1. I believe in fetal personhood. These laws aren’t the way to protect it., By Ramesh Ponnuru, The Washington Post, March 12, 2024, 6:30 AM, Opinion The Life at Conception Act, backed by 124 Republicans in the U.S. House, declares that every human being has a right to life, including “each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life.” It’s a highly controversial view, to state the obvious, but I think it is correct (and have argued as much at length). The political backlash to the bill ought to teach pro-life politicians that there is more to legislating than stating a principle. The legislation was languishing in obscurity until the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos stored at fertility clinics have the same protection as children under the state’s wrongful-death law. Republicans around the nation rushed to distance themselves from the decision, which called into question whether in vitro fertilization could continue in the state. That’s when Democrats noticed the federal bill and started to say it would outlaw IVF nationwide, as well as nearly all abortions. The strange truth is that the bill, as written, would not outlaw anything. It starts by declaring that all human beings, from their earliest moments, have a right to life — and then it stops. It does not answer any of the “what then” questions. Does the principle entail that abortions are always, sometimes or never permissible to save a mother’s life? The bill doesn’t say.  But even if an expansive pro-life legislative agenda were achievable, the right way to put it into law would be to be specific: to say under what circumstances abortion would be allowed or, to raise the specific subject of the Alabama case, what recourse should be open to people who allege that a fertility clinic’s negligence caused the death of their embryonic offspring. Personhood laws instead attempt a maneuver that social conservatives rightly opposed in the case of the Equal Rights Amendment: Get the law to endorse an abstract principle so that someone, probably the courts, can later draw out policy implications that voters and legislators would not have supported. People who would never have endorsed drafting women into the military — one of the leading anti-ERA scenarios in the 1970s — would wake up one day to find that they had signed on without realizing it. The invitation of personhood laws is the same: Put this into the legal code, and then we’ll all find out what it means together. Or find out what the executive and judicial branches can make it mean. We have gotten more and more used to this kind of legislative blank check. But it is not how lawmaking should happen, especially in a democracy and even more especially on intensely controversial issues. The Life at Conception Act, it is true, avoids this problem of making sweeping but undisclosed changes. But that’s because it only pretends to be meaningful, which is its own perversity. The Republicans who have attached themselves to it are taking a political risk — a big one, for the lawmakers in swing districts — for a bill that wouldn’t do anything. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/03/12/pro-life-case-fetal-personhood-laws/__________________________________________________________ 2. Red-State Abortion Bans Drive Women to New Mexico, Clinics have expanded and added services for women from Texas, By Jennifer Calfas, The Wall Street Journal, March 12, 2024, 8:00 AM Most of the cars parked outside a new abortion clinic here are from Texas.  Whole Woman’s Health of New Mexico is one of the closest places women from Texas can get an abortion since Texas banned the procedure in 2022. The Supreme Court that June overturned Roe v. Wade, removing the constitutional right to abortion and upending reproductive healthcare across the country.  The clinic, which opened nearly a year ago, is one outpost in what has become a reproductive healthcare perimeter around Southern states that have restricted abortion. During a recent week at the clinic, patients drove from Fort Worth and flew from Houston. One planned to start her 10-hour drive home just after her appointment to return in time for her son’s basketball game. “Everything we know about the world of abortion care has changed,” said Marva Sadler, Whole Woman’s Health’s senior director of clinical services. Nearly three-fourths of women who get abortions in New Mexico come from other states compared with about one-third in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. Clinics that closed in Texas and Mississippi reopened here, and older clinics added appointments and staff.   https://www.wsj.com/us-news/new-mexico-abortion-clinics-demand-1a888fa7__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican engages Hong Kong, Taiwan in interfaith dialogue, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, March 12, 2024 As the Vatican walks a fine diplomatic line in its ongoing engagement with China, it has recently sponsored conferences in Taiwan and Hong Kong to further interfaith dialogue with both Confucianism and Taoism. From March 7-8, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue partnered with the Department of Religious Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei to hold a conference titled, “Christians Fostering Dialogue with Confucians: Guidelines and Prospects.” A statement from the dicastery said the conference, held at Fu Jen University, is part of an ongoing initiative “aimed at formulating official guidelines for Catholics engaging in dialogue with followers of Confucianism,” an ancient Chinese belief system that emphasizes personal ethics and morality. Numerous experts in Confucianism from around the world have taken part in past online meetings to exchange insights and expertise, they said, saying the conference marked “a significant step forward.”  