1. Vatican makes fresh overture to China, reaffirms that Catholic Church is no threat to sovereignty, The Vatican has made another big overture to China, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 21, 2024, 10:12 AM
The Vatican made another big overture to China on Tuesday, reaffirming the Catholic Church poses no threat to Beijing’s sovereignty and admitting that Western missionaries had made “errors” in past centuries in their zeal to convert the Chinese faithful.
The Vatican hosted the head of China’s bishops conference for an unprecedented, high-level commemoration of a landmark 1924 meeting in Shanghai that affirmed the need for foreign missionaries in China to give way to local church leaders.
The presence of Shanghai Bishop Joseph Shen Bin alongside the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, at the Pontifical Urbaniana University was in itself noteworthy. It marked the first time in memory that a mainland bishop has been allowed by Beijing to participate in a public Vatican event as the keynote speaker.
It was also significant given the controversy over Shen’s 2023 appointment. Pope Francis in July was forced to recognize China’s unilateral appointment of Shen as bishop of Shanghai. The appointment seemingly violated the Holy See’s 2018 accord with Beijing over bishop appointments.

2. Harrison Butker’s defense of family, Progressives unite to condemn football star’s traditional values, The Washington Times, May 21, 2024, Editorial
What should have been an unremarkable speech by a football player on a college campus on May 11 has stirred controversy. Harrison Butker, a kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, gave the commencement address at Benedictine College, a small Catholic school.
The Atchison, Kansas, college has thrived thanks to its embrace of tradition and the Great Books. The school made a conscious decision to reject the nihilism fashionable at more famous academic institutions — you know, the ones currently paralyzed by uncertainty about what to do with the rising pro-Hamas campus insurgency.
That’s why Benedictine’s activities that day were free of disruptions. Mr. Butker received a warm welcome from students who listened to him speak for 20 minutes offering a solution to America’s moral decline.
“Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally,” the 28-year-old athlete said. “He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice.”
The left’s condemnation of those words came so swiftly that anyone who didn’t hear them in context might think his simple statement of Catholic orthodoxy was somehow heretical. His message was that it’s not enough to claim cultural ties to a religion. One must also put faith into practice.

He’s the definition of a reliable player, but his commencement message warned students that records and sporting achievements must eventually fade from the history books. Mr. Butker and his wife’s only lasting legacy — and source of happiness — is their children.
Those deriding this as “hate speech” reveal their goal is not to protect women, but to undermine faith and family.
3. New York’s high court upholds requiring insurance to cover medically necessary abortions, New York’s high court has upheld a rule requiring companies with health insurance plans to cover medically necessary abortions, By Associated Press, May 21, 2024, 12:53 PM
New York can continue to require companies with health insurance plans to cover medically necessary abortions, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany and other religious groups argued that the rule violated their religious freedoms.
State financial regulators approved the policy in 2017. The state Legislature then separately codified the abortion coverage regulation into law in 2022. The religious groups sued over the regulation, not the law.
The Court of Appeals case had larger significance because the state’s law could be challenged using a similar legal argument, if the religious groups were successful.

In a statement, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany said it would appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
4. Trump suggests he is open to states restricting access to birth control, Asked if he supports any limits on the right to contraception, Trump promised to release a “comprehensive policy” on the issue soon., By Amy B Wang, The Washington Post, May 21, 2024, 1:30 PM
Former president Donald Trump suggested Tuesday that he is open to allowing states to restrict access to birth control, and he promised to release a “comprehensive policy” on the issue soon.
In an interview with KDKA News in Pittsburgh, Trump was asked whether he supported any restrictions on a person’s right to contraception.
“We’re looking at that, and I’m going to have a policy on that very shortly, and I think it’s something that you’ll find interesting,” Trump said. “I think it’s a smart decision. But we’ll be releasing it very soon.”
Pressed if that meant he would support states if they wanted to ban certain forms of birth control, including the morning-after pill, Trump did not answer directly but said he would be releasing more details “within a week or so.”
“Things really do have a lot to do with the states, and some states are going to have different policy than others,” Trump said.

5. Abortion was already a top issue. Alito made the Supreme Court one, too, A Democratic agenda: Lose the filibuster, reform the court and revive Roe, By Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post, May 21, 2024, 7:45 PM, Opinion

This year, abortion remains a powerful issue for Democrats. And the focus on abortion might also make the Supreme Court itself a top issue for Democrats in a presidential campaign for the first time in a generation. The radical Supreme Court that reversed Roe v. Wade is increasingly unpopular and scandal-ridden.

This month, NPR reported on a Public Religion Research Institute poll showing that abortion rights remain extremely popular in the United States. “Nationwide, 64% percent of voters said abortion should be always or mostly legal; 35% said it should be always or mostly illegal. In most states — including states with Republican-controlled state governments — a majority of voters support legal abortion, and very few favor total bans.” Pro-choice advocates have won every abortion referendum since Dobbs, even in red states such as Ohio and Kansas.

When it comes to the Comstock Act, which some Republicans are eyeing as a means to criminalize abortion medication or literature sent through the mail, the numbers are even more stunning. “Among all Americans, over two-thirds (68%) oppose laws that make it illegal to use or receive through the mail FDA-approved drugs for medical abortion, often called abortion pills, while about three in ten (29%) favor these laws,” the pollsters found. “Democrats (79%) and independents (71%) are significantly more likely than Republicans (54%) to oppose laws that make it illegal to use or receive abortion pills through the mail.”

