1. Is the Pope Capitalist?, The left’s push to ‘civilize capitalism’ has today found a home on the right., By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion  Now Pope Francis, while not quite declaring himself a believer, says he isn’t as hostile to capitalism as people might think. “I do not condemn capitalism in the way some attribute to me,” he says in “El Pastor,” a just-published book based on several interviews with him by two Argentine journalists. “Nor am I against the market [economy].” Who knew? Pope Francis, in other words, wants to improve capitalism, not do away with it. We’re long used to hearing this “civilizing capitalism” line from the American left. But in the past few years, it’s found a home on the American right.  Samuel Gregg is a distinguished fellow in political economy at the American Institute for Economic Research. He notes that the arguments for more economic intervention from the political and technocratic classes started gaining ascendancy among conservatives when Donald Trump ran for president. In his new book, “The Next American Economy,” Mr. Gregg calls this state capitalism—and he says the right’s version will fare no better than the left’s. “The problems with extensive interventionism into the economy by the government are well established,” he writes. “These include rampant cronyism, massive misallocation of resources, declining competitiveness, the crowding out of the private sector, growing dependency on state hand-outs, the undermining of civil society, and, above all, the relentless expansion of government and consequent undermining of freedom that goes along with that.” “These problems don’t go away simply because the interventions are being directed by conservatives rather than progressives,” Mr. Gregg says.  It’s hubris to imagine that those trying to “improve” the market with political intervention today will fare better than those who tried the same thing yesterday. Yet those who point that out are demagogued as latter-day Panglossians or “market fundamentalists” with blind, unthinking faith in “unfettered” free markets. It would be illuminating to get a list of the world’s most unfettered free markets and see how well they actually do by the poor. The irony is that many who think highly of free markets also have a greater appreciation for the role of institutions like the Catholic Church. That role, however, isn’t to tweak capitalism with the right programs and policies but to help build the virtues and moral culture that a free market depends on but can’t itself create. “It is astonishing,” Mr. Gregg says, “that many American conservatives, many of whom are also religious, prefer state action with all its undeniable drawbacks to this alternative approach.” At the heart of the free market is the voluntary relationship between buyer and seller, which fosters the common good and social cooperation by making success depend on satisfying the needs of others. This may not be the love of neighbor commanded by the Gospel, but it isn’t as far removed from it as Pope Francis supposes. https://www.wsj.com/articles/is-the-pope-capitalist-el-pastor-francis-argentina-capitalism-free-markets-welfare-global-south-poverty-rome-lyndon-b-johnson-social-justice-bd3de123?__________________________________________________________ 2. Oklahoma Catholics could open the door for religious charter schools, The archdioceses aims to set up a virtual charter school — and hopes other will follow its lead, By Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post, March 7, 2023, 6:00 AM Isidore of Seville was a sixth century theologian who wrote one of the world’s first encyclopedias, which led modern-day Catholics to unofficially adopt him as the patron saint of the internet. So when it came time to select a name for its proposed virtual school, the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City decided St. Isidore would be a fitting tribute. With the new program, the archdiocese also seeks to become a trailblazer: It is fighting to make St. Isidore the nation’s first religious charter school. The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board is weighing whether to approve the school. If it does, the archdiocese would get public funds to set up and run a school that intends to serve “as a genuine instrument of the Church,” according to its application. By opening the charter school, the archdiocese hopes to fill a need for rural students who want a Catholic education but do not live close enough to a brick-and-mortar one to attend. But it also hopes to force the question of whether a charter school can be religious, and it expects that its efforts will invite litigation. Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt backs the school’s application; he says that denying the school public funding constitutes religious discrimination.