1. Governors devise ways to expand access to abortion, Democrats share pro-choice wins, By Sean Salai, The Washington Times, July 26, 2023, Pg. A7 Twenty-one of the nation’s 24 Democratic governors met in a consortium Monday to devise ways to expand abortion access in their states and help women from red states terminate pregnancies. Led by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance held its inaugural meeting in Los Angeles, where the group said governors shared pro-choice victories they achieved over the past year to “build a firewall for reproductive freedom in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned last summer.” Those reproductive health victories included laws expanding contraceptive options and transgender access to gender-transition treatments in addition to legal, legislative, ballot and executive actions aimed at thwarting abortion restriction in red states.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jul/25/democratic-governors-meet-expand-abortion-access/__________________________________________________________2. The Vatican Can Clean Up Its Financial Act, As with the sex-abuse scandal, church leaders can ask lay Catholics for help., By Tim Busch, The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2023, 5:17 PM The Catholic Church faces a global financial crisis. From Vatican City to Washington, revelations of fiscal impropriety give the faithful reason to fear their generosity is being spent in illegitimate, illegal and immoral ways. Church leaders would be wise to adopt the same methods of transparency and accountability that helped them address clerical abuse. One man had long predicted the church’s next crisis would be financial: George Pell. The Australian cardinal, who died in January, had a deep understanding of the church’s fisc after serving as inaugural head of the Vatican’s secretariat for the economy, 2014-19. He sought stronger financial oversight of the many Vatican offices only to face years of baseless personal scrutiny and see his audits canceled.  The church’s response to the sexual-abuse crisis shows the way forward. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 adopted the Dallas Charter, which created diocesewide review boards composed primarily of lay Catholics. This increased accountability has contributed to a plummeting of sexual-abuse allegations, according to annual church reports.   The church needs a similar system for its finances. Lay Catholics deserve greater authority over policies and investigations—at the diocesan level and higher. The Vatican would benefit from a board of lay Catholics with financial and legal expertise empowered to investigate. The church might also require stronger financial education for priests—perhaps including a mandatory governance and financial-reporting program at the Catholic University of America’s business school. So much scandal exists in part because priests are trained to be shepherds, not financial watchdogs. Pope Francis seems ready to tackle this challenge.  He has also begun to rein in the financial authority of some Vatican offices, such as transferring the secretary of state’s vast financial holdings to the treasury. The Holy Father would accomplish even more by creating a comprehensive and collaborative approach, leaning on the expertise and insights of the Church faithful.  Mr. Busch is founder of the Napa Institute and chairman of the Board of Visitors of the Busch School of Business at the Catholic University of America. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-vatican-can-clean-up-its-financial-act-pope-francis-becciu-pell-literacy-870133b5__________________________________________________________ 3. Block on Iowa’s strict abortion law can be appealed, state Supreme Court says, By Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, July 25, 2023, 2:38 PMGov. Kim Reynolds can proceed with an appeal on a temporary block on the state’s new, restrictive abortion law, the Iowa Supreme Court said Tuesday. Reynolds announced her intentions to appeal last week and said it was “just a matter of time” before lawyers for the state filed the request, which they did Friday. The Iowa Supreme Court had to say whether the request could move forward.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/07/25/iowa-abortion-ban-lawsuit-appeal/3aea8984-2b16-11ee-a948-a5b8a9b62d84_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. VA grants religious exemptions from abortion services, Nurse practitioner sued in 2022, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, July 25, 2023, Pg. A6 The Department of Veterans Affairs will allow workers with religious objections to abortion services to opt out of such work, a public interest law firm disclosed Monday. First Liberty Institute said the VA will offer the exemption nationwide, seven months after Stephanie Carter, a nurse practitioner at Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas, sued over the issue. The lawsuit, filed in December in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, has been withdrawn following the exemption change, First Liberty said.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jul/24/va-does-about-face-grants-religious-exemptions-abo/__________________________________________________________ 5. He was an undocumented immigrant. He became ‘your excellency.’, By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post, July 24, 2023, 8:00 AM, OpinionThree times in the space of a year, the undocumented teen fleeing war-torn Central America tried and failed to make it over the southern border of the United States. On his first attempt, he was deported from Mexico. On the second, his guide turned back in Guatemala. On his third, he once again was apprehended in Mexico and landed in jail. Evelio Menjivar-Ayala’s next option, maybe his only one, was to risk a more desperate gambit. After two days in detention, Menjivar, his brother and two cousins paid a mordida — a bribe — to get released. Then, by arrangement with a trafficker, they stuffed themselves into the trunk of a car driven by an elderly American. When they felt the car stop and heard the man crank up the music on the radio, it would be their signal to remain still and silent. That is how they got past the teeming port of entry at San Ysidro, Calif., between Tijuana and San Diego. The four young men spent hours in that trunk before reaching Los Angeles, where Menjivar’s sister and a new life were waiting.  