1. Longtime U.S. House chaplain on Jan. 6, the dangers of ‘apocalyptic thinking’ and why there’s room to be pro-choice in Catholicism, The Rev. Pat Conroy was U.S. House chaplain for 10 years and retired a few days before the insurrection, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, January 5, 2022, 7:00 AM In his decade as chaplain of the U.S. House, the Rev. Pat Conroy tried to summon higher forces in support of those working in Congress. The smiley Jesuit did that through spiritual counseling and the regular prayers he offered in the chamber. But by Jan. 6, 2021, Conroy felt the weight of growing division in the Capitol and a political culture that he feels has erased time for reflection and transformed politicians from respected leaders into hired guns. The role of a spiritual guide in the building has become less clear, he says.  Q: In the summer of 2021, Catholic House Democrats issued a statement linking their faith to certain public policies. What do you make of that? A: How do we, within our constitutional system, how do we get to our Catholic value in this case, [when women have] the right to choose. By the way, I want to know the American who thinks the government should take away their choice in any area of their life — any area of their life. It’s an American value that each one of us can choose where our life is going. That happens to be a Catholic value, too. That we should all use our gifts and our talents and our intelligence as best we can to make the best choices we have the freedom to make. Sometimes we don’t have the freedom to make really important choices because of fear, because of oppression, because of poverty, because of all kinds of things. Choice is a highly American value and it’s a church value. [Twelfth-century Italian priest and Catholic philosophical giant] Thomas Aquinas says if your conscience says to do something the church says is a sin, you are bound to follow your conscience. That’s Thomas Aquinas! A good Catholic in our system could be saying: Given women in our system have this constitutional right, our task as fellow Christians, or as Catholics, is to make it possible for her to optimize her ability to make the choice. So a pro-choice Democrat isn’t a pro-abortion person but the debate has snatched that. So immediately any pro-choice Democrat is judged as pro-abortion. (Conroy added to The Post that “there is no debate, in my mind, about the tragedy of abortion.” He said the system should do everything it can to help women make the choice not to abort. However, he said “she is the one to make her choice; we should not make it for her.”) https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2022/01/05/insurrection-house-chaplain-abortion-apocalypse-conroy/___________________________________________________________ 2. Vatican novelty to start New Year as pope urges adoption, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 5, 2022, 5:01 AM Pope Francis called Wednesday for simplified adoption procedures and urged couples to have more children as he presided over his first general audience of the New Year with a novel supporting cast that emphasized his call for a less-clericalized Catholic Church. For the first time, a layman and a nun provided the English and Spanish translations of Francis’ weekly catechism lesson rather than a cloaked monsignor, a small but revolutionary change for the Vatican. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/vatican-novelty-to-start-new-year-as-pope-urges-adoption/2022/01/05/692dfeaa-6e0e-11ec-b1e2-0539da8f4451_story.html___________________________________________________________ 3. Pope Francis receives manifesto challenging German ‘Synodal Way’, By Catholic News Agency, January 5, 2022, 6:00 AM Pope Francis on Wednesday received a manifesto, backed by almost 6,000 Catholics, challenging the German “Synodal Way.” The pope was presented with the document, “New Beginning: A Manifesto for Reform,” after his general audience on Jan. 5. The manifesto offers a nine-point alternative plan for the Catholic Church in Germany, arguing that the Synodal Way will fail to produce genuine reform, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.  As of Jan. 5, the manifesto, published in 11 languages, has attracted the support of 5,832 signatories from Germany and other European countries. The document says: “In its fixation on external structure, the Synodal Way misses the heart of the crisis; it violates the peace in congregations, abandons the path of unity with the universal Church, damages the church in the substance of its faith, and paves the way towards schism.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250017/pope-francis-receives-manifesto-challenging-german-synodal-way___________________________________________________________4. Top Vatican diplomat to visit Lebanon in February, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, January 5, 2022 After making a quick trip to South Sudan just before Christmas, British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, will be on the road again shortly, this time to Lebanon, which has long been a place of interest for Pope Francis. Plans for Gallagher’s visit are still in the “embryonic stage,” according to Archbishop Joseph Spiteri, the Vatican’s nuncio to Lebanon, who told Crux that details such as the trip dates and Gallagher’s official program are still being determined, but the Vatican’s embassy to Lebanon is coordinating with the Lebanese Foreign Ministry. