1. Catholic and Forever the Son of a Jewish Mother, We are certain that Mary, Jewish mother that she is, will rush to the aid of her children., By Grazie Pozo Christie, National Catholic Register, October 23, 2023, Opinion Here at my home, we are, like all the world, aghast at the horrific acts that the Hamas terrorists perpetrated upon Israeli civilians — and proudly broadcast. The videos show the malevolence that man is capable of, making one almost ashamed to be a member of our species. As a Catholic, I find the situation to be especially painful because, like so many Catholics, I regard Jews with the affection expressed by Pope St. John Paul II in his memorable visit to a Rome synagogue in 1986, in which he said: “You are our dearly beloved brothers, and in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.” But in our family we go a little farther. My husband’s mother is Jewish, and although he is now a devout Catholic, he will always be, in some unalterable sense, a Jew.  During this current tragic episode of Jewish history, my husband and I have prayed the Rosary together for the grief stricken and the terrified. We are certain that Mary, Jewish mother that she is, will rush to the aid of her children. Steven also felt drawn to visit the local synagogue. He went to offer his condolences and stayed to pray with the gentle-eyed rabbi who recognized him as a Jewish brother hurting for his people. He came home comforted and sure that when God takes up a people, he doesn’t put them down again, but holds them always in the palm of his hand, and shelters them forever under his wing. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/catholic-and-forever-the-son-of-a-jewish-mother__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope says what happened in Libya and Iraq shows ‘we must not export democracy’, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, October 23, 2023, 8:45 AM Pope Francis cited the examples of Western intervention in Libya and Iraq in arguing that the West should not “export” democracy to other countries, according to a recently published interview.  The pope’s comments were published in the Italian newspaper La Stampa and excerpted from a book released this week by journalists Francesca Ambrogetti and Sergio Rubin, “You Are Not Alone: Challenges, Answers, Hopes.”  In an excerpt from the book, the pope was asked by the authors about “the responsibilities of the most developed countries” for the “chaos” being experienced by other nations. Francis responded that that chaos was due in part to “the failure of the West in its attempt to import its own type of democracy” in some countries around the world.  “We are thinking of Libya, which seems to be led only by very strong personalities such as Gaddafi,” the pope said. “A Libyan told me that they once had only one Gaddafi, while now they have 53.” The Holy Father similarly pointed to the Iraq War, which he called “a real disgrace” and “one of the worst cruelties.” U.S.-led forces defeated the Iraqi military and deposed president Saddam Hussein, leaving in his place a country strained by worsened sectarian violence. “Saddam Hussein was certainly not a little angel, on the contrary,” Francis said, “but Iraq was a fairly stable country.”  The pope pointed out that some countries, such as monarchies, “will probably never accept a democracy,” but nations “can help to ensure that there is more participation” in those instances.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255776/pope-says-what-happened-in-libya-and-iraq-shows-we-must-not-export-democracy__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope Calls for More Aid for Gaza, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2023 Pope Francis called for the delivery of more humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. “I think about the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and it pains me that the Anglican hospital and the Greek Orthodox parish were also hit in recent days,” the pope said following his recitation of the noon Angelus prayer at the Vatican. He appealed “for humanitarian aid to continue to arrive and that the hostages may be released…War is always a defeat; it is a destruction of human brotherhood.” https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-gaza-strip-conflict/card/pope-calls-for-more-aid-for-gaza-FCrK9ojAZeZinAqyoJop__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope Francis and Biden Discuss Israel-Hamas War, By Doug Cameron, The Wall Street Journal, October 22, 2023 Pope Francis spoke with President Biden by phone on Sunday, after the pope called for the continued flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages. The two talked for about 20 minutes, according to the Vatican, discussing “situations of conflict in the world and the need to identify paths to peace.” The White House said Biden discussed his efforts “to ensure delivery of food, medicine, and other humanitarian assistance to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-gaza-strip-conflict/card/pope-francis-and-biden-discuss-israel-hamas-war-z90g871134xsrjOi02ng__________________________________________________________ 5. German bishop at Synod on Synodality: Church should not ignore ‘signs of the times’, By Jonathan Liedl, Catholic News Agency, October 21, 2023, 12:40 PM A German bishop participating in the Synod on Synodality challenged the idea that the Catholic community in his country is at odds with the universal Church — and reasserted that it will continue to play a role in the