1. Census: Christians a minority in England; non-religious grow, By Jill Lawless, Associated Press, November 29, 2022, 7:10 AM Fewer than half the people in England and Wales consider themselves Christian, according to the most recent census — the first time the country’s official religion has been followed by a minority of the population.  Some 46.2% of the population of England and Wales described themselves as Christian on the day of the 2021 census, down from 59.3% a decade earlier. The Muslim population grew from 4.9% to 6.5% of the population, while 1.7% identified as Hindu, up from 1.5%. More than 1 in 3 people — 37% — said they had no religion, up from 25% in 2011. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/census-christians-a-minority-in-england-non-religious-grow/2022/11/29/c4ef90aa-6fde-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. Leaders From China’s State-Run Catholic Church Brief Hong Kong Clergy on President Xi’s ‘Sinicization’ Plan, Critics see this conference, held in mid-November, as a precursor to a further crackdown on religious freedom., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, November 29, 2022 Chinese bishops, priests and theologians from the country’s state-run Church have formally briefed Hong Kong clergy on implementing President XI Jinping’s socialistic vision of religion — a move critics see as a possible precursor to a further crackdown on religious freedom.   The conference took place a week before the forced installation Nov. 24 of an underground bishop as an auxiliary of a diocese not recognized by the Vatican. In a statement, the Vatican expressed “surprise and regret” over the installation, saying it violated the Provisional Agreement it had signed with Beijing in 2018 on the appointment of bishops.  The online conference, billed as the “Second Mainland-Hong-Kong Catholic Sinicized Theology Exchange,” was held Nov. 15-16. The first such meeting took place in secret on Oct. 31 last year at the instigation of mainland religious officials.  This year’s conference involved more than 50 specialists from mainland China and Hong Kong and was jointly organized by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPCA), China’s state-run Church, the Chinese Catholic bishops’ conference theological research committee and the Holy Spirit Study Center of the Diocese of Hong Kong. According to a report on the CPCA-run ChinaCatholic.cnthe participants “exchanged and discussed the significance of Bible translation and interpretation in relation to the Sinicization of the based on Vatican II’s Dei Verbum (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation).” But the two-day conference also appeared to place a premium on “Sinicization” — a political ideology that aims to impose China’s model of socialism and support for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.  https://www.ncregister.com/news/leaders-from-china-s-state-run-catholic-church-brief-hong-kong-clergy-on-president-xi-s-sinicization-plan__________________________________________________________ 3. China vows more ‘friendly consensus’ amid Vatican complaints, By Associated Press, November 28, 2022, 9:36 AM Beijing and the Vatican are once again tangling over the prickly issue of appointing Chinese bishops. After complaints from the Vatican that Beijing was violating a 2018 interim accord, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Monday said the country is willing to expand the “friendly consensus” achieved with the Vatican over bishop nominations. The Vatican issued an unusually harsh statement Saturday complaining that Beijing on Nov. 24 had installed Bishop John Peng Weizhao as an auxiliary bishop in the province of Jiangxi, which the Vatican doesn’t recognize as a diocese.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/china-vows-more-friendly-consensus-amid-vatican-complaints/2022/11/28/9768eb30-6f26-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Senate set to vote on bill protecting same-sex marriages, By Mary Clare Jalonick and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press, November 28, 2022, 10:13 PM The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriages, putting Congress one step closer to passing the landmark bill and ensuring that such unions are enshrined in federal law. Senate Democrats are moving quickly, while the party still holds the majority in both chambers of Congress, to pass the bill requiring that such unions are legally recognized nationwide. The House would still have to vote on the legislation and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-set-to-vote-on-bill-protecting-same-sex-marriages/2022/11/28/ec419154-6f88-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. The Vatican objects, but does China care?, Was the appointment of a bishop in China a calculated act of provocation by Beijing , or evidence of its casual indifference to the Vatican?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, November 28, 2022, 8:30 PM After Chinese authorities appointed without Vatican approval last week a new auxiliary bishop, the Holy See on Saturday released an unusually candid statement of “surprise and regret.” While the appointment which triggered that statement was not the first unilateral episcopal appointment made by Beijing since the signing of a Vatican-China agreement in 2018, it was unique both in its nature and in the response it provoked from Rome. It remains unclear whether the appointment was a calculated act of provocation by the Chinese government, or evidence of Beijing’s casual indifference to the Vatican. But both options suggest an unworkable level of dysfunction underlying the controversial bilateral agreement, and a mounting toll on Chinese clergy.  