1. Michigan’s referendum becomes a tense and expensive abortion battleground, A ballot initiative years in the making asks voters whether the state constitution should protect abortion rights, By Alice Miranda Ollstein, Politico, October 17, 2022, 4:30 AM The country’s highest-stakes battle over abortion rights is unfolding in Michigan, where polls show voters appear likely to add an explicit right to the procedure in their state constitution. While abortion-related initiatives are also on the ballot in California, Kentucky, Montana and Vermont, the outcome in Michigan will have the starkest impact — determining whether the state’s 1931 anti-abortion law remains on the books.  If the amendment passes, the state would become the first to overturn an anti-abortion law since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. A yes vote would also bolster abortion rights advocates’ conviction that ballot initiatives are their most viable path to restoring access in Republican-controlled states. Coming on the heels of August’s decisive victory for the abortion-rights side in Kansas, it would likely fuel efforts to put the issue on ballots in several more states in 2023 and 2024. The Michigan amendment failing, however, would support anti-abortion advocates’ arguments that Kansas was a fluke fueled by confusion and misinformation, and that Republican efforts to paint Democrats as extremists who want no restrictions on abortion are an effective campaign tactic. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/17/michigan-abortion-referendum-00061952__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope extends reform process for year amid apathy, criticism, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 16, 2022, 8:36 AM Pope Francis has decided to extend by a year a lengthy global consultation of ordinary Catholics about the future of the Catholic Church, amid limited participation by the laity and seeming resistance to his reforms from the hierarchy. Francis announced Sunday that the planned 2023 gathering of bishops would now take place in two stages — one session in October 2023 and a second in October 2024 — to allow more time to find a way forward. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-extends-synod-process-for-a-year-amid-apathy-criticism/2022/10/16/807dbc5c-4d4d-11ed-ada8-04e6e6bf8b19_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope gives pep talk to big lay group after tightening rules, By Associated Press, October 15, 2022, 12:30 PM Pope Francis exhorted members of a major Catholic lay group Saturday to keep up their enthusiasm, a year after Vatican reforms put checks on the leadership of such organizations. In St. Peter’s Square, Francis addressed thousands of members of Communion and Liberation, a lay organization present in some 90 countries. The group is particularly active in Italy and seeks political influence. Last year, the Vatican moved to better regulate religious movements for the faithful who are not clergy by mandating term limits for their leaders. The action forced out a Spanish priest, the Rev. Julian Carron, who had headed Communion and Liberation since 2005. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-gives-pep-talk-to-big-lay-group-after-tightening-rules/2022/10/15/a18d6764-4ca6-11ed-8153-96ee97b218d2_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. A Conspiracy So Immense, Hoax: The Popish Plot That Never Was, By Jeffrey Collins, The Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2022, Pg. C9, Book Review For centuries after the Protestant Reformation, hatred of Roman Catholicism was a defining feature of English culture. Theologically, Catholicism was condemned for idolatry, superstition and subservience to the papal “whore of Babylon.” Politically, purported Catholic treachery was evidenced by historical events, such as the 1605 “Gunpowder Plot,” in which rogue Catholics tried to blow up a sitting Parliament. Ireland’s discontented Catholic population was a constant object of fear and loathing. So too was the vast power of France’s Louis XIV, the ultra-Catholic “Sun King.” The internal Catholic menace was in truth negligible. Grinding penal legislation had reduced Catholics to perhaps 1% of the population, and most were perfectly peaceful. Catholicism survived mainly in aristocratic households, which could afford to pay fines and hide priests. The idea that this minority would rise up and attempt to seize power was far-fetched. One contingency, however, complicated the question: the religious disposition of England’s ruling monarchy. After the execution of his father and the decade-long, kingless interregnum, Charles II restored the Stuart dynasty in 1660. An infamous roué, he had spent years in exile developing a taste for French style, French absolutism and French religion. He would only convert to Catholicism on his deathbed, but Protestants had long doubted his conscience. Worse, he had no legitimate children. His heir was his brother, James, Duke of York, who openly converted in his early 30s. Thus a Catholic monarch and royal line threatened England for the first time since the reign of “Bloody Mary” in the 1550s. This circumstance encouraged a belief in Catholic conspiracy. It also provided a motive to invent one.  The Popish Plot, Mr. Stater argues, was a conspiracy twice over: an invention of contemptible outsiders that was in turn manipulated by unscrupulous elites. Oates’s tale was fantastical but “politically useful,” he concludes. Powerful Restoration figures “seized upon it as a means to advance their interests,” by posturing as Protestant heroes or by discrediting the royal court. There is considerable truth in this, especially as regards the guileful Shaftesbury, but Mr. Stater may overdraw the point. In the midst of crises, conspiracy theorizing can be irresistible, since it provides a comprehensible (if nefarious) explanation for disordered events.… In truth, however, history’s great and good are often no less credulous and unreasonable than the subjects they govern. The most disquieting realization of all is that—however much we may desire that moments of historical turmoil disclose a secret logic and a clear enemy—there usually is no man behind the curtain. Mr. Collins is a professor of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. https://www.wsj.com/articles/hoax-book-review-anti-catholic-panic-in-restoration-england-popish-plot-11665758297__________________________________________________________ 5. Prominent Chicago priest accused of sexual abuse of minor, By Associated Press, October 15, 2022 A Catholic priest who gained national fame as an activist has been asked to step away from his ministry while allegations that he sexually abused a minor decades ago are investigated. The development came a little more than a year after another probe cleared the priest, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, of allegations that he sexually abused children. In a letter sent Saturday, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Pfleger was asked to relinquish his duties at the church, Faith Community of Saint Sabina, after allegations were made that he sexually abused a minor decades ago. https://apnews.com/article/religion-chicago-sexual-abuse-by-clergy-illinois-aa7202ba9508398506c4b540840b5171__________________________________________________________ 