1. Vatican document highlights need for concrete steps for women, ‘radical inclusion’ of LGBTQ+, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 20, 2023, 8:44 AM An unprecedented global canvassing of Catholics has called for the church to take concrete steps to promote women to decision-making roles, for a “radical inclusion” of the LGBTQ+ community and for new accountability measures to check how bishops exercise authority. The Vatican on Tuesday released the synthesis of a two-year consultation process, publishing a working document that will form the basis of discussion for a big meeting of bishops and laypeople in October. The synod, as it is known, is a key priority of Pope Francis, reflecting his vision of a church that is more about the faithful rank-and-file than its priests.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/20/vatican-synod-women-lgbtq-pope-abuse/378f216a-0f68-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 2. Synod working doc aims to unite Catholics, but may alienate conservatives, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, June 20, 2023 Touting the process as an effort to lead global Catholicism “beyond fragmentation and polarization,” the Vatican published Tuesday the Instrumentum laboris, or “working document,” for a Synod of Bishops on Synodality convened by Pope Francis in October. However, the specific issues the document lists as matters to be addressed during the summit may actually fuel the church’s divisions by seeming to favor liberal concerns. Among the specific topics for discussion the document lists are the ordination of women as deacons and married men as priests, as well as greater outreach to LGBTQ+ Catholics and a focus on the poor, the environment and immigration. On the other hand, the nearly 27,000-word document does not suggest discussion of abortion, same-sex marriage or euthanasia, all typical priorities of more conservative Catholics – indeed, the words “abortion” and “euthanasia” never appear in the text, and “marriage” is mentioned only three times, in the context of remarried divorcees and how to handle inter-church and polygamous marriages.  https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2023/06/synod-working-doc-aims-to-unite-catholics-but-may-alienate-conservatives __________________________________________________________ 3. Convalescing Pope Francis holds talks with Cuba’s president at Vatican, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, June 20, 2023, 7:47 AM Pope Francis, in his first full week back at the Vatican following abdominal surgery, met on Tuesday with Cuba’s president, part of the Holy See’s attention to the communist-led Caribbean island nation. The Holy See’s brief statement of the private meeting with President Miguel Diaz-Canel gave no details of what the pontiff and the Cuban leader discussed. But it mentioned “the importance of the diplomatic relations between the Holy See, evoking among other things the historic visit of St. John Paul II in 1998,” during a subsequent meeting with the Vatican’s secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/20/vatican-cuba-pope-francis/9215f1a4-0f5e-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 4. U.S. Becomes Transgender-Care Outlier as More in Europe Urge CautionRepublicans seize on European doubts over medical interventions to call for restrictions, By Jathon Sapsford and Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2023, 12:01 AM The U.S. is becoming an outlier among many Western nations in the way its national medical institutions treat children suffering from distress over gender identity. For years, the American healthcare industry has staunchly defended medical interventions for transgender minors, including puberty blockers, which suppress the physical changes of adolescence as a treatment for those distressed over their gender. The European medical community, by contrast, is expressing doubts about that approach. Having allowed these treatments for years, five countries—the U.K., Sweden, Finland, Norway and France—now urge caution in their use for minors, stressing a lack of evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks. This month, the U.K.’s publicly funded National Health Service for England limited the use of puberty blockers to clinical trials, putting the drugs beyond the reach of most children.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-becomes-transgender-care-outlier-as-more-in-europe-urge-caution-6c70b5e0 __________________________________________________________ 5. My Church Was Part of the Slave Trade. This Has Not Shaken My Faith., By Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times, June 19, 2023, Pg. A18, Opinion For more than a century, Catholic priests in Maryland held Black people in bondage. They were among the largest slaveholders in the state, and they prayed for the souls of the people they held captive even as they enslaved and sold their bodies. So after the Civil War, the emancipated Black families that had been torn apart in sales organized by the clergymen were confronted with a choice: Should they remain in the church that had betrayed them? Over the past seven years, I’ve pieced together the harrowing origin story of the American Catholic Church, which relied on slave labor and slave sales to sustain itself and to help finance its expansion. I am a professor and a journalist who writes about slavery and its legacies. I am also a Black woman and a practicing Catholic. As I’ve considered the choices those families faced in 1864, I have found myself pondering my faith and my church and my own place in it.  So when people ask me whether my research has shaken my faith, I shake my head. I am inspired by the families who pressed the church to be true to its teachings. Their history is one of struggle and resistance, family and faith. Unearthing their stories has deepened my connection to Catholicism and transformed my understanding of my own church. