1. Argentina archbishop says he made mistakes in handling abuse allegations against priest, By Almudena Calatrava and Natacha Pisarenko, Associated Press, July 10, 2023, 3:48 AM Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, chosen by Pope Francis to head the Vatican office that ensures doctrinal orthodoxy, conceded Sunday he made mistakes in handling a 2019 case of a priest accused of sexual abuse of minors. The case has drawn allegations by critics that Fernández tried to protect the priest, a charge that he has denied. “Today I would certainly act very differently and certainly my performance was insufficient,” he told The Associated Press during an interview after celebrating Mass in La Plata, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Buenos Aires. Pope Francis appointed Fernández on July 1 to head the Holy See’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, which guarantees doctrinal orthodoxy and one of whose areas involves handling sexual abuse allegations brought against clergy. He was also named a cardinal Sunday along with about two dozen religious.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/09/vatican-pope-argentina-fernandez-abuse-case/ab0f18f2-1ebd-11ee-8994-4b2d0b694a34_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Legal Challenges Leave Some Abuse Victims in Limbo, By Isaac Yu, The Wall Street Journal, July 10, 2023, Pg. A3  Such laws, creating what are known as “lookback windows,” have passed in nearly two dozen states, allowing new suits based on allegations of decades-old abuse. But in Louisiana and some other states, lookback-window laws have run into legal challenges, including claims that they violate constitutional due-process protections, leaving lawsuits like Adams’s in limbo.   Courts in several states considering challenges to lookback laws have grappled with questions about when and whether lawmakers are allowed to change legal deadlines and procedures governing conduct that took place in the past—particularly if previous deadlines had already lapsed.  The Colorado Supreme Court in a ruling last month said its state’s retrospective legislation was unlawful because it created new legal jeopardy for conduct that had already taken place. The decision rejected a lawsuit from a woman who alleged she was sexually abused 20 years ago by a high-school girls’ basketball and softball coach. “We certainly understand the General Assembly’s desire to right the wrongs of past decades by permitting such victims to hold abusers and their enablers accountable,” the court said. “But the General Assembly may accomplish its ends only through constitutional means.” The Utah Supreme Court issued a similar ruling in 2020. In Louisiana, abuse victims and defendants alike had been awaiting a decision from the state’s highest court, but that court declined to settle the matter in a ruling issued in late June, citing procedural complications in a case involving a Catholic college in New Orleans. A closely watched case involving a YMCA counselor is also pending before the North Carolina Supreme Court.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/laws-giving-childhood-sex-abuse-victims-more-time-to-sue-face-uncertainty-64a371fc__________________________________________________________ 3. Hong Kong’s newly named Roman Catholic cardinal wants reconciliation and more hope for young people, By Kanis Leung, Associated Press, July 10, 2023, 4:28 AM Hong Kong’s newly named Roman Catholic cardinal said Monday that he hopes for reconciliation and wants the city to give young people more hope following the economic downturn and a campaign to crush a pro-democracy movement. On Sunday, Pope Francis announced he had chosen 21 new cardinals, including Hong Kong Bishop Stephen Sau-yan Chow, 64. Chow said it was somewhat unbelievable to learn that he was picked, and that he felt it is a new mission that God assigned to him through the pope.  In Hong Kong, Chow is widely seen as a moderate, or politically neutral, figure. But before the Beijing’s trip, Chow suggested the arrested protesters who committed relatively minor crimes in Hong Kong’s 2019 anti-government movement but have not been charged should be handled leniently. He wrote in an article that would help bring hopes and positive energy to those who feel hurt and making them wait for an indefinite time would not help the Hong Kong society recover.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/10/hong-kong-cardinal-stephen-chow/62d7be72-1ef9-11ee-8994-4b2d0b694a34_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Anthem of Pope Francis’s consistory: ‘I want it all, and I want it now’, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 10, 2023, Opinion  With the picks announced Sunday, which include 18 new cardinals under the age of 80 and thus eligible to take part in a conclave to choose a new pope, the number of cardinal-electors will swell to 137 – though that’s a bit of a technicality, since the next day Cardinal Patrick D’Rozario of Bangladesh will turn 80, thus making it 136 electors. (Of course, should Cardinal Angelo Becciu be acquitted in the Vatican’s “trial of the century” and his voting privileges restored by the pope, then we’d be back to 137.) Barring any surprises in the meantime, it would be Oct. 10, 2024, when Cardinal Baltazar Porras Cardozo of Caracas, Venezuela, turns 80, before the number of electors returns to the theoretical threshold of 120 set by Pope Paul VI in his 1975 document Romano Pontifici Eligendo. Perhaps not coincidentally, October 2024 is also when the second of Pope Francis’s Synods of Bishops on Synodality, which many observers see as the logical capstone of his papacy, is set to conclude. It’s not just the number of cardinals Francis is creating which lends itself to the impression that this is a pope in a hurry to get things done. The profiles of the new Princes of the Church named by Francis also seem intended to bolster his legacy, and that right soon.  