1. Planned Parenthood reports increase in government funding.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, January 7, 2020, Pg. A6

A new report from Planned Parenthood shows an increase in government funding during its most recent fiscal cycle and a record number of abortions at its clinics, even as the national abortion rate declines.

But the annual report reveals that Planned Parenthood performed 345,672 abortions from October 2017 to October 2018 — more than in any previous year.

And financial records show the nonprofi t received more taxpayer dollars in the fiscal year ending last June than ever before ($617 million) through Medicaid and other health service program reimbursements and grants, constituting 37% of its overall revenue.

“The nation’s number one abortion vendor broke all previous records in taking money from taxpayers this year,” Kristi S. Hamrick, President for Students for Life of America, said in a written statement.

According to the Guttmacher Institute’s most recent census, published in September, 808 clinics in America performed 862,320 abortions in 2017, a 7% drop from 2014. Planned Parenthood performed about 40% of those abortions.


2. Monks at Saint Anselm clash with college board over power.

By Michael Casey, Associated Press, January 6, 2020, 6:59 PM

Monks at a Catholic college in New Hampshire faced off in court Monday against the school’s board of trustees in a dispute over an effort to limit the monks’ power — a move some worry could lead to increased secularization.

A judge heard motions in Hillsborough Superior Court related to a lawsuit filed against the Saint Anselm College board last year. The unusual clash was set in motion when the board moved to take away the monks’ ability to amend the school’s bylaws.

Michael Tierney, representing the monks, said the school’s charter dictated that they retain the power to amend laws governing the school. The school was set up and run by Benedictine monks for 130 years.


3. Egypt’s president says interfaith bond saved country.

By Maggie Hyde, Associated Press, January 6, 2020, 5:34 PM

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi appeared at Coptic Christmas Eve Mass on Monday and praised the links between the country’s Christian and Muslim faithful, saying they have prevented the country from descending into sectarian strife like its neighbors.

El-Sissi, who is a practicing Muslim, arrived at the cathedral in the middle of the Mass and was met by Coptic Pope Tawadros II on the doorstep before greeting churchgoers. Egyptian State television aired his appearance at the new cathedral, just finished last year, and showed people crowding around him to shake his hand, filming with mobile phones.

“God saw fit for us to live in difficult circumstances…. But as long as we’re together … no one can do anything to us,” he told the crowd.

El-Sissi has attended several previous Christmas Eve services held by the country’s Coptic Orthodox minority. Predominantly Muslim Egypt has an estimated 10 million Coptic Christians, who face restrictions in inter-religious marriages and church building, and who are banned from proselytizing to Muslims.


4. Texas bishop offers care for infant slated for removal from life support.

By Christopher White, Crux, January 6, 2020

As a battle rages over whether a Texas hospital can remove an 11-month old from life support, one Catholic bishop is offering assistance to the family.

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas has offered his help following a judge’s order on Thursday that the hospital, which believes the infant, Tinslee Lewis, is in pain and has no chance of improving, can remove life-sustaining treatment.

Olson offered to provide “compassion and appropriate care for her in a Catholic health care facility.”

“Healthcare decisions involving the vulnerable and severely ill are best made in the patient’s interests by family and healthcare providers and not by judges, by politicians, or lobbyists,” he said in a statement.

Olson also said his offer was made to provide support in finding “the best quality of life” for both the infant and her family.


5. Controversy continues regarding South Sudan archbishop appointment.

By Catholic News Agency, January 6, 2020, 2:25 PM

Bari ethnic leaders in South Sudan have distanced themselves from critics of the newly-appointed Archbishop of Juba. The archbishop has faced controversy since his December appointment for several reasons, including that he is not a member of the region’s predominant Bari tribe.

“Those indigenous clergy and faithful Bari who have rejected the appointment of the new Archbishop for Juba [do] not reflect the position of the entire Bari Community or their association i.e. the Bari Community Association,” Cornelio Bepo Lado Kenyi, chairman of the Juba-based association, explained in a Dec. 23 statement.

The statement adds that critics of the newly appointed Archbishop Stephen Ameyu “have not been mandated by either the community nor the association.”


6. Pope’s early 2020 likely to be dominated by documents rather than deeds.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, January 7, 2020

Normally when one looks ahead at a pope’s new year, it’s either things the pope is expected to do over the coming 12 months that loom largest – foreign trips, for instance, and bishops’ appointments – or things he’s likely to say, such as milestone speeches or sensational media interviews.

