1. How Trump Could Institute a Backdoor Federal Abortion Ban, By Mary Ziegler, The New York Times, January 29, 2024, 5:01 AM, Opinion For many Americans who support abortion rights, the election in November will most likely come down to a choice between voting for President Biden and staying home. They won’t vote for the man who ensured Roe v. Wade’s demise, but many of them are unenthusiastic about the prospect of Mr. Biden being the Democratic nominee.  But it’s odd how the Biden-Harris campaign has chosen to speak about this issue, with a heavy focus on their plan to “codify Roe.” Bold congressional action on abortion is unlikely from either side: A federal abortion ban under a second Trump administration is implausible, but it is also unlikely that this Congress, or the next, passes legislation, like the Women’s Health Protection Act, to bring back the protections that were in Roe. What is plausible is that, returned to the White House, Donald Trump would seek to use his executive power — power that his allies are aiming to increase on his behalf — to further curtail abortion access.   A playbook for an incoming Republican president created by Project 2025, a well-coordinated effort supported by more than 90 conservative groups, includes attempting to strip access to mifepristone, a drug used in a majority of U.S. abortions. The availability of abortion pills has made the enforcement of state abortion bans difficult, as Americans can order pills online or travel out of state to get them.  The road map created by Project 2025 calls on the F.D.A. to limit access to mifepristone and ultimately withdraw it from the market as a drug “proven to be dangerous to women and by definition fatally unsafe for unborn children.”  It is tempting to dismiss the possibility of such a backdoor federal abortion ban as far-fetched. Mr. Trump hardly sounds like a passionate supporter of fetal rights at the moment, and his embrace of the anti-abortion movement always seemed more a matter of political expedience than a sincere conversion. But Mr. Trump will have different incentives once in office. Pleasing the social conservatives who donate to his political organizations — the sort of people who could be key to securing his post-presidential future — may strike him as more important than pleasing the majority of American voters.  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/29/opinion/biden-trump-abortion-election.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Republican legislatures in some states are trying to keep abortion off the ballot, By Christine Fernando, Associated Press, January 29, 2024, 12:22 AM Legislative efforts in Missouri and Mississippi are attempting to prevent voters from having a say over abortion rights, building on anti-abortion strategies seen in other states, including last year in Ohio. Democrats and abortion rights advocates say the efforts are evidence that Republican lawmakers and abortion opponents are trying to undercut democratic processes meant to give voters a direct role in forming state laws.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/01/28/abortion-ballot-initiatives-voters-democracy-2024/0c68aa2a-bddb-11ee-a4c6-8f5c350e9316_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican-China Rapprochement Resumes With Bishop Consecrations, New bishops of Zhengzhou and Weifang were named by Pope Francis with the agreement of Beijing, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2024, 8:53 AM Two new Catholic bishops have been consecrated in China in the last several days under an agreement between the Vatican and Beijing, signifying a resumption of cooperation between the two sides after a period of discord. The Vatican had accused China of violating at least the spirit of their agreement, which the two sides signed in 2018, by installing two bishops as heads of dioceses without the permission of Pope Francis in November 2022 and April 2023. By contrast, both of the new bishops consecrated in recent days were appointed by the pope, the Vatican said. Bishop Anthony Sun Wenjun was ordained on Monday as the bishop of Weifang, in eastern China. That ceremony took place four days after the ordination of Bishop Thaddeus Wang Yuesheng of Zhengzhou, capital of the central province of Henan. Both ordinations were reported on the website of the government-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which oversees the church in China.  https://www.wsj.com/world/china/vatican-china-rapprochement-resumes-with-bishop-consecrations-0dc46e14__________________________________________________________ 4. Islamic State group claims responsibility for an attack on an Istanbul church that killed one person, By Robert Badendieck, Associated Press, January 29, 2024, 7:33 AM The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Roman Catholic church in Istanbul during a Sunday Mass that killed one person. The extremist group said in a statement late Sunday that it “attacked a gathering of Christian unbelievers during their polytheistic ceremony” inside the Santa Maria Church in the Buyukdere neighborhood in Istanbul. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said shortly before midnight that two men he described as members of the Islamic State group had been arrested in the attack. One of the suspects is from Tajikistan and the other from Russia, he said. The statement claiming responsibility for the attack was published on Aamaq, the media arm of the militant group, along with photos of two masked men holding guns whom it identified as the attackers.