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2023/03/07/religious-charter-school-catholic-oklahoma/__________________________________________________________ 3. Comstock Act returns to court for abortion pill, Judges to decide legality of mail, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, March 7, 2023, Pg. A1 The next battleground on abortion lies at the post office — over a 150-year-old anti-vice law that some legal experts say expressly bars the mailing of abortion pills. Conservatives say the Comstock Act of 1873 invalidates the Biden administration’s plan to mail abortion pills to pregnant women anywhere in the U.S. Liberals say the law has not been used for decades and has always been broadly interpreted, and they reason that the law doesn’t forbid the mailing of the pills as long as the sender doesn’t intend for the drugs to be used illegally. Either way, courts will be forced to address the Comstock Act, which is cited in two pending federal cases. The law bars the use of the U.S. Postal Service for the transmission of obscene literature, contraceptives and abortion-inducing materials. The law is named after anti-vice activist Anthony Comstock, a U.S. postal inspector who sought to prevent the Postal Service from delivering any sex-related material. A decision is expected soon in a case pending in the Northern District of Texas. The conservative legal nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which advocates that health care professionals adhere to the Hippocratic oath.  The Comstock Act is also referenced in litigation pending in the Southern District of West Virginia. GenBioPro, an abortion pill manufacturer, filed a lawsuit against the state after it enacted a law banning anyone from performing an abortion who is not licensed to do so and prohibiting doctors from dispensing abortifacients through telemedicine. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in defense of the state that federal law prohibits the mailing of the drugs. He pointed to 18 U.S.C. 1641, the current rendition of the Comstock Act, and said GenBioPro would be violating federal law if it ships abortion pills to his state.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/6/in-mail-pro-life-pro-choice-advocates-turn-attenti/__________________________________________________________ 4. A shocking and barbaric vote, Virginia Democrats’ opposition to born-alive law is wake-up call, By Marjorie Dannenfelser, The Washington Times, March 7, 2023, Pg. B4, Opinion Former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam may have faded into political obscurity, but his endorsement of infanticide lives on in the commonwealth’s General Assembly. Last week, Virginia Senate Democrats did the unthinkable by blocking a “born-alive” bill that would ensure that a baby born alive during a late-term abortion would receive the same lifesaving medical treatment as any child born alive at the same gestational age. These legislators showed how truly radical they are in this shocking and barbaric vote. Some on the left assert that abortion survivors are a myth and stronger protections are not needed. That is patently false. Among the handful of states that actually report data on live births after a failed abortion, we know that at least 111 babies in four states survived in a five-year period. Without the means to hold abortion providers accountable, these children are extremely vulnerable to being killed or left to die — but by Democrats’ own admission, they are not guaranteed a right to life and equal medical care. As Mr. Northam put it, “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother” about whether to let the child die.  Virginia Democrats are callously ignoring the pain of their most vulnerable population as well as the will of their voters. They will stop only if their agenda costs them politically at the ballot box. As Virginia’s pro-abortion senators attempt to defend their seats this election year, their extremism will be exposed and they will be held accountable. Their radical votes against babies who feel pain and babies born alive are a wake-up call and a reminder of how high the stakes are in Virginia’s first statewide election after the Dobbs Supreme Court decision — for both born and unborn children and for the soul of our commonwealth. Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/6/virginia-dems-opposition-to-born-alive-law-is-wake/__________________________________________________________ 5. Radical left-wing group wields powerful influence over White House, Ties between Biden and Southern Poverty Law Center are alarming, By Tom McClusky, The Washington Times, March 7, 2023, Pg. B3, Opinion Americans should be deeply concerned over the alliance between the Biden administration and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a self-professed civil rights group infamous for its aggressive targeting of conservative and religious organizations. Lately, it seems as if President Biden’s FBI and Department of Justice are rewarding the group for that. Americans were rightly shocked when a whistleblower exposed the FBI for targeting “radical traditional Catholics” based on criteria from the SPLC. This organization has inspired a left-wing domestic terrorist attack and has been exposed repeatedly for baselessly smearing its political opponents. Mr. Biden recently nominated the SPLC‘s strategic litigation director, Nancy Abudu, to be a permanent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District. Ms. Abudu’s confirmation hearing made it abundantly clear that her ties to the SPLC would affect her ability to fairly apply the law, especially toward those she disagrees with politically.  Unfortunately, Ms. Abudu is no anomaly among Mr. Biden’s judicial nominees. If anything, she is the archetype.  