1. Pope Francis at Epiphany Mass: ‘If we do not worship God, we will worship idols’, By Catholic News Agency, January 6, 2020, 4:45 AM
As he celebrated Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord Wednesday, Pope Francis urged Catholics to devote more time to worshiping God.
Preaching in St. Peter’s Basilica Jan. 6, the pope said that worshiping the Lord was not easy and required spiritual maturity.
“Worshiping God is not something we do spontaneously. True, human beings have a need to worship, but we can risk missing the goal. Indeed, if we do not worship God, we will worship idols — there is no middle way, it is either God or idols,” he said.
2. Poland: Church cancels lease of liberal Catholic magazine, By Associated Press, January 5, 2020
A liberal Roman Catholic magazine in Poland that recently criticized some high-ranking church officials says local church authorities in Krakow have terminated the publication’s office lease after almost 76 years.
The Tygodnik Powszechny (General Weekly) said on Facebook and on its website that a letter from the Krakow Curia delivered Monday gave the magazine three months’ notice to move out. The curia owns the building at 12 Wislna St. that has housed the magazine since 1945.
3. Appeals court upholds hold on Arkansas abortion laws, By Andrew Demillo, Associated Press, January 5, 2020, 8:39 PM
A federal appeals court on Tuesday kept on hold an Arkansas law banning abortions 18 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy and another banning the procedure from being performed because the fetus has Down syndrome.
The 8th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s 2019 ruling temporarily blocking Arkansas from enforcing the measures.
4. Abortion advocates push for big changes in 2021 under Biden administration, By Catholic News Agency, January 5, 2020, 4:59 PM
Looking ahead at 2021, abortion advocates are hoping the incoming presidential administration will bring policy changes and new personnel who are sympathetic to their goals.
“Planned Parenthood is committed to partnering with the Biden-Harris administration to ensure sexual and reproductive health doesn’t take a backseat in health policy and when making appointments,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a December 31 essay in Elle.
“On day one, we want Biden to issue an executive order that demonstrates the administration’s commitment to advancing health care access and rolling back harmful policies like the Title X gag rule, which has blocked patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers,” said Johnson.
The Title X “gag rule” is a Trump administration policy which prohibits the distribution of Title X funds to facilities which refer for abortion services or who provide abortion services.

Johnson is hopeful that the Biden administration will repeal the Hyde Amendment “for good.” She called the Hyde Amendment, a 1977 law which prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for abortion services, “a discriminatory policy that blocks people who get their health insurance through Medicaid or other government-funded programs from accessing coverage for safe, legal abortion.”

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, had similar sentiment as Johnson. Speaking on a podcast, Hogue was concerned that the makeup of the Supreme Court could result in Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Biden, a Catholic, has previously pledged to codify the right to abortion into federal law.
5. Births of babies with Down syndrome in Europe fall sharply amid increased prenatal testing, By Catholic News Agency, January 5, 2020, 3:31 PM
The number of babies with Down syndrome who were born in Europe fell by half between 2011 and 2015— confirming the fears of pro-life campaigners in the UK, who have long argued that increased prenatal testing for Down syndrome has led many women to abort their children.
A study published during December 2020 in the European Journal of Human Genetics examined the years 2011-2015 to determine the number of babies born with Down syndrome across all countries in Europe, and compared those numbers to estimates of how many babies would have been born with Down syndrome had they not been aborted.
6. Chicago’s Fr. Pfleger removed over sex abuse allegation, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, January 5, 2020
A popular Chicago priest has stepped aside from ministry following allegations that he sexually abused a minor more than 40 years ago.
In a Jan. 5 letter to St. Sabina Parish and Academy, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich informed the historic parish on the city’s south side that senior pastor Fr. Michael Pfleger had agreed to step aside and cooperate while the allegation is investigated.
Pfleger, age 71, is a long-time social activist and has led the historically African American parish since 1981. He has become known throughout the country as a prominent crusader for racial justice, gun control and against drugs.

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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