1. Vatican to publish new document on Marian apparitions next week, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, May 7, 2024, 9:02 AM
The Vatican’s doctrine office will publish a new document next week on discerning Marian apparitions and other supernatural events.
The Holy See Press Office announced on Tuesday that Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), will unveil new norms for discernment regarding “apparitions and other supernatural phenomena” on Friday, May 17.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, CNA’s sister news partner, last month, Fernandez said that the document will provide “clear guidelines and norms” for discernment.
The new norms will be the first time that the Vatican’s doctrinal office has issued a general document on apparitions in four decades. Pope Paul VI approved norms on “the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations” in 1978.

2. New York sues anti-abortion groups for promoting false treatments to reverse medication abortions, New York is suing an anti-abortion group and almost a dozen pregnancy counseling centers for allegedly promoting an unproven method to reverse medication abortions, By Associated Press, May 6, 2024, 5:04 PM
New York is suing an anti-abortion group and almost a dozen pregnancy counseling centers for promoting an unproven method to reverse medication abortions, Attorney General Letitia James announced Monday.
James, a Democrat, sued Heartbeat International and 11 pregnancy centers in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, arguing the groups violated laws around making false or misleading advertisements.
The case follows a similar lawsuit in California and other legal action in states such as Colorado regarding unsubstantiated treatments to reverse medication abortions.

Heartbeat International, in a statement, said the lawsuit is “a clear attempt to censor speech.”
3. Alabama lawsuit over threat of prosecution for abortion help can move forward, court rules, By Miranda Nazzaro, The Hill, May 6, 2024, 10:51 PM
A federal judge on Monday rejected an attempt to toss a suit challenging Alabama’s attorney general’s threat to prosecute those who help with out-of-state travel for abortions, paving the way for the case to move forward.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, in a preliminary ruling Monday, said the case brought by the Yellowhammer Fund — a group that supports people who need out-of-state abortions in the Deep South — can continue their lawsuit, which argues Attorney General Steve Marshall’s (R) threats create an illegal chilling effect on the group’s freedom of expression.
The group claims it has been forced to stop operating its abortion fund out of fear of prosecution. Alabama banned nearly all abortions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, even in cases of rape or incest.
Last year, Marshall threatened to prosecute anyone who “aids and abets” in an abortion, prompting confusion among health care workers and groups like the Yellowhammer Fund. This led to an “increased sense of fear and uncertainty for Plaintiff and pregnant people alike,” the group wrote in its complaint.
Thompson’s ruling, which was in response to Marshall’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, pointed to the constitutional right to travel.

4. Minnesota lawmakers debate constitutional amendment to protect abortion and LGBTQ rights, Minnesota lawmakers have launched their debate on far-reaching legislation that would amend the state’s constitution to protect abortion and LGBTQ rights, By Trisha Ahmed, Associated Press, May 6, 2024, 4:46 PM
Minnesota lawmakers launched their debate Monday on far-reaching legislation to amend the constitution to protect abortion and LGBTQ rights.
The Minnesota Equal Rights Amendment would be among the nation’s most expansive protections of abortion and LGBTQ rights if it is approved by lawmakers this session and then by voters on the 2026 ballot.
Over 100 people crammed into the legislative hearing room Monday. Supporters wore green clothes and buttons that said “ERA YES” while opponents wore bright red shirts that said “NO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT to kill unborn babies.”
Betty Folliard, whose group ERA Minnesota has been pushing for such a measure since 2014, testified in support, as did members of Gender Justice — an advocacy organization for gender equity — and OutFront Minnesota, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group.

If approved by the Legislature, voters in 2026 would be asked: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to say that all persons shall be guaranteed equal rights under the laws of this state, and shall not be discriminated against on account of race, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, or sex, including pregnancy, gender, and sexual orientation?”

5. For a Louisiana lawmaker, exempting incest and rape from the state’s abortion ban is personal, Democratic state Rep. Delisha Boyd is fighting an uphill battle in her attempt to pass a bill that would exempt cases of rape and incest from Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban, By Sara Cline, Associated Press, May 6, 2024, 9:25 PM
For Louisiana Rep. Delisha Boyd, the uphill battle she faces to exempt pregnancies that are the result of rape and incest from Louisiana’s strict abortion ban is not just morally right — it’s also personal.
With a GOP-dominated legislative committee set to debate and vote on Boyd’s exemption bill Tuesday, the Democratic New Orleans lawmaker has decided to publicly share her own story to underscore the importance of letting rape and incest survivors decide their own fates. If the bill advances, it will still have to make it through both Republican-led chambers of the Legislature.
Boyd says her mother, the victim of statutory rape by a man nearly twice her age, was only 15 when Boyd was conceived. Boyd was born in 1969, four years before abortion became legal under the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

Supporters of Louisiana’s ban note that if Boyd’s mother had been given the choice to abort, the lawmaker might not exist.

