1. Faithful mourn Benedict XVI at funeral presided over by pope, By Nicole Winfield, Giada Zampano and Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, January 5, 2023, 7:01 AM With bells tolling, tens of thousands of faithful, political leaders and the pope himself mourned Benedict XVI, the German theologian who made history by resigning the papacy, at a rare requiem Mass Thursday for a dead pontiff presided over by a living one. The crowd applauded as pallbearers carried Benedict’s cypress coffin out of the fog-shrouded St. Peter’s Basilica and rested it before the altar in the vast square outside. Pope Francis, wearing the crimson vestments typical of papal funerals, then opened the service with a prayer and closed it by solemnly blessing the simple casket — decorated only with the former pope’s coat of arms. It was later entombed in the basilica grotto. Heads of state and royalty, clergy from around the world and thousands of regular people flocked to the ceremony, despite Benedict’s request for simplicity and official efforts to keep the first funeral for an pope emeritus in modern times low-key.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/thousands-pour-into-st-peters-for-funeral-of-benedict-xvi/2023/01/05/393a4c02-8cbd-11ed-b86a-2e3a77336b8e_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope Francis’ Homily at Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Funeral Mass, ‘Holding fast to the Lord’s last words and to the witness of his entire life, we too, as an ecclesial community, want to follow in his steps and to commend our brother into the hands of the Father…’, By Pope Francis, National Catholic Register, January 5, 2023, Homily Editor’s Note: At 9:30 a.m. this morning Pope Francis presided over the funeral Mass of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Please find the full text of his homily below.  https://www.ncregister.com/cna/full-text-pope-francis-homily-at-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvi-s-funeral-mass__________________________________________________________ 3. Predecessor’s Death Removes Constraint on Pope Francis, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2023, Pg. A16 Pope Francis has been the leader of the Catholic Church for almost 10 years, but he has been the only pope in the Vatican just since Saturday. The death of Pope Benedict XVI after a decade in retirement has ended an extraordinary arrangement that helped define the current pontificate. While Pope Francis has already taken a markedly different tack than his predecessor, he may feel even freer to do so now. Benedict’s presence in smiling and mostly silent obedience to his successor was a reassuring sign to many conservatives of continuity in church leadership, and hence of support for Pope Francis. But that made Benedict’s occasional public statements all the more influential, especially when they indicated divergence with the current pope’s approach on matters including clerical sexual abuse and interfaith dialogue. Pope Francis, who stressed his esteem for his predecessor, had an interest in avoiding explicit disagreement.  “Someone said that Pope Benedict, after his resignation, should have kept quiet and not created confusion in the Church. It seems to me quite the opposite: precisely because there is confusion in the Church, a Pope Emeritus, like every bishop and cardinal as long as he has breath and is of sound mind, must fulfill his duty as Successor of the Apostles to defend the sound tradition of the Church,” Cardinal Zen wrote on his personal website on Tuesday. “In crucial moments, even Pope Francis accepted this contribution of his predecessor, as when he defended the priestly celibacy of the Roman Church.”  Benedict consistently refrained from criticizing his successor in public, which may have exerted a restraining influence on some of his conservative followers, an influence now lifted with his death. Already, one of the late pope’s closest confidants has confirmed that Benedict privately disapproved of Pope Francis’ 2021 decision to impose restrictions on the use of the traditional Latin Mass, which largely undid Benedict’s lifting of restrictions in 2007. “It hit him pretty hard. Pope Benedict read [Francis’ decree] with pain in his heart, because his intention had been to help those who simply found a home in the old Mass to find inner peace,” Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s private secretary, told a website affiliated with the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost in an interview released Saturday, the day of the retired pope’s death, though recorded months earlier. https://www.wsj.com/articles/pope-francis-may-have-a-freer-hand-after-death-of-benedict-11672844100__________________________________________________________ 4. Putin, Xi and One Dead Pope, By Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion A big story the past year has been the firming alliance between the world’s two leading autocrats, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping, predicated on their conclusion that the West is in terminal decline. Fortuitously, the world has just lost its most relevant analyst of the presumption that the West is finished—Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Benedict’s funeral is Thursday, and what we should not do is let him pass into history. He was a man for our season. It would be insulting to the seriousness of Benedict’s criticism of Western culture to say he shared the views of Messrs. Putin and Xi, whose ideas about the West’s moral decline merely support strategies of cynical opportunism.   Benedict, by contrast, desperately wanted to save the West and the Judeo-Christian tradition to which he had devoted his life.  Messrs. Putin and Xi want to wear us down from the outside in. But one may also ask, Why should we do it to ourselves? Look at the internal destabilization under way from social pathologies and disconnectedness. Secularism by itself provides no brake on bad choices. This writer’s longstanding solution to reducing the country’s problems has been: Go to church on the weekend. Learn that in fact, you’re not No. 1 and not alone. It has become unfashionable, if not forbidden, to talk about religious belief in the context of public life. The “religious right” and all that. But perhaps the moment is right to revive Benedict’s argument for religion’s proper role in organizing a coherent, self-confident society, or nation. https://www.wsj.com/articles/putin-xi-death-pope-benedict-xvi-faith-reason-secularism-religion-west-communism-church-11672857190__________________________________________________________ 5. Republicans prioritize attacks on pro-life centers, churches, Scalise puts three bills on initial list, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, January 5, 2023, Pg. A5 CompassCare CEO James Harden has been fighting for justice ever since his Buffalo pro-life pregnancy center was firebombed in June, but the incoming House Republican majority has given him reason for hope. