1. Ignore the Extremists. An Abortion Compromise Is Feasible., By Bloomberg, May 4, 2023, 8:10 AM, Editorial When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, Justice Brett Kavanaugh argued that abortion policy was best left to elected leaders. In the 11 months since, numerous legal challenges have kept the question of abortion care firmly within the judicial branch. The latest major case, involving nationwide access to the abortion pill, is likely to be heard by the high court before long. At issue in that case is whether the Food and Drug Administration had the authority to approve the (entirely safe and effective) drug known as mifepristone more than two decades ago. Last month, the Supreme Court blocked a lower court ruling that would’ve removed the pill from the market. Its decision means mifepristone will remain available as the case is appealed. However the suit proceeds, it should serve as a wakeup call to lawmakers. Rather than pandering to extremes, it’s past time they roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of marshalling compromises that reflect what voters want. A more balanced set of laws — similar to those in other developed nations — would keep the issue out of the courts, establish a more predictable regime, and ultimately protect the health and safety of millions of American women.  While such compromises may be unpalatable to the outliers on either side of this debate, they’re the best way to put abortion policy back where it belongs: out of the courts and into voters’ hands. https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/05/04/on-abortion-ignore-the-extremists-compromise-is-possible/1b283636-ea76-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Feds scramble to approve Catholic hospital’s chapel candle after funding cutoff threat, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, May 4, 2023 Federal officials late Wednesday scrambled to bless an Oklahoma hospital chapel’s candle after issuing a warning letter cursing its light and threatening a cutoff of Medicare and Medicaid funding. In a statement to The Washington Times, a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the agency “is working with the hospital’s accrediting organization to develop options to mitigate the potential fire risk and remove the safety finding.” On April 20, a CMS official ordered the St. Francis Health System to extinguish a glass-encased candle at its 96-bed hospital in south Tulsa or lose its accreditation from the Joint Commission, an independent agency.  The candle, which represents the presence of Christ, has burned continuously in the chapel for 63 years with the approval of local fire officials. “In requiring Saint Francis to extinguish its flame, you are trying to extinguish not just a candle, but the First Amendment rights of Saint Francis Health System, as well as vital healthcare for the elderly, poor, and disabled in Oklahoma,” attorney Lori Widham of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said May 2 in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and other officials. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/may/3/feds-catholic-hospital-douse-chapel-candle-or-lose/__________________________________________________________ 3. Vatican to send representative of Pope Francis to British coronation, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2023, 3:04 AM The Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, will represent Pope Francis at the coronation of King Charles III on Saturday, May 6. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni announced Parolin’s attendance at the ceremony on Thursday. Parolin will be in attendance with other high-ranking guests, including world leaders, representatives of European monarchies, and royal families from around the world.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254236/vatican-to-send-representative-of-pope-francis-to-british-coronation-ceremony__________________________________________________________ 4. Modern papal contender invokes ancient Roman legend on abortion, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, May 4, 2023, Opinion Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna, president of the powerful Italian bishops’ conference, comes off as a very modern figure. His roots are in the Community of Sant’Egidio, a new movement in Catholicism that dates just to 1968, and he’s a key ally of Pope Francis in his effort to promote a 21st century global church. Yet to express his position on abortion and the civil law, Zuppi, 67, recently invoked an ancient Roman legend, and his choice says a great deal about the worldview of this key prelate and papabile, meaning a candidate to be pope.  By invoking the Horatii and Curiatii, Zuppi was saying we need to set aside absolutist us v. them ways of framing the abortion issue, and instead make peace with complexity.  Zuppi’s comments have sparked a mini-tempest in conservative Catholic circles, though in fairness his observation – to wit, that “no one intends to call into question” the substance of the abortion law – could be taken as a descriptive statement about the realities of Italian secular politics, not Catholic moral teaching, and at that level, it’s perfectly accurate.  Whether Zuppi’s position amounts to a realistic realignment of the pro-life cause, or a supine surrender to the culture of death, is a matter for debate – perhaps especially among the modern analogues of the Horatii and Curiatii, still itching for a grand brawl to settle it all. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/05/modern-papal-contender-invokes-ancient-roman-legend-on-abortion__________________________________________________________ 5. The FBI’s Catholicism Memo Is No Laughing Matter, By Ashley McGuire, Newsweek, May 3, 2023, 9:45 AM, Opinion “It’s okay to be Roman Catholic, right?”That was the question Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) posed to an FBI official in recent investigative hearings run by Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “Somebody answer me please,” Van Drew followed up, after an awkward silence. You’ll forgive him for asking. The hearings, ignored almost entirely save for a handful of conservative news outlets, were looking into the leaked FBI memo alleging some kind of tie between what it called “radical-traditionalist Catholic ideology” and “violent extremism.” The FBI is now being sued over its failure to comply with a standard FOIA request to release emails discussing its contents. The agency’s recalcitrance is unsurprising, given the memo’s appalling contents.  It’s all the more deranged when you consider that Roman Catholics are currently the targets of an alarming pattern of attacks, many of them by actual violent extremists who don’t like the Church’s position on issues like abortion. According to a tracker maintained by CatholicVote, since the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, there have been nearly 150 attacks on Catholic Churches. Since CatholicVote began tracking in May 2020, the number is over 300.  