1. Can Conservative and Liberal Catholics Coexist?, By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, May 8, 2024, Opinion
Before Pope Francis was elected, conservative Catholics had fallen into a habit of dismissing the more liberal form of Catholicism as an old and faded thing, a vision of the future that belonged to the church’s past, a relic of the 1970s that had little purchase among younger Catholics seriously practicing their faith.
The last 10 years have been hard on this kind of confidence. A college of supposedly conservative cardinals elected a surprisingly liberal pope. Moral and theological debates supposedly settled by Pope John Paul II were conspicuously reopened. The Latin Mass, rehabilitated under Pope Benedict XVI, was partially suppressed. Progressive theologians found themselves back in favor; formerly conservative bishops suddenly evolved. It seemed as though liberal Catholicism had been merely hibernating, awaiting a new pope, a new spring.
But lately, in both Rome and the United States, I’ve had conversations with well-informed Catholics in which the old conservative confidence has made a comeback. The idea of the Francis era as a “last gasp” for the Catholicism of the boomer era has figured prominently. The assumption that progressive Catholicism has no real long-term viability has returned. The fear that the next pope might be another liberalizer, younger and more ambitious than Francis, has largely receded.
This new confidence reflects a specific reading of the waning years (or what are probably the waning years) of the Francis pontificate. First, there’s a sense that the current pope’s liberalizing program has reached its limits: The Vatican’s halfway-opening to blessings for same-sex couples was essentially rejected by many of the church’s bishops, and the subsequent papal document reiterating church teaching on gender identity felt like an acknowledgment that the space for innovation had (for now) run out.
Second, there’s a view that Francis’ capricious governing style has alienated even many churchmen who are not especially conservative and created little appetite for a sequel or “Francis II” successor. 

Finally there’s the belief that there has been no “Francis effect” in the pews or wider culture that would justify continuing his project — no big return of lapsed or disaffected Catholics, no revitalization of Catholic institutions, no wave of Francis-inspired vocations to the priesthood and religious life. … Instead, under his liberalizing leadership, the church’s decline in the developed world has arguably accelerated — making it easy for conservative forms of Catholic faith to regard themselves once again as the only bulwark against secularization, and thus the only Catholic future.
Interestingly, a similar analysis showed up last week in The Associated Press, in the form of a feature on how American Catholicism is likely to turn more traditionalist as the baby boomers pass away.

This does not mean, however, that the tensions between liberal and conservative factions are destined to just disappear, subsumed in some sweeping conservative victory. Nor does it mean that those conservatives who expect a rightward turn in Rome after Pope Francis passes to his reward should expect that the age of liberal Catholicism will simply pass with him.
Instead, just as the current pope has often seemed exasperated by the persistence of traditionalist tendencies — How can this thing still be sticking around? has basically been his attitude to the Latin Mass — so a neo-traditional Catholicism will probably find itself persistently “stuck with” more progressive or liberal forms of Catholic faith.

At some point, a more decisive event than a mere change of popes will make the specific divisions of this epoch finally melt away.
But pending that kind of alteration, the entanglements between American Catholicism and American culture writ large all but guarantee that conservative and liberal forms of Catholic faith will persist together — undoubtedly in tension and conflict, but ideally in charity as well.
2. Democrats hope abortion issue will offset doubts about Biden in Michigan, Two women who faced medical emergencies because of abortion restrictions in their states are campaigning for President Joe Biden in Michigan, By Joey Cappelletti, Associated Press, May 7, 2024, 5:43 PM
 Two women campaigning for President Joe Biden after facing medical emergencies because of abortion restrictions in their states visited Michigan on Tuesday to highlight what they say are the risks to women’s health since federal abortion protections were overturned.
Democrats are aiming to make abortion rights a central issue in the 2024 election in the battleground state, hoping it will appeal to undecided voters and some members of the party who don’t like how Biden has handled the Israel-Hamas war.

3. The Filibuster Will Be on the Senate Ballot, Sen. Mark Kelly says he’d nuke it for abortion—oh, and voting rights., By The Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2024, 5:48 PM, Editorial
Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona told NBC News over the weekend that he favors overriding the Senate filibuster to pass national abortion protections. “I spent 15 years at NASA flying the Space Shuttle,” Mr. Kelly said. “If NASA had the rules of the United States Senate, the rocket ship would never leave the launch pad.”
What a spacey comparison. The Senate is supposed to weigh the competing interests and deeply held views of 330 million Americans, in order to compromise and pass workable laws for a continental federal republic. It isn’t rocket science. Without the 60-vote rule, a simple Senate majority representing barely half the country would have the power to impose its will on the other half of the country based on the public temper of the moment.
Democrats have sometimes said they don’t want to nuke the filibuster, only carve out exclusions. But as Mr. Kelly acknowledged, two years ago he argued for passing progressive “voting rights legislation” with 51 votes. This highlights the joke of saying that Democrats will preserve the filibuster, other than for one or two or seven rare exceptions.

4. Louisiana lawmakers reject adding exceptions of rape and incest to abortion ban, By Sara Cline, Associated Press, May 7, 2024, 5:04 PM
Despite pleas from Democrats and gut-wrenching testimony from doctors and rape survivors, a GOP-controlled legislative committee rejected a bill Tuesday that would have added cases of rape and incest as exceptions to Louisiana’s abortion ban.
In the reliably red state, which is firmly ensconced in the Bible Belt and where even some Democrats oppose abortions, adding exceptions to Louisiana’s strict law has been an ongoing battle for advocates — with a similar measure failing last year. Currently, 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.

5. New York judge blocks amendment barring discrimination on gender identity and pregnancy outcomes, By Anthony Izaguirre, Associated Press, May 7, 2024, 6:46 PM
A proposed amendment to New York’s constitution barring discrimination based on “gender identity” and “pregnancy outcomes” cannot appear on the state ballot in November because legislators made a procedural error during an initial round of approval, a judge ruled Tuesday.
The ruling from state Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. Doyle found lawmakers incorrectly approved the language before getting a written opinion from the attorney general.
The decision removes a politically charged question from the November ballot that Democrats hoped would drive turnout.

The amendment wouldn’t explicitly preserve a woman’s right to have an abortion. Instead, it would effectively prevent someone from being discriminated against for having the procedure, though backers have said it would have the practical effect of protecting reproductive rights.

6. U.S. abortion law is ‘far more permissive than the vast majority of the world’, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, May 7, 2024, 5:00 PM
United States abortion law is “far more permissive than the vast majority of the world,” according to a study recently released by the pro-life research group the Charlotte Lozier Institute. 
Released on April 30, the study found that out of the nearly 200 members of the United Nations (U.N.), the U.S. is one of only eight with no federal limit on abortion. The study also found that the U.S. is one of just 15 countries to allow abortion past 15 weeks of pregnancy, the point at which a baby can feel pain.
This comes as the Biden administration has been criticizing pro-life state laws limiting abortion as “extreme” and “bizarre” while pushing for a federal law enshrining unrestricted abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

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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