1. Pope’s South Sudan visit will be both political and pastoral, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, March 7, 2022 Expectations are high in South Sudan after the recent announcement that Pope Francis is scheduled to make his long-awaited visit to the country in July, bringing what many hope will be a message of comfort and also a fresh boost to the national peace process. Speaking to Crux, Irish Sister Orla Treacy said that the general feeling of people in South Sudan right now “is absolute joy. It’s fantastic, they are thrilled, they are delighted…it’s a huge blessing for the country.”  Last week the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will visit South Sudan July 5-7 as part of a broader trip to Africa that will also include a four-day stop in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  In South Sudan, the pope will be joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Martin Fair, in an ecumenical appeal for peace.  Both Treacy and Impagliazzo stressed the importance of the ecumenical tone of the papal visit, saying the pope’s presence alongside Welby and Fair will send a strong signal to the country’s leaders about the importance of unity in striving for peace. This symbolism is especially important for South Sudan’s leaders, Treacy said, noting that Kiir himself is Catholic and Machar is Anglican. https://cruxnow.com/church-in-africa/2022/03/popes-south-sudan-visit-will-be-both-political-and-pastoral___________________________________________________________ 2. Denied Abortions by Texas Law, Most Found Another Way, By Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui, The New York Times, March 6, 2022, Pg. A22 In the months after Texas banned all but the earliest abortions in September, the number of legal abortions in the state fell by about half. But two new studies suggest the total number among Texas women fell by far less — around 10 percent — because of large increases in the number of Texans who traveled to a clinic in a nearby state or ordered abortion pills online. Two groups of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin counted the number of women using these alternative options. They found that while the Texas law — which prohibits abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected, or around six weeks — lowered the number of abortions, it did so much more modestly than earlier measurements suggested. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/06/upshot/texas-abortion-women-data.html___________________________________________________________ 3. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson would add another Protestant voice to heavily Catholic Supreme Court, By John Fritze, USA Today, March 6, 2022, 5:00 AM, Opinion It was only a few seconds after President Joe Biden announced Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his nominee to the Supreme Court when she revealed an important part of her personal philosophy. “I must begin these very brief remarks by thanking God for delivering me to this point in my professional journey,” the federal appeals court judge said at the White House on Feb. 25. “My life has been blessed beyond measure, and I do know that one can only come this far by faith.” Jackson, currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is being celebrated as the first Black woman picked for the high court as well as its first former federal public defender. She would also bring a measure of religious diversity to the court as the only Christian without a substantial connection to Catholicism. The Miami native and Harvard Law School graduate identifies as a Christian and a Protestant, according to a source close to Jackson who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the judge’s personal background. If confirmed, she would join a court made up of six Catholics, an Episcopalian who was raised Catholic and a Jew.  https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/03/06/supreme-court-ketanji-brown-jackson-would-add-second-protestant-voice/9378674002/___________________________________________________________ 4. Selling Murder, By Francis X. Maier, The Catholic Thing, March 5, 2022, Opinion This is a naked commercial, but the product is worthwhile.  If you haven’t yet seen the Netflix short film Forgive Us Our Trespasses, released on February 17, find a way to do so soon.  Barely fourteen minutes long, it feels more like the trailer for a feature movie than a film in its own right.  Nor is it a work of cinematic genius. The film’s writing, direction, and production values are all very simple; almost primitive.  And yet, as one reviewer wrote, it’s packed with “the notes of tension, dramatic action, and release that would usually embody a film with a much wider scope.”  It succeeds as “grand filmmaking on a small scale.”  The reason why is memorable. Over the past 70 years, dozens of films have dealt with the tragedy of the Holocaust.  And rightly so.  But few have examined the program that set the precedent for the Final Solution and perfected its techniques.  Between 1939 and 1945, the Third Reich’s Aktion T4 campaign murdered 300,000 mentally and physically disabled persons through involuntary euthanasia.  