1. Vatican cardinal urges Europeans to remember own migratory roots ahead of European elections, A top Vatican cardinal has urged European voters to remember their own migratory roots in showing sympathy to people forced to flee their homes, By Associated Press, June 3, 2024, 7:59 AM
 
A top Vatican cardinal urged European voters Monday to remember their own migratory roots and show sympathy to people forced to flee their homes, days ahead of an election for the European Parliament in which migration is a big issue.
 
Cardinal Michael Czerny, Pope Francis’ point person on migration was speaking at the launch of the pope’s annual message for migrants, the theme of which this year recalls God’s presence in every Christian’s faith journey, and God’s accompaniment of people on the move.
 
Asked if he had a message to European voters, Czerny recalled the theme of the pope’s message and said that a lot of talk about migration today is fueled by fear, ideology and propaganda about a “global crisis” that he says doesn’t exist.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/06/03/vatican-pope-migration-election-europe/b8902e6c-21a0-11ef-bc8d-a8ae61b84dde_story.html
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2. Former abortion clinic in Virginia now gives free care to women in crisis pregnancies, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, June 3, 2024, Pg. A10
 
Maria, a 34-year-old woman from Guatemala, had complications with her pregnancy and found the care she needed in an unlikely setting — an abortion clinic turned Catholic medical clinic.
 
The expectant mother, who had gestational diabetes, said the Catholic Charities Mother of Mercy free clinic in Manassas, Virginia, made her “feel like I’m well taken care of.”
 

 
Helping women in crisis pregnancies — and those who lack all of the resources that many take for granted — is the mission of the clinic housed in a former abortion clinic. Volunteer doctors and nurses support the operation, and no client pays for anything, according to the Diocese of Arlington.
 
The Diocese said the annual value of the clinic’s services — if patients were charged — is $2.1 million.
 
“I think we’ve easily seen over 1,000 women” since Mother of Mercy began providing prenatal care in January 2019, said Alexandra Luevano, a nurse who is program director for the clinics.
 

 
Mother of Mercy also helps dispel the belief that those who oppose abortion are merely “pro-birth” and don’t help mothers and children afterward, she said, including assistance with rent and utilities, or in finding a safe place to live in instances of spousal abuse.
 

 
Stephen Carattini, Catholic Charities president and CEO, said the clinics allow the church to help with more than prenatal care.
 
“We walk with mothers and children in some of the other ways through our ministries for people who might be in need of secure housing, people, diapers, food, housing and job training,” he said. “We have a variety of ministries that work with women and children and families throughout the spectrum of care, so I’m very happy and very grateful that we can be with women in times of unexpected or difficult pregnancies.”
 
https://highergroundtimes.com/higher-ground/2024/may/31/former-abortion-clinic-in-virginia-now-gives-free-/
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3. Billions in taxpayer dollars now go to religious schools via vouchers, The rapid expansion of state voucher programs follows court decisions that have eroded the separation between church and state., By Laura Meckler and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, June 3, 2024, 6:00 AM
 
Billions in taxpayer dollars are being used to pay tuition at religious schools throughout the country, as state voucher programs expand dramatically and the line separating public education and religion fades.
 
School vouchers can be used at almost any private school, but the vast majority of the money is being directed to religious schools, according to a Washington Post examination of the nation’s largest voucher programs.
 
Vouchers, government money that covers education costs for families outside the public schools, vary by state but offer up to $16,000 per student per year, and in many cases fully cover the cost of tuition at private schools. In some schools, a large share of the student body is benefiting from a voucher, meaning a significant portion of the school’s funding is coming directly from the government.
 
In just five states with expansive programs, more than 700,000 students benefited from vouchers this school year. (Those same states had a total of about 935,000 private school students in 2021, the most recent year for which data are available.) An additional 200,000 were subsidized in the rest of the country, according to tracking by EdChoice, a voucher advocacy group. That suggests a substantial share of about 4.7 million students attending private school nationwide are benefiting from vouchers — a number that is expected to grow.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2024/06/03/tax-dollars-religious-schools/
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4. How to reduce the number of abortions in Virginia, By Tim Anderson, The Washington Post, June 2, 2024, 1:21 PM
 
If you want to see the number of abortions decrease, as I do, our No. 1 goal should be to decrease abortion demand in Virginia.
 
Republicans have constantly looked to abortion bans as the best solution, most recently rallying around a 15-week ban on abortions in Virginia. Voters responded by putting Democrats back in power in the General Assembly. We must stop making these political mistakes.
 