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-middle-east/2022/01/top-vatican-diplomat-to-visit-lebanon-in-february___________________________________________________________ 5. Proposals protecting religious freedom presented to Chile’s constitutional assembly, By Inés San Martín, Crux, January 5, 2022 Over 18,000 people supported a proposal to include a debate on religious freedom and conscience rights in the process of writing Chile’s new constitution, a task given to 155 people elected for the task. The proposal was presented in October by an interreligious group coordinated by Catholic Bishop Juan Ignacio Gonzalez, a member of Opus Dei. Every Chilean is allowed to make a proposal, but for it to be discussed by the constitutional assembly, at least 15,000 Chileans have to go online and vote in favor of it. The interreligious proposal includes three articles that are supported by Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Evangelical, Jewish, and Muslim leaders, as well as three indigenous peoples, including the Mapuche, the largest one in Chile. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/01/proposals-protecting-religious-freedom-presented-to-chiles-constitutional-assembly___________________________________________________________ 6. NYT report fuels concerns that many abortions are based on false test results, By Christine Rousselle, Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency, January 4, 2022, 4:21 PM Pro-life leaders say they are deeply disturbed by a recent New York Times investigation that found some prenatal blood tests have alarmingly high false positive results for genetic disorders that frequently result in the abortion of unborn children.  Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life, told CNA that the findings underscore the need to provide expectant parents with greater support to prepare for the health problems their children potentially might have.  The Times report made only passing reference to prenatal blood tests for Down syndrome, the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Times said screenings for Down syndrome “work well, according to experts.”  “The New York Times is bringing attention to a serious problem, but their reporting could have gone even further,” Dr. Tara Sander Lee, senior fellow and director of life sciences at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the research arm of Susan B. Anthony List, told CNA. “One out of every two U.S. babies who test ‘positive’ for Down syndrome in prenatal screenings are aborted, yet the false positive rate is over 50% when screening pregnant women at low risk. The false positive rates are even worse for some of the less common conditions,” she said.  The American Association for Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists also expressed deep concerns about the Times’ report. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250012/prenatal-tests-wrong-times-abortion___________________________________________________________ 7. Pope Francis’ January 2022 prayer intention is for victims of religious persecution, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, January 4, 2022, 9:03 AM For the first month of 2022, Pope Francis has asked Catholics to pray for those facing religious discrimination and persecution. In a video appeal released Jan. 4, the pope called religious persecution “inhuman” and “insane.” “Let us pray that those who suffer discrimination and suffer religious persecution may find in the societies in which they live the rights and dignity that comes from being brothers and sisters,” he said. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250011/this-is-pope-francis-prayer-intention-for-january-2022___________________________________________________________ 8. China forbids foreigners from spreading religious content online, By Catholic News Service, January 4, 2022 In the U.S.-China rivalry that involves a complex mix of diplomacy, trade wars and sanctions, religion has come under increased pressure after the communist regime banned online propagation of religion by foreign nationals, purportedly to make religion more Chinese-oriented. On Dec. 22, the Chinese government issued a new norm that proscribes all foreign institutions and individuals from spreading religious content online. China cited national security interests for enacting the new law, the first of their kind to monitor online religious affairs, reported ucanews.com. The new rules, titled Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services, were made two weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a national religious work conference. In his address to that conference Dec. 4, Xi stressed making religions Chinese in orientation and developing them in the Chinese context. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-asia/2022/01/china-forbids-foreigners-from-spreading-religious-content-online___________________________________________________________

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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