The ties between the Biden administration and the SPLC are alarming. They are also unacceptable at a time when our weaponized government agencies are already discriminating against conservatives and people of faith. Every senator should be held accountable for their vote on these judicial nominees. It is time to stand up for the fair application of the law, including when it comes to one’s political opponents. Tom McClusky serves as director of government affairs for CatholicVote. He has dedicated nearly 20 years to advancing religious freedom and advocating the protection of the unborn in the nation’s capital in his prior roles as vice president of government affairs for the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, and as the president of March for Life Action. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/mar/6/ties-between-biden-and-left-wing-southern-poverty-/__________________________________________________________ 6. Vatican, Greece ink deal for ‘donation’ of Parthenon Marbles, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 7, 2023, 5:49 AM The Vatican and Greece were finalizing a deal Tuesday for the return of three sculpture fragments from the Parthenon that have been in the collection of the Vatican Museums for two centuries, the latest case of a Western museum bowing to demands for restitution. The Vatican has termed the return an ecumenical “donation” to the Orthodox Christian archbishop of Athens and all Greece, not necessarily a state-to-state transfer. But it nevertheless puts pressure on the British Museum to conclude a deal with Greece over the fate of its much bigger collection of Parthenon sculptures. The head of the Vatican city-state, Cardinal Fernando Vergez, planned to sign an agreement Tuesday to implement the “donation” during a private Vatican Museums ceremony with Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni and a representative of the Orthodox Christian archbishop of Athens and all Greece, the Vatican said.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/03/07/parthenon-vatican-return-marble-sculptures/abd4c646-bcd5-11ed-9350-7c5fccd598ad_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Aid-in-dying advocates make abortion rights plea: ‘My body, my choice’, By Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox, The Washington Post, March 7, 2023, 6:30 AM Lorrie Rogers and three girlfriends walked into the Maryland Senate office building with a concise message for nearly two dozen state legislators whose names were typed on Rogers’s clipboard: “My body, my choice.” The women weren’t protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which scrapped the constitutional right to an abortion. Instead, the residents of a senior living facility in Prince George’s County were lobbying for the option to legally end their own lives. If a lawmaker supports a woman’s right to end a pregnancy, they say, the same logic should apply to a terminally ill patient’s right to end his or her own suffering. “It’s a choice issue,” said Rogers, 83. “My body, my life, my death, my choice.” In a state where lawmakers want to become a national model in protecting a woman’s right to an abortion, advocates of aid in dying are reframing their argument in their fight for the bill’s passage, asserting that bodily autonomy should be viewed no differently at the beginning of life than it is at the end of it.  Legislative leaders of the state, which has deep Catholic roots and a large Black population (two groups that historically have not embraced the concept), have never whipped votes on aid in dying. For years, the bill never received a committee vote. Its one appearance on the floor of both chambers ended in a tie vote. And now, lawmakers warn it could face head winds again as the legislature weighs how many issues to undertake in the final weeks of the 90-day session.  Gallup found in May that 55 percent of Americans thought doctor-assisted suicide was “morally acceptable,” while 41 percent said it was “morally wrong.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/03/07/abortion-rights-aid-in-dying-maryland/__________________________________________________________ 8. California to cut ties with Walgreens over abortion pill sales, Newsom says, By Niha Masih, The Washington Post, March 6, 2023, 11:48 PM California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Monday that the state will not do business with pharmacy chain Walgreens after its recent announcement that it will not distribute abortion pills in some states where abortion is legal, as drugstores become the latest battleground for abortion rights in the United States. “California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk,” Newsom said in a tweet. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Newsom told Reuters that “all relationships” between Walgreens and California were now under review, without providing further details. Walgreens is one of the largest drugstore chains in America, operating about 9,000 retail stores.