1. Vatican warns U.S. bishops over get-tough Communion proposals, By David Crary, Associated Press, May 11, 2021
The head of the Vatican’s doctrine office is warning U.S. bishops to deliberate carefully and minimize divisions before proceeding with a possible plan to rebuke Catholic politicians such as President Joe Biden for receiving Communion even though they support abortion rights.
The strong words of caution came in a letter from Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, addressed to Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The USCCB will convene for a national meeting June 16, with plans to vote on drafting a document on the Communion issue
There is division among the bishops, with some pressing for Biden and other Catholic public figures to be excluded from Communion over their abortion stance, and other bishops warning that such a move would be politically polarizing.

Ladaria advised, the bishops should seek unanimous support within their ranks for any national policy, lest it become “a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger church in the United States.”
2. Pope creates lay ministry to boost supply of faith teachers, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 11, 2021, 6:54 AM
Pope Francis on Tuesday formally created a new lay ministry to encourage greater participation of secular women and men in the teaching of the Catholic faith, especially in places where priests are in short supply.
The new law creating the lay ministry of catechists officially recognizes for the universal Catholic Church a practice that has been used for centuries in local dioceses.
In many parts of the world, lay men and women introduce people to the Catholic faith, educate them on receiving the initial sacraments of baptism and Communion and accompany them in their faith journey.
3. Catholic Schools Are Losing Students at Record Rates, and Hundreds Are Closing, Pandemic-fueled economic woes exacerbate schools’ challenges; some raise money on GoFundMe, By Ian Lovett, The Wall Street Journal, May 11, 2021, Pg. A3
Catholic schools across the country are struggling to keep the doors open, after a pandemic year that left many families unable to pay tuition and the church without extra funds to cover the difference.
At least 209 of the country’s nearly 6,000 Catholic schools have closed over the past year, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. More closures are expected this summer, and some schools have taken to GoFundMe in an effort to stay open.
Nationwide, Catholic school enrollment fell 6.4% at the start of this school year, the largest single-year decline since the NCEA began tracking such data in the 1970s.
Urban dioceses have been hit especially hard: Enrollment in schools run by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles was down 12% at the start of this school year. In the Archdiocese of New York, enrollment was down 11%.
4. Catholics slam ‘lawless’ HHS ‘transgender mandate’, By Catholic News Agency, May 10, 2021, 3:00 PM
Catholic groups and legal experts denounced the Biden administration’s notice on Monday that it would prohibit denial of gender-transition procedures in health care.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Monday issued a notice that it would include, as unlawful sex discrimination, “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation” as well as “on the basis of gender identity.”

“Becerra is threatening to put doctors and hospitals that disagree with current transgender ideology out of business, including those with medical, religious, or moral objections to conducting sex-reassignment surgeries on minors,” said Roger Severino, former head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights and current director of the HHS Accountability Project at the Ethics & Public Policy Center.

Becket, a legal group which is representing a coalition of doctors and religious groups opposed to the transgender mandate, said on Monday that the HHS announcement will “punish” doctors and hospitals opposed to the mandate.

“Coercing doctors to carry out highly controversial and unproven ‘treatments’ like administering puberty blocking hormones to children and performing irreversible sex changes – against their best medical judgment and conscience – is the latest effort by the Biden administration to force anyone who dissents from its radical ideology into compliance,” stated Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D., policy advisor for The Catholic Association.
Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org, said the announcement was all about mandating gender-transitioning, and not about actual “health care.”
“Contrary to the misleading HHS announcement, no American is being denied care for broken arms, or standard medical procedures based on their gender ‘identity’ or sexual orientation. This move by HHS is a setup to normalize and strong arm doctors into administering puberty blocking drugs on children, performing sex-change surgeries, and more,” he stated. “Catholic hospitals and doctors are likely to come under increased pressure and scrutiny as a result.”
5. Biden Reverses Trump-Era Policy On Transgender Patients, By Brianna Lyman, Daily Caller, May 10, 2021, 11:14 AM
The Biden Administration announced Monday they would redefine “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” reversing a Trump-era policy that defined “sex” as the gender assigned at birth.

Had the Trump administration not changed the definition, policy adviser for The Catholic Association Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie told the Daily Caller News Foundation it would have been “impossible” for doctors to decline performing “ethically problematic procedures (like late-term abortion) and experimental and dangerous ones (like the removal of health organs from young patients with gender dysphoria.”

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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