The killings were expertly portrayed in state propaganda as “merciful” for the victims, economically necessary for the nation, and genetically beneficial for the German people. Forgive Us Our Trespasses tells a very different story: the story of a mother who sacrifices her own life to help her disabled son escape a campaign of clinically organized inhumanity.  So. . .what’s the point of all this remembering?  Just this:  Here in America, such things could never occur.  Physician-assisted suicide?  Sixty million abortions?  Selling unborn baby parts?  Fetal tissue experiments?  Catholic public officials who ignore or allow such things?  It can’t happen here. Or maybe we have our own trespasses that need to be forgiven. https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2022/03/05/selling-murder/?___________________________________________________________ 5. Local churches shun Vatican’s moderate stance on Russia, By Nicole Winfield, Associated, March 5, 2022, 2:44 AM The head of the Polish bishops’ conference has done what Pope Francis has so far avoided doing: He publicly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and urged the head of the Russian Orthodox Church to use his influence with Vladimir Putin to demand an end to the war and for Russian soldiers to stand down. “The time will come to settle these crimes, including before the international courts,” Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki warned in his March 2 letter to Patriarch Kirill. “However, even if someone manages to avoid this human justice, there is a tribunal that cannot be avoided.” Gądecki’s tone was significant because it contrasted sharply with the comparative neutrality of the Vatican and Francis to date. The Holy See has called for peace, humanitarian corridors, a cease-fire and a return to negotiations, and even offered itself as a mediator. But Francis has yet to publicly condemn Russia by name for its invasion or publicly appeal to Kirill, and the Vatican offered no comment on the Russian strike on Europe’s largest nuclear plant that sparked a fire Friday. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/local-churches-shun-vaticans-moderate-stance-on-russia/2022/03/05/208c7f1e-9c58-11ec-9987-9dceee62a3f6_story.html___________________________________________________________ 6. Latino evangelicals used to shun politics. Will they now become a right-wing force?, By Cindy Carcamo, Los Angeles Times, March 4, 2022, 5:30 AM Ever since Ronald Reagan gained the White House in 1980, much attention has focused on conservative white evangelical Protestants’ growing political clout. But there’s been far less attention paid to Latino evangelicals. Even as the number of U.S. white evangelical Protestants has declined since 2006, Latinos are increasingly abandoning their traditional affiliation with the Roman Catholic church and converting to evangelical Christianity. Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the U.S. Latino population. In Pew Research Center RDD (random-digit-dial) surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019, 47% of Latinos described themselves as Catholic, down from 57% a decade ago. Meanwhile, the share of Latinos who identify as born-again/evangelical Protestants is 16%, and the share of Latinos who say they are religiously unaffiliated is now 23%, up from 15% in 2009. Many Latinos are becoming politicized through evangelical churches led by pastors who insist they aren’t beholden to any party, but typically espouse conservative stances on core issues such as abortion, religious liberty and same-sex marriage, and are stepping up their activism ahead of national elections in 2022 and 2024.  For a long time, Latino evangelicals shunned politics, Rodriguez said. “We grew up hearing from our pastors in previous generations that politics was of the devil, politics was corrupt.” That shifted between 1980 and 2004, as Latino evangelicals gravitated toward conservative Republican candidates, while other Latinos who previously had voted Democratic drifted from the party over abortion and the Obama administration’s mass deportations of immigrants who were in the country without legal status. https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-03-04/latino-america-evangelical-political-force___________________________________________________________ 7. Argentine bishop defended by pope sentenced in abuse case, By Almudena Calatrava, Associated Press, March 4, 2022 An Argentine court on Friday sentenced a Roman Catholic bishop to 4 1/2 years in prison for sexual abuse of two former seminarians in a major blow to Pope Francis, who had defended Gustavo Zanchetta following initial allegations. The prosecutors’ office in the northern province of Salta reported the conviction and sentence on its Twitter account and said he had been ordered arrested. The conviction in the pope’s homeland hits at Francis’ personal credibility since he had initially rejected accusations against Zanchetta, the former bishop of Oran, and created a job for him at the Vatican that got him out of Argentina. Francis has defended his handling of the case, insisting that Zanchetta “defended himself well” when confronted with the first allegations that he had pornographic images of the victims on his cellphone. Francis also defended the decision to give him a job in one of the most sensitive Vatican offices, the treasury that manages the Holy See’s investments and assets, saying Zanchetta had been prescribed psychological retreats each month in Spain and it didn’t make sense for him to return to Argentina between each session. https://apnews.com/article/pope-francis-religion-sexual-abuse-by-clergy-sexual-abuse-buenos-aires-97ebd49b670a2b96456369a035bd8f91___________________________________________________________ 8. Experts respond to Biden: Biology and theology agree, human life begins at conception, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, March 4, 2022, 11:08 AM After repeated, recent statements by U.S. President Joe Biden that he does not believe human life begins at the moment of conception, or characterizing such a belief as a matter of faith, scientists and doctors have pointed out that this belief can be arrived at through natural reason -science – alone.  Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, a diagnostic radiologist and an ultrasonographer, also affirmed the beginning of human life at conception. “There really hasn’t been a mystery about that for a very long time,” Christie told CNA. “A new human life begins when the egg and the sperm combine.” At the moment of conception, she said, “the first human cell of the new human being has its own DNA, which is very distinct and separate from the mom’s and from the dad’s and that is a one-cell human being.” Christie said the claim some people make that a baby in the womb is equivalent to a mere “clump of cells” is “ignorant.” “We are a collection of cells, we are all made of cells, but our cells are organized into organs and our organs are organized into systems and all those cells together form a human being,” she said. “If you refer to something as a clump of cells you’re implying that there’s no organizing principle behind it, that there’s no destiny, that there’s no growth, no development. You’re basically saying it’s not alive,” she added. Christie used the example of a tumor being a “clump of cells that grows, but nobody has ever claimed that it’s a living thing that has a destiny and a future and a way of developing into something that’s human.” She added that “An embryo is not only distinct from his or her mother, but is alive by all the biological standards we use to denote life. There is no scientific uncertainty here, and no doubts as to this are entertained by any scientist or physician. On ultrasound I routinely use the presence of the embryonic heartbeat, as early as 3 weeks after conception, to determine that the embryo is alive. This is our medical convention, and it corresponds to the scientific reality.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250572/experts-respond-to-biden-biology-and-theology-agree-human-life-begins-at-conception___________________________________________________________ 9. German Catholic bishops’ leader calls for change to Catechism on sexuality, By Catholic News Agency, March 4, 2022, 11:30 AM The chairman of the German Catholic bishops’ conference has called for changes to Church teaching on sex outside of marriage and homosexuality. In an interview with the German magazine Bunte published on March 4, Bishop Georg Bätzing agreed with the journalist’s assertion that “no one” adhered to the Church’s teaching that sexuality should only be practiced within marriage, saying: “That’s true. And we have to somewhat change the Catechism on this matter. Sexuality is a gift from God. And not a sin.” Asked if same-sex relationships were permissible, the German prelate replied: “Yes, it’s OK if it’s done in fidelity and responsibility. It doesn’t affect the relationship with God.” Bätzing, the bishop of Limburg, western Germany, added: “How someone lives their personal intimacy is none of my business.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250573/german-catholic-bishops-leader-calls-for-change-to-catechism-on-sexuality___________________________________________________________ 10. Florida bishops welcome advancement of 15-week abortion ban, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, March 4, 2022, 2:00 PM The Florida senate on Thursday passed HB 5, a bill introduced by State Rep. Erin Grall, which would ban abortions after 15 weeks gestation. The bill now awaits the governor’s signature. The Florida Catholic bishops’ conference called the bill’s March 3 passage “an incremental, yet important, step.” “While we continue to look forward to the day when the full protection of unborn life is recognized in law, we are encouraged that HB 5 further limits the grave harm that abortion inflicts upon women and children,” said Christie Arnold, associate for social concerns and respect life. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/250576/florida-bishops-welcome-advancement-of-15-week-abortion-ban___________________________________________________________

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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