1. Cardinal Pell will be interred in Sydney crypt in February, By Associated Press, January 17, 2023, 6:28 PM A once high-ranking Australian cardinal who spent more than a year in prison before his child abuse convictions were squashed on appeal will be interred on Feb. 2 after a requiem Mass at Sydney’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, the church said Tuesday. Cardinal George Pell, 81, died on Jan. 10, shortly after undergoing hip surgery in a Rome hospital. As the Vatican’s finance minister for three years, Pell had been a key player in the early years of Pope Francis’ papacy, whose goals included reforming the Holy See’s finances, which had a long history of scandals and poor management. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/cardinal-pell-will-be-interred-in-sydney-crypt-in-february/2023/01/17/0224aaa4-965a-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope, ahead of Congo visit, sends prayers for church bombing, By Associated Press, January 17, 2023, 8:15 AM Pope Francis on Tuesday sent his condolences to the victims of a bombing on a Pentecostal church in eastern Congo, an attack claimed by Islamic militants two weeks before the pontiff is due to arrive in the country. Authorities say Sunday’s bombing in Kasindi, a town in North Kivu province, killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60. The Islamic State group and its Aamaq news outlet said militants had planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying. Francis addressed the telegram of condolence to the Rev. Andre Bokundoa-Bo-Likabe, whom the Vatican identified as the president of the Church of Christ in Congo. According to the telegram, Francis expressed “his compassion and closeness to all the families hard hit by this tragedy” and called for peace. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-ahead-of-congo-visit-sends-prayers-for-church-bombing/2023/01/17/f9908f16-9668-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Spain: Region drops order to offer heartbeat before abortion, By Raquel Redondo, Associated Press, January 16, 2023, 1:21 PM A Spanish regional chief has poured cold water on an announcement by a far-right member of his cabinet that doctors would have to give women a chance to listen to the heartbeats of fetuses before any abortion procedure. Castile and Leon’s conservative president, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, said Monday that the central Spanish region would allow women seeking an abortion to request those procedures, including four-dimensional ultrasound scans or psychological counseling. But he said that those wouldn’t be actively offered by doctors, as previously announced by a prominent member of the regional ruling coalition. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/spain-region-drops-order-to-offer-heartbeat-before-abortion/2023/01/16/9ec56c30-95ca-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. An Issue in the Abortion Debate: The Beginning of Human Life, Readers weigh in on a fraught question that touches on biology, politics, religion and philosophy., By Grazie Pozo Christie, The New York Times, January 15, 2023, Pg. SR11, Letter to the Editor In “When Does Life Start? A Post-Roe Conundrum,” the writer takes us on a beautiful tour through the many ways that human beings grapple with an important question. But it’s not the question asked in the headline. Questioning when life begins today is like questioning the roundness of the earth. Science long ago settled that a new human life comes into being when egg meets sperm. As a physician who cares for both fetuses and born humans, I have seen that a society unable — or unwilling — to wholeheartedly embrace the lives of its unborn children puts the value of every life up for debate: the aged, the infirm, the dependent. The question then becomes not “when does life begin?” but “who lives?,” “who dies?” and “who decides?” Such questions are not up for grabs in a just and merciful society. The writer is a senior fellow for The Catholic Association. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/14/opinion/letters/abortion-human-life.html__________________________________________________________ 5. L.A. Catholic schools are growing after years of decline. But is it enough?, By Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2023, 5:00 AM  Celistan is among the parents of some 3,000 students who have decided to enroll their children in a school within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which takes in 255 elementary and high schools from Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The archdiocese has a modicum of reason to celebrate this academic year after decades of enrollment declines were accelerated by an alarming pandemic-fueled plunge that threatened many schools in one of the largest private education systems in the nation. The archdiocese reported a 2.05% increase for this school year during its October survey, contributing to total growth of 4.58% in enrollment since June 2020.  Archdiocese enrollment cratered at the end of the 2020-21 school year to 64,685 students, marking a 12.24% loss of about 9,000 students. Total losses mounted to almost 10,000 students since the pre-pandemic school year of 2018-19, when there were 74,404 students. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-01-15/los-angeles-catholic-school-enrollment-increase__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope invites all Christians to event in St. Peter’s Square, By Associated Press, January 15, 2023, 8:02 AM Pope Francis on Sunday invited Christians of all dominations to gather in prayer in St. Peter’s Square in September to help further the cause of Christian unity. Speaking during his weekly window appearance to people gathered in the Vatican City square, Francis announced that an ecumenical prayer would take place Sept. 30, a few days before the start of a month-long synod that will bring Catholic bishops from around the world to the Vatican to ponder the future direction of the church and to rejuvenate its mission. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-invites-all-christians-to-event-in-st-peters-square/2023/01/15/dcc6f676-94d4-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Catholic priest burned alive in Nigeria’s hard-hit north, By Chinedu Asadu, Associated Press, January 15, 2023, 3:01 PM A Nigerian priest was burned alive in his home in the country’s north on Sunday, police said. Rev. Isaac Achi was killed in the Paikoro area of Niger state after gunmen failed to break into his house and instead set it on fire, said Wasiu Abiodun, the police spokesman. A second priest living in the compound escaped with a gunshot wound to his shoulder, he said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/catholic-priest-burned-alive-in-nigerias-hard-hit-north/2023/01/15/237fba3a-9502-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Vatican holds funeral for cardinal who decried Francis’ rule, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, January 14, 2023, 12:43 PM The Australian cardinal who decried the papacy of Pope Francis as a “catastrophe” was given a funeral Saturday and hailed by some fellow churchmen at St. Peter’s Basilica, with the pontiff imparting a final blessing for the once high-ranking Vatican prelate. Cardinal George Pell, 81, died on Jan. 10, shortly after undergoing hip surgery in a Rome hospital. As the Vatican’s finance minister for three years, Pell had been a key player in the early years of Francis’ papacy, whose goals included reforming the Holy See’s finances, which had a long history of scandals and poor management. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-holds-funeral-for-cardinal-who-decried-francis-rule/2023/01/14/f68f96d6-9406-11ed-90f8-53661ac5d9b9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. Tennessee GOP split over adding exceptions to abortion ban, By Kimberlee Kruesi and Jonathan Mattise, Associated Press, January 14, 2023, 7:38 AM For months, Tennessee’s Republican leaders have maintained that the state’s abortion ban — known as one of the strictest in the U.S. — allows doctors to perform the procedure, should they need to in order to save the patient’s life, even though the statute doesn’t explicitly say so. This assertion has been met with skepticism from health care experts, attorneys, Democrats and reproductive rights advocates, who counter that the law has created a dangerous, new legal landscape for those navigating pregnancy and for medical providers. Since some isolated Republican lawmakers vouched for exceptions, this week a key legislative leader acknowledged that the skeptics had a point — and he thinks the law should be changed. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/tennessee-gop-split-over-adding-exceptions-to-abortion-ban/2023/01/14/66f826a8-9408-11ed-90f8-53661ac5d9b9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 10. Pope’s role in Vatican financial probe again center stage, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 13, 2023, 2:43 PM Pope Francis’ own role in the investigation into financial wrongdoing at the Holy See took center stage Friday in the Vatican tribunal, with witnesses saying he encouraged a key suspect to cooperate with prosecutors and a key defendant accusing him of interfering in the trial. Friday’s hearing was one of the most eagerly anticipated in the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” given it featured testimony from one of the more colorful figures in recent Vatican history, Francesca Chaouqui. The public relations expert was summoned after it emerged late last year that she had played a behind-the-scenes role in persuading a key suspect-turned-star-witness to change his story and implicate his former boss, Cardinal Angelo Becciu. But the daylong hearing ended with an unexpected bombshell, as Becciu responded to Chaouqui’s testimony by reading aloud an exchange of letters with the pope that suggested Francis himself continued to cast a shadow over the trial, even if inadvertently. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-to-hear-from-pr-expert-with-grudge-against-cardinal/2023/01/13/8f9d76b4-9325-11ed-90f8-53661ac5d9b9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 11. High court takes 8 new cases, 1 about a religious mailman, By Jessica Gresko and Mark Sherman, Associated Press, January 13, 2023 The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider what employers must do to accommodate religious employees, among eight new cases it added. The cases are expected to be argued in April. In one involving a former postal employee, the justices will consider what accommodations employers must make for religious employees. The case comes when religious plaintiffs have generally fared well at the court, which is dominated 6-3 by conservative justices. Under a federal civil rights law, employers can’t discriminate against employees because of their religion. The law says employees’ religious practices have to be accommodated unless the employer can demonstrate doing so is an “undue hardship” to the business. The justices are being asked to reconsider a 1977 Supreme Court case that challengers say means lower courts almost always side with employers “whenever an accommodation would impose any burden.” The case the justices agreed to hear involves Gerald Groff, a former postal worker in Pennsylvania. Groff, a Christian, said his religious beliefs required him to be off on Sundays. Initially his bosses were able to accommodate him but eventually that ended. Groff resigned and sued the post office. Two lower courts have ruled against him. https://apnews.com/article/colorado-state-government-pennsylvania-minnesota-2b9ae3d84ba81b2c1f70db623a780eae__________________________________________________________ 12. Judge dismisses suit from LGBTQ students who alleged bias at Christian colleges, By Nick Anderson, The Washington Post, January 13, 2023, 5:36 PM A federal judge in Oregon this week dismissed a lawsuit from LGBTQ students who had sought to end certain religious exemptions to a landmark civil rights law that they claim enable Christian colleges and universities to discriminate against them. In 2021, the current and former students filed a class-action suit against the Department of Education, alleging that exemptions granted to schools in relation to the anti-discrimination law called Title IX were unconstitutional because the schools receive public funding.  