1. Religious Freedom Commission calls out India, Nigeria and Vietnam for abuses, By John Lavenburg, Crux, May 2, 2023 A government commission tasked with monitoring religious freedom abroad has recommended the State Department designate five new countries as “Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs)” because of their engagement in, or toleration of, “particularly severe” religious freedom violations, including against Christians. In its 2023 report released on May 1, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recommended the State Department designate Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Syria, and Vietnam as CPCs, in addition to the twelve other countries it gave the designation in November.  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/05/religious-freedom-commission-calls-out-india-nigeria-and-vietnam-for-abuses__________________________________________________________ 2. Maine expanded abortion access up for debate, passage likely, By Patrick Whittle, Associated Press, May 1, 2023, 2:41 PM A proposal that would give Maine one of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country came up for debate Monday while passage seemed all but assured because of Democratic control of the state’s legislature. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has proposed changing the state’s standard to permit women to get abortions later in pregnancy. If the proposal passes, state law would change to allow abortion after fetal viability if it’s deemed necessary by a physician. Maine’s current laws allow abortions until a fetus becomes viable, which is generally considered to be around 24 weeks. The proposal faced a well-attended public hearing before a committee of the Maine Legislature on Monday.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/05/01/abortion-restriction-laws-maine-governor/ecf89c80-e83e-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Feds: Hospitals that denied emergency abortion broke the law, By Amanda Seitz, Associated Press, May 1, 2023, 6:53 PM Two hospitals that refused to provide an emergency abortion to a pregnant woman who was experiencing premature labor put her life in jeopardy and violated federal law, a first-of-its-kind investigation by the federal government has found. The findings, revealed in documents obtained by The Associated Press, are a warning to hospitals around the country as they struggle to reconcile dozens of new state laws that ban or severely restrict abortion with a federal mandate for doctors to provide abortions when a woman’s health is at risk. The competing edicts have been rolled out since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion last year. But federal law, which requires doctors to treat patients in emergency situations, trumps those state laws, the nation’s top health official said in a statement.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/05/01/emergency-abortion-law-hospitals-kansas-missouri-emtala/79efcbdc-e820-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Archbishop of military services condemns new rule allowing abortion at VA medical centers, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, May 1, 2023, 12:10 PM After the U.S. Senate approved a Department of Veterans Affairs rule that provides for abortions at the department’s medical centers, the archbishop of military services issued a scathing letter condemning the Senate and the Biden administration.  The Senate voted 51-48 to affirm the new rule, which ensures VA medical centers provide abortion when the life or health of the mother is deemed to be at risk or in cases of rape or incest, regardless of state restrictions. The VA will also offer abortion counseling at medical centers. The rule does not have any conscience protections for doctors or other health care workers who object to providing abortions.  In a pastoral letter, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, who also serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was “deeply saddened” by the Senate’s action.  Broglio also condemned a Department of Defense policy that provides taxpayer funding for employees, spouses, and dependents to cover travel costs associated with procuring an abortion in another state if they are stationed in a state with abortion restrictions.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254213/archbishop-of-military-services-condemns-new-rule-allowing-abortion-at-va-medical-centers__________________________________________________________ 5. Full text of Bishop Paul Coakley’s pastoral letter on gender dysphoria, transgender movement, By Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, Catholic News Agency, May 1, 2023, 9:30 AM Editor’s note: Below is the full text of Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul S. Coakley’s pastoral letter “On the Unity of the Body and Soul: Accompanying Those Experiencing Gender Dysphoria,” released on Good Shepherd Sunday, April 30, 2023. A section of resources on gender dysphoria, mental health professionals, and transgender ideology was also included at the end of the original letter.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254210/bishop-paul-coakley-of-oklahoma-releases-pastoral-letter-on-gender-dysphoria-and-the-transgender-movement__________________________________________________________ 6. A Lutheran Plea to End the Attack on Roman Catholic Churches, Starting with the unrest in many American cities in May of 2020, criminals have attacked more than 190 Catholic sites, mostly churches and even a few schools, and often committing multiple crimes., By Rev. Graham B. Glover, National Catholic Register, April 29, 2023, Opinion  As the pastor of a Lutheran church and school, my focus every day is on the parishioners, students and parents who are part of our parish community. These are the families for whom I pray daily and whose spiritual lives have been entrusted to my care. In no uncertain terms, I am a Lutheran cleric who is steadfast in my faith, committed to the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions. But today, alongside my concern for those directly in my care, I add my most earnest prayers for my Catholic brothers and sisters across our country.  