1. Ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick leaves Kansas friary: report.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, January 10, 2020, Pg. A7

Former Roman Catholic cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick has left the Kansas friary where he had stayed as a sexual misconduct scandal swirled about him, according to a report.

Catholic News Agency reported this week that Mr. McCarrick — the former archbishop of Washington — voluntarily left the St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, last weekend.

A spokesperson for the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Conrad did not reveal Mr. McCarrick’s new residence to Catholic News Agency, save to describe the home as a community for those removed from ministry.


2. Expelled students sue Fuller Theological Seminary for sex discrimination.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, January 10, 2020, Pg. A6

An evangelical seminary in California is accused in a lawsuit of violating a federal anti-discrimination law for kicking out two seminarians who each married someone of the same sex.

Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, expelled graduate students Nathan Brittsan and Joanna Maxon after administrators learned of their same-sex marriages, the lawsuit says.

The multi-denominational seminary holds same-sex marriage to be one of many “unbiblical sexual practices,” along with pre- and extramarital affairs.

Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, is defending Fuller and argues that an institution training the next generation of Christian leaders should be able to decide its doctrine.


3. Beyond DC, more pro-life marches set for 2020.

By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, January 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

While hundreds of thousands of pro-life advocates will gather in Washington, D.C. for the National March for Life this Jan. 24, thousands will attend similar events in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver.

Although they address serious subjects, some events will take on a celebratory air, aiming to convey the joy of human life.

In Los Angeles, OneLifeLA’s Sixth Annual Walk for Life will take place Jan. 18, beginning with a young adult rally, and culminating in a festival, and even an official after-party.

The March for Life Chicago, held Jan. 11, bills itself as the largest pro-life event in the Midwest. Last year’s event drew about 8,000 attendees. The theme is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”

In Colorado, Catholic Charities of Denver’s Respect Life office organized the Jan. 11 Celebrate Life Rally and March. The rally will begin on the west steps of the state capitol in Denver followed by a march around Civic Center Park.

In Richmond, Va. the second annual Virginia March for Life is scheduled for Feb. 13 at the state capitol. The state event was launched last year in response to abortion legislation in the state legislature, including a bill that its own sponsor admitted could allow abortion up to birth.

The Texas Rally for Life, held in Austin Jan. 25, includes a walk to the capitol in Austin at 1 p.m., a rally at the capitol at 2 p.m., followed by a pro-life expo on the Great Walk of the Capitol Grounds. Organizers estimated 10,000 people attended last year.


4. Pope hints at broader vision of ‘recovery’ from sex abuse scandals.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, January 9, 2020

From the beginning, two things have been true about the clerical sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

The first is that the Church failed, and failed miserably, in its duty to protect children and vulnerable adults entrusted to its care. Unearthing those failures, and doing justice for them, is a long-term challenge that’s far from over.

The second is that despite those failures, the Catholic Church also carries generations of wisdom about raising children successfully, about parenting and education and formation, but it’s been difficult to get any of that across in a context in which you put the words “children” and “Church” into a sentence. For most people the third word that automatically comes to mind is “abuse.”

On Thursday, Pope Francis may just have unveiled a strategy for addressing that imbalance, getting the Catholic Church back on offense after decades of being on the defensive.

The gravity of the harm caused by child sexual abuse, the pope said, makes it all the important for adults to step up, devoting their best efforts “to guide young people to spiritual, human and social maturity.” For that reason, Francis said, he’s planning to convene a global event on May 14 titled “Reinventing the Global Compact on Education.”

The fact of the event was already well known, since Francis announced it on Sept. 12, it now has a web site, and planning is well underway.

What was new in Thursday’s address was the explicit linkage to the Church’s abuse scandals. In the past when Francis has talked about the May event, he’s usually situated it in the context of his eco-encyclical Laudato si’, a document on human fraternity he co-signed in Abu Dhabi along with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Egypt, and other cornerstones of his papacy and Catholic social teaching.

The idea behind the event is to bring together representatives of the world’s great religions, leaders of international organizations, experts from the academic, political and cultural worlds, who will craft and then sign a “Global Educational Pact” intended to form young generations in the idea of “common fraternal home.”

By juxtaposing all that with the abuse scandals, Francis may have been delivering an indirect message to the Church that this is what recovery looks like: As critical as confessing failures and bringing justice to victims is, it cannot paralyze the Church’s broader mission or prevent Catholicism from mobilizing its resources for the common good, especially when it has something unique to contribute.

It remains to be seen, of course, how successful the May event will be, and whether it has any lasting impact on educational practice around the world. In any event, it represents a precious chance for the Catholic Church to regain some of its moral authority when it comes to the care of children, catalyzing a renewed global focus on education.

In the meantime, the very fact of the summit hints at the intriguing possibility that, perhaps for the first time in decades, there will be sentences crafted in 2020 featuring the words “Church” and “children” that do not automatically end on a sour note.


5. Venezuelan bishops denounce contested election of legislative speaker.

By Catholic News Agency, January 9, 2020, 5:19 PM

The presidency of the Venezuelan bishops’ conference warned Wednesday that the disputed election of Luis Parra as president of the National Assembly is “contrary to all constitutional legality.”

Parra was elected head of Venezuela’s de jure legislature Jan. 5 by pro-government lawmakers, while opposition legislators were blocked from entering the chamber. It is the latest in a crisis over the government of Venezuela.

Under the socialist administration of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has been marred by violence and social upheaval, with severe shortages of food and medicine, high unemployment, blackouts, and hyperinflation. Some 4.5 million Venezuelans have emigrated since 2015.

The Venezuelan bishops’ presidency said Jan. 8 that Parra’s election was “a shameful event” that “has replanted in the souls of Venezuelans reasons for hopelessness and a greater sense of helplessness.”


6. Neb. pro-life bill introduced; Governor declares Roe v. Wade anniversary a day of prayer.

By Catholic News Agency, January 9, 2020, 6:30 PM

On the first day of the Nebraska Unicameral’s legislative session, state Sen. Suzanne Geist introduced a bill that would ban a common procedure used for second-trimester abortions.

The bill, introduced Jan. 8, seeks to ban dilation and evacuation abortions, or “dismemberment abortions” as the bill calls them.

“Dismemberment abortion means an abortion in which, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, a person purposely dismembers the body of a living unborn child and extracts him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off,” the bill says.

The bill was introduced on the same day that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a day of prayer for the state of Nebraska.


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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