There will be all of that for Pope Francis in 2020, but at least for the early part of the year, it seems more likely the biggest papal bombshells will instead come in things the pope is expected to publish, especially two keenly awaited texts: Francis’s conclusions to last October’s Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, and the Vatican’s report on the case of former cardinal and former priest Theodore McCarrick.

Also on that list probably should be Praedicate Evangelium, Francis’s long-awaited overhaul of the Roman Curia, though it’s probably not destined to be the thunderclap the other two texts will represent. Many of its main conclusions have already been made public, including the pope’s plan to make evangelization and mission the engine driving the Vatican’s train.

In a statement at the end of the Amazon synod, the officers of REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, one of the driving forces behind the gathering, appealed for patience awaiting Francis’s conclusions from the monthlong affair, suggesting they could come in a document in March.

Undoubtedly, the most keenly anticipated nugget within that document will be whatever it says about the ordination of the viri probati, or tested married men, into the priesthood on some sort of limited regional basis. The synod endorsed the viri probati as a solution to chronic priest shortages, though the bishops did circumscribe the idea a bit by saying married men called into the priesthood should be deacons first.

The synod also called on Francis to reopen the consideration of women deacons, and to launch a study toward the creation of a specific “Amazon rite” of the Catholic Mass to honor the cultural and spiritual patrimony of the region’s indigenous persons. No matter what the pope says on those subjects – including, by the way, absolutely nothing – someone’s destined to be less than fully satisfied.

Speaking of unhappiness, that’s also likely to be the reaction to the Vatican’s McCarrick report whenever it does appear. While it likely will document any number of senior officials both in Rome and the U.S. who were aware of rumors and concerns about McCarrick over the years, it may well not produce any “smoking gun” that would prove an active cover-up and provide a basis for sanctions under Church law.

That said, the document is also likely to be by far the most comprehensive disclosure the Vatican has ever offered of its decisions and reactions in a specific case, and will revive debate about what accountability for the cover-up of abuse, not just the crime, ought to look like.

Finally, Francis also faces a ticking clock in 2020 on his financial reform, since the Vatican is slated for its next round of review by Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering agency and a key gatekeeper for global “white lists” of financial virtue. The agency may well express alarm over several recent developments, including a scandal involving a $220 million land deal in London and the departure of key personnel, especially the former head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority, Swiss lawyer and anti-money laundering expert René Brülhart.

In other words, 2020 promises to be a tumultuous, uneven, and divisive year for the Vatican – likely making it, therefore, not all that different from the previous six years of the Francis era.


7. Supreme Court of the Philippines rejects petition to legalize same-sex marriage.

By Catholic News Agency, January 6, 2020, 10:48 AM

The Supreme Court of the Philippines has reiterated its dismissal of a petition to redefine marriage in the country to include same-sex couples.

The court had initially dismissed the petition in September, on the grounds that the applicant lacked standing because he did not have a partner, nor was he seeking a same-sex marriage.

In a Jan. 6 order, the Philippine News Agency reported, the Supreme Court said the motion for reconsideration was “denied with finality,” adding, “No further pleadings or motions will be entertained.”


8. Euthanasia Pushed As ‘Boon’ to Organ Donation.

By Wesley J. Smith, National Review, January 6, 2020, 5:24 PM

In Belgium and the Netherlands, mentally ill and disabled people are killed in hospitals at their request, and then, their bodies are harvested — with the success of the procedures written up with all due respect in organ-transplant medical journals.

Our closest cultural cousins in Canada are enthusiastically following the same utilitarian path, not only allowing organ harvesting to be conjoined with euthanasia, but “medically assisted death” is being boosted increasingly as “a boon.” Note the celebratory lede in this Ottawa Citizen story:

“Ontarians who opt for medically assisted deaths (MAiD) are increasingly saving or improving other people’s lives by also including organ and tissue donation as part of their final wishes.”

Many of these killed organ donors will not have been imminently dying. They will also generally not have been provided suicide-prevention services as the suicidal ill and disabled who ask for euthanasia are increasingly abandoned to the “death with dignity” mindset in Canada.

It doesn’t even have to be the patient’s idea. Trillium Gift of Life Network, Ontario’s donation organization, actively solicits the organs of those soon to be killed by doctors!

The clear message being sent to suicidal ill and disabled Canadians — with the active support of the organ transplant community — is that their deaths can have greater value to Canada than their lives.  In other words, organ donation as an offshoot of euthanasia has indeed been defined “as a plum to society.”


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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