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/17/opinion/catholic-church-slave-trade.html __________________________________________________________ 6. A high-profile French nun is inspiring hope for Catholic women. But can she really bring change?, By Nicole Winfield and Trisha Thomas, Associated Press, June 19, 2023, 4:02 AM In her years running Catholic youth programs in France, Sister Nathalie Becquart often invoked her own experience as a seasoned sailor in urging young people to weather the storms of their lives. “There’s nothing stronger than seeing the sunrise after a storm, the flat calm of the sea,” she says. That lesson is especially applicable to Becquart herself as she charts the global church through an unprecedented — and at times, tempestuous — period of reform as one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican. Pope Francis named the 54-year-old nun as the first female undersecretary in the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops office in 2021. Since then, she has been crisscrossing the globe as the public face of his hallmark call to listen to rank-and-file Catholics and empower them to have a greater say in the life of the church. That process, which comes to a head in October with a big assembly, reaches a crucial point Tuesday with the publication of the working document for the meeting. It is shaping up as a referendum on the role of women in the church of the third millennium.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/19/vatican-pope-synod-women/d7e93882-0e67-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 7. Kerry meets Pope, says he may attend UN climate summit, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, June 19, 2023 After meeting Pope Francis Monday, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry told journalists that he hoped the pontiff would attend a UN climate summit this fall and said care for the planet is a Christian responsibility. This marked the third meeting between Pope Francis and Kerry, the former United States Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and current Presidential Envoy for Climate under President Joe Biden. Kerry was also the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004.  https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2023/06/kerry-meets-pope-says-he-may-attend-un-climate-summit __________________________________________________________ 8. Pope Francis names Cardinal Ghirlanda to succeed Cardinal Burke as Order of Malta patron, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, June 19, 2023, 10:06 AM Pope Francis on Monday appointed Cardinal Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, to succeed Cardinal Raymond Burke as the patron of the Order of Malta. The Vatican announced June 19 that the 80-year-old Jesuit cardinal will take on the role as the “Cardinalis Patronus,” the papal representative to the sovereign order responsible for promoting the spiritual interests of the order and its 13,500 members. Ghirlanda has already played an active role in the Order of Malta’s reform. He was part of the team that drafted the order’s new constitution and spoke with the pope at length about the process, along with Cardinal Silvano Maria Tomasi, the most recent special delegate to the order. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta is both a lay religious order of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state subject to international law.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254603/pope-francis-names-cardinal-ghirlanda-to-succeed-cardinal-burke-as-patron-of-order-of-malta __________________________________________________________ 9. Black Catholics celebrate Juneteenth, reckon with church’s history of slaveryCardinal Wilton Gregory, the first African American cardinal, presided over a special Mass at Mt. Calvary Catholic Church in Forestville, Md., By Mary Claire Molloy, The Washington Post, June 18, 2023, 4:32 PM “Dearest brothers and sisters in Jesus, the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Cardinal Wilton Gregory said from the altar at Mount Calvary Catholic Church Sunday morning. “Surely that scriptural quotation must’ve captured the emotions of those formerly enslaved people in Texas as the words of the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War finally had reached them.” Sunday’s Mass in Forestville, celebrated by America’s first Black cardinal, is part of a nationwide commemoration of JuneteenthPresident Biden first designated the day as a federal holiday in 2021, a year after protests over George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis. Also called Jubilee Day and Black Independence Day, June 19 commemorates the end of slavery in Texas, heralded by the arrival in Galveston of Union troops who finally enforced the Emancipation Proclamation issued two and a half years prior that granted freedom to the state’s 250,000 enslaved people. A Juneteenth banner at Mount Calvary crosses out the words “July 4th” with a red X. “1865,” it reads. “Because my ancestors weren’t free in 1776.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2023/06/18/wilton-gregory-juneteenth-mass/__________________________________________________________ 10. Vatican prosecutor may be biggest beneficiary of Pope’s hospitalization, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 18, 2023, Opinion From a news point of view on the Vatican beat, a pope being in the hospital is a bit like a blazing sun on a hot summer day – it shines so brightly that it tends to be blinding, and you have to squint to bring anything else into focus. Thus it was that during the nine days Pope Francis was in Rome’s Gemelli Hospital June 7-16, several other Vatican storylines were, to varying degrees, overshadowed.  Others, however, arguably benefitted significantly from the lack of scrutiny, perhaps no one more so than Alessandro Diddi, a lay Italian attorney and the Promoter of Justice for the Vatican City State. To begin with, Diddi last week suffered a largely ignored setback in the Vatican’s slow-moving “trial of the century,” featuring charges of financial crime against 10 defendants, including, for the first time, a cardinal, Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu. The Vatican’s tribunal on Tuesday upheld a defense motion to exclude testimony from one of those defendants, lay Italian financier Gianluigi Torzi, which Diddi had wanted to employ against three of the other defendants. In essence, the court held that since Torzi never appeared at the trial and defense attorneys never had the chance to cross-examine him, his testimony could not be used.  