1. McCarrick: What’s known about the abusive US ex-cardinal, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 9, 2020, 4:48 AM
The Vatican on Tuesday will release its report into the rise and fall of ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the once-influential American cardinal who was defrocked by Pope Francis in 2019 after a Vatican investigation confirmed decades of rumors that he was a sexual predator.
The McCarrick scandal is different from other cases of clergy abuse, primarily because there is evidence that Vatican and U.S. church leaders knew of his penchant for bedding seminarians but turned a blind eye as McCarrick rose to the top of the U.S. church as an adept fundraiser who advised three popes.
When McCarrick’s crimes were revealed, the scandal sparked such a crisis of confidence in the church’s U.S. and Vatican hierarchies that Francis approved new procedures to investigate bishops accused of abuse in a bid to end decades of impunity for Catholic leaders.

The McCarrick scandal took on greater dimensions on Aug. 26, 2018 when the former Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, published an 11-page expose accusing two dozen U.S. and Vatican churchmen by name of knowing about McCarrick’s misconduct since at least 2000 and hiding it. Vigano cited the case of one former seminarian who in 1994 wrote a lengthy letter to his bishop detailing McCarrick’s sexual abuse of him and others — a document that would have been turned over to the Vatican at the very least in 2004 when the man was defrocked.
Vigano demanded Francis resign, saying he had told the pope in 2013 during one of their first meetings that McCarrick has “corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.” Vigano claimed that Francis rehabilitated McCarrick from Benedict’s sanctions and turned him into a trusted adviser.
2. Unchosen Obligations: What It Means to Be Human, By Yuval Levin, The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 2020, Pg. A19, Book Review
A critical examination of the moral suppositions underlying contemporary bioethics might shed light on much more of our common life than our engagement with biology and medicine.
Such an ambitious examination has now been taken up by O. Carter Snead in “What It Means to Be Human.” The result is a rare achievement: a rigorous academic book that is also accessible, engaging and wise.
Mr. Snead is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture there. He is a frequent adviser to policy makers in Washington and was a member of the staff of George W. Bush’s presidential advisory commission on bioethics (where we were colleagues).

By sketching out an ethic of mutual obligation rooted in our common vulnerabilities, the book opens a path toward a more humane society. More than an important contribution to bioethics, “What It Means to Be Human” is among the most important works of moral philosophy produced so far in this century.
Mr. Levin is director of social, cultural and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the editor of National Affairs.
3. Leading German Catholic bishop renews intercommunion call after Vatican objections, By Catholic News Agency, November 9, 2020, 4:00 AM
Bishop Georg Bätzing, president of the German bishops’ conference, reaffirmed Sunday his view that intercommunion with Protestants should be possible, despite Vatican objections.
He made the comment in a Nov. 8 message to the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).
“The community in faith, which is already ecumenically visible in many ways, aims at a unity that will also be able to be experienced as a communion in the Eucharistic and the Lord’s Supper,” Bätzing wrote in the message.
4. Australian media on trial for breaching order in Pell case, By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, November 8, 2020, 10:33 PM
High-profile Australian journalists and large media organizations went on trial on Monday on charges that they breached a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse convictions in 2018 that have since been overturned.
A total of 18 individual journalists, editors and broadcasters face potential prison sentences and 12 organizations face fines if they are found guilty in the Victoria state Supreme Court of breaching a judge’s suppression order on Pell’s case. They have all pleaded not guilty.
5. Could Francis, Biden find each other like John Paul II and Reagan?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, November 8, 2020, Opinion
As the dust begins to settle from the tumultuous 2020 presidential election in America, it’s possible that outside of Joe Biden’s campaign team, no group will emerge as bigger fans of the mail-in ballot than Pope Francis and his allies in the Vatican.
Not only will Biden become just the second Roman Catholic President of the United States, but he’s basically this pope’s kind of Catholic – center-left, broadly humanistic and globalist, not part of what one of Francis’s closest advisors famously described as an “ecumenism of hate” between conservative Catholics and evangelicals in America.

Augmenting the odds of bonhomie, the incredibly narrow nature of Biden’s victory means that he’ll need friends wherever he can find them, and in the triumvirate of center-left cardinals Francis now has created in America – Blase Cupich in Chicago, Joseph Tobin in Newark and Wilton Gregory in Washington– Biden may find that all the pope’s men are inclined to friendliness.

Forty years ago, a pope and a president found themselves kindred spirits, and history changed as a result. St. John Paul II and President Ronald Reagan shared a conviction that Soviet Communism was both a political and a moral abomination, and together they helped set in motion the chain of events that led to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
It was a dazzling illustration of the possibilities when hard and soft powers are in a full, upright and locked position together.
6. Pope Francis’s Unofficial Revolution, In private remarks, the pope has challenged the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality, creating uncertainty among the faithful., By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2020, Pg. C5, Opinion
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the authoritative handbook of doctrine published by the Vatican in 1992, states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” the inclination to perform them is “objectively disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Pope Francis hasn’t changed a word of this teaching since his election in 2013. But he has dramatically shifted perceptions of the church’s stand on the subject—most recently with a statement endorsing civil unions for same-sex couples, which appears in a documentary that premiered at the Rome Film Festival last month.

Critics warn that official Catholic teaching can’t retain its authority for long when the leader of the church makes widely reported statements in marked contrast to it. “Many people now feel authorized to freely make divisive arguments without feeling bound by the teaching of the church, which is still there but is not worth as much as before,” said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert who writes for Italy’s L’Espresso magazine.

As Mr. Magister sees it, the long-term strategy behind the pope’s bypassing of doctrinal channels is to prepare the ground for eventual changes in formal teaching. “He tosses out these ideas without arguing in any way, to start a process that might develop slowly over time and eventually produce supporting arguments and official documents of the church’s magisterium incorporating these novelties,” Mr. Magister said. “He is a sower of novelties.”

 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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