1. The Bigotry That Proudly Speaks Its Name, From Dodger Stadium to Washington, indulging anti-Catholic sentiment is an elite pastime, By Gerard Baker, The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2023, Pg. A17, Opinion When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, he felt compelled, memorably, to make a declaration of political independence from the authorities of his Catholic faith. His opponents had notoriously exploited anti-Catholic sentiment in key states to suggest that somehow a papist in the Oval Office would owe principal loyalty to the Vatican and would take instruction from the pope on critical questions of the presidency.  Sixty years on, Joe Biden, the second Catholic president, hasn’t had to make a similar declaration. It would be nice to think that is because America is a more tolerant place than it was in 1960. But with each day of his presidency it seems the opposite is true. Anti-Catholic bigotry is entrenched among the left-wing elites who control the Democratic Party, and they have no fear that Mr. Biden in office would lift a finger to restrain it. Far from being a secret agent for the Vatican, the president seems content to be a very public agent for the continuous denigration of those who hold to traditional Catholic doctrine.  This is an age when political leaders, cultural elites and corporate leaders bleat endlessly about respect for the rights of all Americans. Catholics, however, are fair game—in a country whose president is a member of the church—for the mockery and derision of their most sacred beliefs. https://www.wsj.com/articles/anti-catholic-bigotry-is-an-elite-american-pastime-la-dodgers-white-house-sisters-of-perpetual-indulgence-joe-biden-jfk-bde742cc__________________________________________________________ 2. The legal challenge to assisted suicide, There is nothing to stop an assisted suicide regime once it has been put into place, By Billy McMorris, The Spectator, May 29, 2023, 12:15 AM, Opinion California legalized assisted suicide in 2016 after a photogenic brain cancer patient went to Oregon to kill herself. Each year a couple hundred Californians follow suit; some two-thirds of those who request lethal medication will end up ingesting it, according to the latest state report. But Lonnie says that he was pressured to choose euthanasia when he was in no condition to make a good decision. He was only saved from starving himself to death while awaiting his prescription through the intervention of his longtime doctor. He has joined a groundbreaking lawsuit brought by disability advocate groups arguing that California’s End of Life Options Act discriminates against those with disabilities. The plaintiffs accuse Democratic governor Gavin Newsom of fostering a “two-tiered medical system” that “unlawfully and irrationally discriminates by steering people with terminal disabilities towards physician-assisted suicide and all others towards life-preserving suicide treatment services.” Challenges to assisted suicide have failed in the past on standing grounds, as courts have embraced the seemingly irresistible, “if you don’t want X, don’t get one” that passes for legal scholarship in the United States. The theory behind VanHook’s suit rests on a class-based discrimination argument; by definition those with terminal illnesses are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act. Those protections are more necessary than ever given America’s acute mental health crisis — a crisis acknowledged in debates over education and guns and opioids and Covid, but for some reason almost entirely ignored when it comes to legalized self-destruction. On October 8, 2021, Newsom signed a law requiring insurers to provide mental health care within ten business days. That was three days after Newsom signed another law to decrease assisted suicide wait times from fifteen days to forty-eight hours.  In the United States, assisted suicide is legal in ten states and the District of Columbia. A bill to legalize the practice in Nevada just passed the state senate.  There is nothing to stop an assisted suicide regime once it has been put into place, particularly when the very people charged with serving patients have incentives to look the other way.   The recent pandemic gave the public health establishment an excuse to begin treating daily life as a triage unit where medical resources could be allocated by the value judgments of doctors; assisted suicide makes that a permanent feature of everyday life for the disabled.  https://thespectator.com/topic/legal-challenge-assisted-suicide-euthanasia/__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican singles out bishops in urging reflective not reactive social media use, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 29, 2023, 7:56 AM The Vatican on Monday urged the Catholic faithful, and especially bishops, to be “reflective, not reactive” on social media, issuing guidelines to try to tame the toxicity on Catholic Twitter and other social media platforms and encourage users to instead be “loving neighbors.” The Vatican’s communications office issued a “pastoral reflection” to respond to questions it has fielded for years about a more responsible, Christian use of social media and the risks online that accompany the rise of fake news and artificial intelligence.