On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken, based in Eugene, Ore., dismissed the suit. “Plaintiffs have submitted no allegations of discriminatory motivation on the part of those enacting the religious exemption,” Aiken wrote in the ruling. “To the contrary, Plaintiffs argue that when Congress enacted Title IX, protections for — or discrimination against sexual and gender minorities — were ‘of no concern.’” https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2023/01/13/christian-colleges-lgbtq-lawsuit-dismissed/__________________________________________________________ 13. GOP-led ‘weaponization’ committee to investigate arrests of pro-lifers, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, January 13, 2023, 12:28 PM The House of Representatives will soon launch investigations into what Republicans call “the weaponization of the federal government” against political opponents, including pro-life activists. The new Republican-majority House passed H.R. 12, “Establishing a Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government,” in a party-line vote (221-211) Jan. 10. The new subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee is authorized to investigate how federal agencies, such as the FBI and IRS, “collect, compile, analyze, use, or disseminate information about citizens of the United States, including any unconstitutional, illegal, or unethical activities.” Chaired by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the subcommittee will have the power to issue subpoenas to law enforcement agencies. The resolution mandates a final report to be delivered by Jan. 2, 2025. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253344/gop-led-weaponization-committee-to-investigate-arrests-of-pro-lifers__________________________________________________________ 14. How a Progressive Judge Helped Preserve American Pluralism, The law is doing its part. Are Christians doing theirs?, By David French, Dispatch, January 15, 2023, Opinion Before I talk about a new court ruling out of Eugene, Oregon, I want to talk about an indispensable freedom to the American experiment. It’s called the “right of expressive association,” and it refers to the right of Americans to “join with other people to promote a particular outlook.” As George Mason University law professor David Bernstein has written, the right of expressive association “is a necessary adjunct to the right of freedom of speech.” In other words, the right of free speech is fatally degraded unless we have the right to join with others to promote our shared views.  Think of a political party. Or an advocacy organization. Or a church. Or a church school. The seminal case establishing the right of expressive association dates back to the civil rights era. In NAACP v. Alabama, the Supreme Court blocked enforcement of an Alabama law that required the NAACP to reveal to the state’s attorney general “the names and addresses of all its Alabama members and agents.” Given that Alabama was making this demand in the 1950s, one can only begin to imagine the consequences of such a revelation. Members and allies of the NAACP faced threats to their lives, their families, and their businesses. Mandatory disclosure would invariably chill cooperation with the group. As the court noted, “Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.” And what of the importance of preserving freedom of association more generally? Here the court was crystal clear: “Effective advocacy of both public and private points of view, particularly controversial ones, is undeniably enhanced by group association.” It was thus “beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech.”   Citizens are not dependent on the government or an aristocracy to form and sustain the organizations that give their lives direction and purpose. Political associations help citizens influence the government. Cultural affinity groups sustain the arts and shape values. Religious organizations help preserve the values that provide eternal, transcendent meaning to peoples’ lives.  Thus, preserving and rebuilding American civic associations is one of the most urgent tasks in American political and cultural life. As a matter of law, it is vital to respect the autonomy and independence of America’s private associations. As a matter of culture, it is critical that members of those groups preserve the organizations’ health, integrity, and vitality.  If either side fails in its obligation—if the government intrudes upon liberty or if associations fail to conduct themselves with integrity—then the system becomes unstable. Human beings are built for community, and if we’re denied that community (or if our communities become dysfunctional), then we’ll fail to thrive. It’s that simple. And it should be a central organizing principle of conservatism to conserve both the freedom and the health of our associations as a necessary precondition to human flourishing.   But every successful defense of our rights should also remind us of our responsibilities. Americans are bowling alone. Church attendance declines. If we want to preserve and repair America’s civic associations, then the law is necessary but not sufficient. In 2023, the legal system is doing its part, but are Christian institutions doing theirs? A healthy social compact depends on both. https://thedispatch.com/newsletter/frenchpress/how-a-progressive-judge-helped-preserve-american-pluralism/__________________________________________________________

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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