1. German Bishops Rethink Catholic Teachings Amid Talk of ‘Schism’: Conservatives, particularly in the U.S., greet the prospect with alarm.

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2020, Pg. A7

Germany’s Catholic bishops will meet in Frankfurt on Thursday to launch their most ambitious effort yet in their role as the church’s liberal vanguard: a two-year series of talks rethinking church teaching and practice on topics including homosexuality, priestly celibacy and the ordination of women.

German bishops have enjoyed rising influence under Pope Francis, reflected in his policies of greater leniency on divorce and more autonomy for local church authorities on matters such as liturgy—moves long advocated by German theologians.

Ludwig Ring-Eifel, head of the German bishops’ news agency, estimates that around two thirds of the bishops—the threshold for passing a resolution—support the ordination of married men and women deacons and half are in favor of blessings for same-sex unions.


2. New papal ambassador urges UN to go back to founding principles.

By Christopher White, National Catholic Register, January 29, 2020

In his first public event since arriving as the new papal ambassador to the United Nations, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia said Pope Francis believes the multilateral organization remains a “much-needed…global forum for facing global problems.

During his fifteen-minute homily, the Italian archbishop said that the task of those who work at the United Nations was to help those who do not have a voice, particularly through the promotion of human dignity.

In an organization, such as the U.N., which depends on partnerships and strong relations for its diplomatic work, Caccia encouraged attendees to focus on “the other” rather than merely one’s own interests.


3. Decision 2020: A Look at the Key Issues Voters Will Consider: How do the positions of the Republican and Democratic Parties compare?

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, January 28, 2020

There are many issues on the minds of Americans just ahead of the first caucuses and primaries in the 2020 presidential election.

According to Gallup polling, the top five “extremely important” issues for voters are health care, national security, gun policy, education and the economy. The next highest issues are immigration, climate change and abortion.

But for Catholics, according to analysts who spoke with the Register, overarching all of these individual issues will be the competing, and very different, positions that the Republican and Democratic Parties are taking on them collectively.


Leading Moral Issues

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow for The Catholic Association, told the Register that the “two biggest moral issues” for voters in the 2020 election are abortion and religious liberty. She argued that judicial appointments were an important aspect of that, as well.

“One in five voters said that the biggest issue in determining their vote was the Supreme Court,” McGuire noted of the 2016 election. “A lot of voters feel like the issues that they care most about wind up being determined by nine judges at the Supreme Court, and I think that that is still going to be pretty much true.”

McGuire said that abortion debate is becoming more “nuanced” as “pro-lifers have done a very good job of moving the conversation and the debate to be much more about details like abortion when a baby can feel pain and states’ rights when it comes to determining abortion legislation.”

“I think that Democrats are going to be forced to take positions on a lot more detailed aspects on the issue of abortion than maybe we’ve seen in the past,” she emphasized.


4. After lawmakers deadlocked last year, advocates renew push for aid-in-dying bill.

By Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post, January 28, 2020, 5:18 PM

Medically assisted suicide failed by a single vote in the Maryland General Assembly last year.

Now, advocates who want to make it legal for doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives are launching another push to get the legislation approved, hoping that growing public acceptance of aid-in-dying laws will win over at least one more lawmaker.

If approved, Maryland would join the District and nine states, including California, Colorado and New Jersey, that allow medically assisted suicide.

The bill is strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and disability rights advocates, who say vulnerable populations could be unduly pressured to ask doctors to help end their lives to avoid more expensive options. In Virginia, which is considering a similar bill, disability rights activists are planning a news conference Wednesday.


5. Virginia House OKs undoing GOP-backed abortion restrictions.

By Associated Press, January 28, 2020, 2:26 PM

The Virginia House has approved legislation to undo Republican-backed restrictions on abortion.

The new Democratic majority voted Tuesday to undo requirements that included a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, as well a requirement that women seeking an abortion undergo an ultrasound and counseling.

The bill, which is part of Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s legislative agenda, would also roll back the requirement that an abortion be provided by a physician, allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform them.


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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.