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/05/29/vatican-twitter-catholic-pope-social-media/b1579e3c-fe10-11ed-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Nun whose body shows little decay since 2019 death draws hundreds to rural Missouri, By Trisha Ahmed, Associated Press, May 29, 2023, 1:18 PM Hundreds of people flocked to a small town in Missouri this week and last to see a Black nun whose body has barely decomposed since 2019. Some say it’s a sign of holiness in Catholicism, while others say the lack of decomposition may not be as rare as people think. Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster was exhumed in April, according to a statement from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in Gower, Missouri. The nuns had been preparing for the addition of a St. Joseph shrine, and that involved “the reinterment of the remains of our beloved foundress, Sister Wilhelmina,” the statement said. When they exhumed Lancaster, they were told to expect only bones, since she had been buried in a simple wooden coffin without any embalming four years ago. Instead, they discovered an intact body and “a perfectly preserved religious habit,” the statement said. The nuns hadn’t meant to publicize the discovery, but someone posted a private email publicly and “the news began to spread like wildfire.”  The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph also released a statement. “The condition of the remains of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster has understandably generated widespread interest and raised important questions,” the diocese said. “At the same time, it is important to protect the integrity of the mortal remains of Sister Wilhelmina to allow for a thorough investigation.” “Incorruptibility has been verified in the past, but it is very rare. There is a well-established process to pursue the cause for sainthood, but that has not been initiated in this case yet,” the diocese added. The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, also said that Lancaster has not yet reached the required minimum of five years since death for the sainthood process to begin. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/05/29/missouri-catholic-nun-decomposed-wilhelmina-lancaster/d988a976-fe44-11ed-9eb0-6c94dcb16fcf_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. More Latino Americans Are Losing Their Religion, And, according to a new study, even those who aren’t are defying convention and stereotypes., By Paul Elie, The New Yorker, May 29, 2023, Opinion More Americans are abandoning religion, reducing its claim on their lives, or not taking it up in the first place, than was the case seventeen years ago. Those are the top-line conclusions of a report that the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit polling group based in Washington, D.C., published earlier this month. The report, based on a survey conducted among a representative sample of nearly six thousand people, who answered a series of multiple-choice questions, compared the results with those produced by a similar survey in 2006.  Of course, there are many surveys, and the results vary. But the P.R.R.I. survey’s picture is significant. It suggests the limits of religious categories, as applied to Hispanics in particular. It suggests, in defiance of the conventional wisdom, that one way for the Catholic Church to retain Hispanic members in the coming years is through progressive internal reforms. And it suggests, as the 2024 election cycle begins in earnest, that the political pundits’ idea of the Hispanic Catholic as the present moment’s Reagan Democrat—a swing voter who can be reached by Republican candidates who make a conservative pitch on social issues in quasi-religious terms—is at least off base and possibly unfounded, and that, while plenty of Hispanic Catholics occupy such a position, it is now a minority position. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/more-latino-americans-are-losing-their-religion__________________________________________________________ 6. Church and State, In “Playing God,” the journalist Mary Jo McConahay argues that an alliance of extremely conservative bishops and Catholic activists is exerting a profound impact on our national politics., By Noah Feldman, The New York Times, May 28, 2023, Pg. 17, Book Review  The conservative nature of the Catholic Church has long posed a challenge for postwar American Catholic liberals. Today, politicians like Joe Biden (only the second Catholic president) and Nancy Pelosi insist on their Catholic faith while holding mainstream liberal political positions. These include on issues like abortion and gay marriage, where their perspective contradicts the church’s official teachings. In this, Biden and Pelosi are following a path trod by John Kerry, Mario Cuomo and even John F. Kennedy. In her new book, ”Playing God,” the journalist Mary Jo McConahay, herself a liberal Catholic, aims to show the extreme conservatism of a handful of American Catholic bishops and connect them, directly or indirectly, to the Trump-adjacent far right.  