6. Catholic hospitals provide medically indicated treatment, By Mary Haddad, The Washington Post, October 14, 2022, 3:41 PM, Letter to the Editor The Oct. 11 front-page article “Catholic hospitals’ reach limits reproductive care” omitted critical facts about how Catholic hospitals and providers care for women experiencing pregnancy complications. In tragic situations when the mother suffers from an urgent, life-threatening condition during pregnancy, Catholic health clinicians provide medically indicated treatment, even if it poses a threat to the unborn child or might result in the unintended death of the child. For example, the treatment of an ectopic pregnancy or a uterine infection is both clinically and ethically required. For victims of sexual assault, clinicians at Catholic facilities follow medical protocols to ensure no pregnancy results. Though Catholic providers do not offer services for the direct or sole purpose of contraception, they can and do offer services such as IUDs and hormonal treatments to address underlying medical conditions. I appreciate that the article acknowledged Catholic health care’s long-standing commitment to serving patients in underrepresented communities, such as rural America. Those who serve in Catholic health care firmly believe in our call to care for others. We also value the provider-patient relationship and informed consent. We respect patients’ preferences and beliefs and work with them to discuss their treatment options. The writer, a sister of Mercy, is president and chief executive of the Catholic Health Association of the United States. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/10/14/catholic-hospitals-provide-medically-indicated-treatment/__________________________________________________________ 7. Judge gauges if Indiana abortion ban defies religious rights, By Arleigh Rodgers, Associated Press, October 14, 2022, 12:27 PM A top Indiana lawyer on Friday questioned the validity of a lawsuit brought by a group of residents who argue that the state’s abortion ban violates their religious freedoms. A judge heard arguments Friday for about an hour in an Indianapolis courtroom, spurred by claims from five anonymous residents — who hold Jewish, Muslim and spiritual faiths — and the group Hoosier Jews for Choice. They argue the ban — which is currently blocked due to a separate lawsuit — violates their religious rights regarding when they believe abortion is acceptable.  Filed in Marion County court, the religious freedom lawsuit is the second of two challenges against the ban filed by the ACLU.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judge-gauges-if-indiana-abortion-ban-defies-religious-rights/2022/10/14/1ff605fe-4bdd-11ed-8153-96ee97b218d2_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. California to vote on constitutional right to abortion, By Janie Har, Associated Press, October 14, 2022, 12:56 PM Californians are voting now through Election Day on whether to approve a state constitutional amendment that would guarantee the right to abortion and contraception, one of several measures on ballots nationwide this November to address reproductive health care following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Proposition 1 is expected to pass in the heavily Democratic state and was part of a robust legislative package backed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to ensure California remains a haven for people seeking abortion services. Legislators placed the measure to amend the constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot days just after the court ruled in June that states could decide whether to allow abortion. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/california-to-vote-on-constitutional-right-to-abortion/2022/10/14/251f5c8e-4be1-11ed-8153-96ee97b218d2_story.html__________________________________________________________ 9. Rome silent on German diocese’s appointment of lay ‘vicar general representative’, Stephanie Rieth began serving as ‘representative of the vicar general’ in the Diocese of Mainz in April., By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, October 14, 2022, 12:37 PM A lay woman serving as a “representative of the vicar general” in a German diocese has said that the Vatican has not responded to her appointment six months after she took up the post.  According to the Code of Canon Law, bishops must appoint a vicar general to assist them in the governance of their dioceses. Vicar generals must be “priests not less than 30 years old, doctors or licensed in canon law or theology or at least truly expert in these disciplines, and recommended by sound doctrine, integrity, prudence, and experience in handling matters.” When Rieth was appointed, the diocese in west-central Germany explained that its Bishop Peter Kohlgraf had issued a decree in the official gazette setting out the legal basis for the new office. “As the representative of the vicar general, Rieth will not only be able to represent him in all matters internally and externally, but will also independently carry out the vicar general’s tasks in his place,” the diocese said. “This authorization does not affect tasks or activities that are reserved for a cleric because of their sacramental or liturgical connection.” https://www.pillarcatholic.com/rome-silent-on-german-dioceses-appointment-of-lay-vicar-general-representative-2/__________________________________________________________ 10. Abortion ballot initiative would also give minors right to gender transition, bishops warn, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, October 14, 2022, 5:00 PM Michigan’s Catholic bishops warned this week that a proposal to codify abortion in the state — which represents an “immense threat to the dignity of human life” — also would codify a right for minors to seek sterilization and gender transition procedures.  In an Oct. 10 letter, all seven of Michigan’s Catholic bishops warned that the wording of a proposal that will appear before voters Nov. 8, known as Proposal 3, among other things extends the right to “sterilization” to individuals of any age.  “[B]ecause the amendment also extends the ‘right to sterilization’ to any individual regardless of age, a minor would be allowed to seek sterilizing drugs or gender-changing procedures, in addition to abortion, without parental knowledge or consent,” the bishops wrote.  “Let us be clear: If Proposal 3 passes, there would be no real limits on abortion or sterilization procedures in Michigan, outside of an individual’s voluntary consent. And no matter how one feels about abortion, this proposed amendment goes well beyond what was allowed under Roe vs. Wade. The proposal would also change our state constitution, which is much more consequential than any law. We urge you to read the proposed amendment and focus on the language. Words matter, particularly as they relate to constitutional amendments.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/252552/abortion-ballot-initiatives-would-also-give-minors-right-to-gender-transition-and-sterilization-bishops-warn__________________________________________________________

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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