https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2024/03/vatican-engages-hong-kong-taiwan-in-interfaith-dialogue__________________________________________________________ 4. Vatican diplomats seek to defuse outrage over Pope Francis’ Ukraine ‘white flag’ comments, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 12, 2024, 9:00 AM The Vatican secretary of state is seeking to defuse outrage over Pope Francis’ latest diplomatic foray, insisting in media interviews that a primary condition for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine is an end to Russia’s aggression and that any peace must be a “just peace.” Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s chief diplomat, made the rounds with friendly Italian media the same day Kyiv summoned the Holy See ambassador to complain about Francis’ comments that Ukraine should have the “courage of the white flag” to negotiate an end to the war. Francis’ remarks to Swiss broadcaster RSI, recorded in early February but only aired on Saturday, elicited immediate criticism from Ukraine and its allies, even after the Vatican press office tried to redirect attention to Francis’ other remarks in the interview that “negotiation is never a surrender.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/03/12/vatican-pope-ukraine-white-flag/31d98972-e06e-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Italy abuse case highlights how scandal slowly beginning to come to light in pope’s backyard, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 11, 2024, 3:59 PM The clergy sexual abuse scandal is slowly gathering steam in Italy with increasing media coverage, criminal convictions and the launch Monday of an investigative podcast dedicated to a case that tangentially involved Pope Francis. A Sicilian court last week convicted a priest of sexual violence and attempted sexual violence against three minors and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison. It also held his diocese, Piazza Armerina in Sicily, liable for separate civil damages and legal fees, a significant ruling given the influence the Catholic Church wields in all aspects of Italian society, particularly in small-town Sicily. Piazza Armeria Bishop Rosario Gisana was recorded admitting to having covered up for the priest, the Rev. Giuseppe Rugolo. He was recorded saying he had covered up for another priest who did far worse and describing Rugolo’s actions as mere “stupidities” of a young man.  Italy’s Catholic Church, unique because of the presence of the Vatican in its midst, has managed to avoid a major public reckoning with its legacy of abuse and cover-up. The scandal here has remained relatively low-key, unlike in other countries where the hierarchy has had to respond to mounting public outrage, aggressive prosecutors and civil litigators and a plethora of support groups for victims and local media willing to tell their stories. It seems the latter at least is slowly beginning to change.  The church shelved the case internally on a technicality because Rugolo was a seminarian at the time the abuse began. The Vatican’s in-house laws at the time only called for canonical sanctions against priests who abuse children, not seminarians.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/03/11/italy-pope-vatican-abuse/e6c0be42-dfe1-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. The Vatican unveils its project for the Venice Biennale of Art: inside a women’s prison, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 11, 2024, 9:33 AM The Vatican on Monday unveiled its groundbreaking project for the upcoming Venice Biennale of Art: A multimedia installation located inside Venice’s women’s prison, created with the active participation of inmates and artists and open to the public under strict security conditions. Pope Francis himself is expected to visit the Holy See pavilion “With My Eyes” on April 28, marking the first time a pontiff has visited the Biennale, which this year is being organized for the first time by a Latin American curator and has as its theme “Foreigners Everywhere.” The Holy See has participated in the past few editions of the art and architecture Biennales. But at the unveiling Monday, officials stressed the absolute novelty of this year’s Vatican pavilion, given the unprecedented permission from Italian judicial authorities to allow Vatican curators to mount the exhibit in the Giudecca prison and involve the inmates in the works.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/03/11/vatican-venice-biennale-cattelan-pope/f8cb16f4-dfab-11ee-95aa-7384336086f3_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Mexico’s presidential candidates sign commitment for peace with church leaders concerned by violence, By MarÍa Teresa HernÁndez, Associated Press, March 11, 2024, 10:54 PM Mexico’s presidential candidates on Monday signed a commitment for peace with Catholic Church leaders that proposes strategies to reduce the violence in the country. During the meeting led by the Episcopal Conference of Mexico, presidential front-runner and ruling party candidate Claudia Sheinbaum said she would be open to dialogue but didn’t to accept several criticisms of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s security strategy made by the religious leaders. “I do not share the pessimistic evaluation of the current moment,” said Sheinbaum, who contended that not all Mexicans feel fear, distrust or uncertainty, as the church said in a document previously shared with all three candidates.Sheinbaum said homicides dropped during the presidency of López Obrador. But organized crime has long controlled swaths of Mexico through violence and corruption. It has diversified beyond drug trafficking in recent years, extorting businesses big and small for protection payments.  https://apnews.com/article/mexico-elections-candidates-church-peace-1ca35db67f8531d4bcd034fcea1a7fe2