The bottom line is that this is a pope who wants it all – and, even if he can’t have it all right now, he can at least make sure his people are positioned to have it when the time comes. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/07/anthem-of-pope-franciss-consistory-i-want-it-all-and-i-want-it-now__________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis names 21 new cardinals, including prelates based in Hong Kong and Jerusalem, By Frances D’emilio, Associated Press, July 9, 2023, 6:45 AM Pope Francis on Sunday announced he has chosen 21 new cardinals, including prelates from Jerusalem and Hong Kong — places where Catholics are a small minority — as he continues to leave his mark on the body of churchmen who will select his successor. The pope announced his picks during his customary weekly appearance to the public in St. Peter’s Square, saying the ceremony to formally install the churchmen as cardinals will be held on Sept. 30. Among those tapped are several prelates holding or about to assume major Vatican posts, including the archbishop from La Plata, Argentina, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, 59, whom the pope just named to lead the Holy See’s powerful office for ensuring doctrinal orthodoxy and overseeing processing of allegations of sexual abuse against clergy worldwide. https://apnews.com/article/vatican-pope-cardinals-d41b6b12c2d17512b6e2aaa95e1a7247__________________________________________________________ 6. Why We Shouldn’t Lose Faith in Organized Religion, By Tish Harrison Warren, The New York Times, July 9, 2023, Interview  Patel, an American Muslim and founder and president of Interfaith America, a Chicago-based nonprofit that aims to promote cooperation across religious differences, served on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships and has written five books, including his latest, “We Need to Build: Field Notes for Diverse Democracy.” I met Patel at an Interfaith America gathering last year and was struck by his buoyant enthusiasm for religious groups in America and his comfort with diversity and disagreement. I asked him to speak with me about religious identity, diversity and institutions in America. This interview has been edited and condensed. Tish Harrison Warren: What worries you about the state of religious discourse in America now and what encourages you? Eboo Patel: Here’s what worries me: Half the time when I’m giving a public presentation, the first question about religion is a negative question. What do you think about Islam and violence? What do you think about the Catholic Church and the pedophilia crisis? Why do so many people of faith hate gay people? Particularly in the areas of America where people have higher levels of education, those are their first questions. It is considered sophisticated and educated to know only the bad stuff about religion. Of course, that’s ironic because to only know the bad stuff is to not actually be educated. So that is discouraging. I’ll tell you what I find encouraging. Catholic sisters just keep on doing what Catholic sisters do, which is taking care of poor people. There are 10,000 migrants in Chicago that leadership recently welcomed into the city. But they had not adequately prepared for where those people would sleep. Well, guess who’s taking care of them? Largely, Catholic Charities and other faith-based organizations.  [Tish Harrison Warren:] One thing that you bring up in your writing is that religious identities are often not taken as seriously as other identity sources like race, sexual orientation or gender. You argue that diversity and inclusion conversations should include really diverse religious beliefs and identities. What do you think about the role of religious identity in America? [Eboo Patel:] Stephen Prothero wrote the book “Religious Literacy,” about the absence of religious literacy in American civic life. We know less about our country, less history, less about the world civilizations, less about our neighbors, if we don’t engage in positive, productive conversations about religion. Few people truly recognize the role that religious communities play in America’s civic infrastructure — hospitals, social service agencies, our colleges, our K-through-12 schools. Did you read Jessica Grose’s series on people leaving a religion? I wonder how many people who are reading that have alarm bells going off about the state of American civil society. If people stop going to church, who’s going to support the little Catholic school where half the students are under the poverty line? Fewer people in religious communities is a bad thing for American civil society. American religion has long been entrepreneurial, and American religion will likely adapt in ways that increase religious participation in the medium to long run. I don’t think we’re going to live in this cultural moment forever. But I fear that American society and social services will suffer in the short run.