A government looking to quell violent extremism should be studying the few remaining ties that bind us—instead of trying to sever them. Ashley McGuire is a Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association. https://www.newsweek.com/fbis-catholicism-memo-no-laughing-matter-opinion-1797641__________________________________________________________ 6. Ancient Knights of Malta get their 1st non-aristocratic head, By Nicole Winfield , Associated Press, May 3, 2023, 3:30 PM A Canadian lawyer who found his vocation caring for AIDS patients in Harlem was elected the grand master of the Knights of Malta on Wednesday, the first non-European and first non-aristocratic head of the ancient lay Catholic order that provides humanitarian aid around the world. John Dunlap, 66, was elected by an absolute majority of 99 voting members of a Knights body known as “the council complete of state.” He immediately informed Pope Francis of his election and was sworn in during a pomp-filled ceremony and procession Wednesday at the Knights’ magnificent villa on Rome’s Aventine hill. The election brings a hoped-for end to a tumultuous few years during which Francis intervened to remove a previous grand master as a result of a governance crisis. Francis then imposed a new set of constitutional reforms on the order, and appointed Dunlap as interim head, in ways that critics said threatened its sovereignty.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/03/vatican-pope-knights-of-malta-john-dunlap/a5f7b7c6-e9bf-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Vatican No 2 confirms Russia-Ukraine peace mission plans, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 3, 2023, 3:29 PM The Holy See’s No. 2 official confirmed Wednesday the existence of a Vatican peace “mission” to try to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, days after Pope Francis raised eyebrows with an offhand revelation of a secret operation that was already underway. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state, expressed surprise that officials in both Russia and Ukraine claimed ignorance of the Vatican initiative when they were asked about Francis’ comments. Speaking on the sidelines of a book launch Wednesday, Parolin said that both capitals had been informed, Vatican News reported. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/05/03/russia-ukraine-orthodox-pope-vatican/8afeb814-e98f-11ed-869e-986dd5713bc8_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Blessed Henri de Lubac?, There can be no question of the French theologian’s devotion to the cause of Christ or his fidelity to the Church., By George Weigel, National Catholic Register, May 3, 2023, Opinion On March 31, the bishops of France announced that they would petition the Holy See for permission to open a beatification cause for Jesuit Father Henri de Lubac. Whatever the outcome of the cause, paying such a tribute to one of the great figures of 20th-century Catholic theology was a fitting way to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Council’s opening. For without de Lubac’s pioneering work in recovering the Fathers of the Church and the riches of medieval biblical commentary for contemporary Catholic thought, the key texts of Vatican II texts — its dogmatic constitutions on divine revelation and on the Church — would not be so richly scriptural and patristic in content and style.  Who was Henri de Lubac? He was a veteran of the French army in World War I, during which he was severely wounded. He was, as just noted, a leading figure in the movement to revitalize Catholic theology by a “return to the sources.” He was a leader in the French Catholic resistance to Nazism after the fall of France in 1940 and a keen student of modern atheism.  Henri de Lubac knew that the great totalitarianisms of his time — Nazism and communism — were false, ultramundane religions that had to be fought with what he called “weapons of the spirit.” Those same “weapons” could also serve to renew the Church for mission. His was a grand vision, well lived. Whether he is eventually beatified or not, it is right to honor him for articulating it.   https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/blessed-henri-de-lubac__________________________________________________________ 9. Suicide, Depression, and a ‘Crisis of Hope’: Offering Real Help to Our Youth in Despair, Our young people’s sadness, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts are a desperate cry for this attentive love in the midst of their existential and ever-urgent questions., By Father Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, May 2, 2023, Opinion On Feb. 13, the Centers for Disease Control published its biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary and Trends Report for 2011-2021 and it showed the truly alarming, and rapidly worsening, situation of the mental and spiritual health of high school students in the United States. The report documented that 42% of U.S. high school teens in 2021 said they felt persistently sad or hopeless, 22% seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous year, 18% had come up with a concrete plan on how they would end their life, and 10% percent actually tried to carry out that plan (and thankfully failed). As worrisome as those numbers are, the breakdown between boys and girls was even more distressing. Fifty-seven percent of high school girls felt persistently sad or hopeless (compared to 29% of boys), 30% of girls seriously contemplated suicide in the previous year (14% of boys) and 24% (12% for boys) had a suicide plan. And the rapid increase in persistent sadness and suicidal ideation among teenage girls is likewise startling: Since 2011, persistent sadness and hopelessness had grown from 36% to 57%, suicidal thoughts from 19% to 30%, and suicide plans from 15% to 24%, a 60% increase in each category in a decade. (Over the same span, chronic sadness among high school boys had grown from 21% to 29%, suicidal thoughts from 13%-14%, and suicidal plans from 11%-12%).  It’s obvious that there is a crisis of hope underneath the persistent sadness and the consideration of ending one’s life. This is linked to a crisis of meaning, of the “why” of living, of what gives motivation to be able to change one’s own circumstances for the better, not to mention change one’s environment and the world. This crisis of hope is linked to a crisis of faith. Gen Z, those born between 1999 and 2015, are experiencing a rapid decline of faith in God. Since 2010, religious practice among high schoolers has dropped 27%. Thirteen percent now define as atheist and 16% as agnostic.  As we continue to digest the CDC report, search for the causes of the unsettling trends, and try to find appropriate remedies, it’s a time for all of us to check in on the young people in our life, especially girls, to ask how they’re doing, to talk to them about the pressures they’re under, to ask about how their friends are doing, and to start communicating to them, more intentionally and explicitly, the reasons for hope we have within us (1 Peter 3:15). https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/rising-suicide-rates-cdc-real-hope-landry__________________________________________________________

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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