1. Ex-Pope Benedict Wants Name Removed From Controversial Book: Aide.

By Reuters, January 14, 2020, 7:18 AM

Former Pope Benedict wants his name removed as co-author of a controversial book on the issue of priestly celibacy, his personal secretary said on Tuesday.

Archbishop Georg Ganswein told Reuters that, at the former pope’s behest, he had asked the principal author of the book, Cardinal Robert Sarah, to ask the publishers to remove Benedict’s name from the cover, the introduction and the conclusion.


2. Cardinal denies he manipulated retired pope on celibacy book.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 14, 2020, 5:14 AM

The Vatican cardinal who co-authored a bombshell book with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI reaffirming priestly celibacy on Tuesday strongly denied he manipulated the retired pope into publishing.

Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, who heads the Vatican’s liturgy office, spoke out after news reports quoting “sources close to Benedict” claimed the retired pope never saw or approved the finished product.

Sarah reproduced letters from Benedict making clear the 92-year-old pope had written the text and approved of publishing it as a book. “These defamations are of exceptional gravity,” Sarah tweeted.


3. The silly smear of Bill Barr as an agent of a ‘Catholic cult’

By Sohrab Ahmari, New York Post, January 13, 2020, 8:37 PM

Bill Barr is plugged into, and gets his marching ­orders from, a network of reactionary Catholics, whose tentacles reach into the highest echelons of power. At the center is a sinister, secretive organization with a Latin name: Opus Dei, “the Work of God.”

That’s the impression you might take away from a new profile of the attorney general in The New Yorker. All that’s missing are the hair shirts, cilices and murderous albino monks — the kind of thing too many secular elites believe about the lives of devout ­Catholics generally and members of Opus Dei especially.

Along the way, writer David Rohde dwells on Barr’s Catholic faith and worldview. He brings up Barr’s association with the Catholic Information Center, a small cultural nonprofit in Washington, where swamp denizens stop by to buy spiritual books, hear the Mass and generally find uplift.

“Led by a member of the arch-conservative group Opus Dei, the center is a hub for Washington’s influential conservatives,” Rohde darkly suggests. “The center’s board of directors ­remains a nexus of politically connected Catholics. [White House counsel] Pat Cipollone and Barr have both served on the board, as has Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society.”

This is egregious nonsense. For starters, Barr isn’t, in fact, a member, as the organization was forced to clarify in November, breaking its usual policy of not identifying members or non-members. More important, people who attend Opus Dei ­activities don’t show up for ­ominous conspiracies.

They — we — go to grow in holiness in our daily lives. Josemaría Escrivá, the Spanish priest who founded the group in 1928, believed that ordinary Catholics, not just priests and monks, could become saints through their humdrum lives of work and marriage. In 2002, Pope John Paul II recognized Escrivá as the “saint of ordinary life.”

A typical “evening of recollection” at Opus Dei involves a sermon delivered by one of its priests, followed by confession for anyone who wants it and then a talk given by a lay member and a period of adoration, finishing with prayers in front of the Blessed Sacrament — the body of Jesus in the form of consecrated bread, according to Catholic belief.

I have never, ever heard a ­political talk at these events, ­either from priests or lay members. The message is never: “Vote for the Republican Party.” Or even: “Fight abortion and gay marriage.” Rather, we hear things like: “Buy flowers for your wife.” “Try to bring Christian cheerfulness into your home.” “Let gratefulness to God be the background music to your life.”

Then we grab beer and cookies. That’s it. Some conspiracy.


4. The Supreme Court Should Protect Religious Liberty.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Town Hall, January 14, 2020, 12:01 AM

The Montana tax credit program is – was – a modest incentive program to support education generally. The law provided a tax credit for donations to private school scholarship funds and donations to public schools. The Supreme Court has already said that scholarships like Montana’s help students, not schools. Espinoza isn’t about aiding religious schools at the expense of public schools. To the contrary, it is about supporting education and defending religious freedom. A state that bars parents who choose religious schools for their children from accessing state-sponsored tuition assistance restricts these parents’ free exercise of religion.

State Blaine amendments like Montana’s were inspired by anti-Catholic animus rampant in the late-1800s. They were designed to guarantee that government funding go exclusively to public schools at a time when these schools were overwhelmingly and explicitly Protestant. No fewer than seven Supreme Court justices have recognized that the state Blaines stand for bigotry, not some grand anti-establishment tradition. Delegates to the Montana state constitutional convention in 1972 consistently stated that the convention retained the 1889 provision, which they acknowledged was a “badge of bigotry” and a “remnant of a long-past era of prejudice.” Born of explicitly anti-Catholic bigotry, these “no aid” state provisions are now used as a tool to exclude religious schools of every creed from government-sponsored initiatives like Montana’s scholarship program.

The U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to end this on-going violation and the bigoted Blaine amendments that allow it. And give schoolchildren attending religious schools in Montana and across the country a chance to benefit from public programs offering financial or other assistance for education. 

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association Foundation.


5. Legion of Christ accused abuser removed from priesthood.

By MarÍa Verza, Associated Press, January 13, 2020, 9:43 PM

The Catholic Church has removed Mexican Fernando Martínez from the priesthood after considering him guilty of various sexual abuse crimes against minors, the Legion of Christ religious order said Monday.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith decided that Martínez could not continue his priestly duties, but allowed him to remain as a member of the Legion of Christ and the church, a decision that upset his victims.


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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