1. A year after fall of Roe, 25 million women live in states with abortion bans or tighter restrictions, By Geoff Mulvihill, Kimberlee Kruesi and Claire Savage, Associated Press, June 22, 2023, 12:02 AM One year ago Saturday, the U.S. Supreme Court rescinded a five-decade-old right to abortion, prompting a seismic shift in debates about politics, values, freedom and fairness. Twenty-five million women of childbearing age now live in states where the law makes abortions harder to get than they were before the ruling. Decisions about the law are largely in the hands of state lawmakers and courts. Most Republican-led states have restricted abortion. Fourteen ban abortion in most cases at any point in pregnancy. Twenty Democratic-leaning states have protected access to abortion.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/06/22/abortion-dobbs-anniversary-state-laws/9c5c48c6-10b1-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 2. Vatican says new leads are worth pursuing in the disappearance of employee’s daughter 40 years ago, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 22, 2023, 6:04 AM Exactly 40 years after the teenage daughter of a Vatican employee disappeared, the Vatican said Thursday that new leads “worthy of further investigation” had surfaced hopes of finally getting to the bottom of one of the Holy See’s enduring mysteries.  The Vatican’s criminal prosecutor, Alessandro Diddi, said Thursday he had recently forwarded to prosecutors in Rome all the relevant evidence he had gathered in the six months since he reopened the investigation into Orlandi’s disappearance. In a statement, he vowed to keep pursuing the case.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/22/vatican-disappearance-emanuela-orlandi/2665321c-10e4-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 3. Biden administration drops defense of mandate for gender-transition care, By John Lavenburg, Crux, June 22, 2023 A recent decision by the Biden administration to allow a deadline for appeal to pass in effect preserves a federal ruling that the government cannot mandate religious doctors and hospitals to provide gender-transition care against their religious beliefs. The Biden administration had until June 20 to appeal the federal ruling from December, which permanently protected religious doctors and hospitals from gender-transition care mandates the federal government added to the Affordable Care Act in 2016. It elected not to do so.  The case at hand is Sisters of Mercy vs. Becerra. The plaintiffs in the case were the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic religious order based in Alma, Michigan, some of whose members serve as licensed healthcare professionals, as well as a handful of other Catholic health care providers and organizations. The defendants, meanwhile, were HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, HHS itself, and other government personnel and departments. The Sisters of Mercy filed the lawsuit in 2016 against then HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.  This is the second time the Biden administration chose not to appeal a federal court ruling against the gender-transition care mandate. In the previous case, Franciscan Alliance v. Becerra, a federal court issued a similar ruling on August 26, 2022, that the mandate violated the plaintiffs’ religious freedoms. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/06/biden-administration-drops-defense-of-mandate-for-gender-transition-care __________________________________________________________ 4. Pope’s move has implications not just for Gänswein, but also Germany, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 22, 2023, Opinion A terse two-line statement from the Vatican on June 15, announcing that Pope Francis has decided to send Archbishop Georg Gänswein back to his home diocese without any indication of a new assignment, has been widely interpreted as a papal rebuff to the 66-year-old German prelate. In effect, it makes Gänswein the most famous unemployed Catholic bishop in the world. One Italian political journalist summed up the pope’s message this way on national television: “I may have a bum knee, but by God, I’m still in charge.” It’s a completely reasonable reading of events, since Gänswein made himself a lightning rod through a tell-all book after the death of his mentor, Pope Benedict XVI, as well as a series of media interviews, all of which highlighted various ways in which he’s been at odds with the Francis papacy.  It is indeed striking that Francis didn’t bother with the usual face-saving maneuver of finding some official role for Gänswein, however nominal. While critics of the pontiff may simply chalk that up to vindictiveness, others have wondered about the wisdom of it all, under the heading of keeping one’s friends close and enemies closer. Why wouldn’t Francis try to tether Gänswein a bit more tightly to his authority, by placing him in a role that would require at least some measure of discretion? In that light, it’s worth pondering the implications of sending the heir to Benedict XVI back to a country with arguably one of the most progressive internal Catholic cultures in the world, as reflected in its über-controversial “synodal way,” and without any encumbrance that would oblige him to pull his punches.  