1. The pope’s Ukraine peace envoy heads to Washington with the plight of children top of his agenda, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 17, 2023, 7:22 AMPope Francis’ peace envoy was traveling to Washington on Monday as part of the Holy See’s peace initiatives for Ukraine, hoping to support humanitarian operations especially concerning children, the Vatican said Monday. Cardinal Matteo Zuppi’s visit, which lasts through Wednesday, follows his recent mission to Moscow and an earlier stop in Kyiv, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zuppi is a veteran of the Catholic Church’s peace initiatives and has been tasked by Francis to try to find “paths of peace” between the warring sides.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/17/russia-ukraine-war-peace-pope-vatican/4904dc6e-2494-11ee-9201-826e5bb78fa1_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. The evil at the center of the media’s reaction to ‘The Sound of Freedom’, By Billy Hallowell, The Washington Times, July 17, 2023, Pg. A6, OpinionThere’s plenty to be disturbed about when it comes to some media outlets’ dismissive — and damaging — reactions to the sleeper summer film hit “The Sound of Freedom.” But beyond warranted complaints over the unfairness and typical progressive media mumbo-jumbo, there’s a tragic component of the overt attempts to malign the movie as “QAnon-adjacent” — and it could very literally squander a rare opportunity and cost lives. Anyone who has covered the issue of human trafficking knows the difficulties that come with telling such heart-wrenching stories. Modern day slavery is raging around the globe, yet the painful patterns and plights are so horrific, many have a guttural instinct to simply look away. There have been a plethora of movies and projects aimed at exposing the topic, yet none has resonated so pertinently as “The Sound of Freedom,” a film that shocked Hollywood when it became the No. 1 movie in America on July 4, surpassing beloved legacy film “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” Actor Jim Caviezel portrays former federal agent Tim Ballard, a man who saves a boy from child traffickers and goes on a harrowing and dangerous mission to find the child’s sister. It’s a film that “exposes the darkness of child trafficking,” according to distributor Angel Studies. And that darkness is tragically very real. The State Department has extensively detailed the horrors of modern-day slavery, noting adults and children alike are forced into labor and sex work, with unimaginable suffering for those trapped in the bowels of demoniacal terror.  People should be shedding light on this issue, educating the masses and sparking change. Instead, it’s just another day in the progressive media abyss. Billy Hallowell is a digital TV host and interviewer for Faithwire and CBN News and the co-host of CBN’s “Quick Start Podcast.” Hallowell is the author of four books. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jul/12/sound-freedom-sheds-critical-light-child-trafficki/__________________________________________________________ 3. A Vatican without sovereignty? Consider the Russian Orthodox, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 16, 2023, Opinion  One can understand the logic for the argument that Vatican sovereignty is an historical anachronism, a vestigial leftover from the era of the Papal States in which the pontiff ruled as a secular monarch over a swath of central Italy. Today, critics object that the pretense to sovereignty also is used by the Vatican to insulate itself from accountability before civil law. Efforts to sue the Vatican in American courts over the clerical sexual abuse crisis, for instance, so far have all been dismissed on the grounds of sovereign immunity, before ever adjudicating the merits of the claims. Yet, almost by accident, we’ve recently had a poignant reminder of why popes over the centuries have scratched and clawed to defend Vatican sovereignty, in the form of a June 29 encounter between Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, Pope Francis’s special envoy for peace in Ukraine, and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.  From the very beginning, Russian Orthodoxy has always seen itself as the spiritual support system of Russia’s ruling class, especially in the era of the Tsars. In effect, the Russian Orthodox Church long has been seen as the ecclesiastical arm of the Kremlin, defending Russian interests in the religious sphere just as other entities of the state defend its economic, strategic and security interests.  To sum up: Granted, the Vatican’s sovereignty may be a reminder of its checkered past of power and privilege, and even today may act as a force field shielding it from absorbing the full consequences of its failures. On the other hand, if you want an illustration of what Catholicism might look like without that guarantee of sovereignty, look no further than the Russian Orthodox – heirs to a great Christian tradition, certainly, but whose church is often seen, and not entirely without reason, as an extension of politics by other means. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/07/a-vatican-without-sovereignty-consider-the-russian-orthodox__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope recognizes China’s unilateral appointment of Shanghai bishop, three months after the fact, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 15, 2023, 12:35 PM, Opinion Pope Francis gave in Saturday to China’s unilateral appointment of a new bishop in Shanghai, formally recognizing Beijing’s installation of Bishop Shen Bin three months after the fact. In its daily noon bulletin, the Vatican said Francis had appointed Shen as bishop of Shanghai, transferring him from Haimen. The announcement came after the Holy See conceded in April that it had learned of Shen’s appointment to lead the Catholic Church in Shanghai from media accounts. The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said Francis decided to accept China’s unilateral appointment for the “greater good” of the faithful in Shanghai. But Parolin made clear China’s move had violated the “spirit of collaboration” outlined in a 2018 accord between the Holy See and Beijing on bishop appointments.