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise placed three pro-life measures on his initial list of 15 legislative priorities for the 118th Congress, including a resolution that condemns the rash of attacks on churches and pro-life facilities and urges the Biden administration to take the problem seriously. “I’m encouraged by it. Even introducing the concept is action,” Mr. Harden told The Washington Times. “It sends a huge message from the House of Representatives that the government’s job is to protect people.”  At least 104 Catholic churches and 78 pro-life pregnancy centers and offices have been attacked since the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked on May 2, according to the CatholicVote tracker, and yet the FBI has announced no arrests.  The other two bills cited Friday by Mr. Scalise would make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion, and would require medical care for infants born alive after botched abortions. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jan/3/pro-lifers-take-heart-house-republicans-target-att/__________________________________________________________ 6. Hong Kong cardinal, Taiwan at papal funeral, but not China, By Ken Moritsugu and Kanis Leung, Associated Press, January 4, 2023, 11:30 PM  The attendance of both the former bishop of Hong Kong and an adviser to Taiwan’s leader at this week’s funeral for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI highlights the Vatican’s uneasy relationship with communist-ruled China. The Chinese government, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with the Vatican, has not commented on Benedict’s death and did not appear to be sending anyone to Thursday’s service. Pope Francis, who succeeded Benedict in 2013, has tried to mend fences with Beijing, moving beyond the harder line approach of his predecessor to sign an agreement in 2018 on the appointment of bishops in China. At the same time, the Vatican has maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan instead of China, one of only a handful of governments that still do. Cardinal Joseph Zen, the former Hong Kong bishop going to the funeral, has harshly criticized the agreement on bishops. In a blog post in Italian this week, he praised Benedict, who elevated Zen to cardinal in 2006. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hong-kong-cardinal-taiwan-at-papal-funeral-but-not-china/2023/01/04/8bf885be-8c9d-11ed-b86a-2e3a77336b8e_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Justice Dept.: Despite bans, abortion pills may be mailed to any state, Legal opinion says existing federal law allows mail delivery because the sender cannot know if the recipient will use the medications illegally, By Perry Stein, The Washington Post, January 4, 2023, 6:28 PM The Justice Department has issued a legal opinion that the U.S. Postal Service may deliver abortion pills to people in states that have banned or sharply restricted the procedure, saying that federal law allows the mailing of the pills because the sender cannot know for sure whether the recipient would use them illegally. The 21-page opinion, posted online late Tuesday, is the latest attempt by Attorney General Merrick Garland to shore up abortion access after a Supreme Court decision last June that allowed states to outlaw the procedure. More than a dozen states have implemented strict bans on most abortions — including medication abortions — since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that for 50 years had enshrined the right to terminate a pregnancy.  The U.S. Postal Service had asked the Justice Department to say whether it would be legally allowed to deliver pills that could be used for abortion in a state where the procedure is outlawed. The response was a resounding yes. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2023/01/04/abortion-pills-mailed-legal/__________________________________________________________ 8. Walgreens Becomes First U.S. Pharmacy Chain to Say It Will Sell Abortion Pill, Company says will sell mifepristone in certain stores, a day after FDA changes its rules to allow retail pharmacies to fill prescriptions, By Liz Essley Whyte, The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2023, 5:35 PM Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. is the first major national pharmacy chain to say it plans to dispense the abortion pill under new rules laid out by the Food and Drug Administration. The new rules, issued Tuesday, allow any pharmacy to become certified to dispense mifepristone, the drug that blocks a hormone needed for pregnancy and is FDA-approved for use up to 10 weeks in pregnancy. Until the changes, the agency had allowed only a handful of mail-order pharmacies and certified doctors to hand out the drug. Walgreens on Wednesday didn’t give a timetable for when it would start filling mifepristone. It said it would only do so in states where abortion is legal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/walgreens-will-sell-the-abortion-pill-pharmacy-says-11672870977__________________________________________________________ 9. US bishops’ rifts unlikely to ease after Benedict’s death, By David Crary, Associated Press, January 4, 2023 Many of the conservative prelates who dominate the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops were appointed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. His recent death deprives them of a symbolic figurehead but is unlikely to weaken their collective power or end the culture wars that have divided the USCCB, according to Catholic academics and clergy. https://apnews.com/article/abortion-pope-francis-religion-united-states-government-7cfc992897b597427658c8c5551c7cea__________________________________________________________

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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