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/03/06/walgreens-california-abortion-pills-newsom/__________________________________________________________ 9. The PR of Vatican financial reform, If the Vatican needs Catholics in the pews to start giving again, convincing them that there is a coherent narrative to financial reforms would be a real help., By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, March 6, 2023, 5:19 PM Pope Francis last week announced a dramatic policy change at the Vatican, ending the traditional practice of giving discounted accommodation to Rome-based cardinals and other senior curial officials. The policy is likely to be unpopular, the pope acknowledged it will require an “extraordinary sacrifice” from those affected. But while the aim is to save money for the cash-strapped Apostolic See, it’s not clear how much money the plan will actually generate for the Vatican’s bottom line. Still, with donations to the Holy See down after years of financial scandal, and with budgetary pressures mounting, it’s possible the pope’s new housing policy might really be focused on appearances — aiming more to demonstrate that the Vatican can be trusted with money, than to squeeze a few thousand extra euros out of Rome’s resident cardinals. If that’s true — and the move is at least partly a public relations bid aimed at demonstrating integrity and consistency —  what else could the Vatican do to demonstrate it’s serious about financial reform?  More broadly, making public peace with Milone and the era of frustrated reform he represents would allow the Holy See to fashion a much more coherent narrative out of current efforts to bring Vatican balance sheets under control, as opposed to an image of increasingly desperate measures undertaken piecemeal in response to dire returns. Convincing Catholics that Francis’ Vatican has been fighting, and is winning, a long term game of financial reform may be crucial to ensuring it can raise the funds it needs to function. But doing that means acting to end the impression the curia remains at war with itself. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/the-pr-of-vatican-financial-reform/__________________________________________________________ 10. McCarrick denies sex abuse charges in telephone interview, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, March 6, 2023, 10:45 AM For the first time since criminal court proceedings began against him, former cardinal Theodore McCarrick spoke publicly about allegations that he sexually abused a teenager at a wedding ceremony in the 1970s in Wellesley, Massachusetts. In an interview with NorthJersey.com, McCarrick said the alleged victim’s testimony was “not true.” The telephone conversation took place one day after McCarrick filed a motion claiming he is unfit to stand trial due to dementia.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/253799/mccarrick-denies-sex-abuse-charges-in-telephone-interview__________________________________________________________ 11. Abortion clinics crossing state borders not always welcome, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Sarah Rankin and Hilary Powell, Associated Press, March 3, 2023 The pastors smiled as they held the doors open, grabbing the hands of those who walked by and urging many to keep praying and to keep showing up. Some responded with a hug. A few grimaced as they squeezed past. Shelley Koch, a longtime resident of southwest Virginia, had witnessed a similar scene many Sunday mornings after church services. On this day, however, it played out in a parking lot outside a modest government building in Bristol where officials had just advanced a proposal that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of her community. For months, residents of the town have battled over whether clinics limited by strict anti-abortion laws in neighboring Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia should be allowed to continue to hop over the border and operate there. The proposal on the table, submitted by anti-abortion activists, was that they shouldn’t. The local pastors were on hand to spread that message.  The conflict is not unique to this border community, which boasts a spot where a person can stand in Virginia and Tennessee at the same time. Similar disputes have broken out across the country following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion. As clinics have been forced to shutter in Republican-dominant states with strict abortion bans, some have relocated to cities and towns just over the border, in states with more liberal laws. The goal is to help women avoid traveling long distances. Yet that effort does not always go smoothly: The politics of border towns and cities don’t always align with those in their state capitals. They can be more socially conservative, with residents who object to abortion on moral grounds. Anti-abortion activists have tapped into that sentiment — in Virginia and elsewhere — and are proposing changes to zoning and other local ordinance laws to stop the clinics from moving in. Since Roe was overturned, such local ordinances have been identified as a tool for officials to control where patients can get an abortion, advocates and legal experts say.  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-clinic-border-virginia-tennessee-bristol-7dfed02251e668fdded6ac97ae7fd281__________________________________________________________

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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