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/29/istanbul-church-attack-islamic-state/89bd7a12-be87-11ee-a4c6-8f5c350e9316_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Media Abort Objectivity in Covering the Life Issue, By Don Feder, The Washington Times, January 29, 2024, Opinion Name a controversial issue, such as gun control, immigration, climate change or race relations. On none of them are the media more biased than on abortion. It’s as if journalists joined a Planned Parenthood scout troop and earned merit badges for deliberate distortion. Non-coverage of the 2024 March for Life is a sign of things to come in this year’s campaign. Attendance was estimated at 50,000 to 100,000 in freezing weather. Speakers included House Speaker Mike Johnson and Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 2024 National College Football Team. There was no mention of the event on the evening news that day or the morning news the next day on ABC, NBC and CBS. But NBC had a story on high school girls who are basing their decision of where to go to college on whether a state allows unrestricted access to abortion. The network touted this as “a growing trend.”  Since the president intends to run for reelection on two issues — former President Donald Trump as a threat to democracy and abortion — the importance of media bias here can’t be overstated. Once again, this year, abortion opponents will climb into the ring with a supposedly neutral referee who never misses an opportunity to knee them in the groin and stick a thumb in their eye. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/jan/27/media-abort-objectivity-in-covering-life-issue/__________________________________________________________ 6. Poland shows the difficulties of trying to reverse an abortion ban, By Kate Brady and Gerrit De Vynck, The Washington Post, January 27, 2024, 7:30 AM  Like millions of Poles who supported the end of right-wing rule, Kubisa is hoping the country’s new centrist government will close the gap between Poland and most of the rest of Europe. On abortion, Prime Minister Donald Tusk has promised to replace one of Europe’s strictest policies with new legislation — not only allowing the return of early-term abortion in cases of fetal abnormalities, but ensuring legal and safe abortion care through 12 weeks of pregnancy. The obstacles, though, remain formidable, with divisions in the ruling coalition, a veto-wielding president allied with the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, and an entrenched constitutional court appointed by the previous government. For some Poles, the elation of last fall’s election is already giving way to frustration and doubt about whether the change of government can succeed in washing away — or at least diluting — a decade of right-wing policies.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/27/poland-abortion-12-weeks-donald-tusk/__________________________________________________________ 7. Canada, there’s still time to rethink this risky expansion of euthanasia, By The Washington Post, January 27, 2024, 6:30 AM, Editorial Few topics cause more impassioned debate than euthanasia. Ill people with no other options, suffering beyond a point they wish to bear, make a strong case that they should be allowed help to end their lives. On the other hand, establishing clear, consistent, ethical rules to govern where, when and how physicians might be involved in ending lives, rather than saving them, is inherently difficult. People of good will can disagree as to what compassion requires. In recent years, a handful of countries have authorized medically assisted dying in the form of lethal injections or other interventions administered actively by physicians. In the United States, assisted dying still takes only the comparatively passive form of “physician-assisted suicide,” in which doctors prescribe a lethal dose of medications for self-administration. The practice is lawful in 10 states and in D.C. We have supported limited assisted dying programs of this kind. The expansion of euthanasia Canada is currently contemplating, however, goes too far. The country already has one of the world’s most permissive euthanasia regimes, which empowers patients to seek “Medical Assistance in Dying” (MAID) — a practitioner-administered lethal injection — for physical conditions they deem unbearable, whether terminal or not. And on March 17, barring a last-minute change in government policy, Canada will authorize MAID upon the request of patients whose only illness is a psychiatric one, such as depression or schizophrenia.  No doubt Canadian advocates mean to enhance individual freedom and equality as between those with physical and mental illness. Perhaps they have high confidence in the procedures they’ve developed to control psychiatric euthanasia. They need to remember that no procedural protections are perfect — and building them for psychiatric euthanasia is a profound challenge. Good intentions tend to have unintended consequences. In the United States, Americans need to keep a close eye on their neighbor’s experience, and learn from it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/01/27/canada-maid-euthanasia-death-assisted-suicide/__________________________________________________________ 8. Who’s Radical on Abortion Now?, Wisconsin Democrats oppose restrictions even after 14 weeks., By The Wall Street Journal. January 26, 2024, 5:51 PM, Editorial Democrats have been winning elections running against a ban on abortion, and Republicans have until recently been at a loss about how to respond. But a proposal by the GOP-controlled Legislature in Wisconsin bids to see if Democrats will accept a middle-ground consensus. The GOP-run state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill (53-46) that would ban abortions after 14 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the health or life of the mother. If the bill becomes law, it would then go before the voters in an April referendum. Yet it took Democratic Gov. Tony Evers milliseconds to announce he’d veto the proposal before Wisconsinites have a chance to decide for themselves.  