1. Former Cardinal Is Ruled Not Competent to Stand Trial in Sex Abuse Case, Theodore McCarrick was the highest-ranking cleric in the nation to face criminal charges in the Catholic church’s sprawling abuse scandal., By Ruth Graham, The New York Times, January 11, 2024, Pg. A14 The criminal case against a former cardinal who was once one of the most prominent and revered Catholic leaders in the country was suspended Wednesday, possibly ending efforts to prosecute him on sex abuse charges. Theodore McCarrick, the highest-ranking Catholic official in the nation to be criminally prosecuted on charges of sexual abuse, was found not competent to stand trial. Wisconsin county Judge David M. Reddy did not dismiss the case outright, since he said he did not have the power to do so. That decision will be up to District Attorney Zeke Wiedenfeld, who was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. His deputy, Jim Sempf, said Mr. Wiedenfeld said Tuesday, the day before the hearing, that he had not wanted to dismiss the charges. But any future prosecution would likely be difficult. Mr. McCarrick is 93, and his lawyers say he suffers from dementia. The Wisconsin judge said he was “not likely to be competent” within the rest of the statutory time frame that would allow the case to proceed.  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/10/us/theodore-mccarrick-not-competent-catholic-sex-abuse.html__________________________________________________________ 2. US pastors struggle with post-pandemic burnout. Survey shows half considered quitting since 2020, By Peter Smith, Associated Press, January 11, 2024, 8:08 AM Post-pandemic burnout is at worrying levels among Christian clergy in the U.S., prompting many to think about abandoning their jobs, according to a new nationwide survey. More than 4 in 10 of clergy surveyed in fall 2023 had seriously considered leaving their congregations at least once since 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, and more than half had thought seriously of leaving the ministry, according to the survey released Thursday by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.  Mainline Protestant clergy were the most likely to think of quitting, followed by evangelical Protestants, while Catholic and Orthodox priests were the least likely to consider leaving.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2024/01/11/christian-clergy-burnout-pandemic-survey/7bfb5f7e-b082-11ee-9a32-5c9e6aa28b3b_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican unveils plans for restoring Bernini’s canopy in St. Peter’s Basilica, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 11, 2024, 8:04 AM The Vatican on Thursday unveiled plans for a yearlong restoration of the monumental baldacchino, or canopy, over the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, pledging to complete the work on Bernini’s masterpiece before Pope Francis’ big 2025 Jubilee. The price tag? About 700,000 euros ($770,000). The restoration and conservation project, funded entirely by the Knights of Columbus and using the expertise of Vatican Museums ’ restorers, marks the first comprehensive work on the 10-story tall baldacchino in 250 years.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/11/vatican-baldacchino-basilica-restoration/f5218368-b075-11ee-9a32-5c9e6aa28b3b_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Dangerous abortion bills to be introduced in Virginia, Amendment would mean unlimited access to life-ending procedure, By Olivia Gans Turner, The Washington Times, January 11, 2024, Opinion The 2024 Virginia General Assembly opens this week, and there is a small but powerful pro-abortion majority in both chambers. These pro-abortion members of the Senate and House of Delegates will block the passage of any strong anti-abortion bills and force through some dreadfully dangerous abortion measures that could turn Virginia into a location for unlimited abortion up to birth. The first thing a new pro-abortion majority is likely to do is to cast the first of two required votes in favor of a Virginia constitutional amendment allowing unlimited abortion right up to birth, which would start the process of putting the amendment on a statewide ballot for voters.  Similar amendments that have been approved in other states have wiped out pro-life laws and expanded abortion, including requiring more tax-funded abortions, no parental consent laws for minors, and allowing non-doctors to perform abortions. These amendments even prevent much-needed laws to prevent coercive abortions. In other words, no limits of any kind, even those that will protect women.  Pro-life Virginians want to make the state a place that will be safe for unborn children and their mothers. Concerned citizens will gather in Richmond on Virginia Pro-Life Day, Feb. 21, to meet legislators in person. Together, we will be a voice for the voiceless. Olivia Gans Turner is president of the Virginia Society for Human Life. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/jan/10/dangerous-abortion-bills-to-be-introduced-in-virgi/__________________________________________________________ 5. Ohio House overrides Republican governor’s veto of ban on gender affirming care for minors, By Samantha Hendrickson, Associated Press, January 10, 2024, 7:07 PM The Republican-dominated Ohio House voted Wednesday to override GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of legislation banning gender-affirming care for minors and restricting transgender women’s and girls’ participation on sports teams, a move LGBTQ+ activists say would severely restrict the everyday lives of transgender youth in the state. The override propels closer to law a ban on gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapies and sets restrictions on mental health care for transgender individuals under 18. The legislation also bans transgender girls and women from girls and women’s sports teams at both the K-12 and collegiate level.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/01/10/transgender-minors-affirming-care-veto/f413c2ee-b00a-11ee-9a32-5c9e6aa28b3b_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Court sends case of prosecutor suspended by DeSantis back to trial judge over First Amendment issues, By Curt Anderson, Associated Press, January 10, 2024, 4:40 PM A Democratic Florida prosecutor suspended by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis will get another chance to show his political advocacy was protected by the First Amendment and could not be the basis for his removal, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case involving ex-prosecutor Andrew Warren back to a trial judge in Tallahassee to determine if the governor’s suspension was improperly focused on statements Warren signed along with other prosecutors opposing certain legislation to criminalize abortion and gender care.  “The First Amendment prevents DeSantis from identifying a reform prosecutor and then suspending him to garner political benefit,” Circuit Judge Jill Pryor wrote in the 59-page ruling. “The First Amendment protects his signing the transgender care and abortion statements.” The ruling adds that “neither statement referred to a specific Florida law. To the contrary, the statements, which addressed national audiences, contained language inapplicable to Florida.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2024/01/10/desantis-florida-prosecutor-suspended-appeals-court/00f0c82a-afef-11ee-9a32-5c9e6aa28b3b_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Pope confirms new leader of India’s Syro-Malabar Church, divided for decades over liturgy dispute, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 10, 2024, 11:47 AM Pope Francis on Wednesday confirmed a new leader for India’s Syro-Malabar Church in a step toward healing a decades-long liturgical dispute that became so dire that Francis recently threatened to excommunicate hundreds of priests. Francis confirmed the election of His Beatitude Mar Raphael Thattil as major archbishop of the arch-eparchy of Ernakulam-Angamaly, located in southern Kerala state where many of India’s Christians live. Thattil had been elected to the position by the synod of bishops of the Syro-Malabar Church, one of the 23 autonomous eastern rite churches in communion with the Holy See. Francis confirmed the choice as called for under church law. Thattil’s appointment opens a new chapter for the church, which has been badly divided by a dispute over the celebration of the liturgy. In 1999, the church’s synod decided to adopt a compromise, unified liturgy but most of the estimated 460 priests in Ernakulam-Angamaly refused.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/10/pope-syromalabar-india-kerala-christian-thattil-francis/e06db4ee-afd7-11ee-9a32-5c9e6aa28b3b_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Biden administration drops protections for religious health care providers, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, January 10, 2024, 6:20 PM The Biden administration announced a new rule change Tuesday that experts are saying threatens the rights of religious doctors and health care providers to refuse to perform abortions and transgender surgeries. Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation and the former director of the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), told CNA that the Biden administration’s rule change “constitutes a full-scale retreat from conscience enforcement by the Office for Civil Rights in the name of answering to the desires of the abortion lobby.” The new rule, titled “Safeguarding the Rights of Conscience as Protected by Federal Statutes,” is scheduled to take effect on March 11. In a Jan. 9 press release announcing the new rule, the HHS said that the changes “would increase access to care and prevent discrimination.” The rule formally rescinds certain provisions laid out by the HHS in 2019, when Severino was serving under the Trump administration. The 2019 rule guaranteed doctors and medical practitioners the ability to refuse to perform abortions for religious or conscience reasons. Due to several federal court rulings, the 2019 Trump rule never took effect; however, laws protecting conscience rights continue to remain on the books.  Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, director of the Conscience Project and a legal analyst for EWTN, told CNA that despite the controversy, the “legal protections for health care workers of conscience rights are still in place” even if the Biden administration has signaled an unwillingness to enforce them. …. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256508/biden-administration-drops-protections-for-religious-health-care-providers__________________________________________________________

 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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