1. Experts see progress, problems in Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, By Sean Salai, The Washington Times, November 15, 2021, Pg. A9 The U.S. Catholic Church has made some improvement in its response to its sex abuse scandal but still has a long way to go, according to analysts who have pored over the an annual audit released this week. Dawn Eden Goldstein, a Catholic theologian and sex abuse survivor based in Washington, said it was significant that the 18th annual report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection shows Catholic dioceses paid out nearly $312 million in abuse-related costs in 2021, with most of the money going to victims and their attorneys.  The USCCB reported this week in the annual audit — conducted independently by the Rochester, New York-based Stonebridge Institute — that 3,924 adults came forward with 4,228 new allegations between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. An additional 22 allegations came from current minors.  During the audit year, 22 allegations came from those who were minors at the time. Six of them were substantiated, two unsubstantiated, three unable to be proven, seven still under investigation and four categorized as “other.” https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/nov/12/experts-see-progress-problems-us-catholic-churchs-/___________________________________________________________ 2. Pope Francis Sent Me a Letter. It Gives Me Hope as a Gay Catholic., By Michael O’Loughlin, The New York Times, November 15, 2021, 5:00 AM, Opinion When Carol Baltosiewich was a Catholic nun, she spent 10 years caring for young men dying from AIDS. Even so, the first time I spoke to her, in 2016, I was terrified to tell her I’m gay.  But my conversations with Ms. Baltosiewich and others like her — the fellowship, gratitude and moments of revelation we exchanged — had a profound effect on my own faith. So much so that recently, I wrote a letter to Pope Francis to share the book I wrote based on those conversations, and even to tell him a little about myself as a gay Catholic. To my surprise, he wrote back. His words offer me encouragement that dialogue is possible between L.G.B.T. Catholics and church leaders, even at the highest levels.  “Querido hermano,” began the letter. The letter was in Spanish, Pope Francis’ native tongue, but it’s been translated into English for this article. “Dear brother. I thank you for the letter and the book, which you wrote.” “As I finished reading your letter,” the pope continued, invoking the Gospel of Matthew, “I was spontaneously struck by that through which we will one day be judged: ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.’” I read on. “Thank you for shining a light on the lives and bearing witness to the many priests, religious sisters and lay people, who opted to accompany, support and help their brothers and sisters who were sick from H.I.V. and AIDS at great risk to their profession and reputation.” …. “Instead of indifference, alienation and even condemnation,” Pope Francis continued, “these people let themselves be moved by the mercy of the Father and allowed that to become their own life’s work; a discreet mercy, silent and hidden, but still capable of sustaining and restoring the life and history of each one of us.” “Again, I thank you and ask that the Father bless you and the Virgin Mary care for you, and please, don’t forget to pray for me,” he concluded, signing off, “Fraternally, Francis.” I’m not under any illusions that a letter, even one signed by the pope, will heal the wounds some Catholics imparted decades ago. Or that this might finally be the moment when Francis changes church teaching on homosexuality. In fact, under his leadership, the Vatican has doubled down, releasing what many read as a reiteration of the ban on gay priests. More recently, the Vatican stated that while the church should welcome gay people “with respect and sensitivity,” God “does not and cannot bless sin” and thus declared priests cannot bless gay couples. But Christians are called to have hope, and so for now, I still do. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/opinion/pope-francis-lgbt-community.html___________________________________________________________ 3. ‘Roe’ will be overturned. The federal courts will go back to normal., By Hugh Hewitt, The Washington Post, November 14, 2021, 8:00 AM, Opinion I am an optimist; come late June 2022, at least six members of the Supreme Court will overturn these cases. The Dobbs case is due for oral argument on Dec. 1 before the high court. Roe’s Waterloo is, finally, at hand.  Most states that permit abortion now — such as New York and California — will see their laws untouched by the jettisoning of Roe and Casey. The subject of “reproductive rights” will return to the control of a self-governing people exercising their views through elected representatives at the state level. If the left wishes to constitutionalize abortion law again, it will have to do it the old-fashioned way: with an amendment to the Constitution.  You will read much about Dobbs in the next few months, as the remaining tall towers of elite opinion — the watch fires of the overclass — are being pre-lit ahead of the oral argument. But the writing is on the wall. The anti-Roe constitutionalists have been right that Roe has been doomed for the last 48 years — nearly as long as the 58 years it took Plessy to be tossed out by the Warren Court in Brown v. Board of Education. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/14/roe-will-be-overturned-federal-courts-will-go-back-normal/___________________________________________________________ 4. Pope: Don’t judge the poor, often victims of injustice, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, November 14, 2021, 6:04 AM Pope Francis decried societies which rush indifferently past the poor, often judging them instead of helping them, as he celebrated Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica attended by 2,000 indigent people. During his homily, Francis also made an made the appeal against what he called “growing indifference” to the poor, who, he said, are often forced into poverty by injustice. Francis has used his papacy since 2013 to draw attention to those living on society’s margins. The Catholic Church dedicated the day to the world’s poor. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-dont-judge-the-poor-often-victims-of-injustice/2021/11/14/23029216-4536-11ec-beca-3cc7103bd814_story.html___________________________________________________________ 5. Pope to politicians: Be courageous, show vision on climate, By Associated Press, November 14, 2021, 7:43 AM Pope Francis on Sunday urged political and economic leaders to show courage and long-range vision, hours after U.N. led-climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, ended in compromise on how to combat global warming. Francis in remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square said the “cry of the poor, united to the cry of the Earth, resounded in the last days at the United Nations COP26 summit on climate change.” “I encourage all those who have political and economic responsibilities to act immediately with courage and farsightedness,’’ he said. “At the same time, I invite all persons of good will to carry out active citizenry to care for the common house,’’ Francis said, referring to planet Earth. The pontiff didn’t comment on the outcome of the two weeks of U.N. talks. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-to-politicians-be-courageous-show-vision-on-climate/2021/11/14/7d5fbb96-4548-11ec-beca-3cc7103bd814_story.html___________________________________________________________ 6. US Catholic bishops may dodge rebuke of Biden over abortion, By David Crary, Associated Press, November 14, 2021, 9:49 AM While some US Catholic bishops continue to denounce President Joe Biden for his support of legal abortion, their conference as a whole is likely to avoid direct criticism of him at its upcoming national meeting. The highest-profile agenda item is a proposed “teaching document” about the sacrament of Communion. Months of work on the document, by the conference’s Committee on Doctrine, coincided with sometimes heated debate among the bishops as to whether Biden and other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights are unworthy of receiving Communion. A draft of the document circulating ahead of the Nov. 15-18 meeting in Baltimore breaks little new ground, though its language could be toughened during the gathering. The draft mentions abortion only once and doesn’t name Biden or other politicians, though it says at one point, “Lay people who exercise some form of public authority have a special responsibility to embody Church teaching.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-catholic-bishops-may-dodge-rebuke-of-biden-over-abortion/2021/11/14/a9474d22-4558-11ec-beca-3cc7103bd814_story.html___________________________________________________________ 7. Another state, another clergy sex abuse scandal, By The Washington Post, November 13, 2021, Editorial Nebraska’s attorney general recently identified 57 priests and other Catholic officials responsible for allegedly sexually abusing more than 250 victims, mainly boys, over decades while the church’s hierarchy shrugged or covered up the crimes. The number of clerics who will be criminally prosecuted is zero.  Despite those reports, and that scrutiny, just about 10 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that allow victims to file lawsuits for past abuse, by briefly suspending the statute of limitations in “lookback windows.” Amazingly, Pennsylvania, where the grand jury documented roughly 300 priests accused of abusing more than 1,000 children, is not one of those states. It is true that the U.S. Catholic Church has been more proactive than its counterparts in almost every other country in identifying clerical sex abusers and cooperating with investigative authorities. Yet the U.S. bishops have also continued spending tens of millions of dollars annually lobbying state lawmakers to prevent changes in law that would allow lawsuits for past clerical sex crimes — and enable a measure of justice and healing for victims. That is morally indefensible. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/11/13/another-state-another-clergy-sex-abuse-scandal/___________________________________________________________ 8. Churches Changed During the Pandemic and Many Aren’t Going Back, Religious leaders are trying to attract members for the long haul. ‘What we are trying to build is something that is Covid-proof and recession-proof.’, By Janet Adamy, The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2021, 9:52 AM Across the country, Christian leaders are wrestling with how to keep their congregations going with fewer people showing up. The number of churchgoers has steadily dropped in the U.S. over the past few decades. But Covid-19 and its lockdown restrictions accelerated that fall. In-person church attendance is roughly 30% to 50% lower than it was before the pandemic, estimates Barna Group, a research firm that studies faith in the U.S. While religious leaders expect some rebound once the pandemic recedes, many don’t expect attendance to return to previous levels. That has left churches looking for different approaches to connect with existing members and attract new ones.  In Catholic, mainline Protestant, evangelical and other congregations, many religious leaders are laying plans for a more hybrid future with permanent online services—a shift from the in-person gatherings that have been at the core of worship for centuries. Beyond technology, some churches are focused on boosting engagement with small gatherings of congregants for discussion groups or community service and putting more emphasis on a one-on-one relationship with God. https://www.wsj.com/articles/church-pandemic-covid-online-11636728162___________________________________________________________ 9. Biden administration reverses Trump-era rule that expanded religious exemptions for massive federal contracting force, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, November 12, 2021, 4:05 PM The Biden administration is rescinding a Trump-era rule that broadened religious exemptions for the massive workforce of federal contractors, an effort to bring anti-discrimination protections more in line with previous decades. While there’s no record any contractor has tried to use the exemption, advocates on both sides say the push-pull is powerfully important. It comes in an era when some religious conservatives are pushing back against bans on employment discrimination against people on the basis of sexuality and gender identity being put on par with, or above, protections for religious expression and practice. In its proposal published Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor argues that the Trump-era rule “departs” from standard interpretations of civil rights law banning employment discrimination that have been expanded by presidents for the most part since the 1940s. The Labor Department oversees contractor compliance. The rule, on which people can comment for another month, calls for wiping out the Trump policy completely and returning to the more narrow exemption. https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/11/12/contractors-religious-exemption-trump-biden/___________________________________________________________ 10. State AG: Abortion waiting period to remain in Tennessee, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, November 12, 2021, 5:31 PM Pregnant people in Tennessee will continue to be required to wait at least 48 hours before getting abortions after reproductive rights advocates declined to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, state Attorney General Herbert Slatery announced Friday. Slatery says the six-year legal battle is now “over” and the contentious state law is “no longer subject to question.” In August, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the 2015 law, arguing that opponents had failed to identify instances where a woman had been significantly burdened by the requirement. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-catholic-bishops-may-dodge-rebuke-of-biden-over-abortion/2021/11/14/a9474d22-4558-11ec-beca-3cc7103bd814_story.html___________________________________________________________

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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