1. Pope praises ‘gentle’ Benedict ahead of funeral, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 4, 2023, 8:32 AM Pope Francis praised Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “acute and gentle thought” as he presided over a packed Wednesday general audience in the Vatican, while thousands of people paid tribute to the former pope on the final day of public viewing in St. Peter’s Basilica.  This week’s audience was conducted as tens of thousands of people continued to flock to St. Peter’s to pay their respects to Benedict’s body, lying in state, before the official viewing ends Wednesday evening. From Monday through midday Wednesday, nearly 160,000 people had passed through the basilica, the Vatican said. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-praises-acute-and-gentle-benedict-ahead-of-funeral/2023/01/04/170b1900-8c0d-11ed-b86a-2e3a77336b8e_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Former Paris archbishop target of sexual assault probe, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 4, 2023, 7:02 AM French police are investigating an allegation that the former archbishop of Paris sexually assaulted a woman who is under legal protection as a vulnerable person, prosecutors said Wednesday. Michel Aupetit, who unexpectedly resigned in 2021 after admitting to an “ambiguous” relationship with a woman in 2012, denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer said.  Aupetit became Paris archbishop in 2018. Pope Francis quickly accepted his resignation in December 2021. The pontiff subsequently said he accepted the resignation because Aupetit couldn’t govern effectively after “gossip” about his relationship with a woman removed his “good name.” Francis said there had been “lapses” with Aupetit involving sexual sins. He said they weren’t that serious and involved “some caresses and massages.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/former-paris-archbishop-target-of-sexual-assault-probe/2023/01/04/8cae6b9a-8c1b-11ed-b86a-2e3a77336b8e_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. A Federal Court Ruling Imperils the Charter-School Movement, By Baker A. Mitchell and Robert P. Spencer, The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2023, Pg. A15, Opinion A ruling in a federal court case could spell trouble for the charter-school movement. The case began in 2015 when the American Civil Liberties Union, representing three female students, sued our school. The plaintiffs in Peltier v. Charter Day School, Inc. allege that our uniform policy—which requires girls to wear jumpers, skirts or “skorts” (skirtlike shorts) on most days—violates the girls’ rights under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. After a mixed decision in federal district court, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June for the plaintiffs. By a 10-6 vote, the full court held that CDS is a “state actor,” constitutionally indistinguishable from government-run public schools. That is counter to North Carolina law. CDS is a private nonprofit corporation—a legal requirement for operating a charter school under the state’s Charter School Act. That law specifically empowered charters to set their own rules about comportment, curriculum, appropriate dress and other matters. If the ruling stands, it could undo the central feature of charter schools: their independence. That would send “education in a monolithic direction, stifling the competition” that spurs improvement, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III warned in dissent.  Lawyers for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Va.—which is under the Fourth Circuit’s jurisdiction—argue in a friend-of-the-court brief that the Fourth Circuit’s “overbroad approach” could also threaten religious social-service providers that contract with states. “  According to these experts, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling would undercut charter schools and the very foundation of America’s private, voluntary sector. Perhaps that’s what the ACLU and its allies had in mind all along. Mr. Mitchell is a founder and Mr. Spencer chairman of Charter Day School Inc. https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-federal-court-ruling-imperils-the-charter-school-movement-north-carolina-fourth-circuit-uniform-state-actor-11672745374__________________________________________________________ 4. Hong Kong allows Cardinal Zen to attend Benedict’s funeral, By Kanis Leung, Associated Press, January 4, 2023 Hong Kong’s outspoken Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen was allowed to leave the southern Chinese city to pay his respects to the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Vatican City, his secretary said Tuesday. Zen, a 90-year-old retired bishop, will attend the funeral Mass, led by Pope Francis, at St. Peter’s Square on Thursday and return to Hong Kong on Saturday, the secretary said.Zen was elevated to cardinal by Benedict in 2006, which he said signaled the pope’s focus on China. In recent years, the democracy advocate has been sharply at odds with Francis over the Vatican’s agreement with Chinese authorities on the appointment of bishops. Zen contends the deal betrays pro-Vatican Catholics in China and the clergy who have suffered persecution there. He appeared in court Tuesday to apply for a leave from the city, his secretary said. His passport had been confiscated by authorities after his controversial arrest in 2022. https://apnews.com/article/pope-francis-hong-kong-religion-vatican-city-1935fe912dd0747b028a4753aac65bf0__________________________________________________________ 5. With podcasts and a dose of ‘Minnesota nice,’ Father Mike builds his flock, By Hugh Hewitt, The Washington Post, January 4, 2023, 7:00 AM, Opinion The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has prompted widespread discussion of the impact he had along with his predecessor, Saint John Paul II, with whom he worked closely for decades. John Paul was an indefatigable traveler with a winsome smile. His successor, a scholar’s scholar. The one used charisma to encourage the flock; the other the written word. Now comes a much younger man, a master of new technologies, to carry on the mission of evangelization and teaching. His perch: Not Rome, but a Midwestern college campus. Rev. Michael Schmitz, a priest in the Diocese of Duluth, Minn., serves the students of the University of Minnesota Duluth — but that’s not the amazing part. His “The Bible in a Year” podcast from Ascension Press, entering its third year, is reaching audiences on a scale unimaginable before the digital age.  