1. Vatican defends hasty rollout of revolutionary laity reform, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 22, 2022, 11:19 AM Vatican officials on Monday defended the last-minute rollout of Pope Francis’ reform of the Holy See bureaucracy while also painting it as one of the most consequential moves of his pontificate since it recognizes that any believer, male or female, can head a Vatican office. The new apostolic constitution “Praedicate Evanglium,” or “Proclaiming the Gospel,” was released Saturday after nine years of work with no advance warning and only in Italian. It replaces the previous 1988 founding blueprint of the Holy See which, among other things, made clear that only ordained priests, bishops and cardinals can head Vatican offices because they alone enjoyed the “power of governance” in the Catholic Church.  Normally, the release of papal documents is announced in advance, with the text provided to accredited journalists ahead of time under embargo and in various languages. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni acknowledged the complaint but stressed the unique nature of an apostolic constitution and noted that it was released on a significant day for Francis, the Feast of St. Joseph and the ninth anniversary of Francis’ installation as pope. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-defends-hasty-rollout-of-revolutionary-laity-reform/2022/03/21/411f60dc-a92a-11ec-8a8e-9c6e9fc7a0de_story.html___________________________________________________________ 2. Bishops around the world will join Pope Francis in consecration of Ukraine, Russia, By Inés San Martín, Crux, March 22, 2022 Pope Francis on Friday will consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Catholic bishops from around the world have already announced they will answer his request for them to join him in the consecration. March 25 is the feast of the Annunciation, and a solemnity on the Church calendar. The celebration will take place in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Basilica at 5 p.m. local time. https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/03/bishops-around-the-world-will-join-pope-francis-in-consecration-of-ukraine-russia___________________________________________________________ 3. Ukrainian president says Pope called him, saying ‘military defends civilians’, By Inés San Martín, Crux, March 22, 2022 Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelenskyy said on Twitter that he had received a phone call from Pope Francis on Tuesday. “[I] told His Holiness about the difficult humanitarian situation and the blocking of rescue corridors by Russian troops,” the president twitted. “The mediating role of the Holy See in ending human suffering would be appreciated. Thanked for the prayers for Ukraine and peace.” Minutes later, as he addressed the Italian senate, he reportedly quoted Pope Francis’s “very important words,” claiming the Catholic leader said: “I understand that you want peace, I understand that you want to defend yourselves, I understand that the military defend civilians, and that civilians defend their own homeland.” Zelinzkyy said his response to the pontiff’s words were: “Our people have become the army, when they have seen the evil that the enemy brings with him, how much devastation he leaves behind him, and how much blood he wants to see spilled. “ https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2022/03/ukrainian-president-says-pope-called-him-saying-military-defends-civilians___________________________________________________________ 4. Papal meetings will address ‘legacy of suffering’ Indigenous face, Canadian bishops say, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, March 22, 2022 Canada’s bishops have voiced hope that when delegations of Canadian Indigenous meet with Pope Francis next week, the meetings will be an opportunity to reflect on the tragedies of the past and take steps toward further healing and reconciliation. Speaking to Crux, Johnathan Lesarge, a spokesman for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), expressed sorrow and remorse for the trauma experienced by Indigenous communities, and for the Church’s role in the suffering they endured through the residential school system. The bishops, Lesarge said, are “honored” that the pope has decided to meet with indigenous representatives during individual and group audiences at the Vatican, “where they have the opportunities to tell their stories and share their perspectives.” “We expect that these encounters will allow the Holy Father to meaningfully address both the ongoing trauma and legacy of suffering faced by Indigenous people to this day, as well as the role of the Catholic Church in the residential school system,” Lesarge said. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-americas/2022/03/papal-meetings-will-address-legacy-of-suffering-indigenous-face-canadian-bishops-say___________________________________________________________ 5. Texas’s strict new abortion law has eluded multiple court challenges. Abortion rights advocates think they have a new path to get it blocked, The new strategy is a response to attacks by antiabortion groups on organizations raising money to help low-income patients get access to abortions., By Caroline Kitchener, The Washington Post, March 21, 2022, 1:37 PM The initial attacks came in court and on social media, when a group of antiabortion lawyers accused two Texas abortion rights groups of funding abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the legal limit under Texas’s restrictive abortion ban. They filed official requests in court for more information on the abortions, then took to Twitter, warning that anyone who helped fund abortions through these two groups “could get sued.” “The Lilith Fund and the Texas Equal Access Fund have admitted to paying for abortions in violation of the Texas Heartbeat Act,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, an antiabortion legal group, referring to abortions the groups helped to facilitate over a two-day period in October when a judge temporarily blocked the ban. Now, abortion rights groups think those threats may have opened the door to something that has eluded them ever since the law took effect in September: a viable path for a legal challenge.  The Texas law has so far withstood multiple court challenges by employing a highly controversial legal strategy: empowering private citizens to sue anyone who helps facilitate an abortion after the legal limit. Abortion rights advocates have tried to sue a long list of people in federal court in hopes of overturning S.B. 8, including Texas law clerks, judges and medical board officials — but, in each case, courts found that they were going after the wrong people. After a month of fielding threats from these antiabortion groups on social media, the abortion funds argued in several lawsuits filed last week that the groups targeting them have identified themselves as the ones enforcing the law — and, therefore, the ones for abortion rights advocates to hold to account in federal court.  The Thomas More Society’s “invocation of, and intent to enforce, S.B. 8 poses imminent and existential threats to the fundamental and constitutional rights of Plaintiffs, their staff, their volunteers, and their donors,” the abortion funds wrote in their court filing on Wednesday. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/03/21/texas-abortion-sb8/___________________________________________________________ 6. W.Va. gov signs law barring abortion because of disability, By Leah Willingham, Associated Press, March 21, 2022, 3:27 PM West Virginia Republican Gov. Jim Justice has signed a new law barring parents from seeking abortion care because they believe their child will be born with a disability. Justice posted about his signature of the “Unborn Child with a Disability Protection and Education Act” on Twitter on Monday. He made the announcement about the new law in a tweet to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. He said the bill gives “deserved respect to our Down Syndrome community.” The law prohibits people from seeking abortions because their child will have a disability, except in the case of a medical emergency or in cases where a fetus is “nonmedically viable.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/wva-gov-signs-law-barring-abortion-because-of-disability/2022/03/21/fa895fc4-a94c-11ec-8a8e-9c6e9fc7a0de_story.html___________________________________________________________ 7. WHO guidelines on abortion imply conscience objections are ‘indefensible’, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, March 21, 2022, 6:00 PM The World Health Organization’s latest guidelines on abortion treat individuals and institutions that object to abortion as an obstacle, while ignoring the right to life. Among the WHO recommendations is the claim “that access to and continuity of comprehensive abortion care be protected against barriers created by conscientious objection.” “If it proves impossible to regulate conscientious objection in a way that respects, protects and fulfils abortion seekers’ rights, conscientious objection in abortion provision may become indefensible,” said the “Abortion Care Guideline” document released March 9. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250748/who-guidelines-on-abortion-imply-conscience-objections-are-indefensible___________________________________________________________

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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