To begin with, Gänswein returns to Germany as the de facto keeper of the flame for the memory of Pope Benedict XVI, the first German pope in a millennium, at a time when the German church seems almost systematically committed to undoing his legacy.  Now for the $64,000 question: Is this what Pope Francis had in mind, or is just an ironic illustration of the old rule, “Be careful what you wish for, because you will surely get it”?  https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/06/popes-move-has-implications-not-just-for-ganswein-but-also-germany__________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis advances the sainthood cause of Fatima’s Sister Lucia, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, June 22, 2023, 4:30 AM Pope Francis has advanced the sainthood cause of Sister Lucia dos Santos, the eldest child to witness the Fatima apparitions. In a decree signed on June 22, the pope recognized Lucia’s heroic virtue and declared her “venerable.” The Church will now need to approve a miracle attributed to her intercession before she can be beatified. Pope Francis already canonized the two other Fatima visionaries, Jacinta and Francisco Marto, in 2017. The two shepherd children, who died at 10 and 11 respectively, are the youngest non-martyr saints in the Church’s history.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254634/breaking-pope-francis-advances-the-sainthood-cause-of-fatimas-sister-lucia__________________________________________________________ 6. Court exempts a Texas company from following anti-discrimination law protecting LGBTQ+ workers, By Kevin McGill, Associated Press, June 21, 2023, 7:36 PM A federal agency cannot force a Texas-based conservative Christian business to comply with policies barring discrimination against LGBTQ+ employees or job applicants, a federal appeals court has ruled. The decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity cannot deny Braidwood Management an exemption from anti-discrimination policies designed to protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act. Braidwood is entitled to the exemption under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, the ruling said. “Being forced to employ someone to represent the company who behaves in a manner directly violative of the company’s convictions is a substantial burden and inhibits the practice of Braidwood’s beliefs,” Judge Jerry Smith wrote for the panel of three 5th Circuit judges.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/06/21/lgbtq-discrimination-religious-freedom-lawsuit/2545ab3c-1071-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 7. Brazil’s Lula sees Pope Francis in ‘very friendly’ encounter on busy day in Rome, By Associated Press, June 21, 2023, 2:07 PM Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva threw his arms around Pope Francis and gave him a big hug as he arrived Wednesday for what the Vatican said was a “very friendly” reunion of two old friends. The Argentine pope seemed in particularly good spirits as he hosted Lula for around 45 minutes, just days after getting out of the hospital following abdominal surgery. Standing up, Francis presented Lula with a brass plaque of a flower entitled “Peace is a fragile flower.” Francis told the Brazilian leader: “We’re in a time of war; peace is very fragile.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/21/vatican-brazil-pope-lula-amazon/6f06ddc6-105e-11ee-8d22-5f65b2e2f6ad_story.html __________________________________________________________ 8. Frozen bank accounts are freezing the Church in Nicaragua. Here’s why, By Edgar Beltrán, The Pillar, June 21, 2023, 8:00 PM, Analysis  When 222 Nicaraguans were exiled to the United States this February, including 7 people associated with the Catholic Church, global analysts saw a dire future for the Church in the country. But within Nicaragua, some analysts had a different view — they saw the move as a sign that things might get better for the Church in Nicaragua, which in 2022 saw a bishop and 6 other priests arrested, Catholic radio stations closed and two religious communities expelled from the country. The thinking in some Nicaraguan circles was that President Daniel Ortega had buckled under international pressure and sanctions, and was releasing a swath of political prisoners from the country — which might lead the crackdown on the Church in the country to abate, at least in part. But the last five months have shown that analysts who expected a crackdown against the Church to decrease in Nicaragua were wrong. During Lent and Holy Week this year, the Nicaraguan government banned thousands of processions across the country. The government sentenced Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa to 26 years in prison, and in recent months has closed three Catholic universities. The financial crackdown that began last month has some activists saying that the Ortega regime has crossed a new line— that exiling a few dozen priests was not going to stop the Church from operating in Nicaragua, but the seizure of its assets will force the Church underground. Not being able to silence critical voices or end the legitimacy and popularity enjoyed by the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega may now intend to take the Church to the catacombs. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/former-vatican-auditor-suing-the__________________________________________________________

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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