But reading McConahay’s book can be a bit frustrating. For one thing, she does not distinguish between conservative views that are official church teaching, such as its doctrine of sin, and far-right views that are not inherent to Catholicism, like election denial, vaccine denial and the QAnon conspiracy theory. The result can at times sound distressingly similar to old-style Protestant attacks on Catholicism that combined principled objections with rebuking Catholics for the content of their faith.  For another thing, McConahay’s thesis is supposed to be about ties between Catholic bishops and right-wing activists and public figures. Yet she has difficulty closely linking actual bishops to prominent conservatives or conservative institutions.  The chapter on the Napa Institute, a conservative Catholic-oriented think tank and leadership network, points to the institute’s webpage, which says that the organization is inspired by the writings of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. McConahay charges that Chaput looks ”back to a mythical past when all (white) citizens shared presumed common instincts.” Unfortunately, her proof is a paraphrase of a passage by the archbishop to the effect that ”in the past, a common Christian culture existed which transcended partisan struggles, giving citizens a shared framework for behavior and belief.” Nostalgia for a unifying Christian culture is very different from white nationalism — a point that surely would not be lost on Chaput, who as it happens is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.  When it comes to intra-Catholic disputes, like whether politicians who support abortion rights should be denied the sacrament of communion, it’s a bit trickier for non-Catholics to express a point of view. At the same time, it doesn’t seem uncharitable to remind liberal Catholics like McConahay that the Catholic Church is by self-definition a structure of hierarchical authority run by a single man who holds the keys of heaven given by Jesus to St. Peter. If that’s not a conservative institution, I don’t know what is. Noah Feldman is a law professor at Harvard, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion and the author, most recently, of ”Lincoln, Slavery, and the Refounding of America.” https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/13/books/review/playing-god-mary-jo-mcconahay.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Pope Francis resumes regular appointments after canceling schedule with a fever, By Associated Press, May 27, 2023, 3:52 PM Pope Francis resumed regular appointments on Saturday, one day after canceling his schedule due to a fever. The pontiff held a number of private meetings, including with visitors from Georgetown University who were in town for a conference with a Jesuit-run journal. According to Vatican News, a number of poets, writers and film directors from around the world attended the conference, including director Martin Scorsese and his family. Francis later was captured on video arriving at the studios of the state broadcaster RAI to tape an interview, smiling animatedly at well-wishers outside.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/27/vatican-pope-health-fever/ec0e3f82-fc98-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Pope taps successor as archbishop of Buenos Aires, again says he might finally return home to visit, By Associated Press, May 26, 2023, 7:54 AM Pope Francis on Friday tapped an Argentine bishop with years of ministry in the country’s prisons as his successor as archbishop of Buenos Aires, a day after again saying he might finally visit his home country next year. Bishop Jorge Ignacio García Cuerva, the 55-year-old bishop of Rio Gallegos, will replace the retiring Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, who turned 75 last year, the Vatican said. The appointment was announced a day after Francis repeated that he was looking into visiting Argentina next year. Francis has kept Argentina at an arms’ length for the 10 years of his papacy, apparently not wanting to get drawn into the country’s political polarization. But recently, he has indicated an openness to finally go back next year, after a new Argentine president is sworn in following an October election.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/26/pope-argentina-buenos-aires-archbishop/075f5b46-fbbc-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. Cardinal blasts vendettas, ‘plots against me’ in Vatican financial trial, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 26, 2023, 1:01 PM A Vatican cardinal on trial in the Holy See’s big financial crimes case complained Friday that he can’t properly defend himself from “the nightmare of these accusations” because prosecutors have withheld key evidence from the defense. Cardinal Angelo Becciu spoke out in court after Judge Giuseppe Pignatone rejected his lawyers’ latest appeal for access to the material. In a decree read aloud Friday, Pignatone sided with prosecutors who have argued that the redacted interrogation transcripts and WhatsApp chats are now part of another investigation and must remain secret. Becciu, who was once one of the most influential Vatican cardinals and a close aide to Pope Francis, said he maintained his faith in the Vatican tribunal but was “bitter” and “perplexed” by the judge’s decision. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/05/26/vatican-pope-cardinal-trial-becciu/e696ed4a-fbe6-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 10. Another deceased Jesuit priest accused of sex abuse in Bolivia as pedophilia scandal grows, By Paola Flores, Associated Press, May 26, 2023, 5:00 PM A Spanish Jesuit priest who died in 2012 has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in Bolivia three decades ago, the latest in a string of pedophilia cases that have shaken the Catholic Church in this Andean country.  The revelations about Pedrajas, a Spanish Jesuit who died in 2009, has helped uncover other cases of abuse by Church authorities, including from other orders, amid a broad inquiry by prosecutors.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/26/bolivia-church-abuse-pedophilia-despujol-pedrajas/5629e236-fc08-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 11. Judge halts South Carolina’s new stricter abortion law until state Supreme Court review, By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press, May 26, 2023, 5:37 PM A judge put South Carolina’s new law banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy on hold Friday until the state Supreme Court can review the measure, giving providers a temporary reprieve in a region that has enacted strict limits on the procedure. Judge Clifton Newman’s ruling that put the state’s abortion law back at roughly 20 weeks came about 24 hours after Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law without any notice, which had left dozens of people seeking abortions in limbo and created the potential for a legal abortion becoming illegal as a doctor performed it.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/05/26/abortion-south-carolina-new-law-court-hearing/0b312ece-fbdb-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 12. Lawsuit brought by man who said he was sexually abused by Roman Catholic bishop settled, By Mark Pratt, Associated Press, May 26, 2023, 5:56 PM A lawsuit brought by a former altar boy who said he was raped as a child in the 1960s by a now-deceased Roman Catholic bishop in Massachusetts has been settled, the sides announced Friday. The plaintiff identified in court papers as John Doe alleged in the suit filed in February 2021 that not only was he abused by former Diocese of Springfield Bishop Christopher Weldon as well as two other clergy, but also that the church engaged in a yearslong coverup to protect the bishop’s reputation and legacy. The suit also said that even after abuse allegations against Weldon were found to be credible, diocesan officials as late as 2019 denied them. The diocese’s current bishop in a statement announcing the settlement apologized. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/05/26/catholic-bishop-sexual-abuse-lawsuit-settlement/83d9690a-fc07-11ed-bafc-bf50205661da_story.html__________________________________________________________ 13. Sex, money, and cloistered nuns? The strange case of Bishop Olson and the Fort Worth Carmelites, By The Pillar, May 26, 2023, 8:01 AM A monastery of Carmelite nuns says a Texas bishop has threatened them all with dismissal from their order, as he conducts an investigation into an alleged offense by the convent’s superior. While the diocese says the nun admitted to sexual misconduct, the Carmelites have filed for a restraining order against the bishop, and claim their superior was interrogated while in a state of opioid-induced delirium after surgery.  Meanwhile, the nuns’ lawyer says that money, not sex, is at the root of the conflict between Olson and the nuns.  The conflict between Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth and the Carmelite Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity began last month, when Olson told a community of cloistered nuns that he was investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against their superior, and that she could be dismissed from the Carmelite order. The bishop has since prohibited daily Mass at the monastery, confiscated computers and a phone, and announced publicly that Mother Teresa Agnes of Jesus Crucified Gerlach, O.C.D. had allegedly conducted a sexual affair with a priest. But for their part, the nuns have appealed to the Vatican, arguing that Bishop Olson has no canonical jurisdiction to initiate a dismissal process in the monastery, and that the diocese has not specified the exact allegations leveled against the nun. The Texas Carmelites have also sued Bishop Olson for 1 million dollars in damages, and asked a judge to issue a restraining order against him. Their attorney told The Pillar Wednesday that he believes Olson seized the nuns’ computer and cell phone to get his hands on the monastery’s donor list — a claim the diocese denies.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/sex-money-and-cloistered-nuns-the__________________________________________________________

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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