1. Activists strive to transition in first post-Roe March for Life, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, January 19, 2023, Pg. A1 For the first time in its five-decade history, Friday’s March for Life is no longer about overturning Roe v. Wade. So why march? Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, gets that a lot. The short answer, she said, is that abortion remains a reality as Democrats and pro-choice groups redouble their efforts to increase access and jettison limitations after the Supreme Court struck down Roe in June. Instead of overturning Roe, the focus has become “to fight for the day that abortion is unthinkable.” Pro-life activists have adopted that effort as a theme, “Next Steps: Marching Into a Post-Roe America,” for the annual march on the National Mall in the nation’s capital.  Pro-choice advocates are also gearing up to mark the anniversary of Roe. Vice President Kamala Harris plans to deliver a speech Sunday in Florida. “The Vice President will make very clear: the fight to secure women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care is far from over,” Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen said in a statement. “She will lay out the consequences of extremist attacks on reproductive freedom in states across our country and underscore the need for Congress to codify Roe.” The Women’s March is holding “Bigger Than Roe” rallies nationwide on Sunday. The main event will be in Madison, Wisconsin. Sponsoring partners include the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and NARAL Pro-Choice America. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/18/march-life-steps-uncharted-territory-first-post-ro/__________________________________________________________ 2. Indiana’s top court hearing challenge to state abortion ban, By Tom Davies, Associated Press, January 19, 2023, 1:27 AM The fate of Indiana’s Republican-backed abortion ban on Thursday goes before the state Supreme Court as it hears arguments on whether it violates privacy protections under the state constitution. Abortions have been allowed to continue in the state since a county judge blocked the law from being enforced in September, a week after the law approved in August had taken effect.Indiana became the first state to enact tighter abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated federal protections by overturning Roe v. Wade in June. The arguments being made before the Indiana justices come after the top courts in two other conservative states split this month on similar state constitutional challenges to their abortion bans, with South Carolina’s ban being struck down and Idaho’s being upheld in the latest examples of the patchwork of state laws now in place. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/indianas-top-court-hearing-challenge-to-state-abortion-ban/2023/01/19/4f1526f4-97c2-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Opposition to Pope Francis spills into view in wake of Benedict’s death, By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, January 18, 2023, 11:36 AM Last year, a high-ranking figure in the Vatican invited a journalist to a confidential meeting and handed him a stapled seven-page memo, a scalding insider critique of Pope Francis’s pontificate. The memorandum, touching on everything from moral to financial issues, ended with an appeal about the kind of pope that should emerge from the next conclave: in short, somebody the opposite of Francis. “The first tasks of the new pope will be to restore normality, restore doctrinal clarity in faith and morals, restore a proper respect for the law,” said the memo, which was signed with the pseudonym “Demos.” The journalist, Sandro Magister, published the text last March on his Vatican blog, Settimo Cielo. But then there was a final twist. After the purported author died last week, Magister felt free to reveal his identity: Cardinal George Pell, a giant of the conservative Catholic world.  That revelation, coupled with other recent pontifical critiques, have quickly dissolved the notion that the Dec. 31 death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, a symbolic leader of the church’s conservative wing, might lessen the opposition to Francis. Some church watchers had expected that this might be a liberating moment for Francis — he’d be, at last, the lone Vatican figure dressing in white. But to the extent there’s been a new phase, it’s been typified by intrigue and acrimony. Magister’s disclosure came at a time when the Vatican was already buzzing about a book written by Benedict’s trusted personal secretary that highlighted several moments of tension between the ex-pope and current one.  As if that weren’t enough drama, the Spectator, a conservative London-based magazine, posthumously published one more article written by Pell — this one signed — in which he skewered an ongoing multiyear church project, central to Francis’s vision for the church, that involves listening to grass-roots Catholics and accounting for the “richness” of different church perspectives.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/01/18/pope-francis-pell-benedict-conservative-opposition/__________________________________________________________ 4. Church of England refuses to back same-sex marriage, By Sylvia Hui, Associated Press, January 18, 2023, 8:59 AM The Church of England said Wednesday it will allow blessings for same-sex, civil marriages for the first time but same-sex couples still will not be allowed to marry in its churches. The decision followed five years of debate and consultation on the church’s position on sexuality. It is expected to be outlined in a report to the church’s national assembly, the General Synod, which meets in London next month. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/church-of-england-refuses-to-back-same-sex-marriage/2023/01/18/bae45908-972d-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. French priest restricted, not defrocked, after abuse claims, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 18, 2023, 1:40 PM The Vatican has ordered a prominent French priest who advised the Holy See for years on matters of sex and homosexuality to cease his psychotherapy practice following allegations he sexually abused men in his therapeutic care. But the Vatican didn’t defrock or otherwise sanction the Rev. Tony Anatrella despite several well-documented complaints against him, in further evidence of the Holy See’s reluctance to invoke harsh measures to punish priests who abuse adults. