavenburg, Crux, February 8, 2023 A Chicago alderman has pushed back against objections from Cardinal Blase Cupich concerning a proposed new labor ordinance in the city, bluntly calling the prelate’s objections “a bunch of baloney.” In essence, the proposed measure, called “The Human Service Workforce Advancement Ordinance,” would require employers to promise not to retaliate against employees who decide to join a union. In a two-page letter to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and all 50 aldermen, Cupich said the legislation is being pushed through with “great haste” and that it could force Catholic Charities and other non-profit groups to choose between higher wages or serving the poor. The measure, Cupich wrote, “not only will hamper the ability of Catholic Charities and our peers to fulfill our shared mission to our neighborhoods in need, but may threaten the continued existence of many of our partners,” adding that the City Council’s first legislative priority ought to be increased funding for social services. As drafted, the ordinance contains an exemption stating that a “contract shall not include any agreement entered into by the city with a religious institution.” Susan Sadlowski-Garza, alderwoman of Chicago’s 10th Ward and chairwoman of the city’s Committee on Workforce Development, who wrote a response to Cupich’s letter, told Crux that she was “floored” when she first read the cardinal’s comments. Garza said the cardinal’s claims are a “bunch of baloney.” https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/02/chicago-alderman-calls-cardinals-concerns-on-labor-rule-a-bunch-of-baloney__________________________________________________________3. 5 priests sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy in Nicaragua, By Associated Press, February 7, 2023, 7:00 PM A Nicaraguan court has sentenced four Roman Catholic priests to 10 years in prison on conspiracy charges stemming from long-standing government allegations that the church backed illegal pro-democracy protests. A human rights group in the Central American country quickly denounced the sentences handed down Monday and made known by lawyers of the Legal Defense Unit.It was the latest chapter in a crackdown on the church by President Daniel Ortega. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/4-priests-sentenced-to-10-years-for-conspiracy-in-nicaragua/2023/02/07/e07202ca-a730-11ed-b2a3-edb05ee0e313_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Dueling abortion bans emerge in South Carolina chambers, By James Pollard, Associated Press, February 7, 2023, 6:04 PM Dueling abortion bans are once more advancing in the South Carolina House and Senate as Republican lawmakers approach a familiar standstill. Neither chamber budged from their respective proposals in a special session last year that highlighted the challenging fault lines for GOP-controlled statehouses seeking to further restrict abortion. Five weeks into the current legislative session, Republican leaders have now advanced different proposals they claim adequately address a recent South Carolina Supreme Court decision overturning the state’s prior ban.  The Senate bill removes exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest after 12 weeks. Physicians would also be required to document their medical rationale for determining the existence of a fatal fetal anomaly or a risk to the patient’s health or life. Meanwhile, as in the fall, the House has put forth a more restrictive ban. The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a ban from conception with exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly, and the patient’s health and life. While the House proposal would not prosecute someone for seeking an abortion, Republican Rep. John McCravy said medical professionals could lose their medical license for improperly approving one. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dueling-abortion-bans-emerge-in-south-carolina-chambers/2023/02/07/c8d8427c-a73b-11ed-b2a3-edb05ee0e313_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. As Worcester bucks a trend, will US dioceses keep naming names?, A Massachusetts diocese has defended not publishing a list of accused clerics. Do they have a point?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, February 7, 2023, 7:11 PM The Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts, issued on Friday an updated report on clerical sexual abuse in the diocese, going back to the 1950s. In the wake of first the Spotlight scandals of the early 2000s and then the Pennsylvania grand jury report of 2018, reports like these have become common for U.S. dioceses to release, and become an accepted part of both the Church’s reckoning with its past, and the tracking of its progress. But the Worcester report was different from most — not for what it included, but for what it didn’t. Unlike other dioceses, Worcester did not include the names of clergy accused of historical acts of abuse, and it does not maintain a public list of “credibly accused” clergy. Those decisions have drawn criticism for Bishop Robert McManus, who has insisted that declining to publish names does not mean the diocese is any less committed to an honest reckoning with the past, or to tending to the just needs of victim-survivors.  “There is no other precedent for the publishing of lists of the accused in society – even of those accused in other positions of trust such as medicine, education or law enforcement,” the bishop said. “Such lists can be a cause for deep division among many members of our Church who see this as publicly branding as guilty those who never have been charged by law enforcement or had a chance to defend themselves in a court of law,” wrote McManus, who also pointed out that decades had often passed after incidents of alleged abuse before an allegation was made, by which time, in some cases, the accused cleric was deceased. Moreover, the bishop said, not publishing a central list of accused clerics doesn’t mean the diocese doesn’t publicize the names of accused clergy on an individual basis — on the contrary, the diocese publishes and distributes information on every priest taken out of ministry due to a credible allegation of sexual abuse. McManus’ concerns about central “credibly accused” lists echo similar warning from the Vatican, which has – for years – quietly pushed back on the practice, and publicly told dioceses to refrain from using terms “credible” and “substantiated” to described allegations which have not yet been subject to a canonical or civil legal process, and when clerics have not had the opportunity to defend themselves. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/worcester-bucks-a-trend-will-us-dioceses-keep-naming-names/__________________________________________________________ 6. Court rules pro-life group owes nearly $1 million in fines for Planned Parenthood protests, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, February 7, 2023, 12:23 PM A Planned Parenthood affiliate has won a legal judgment of almost $1 million against a pro-life group that gathered outside of a Spokane abortion clinic. The group, which calls itself the Church at Planned Parenthood, must pay $110,000 in civil damages to Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho and another $850,000 in legal fees to the abortion provider, The Spokesman-Review newspaper reported Feb. 3. A Spokane County judge ruled in December that the church repeatedly violated state law by “willfully or recklessly” disrupting the normal functioning of a health care facility, including by making noise that “unreasonably disturbs the peace within the facility.” Judge Tim Fennessy of Spokane County Superior Court agreed with Planned Parenthood’s evidence that the church held 22 services in violation of state law and fined the church $5,000 for each day of a violation. He agreed that the violations put patients at increased risk of physical and mental health problems, the news site Crosscut reported. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253573/court-rules-pro-life-group-must-pay-nearly-1-dollar-million-for-planned-parenthood-protests__________________________________________________________ 7. Democrats invite pro-abortion guests to State of the Union, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, February 7, 2023, 1:30 PM Several Democratic congressmen have invited pro-abortion activists as their guests for President Joe Biden’s second State of the Union address Tuesday night to highlight their commitment to removing restrictions on abortion. Jill Biden has also included an abortion activist as one of her guests to sit in the First Lady’s box. Tuesday is Biden’s first State of the Union Address following the June Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide. As abortion becomes increasingly more difficult to procure in many states — and much easier to access in others — pro-abortion politicians are digging their heels in on the issue while pro-life advocates are doubling down on the humanity of the unborn. And not all the guests coming tonight are advocates of abortion. One high-profile advocate for the unborn, pro-life advocate Mark Houck, will be attending at the invitation of a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253575/democrats-invite-pro-abortion-guests-to-state-of-the-union__________________________________________________________

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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