1. Biden’s proposed changes would strip pro-life doctors, nurses of federal conscience protections, By The Washington Times, March 6, 2023, Pg. B2, Editorial In a lengthy, deeply partisan — and, in typical Biden fashion, meandering — speech on health care policy on Feb. 28 in Virginia Beach, the president began innocently enough, effusively praising the unstinting devotion to duty of health care professionals.  But even as the president was praising the health care professionals to their faces, his administration was preparing to stick a radical regulatory shiv in their backs. “The Biden Administration is leaving no stone unturned to further its pro-abortion agenda,” the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee warned in a March 2 email blast. “In the process, the Administration is renewing its attack on freedom of conscience.”  If, as expected, the president goes ahead with these gratuitous rule changes aimed at stripping pro-life health care professionals and institutions of their conscience protections, the administration will surely — and deservedly — find itself hauled into court. Ultimately, however, those protections need to be codified into federal law through legislation like SB 401, the Conscience Protection Act of 2021.  Introduced just over two years ago by Sen. James Lankford, Oklahoma Republican, the bill has languished ever since in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Conscience Protection Act needs to be resuscitated and enacted, stat. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/5/editorial-bidens-proposed-changes-would-strip-pro-/__________________________________________________________ 2. Miami faith community strains to help new exiles, migrants, By Giovanna Dell’Orto, Associated Press, March 5, 2023, 9:05 AM A few days after selling all she had to flee Cuba with her three children on a crowded boat, Daneilis Tamayo raised her hand in praise and sang the rousing opening hymn at Sunday worship in this Miami suburb. “The only thing that gave me strength is the Lord. I’m not going to lose my faith, whatever I might go through,” she said. The family has been sleeping in Iglesia Rescate’s improvised shelter since the promises of help made by her contact in the United States turned out to be “all lies.” In the past 18 months, an estimated 250,000 migrants and asylum-seekers like Tamayo have arrived in the Miami area after being granted only precarious legal status that often doesn’t include permission to work, which is essential to building new lives in the U.S. This influx is maxing out the migrant social safety net in Miami’s faith communities, long accustomed to integrating those escaping political persecution, a lack of freedoms and a dearth of basic necessities. Cubans were the first to arrive during the island’s communist revolution 60 years ago, and they’re still fleeing here alongside Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans.  “It’s completely irrational that they’re not giving out work permits,” said Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, whose Catholic archdiocese has long helped welcome migrants. “Because of that, the government can make a situation that’s not too bad yet, become worse.”  St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church put together a migration forum with Catholic Legal Services in mid-February about a new humanitarian parole program that allows 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans into the U.S. each month if they have a sponsor who assumes financial responsibility for them for two years. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/migration-asylum-miami-catholic-church/2023/03/05/ca318822-bb5e-11ed-9350-7c5fccd598ad_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Catholic leaders turn to YouTube and podcasts to reach new followers. Will it work?, Bishop Robert Barron, a YouTuber, and the Rev. Mike Schmitz, a podcaster, have built substantial followings online. Their goal: to get people to attend church., By Stefano Montali, The Washington Post, March 3, 2023, 8:00 AM In August, the actor Shia LaBeouf, who was born to a Jewish mother and a Christian father, announced that he had embraced Catholicism after learning more about it for a movie role. His comments launched headlines across the internet. But, in some Catholic circles, it was just as noteworthy where he had shared the news: in an interview with Bishop Robert Barron on the cleric’s YouTube show “Word on Fire.” Barron, 63, is one of the key faces of Catholicism online. His engaging energy and friendly demeanor allow him to present a faith that feels accessible. In one video, he’ll break down a Bible story, and in another, he’ll geek out on how “Like a Rolling Stone” rocked his world when he was a young teen. “Bob Dylan is my dream guest,” he said in an interview. His channel as of Feb. 22 had 125 million views and 608,000 subscribers. Some see it as an antidote to one of the church’s most pressing ills: shrinking membership. Since 2000, according to Gallup, the percentage of Catholics who consider themselves members of congregations has dropped by almost 20 points. The trend aligns with a wider one detailed in a 2020 Gallup poll, which found that 47 percent of Americans belonged to religious communities (churches, mosques, synagogues), down from 70 percent in 1999. But the decline among Catholics in church membership was twice as steep as among Protestants, Gallup said.  