While Chinese officials have in recent years appointed bishops without prior Vatican approval, those bishops were named to existing dioceses — meaning that Rome was able to sanate the appointments after the fact, and claim to have been consulted on the process. That kind of face-saving wasn’t possible in Peng’s case, since his new position as an auxiliary bishop is for the “diocese” of Jiangxi — which was reportedly created by Chinese government authorities in September, by the combination of the five dioceses in the metropolitan province of Nanchang. When news of Peng’s installation broke, Rome was forced to contend with a three-fold problem: the bishop apparently vacating his see in Yuijang,his accepting a new episcopal assignment without Vatican approval,and the creation of an entirely new diocese. And, because all of that involves the attempt by Chinese authorities to effectively suppress and merge several entire dioceses, the Vatican could not deploy its generally diplomatic tack of claiming there had been consulted on the bishop’s new appointment.  What would be worse for the pope is if China isn’t talking back at all, and Beijing has decided the Church in China is essentially its hostage and can safely ignore Rome now that the deal has been renewed for a second time. Given Peng’s history as an underground bishop, and the Vatican’s own acknowledgement that he accepted his new role under “long and heavy pressure” from the government, it increasingly appears like faithful bishops in China have already reached that conclusion. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/the-vatican-objects-but-does-china-care/__________________________________________________________ 6. Becciu meets with Pope Francis to ‘clarify’ secret recording amid mounting scandals, Cardinal Angelo Becciu met with Pope Francis Saturday evening, two days after prosecutors filed new evidence against the cardinal., By The Pillar, November 28, 2022, 2:40 PM Cardinal Angelo Becciu met with Pope Francis Saturday evening, two days after prosecutors filed new evidence against the cardinal, which shows that Becciu secretly recorded the pope discussing state secrets, and allegedly conspired with members of his family to embezzle Church funds. Becciu told reporters that over the weekend he had been assured by Pope Francis he could continue attending public events as a cardinal, after a “cordial” conversation with the pope, in which Becciu offered the pontiff “clarifications [he] deemed necessary,” about the mounting scandals facing the cardinal. The cardinal did not specify what he clarified for Francis on Saturday, or why he deemed it necessary, and the meeting did not appear on the Holy See’s daily list of papal audiences.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/becciu-meets-with-pope-francis-to-clarify-secret-recording-amid-mounting-scandals/__________________________________________________________ 7. Pope Francis says dialogue ‘slow,’ but only way forward with China, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, November 28, 2022, 9:30 AM In a new interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis said the Vatican-China deal has had both failures and successes, but he “cannot find another way” to carry out diplomacy. The pope spoke about the Vatican-China deal with America Magazine on Nov. 22, two days before the Nov. 24 installation ceremony of Bishop John Peng Weizhao, which the Vatican said “did not occur in accordance with … what was stipulated” in the renewed provisional agreement. A Nov. 26 statement said that “the Holy See noted with surprise and regret” that Peng had been installed as an “auxiliary bishop of Jiangxi,” a diocese that is not recognized by the Vatican https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252926/pope-francis-says-dialogue-slow-but-only-way-forward-with-china__________________________________________________________ 8. Pope Francis explains to America Magazine why women cannot be ordained priests, By Zelda Caldwell, Catholic News Agency, November 28, 2022, 12:30 PM In an interview published in America Magazine today, Pope Francis unequivocally stated that women cannot be ordained as priests but emphasized the important role they have to play in the life of the Church.  “Many women feel pain because they cannot be ordained priests. What would you say to a woman who is already serving in the life of the Church but who still feels called to be a priest?” asked Kerry Webber, executive editor of the monthly magazine published by the Jesuits of the United States. The Holy Father was unequivocal on the question of the ordination of women priests:“And why can a woman not enter ordained ministry? It is because the Petrine principle has no place for that,” the pope said.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252928/pope-francis-explains-to-america-magazine-why-women-cannot-be-ordained-priests__________________________________________________________ 9Pope Francis: Benedict XVI was ‘leader’ in responding to sexual abuse, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, November 28, 2022, 4:30 PM In a recent interview Pope Francis said his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was a leader in “taking responsibility” and responding with transparency to clerical sexual abuse — the latest defense by the Holy Father of his predecessor, who is facing criticism in his native Germany for his handling of several abuse cases as an archbishop decades ago.  In the Nov. 22 interview published Monday by America Magazine, Pope Francis discussed a wide range of topics including the Church’s response to revelations of abuse by clergy. Francis said although “official statistics” show that clergy abuse makes up a very small percentage of all abuse cases in society, [i]f there had been only one case, it would have been monstrous.”   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252930/pope-francis-benedict-xvi-was-leader-in-responding-to-sexual-abuse__________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.