1. Landmark same-sex marriage bill wins Senate passage, By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press, November 30, 2022 The Senate passed bipartisan legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex marriages, an extraordinary sign of shifting national politics on the issue and a measure of relief for the hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized gay marriage nationwide. The bill, which would ensure that same-sex and interracial marriages are enshrined in federal law, was approved 61-36 on Tuesday, including support from 12 Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said the legislation was “a long time coming” and part of America’s “difficult but inexorable march towards greater equality.” Democrats are moving quickly, while the party still holds the majority in both chambers of Congress. The legislation now moves to the House for a final vote.  https://apnews.com/article/biden-religion-gay-rights-marriage-clarence-thomas-2d09d9213472d04195c64d09644f124c__________________________________________________________ 2. No Dissent Allowed at Hogan Lovells, By Robin Keller, The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2022, Pg. A15, Opinion After the Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June, global law firm Hogan Lovells organized an online conference call for female employees. As a retired equity partner still actively serving clients, I was invited to participate in what was billed as a “safe space” for women at the firm to discuss the decision. It might have been a safe space for some, but it wasn’t safe for me. Everyone else who spoke on the call was unanimous in her anger and outrage about Dobbs. I spoke up to offer a different view. I noted that many jurists and commentators believed Roe had been wrongly decided. I said that the court was right to remand the issue to the states. I added that I thought abortion-rights advocates had brought much of the pushback against Roe on themselves by pushing for extreme policies. I referred to numerous reports of disproportionately high rates of abortion in the black community, which some have called a form of genocide. I said I thought this was tragic. The outrage was immediate. The next speaker called me a racist and demanded that I leave the meeting. Other participants said they “lost their ability to breathe” on hearing my comments. After more of the same, I hung up. Someone made a formal complaint to the firm. Later that day, Hogan Lovells suspended my contracts, cut off my contact with clients, removed me from email and document systems, and emailed all U.S. personnel saying that a forum participant had made “anti-Black comments” and was suspended pending an investigation.  The response of the rabidly anti-Dobbs participants on the call wasn’t surprising. What was shocking, at least to me, was how eagerly Hogan Lovells kowtowed to a woke faction inside its workforce. Several women on the call—as well as male lawyers at the firm—contacted me later to offer private support for my right to express my views. Those former colleagues must now realize that they are in a hostile work environment. If this could happen to me, anyone who expresses a disfavored opinion—even on a matter of law—can expect the same treatment: immediate cancellation without concern for client interests, due process or fairness. Ms. Keller is former head of the U.S. business restructuring and insolvency practice at Hogan Lovells. https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-dissent-allowed-at-hogan-lovells-abortion-dobbs-roe-v-wade-meeting-safe-space-forum-genocide-lawyers-outrage-11669753147__________________________________________________________ 3. Study: 23% of nations prevented events in ’20, Force used to restrict churches, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, November 30, 2022, Pg. A6 Governments in nearly a quarter of the world’s nations, including the United States, used force to prevent religious gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a new Pew Research Center study says. Twenty-three percent of world governments employed “arrests and detentions; physical assaults; damage, confiscation or raiding of private property; displacements of people from their homes; or killings” to enforce restrictions on religious gatherings in the first year of the pandemic, according to Pew’s “How COVID-19 Restrictions Affected Religious Groups Around the World in 2020” report. The report is part of an annual survey on global restrictions on religion. Many of the governments it cites had restricted certain religions and practices within their borders before the pandemic, while others, like those within the U.S., sought to enforce specific bans on large gatherings to stem the spread of the coronavirus. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2022/nov/29/23-worlds-nations-used-force-halt-religious-gather/__________________________________________________________ 4. German, Belgian visits to the Vatican a ‘Tale of Two Countries’, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, November 30, 2022, Opinion Over the last couple of weeks, the Roman stage has featured what one might term a “tale of two countries,” as both the German and the Belgian bishops carried out their traditional ad limina visits to the Vatican, though with strikingly different atmospherics.  Despite the fact that the Flemish-speaking bishops in Belgium more or less stole a page out of the German playbook, there was no sense of conflict or great drama that hung over their recent Roman swing.  So, why the contrast between Germany and Belgium in terms of the Vatican reception they got? For one thing, sources say that the Belgians involved in preparing the document on pastoral care of same-sex couples bent over backwards to keep the Vatican informed at every stage, during the drafting, ahead of the publication, and in the implementation phase.  Second, Belgium has an estimated Catholic population of around 7 million people, divided between Flemish and French speakers, with a Mass attendance rate generally pegged at around seven percent.  In other words, Germany simply has a tone-setting global significance that Belgium doesn’t, which probably helps explain why Vatican officials get more worked up over German developments than Belgian ones. Two other observations seem in order. The plain fact of the matter is that despite the difference in treatment – the Germans got a somewhat cold shoulder, the Belgians a warm loving embrace – in neither case did Pope Francis actually order either group to stand down. Instead, the impression is that despite whatever reservations some of his Vatican aides may have, the pontiff is content to let these developments play out.  