Barron’s forays into digital media have been ahead of the Vatican’s. His YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts all predate the church’s presence on those platforms. EWTN, the world’s largest Catholic media network — publishing and broadcasting since 1981 — beat Barron to YouTube by only a few months.  In the world of podcasts, another priest who has built a substantial following is the Rev. Mike Schmitz. In 2021, Schmitz, now 48, started “The Bible in a Year” a podcast, offering short daily episodes that walk listeners through the holy book. In January, Schmitz’s show was ranked second among all U.S. podcasts on Apple. Schmitz has a new show, “The Catechism in a Year,” which at one point ranked third overall on Spotify, behind only “The Joe Rogan Experience” and “Huberman Lab,” a show hosted by the Stanford University neuroscientist Andrew Huberman.  Schmitz said the popularity of shows such as his and Barron’s is proof there is an appetite for Catholic content — whether the appetite is among Catholics or secular speculators. “Today, the internet is ‘mission territory,’” Schmitz wrote in an email. “One of the problems is when the Church stops being missionary, when [it] waits for people to come to us instead of us going out to them.”  Schmitz and Barron said their true goal is to get people to attend Mass in real life. Schmitz said: “It can’t end [online]. We recognize that … human beings relate to each other in person. That’s the only way to have genuine depth of human relationships … as good as online stuff is.” As for nonbelievers who come across his content, Barron said: “I’d rather see someone move from agnosticism to at least an interest in religion. That’s a move in the right direction.” He is already pondering the succession plan for the church’s digital evangelization efforts: “I’m dreaming about a religious order of priests that would carry on this kind of work in media.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2023/03/03/catholic-influencer-bishop-barron-mike-schmitz/__________________________________________________________ 4. ‘Gripped by grace’: Thousands gather for Bishop O’Connell’s funeral Mass, By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2023, 6:44 PM It was standing-room only in the cavernous Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, where the funeral Mass for Bishop David G. O’Connell was held Friday morning. And it seemed every one of the 3,000 mourners in attendance had a personal relationship with the cleric most knew as their beloved “Bishop Dave.”  O’Connell was shot to death in his Hacienda Heights home Feb. 18. A handyman whose wife worked as the bishop’s housekeeper has been charged with one count of murder, but the motive for the killing remains unclear.  L.A. Archbishop José H. Gómez presided over the two-hour Mass, with Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; Cardinal Robert McElroy of the San Diego Archdiocese; and Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  As the two-hour funeral came to an end, Archbishop Gómez echoed those thoughts before sprinkling O’Connell’s cloth-covered casket with holy water and encasing it in incense smoke. “As we honor him, and thank him, and follow his joyful example, his beautiful example of being close to Jesus,” Gómez said. “His example should be the way that we live.” https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-03-03/bishop-oconnell-funeral__________________________________________________________ 5. Wyoming legislature passes strict new anti-abortion measures, By Joanna Slater, The Washington Post, March 3, 2023, 5:08 PM Lawmakers in Wyoming approved measures on Thursday that will make it nearly impossible to terminate a pregnancy, part of a dramatic reshaping of laws governing abortion across the country in the post-Roe v. Wade era.The two bills prohibit abortions, with narrow exceptions including cases of rape and incest, and criminalize the use of medications to cause abortions. The bills were passed by both houses of the state legislature and await the signature of Gov. Mark Gordon (R), who has approved antiabortion measures in the past. Gordon has 15 calendar days to act on the bills and will consider them carefully, said his spokesman Michael Pearlman. The measures are part of a push by Wyoming lawmakers to close gaps and eliminate legal weaknesses in the state’s earlier abortion ban, whose implementation was halted by a judge last year. https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2023/03/03/wyoming-abortion-bill/__________________________________________________________

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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