Of the 14 states with abortion bans at all stages of pregnancy, six have exceptions in cases of rape and five have exceptions for incest. But Boyd faces an uphill battle in Louisiana, a reliably red state firmly ensconced in the Bible Belt, where even some Democrats oppose abortions.
She is hoping that sharing her mother’s story will bring to light the realities that pregnant rape and incest survivors face — and, even possibly, change the minds of some opposing lawmakers.
6. New study suggests rampant ‘cafeteria Catholicism’, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, May 6, 2024, 6:37 PM
Ryan Burge, a leading researcher on religion and politics, recently compiled data indicating that “cafeteria Catholicism” is rampant in the United States. Specifically, the country’s Catholics express widespread disagreement with the Church’s teaching on abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty.
The term “cafeteria Catholic” refers to a Catholic who picks and chooses which Church teachings he or she affirms and adheres to. Washington, D.C., Cardinal Wilton Gregory recently used the term to describe President Joe Biden, who as president has advocated for unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
Burge found that only 0.9% of Catholics agree with Church teaching on all three of the issues.  His conclusions were based on 2022 data collected by the Global Social Survey (GSS) and compiled by the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA). Burge told CNA that the 0.9% number is an all-time low since GSS started collecting data in 1972.

Monsignor Charles Pope, a Catholic author and pastor of Holy Comforter-Saint Cyprian Church in the Archdiocese of Washington, told CNA that the 0.9% number does not accurately represent Catholics’ “buy-in” to the faith. 
Pope called the study “very unfair” and said it is “bringing things together which need to be analyzed separately.” He pointed out that the Church is clear in its teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil, while there is more leeway when it comes to the death penalty, which he described as a “prudential” rather than a “doctrinal” matter. 
He agreed, however, that there is still a disconnect between Church teaching and what many Catholics believe. This, he thinks, is due to what he called “the politicization of moral issues.” 

7. Notre Dame’s New Ethics Center Causes Controversy, Indicates Potential Catholic-Identity Clashes Ahead, Critics contend that the new Jenkins Center bypasses the already-established de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture — and may be a sign of how the Catholic university will implement its ambitious strategic plan., By Jonathan Liedl, National Catholic Register, May 6, 2024
At a normal Catholic university, the announcement of a new center devoted to virtue ethics would likely be an uncontroversial cause for celebration.

But the University of Notre Dame, where competing visions of Catholic identity play out at one of the nation’s most prestigious institutes of higher learning, isn’t an ordinary Catholic university. 
And the newly announced Father John Jenkins, C.S.C, Center for Virtue Ethics, named for the university’s outgoing president, is anything but uncontroversial.
In fact, its establishment may be a key indicator of how administrators intend to implement Notre Dame’s ambitious plan to become “the leading global Catholic research university” by 2033 — and what vision of Catholic identity will be guiding that pursuit.

Founded in 1999 by philosopher David Solomon and led for the last 12 years by bioethicist O. Carter Snead, the de Nicola Center says it promotes the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition both on campus and in the public square “through teaching, research, and public engagement, at the highest level and across a range of disciplines.”

[Notre Dame philosopher] O’Connor, for instance, told the Rover that by founding the new institution, the university was shifting its broader engagement in ethics away from a “specifically Catholic initiative in the [de Nicola Center] to a specifically neutral paradigm within the academic study of philosophy and, indeed, within the philosophy department.”

Shortly thereafter, Snead and Jennifer Newsome Martin, a theologian and the de Nicola Center’s incoming director, took to the pages of The Irish Rover to reiterate the center’s contribution to Notre Dame’s mission. In particular, the two emphasized the de Nicola Center’s distinctively academic character, also highlighting the center’s track record of facilitating fruitful collaborations among people of “diverse traditions and perspectives,” while remaining firmly grounded in its decidedly Catholic identity.
In what seemed to be a critique of the way the de Nicola Center had been characterized in contrast to the Jenkins Center, Snead and Martin also wrote that a Catholic institution can embrace a “generous vision of truth” not because “it attempts to operate in a neutral space or so-called ‘view from nowhere,’ but precisely because it is Catholic.”

In its bid to become an elite research university, the plan explicitly calls for Notre Dame to be “anchored in Roman Catholicism” in all its pursuits and “to offer a complementary approach to excellence that bridges faith and reason in an academic world accustomed to separating them.” 
But the plan has been criticized by the likes of Father Miscamble, who wrote that it “has something of the tone of a Catholic NGO” for explicitly tying its criteria for success to the rankings and estimation of secular institutions while remaining vague in its Catholic commitments. For instance, the document speaks of Catholicism primarily in institutional and sociological terms, as “the religious tradition that gave birth to universities in the medieval era and that has become the world’s most global, multicultural, and multilingual institution,” while terms like “God” and “Jesus” are absent from the text.

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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