1. An Ohio amendment serves as a testing ground for statewide abortion fights expected in 2024, By Julie Carr Smyth and Christine Fernando, Associated Press, November 2, 2023, 6:17 AM Abortion access is expected to play a central role in the 2024 elections. The preview comes next week, when Ohio voters decide whether to enshrine reproductive rights in their state Constitution.  The amendment has drawn more than $60 million in combined spending so far.  Turnout in the election that concludes Tuesday is expected to be robust, building on the enthusiasm from the summer, organizers say. Local election officials anticipate 40% to 50% of registered voters will participate, according to the Ohio Association of Election Officials. That’s higher than a typical off-year November election and up from the 39% turnout in August.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/02/election-2023-abortion-rights-ohio/c52924f0-7938-11ee-97dd-7a173b1bd730_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope Francis says he’ll spend 3 days in Dubai for COP28 climate conference, By Frances D’Emilio, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2023, 5:03 PM Pope Francis said Wednesday that he will travel to Dubai in early December for the COP28 conference of climate change, a global challenge that he had deeply worried about during his papacy stressing care for the environment. Francis announced the trip during a 45-minute-long interview on Italian television network RAI. “I believe I depart on the first (of December) and stay till the 3rd,” the pontiff said. “I’ll be there 3 days.” Francis offered no details of his trip’s program, including any appearance at the conference. It seemed likely he would want to address the delegates, especially because of the attention he has paid since becoming pope in 2013 to raising concern about the gravity of environmental damage, especially to poor people.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/11/01/pope-francis-climate-cop28-dubai/c9bb5d6a-78ef-11ee-97dd-7a173b1bd730_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Florida attorney general, against criticism, seeks to keep abortion rights amendment off 2024 ballot, By Brendan Farrington, Associated Press, November 1, 2023, 5:47 PM Florida’s Republican attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to keep a proposed abortion rights amendment off the ballot, saying proponents are waging “a war” to protect the procedure and ultimately will seek to expand those rights in future years.  The proposed amendment would allow abortions to remain legal until the fetus is viable. But Moody argued that abortion rights proponents and opponents have differing interpretations as to what viability means. Those differences along with the failure to define “health” and “health-care provider,” she said, are enough to deceive voters and potentially open a box of legal questions in the future.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/11/01/abortion-ashley-moody-florida-politics/4230989a-7900-11ee-97dd-7a173b1bd730_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope presses theologians to be in tune with challenges of daily life and talk with non-believers, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, November 1, 2023, 9:15 AM Pope Francis is pressing Catholic theologians to be more in tune with the challenges of ordinary people and urging them to dialogue with non-believers as well as believers of various religions. In a document, he signed on Wednesday and which was made public by the Vatican, the pontiff noted that he was updating statutes for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, since the last revision was issued nearly 25 years ago by one of his predecessors in the papacy, John Paul II. “The moment has come to revise these norms, to make them more adaptable to the mission that our time imposes on theology,’’ Francis wrote in the document, known as an Apostolic Letter. Francis said that theologians must “confront themselves with profound cultural transformations.” He didn’t mention specific issues. Instead, the pope urged them to adopt “openness to the world, to man, in the concreteness of his existential situation, with its issues, its wounds, its challenges, its potentials.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/11/01/pope-francis-vatican-theology-theologians/bd778934-78b8-11ee-97dd-7a173b1bd730_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. U.S. bishops: Biden administration’s proposed workplace guidance a ‘chill’ to free speech, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2023, 6:10 PM The U.S. Catholic bishops told the Biden administration last week that its newly proposed guidance on sex-based harassment in the workplace is unconstitutional because it bans speech opposing abortion and expressing certain views on contraception, same-sex relationships, and gender identity. The proposed guidance advises “sex-based harassment … also can include harassment based on a woman’s reproductive decisions, such as decisions about contraception or abortion.”  Additionally, it says that “sex-based harassment includes harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including how that identity is expressed.” The U.S. bishops’ Office of the General Counsel said in an Oct. 27 letter to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency that proposed the guidance, that the proposed guidance would “chill” free speech.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255892/us-bishops-biden-administration-s-proposed-workplace-guidance-a-chill-to-free-speech__________________________________________________________ 6. Texas school choice bill draws support from state Catholic conference, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2023, 5:30 PM A bill recently introduced in the Texas Legislature that has drawn support from the governor would create a publicly-funded education savings account (ESA) for students wishing to attend private schools, a move that the state’s Catholic bishops have urged the faithful to support. Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Tuesday proclamation that he had reached an agreement with Texas House leadership on the school choice bill as part of a special session that he called in October, with the aim to create a $10,400 per year ESA for participating students. “The legislation will create an Education Savings Accounts program with universal eligibility for all Texas schoolchildren and will be entirely voluntary for families and schools to participate,” Abbott, a Republican and a Catholic, said Oct. 31. He also said the agreement includes “billions more in funding for Texas public schools” over two years, including teacher pay raises and school safety upgrades.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255890/texas-school-choice-bill-draws-support-from-state-catholic-conference__________________________________________________________ 7. Pro-abortion vandals target Ohio Catholic churches, schools before Issue 1 vote, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2023, 4:53 PM Catholic churches, schools, and cemeteries throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati are being targeted by pro-abortion vandalism ahead of the statewide Issue 1 abortion referendum vote, according to an archdiocesan statement. One church was defaced with pro-abortion messages spray-painted on a window and more than a dozen other church properties had their pro-life campaign signs stolen or destroyed. In one instance, pro-abortion activists replaced a church’s pro-life signs with pro-abortion signs. “I am grateful to all our priests and other parish and school leaders who have maintained steadfast opposition to Issue 1 despite the many challenges presented, including theft and vandalism,” Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr said in a statement provided to CNA. “We remain committed to the protection of and care for women, children, and families regardless of the outcome of this election,” the archbishop added.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255889/pro-abortion-vandals-target-ohio-catholic-churches-schools-before-issue-1-vote__________________________________________________________ 8. New Orleans Archdiocese to close 10% of parishes, merge others, By SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Agency, November 1, 2023, 11:15 AM The Archdiocese of New Orleans has announced the “difficult and painful decision” to consolidate 11 parish communities, permanently close seven churches, and consolidate three territories in the coming months to ensure sustainability and vitality. Archbishop Gregory Aymond made the announcement in an Oct. 29 letter that was read at every Mass at all parishes in the archdiocese last weekend. This consolidation plan will close 10% of the archdiocese’s 111 parishes and is its largest restructuring plan since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the archdiocese merged 40 parishes and closed 27 of its churches. The New Orleans Archdiocese began an official pastoral planning process more than a year ago to evaluate the challenges the archdiocese was facing due to declining enrollment numbers and many factors out of its control — natural disasters such as floods and hurricanes over the past decade, the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges of Hurricane Ida recovery, inflation, and skyrocketing property insurance rates.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255883/new-orleans-parish-closures-mergers-consolidation__________________________________________________________ 9. Switzerland sets new annual church ‘exit’ record, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, November 1, 2023, 4:27 PM A record number of Catholics formally disaffiliated from the Church in Switzerland in 2022, according to new figures published this week. The Swiss Institute for Pastoral Sociology (SPI) in St. Gallen reported Oct. 30 that 34,561 people exited from Church registries last year, higher than the previous record of 34,182 set in 2021. The 2022 figure represents a 1.3% drop in registered Church membership, reducing the number of registered Catholics to 2.89 million out of a population of 8.7 million.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/switzerland-sets-new-annual-church__________________________________________________________

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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