The Wisconsin GOP’s bill is a compromise that a majority of voters nationwide say they want. A Gallup survey in July 2023 found that 51% of Americans believe abortion should be legal but with restrictions. Two thirds said abortion should be legal in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) while only 37% said it should be legal in the second trimester. But Democrats want to portray any restriction on abortion as a total ban, and they want abortion to be legal throughout pregnancy for any reason. Wisconsin Republicans were caught flat-footed by the repeal of Roe, but they’re finally looking for compromise. Who’s the abortion radical now? https://www.wsj.com/articles/wisconsin-abortion-bill-tony-evers-veto-9e5949c0__________________________________________________________ 9. Six pro-lifers face FACE Act charges in Tennessee, could see 11 years in jail, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2024, 4:30 PM Six pro-life activists are on trial in Nashville, Tennessee, facing federal charges related to a 2021 blockade of a nearby abortion clinic. The blockade, documented in a March 5, 2021, video posted on Facebook, showed a large group of pro-life activists ranging from elderly to young children walking into an abortion clinic and blocking access to the door by sitting in front of it.  The video shows pro-life activists singing Christian hymns and praying. Police can be seen demanding they leave the Carafem Health Center Clinic in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and while some do, others refuse.  The federal government announced in October 2022 that it had charged 11 of the individuals under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act, which is the same law that pro-life father of seven Mark Houck was charged and acquitted under early last year, prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256657/six-pro-lifers-face-face-act-charges-in-tennessee-could-see-11-years-in-jail__________________________________________________________ 10. Archbishop of Canterbury celebrates Anglican liturgy in a Catholic basilica in Rome, By Almudena Martínez-Bordiú, Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2024, 3:45 PM Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby celebrated an Anglican liturgy this morning in the Catholic Basilica of St. Bartholomew, located on Tiber Island in Rome’s Tiber River. At the beginning of the ceremony, the current archbishop of Canterbury thanked Pope Francis for allowing him to hold the service in this Catholic church. The ceremony was included on the official calendar of activities held in Rome during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity that was published on the website of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity. In a statement to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Father Angelo Romano, rector of St. Bartholomew Basilica in Rome, explained that the prefect for the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch, requested for the Anglican liturgy to be held there.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256656/archbishop-of-canterbury-celebrates-anglican-mass-in-a-catholic-basilica-in-rome__________________________________________________________ 11. Pope Francis: Blessings don’t require ‘moral perfection’, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2024, 12:00 PM Pope Francis on Friday clarified the Vatican’s position on same-sex blessings, affirming the recent declaration Fiducia Supplicans and emphasizing that “moral perfection” isn’t a requirement for receiving a blessing. The Dec. 18, 2023, document, published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), authorizes nonliturgical blessings for same-sex couples and others in “irregular situations,” including those who have divorced and remarried. The Holy Father made his remarks to members of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, offering them guidance for dealing with matters of faith, human dignity, and sacramental discipline in “the face of the epochal change that characterizes our time.” “The intent of the ‘pastoral and spontaneous blessings’ is to concretely show the closeness of the Lord and of the Church to all those who, finding themselves in different situations, ask help to carry on — sometimes to begin — a journey of faith,” Pope Francis said in his address in the Apostolic Palace marking the close of the DDF’s annual plenary assembly.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/256654/pope-francis-blessings-don-t-require-moral-perfection__________________________________________________________

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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