ongoing discussions in Rome about the Church’s future. Speaking at the synod press briefing Saturday afternoon, Bishop Franz Josef Overbeck of Essen acknowledged that others have expressed concerns to him regarding the Catholic Church in Germany’s controversial “Synodal Way.” “Many people have asked me, ‘Are you still Catholics and part of the Catholic Church?” said Overbeck, one of the German Bishops’ Conference’s three delegates to the universal synod and a major proponent of the German Synodal Way. “And I say, ‘Yes, of course, we are Catholics, and we are here to stay.” Begun in 2019, the Synodal Way is a non-canonical initiative of the German Bishops’ Conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK). The collaboration approved blessings of same-sex unions, incorporated transgender ideology into Church practice, and petitioned Rome to open ordained ministry to women at its final assembly in Frankfurt in March.  Speaking for nearly 10 minutes about the Synodal Way to journalists, Overbeck asserted that the controversial process was responding to the uniquely “post-secular” context of German culture, in which “people have no idea” about transcendence, the Church, or Jesus Christ. “This changes the entire framework for the questions we are carrying out,” said Overbeck, adding that if Catholic teaching is in contradiction with “the signs of the times,” then “nobody is going to be convinced” by the Church’s guidance.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255772/german-bishop-at-synod-on-synodality-church-should-not-ignore-signs-of-the-times__________________________________________________________ 6.  Oklahoma attorney general sues to stop US’s first public religious school, By Sean Murphy, Associated Press, October 20, 2023, 6:36 PM Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond on Friday sued to stop a state board from establishing and funding what would be the nation’s first religious public charter school after the board ignored Drummond’s warning that it would violate both the state and U.S. constitutions. Drummond filed the lawsuit with the Oklahoma Supreme Court against the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board after three of the board’s members this week signed a contract for the St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual Charter School, which is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/10/20/catholic-public-religious-charter-school-oklahoma-drummond/24688fc2-6f99-11ee-b01a-f593caa04363_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Study: Sacraments in decline in Latin America, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, October 21, 2023, 6:30 AM A major new study of the Catholic Church in Latin America has highlighted a decline in the number of baptisms and other sacraments. The 286-page report, issued by the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopal Council (CELAM), said that the number of annual baptisms had fallen from 8,197,000 in 2000 to 5,135,000 in 2020. Confirmations and Catholic marriages also decreased steadily in the same period. The trends highlighted in the document “The Church’s mission in Latin American countries” are significant for the universal Church, as 41% of the world’s Catholics live in Latin America and the Caribbean. The number of baptized Catholics in the region is roughly double that of both Europe and Africa, four times that of Asia, and six times that of North America. The Church is also being led for the first time by a pope from Latin America.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/study-sacraments-in-decline-in-latin__________________________________________________________ 8. Biden NIH nominee grilled on funding for gender transition research, fetal tissue, By Matt McDonald, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2023, 10:40 AM Republican senators pressed a Biden nominee this week on federal funding for research on gender “transitioning” for minors, as well as the usage of fetal tissue in health research, with the White House’s candidate at times dodging questions about irreversible transgender procedures and experiments involving human cells.  Monica Bertagnolli, a surgical oncologist and President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the National Institutes of Health, answered questions for about two hours on Capitol Hill on Wednesday before the Senate Health Committee. U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, an obstetrician, predicted future historians will liken to bloodletting the current practice of gender transitioning for minors through pills and surgery, dubbing such procedures as among “the horrors of medicine.” “Do you believe that it’s OK to fund this type of research where these irreversible procedures are being done?” Marshall asked Wednesday during a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. “Do you think there’s any experiment that you can think would justify irreversibly damaging these poor little boys and girls who are 14, 15 years old? Will you fund that type of research?”  “Any research that we do, Senator, with regard to human subjects has to be done in a way that does no harm and produces the maximum benefit to the people that are participating in the research,” she said. “And that will be the principle with which I approach any research, especially for this vulnerable population.