Starting with the unrest in many American cities in May of 2020, criminals have attacked more than 190 Catholic sites, mostly churches and even a few schools, and often committing multiple crimes. My colleagues at the Religious Freedom Institute documented these attacks in a report released in September 2022. These senseless acts have occurred in 39 states, plus the District of Columbia, and as of this writing, there is no indication that they are subsiding.  Vandals have burned, defaced or otherwise damaged churches and schools. They have also stolen and desecrated sacred items and property. Faithful parishioners, students, parents and employees of these institutions have come face-to-face with this wholly irrational destruction.  I wish it was enough to say that violence has no place in a democratic republic. It certainly has no place within Christendom or among those who confess its faith. But violence against Catholic churches and schools is indeed a problem in this nation. And I am obligated, both as an American and a Christian, to stand up and speak against it. I pray that my fellow Americans, regardless of their faith, will do the same. Rev. Graham B. Glover is a chaplain fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute in Washington and senior pastor at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church and School in Gainesville, Florida. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/a-lutheran-plea-to-end-the-attack-on-roman-catholic-churches__________________________________________________________ 7. Bishop Barron to Address Hillsdale Graduates; Catholic Colleges and Universities Also Slate Ceremonies, By Matthew McDonald, National Catholic Register, May 1, 2023 Bishop Barron, 63, is the founder of the Catholic media ministry Word on Fire and a popular podcaster. In 2011, he hosted a 10-part video series called Catholicism. He’s also the bishop of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in southern Minnesota. Evangelical Protestant Hillsdale is no longer affiliated with a denomination, but supports what it calls “natural law principles” and says “the moral tenets of Christianity … have been essential to the mission of the college.” “I’ve always admired them. They’re great defenders of the Western intellectual tradition, which I do think is under assault today,” Bishop Barron told the Register in a telephone interview.  While not a Catholic school, Hillsdale has a strong Catholic presence. Estimates vary, but a survey by the student newspaper in 2018 found that 26% of students were Catholics. Some say the current figure is more like 35%. Mass is celebrated twice a week on campus, including once in the basilica-like nondenominational chapel. On Sundays, the local Catholic church in town, St. Anthony’s, is packed. The congregation includes many Hillsdale students. About 20 non-Catholic students a year join the Catholic Church, said Regina Gravrok, the head of women’s outreach at the Hillsdale College Catholic Society.  The curriculum at the school emphasizes great thinkers and the search for truth. Conversations about religion are common.  Below is a list of spring commencement speakers at several Catholic colleges that also take part in the Register’s annual “Catholic Identity College Guide”:  Franciscan University of SteubenvilleSteubenville, Ohio Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City is scheduled to preside at the baccalaureate Mass and receive an honorary doctorate in Christian ethics. Archbishop Coakley, 67, the elected secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was chosen “for his strong pastoral leadership and many years of outspoken advocacy and defense of the dignity of the human person,” the school said in a written statement.  Benedictine CollegeAtchison, Kansas Leonard Leo, co-chairman of the Federalist Society, is the commencement speaker. Leo, a lawyer and activist, has played a large role in recent selections for the U.S. Supreme Court by Republican presidents, and he has led campaigns to get those nominees confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  “Leo is a champion of the rule of law, an advocate of global religious freedom, and a committed leader of many Catholic organizations in Washington, D.C., and around the country,” the school said in a written statement  The Catholic University ofAmerica Washington, D.C. Arthur Brooks, the former president of the American Enterprise Institute, is the commencement speaker. Brooks, 58, is a social scientist, author and columnist. His most recent book is From Strength to Strength: Finding Happiness, Success, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life (2022).   Christendom CollegeFront Royal, Virginia John Haas, a moral theologian and president emeritus of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, is the commencement speaker. He has served as a consultant on pro-life matters and health-care matters to the U.S. bishops’ conference.  University of DallasIrving, Texas Paul Clement, a lawyer who has represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in their U.S. Supreme Court religious-liberty cases free of charge, is the commencement speaker.  He also argued the successful appeal of Washington state high-school football coach Joseph Kennedy, who was fired by a public-school district for praying at midfield after games.  Clement, 56, served as U.S. solicitor general from 2004 to 2008, during the administration of President George W. Bush.  Thomas Aquinas CollegeSanta Paula, California Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, Nebraska, is the commencement speaker and principal celebrant of the school’s baccalaureate Mass. Bishop Conley, 68, is a convert from Presbyterianism.  https://www.ncregister.com/news/bishop-barron-to-address-hillsdale-graduates-catholic-colleges-and-universities-also-slate-ceremonies__________________________________________________________

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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