1. Cardinal Cupich warns against the Church entering partisan politics.

By Christopher White, Crux, January 27, 2020

One day after President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to address the March for Life, Cardinal Blase Cupich cautioned that “the Church’s job is not to discern which political, partisan or military force we should support in order for good to triumph,” but to see Christ as the “starting point” for the Church’s social ministry.

“What is needed is an integrated and consistent approach, with the priority being our attention to what Christ is doing, saving us by bringing us together, bringing about the Kingdom of God by creating a people,” said the archbishop of Chicago.

His remarks were delivered to the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering on Saturday, an annual event in the nation’s capital, organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development.


2. We need to pay more attention to the epidemic of suicide.

By Arthur C. Brooks, The Washington Post, January 26, 2020, Pg. A25, Opinion

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47,173 Americans killed themselves during 2017, which is higher in both number and percentage of the population than at any time since the CDC’s earliest published statistics in 1950. Today, there are two suicides for every homicide death, and 17 percent more suicide deaths per year than deaths from motor-vehicle incidents.

These facts are completely public, yet I am willing to bet that many readers find them very surprising. Despite the hard work of a few government agencies and nonprofit groups, we are largely silent on this subject as a nation; it isn’t something we discuss in polite society. It is shrouded in shame and fear.

Suicide affects all ages and demographic groups, but three particularly stand out. The first is women and girls between the ages of 15 and 24, who have seen the largest percentage increase — nearly double — in suicide deaths since 2000.

What is the cause of this spike? A leading scholar trying to answer the question is Jean Twenge, a social psychologist at San Diego State University. She does not mince words: “All signs point to the screen.” As she wrote in The Post in 2017, teens who spend five or more hours per day online were 71 percent more likely than those spending just one hour per day to have at least one suicide risk factor.

Julie Phillips, a sociologist at Rutgers University who has written extensively about middle-age suicide, identifies yet another factor, which is a growing social acceptance of suicide (especially, as the author shows, among those who are male, white, highly educated, nonreligious and politically liberal). While Phillips notes that for most Americans, suicide is still considered taboo, social acceptance has risen by more than a third from the 1980s through the 2010s. Increasing acceptance, especially when reflected in the media and on the Internet, can affect the decision of a person in crisis.


3. Pope on Holocaust atrocities: Let’s all say never again.

By Associated Press, January 26, 2020, 9:24 AM

Pope Francis is inviting prayers and reflection about the “atrocity” of the Holocaust, urging people to vow in their heart “never again.”

In remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Francis noted that Monday is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.


4. Cardinal at center of 2 Popes storm doubles down on celibacy.

By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 25, 2020, 1:03 PM

A Vatican cardinal at the center of a storm over a book about celibacy and the Catholic priesthood is denouncing the “brutality” of criticism directed at him and his collaborator, Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

In an interview with Italian daily newspaper Il Foglio published Saturday, Cardinal Robert Sarah doubled down on his argument in the book, “From the Depths of Our Hearts,” that the Catholic priesthood is incompatible with marriage.


5. Vatican urges visiting Iraqi president to protect Christians.

By Associated Press, January 25, 2020, 8:33 AM

The Vatican on Saturday urged Iraqi President Barham Saleh to guarantee the safety of Christians and ensure they have a future place in the war-battered country.

Saleh met with Pope Francis, the Vatican secretary of state and foreign minister during back-to-back audiences on his second visit to the Vatican.

Saleh’s office said he and the pope discussed a papal visit to Iraq, but said only that it was “scheduled to be paid at a later date.”

Francis had expressed hope of visiting Iraq this year, but no trip was ever confirmed and it’s unclear if it will be given the turmoil unleashed by the U.S. drone strike on Iraqi soil that killed a top Iranian general.


6. Thousands of abortion opponents march in San Francisco.

By Associated Press, January 25, 2020, 5:51 PM

Thousands of people who want to outlaw abortion marched across downtown San Francisco on Saturday in the 16th annual Walk for Life.

The event, which included a Roman Catholic Mass and a rally near City Hall, came three days after the 47th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. It also came a day after the March for Life in Washington, where President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to speak at the annual gathering that is one of the movement’s highest profile and most symbolic events.


7. Trump the first president to address March for Life in person: ‘I am fighting for you’

By Sophie Kaplan, The Washington Times, January 24, 2020

President Trump, as the first president to attend in person the March For Life in Washington, told thousands Friday that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House” as he touted the number of pro-life initiatives his administration has implemented since he took office.

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with the Catholic Association, said, “violence isn’t the answer to poverty.”

Alternatively, she says she believes policies need to focus more on family to reduce abortions, such as more financial assistance for adoption, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s paid family leave plan, tax credit for families and student loan assistance.

“I think this is the most pressing civil rights issue of our day,” Ms. McGuire said. “I am here in solidarity with other Americans who feel the same way.”


8. States announce pro-life, pro-choice initiatives ahead of March for Life.

By Catholic News Agency, January 24, 2020, 3:30 PM

On the eve of the 2020 March for Life in Washington DC, lawmakers in several states announced the introduction of potentially significant pro-life legislation, while others announced efforts to preserve legal protection for abortion.

In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced Thursday that the state’s Republican lawmakers would pursue several measures aimed at restrcting abortion including a bill which would ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, which can be around six weeks gestation.

Georgia’s governor signed a similar heartbeat bill into law during May 2019, but in October 2019 a federal judge blocked the law from coming into force.

In Kentucky, a Senate panel on Thursday approved a bill that would require doctors and other health workers to provide “medically appropriate and reasonable life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatment” to any infant born after a failed abortion. Violating the bill would be a felony punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison.

On the other side of the abortion debate, a Democratic majority in the Virginia General Assembly this week said they want to make the state a “safe haven” for abortion rights.

A Virginia Senate committee passed a bill Jan. 23 to undo the state’s 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, as well a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling, the AP reported.

HB 980 would also roll back state requirements that an abortion be provided by a physician, allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform them; and would undo building code requirements on facilities where abortions are performed, the AP reported.

The Virginia Catholic Conference released information on the House bill and its companion Senate bills Jan. 22, urging voters to oppose the measures and encouraging them to attend the Virginia March for Life in Richmond on February 13, 2020.


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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