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/french-priest-restricted-not-defrocked-after-abuse-claims/2023/01/18/c60c4df6-973f-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. US divided over Roe’s repeal as abortion foes gird for march, By David Crary, Associated Press, January 18, 2023, 12:53 PM Anti-abortion activists will have multiple reasons to celebrate — and some reasons for unease — when they gather Friday in Washington for the annual March for Life.The march, which includes a rally drawing abortion opponents from across the nation, has been held annually since January 1974 — a year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision established a nationwide right to abortion. This year’s gathering — 50 years after that decision — will be the first since the high court struck down Roe in a momentous ruling last June. Since then, 12 Republican-governed states have implemented sweeping bans on abortion, and several others seek to do the same. But those moves have been offset by other developments. Abortion opponents were defeated in votes on ballot measures in Kansas, Michigan and Kentucky. State courts have blocked several bans from taking effect. And myriad efforts are underway to help women in abortion-ban states either get abortions out of state or use the abortion pill for self-managed abortions.  The theme for this year’s March for Life is “Next Steps: Marching Forward into a Post-Roe America.” Scheduled speakers include Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy and Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who won the Supreme Court case that overturned Roe.  Since June, near-total bans on abortion have been implemented in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Legal challenges are pending against several of those bans. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-divided-over-roes-repeal-as-abortion-foes-gird-for-march/2023/01/18/c9e2f4f8-9739-11ed-a173-61e055ec24ef_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. How steep is Poland’s drop in Mass attendance?, Mass attendance is falling fast in Poland, one of Europe’s most Catholic countries. How fast? We took a look at the numbers., By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, January 18, 2023, 4:49 PM Around 28% of Poland’s Catholics attended Mass in 2021, according to the latest official statistics. The new figures were said to indicate a “dramatic fall” in church attendance in one of Europe’s most Catholic countries.  In 2019, the figure for dominicantes was 36.9% and communicantes 16.7%, so the proportion of dominicantes fell by 8.6% and communicantes by 3.8% between 2019 and 2021.  There is a tendency in the secular media to present every decline in Polish Catholic practice as a negative judgment on the Church’s stance on disputed political issues, such as the country’s abortion law and same-sex unions, as well as the clerical abuse crisis. These are undoubtedly factors, but there was another very important influence on the 2021 Sunday Mass figures: the coronavirus pandemic. The new report attaches a footnote to the 2021 dominicantes and communicantes figures. It notes that on the day the statistics were collected, Poland’s COVID-19 restrictions were in place. Social distancing measures meant that Mass-goers were permitted to occupy half of all seats in churches (a limitation that did not apply to fully vaccinated people) and obliged to wear face coverings.  Polish Church authorities are well aware of the decline in Sunday Mass attendance. Last November, they unveiled a new pastoral program for 2022-2023 entitled “I believe in the Church of Christ.” https://www.pillarcatholic.com/how-steep-is-polands-drop-in-mass-attendance/__________________________________________________________ 8. New Marist Poll: Even After Roe, Most Americans Support Abortion Restrictions, The poll also found that 91% of Americans support or strongly support pregnancy resource centers., By Jonah McKeown, National Catholic Register, January 18, 2023 A new poll has found that a majority of Americans support some limits on abortion and that Americans’ attitudes toward abortion have not significantly changed since last January, even with the overturning of Roe v. Wade taking place last June.  Conducted by Marist and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the 2023 poll found that when asked whether they identify as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” 61% of Americans identify with the latter, compared with 39% who describe themselves as pro-life.  However, the poll also found that 69% of Americans support limiting abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy. That figure is comparable to the 2022 poll, conducted before the overturning of Roe, in which 71% of respondents agreed that abortion should not be allowed after the first trimester. Only 21% of Americans overall said they support abortion on demand.  https://www.ncregister.com/cna/new-marist-poll-even-after-roe-most-americans-support-abortion-restrictions__________________________________________________________ 9. Iowa diocese bans use of puberty blockers, transgender pronouns in schools and parishes, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, January 18, 2023, 11:00 AM The Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, has banned the use of puberty-blocking drugs, transgender pronouns, and the use of bathrooms opposite of one’s biological sex as part of an effort to “welcome and minister to those coping with gender dysphoria while following Catholic Church teaching,” a diocesan representative told CNA. The new policy, which went into effect Monday, consists of seven new rules regarding transgender ideology at the diocese’s 17 schools (including two high schools) and 80 parishes. The policy on “designations and pronouns” bans the use of preferred pronouns that contrast with the person’s biological sex on school campuses, parishes, and diocesan ministries. According to the diocese, the use of transgender-preferred pronouns “promotes the dissociation of biological sex and ‘gender’ and thereby confuses or denies personal integrity.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253382/iowa-diocese-bans-use-of-puberty-blockers-transgender-pronouns-in-schools-and-parishes__________________________________________________________ 10. Report: Christian persecution at its highest point in 30 years, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, January 18, 2023, 1:05 PM The persecution of Christians is at its highest point in three decades, according to the latest report from advocacy group Open Doors. The World Watch List, released by Open Doors on Jan. 18, reported that, overall, the number of Christians facing persecution worldwide remained steady in 2022 at approximately 360 million. In a list of the 50 countries with the most persecution, North Korea returned to the first spot in 2022. The year prior, Afghanistan had landed in the top ranking following the Taliban’s takeover of the country’s government. Afghanistan ranks ninth in the latest list because the country’s Christians have either been killed, fled, or are in strict hiding, according to Open Doors’ Italian director Cristian Nani. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253386/report-christian-persecution-at-its-highest-point-in-30-years__________________________________________________________

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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