1. America’s Growing Baby Bust, The U.S. will need more legal immigration to offset the birth dearth., By The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2021, Pg. A20, Editorial
While the pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of premature deaths in the U.S., the larger long-term risk to American prosperity is the slide in the birth and fertility rates that shows no sign of stopping.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that U.S. births declined 4% last year—about double the average annual rate of decline between 2014 and 2019—and hit another record low. The total fertility rate, or the average number of times a woman will give birth in her lifetime, declined to a record low of 1,637.5 births per 1,000 women. That’s much lower than the population “replacement” rate, which is about 2,100 births.

Changing cultural mores are probably the main explanation for the birth decline.

No matter the cause, America’s baby bust will create a long-term drag on the labor force and economy. Increasing legal immigration will be necessary to offset the birth dearth, as even Japan has recognized in recent years.

2. German Catholic Priests Defy Pope Francis With Public Blessings of Gay Couples, Planned protest ceremonies escalate struggle between German progressives and the Vatican, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, May 6, 2021, 8:00 AM
Catholic clergy are preparing to bless gay couples across Germany in defiance of a recent Vatican ban on the practice, in the latest sign of how far liberal German Catholics are pushing the boundaries of the Vatican’s authority and teachings to forge a more progressive version of their church.
Priests and some lay ministers are planning coordinated ceremonies blessing gay relationships in about 100 Catholic churches and other venues in Germany, including Essen Cathedral, over the next few days, most of them on Monday. Almost 20 events will be live-streamed.
3. ‘Security consultant’ says Cardinal Becciu asked her to compile ‘files’ on Vatican personnel, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 6, 2021, 5:05 AM
Cecilia Marogna, a self-styled security consultant under investigation by the Vatican for embezzlement, has claimed that Cardinal Angelo Becciu asked her to create dossiers of incriminating information on Vatican personnel.
In an interview aired on the Italian investigative news program “Report” May 3, Marogna alleged that she was asked to create “dossieraggio,” an Italian neologism meaning a file or dossier of confidential information on a person, especially for the purpose of blackmail.
Marogna claimed that the request came from Cardinal Becciu, then the number two at the Secretariat of State.
4. Vatican conference features Fauci, Francis — and Aerosmith, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 6, 2021, 5:01 AM
An eclectic mix of participants are taking part in a unique three-day Vatican conference on COVID-19, other global health threats and how science, solidarity and spirituality can address them.
Along with Pope Francis, the event includes Dr. Anthony Fauci, soprano Renee Fleming, the CEOs of Pfizer and Moderna and the lead guitarist of Aerosmith.
5. Pope: God doesn’t distinguish between natives, foreigners, By Associated Press, May 6, 2021, 7:15 AM
Pope Francis on Thursday denounced “aggressive” nationalism that rejects migrants, and said Catholics should follow the Gospel-mandated call for an inclusive, welcoming church that doesn’t distinguish between “natives and foreigners, residents and guests.”
Francis made the appeal in his annual message for migrants and refugees. He said the current pandemic had shown how the concept of the human family had been “fragmented, wounded and disfigured,” with the poorest and most marginalized paying the highest price.
The universal “we,” he said, “is crumbling and cracking due to myopic and aggressive forms of nationalism and radical individualism.”
6. N. Carolina abortion ban after 20 weeks before appeals court, By Associated Press, May 6, 2021, 5:50 AM
The constitutionality of North Carolina’s ban on abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy is being weighed by an appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, scheduled remote oral arguments on Thursday by attorneys for abortion providers who sued over the ban and for local prosecutors and state officials who are defendants.
In 2019, U.S. District Judge William Osteen declared the law unconstitutional because the 20-week limit prohibited some abortions before a fetus could live outside the womb. His judgment would allow some women to obtain abortions later, but prior to viability.
7. US birth rate falls to lowest point in more than a century, By Mike Stobbe, Associated Press, May 5, 2021
The U.S. birth rate fell 4% last year, the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years, according to a government report being released Wednesday.
The rate dropped for moms of every major race and ethnicity, and in nearly every age group, falling to the lowest point since federal health officials started tracking it more than a century ago.
8. Pope Francis invites faithful to monthlong rosary marathon for end of pandemic, By Claire Giangravé, Religion News Service, May 5, 2021, 3:33 PM
Pope Francis launched a marathon to pray the rosary every day in the Marian month of May to ask for the end of the pandemic. The event highlights the pope’s own devotion to the Virgin Mary and his views on the handling of the pandemic.
Thirty sanctuaries located all over the world and dedicated to the Virgin Mary will take part in reciting the rosary in unison, each one in turn leading the prayer. From Poland to Nigeria to South Korea, faithful Catholics will join together with special intentions for those who have been affected the most by COVID-19.
9. Texas Republicans pushing abortion ban after 6 weeks, By Jim Vertuno, Associated Press, May 5, 2021, 6:29 PM
Texas would ban abortions after as early six weeks — before many women know they are pregnant — and allow private citizens to enforce the rule through civil lawsuits against doctors and others under a measure given preliminary approval by the GOP-dominated state House on Wednesday.
The move would have Texas join about a dozen other Republican-led states to pass so-called “heartbeat bills” which have been mostly blocked by federal courts.
A similar version has already passed the state Senate, and any differences will have to be negotiated before the bill goes to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor has suggested he would sign it into law.
10. Illinois Bishops Urge Support for School-Choice Measure, While Nebraska Bill Fails, Nebraska and Illinois have not been the only states considering school choice-related policies, By Catholic News Agency, May 5, 2021
Illinois bishops are urging Catholics in the state to support a scholarship program funded by donations with tax-credit incentives, tax credits that the governor intends to cut.
Illinois’ Invest in Kids Act, enacted in 2017, allows for a 75% state income tax credit for charitable donations to an approved scholarship-granting organization; the scholarships help students to attend the school of their choice.
The act, which passed with strong Catholic support, has led to scholarships granted to some 20,000 children in Illinois so far, the state’s bishops say; more than 25,000 students are still in line for scholarships.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Education Association do not support the act, however, claiming that it diverts money away from public schools. Pritzker has recommended cutting the tax credit from 75% to 40%.
Parents should have greater school choice for their children, the state’s bishops said.

In Nebraska, the state bishops’ conference lamented the failure of a school-choice bill last week.
The Nebraska Legislature failed to pass L.B. 364, a measure that would have created a 50% tax credit for donors to scholarship funds for low-income students; the funds could have been used for students attending private school, with a yearly cap of $5 million on the funds.

In late March, Kentucky lawmakers voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of school-choice legislation; the bill allows the use of tax credits to fund vouchers for students in some of Kentucky’s largest counties to attend private schools. Kentucky’s four Catholic bishops applauded the bill’s passage.

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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