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/09/opinion/patel-eboo-organized-religion.html__________________________________________________________ 7. The Supreme Court’s Disorienting Elevation of Religion, By Kate Shaw, The New York Times, July 8, 2023, Opinion This term, the Supreme Court decided two cases involving religion: Groff v. DeJoy was a relatively low-profile case about religious accommodations at work; 303 Creative v. Elenis was a blockbuster case about the clash between religious exercise and principles of equal treatment. (The legal question was technically about speech, but religion was at the core of the dispute.) In both cases, plaintiffs asserted religiously grounded objections to complying with longstanding and well-settled laws or rules that would otherwise apply to them. And in both, the court handed the plaintiff a resounding victory. These cases are the latest examples of a striking long-term trend: Especially since Amy Coney Barrett became a justice in 2020, the court has taken a sledgehammer to a set of practices and compromises that have been carefully forged over decades to balance religious freedom with other important — and sometimes countervailing — principles.  In just the past three years, the court has sided with a religious foster-care agency that refused to certify same-sex couples as foster parents; a religious group that wished to fly a Christian flag over Boston’s City Hall; religious schools in Maine that sought public subsidies; a public school football coach who insisted on praying at midfield after games, on some accounts causing students to feel pressure to participate; and religious organizations that challenged early Covid restrictions on gathering in large groups. The legal questions and reasoning differed, but since Justice Barrett replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court has sided with religious plaintiffs in every major religion case except a few exceptions on the shadow docket, representing an essentially unbroken streak of wins for Christian plaintiffs.  In health care, there has already been significant litigation asserting religiously grounded objections to providing certain kinds of health care; overruling Smith, together with other developments in the court’s religion jurisprudence, could mean that physicians, hospitals and employers gain a powerful new argument for refusing to provide certain services or coverage to patients or employees. There’s no question that religious liberty is an important American value, and one our Constitution and our traditions protect. But it is not the only such value. The court’s elevation of religious exercise above all other principles poses a genuine threat to the ability of our businesses and institutions to make arrangements that account for the competing demands of America’s diverse population. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/08/opinion/supreme-court-religion.html__________________________________________________________ 8. US priest who runs outreach for LGBTQ+ Catholics tapped by pope to join major Vatican gathering, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, July 7, 2023, 2:35 PM An American Jesuit who runs outreach ministry for LGBTQ+ Catholics was tapped by Pope Francis on Friday to be among participants at a major Vatican gathering of bishops and laypeople later this year. The Vatican unveiled the names of bishops, priests, nuns and laypersons who will take part in the weeks-long meeting that the pope has called for in October. Among those chosen is the Rev. James Martin, who has long been a prominent advocate of greater inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the Catholic church. Official Catholic teaching considers any sexual act outside of marriage between a man and a woman sinful.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/07/vatican-lgbtq-synod-pope/42176b98-1cc8-11ee-be41-a036f4b098ec_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. Iowa Republicans will pursue a 6-week abortion ban during a special session that starts Tuesday, By Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, July 7, 2023, 5:04 PM Iowa’s Republican-controlled Legislature will aim to enact a ban on abortion after roughly six weeks of pregnancy during a rare special session that starts Tuesday, a draft of the bill released Friday shows. The proposed measure is similar to a 2018 law that a deadlocked state Supreme Court declined to reinstate last month, prompting Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds to call for the extraordinary session. Abortion is currently legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/07/iowa-abortion-ban-special-session/12645e0c-1d08-11ee-be41-a036f4b098ec_story.html__________________________________________________________ 10. Congressman renews request to visit bishop imprisoned by Nicaraguan dictatorship, By David Ramos, Catholic News Agency, July 7, 2023, 12:27 PM U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, renewed his request to visit a Catholic bishop imprisoned by the Daniel Ortega dictatorship in Nicaragua and demanded “the end of the persecution of the Catholic Church” in that country. In a July 6 statement, Smith said he remains “very concerned about the safety and well-being of Bishop Rolando José Álvarez amid inconsistent reports of his status in Nicaragua” and renewed his request to visit him there. The congressman, who chairs the House Global Human Rights subcommittee, sent a letter to Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega last month requesting a meeting with Álvarez. Álvarez, who has been persecuted by the dictatorship of Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, for years because of his defense of human rights, was finally prosecuted and sentenced Feb. 10 for “treason against the homeland.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254754/us-congressman-chris-smith-renews-request-to-visit-bishop-imprisoned-by-nicaraguan-dictatorship__________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.