1. Trump signs bill to improve religious groups’ security: Increases funding to combat terror attacks.

By Ryan Lovelace, The Washington Times, January 28, 2020, Pg. A3

President Trump has signed little noticed legislation to fund greater protection of religious institutions against terror attacks.

Mr. Trump signed the bipartisan legislation Friday amid the impeachment trial in the Senate, after several attacks on religious institutions in recent weeks.

The measure authorizes an annual appropriation of $75 million through fiscal 2024 for a nonprofit security grant program under the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.


2. Buttigieg Won’t Say if He Backs Northam on Late-Term Abortion.

By Susan Crabtree, Real Clear Politics, January 28, 2020

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who has positioned himself as a moderate, sparked a pro-life movement firestorm over the past 24 hours after a town-hall audience member Sunday confronted him on whether he is open to making language in the party platform more inclusive of pro-life Democrats.

The uproar is not dying down after the Buttigieg campaign on Monday declined to say whether the candidate supports a controversial 40-week abortion bill backed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Northam’s stated support for allowing abortions to take place after an infant’s birth.

Grazie Pozo Christie, a policy adviser with the Catholic Association, said the Democrats’ “aggressive stance on abortion makes them the party of exclusion, leaving countless Americans with moderate views in the cold.”


3. Federal judge says abortifacients lawsuit can proceed against Notre Dame.

By Ann Carey, Catholic News Service, January 28, 2020

A lawsuit to force the University of Notre Dame to provide free contraceptives and abortifacient drugs in its health plans will proceed after receiving a green light from a federal district court in South Bend.

Judge Philip Simon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana denied motions by Notre Dame and the federal government to dismiss the case, Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. Department of Health & Human Services et al. He issued the ruling Jan. 16.

The lawsuit originally was brought in 2018 against the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, and Notre Dame by a handful of women students calling themselves Irish 4 Reproductive Health, or I4RH.

The lawsuit alleges that the university had reached an “unlawful settlement” with the federal government that allowed it to “deny students, employees and their dependents insurance coverage of birth control guaranteed to them by the (2010) Affordable Care Act,” better known as Obamacare.

President Barack Obama had promised conscience protection in his health plan, but when his Health and Human Services Department issued specific rules in 2011, only houses of worship were given an exemption from the mandate for employers to provide contraceptives in their employee insurance plans. Religiously affiliated schools, hospitals and other social service institutions were not included in that exemption.

Ironically, on Jan. 17, the day after Simon refused to dismiss the “Irish 4” lawsuit, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the Little Sisters’ appeal.

Depending on how the Supreme Court rules this summer on the Little Sisters’ case, the lawsuit against Notre Dame could fall apart.


4. Pope, US bishops talk about political polarization infecting the Church.

By Catholic News Service, January 27, 2020

Catholics need to be on guard against allowing the angry rhetoric that comes from a polarized society, especially in an election year, to seep into discussions about the life of the Church, Pope Francis told a group of U.S. bishops.

Thirty-three bishops, auxiliary bishops and retired bishops from California, Nevada and Hawaii met Francis for more than two-and-a-half hours Jan. 27.

Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco said the topics included: Youth and young adult ministry, Marian devotion, the clerical sexual abuse crisis, marriage and family life, migration, how to be a good bishop, political divisions within the United States and how some of that divisive rhetoric is seen within the Church as well.


5. Church needs ‘evangelizing spouses’ to fulfill its mission, pope says.

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, January 27, 2020

If many Catholics marry today without fully understanding the permanence of their bond and the grace of the sacrament, it partly is the fault of bishops and priests who did not give them the best teachers – committed married couples filled with the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said.

In his annual meeting with judges and staff of the Roman Rota, a church marriage tribunal, Francis Jan. 25 said he marveled at the fact that for centuries, the Church ignored the example of Aquila and Priscilla, the married couple described in several parts of the New Testament as evangelizing with St. Paul.

“Evangelizing spouses,” the pope said, is “what our parishes need, especially in urban areas where the pastor and his priest collaborators will never have the time and energy to reach all the faithful who, while calling themselves Christian, do not frequent the sacraments and lack – or almost lack – knowledge of Christ.”


6. Cardinals Re, Sandri elected to top posts in College of Cardinals.

By Catholic News Service, January 27, 2020

Pope Francis has approved the election of Italian Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re as dean of the College of Cardinals and of Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri as the subdean.

The Vatican announced the elections Jan. 25, about a month after Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, 92, stepped down as dean and Francis announced he was changing church law to limit the dean’s service to a five-year term, which is renewable once.

Because he is over the age of 80, Re is not eligible to enter a conclave to elect a new pope. If the pope dies, it is the dean’s task to inform heads of state and diplomats accredited to the Holy See, and he presides over the meetings of the entire College of Cardinals in the days preceding a conclave to elect a new pope.

As subdean, the 76-year-old Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, would preside over the actual election of a new pope in the Sistine Chapel.


7. No reform possible without new leaders in Legionaries of Christ, advocates and survivors say.

By Catholic News Agency, January 27, 2020

Advocates and survivors of abuse perpetrated by priests of the Legionaries of Christ say that the religious order has no hope of authentic reform without wholesale replacement of the Legion’s leadership figures.

“As long as the same people are in power, there will continue to be manipulation, authoritarianism and cover up,” Adriana Lozano, a consecrated lay woman in the Legion’s Regnum Christi apostolate, told ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner.

In 2014, Robles-Gil was directed to implement changes in the group’s formation process and to implement safe environment policies for the care and protection of minors.

The spokesman explained that recent reforms to the Legionaries of Christ religious order are intended to build a structure of accountability, and avoid the centralization of authority that characterized the Legion’s early years, although those reforms did not lead to a change in the way allegations against Martinez were handled.

The Legionaries of Christ order is now meeting in its general chapter. The meeting is the first such chapter since Pope Francis approved new constitutions for the troubled congregation in Nov. 2014, following an extraordinary general chapter earlier that year. At that meeting, Robles-Gil was entrusted with implementing reform measures. The priest has since admitted initiating no new no process to recieve or review allegations of abuse.

In addition to assessing the last six years, the 2020 General Chapter will elect the new general director, six councilors, and a general administrator.


8. ‘We’ve had enough’: Pro-life Democrat blasts Mayor Pete.

By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, January 27, 2020, 10:30 AM

Pro-life Democrats are “fed up” over the party’s staunch support of abortion and need to let the presidential candidates know it, the leader of Democrats for Life of America said on Monday.

“We’ve had enough,” Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, told CNA.

Day spoke to CNA after Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg told her at an Iowa townhall event on Sunday that he would forego the support of pro-life voters to maintain his absolute support for legal abortion.


9. Kentucky bill requires care for infants surviving abortion.

By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, January 27, 2020

A bill that would require doctors and other health workers to provide life-sustaining care for an infant born alive after a failed abortion attempt was approved by the Kentucky Senate on Monday.

The measure sailed through the Senate on a 32-0 vote and heads to the House next. It’s the latest in a series of abortion-related bills to surface in the Republican-dominated legislature in recent years.

The bill would require health-care workers to give “medically appropriate and reasonable life-saving and life-sustaining medical care and treatment” to protect the lives of newborns, including any infant born after a failed abortion.


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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