Studies suggest that roughly 40 percent of all abortions are economically driven. Women who have no clear path on how to afford raising a child make these decisions. To substantially reduce abortions, we must rally behind positions that promote hope and economic purpose to women who choose life.
 
Last year, I promoted a workforce bill that I hoped would help single mothers in particular. The legislation would have made community college training free in high-demand fields such as nursing so long as recipients went on to work in that profession in Virginia for five years. Another proposal I offered would have provided tax credits to employers who voluntarily paid for their workers’ child care. Both proposals died in the House of Delegates.
 

 
When I say the Republican Party needs to evolve, I am not saying to abandon our core values, but to find other ways to accomplish goals. Let’s be pro-life by being pro-mother and pro-baby. After all, they are a package deal. Those of us who are pro-life should allow ourselves to think outside the box.
 
Proposals like mine would save more babies in Virginia from abortion than any 15-week ban ever could. And if we rallied around these sorts of affirmative solutions, the Virginia General Assembly would be solidly in Republican control today.
 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/06/02/abortion-virginia-pro-life-bans/
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5. On shock talk, what if Pope Francis knows exactly what he’s doing?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 2, 2024, Opinion
 
Barely had the original furor over Pope Francis’s use of a bit of anti-gay slang begun to subside when it emerged – at least according to never confirmed, but also never denied, media reports – that his May 20 commentary to the Italian bishops was actually even more off-color than initially believed.
 
Not only had the pope used a vulgar Italian term roughly meaning “faggotry,” but, according to those reports, he also used another pejorative Italian term in the same conversation, checche, referring to stereotypically effeminate homosexual men, to suggest that even “semi-oriented” gays should be weeded out of Catholic seminaries.
 
As if that weren’t enough, yet another bit of papal shock talk made the rounds a few days later, this one involving not gays but women.
 
Once again according to media reports, Pope Francis told a group of recently ordained priests in Rome on May 29 that gossip – he used the colloquial Italian term chiacchiericcio, roughly meaning “petty little chatter” – is a “women’s thing,” adding, apropos of men, that “we wear the trousers, we have to say things.”
 

 
Suppose, instead, that Francis actually is still fully alert and on top of his game, that his command of colloquial Italian is thorough and impressive, and that he isn’t so naïve as to believe that whatever he says in a room full of more than 230 bishops, or more than 100 priests ordained in the last ten years – some of whom, he knows full well in both cases, aren’t his biggest fans – wouldn’t leak out.
 
For the record, those suppositions are consistent with the repeated insistence from admirers of Francis over the last 11 years that he’s a savvy, world-wise figure, fully aware of what’s going on around him. In that light, it seems at least worth considering the possibility that his self-awareness and calculation didn’t simply disappear over the last fortnight.
 
If so, then why would Francis deliberately have used expressions he must have known would cause consternation? At least two possible explanations suggest themselves.
 
The first is the element of surprise, to wit, that a slightly mischievous part of Francis simply enjoys keeping people guessing. The moment he senses that people think they have him figured out, he’s often inclined to cut in a different direction.
 
This is a pope who doesn’t want anyone thinking they know his mind, and keeping people on their toes in terms of whatever he might say next serves that purpose.
 
Secondly, the content of Francis’s controversial recent utterances, on gays and women, were tailor-made to elicit irritation and criticism from what one might call the “liberal elite,” both inside and outside the Catholic Church. The same might be said, though without the shock value, of his recent “no” to women deacons.
 
Is there some reason Francis might actually want to provoke that constituency right now?
 
Well, consider that we’re now just three months away from the final act of Francis’s long-running Synod of Bishops on synodality, with the concluding summit set for October. All along there have been fears about what this process might produce, especially among more conservative and traditional Catholics, who don’t always take Francis at face value when he insists he has no intention of changing doctrine but merely pastoral practice.
 
Perhaps in the wake of the recent contretemps, such fears will recede a bit, reducing some of the turbulence surrounding the synod.
 
Longer term, at 87, and facing a concentric series of health challenges, Francis has to be considering the question of what might come after him. If he wants to clear a path for someone cut from the same cloth to succeed him, part of the electoral math may be reassuring centrist and right-leaning figures in the College of Cardinals that his agenda isn’t actually as radical as it’s been styled in some circles.
 
The sight of this pope being skewered by the liberal elite, even if only for a moment and only half-heartedly, might therefore serve his purposes in terms of trying to shape the landscape for the next conclave.
 
Are these considerations truly what Francis had in mind while channeling his inner Howard Stern?
 
I have no idea, in part because the pope himself has not addressed the situation. However, this reconstruction at least does Francis the courtesy of not assuming he’s going into decline, or that he’s suddenly turned into a naïf overnight.
 
