1. The Old Country And the New, Becoming Irish American, By Terry Golway, The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2023, Pg. A15, Book Review Timothy Meagher’s subtly provocative book, like many other studies of the Irish experience in America, ends with John F. Kennedy’s election as the nation’s first Irish-Catholic president. It is Mr. Meagher’s starting point that signals his scholarly intervention. He begins not with the arrival of Andrew Jackson’s parents in the Carolinas from Ireland in 1765. Nor does he start with the massive migration spurred by the Great Famine in 1845-52. In “Becoming Irish American,” Mr. Meagher ventures back to 3800 B.C., when, he writes, settlers from Britain and northern Europe “brought farming and husbandry to Ireland.”  Mr. Meagher, a retired history professor at the Catholic University of America in Washington, traces the making and remaking of Irish America through several iterations and shows the impact of religion on each. His argument, that millions of migrants from a small island in the North Atlantic created a new identity known as Irish-American, subverts the fashionable academic assertion that the Irish experience in America is a chase toward something called “whiteness.” The book’s narrative arc instead supports the novelist Peter Quinn’s contention that what is remarkable about the Irish in America is not that they became white but that they remained Irish.  Upon their arrival in America, the starving Irish-Catholic migrants had two choices: Like Irish Protestants before them, they could adapt and become, in Mr. Meagher’s description, “quintessential Americans” like Jackson and John C. Calhoun. Or they could cling to their faith-based identity and remake what it meant to be Irish-American. They chose the latter course, even though the former would have been much easier. Mr. Meagher notes that as Irish-Americans endured anti-Catholic bigotry in the late 19th century, they chose a path of “aggressive reassertion of an Irish identity,” which amounted to “a seeming deliberate rejection of Americanization.”  The early years of the Cold War saw Irish-Americans become more Catholic than Irish—and largely opposed to Soviet-style communism. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed, anticommunism at last made the Irish truly American. “In the era of security clearances,” he wrote, “to be an Irish Catholic became prima facie evidence of loyalty.” The election of Kennedy in 1960 did much to soothe the resentments that O’Hara voiced in the 1930s. Kennedy’s victory makes for a natural end point to Mr. Meagher’s narrative, but the making and remaking process of Irish America has continued apace in the decades since. It’s hardly a secret that Irish Catholics in America are not nearly as devout as they were in 1960, and the same is true—perhaps even more so—in Ireland itself. The current remaking of Irish America could be the most radical one yet. Mr. Golway is the interim executive director of the American Irish Historical Society. His biography of Fiorello La Guardia, “I Never Did Like Politics,” will be published in February. https://www.wsj.com/arts-culture/books/becoming-irish-american-review-the-old-country-and-the-new-6cc2e2c7__________________________________________________________ 2. Vatican steps closer to allowing transgender Catholics to be baptized, By David Crary, Associated Press, November 9, 2023, 5:25 AM In the United States, the national conference of Catholic bishops rejects the concept of gender transition, leaving many transgender Catholics feeling excluded. On Wednesday, the Vatican made public a sharply contrasting statement, saying it’s permissible, under certain circumstances, for trans Catholics to be baptized and serve as godparents. “It is a major step for trans inclusion … it is big and good news,” said Francis DeBernardo, executive director of Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, which advocates for greater LGBTQ acceptance in the church. The document was signed Oct. 21 by Pope Francis and Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, who heads the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. It was posted Wednesday on that office’s website. If it did not cause scandal or “disorientation” among other Catholics, a transgender person “may receive baptism under the same conditions as other faithful,” the document said. Similarly, the document said trans adults — even if they had undergone gender-transition surgery — could serve as godfathers or godmothers under certain conditions. DeBernardo said this seemed to be a reversal of a 2015 Vatican decision to bar a trans man in Spain from becoming a godparent.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/11/08/vatican-transgender-catholic-baptism-godparents/0b1d6f36-7e91-11ee-b5cc-66c30a3bbb91_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Catholic Bishops Speak Up for Jimmy Lai, While Wall Street CEOs stay silent, the prelates demand the release of the imprisoned publisher., By The Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2023, 6:40 PM, Editorial Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee held a summit of global corporate bigwigs this week to preach that the territory is as free and open as ever. But a new petition from 10 Roman Catholic bishops calling on Mr. Lee’s government to free imprisoned newspaperman Jimmy Lai has rudely interrupted. The bishops demand that the Hong Kong government “immediately and unconditionally release Jimmy Lai.” His persecution “for supporting pro-democracy causes through his newspaper and in other forums has gone on long enough.” They go on to say: “There is no place for such cruelty and oppression in a territory that claims to uphold the rule of law and respect the right to freedom of expression. In standing up for his beliefs and committing himself through his faith to challenge autocracy and repression, Jimmy Lai has lost his business, been cut off from his family, and has just surpassed 1,000 days in prison, while facing the prospect of many more years of incarceration to come. He is 75 years old. He must be freed now.” Short but makes the point, which is apparently lost on the CEOs. Signers range from New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan and India’s Cardinal Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal to Britain’s Archbishop John Wilson, Nigeria’s Bishop Lucius Ugorji and Lithuania’s Archbishop Gintaras Grušas. These men represent the strong witness to human rights of the global church that Pope John Paul II brought to the Vatican on the way to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union.  