1. Papal envoy heads to Ukraine to ‘listen carefully’ to possible peace plans, By Reuters, June 5, 2023, 4:39 AM Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi, tasked by Pope Francis to carry out a peace mission to try to help end the war in Ukraine, headed to Kyiv on Monday for a two-day trip to sound out government authorities. The Vatican announced his visit, which many observers see as an uphill effort, in a short statement. It said the main purpose was “to listen carefully to Ukrainian authorities on the possible ways to reach a just peace and support humanitarian gestures that may help ease tensions.”  https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/papal-peace-envoy-zuppi-visit-kyiv-june-5-6-vatican-statement-2023-06-05/__________________________________________________________ 2. On the threat of ‘lawfare,’ does Pope Francis practice what he preaches?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 4, 2023, Opinion Despite being the oldest reigning pontiff in the last 145 years, Pope Francis at 86 nevertheless remains remarkably au courant. Among other things, he sometimes borrows the latest cultural buzzword to drive home a point. One good example is the term “lawfare,” a neologism combining the words “law” and “warfare” to suggest weaponization of the judicial system for political ends. Francis first dropped the term in a 2019 speech to a Pan-American summit of judges held in the Vatican, warning against the rise of “lawfare,” and he used it again this past April in an interview with the Argentine TV outlet Canal 5 de Noticias. “Lawfare begins through the mass media, which denigrate [the target] and insinuate the suspicion of a crime. Then massive investigations are created, and to condemn someone the volume of these investigations is enough, even if the crime is never found,” the pope said. Francis was referring in particular to the cases of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and former President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil. Lula spent 19 months behind bars while Roussef was impeached, both on charges that critics, including the pontiff, regarded as politically motivated.  Yet Pope Francis is vulnerable to the charge of not practicing what he preaches when it comes to lawfare, because he has his own criminal justice system. It’s thus a perfectly reasonable question to ask whether he’s done everything he can to ensure that politics don’t taint its own judgments. In that light, it’s striking that when Pope Francis recently issued a new fundamental law for the Vatican City State, it pointedly reaffirmed that “the Supreme Pontiff, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, has the fullness of power of government, which includes legislative, executive and judicial power.” In other words, there’s no separation of powers whatsoever.  Of course, popes aren’t obligated to be completely consistent. Often enough, like leaders everywhere, they can almost seem tributes to Walt Whitman – they are large, and contain multitudes. Still, if Pope Francis aspires to resist the threat of lawfare around the world, it might help to make sure no one can accuse him of waging it in-house. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/06/on-the-threat-of-lawfare-does-pope-francis-practice-what-he-preaches__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope to visit Mongolia at end of summer in visit rich in geopolitical significance, By Associated Press, June 3, 2023, 6:58 PM Pope Francis is traveling to Mongolia at the end of the summer, a visit that will be a first for a pontiff and one rich in geopolitical significance given its proximity to Russia and China. The Vatican on Saturday confirmed the Aug. 31-Sept. 4 trip to the landlocked U.S-allied country sandwiched between Russia and China, two countries popes have never visited. The visit comes as Francis is trying to toe a diplomatic line in his relations with both countries: With Moscow, Francis is seeking an opening for a peace envoy to nudge Russia and Ukraine to negotiations to end the war. With China, the Vatican has seen its landmark 2018 accord over bishop nominations violated, with Beijing making unilateral decisions.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/03/pope-russia-china-mongolia/9598f43e-01fd-11ee-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope warns of risk of corruption in missionary fundraising after AP investigation, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 3, 2023, 9:37 AM Pope Francis warned the Vatican’s missionary fundraisers on Saturday not to allow financial corruption to creep into their work, insisting that spirituality and spreading the Gospel must drive their operations, not mere entrepreneurship. Francis made the comments in a speech to the national directors of the Vatican’s Pontifical Mission Societies, which raise money for the Catholic Church’s missionary work in the developing world, building churches and funding training programs for priests and nuns. Deviating from his prepared remarks, Francis appeared to refer to a recent Associated Press investigation into financial transfers at the U.S. branch of the Pontifical Mission Societies: The former head oversaw the transfer of at least $17 million from a quasi-endowment fund and donations into a nonprofit and private equity fund that he created and now heads. The initiatives provide low-interest loans to church-run agribusinesses in Africa.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/03/vatican-pope-fundraising-missionary/e101e062-01ed-11ee-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Cardinal performs rite to restore Vatican altar desecrated by man’s naked protest, By Associated Press, June 3, 2023, 1:30 PM The head of St. Peter’s Basilica performed a special rite Saturday after a man stripped naked and hopped on the main altar with the words “Save children of Ukraina” written on his back. Cardinal Mauro Gambetti performed the penitential rite following the desecration of the altar with other priests and members of the faithful.  It was the latest incident of disturbances at the Vatican in recent months. Last summer, climate activists glued their hands to a statue in the Vatican Museums to draw attention to climate change; they are now on trial for aggravated damage in the Vatican City State tribunal. Last month, a man in a car rushed the gates of Vatican City at night, speeding past gendarmes who fired on the vehicle. He made it into an internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace before being stopped. He was sent to a nearby hospital for psychiatric care. