1. Ambivalent about abortion, the American middle begins to find its voice, By George F. Will, The Washington Post, May 24, 2023, 7:00 AM, Opinion In the year since the Supreme Court restored abortion policy to the status of a state’s political choice, the issue that for some 50 years poisoned political discourse has actually become ameliorative. By overturning Roe v. Wade, the court ignited a nationwide debate about a subject that, until last June, had seemed incompatible with a temperate politics of splittable differences. The result has been a partial healing of the nation’s civic culture. Democratic persuasion demands patience regarding the meandering path of public opinion, which often changes in fits and starts. The 11 months of political fermentation since the overturning of Roe have revealed the necessity of politics, which is the business of accommodating differences.  Most Americans consider banning all or almost all abortions extreme. A perhaps larger majority believes that it is at least as extreme to permit abortions of viable fetuses (those able to survive outside the womb) up to the end of the third trimester, when abortion is indistinguishable from infanticide. Displaying their situational ethics, progressives, most of whom are abortion rights extremists, are denouncing as “imperial” the Supreme Court that surrendered custody of the abortion issue. But the court, by doing so, might have put the nation on a winding but ascending road to widespread adoption of abortion policies that split hitherto unsplittable differences. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/05/24/supreme-court-abortion-decision-beneficial-fallout/__________________________________________________________ 2. Will Illinois Still ‘Invest in Kids’?, By The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2023, Pg. A16, Editorial School choice has been growing at a record pace in states across the country, but in Illinois a small but popular scholarship program for poor children is in jeopardy of dying in the state Legislature. Started in 2017 under then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, the Invest in Kids program provides privately funded scholarships for low-income children so they can escape failing public schools. The program so far has funded more than 40,000 scholarships, with all recipients qualifying based on financial need.   In 2022-23 more than 32,000 students applied for scholarships, which let them attend more than 760 private and religious schools across the state. Since 2017 the program has raised more than $330 million in private donations with the most common gift around $1,000. Voters can claim a partial state income tax credit for their contribution.  The unions claim the program strips money from public schools, but that’s nonsense. The scholarships are privately funded, and the Invest in Kids Act was part of a bipartisan bill that created an evidence-based funding model and provided $350 million a year to Illinois public schools. Since the scholarship program started, Illinois has funneled an extra $1.3 billion into public education. The Illinois General Assembly adjourned Friday without passing a budget or other major legislation, so both legislative houses are back at work this week to wrap things up. Making Invest in Kids permanent should be a top priority. https://www.wsj.com/articles/illinois-invest-in-kids-scholarship-progam-general-assembly-school-choice-teachers-union-1659dc2__________________________________________________________ 3. South Carolina ready to renew abortion ban around 6 weeks of pregnancy after Senate vote, By James Pollard, Associated Press, May 24, 2023 Abortion will soon be severely restricted in one of the last bastions for legal access in the U.S. South. The South Carolina Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would ban most abortions after around six weeks of pregnancy — before most people know they are pregnant — and sent it to the Republican governor who has promised to sign the bill into law as soon as possible. The proposal restores a 2021 ban that took effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. The ban was overturned by the state’s highest court because it violated the state Constitution’s right to privacy.  Any challenge that reaches the South Carolina Supreme Court would also face a new bench, as the lone woman who authored the leading opinion in the abortion case had reached the court’s retirement age.  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-ban-south-carolina-legislature-b191cb6a7d0987ee723cd437e2e0f80e__________________________________________________________ 4. Catholic clergy sexually abused Illinois kids far more often than church acknowledged, state finds, By Michael Tarm and Kathleen Foody, Associated Press, May 23, 2023 More than 450 Catholic clergy in Illinois sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950, the state’s attorney general found in an investigation released Tuesday, revealing that the problem was far worse than the church had let on. Attorney General Kwame Raoul said at a news conference that investigators found that 451 Catholic clergy abused 1,997 children in Illinois between 1950 and 2019, though he acknowledged that the statute of limitations has expired in many cases and that those abusers “will never see justice in a legal sense.”  Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Monday called abuse “repugnant” but said the church in 1992 began overhauling its policies and programs and cooperated fully with the state’s review. https://apnews.com/article/catholic-clergy-sexual-abuse-illinois-investigation-a298133cec9486c2e51172316bfe7b4b__________________________________________________________ 5. Priest killed in Mexico; 9th slain in country in past 4 years, By Associated Press, May 23, 2023, 10:44 PM A Roman Catholic priest has been killed in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, the ninth slain in the country in the past four years. The church’s Catholic Multimedia Center identified the priest as Rev. Javier García Villafaña, who had been assigned to the Capacho parish in Huandacareo just one month earlier.  The killing came one day after the Mexican Episcopal Conference expressed its solidarity and condemnation of an attack against Monsignor Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez, archbishop of the northern state of Durango.  Michoacan has been roiled by violence for years. Multiple drug cartels vie for control of parts of the state and extend their illicit business to logging, mining and even limes and avocados. In their quest to eliminate any threat to their operations organized criminal groups have killed journalists, environmental activists and priests, in addition to any average citizens caught in their way.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/23/mexico-priest-killed/3f244a7e-f995-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Survey: Fewer than half Americans believe in God, but many still pray, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, May 23, 2023, 10:30 AM Only about half of Americans now say they are certain that God exists, and though regular religious attendance has declined, many Americans say they still pray several times a day. A snapshot of American religiosity comes from NORC at the University of Chicago, which released the 2022 data from the General Social Survey (GSS) on May 15. The survey is considered one of the top sources of data on Americans’ opinions.  About 50% of Americans said that they “know God exists and have no doubts.” That number has not changed since 2021. This response peaked at 65% in 1993 and fell to 60% in 2008. Another 16% told the GSS that they “believe in God but have doubts,” down slightly from its 1988 peak of 19%. Another 14% said that they believe in “some higher power.” About 6% said they believe in God “sometimes,” while about 7% responded “don’t know and no way to find out.” Though given the option “don’t know,” zero percent chose this option. About 7% said they do not believe in God, unchanged from 2021. Nonbelief in God hovered around 2%-3% for decades until 2014, when it began to increase. On the topic of self-identified religiosity, 14% told the GSS they were “very religious,” 32% identified as “moderately religious,” and 25% as “slightly religious.” The “moderately religious” showed the largest decline, down from 38% in 2018 and 41% in 2010. There is an upward trend in respondents who identify as “not religious.” In 2022, 29% chose this response, down slightly from the 2021 peak of 32%. Before 2012, fewer than 20% of respondents had ever chosen this answer.  Religious attendance figures appear to reflect this nonreligious trend. Among GSS respondents, 34% said they never attended religious services, a new high. This figure first hit 30% in 2018 and 20% in 1998 after hovering at about 15% for decades.https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254392/survey-fewer-than-half-americans-believe-in-god-but-many-still-pray__________________________________________________________

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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