Today, that go-for-broke 19-year-old who was smuggled over the border in January 1990 is properly addressed as “your excellency.” He has attained a place in the most rarefied ranks of the Catholic Church. On Dec. 19, Pope Francis named Menjivar one of two new auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Washington, which is home to nearly 700,000 Catholics and encompasses the District and parts of Maryland.  Thought to be one of the first Central American-born bishop in the United States, Menjivar stands out among the church hierarchy. At 52, he is more than a decade younger than the increasingly geriatric average for U.S. Catholic bishops. And he still has the stocky build of a man who is no stranger to physical labor. However, it is he — not they — who represents what the church is becoming.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/07/24/bishop-menjivar-undocumented-el-salvador-catholic/__________________________________________________________ 6. A man, his wife, and her mantilla, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Angelus, July 24, 2023, Opinion Our two oldest children married recently, a son and a daughter. Their weddings were very different, one small and simple at the height of the pandemic, the other large and fashionable in what felt like a raucous celebration of the return of normalcy. Yet the sacred motion at the center of each occasion was the same: the lifting of a couple’s love-bond into a holy one. Each pretty tradition was accomplished — the handing over of a daughter to her groom by a wistful father, the white dress of purity on the bride, the mutual promises repeated, wide-eyed, by the couple. Every moment and gesture were pregnant with meaning — and why not? Here was a little ark sent off on its maiden voyage, carrying the whole future in its holds. My favorite of the wedding traditions we observed is that of the mantilla, one I have only seen in Cuban weddings, although I suspect it is one with Spanish roots that came to the New World via conquistadors and “misioneros.” A mantilla is a large shawl, made of elaborate lace-work, that was, in the past, the head cover of a properly turned-out Spanish woman. When attached with a tall, filigreed comb, it gives a haughty air to the head, as of a crown on a woman born to wear one. It goes naturally with a straight back, a stately bearing, and an aristocratic tilt of the chin. The covering of the mantilla is nothing like the covering of the Islamic “hijab,” which is meant to hide female charms from lustful eyes. Rather, the threads of the mantilla declare for modesty and decorum, but its open spaces declare for the goodness of the gift that is a woman’s beauty, a gift like a mountain landscape or the floating night-scent of jasmine. Inspiring poets and knights, happening magically in the most squalid places, launching ships, female loveliness reminds us that God is love and truth, yes, but also, and not least, beauty.  The mantilla is the shelter the bride offers her husband from the sun and biting wind, and from the restless roughness of the world. Under its folds is the whole genius of woman: her hospitality, her life-making, the way she smooths and gentles, orders and preserves. Where she is there are rituals and rhythms, coziness and comeliness; there is artistry in living, not just execution. In that haven there is rest for the weary, tireless attention for the helpless, steadiness of purpose, and a large calm. For her husband the woman creates an oasis in a parched desert. Or, in a less poetic vein, she sweetens a rough bachelor pad into a sanctuary with the deft placement of a throw pillow and an insistence on coasters. She argues for framed family photos and for the keeping of tools in the shed. She asks him to build a wall around the garden, which she grows, and tighten well the fittings of the crib, which she fills. She makes the man out of the boy, and the man can’t understand how he ever lived without her. These are the things I saw happening when the lace dropped over my son’s shoulder, and my son-in-law’s, and when I laid the mantilla carefully over the foreheads of their brides. These are the things that happen when a man takes a wife, and with her he gains a home. https://angelusnews.com/voices/grazie-christie-mantilla/__________________________________________________________ 7. What We Need Now Is Religious Courage, By Tim Busch, National Review, July 23, 2023, 6:30 AM, Opinion ‘We don’t want to convert the young people to Christ or to the Catholic Church or anything like that.” Who said these words? Not an atheist. Not a defender of the separation of church and state. Not even a member of another Christian tradition or a different religion altogether. This declaration came from an incoming cardinal of the Catholic Church, one of the most senior officials in a religion of 1.3 billion people. He said this in reference to the upcoming World Youth Day in August. World Youth Day is a massive global phenomenon, founded by Saint John Paul II to bring young people to Christ. Yet now we have a Catholic leader disavowing its evangelical mission. While he called on young Catholics to “bear witness to who” they are, he still refocused World Youth Day on respecting diversity, swapping spiritual growth for secular values. These words capture one of the most dispiriting trends of the 21st century — a trend that matters to people of all faiths, not just Catholics. Many religious believers are losing the courage to defend their beliefs. Yet modern society desperately needs vibrant faith communities that stand strong for timeless principles and deeper truths. The dignity of the human person. The freedom to practice one’s religion. The role of the state vis-à-vis the family and community. These basic principles are under siege in America and beyond. Religious conviction may very well be the best bulwark against the destructive, dehumanizing forces that surround us on all sides.  How religious believers confront such issues will determine the direction America takes. The country is becoming more secular. Institutions are getting more aggressive in their attempts to impose a new ethos on society. This coming week, the Catholic organization I lead is hosting a conference centered on the theme “What we need now.” As a Catholic, I believe we need a deeper love of Christ and service to neighbor. But as an American, I believe we need something else — namely, religious courage, from adherents of all faiths and traditions. If we don’t stand for what we believe, then our society will be swept away, taking us along with it. https://www.nationalreview.com/2023/07/what-we-need-now-is-religious-courage/__________________________________________________________

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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