Second, it also seems fair to say that the days in which a decree from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was taken to be definitive, meaning the last word on a subject in the church, would appear to be over.  https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2022/11/german-belgian-visits-to-the-vatican-a-tale-of-two-countries__________________________________________________________ 5. The Innocence of Jimmy Lai, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2022, Pg. A17 Jimmy Lai’s whole life—as a refugee, as an entrepreneur, as a champion of Chinese liberty—has been one long exercise in boldness. Now comes his boldest move of all: insisting on his innocence in a Hong Kong court where he doesn’t have a prayer of winning. On Thursday, Jimmy, 73, is scheduled to go to trial on three charges related to collusion with foreign forces and another involving conspiracy to publish and distribute seditious material. Others arrested for national security offenses have pleaded guilty with the aim of securing a lighter sentence. Not Jimmy. This trial is the culmination of two years of prosecution on lesser charges, including a conviction for business fraud. There is a logic here, because prosecutors want more than a conviction and prison sentence. They want to paint Jimmy as a corrupt businessman who worked with foreigners to undermine China.  By insisting on his innocence, Jimmy Lai knows he has surrendered any hope for leniency. But he is showing that a man can live as a free person, even in a Chinese prison, as long as he refuses to lie. Hong Kong’s Communist-backed authorities have yet to realize that he’s no longer really on trial. They are. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-innocence-of-jimmy-lai-china-censorship-free-speech-jail-prison-hong-kong-conviction-liberty-guilty-arrested-truth-11669673581__________________________________________________________ 6. Russia protests pope comments as Vatican seeks to mediate, By Nicole Winfield and Joanna Kozlowska, Associated Press, November 29, 2022, 8:34 AM Russia has lodged a formal protest with the Vatican over Pope Francis’ latest condemnation of atrocities in Ukraine, in which the pontiff blamed most of the cruelty on Chechens and other minorities in an apparent effort to spare ethnic Russian troops from criticism. The Kremlin’s ambassador to the Holy See, Alexander Avdeev, told the RIA Novosti agency that he met Monday with a Vatican official to express his “indignation” about Francis’ comments, which were contained in an interview with the Jesuit magazine America that was published Monday. In his comments, Francis defended his usual reluctance to call out President Vladimir Putin by name, saying it was clear Ukraine is the “martyred” victim in the war. But he also said that, while it was the Russian state that invaded Ukraine, “Generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryats and so on.” The pope’s apparent distinction between the mostly Muslim Chechens and Buddhist Buryats on the one hand, and ethnic Russian fighters on the other, irked Moscow.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/russia-protests-pope-comments-as-vatican-seeks-to-mediate/2022/11/29/9bf9289e-6fea-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Court reinstates Indiana’s abortion burial, cremation law, By Tom Davies, Associated Press, November 29, 2022 A federal appeals court has reinstated an Indiana law adopted in 2016 that requires abortion clinics to either bury or cremate fetal remains. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling released Monday overturns an Indiana judge’s decision in September that the law infringed upon the religious and free speech rights of people who do not believe aborted fetuses deserve the same treatment as deceased people. The appeals court cited a 2019 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding the fetal remains provisions of the law signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence and that the state had a legitimate interest in how those remains are disposed. “Indiana does not require any woman who has obtained an abortion to violate any belief, religious or secular,” the appeals court ruling said. “The cremate-or-bury directive applies only to hospitals and clinics.”  https://apnews.com/article/abortion-indiana-indianapolis-government-and-politics-8a99424bfd0d17ae9e59a90fc70fe042__________________________________________________________ 8. ND high court asked to lift injunction against abortion ban, By James MacPherson, Associated Press, November 29, 2022, 3:07 PM An attorney for North Dakota asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to strike down an injunction blocking the state’s abortion ban, saying a lower court judge was wrong to grant it. Matthew Sagsveen, an attorney for the state, told justices that Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick “misconstrued the law” by granting the injunction. Romanick’s ruling in October means abortion is still legal in North Dakota, though the state’s only clinic — the Red River Women’s Clinic of Fargo — shut down as it challenged the ban and has moved across the border to neighboring Minnesota.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/nd-high-court-asked-to-lift-injunction-against-abortion-ban/2022/11/29/11d35cce-7013-11ed-867c-8ec695e4afcd_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9Major win for Catholic doctors fighting Biden’s transgender mandate after appeal deadline passes, By Edie Heipel, Catholic News Agency, November 29, 2022, 4:00 PM President Biden’s controversial transgender mandate has been blocked after the administration failed to meet last week’s deadline to appeal a court ruling that struck down the mandate earlier this year. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the mandate Aug. 26, ruling that religious groups could not be required to perform procedures that violate their beliefs. The deadline for the Biden administration to appeal the decision passed Nov. 25. “The final demise of this unconscionable mandate is a major victory for conscience rights and compassionate medical care in America,” Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel for Becket Law, told CNA.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252942/major-win-for-catholic-doctors-fighting-biden-s-transgender-mandate-after-appeal-deadline-passes__________________________________________________________ 10Early medical abortion increased 154% in past decade, CDC report finds, By Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency, November 29, 2022, 10:45 AM Americans are increasingly relying on chemical abortion, or abortion by pill, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Early medical abortion increased 22% from 2019 to 2020 and 154% from 2011 to 2020, the CDC found when looking at 37 areas that provided continuous data on medical abortion during 2011−2020. The federal agency reported that, in 2020, the highest percentage of abortions (51%) were early medical abortions performed at or before nine weeks’ gestation based on data from 46 areas. An additional 2.4% accounted for medical abortions after nine weeks’ gestation. The CDC usually releases its annual abortion surveillance report around the Thanksgiving holiday, as it did this year. The report, which lags two years behind, shows abortion data for 2020 — the year the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252935/abortions-decreased-15-percent-in-past-decade-cdc-report-finds__________________________________________________________

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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