1. Democrats fail to condemn pregnancy center violence, My medical facility was vandalized with spray-painted threats, By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, The Washington Times, January 31, 2023, Pg. B3, Opinion I didn’t know what to expect at the historic 50th annual March for Life. As someone who has regularly joined the throngs of people who have marched each year in Washington since the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to abortion in 1973, I feared the crowds and enthusiasm might fizzle in a post-Roe world. But my fears were entirely unfounded. The usual young and joyful crowds were there in force, blanketing the Mall, streaming toward the Capitol like a human river. One recurrent theme in the speeches and banners that animated the occasion was highlighting the vital work of pro-life pregnancy care centers — the compassionate outreach arm of the pro-life movement. Shortly after the May 2022 Supreme Court leak in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an angry pro-abortion fringe group turned its sights on these centers. These charitable organizations, which provide support and tangible assistance to pregnant women who want to give birth, have been firebombed and vandalized after publication of a pro-abortion manifesto declaring “open season” on them. I am a radiologist and medical director of facilities for the Archdiocese of Miami, where we do this charitable work. As a volunteer, I also read our facilities’ fetal ultrasounds. Last May, one of our pregnancy care centers was vandalized with spray-painted threats of violence. We were all scared, and even more so when we found out that ours was just one of more than 79 documented recent threats and attacks targeting centers like ours.  Millions of women in our country right now long to have a child, or long to give birth to the one they carry. No woman, it’s safe to say, ever dreamed of having an abortion. The nation’s pregnancy care centers are where we help mothers and couples realize their dreams. The uplifting spirit of these centers and the pro-life movement animated the 50th annual March for Life, and it will animate similar marches in state capitals going forward. Their work has never been so important. In spite of violence and threats, in spite of Democrats’ consenting silence, pregnancy resource centers across the nation will keep opening their doors and welcoming women and couples who come to us for help in making their dreams come true. Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/30/democrats-fail-to-condemn-pregnancy-center-violenc/__________________________________________________________2. Justice for Mark Houck, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion Is Mark Houck a dangerous criminal, or a man targeted by Merrick Garland’s Justice Department to score political points? Mr. Houck, 48, has been on trial for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances, or the Face Act—for shoving a patient escort outside an abortion clinic in 2021. If convicted he faced 11 years in prison. On Friday the jury deadlocked, but on Monday it returned its verdict: not guilty. This was a case that never should have been brought. U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert suggested as much when he asked the prosecutor whether federal law didn’t “seem to be stretched a little thin here.” The FBI’s decision to arrest Mr. Houck as though he were John Dillinger also suggested a political stunt. Mr. Houck is a pro-life “sidewalk counselor” who for years has prayed and protested outside the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia. His goal is to try to persuade women entering the clinic not to go through with their abortions. That is also his constitutional right.  The FBI came to Mr. Houck’s home as though he were a violent gangster. His wife, Ryan-Marie, said a SWAT team of about 25-30 armed agents arrived around 7 a.m. The FBI disputes details of her account. They deny it was an actual SWAT team and insist that Mrs. Houck’s estimate of the number of agents is an “overstatement.” But the bureau also refused to say exactly how many armed agents there were. And whether these armed agents were a SWAT team is beside the point. The question is: Was this show of force justified for a man who was never a threat or flight risk? On top of it all, one of Mr. Houck’s team of lawyers at the Thomas More Society, Matt Heffron, had emailed the assistant U.S. attorney in June saying Mr. Houck would accept a summons to surrender himself. On the evidence, the raid appeared calculated to send a political message. It was less than two months before the midterm elections. Many saw it that way. In October 2022, 11 U.S. senators and 29 members of Congress sent a letter to FBI Director Chris Wray asking if the raid on Mr. Houck was an example of “weaponiz[ing] the power of federal law enforcement . . . against pro-life Americans based solely on their beliefs.”  Mark Houck’s position on abortion makes him unwelcome at the commanding heights of American culture. But it is precisely the unpopular defendant that is most at risk of political prosecution. https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-for-mark-houck-fbi-abortion-pro-life-planned-parenthood-face-act-not-guilty-crime-arrest-11675113079__________________________________________________________ 3. Birth Control Curb Targeted, By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, January 31, 2023, Pg. A3 The Biden administration proposed an end to an exemption allowing health plans to exclude coverage of no-cost birth control on moral grounds, part of work to protect access to contraception since Roe v. Wade was overturned. The rule proposed on Monday would retain an exemption allowing private health plans and insurers to exclude contraception coverage based on religious exemptions. The Trump administration in 2018 allowed the exemptions on religious or moral grounds. “This rule would remove a big potential loophole for contraceptive coverage created by the