“Democratic incumbents and challengers running for the Senate this year say they want to restore a national right to abortion, and many, like [Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy] Baldwin, openly say they would support suspending the filibuster to do so,” the Associated Press reports. “It’s become a key talking point as they try to capitalize on the nationwide battle over abortion rights.” With Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) gone next year, filibuster reform might finally come to pass if Democrats hold the Senate.

6. Pope Francis calls climate change ‘a road to death’, By Nick Robertson, The Hill, May 21, 2024, 11:29 AM
Pope Francis remarked that climate change is “a road to death” and has gotten to a “point of no return” during an interview aired Monday evening.
“Unfortunately, we have gotten to a point of no return. It’s sad, but that’s what it is. Global warming is a serious problem,” Francis said in a “CBS Evening News” interview with Norah O’Donnell. “Climate change at this moment is a road to death.”

7. Pope Francis tells CBS News women cannot receive Holy Orders, even as deacons, By Crux, May 21, 2024
In a conversation with CBS News, Pope Francis said women cannot be ordained as deacons.
Airing Monday night in the United States, “Pope Francis: The First” is an extended version of the interview featured on “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell asked the pontiff if women will ever have “the opportunity to be a deacon and participate as a clergy member in the church?”
Francis answered quickly, “No.”
When pressed, he explained: “If it is deacons with Holy Orders, no. But women have always had, I would say, the function of deaconesses without being deacons, right? Women are of great service as women, not as ministers, as ministers in this regard, within the Holy Orders.”
This is contrary to statement in February by Spanish nun and theologian Linda Pocher, who was one of three women who addressed the most recent meeting of the pope’s Council of Cardinals.
“The diaconate was also discussed. We know that the pope is very much in favor of the female diaconate, but he is still trying to understand how to put it into practice,” Pocher told Europa Press.

8. U.S. Religious Freedom Watchdog’s New Appointments Include Two Catholics, Maureen Ferguson and Stephen Schneck, both Catholics, were appointed to the USCIRF, a government organization that reviews violations of religious freedom around the world and makes policy recommendations to the executive branch and Congress., By Kate Quiñones, Catholic News Agency, May 20, 2024
The United States Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) named five new commissioners on Friday, including two Catholics active in a variety of advocacy groups, according to a May 17 press release.
Maureen Ferguson and Stephen Schneck, both Catholics, were appointed to the USCIRF, a government organization that reviews violations of religious freedom around the world and makes policy recommendations to the executive branch and Congress.

Appointed by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, Ferguson is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, an organization that advocates for the free practice of religion in the U.S. and applies Catholic teaching to contemporary issues. She also serves on the advisory board of Belmont House, an initiative of Belmont Abbey College that works to “defend the practice of religion in the public square.” 
Ferguson serves on the advisory committee for the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, a University of Notre Dame initiative that “is committed to sharing the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through teaching, research, and public engagement at the highest level and across a range of disciplines,” according to its website
She is also a member of the board of directors of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, which organizes an annual nonpartisan prayer group that brings more than 1,500 people together in Washington, D.C., to pray for the nation.
Ferguson has written commentary on pro-life and family issues for the National Catholic Register and co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio show “Conversations with Consequences” on EWTN. 

9. Nevada abortion-rights measure has enough signatures for November ballot, supporters say, Abortion access advocates in Nevada say they have submitted almost twice the number of petition signatures needed to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution, By Ken Ritter, Associated Press, May 20, 2024, 6:26 PM
Abortion access advocates in Nevada said Monday that they have submitted almost twice the number of petition signatures needed to qualify a measure for the November ballot that would enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.

Nevada voters approved a law in 1990 that makes abortion available up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, a point considered a marker of fetal viability. But Nevada is one of several states where backers are pressing to strengthen abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

10. Cardinal Hollerich urges caution, dialogue on women’s ordination, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, May 20, 2024, 2:44 PM
In a new interview, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, suggested that the Church’s position on female priests is not set in stone and should be discussed further, at the same time warning of triggering “a huge backlash.” 
Speaking to the official Swiss Catholic portal kath.ch on May 17, Hollerich, who is the archbishop of Luxembourg, said the prohibition against ordaining women was “not an infallible doctrinal decision” and could be changed over time with arguments.

In 1994, Pope John Paul II, citing the Church’s traditional teaching, declared in the apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: “Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”
11. Study: Young German priests reject synodal way priorities, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, May 20, 2024, 1:25 PM
An in-depth study of Germany’s younger priests has found they have limited interest in the changes to the Catholic Church advocated by the country’s controversial “synodal way.”
The study, published May 17, asked priests ordained between 2010 and 2021 to say how they believed the Catholic Church should be reformed. The majority did not select answers that were championed by synodal way participants.
The 308-page document “Who becomes a priest?” — presented jointly by the German bishops’ conference and Bochum’s Center for Applied Pastoral Research (zap:bochum) — found that 25.7% of priests thought women should be ordained priests.
A further 29.6% supported the abolition of priestly celibacy, 30.3% called for greater democratization of the Church, and 36.8% agreed with the statement that “the participation of lay people should be increased, lay people should be given more power.”

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!

“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.