Instead, it presumes a pope who knows exactly what he’s doing, even if it upends people’s expectations or offends their sensibilities – i.e., it assumes a pope very much like the one we’ve got.
 
https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2024/06/on-shock-talk-what-if-pope-francis-knows-exactly-what-hes-doing
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6. Lawsuit: Los Angeles Co. Fire Dept. ‘retaliated’ against Christian employee who refused to raise Pride flag, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, June 1, 2024, 10:00 AM
 
A Christian employee has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Fire Department in which he alleges he was subjected to “retaliation” and “religious discrimination” for refusing to raise a well-known Pride-theme flag while he was working.
 
A veteran county employee, Capt. Jeffrey Little alleges that the fire department violated his religious freedom when it ordered him to raise the so-called “Progress Pride” flag after he requested a religious exemption.
 
The lawsuit alleges that Little was suspended from his role in a department unit due to the dispute and subjected to an internal investigation. It also alleges that Little’s superiors breached his privacy by informing unauthorized persons about his request for a religious accommodation, which led to him receiving a death threat in the mail.
 
In his request for an accommodation, Little informed the department that he could not raise the flag because it would convey an “endorsement and or celebration of the messages on various sexual behaviors (among other topics) associated with the [flag],” the lawsuit states. His request lists various Bible verses regarding homosexuality and sexual ethics that are in opposition to the message conveyed by the flag.
 

 
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257872/lawsuit-la-fire-dept-retaliated-against-christian-employee-who-refused-to-raise-pride-flag
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7. Texas Supreme Court rejects challenge to state’s abortion law over medical exceptions, The Texas Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S. following a lawsuit by women who had serious pregnancy complications, By Jim Vertuno and Jamie Stengle, Associated Press, May 31, 2024, 5:50 PM
 
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday rejected a closely watched challenge to the state’s restrictive abortion ban, ruling against a group of women who had serious pregnancy complications and became the first in the U.S. to testify in court about being denied abortions since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
 
In a unanimous ruling, the all-Republican court upheld the Texas law that opponents say is too vague when it comes to when medically necessary exceptions are allowed. The same issue was at the center of a separate lawsuit brought last year by Kate Cox, a mother of two from Dallas, who sought court permission to obtain an abortion after her fetus developed a fatal condition during a pregnancy that resulted in multiple trips to an emergency room.
 
Abortion rights activists have struggled to stem the tide of restrictions that have taken effect in most Republican-led states since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2022 overturned Roe vs Wade, which for nearly 50 years had affirmed the constitutional right to an abortion.
 

 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2024/05/31/texas-abortion-ban-lawsuit-supreme-court-ruling/067c3d32-1f5d-11ef-becb-2cf8dbfd9eb9_story.html
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8. Another elderly pro-life activist sentenced to two years in prison, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, May 31, 2024, 6:40 PM
 
Paulette Harlow, an elderly woman with a debilitating medical condition was sentenced to 24 months in jail Friday after being convicted last November of participating in a pro-life blockade of a Washington, D.C. abortion clinic in 2020.
 
Harlow of Kingston, Massachusetts, 75, was convicted under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act and of a civil rights conspiracy, a statute that prohibits the violation of someone’s rights guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution and law.
 
The FACE Act prohibits “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
 
Harlow was sentenced by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly sitting in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the same judge who presided over and sentenced each of the other eight protesters who were found guilty in the case.
 

 
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257870/another-elderly-pro-life-activist-sentenced-to-two-years-in-prison-after-face-act-conviction
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9. U.S. bishops to Congress: Abortion funding is ‘antithesis of healthcare and justice’, By Kate Quiñones, Catholic News Agency, May 31, 2024, 2:20 PM
 
In a recent letter to Congress, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) decried federal abortion funding and the commodification of human beings through IVF, while encouraging pro-family policies and restorative reproductive medicine. 
 
Bishop Michael Burbidge, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Bishop of Arlington, highlighted in the May 16 letter that the USCCB “will oppose any bill that expands taxpayer funding of abortion.
 
“We take this stand because abortion funded by the government advances neither healthcare nor justice; it is the antithesis of healthcare and justice,” he stated in the letter to members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees.
 
As the abortion battle continues in the U.S. with states proposing various ballot measures to promote or limit abortion, Burbidge reiterated the USCCB’s support for the Hyde Amendment, which bans any federal funding of abortion. 
 

 
https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/257863/us-catholic-bishops-to-congress-abortion-funding-is-antithesis-of-healthcare-and-justice
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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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