Trump administration,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-proposes-end-to-moral-exemption-for-birth-control-coverage-11675103994__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope’s Africa trip spotlights conflict, and church’s future, By Nicole Winfield, Jean-Yves Kamale and Nqobile Ntshangase, Associated Press, January 31, 2023, 5:29 AM Pope Francis is opening a six-day visit to Congo and South Sudan on Tuesday, aiming to bring a message of peace to two countries riven by poverty, conflict and what Francis has called a lingering “colonialist mentality” that still considers Africa ripe for exploitation. Aid groups are hoping Francis’ trip will shine a spotlight on two of the world’s forgotten conflicts and rekindle international attention on some of Africa’s worst humanitarian crises, amid donor fatigue and new aid priorities in Ukraine. But Francis’ trip will also bring him face-to-face with the future of the Catholic Church: Africa is one of the only places in the world where the Catholic flock is growing, in terms of practicing faithful as well as fresh vocations to the priesthood and religious life.  Congo, Francis’ first stop, stands out as the African country with most Catholics hands down: Half of its 105 million people are Catholic, the country counts more than 6,000 priests, 10,000 nuns and more than 4,000 seminarians — 3.6% of the global total of young men studying for the priesthood.  The second leg of Francis’ trip will bring him to South Sudan, the world’s youngest country where continued fighting has hampered implementation of a 2018 peace deal to end a civil war. Francis first voiced his hope of visiting the majority Christian country in 2017, but security concerns prevented a visit and only contributed to worsening a humanitarian crisis that has displaced more than 2 million people. The South Sudan stop also marks a novelty in the history of papal travel, in that Francis will be joined on the ground by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, the Rt. Rev. Iain Greenshields. The aim of the three-way visit is to show a united Christian commitment to helping South Sudan make progress on the implementation of the 2018 accord. Francis presided over a similar joint initiative in 2019 in the Vatican when he famously got down on hands and knees and kissed the feet of South Sudan’s rival leaders, begging them to make peace. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/popes-africa-trip-spotlights-conflict-and-churchs-future/2023/01/31/988702f6-a138-11ed-8b47-9863fda8e494_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Catholic cardinal twice accused of sexual assault is allowed to resign, By Adam Taylor, The Washington Post, January 30, 2023, 5:03 PM A powerful Canadian cardinal who was twice accused of sexual assault will retire on April 12, the Vatican’s news service announced Monday. The announcement did not mention the allegations against Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet, who was head of the Vatican’s powerful bishops’ office. He was also once considered to be a strong contender for the papacy. Instead, the news service said that Pope Francis had accepted Ouellet’s resignation “upon reaching the age limit” for cardinals, which is 75. Ouellet, 78, reached the limit a few years ago — but so have several other heads of major Vatican departments, according to the independent National Catholic Reporter. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/01/30/cardinal-marc-ouellet-resignation/__________________________________________________________6. U.S. bishops urge Congress to pass No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, January 30, 2023, 12:50 PM The U.S. bishops are urging Congress to permanently ban the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion through the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act. Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virgina, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Committee, issued a letter Friday to House and Senate leaders supporting the legislation to permanently ban taxpayer funding of abortion. In his letter, Burbidge said that the “government should never fund the destruction of innocent preborn children” and that “congressional action is required.” This month Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, both Republicans, introduced legislation (H.R. 7 and S. 62) to permanently ban the use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253500/us-bishops-urge-congress-to-pass-no-taxpayer-funding-for-abortion-act__________________________________________________________ 7. German bishops’ president rebukes Pope Francis for criticism of Synodal Way, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, January 30, 2023, 11:45 AM Bishop Georg Bätzing has criticized Pope Francis and dismissed the pope’s recent words that the controversial German Synodal Way is unhelpful, damaging, and ideologically poisoned, saying the Germans had “fundamentally different views of synodality” than Rome.  In an interview published Jan. 27, the president of Germany’s Bishops’ Conference said he considered the pope’s “way of leading the Church by way of interviews” as “extremely questionable,” reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner. Bätzing was referring to comments Pope Francis made about the Synodal Way, among other subjects, in a wide-ranging interview last week with the Associated Press. Bätzing, the bishop of Limburg, noted that the German bishops had their ad limina visit with Pope Francis in November. “Why didn’t the pope talk to us about this when we were with him in November?” Bätzing asked. “There would have been the opportunity, but he did not take the opportunity for discussion then.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253497/germany-synodal-way-batzing-criticizes-pope-francis__________________________________________________________

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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