It was on a different front, however, where the news blackout arguably paid off for Diddi even more. On June 6, the same day Francis made an unannounced visit to the Gemelli in what turned out to be preparation for his surgery the next day, Diddi appeared before a committee of the Italian Senate considering a bill to create a parliamentary investigation of the celebrated “Vatican Girl” case, referring to the 1983 disappearance of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, who was the daughter of a minor official of the Papal Household and whose family lived in an apartment inside the Vatican City State. Diddi announced in January that he was opening an investigation into the Orlandi case, and the civil prosecutor of the city of Rome has also launched an inquest. The lower house of the Italian parliament already has voted to create a third process, and that measure is currently before the senate. All these moves came in the wake of a highly-rated Netflix series on the Orlandi saga called “Vatican Girl,” and ahead of the forty-year anniversary of the disappearance on June 22. At that June 6 hearing, Diddi surprised observers by basically telling the Italian senate to keep its nose out of his business.  In a slow news cycle, it’s a good bet that a Vatican prosecutor essentially telling public authorities in Italy to buzz off, coupled with his boss saying Italy really had no right to hear from him in the first place, would have become a cause célèbre. Granted, Diddi’s willingness to break with Pietro Orlandi, who’s called repeatedly for the parliamentary investigation, undoubtedly is related to the hit Orlandi’s public standing took in April when he used an appearance on national television to impugn the memory of the late Pope John Paul II, suggesting John Paul was complicit in a pedophile ring inside the Vatican. Those suggestions triggered wide backlash, including from Pope Francis himself. Still, stirring antique Italian prejudices about the Vatican is never a winning PR move for anyone in the pope’s service. That’s especially true when it comes to the Italian equivalent of the Kennedy assassination, meaning the mother of all magnets for conspiracy theories. Just as polls show a majority of Americans still believe Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, Italian public opinion strongly supports the idea that the Vatican knows more about Orlandi’s disappearance than it’s said. Fueling impressions of stonewalling, therefore, is tantamount to playing with PR fire – unless, of course, no one’s paying attention because the pope is sick. Indeed, one can almost imagine Diddi dispatching a sympathy card to the Gemelli last week reading, “Get well, Holy Father … but not too soon.” https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/06/vatican-prosecutor-may-be-biggest-beneficiary-of-popes-hospitalization __________________________________________________________ 11. Supporter defends expelled Jesuit priest against ‘lynching’, says abuse claims unproven, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 17, 2023, 12:00 PM The head of a religious art and culture center founded by a disgraced Jesuit priest came to his defense Saturday after he was expelled from the Jesuit religious order following allegations of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuse against adult women. Maria Campatelli, director of the Rome-based Aletti Center, said the claims against the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik were “defamatory and unproven” and amounted to a form of mediatic “lynching” against the Slovene priest and his art center. The Jesuits announced this week that Rupnik had been expelled from the order June 9 because of “stubborn refusal to observe the vow of obedience.” The Jesuits acted after Rupnik had been accused by several women of sexual, spiritual and psychological abuses over a 30-year period. Until the case exploded publicly late last year, Rupnik had largely escaped punishment, apparently thanks in part to his exalted status in the church and at the Vatican, where even the role of Pope Francis in the case came into question given the two Jesuits were reportedly close.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/17/vatican-jesuit-rupnik-pope-mosaic-abuse/a7bd906a-0d20-11ee-8132-a84600f3bb9b_story.html __________________________________________________________ 12. U.S. bishops approve plan for guidance to health care institutions on transgender issues, By Lauretta Brown, Catholic News Agency, June 16, 2023, 4:05 PM The U.S. bishops voted Friday to move forward with a significant revision to their document offering guidance to Catholic health care institutions on the issue of transgender surgeries and hormone treatments, and their incompatibility with the Church’s teaching on sex and the dignity of the human person. The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine will begin the process of updating a portion of its Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) for Catholic health care services to reflect its March doctrinal note that emphasized that “Catholic health care services must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex or take part in the development of such procedures.” The ERDs aim to reaffirm ethical standards of behavior based on Church teaching and provide authoritative guidance on the moral issues involved. Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, chair of the Committee on Doctrine, noted that the professional-patient relationship portion, which they plan to update, had not been revised since 1994. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254597/us-bishops-approve-plan-for-guidance-to-catholic-healthcare-institutions-on-transgender-issues __________________________________________________________

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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