__________________________________________________________ 8. U.S. religious freedom panel cuts Saudi visit short after chair ordered to remove yarmulke, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, March 11, 2024 A U.S. delegation cut short an official visit to Saudi Arabia last week after hosts demanded the Orthodox Jewish rabbi chairing the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom remove his religious head covering in public during the trip. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of Los Angeles is the current USCIRF chair and wears a yarmulke, or kippah, as part of his faith. According to a statement from the independent panel, Saudi “authorities required the USCIRF delegation to leave the Diriyah UNESCO World Heritage Site in Riyadh” when Rabbi Cooper “politely” refused the demand on Tuesday.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2024/mar/11/us-religious-freedom-panel-cuts-saudi-visit-short-/__________________________________________________________ 9. Coptic Orthodox Church Confirms Ecumenical Dialogue Suspended Due to Rome’s ‘Change of Position’ on Homosexuality, Coptic leaders said their church believes in human rights and freedoms but that these freedoms must not be used to ‘violate the laws of the Creator.’, By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, March 11, 2024 The Coptic Orthodox Church has confirmed that its decision last week to suspend dialogue with the Catholic Church was due to Rome’s “change of position” on homosexuality. In a video released on Friday, Coptic Orthodox spokesman Father Moussa Ibrahim said “the most notable” of nine decrees emanating from the church’s annual Holy Synod which took place last week in Wadi El-Natrun in Egypt was “to suspend theological dialogue with the Catholic Church after its change of position on the issue of homosexuality.” The video message followed the conclusion of the Holy Synod the day before and an accompanying statement in which Coptic Orthodox leaders had said they were suspending dialogue with Rome.  “After consulting with the sister churches of the Eastern Orthodox family,” they wrote, “it was decided to suspend the theological dialogue with the Catholic Church, reevaluate the results achieved by the dialogue from its beginning twenty years ago, and establish new standards and mechanisms for the dialogue to proceed in the future.” The leaders also reaffirmed their rejection of same-sex relations, stating their “firm position of rejecting all forms of homosexual relationships, because they violate the Holy Bible and the law by which God created man as male and female, and the Church considers any blessing of such relations, whatever its type, to be a blessing for sin, and this is unacceptable.”  https://www.ncregister.com/blog/coptic-orthodox-suspend-theological-dialogue-change-of-position__________________________________________________________ 10. Rupnik still listed as Vatican consultant as DDF trial continues, By The Pillar, March 11, 2024, 5:57 PM Fr. Marko Rupnik, the disgraced religious artist and alleged serial sexual abuser, remains listed as an official consultant at a major Vatican department, despite his ongoing canonical process and past expulsion from the Society of Jesus. According to the website of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the priest remains listed as an expert consultor to the Vatican department following his appointment to the post in 2022.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/rupnik-still-listed-as-vatican-consultant__________________________________________________________ 11. 10 Things Every Woman Struggling With Infertility Should Know, By The Catholic Association, March 11, 2024 In an article published by Our Sunday Visitor, Katie Yoder shares Leigh Fitzpatrick Snead’s words of encouragement and practical advice for women facing the infertility battle, in her article titled, “10 Things Every Woman Struggling with Infertility Should Know.” Yoder writes: Women who struggle or have struggled with infertility want other women in similar circumstances to know one thing: You are not alone. “I want women struggling with infertility to know that they are not alone and that their desire for a baby is a very good and beautiful one,” Mary Bruno, executive director of FAbM Base, a nonprofit dedicated to fertility awareness, and author of “Twelve Stripes Deep: How Infertility & Other Suffering Delivered My Greatest Joys,” told Our Sunday Visitor. “But most importantly,” she added, “our desire for God and His will, even when different from our own, is what will bring us the most peace and fulfillment.” “IVF is sold as a merciful, scientific advancement that gives couples their last chance to conceive a biological child, which I get the appeal of,” Bruno responded on Instagram. “I understand that desire because it’s for something very good. But that does not mean that any means to achieve my desire are good.” Here are 10 things women who have struggled with infertility want other women facing the same cross to know — and what they wish more Catholics, in general, understood about them. Read more of Katie Yoder’s article https://thecatholicassociation.org/10-things-every-woman-struggling-with-infertility-should-know/__________________________________________________________

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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