In his address to the famous financial CEOs, Mr. Lee made only a passing reference to the “riots and violence” that hit Hong Kong a few years ago, and no mention of the cause. He is betting that the West—primarily Britain and the U.S.—will overlook all human-rights violations if the money is good, and he views the CEOs who came to his summit as proof. Time to prove them wrong. https://www.wsj.com/articles/catholic-bishops-petition-hong-kong-john-lee-jimmy-lai-a1e5dcec__________________________________________________________ 4. Missouri Supreme Court hears case on latest effort to block Planned Parenthood funding, By Summer Ballentine, Associated Press, November 8, 2023, 12:47 PM The Missouri Attorney General’s Office defended the Republican-led Legislature’s latest attempt in a years-long struggle to block taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood during arguments before the state Supreme Court on Wednesday. Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office had appealed after a lower court judge found it was unconstitutional for lawmakers in 2022 to specify that Planned Parenthood would get zero dollars for providing family planning services to Medicaid patients despite reimbursing other health care providers for similar treatments. Solicitor General Josh Divine told Supreme Court judges that creating a state budget is a core power granted to lawmakers. Divine said if the high court rules in favor of Planned Parenthood in this case, it will “wreck the appropriation process that has been used for decades.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/11/08/abortion-missouri-funding-planned-parenthood/d169a2b4-7e5e-11ee-b5cc-66c30a3bbb91_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Missouri attorney general files lawsuit against FDA over abortion-pill-by-mail, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, November 8, 2023, 2:20 PM The attorney general of Missouri announced this week a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the agency’s approval of shipping abortion drugs through the mail. Republican State Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced the filing on his website on Monday, claiming that the FDA had “unlawfully approv[ed] the shipment of chemical abortion pills in the mail.” Bailey’s office said it had requested the court “combine [the] complaint” with an existing lawsuit that had been filed in November of 2022 by the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM).   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255946/missouri-attorney-general-files-lawsuit-against-fda-over-abortion-pill-by-mail__________________________________________________________ 6. Christianity growing despite world’s worst persecutions, new report says, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, November 8, 2023, 8:28 AM A new report from a Christian advocacy group says that Christianity continues to thrive and grow despite brutal repression and attempts by governments, groups, and individuals across the world to quash the faith. The 2023 “Persecutors of the Year” report was released this month by the advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC). ICC’s report sheds light on the suffering of hundreds of millions of Christians in 10 of the most heavily persecuted countries in the world. Despite these persecutions, the report said that the faith is growing in some of the world’s most persecutory countries such as Iran, China, and Nigeria.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255941/christianity-growing-despite-world-s-worst-persecutions-says-new-report__________________________________________________________ 7. Clericalism? No! Priestliness? Yes!, The call from Jesus to loving, humble, selfless, joyful service is spoken to all who dare to be His disciple!, By Cardinal Timothy Dolan, National Catholic Register, November 8, 2023, Opinion The word so often repeated, always, rightly, with scorn — at the recently completed synod, was clericalism. This tumor on the Mystical Body of Christ was frequently anathematized by many, from Pope Francis on. And rightly so. Clericalism is a sin, a vice, a sad historical tendency in the Church that must be always resisted. What is it? Well, clericalism is the belief that priests and bishops should have prerogatives, privileges and entitlements, and that they should be treated as nobility with a clout and authority that demands deference and obedience. Clericalism also applies to an excessive intrusion of the Church into political and cultural matters. These are rightly to be condemned. Let’s be clear: Clericalism is toxic to the Church; it is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and His saints; it is a constant bogeyman in the teaching of Pope Francis — and should be — and was ceaselessly scourged at the synod. Good! Two points, though. First, while clericalism is a sin and a vice, priestliness is a virtue. A priest is not nobility, but, be sure, has a noble calling, as do so many other vocations. The Church calls him to treat his priestly vocation with care, dignity, vigilance. While never “set above” his people, and daily walking with them in struggles and suffering, he is “set apart” a bit, as Jesus called His apostles and set them apart from His disciples. To love, appreciate, and respect priests is a constant virtue of Catholics, one innate in our Catholic culture. A priest inspires trust. His people call him “Father” and love him for that. Priestliness is the virtue that guards that vocation. It inspires a life of selfless service, and a sense of custody, like a man will protect his identity and duty as a husband and dad, with a decorum to guard that. No more clericalism! More priestliness! Secondly, about the same time clericalism was tagged in 18th- and 19th-century Europe, yet another curse arose: laicism. This was a raw vitriol against bishops, priests, the Church, and any respect shown to the Catholic faith, especially in ministries of education, charity, and health care. Its influence is still potent in many countries and is on the rise in our secular world.  The call from Jesus to loving, humble, selfless, joyful service is spoken to all who dare to be His disciple! Violations of this imperative sure can happen among priests and bishops, but also among lay faithful, deacons, and religious. Perhaps we need to remember that sometimes we notice the mote in another’s eye and miss the beam in our own! Cardinal Timothy Dolan is archbishop of New York. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/clericalism-no-priestliness-yes__________________________________________________________

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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