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/03/vatican-ukraine-altar-st-peter-desecration/ad7faa50-0231-11ee-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Spanish Catholic bishops find evidence of 728 sexual abusers, 927 victims since 1945, By CiarÁn Giles, Associated Press, June 2, 2023, 7:49 AM Spain’s Catholic bishops’ conference says it has found evidence of 728 sexual abusers within the church since 1945, through the testimony of 927 victims, in its first public report on the issue. The church said 83% of the victims and 99% of the abusers were male and that more than 60% of the offenders were dead. In a report presented Thursday, more than 50% of offenders were said to be priests. The rest were other church officials. The church said that most cases occurred in the last century, 75% of them before 1990.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/06/02/spain-catholic-church-abuse-priests-bishops/9a24790a-013b-11ee-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html?__________________________________________________________ 7. Virtual worshippers often satisfied, but plurality of Americans choose in-person services, By Adelle M. Banks, The Washington Post, June 2, 2023, 1:13 PM At the height of the pandemic, many Americans who usually attended in-person worship services turned to their computers and their couches instead for virtual viewing. Now, the Pew Research Center finds a third of Americans regularly attend in-person worship services while a bit more than a quarter regularly watch religious services on TV or online. Its new survey paints a detailed picture of which, why and how often Americans continue worshiping online or on TV: Half of those who are regular online watchers of religious services usually do so alone. More than half (61 percent) of those who virtually attend do not participate in worship activities as they did in person, such as singing, kneeling or praying out loud. But Black (49 percent) and Hispanic (47 percent) online worshipers are more likely to continue these practices virtually.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2023/06/02/virtual-worshippers-often-satisfied-more-americans-choose-in-person-services/__________________________________________________________ 8. America’s religious leaders sharply divided over abortion, a year after Roe v Wade’s reversal, By David Crary, Associated Press, June 2, 2023, 8:40 AM In the year since the Supreme Court struck down the nationwide right to abortion, America’s religious leaders and denominations have responded in strikingly diverse ways — some celebrating the state-level bans that have ensued, others angered that a conservative Christian cause has changed the law of the land in ways they consider oppressive. The divisions are epitomized in the country’s largest denomination — the Catholic Church. National polls repeatedly show that a majority of U.S. Catholics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases, yet the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports sweeping bans.  As a group, Catholic bishops are unwavering, as conveyed in a statement earlier this year from their conference’s president, Archbishop Timothy Broglio. “The Catholic bishops of the United States are united in our commitment to life and will continue to work as one body in Christ to make abortion unthinkable,” he said. A poll last year from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed a clear gap between the prevalent views of U.S. Catholics, and the anti-abortion positions of the bishops. According to the poll, 63% of Catholic adults said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 68% opposed Roe v. Wade’s reversal. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/06/02/abortion-bans-religion-catholics-evangelicals-women/64eff82a-013d-11ee-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. ‘Magisteria’ Review: A Contest Over Cosmic Authority, Religion and science are often framed as hostile, opposing forces. But in the history of human society, they are more like siblings., By Julian Baggini, The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2023, 11:23 AM, Book Review Religion has always been the enemy of science, suppressing its findings—by lethal methods when necessary. Only with the rise of secularism were brave, agnostic and atheist scientists able to loosen the theological stronghold on their discipline and pursue their fierce pursuit of truth unhindered. Even now the reactionary forces of faith continue to resist ideas that contradict their dogmas. This is the myth that Nicholas Spencer, a senior fellow at Theos, a London-based Christian think tank, sets out to bust in “Magisteria.” Anyone with the slightest interest in the subject may be surprised that any rational person believes this crude caricature and will see much of Mr. Spencer’s book-length demolition as a rigged contest between sledgehammer and nut.  The conflict between science and religion has been overstated, as Mr. Spencer shows: Some of the greatest scientific discoveries in history have come from people with religious convictions and took place within religious traditions that, if sometimes in a circumscribed way, encouraged intellectual inquiry. But Mr. Spencer exaggerates the extent of the exaggeration and as a result ends up overstating the degree of historical harmony. Readers who allow for this, however, will be rewarded with a fascinating tour through a history of a difficult relationship, the fate of which is still unclear. https://www.wsj.com/articles/magisteria-review-a-contest-over-cosmic-authority-61368222__________________________________________________________ 10. Report: Gänswein ordered to leave Vatican, return to home diocese without new role, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, June 2, 2023, 6:34 AM According to a German newspaper report, Pope Francis ordered Archbishop Georg Gänswein to leave the Vatican and return to Germany by the end of June.  The longtime private secretary of Pope Benedict XVI has been told to return to his home diocese of Freiburg in southwest Germany but has not been given any role or assignment, the Welt newspaper reported on Friday.  According to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language partner agency, the report claims Pope Francis informed the 66-year-old Gänswein of his decision during a private audience on May 19.  Gänswein had not responded to a request by CNA Deutsch by the time of publication, and the Vatican has not issued any communication on the matter.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254472/report-ganswein-ordered-to-leave-vatican-return-to-home-diocese-without-new-role__________________________________________________________

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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