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/07/15/vatican-china-bishop-pope-shanghai/710fa4c4-2308-11ee-8994-4b2d0b694a34_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Iowa law banning most abortions after about 6 weeks takes effect as judge weighs whether to block it, By Hannah Fingerhut and Summer Ballentine, Associated Press, July 14, 2023, 1:13 AM An Iowa ban on most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy was signed into law Friday, forcing clinics to scramble to arrange out-of-state care for many women whose access immediately ended as a judge considered whether to temporarily put a hold on the law. A court hearing took place Friday, but the judge said his ruling on whether to halt the new law as the courts assess its constitutionality will likely not come until Monday at the earliest. Barely a mile away, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the measure into law in front of 2,000 conservative Christians.  https://apnews.com/article/iowa-abortion-ban-signing-lawsuit-a93ee0bfd11e5ff40d3c8d815f846c5c__________________________________________________________ 6. Appeals court rules Catholic school allowed to hold employees to moral religious standards, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2023, 2:50 PM A federal appeals court ruled that a Catholic school in Indiana is allowed to hold its leaders to moral religious standards after the institution refused to renew an employee’s contract because she violated Catholic teaching. Roncalli High School, which is under the authority of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, refused to renew the contract of a guidance counselor named Michelle Fitzgerald because she entered into a homosexual civil marriage with another woman. The school argued that this violated both Catholic teaching and Fitzgerald’s contract with the school, which requires her and other employees to uphold the Catholic faith in word and in deed. Although the court’s decision stated that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “prohibits this kind of sex discrimination,” it found that Fitzgerald’s role as a guidance counselor at a Catholic school fell under the “ministerial exception.” This exception allows religious institutions, such as Catholic schools, to hold employees to religious moral standards if those employees are serving in a religious role or performing religious duties.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254808/appeals-court-rules-catholic-school-allowed-to-hold-employees-to-moral-religious-standards__________________________________________________________ 7. Cupich on German processes, same-sex blessings, role of women, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2023, 10:35 PM Cardinal Blase Cupich recently expressed confidence in the intentions behind the German Synodal Way while warning of divisions and praising the pontificate of Pope Francis as “historic” in a carefully-worded interview with German diocesan media.  Described by Cologne’s Domradio on June 27 “as a leading voice of the progressive Church in the U.S.A.,” the archbishop of Chicago also spoke about the blessing of same-sex unions as well as the pontificate of Pope Francis. Asked about the controversial German Synodal Way, the 73-year-old cardinal acknowledged that he had no direct firsthand insight into the process but expressed his trust in the German bishops.  “I know that they have only the best intentions. They are good shepherds who do their best to listen to the voice of the faithful, to see their wishes and hopes,” he told Domradio. At the same time, Cupich warned: If the German process is “indeed a kind of parliamentary process in which democratic votes are paramount, in which votes are counted and arguments are pitted against each other, then it would indeed be difficult to defend it from a Catholic perspective.“  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254803/cupich-on-german-processes-same-sex-blessings-role-of-women__________________________________________________________ 8. Bishop Barron, U.S. bishops condemn FDA’s approval of first OTC birth control pill, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2023, 9:55 AM Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, unequivocally condemned the FDA’s approval of the first over-the-counter oral contraceptive “Opill” in a short but strongly worded statement released Thursday on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The use of artificial contraceptives of any kind is directly contradictory to Catholic moral teaching and is “intrinsically evil,” according to paragraph 2370 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. As head of the U.S. bishops’ Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth Committee, Barron decried the FDA’s latest action as a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, a vow health providers take to “do no harm.” “Allowing this hormonal contraception to be dispensed ‘over the counter’ — without the supervision of a doctor and contrary to the mounting evidence of many harmful side effects — violates the Hippocratic Oath by putting the health of women at grave risk,” Barron said.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254801/bishop-barron-us-bishops-condemn-fda-s-approval-of-first-otc-birth-control-pill__________________________________________________________

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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