Two days into the new podcast, I had already advanced in my knowledge of my faith. Even if you don’t share my beliefs, and the beliefs of Catholics worldwide, perhaps you will want to know what our church actually teaches. Learning has never been easier, thanks to Father Mike. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/01/04/michael-schmitz-bible-podcast/__________________________________________________________ 6. The Real Ratzinger, The last of the monumental figures of 20th-century Catholicism bears no resemblance to the caricature created by his theological and cultural foes, By George Weigel, National Catholic Register, January 4, 2023, Opinion The Joseph Ratzinger I knew for 35 years — first as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), later as Pope Benedict XVI and then pope emeritus — was a brilliant, holy man who bore no resemblance to the caricature that was first created by his theological enemies and then set in media concrete. The cartoon Ratzinger was a grim, relentless ecclesiastical inquisitor/enforcer, “God’s Rottweiler.” The man I knew was a consummate gentleman with a gentle soul, a shy man who nonetheless had a robust sense of humor, and a Mozart lover who was fundamentally a happy person, not a sour crank.    The cartoon Ratzinger was incapable of understanding or appreciating modern thought. The Ratzinger I knew was arguably the most learned man in the world, with an encyclopedic knowledge of Christian theology (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), philosophy (ancient, medieval and modern), biblical studies (Jewish and Christian), and political theory (classic and contemporary). His mind was luminous and orderly, and when asked a question, he would answer in complete paragraphs — in his third or fourth language.    The key to the true Joseph Ratzinger, and to his greatness, was the depth of his love for the Lord Jesus — a love refined by an extraordinary theological and exegetical intelligence, manifest in his trilogy, Jesus of Nazareth, which he regarded as the capstone of his lifelong scholarly project. In those books, more than six decades of learning were distilled into an account that he hoped would help others to come and love Jesus as he did, for as he insisted in so many variations on one great theme, “friendship with Jesus Christ” was the beginning, the sine qua non, of the Christian life. And fostering that friendship was the whole purpose of the Church. The last of the monumental figures of 20th-century Catholicism has gone home to God, who will not fail to reward his good servant.      https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/the-real-ratzinger__________________________________________________________ 7. FDA finalizes rule expanding availability of abortion pills, By Matthew Perrone, Associated Press, January 3, 2023, 8:01 PM The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday finalized a rule change that broadens availability of abortion pills to many more pharmacies, including large chains and mail-order companies. The Biden administration partially implemented the change last year, announcing it would no longer enforce a long-standing requirement that women pick up the medicine in person. Tuesday’s action formally updates the drug’s labeling to allow many more retail pharmacies to dispense the pills, so long as they complete a certification process. The change could expand access at both brick-and-mortar stores and online pharmacies. Women can get a prescription via telehealth consultation with a health professional, and then receive the pills through the mail, where permitted by law. Still, the rule change’s impact has been blunted by numerous state laws limiting abortion broadly and the pills specifically. Legal experts foresee years of court battles over access to the pills, as abortion-rights proponents bring test cases to challenge state restrictions. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/fda-finalizes-rule-allowing-mail-order-abortion-pills/2023/01/03/ff959cce-8bc5-11ed-b86a-2e3a77336b8e_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Cardinal Pell: Benedict XVI was complete opposite of the caricatures of his enemies, By Catholic News Agency, January 3, 2023, 1:30 PM Australian Cardinal George Pell, prefect emeritus of the Vatican Secretariat for the Economy and former archbishop of Sydney, shared in an interview with EWTN News in Depth what Pope Benedict XVI was like and stressed that the pope was completely the opposite of the caricatures that his enemies made of him.\ The cardinal said that Benedict XVI was “a complete opposite of the caricatures of his enemies, especially before he became pope. And people actually saw what he was like.” His detractors called him “[God’s] Rottweiler, the Panzer Kardinal (Fighting Cardinal) and all that, which was absurd.” The Australian cardinal emphasized that Benedict XVI was actually “a quiet, gentle, pious man, absolute gentleman.” Asked how these characterizations affected Benedict, Pell said: “I think he was slightly amused; I don’t think it really bothered him because he was a highly intelligent man and he realized that it was just so far from the truth that they were irrelevant.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253235/cardinal-pell-benedict-xvi-was-complete-opposite-of-the-caricatures-of-his-enemies__________________________________________________________

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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