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255759/biden-nih-nominee-grilled-on-funding-for-gender-transition-research-fetal-tissue__________________________________________________________ 9. Pro-life movement steps up ground efforts to defeat Ohio abortion amendment, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2023, 1:56 PM As early voting continues on Ohio’s Issue 1 abortion amendment, hundreds of volunteers and workers within the pro-life movement are intensifying their efforts to reach voters through door-knocking, phone-banking, and advertisements. “We’re really running a full-scale presidential-level campaign here in Ohio, leaving no stone unturned,” Amy Natoce, the press secretary for the pro-life coalition Protect Women Ohio, told CNA. Early voting began on Oct. 11 for the Issue 1 initiative, which would amend the state constitution to include a right to “reproductive freedom,” including abortion. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, but with voters already casting early ballots, “Election Day has already started and doesn’t end until the seventh,” Bryan Kemper, the coordinator of street activism for the group Priests for Life, told CNA.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255765/pro-life-movement-steps-up-ground-efforts-to-defeat-ohio-abortion-amendment__________________________________________________________ 10. Mexican high court declares articles that criminalize abortion in Chihuahua unconstitutional, By Diego López Colín, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2023, 6:30 PM Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared three articles that criminalize abortion in the penal code of Chihuahua state to be unconstitutional. In response to the decision, pro-life leaders criticized this “great blow” against the “fundamental and inalienable right to life.” On Oct. 18, the SCJN declared invalid articles 143 and 145 of the penal code of the state of Chihuahua, which establish penalties for women who abort and for those who pressure women to abort. The ruling also declared article 146 to be invalid, which establishes the cases in which abortion while technically remaining a crime has no penalty. According to the press release from the Supreme Court, the sentence was reviewed in response to a request for an injunction filed by a woman who argued that the legal system that criminalizes abortion is “contrary to the human rights of reproductive autonomy, free development of personality, equality, and nondiscrimination, health, legal security, as well as freedom of conscience.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255771/mexican-high-court-declares-articles-that-criminalize-abortion-in-chihuahua-unconstitutional__________________________________________________________ 11. Life At The Center: A Pro-Life Statement, By Thomas Joseph White, Kevin L. Flannery, O. Carter Snead, Christopher Tollefsen, First Things, November 2023, Opinion Those who seek to advance the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding the sanctity of life confront both new challenges and opportunities in the wake of the June 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. On the one hand, many people in the U.S. and in other developed nations have increasingly accepted abortion as a seemingly inevitable aspect of public life. (We are employing the term abortion here to denote intentional embryocide or feticide.) Young women and men are taught from an early age that they must control their fertility in order to augment their autonomy, protect themselves, and advance professionally and socially. At the same time, both sexes are initiated into a culture of noncommitted sexual practices and attitudes, separated from the notion of marriage and responsibility for children as the context for human sexuality. These cultural trends feed an already existing indifference, callousness, or even disrespect toward the good of human life, which is viewed by many as having merely instrumental, and not sacred, value. On the other hand, there is a growing awareness of the biological reality that life begins at conception and thus that abortion ends the life of a human being. Many surveys indicate that most Americans disapprove of a legal regime of unrestricted access to abortion. Nor are Americans in general satisfied with the way that abortion is discussed: They see our public culture today as excessively divided and marked by ideologies that are partial and superficial. In addition, our intellectual and academic communities lack a coherent and profound vision of the human person and of social ethics. Within this context, how can Catholics draw on the teaching of the Catholic Church and her social doctrine so as to provide a deeper, positive vision of the human person and of the natural right to life? How might we demonstrate to all concerned that this comprehensive right, which protects human beings from conception until natural death, relates in turn to other goods that society values and must protect? What responsibilities must pro-life advocates accept for the defense of human life across its various dimensions, protecting and promoting genuine human dignity in its many facets, both individual and common?  The Right to Life Is a Fundamental Right Basing her teaching upon Scripture and sacred tradition, the Catholic Church affirms in its Catechism that “the dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God.” This image of God is present in every human being, and it is rooted in the whole person, body and soul. Concurrent with divine revelation, sound philosophical reasoning can ascertain that the human person is a rational animal, endowed with a biologically specific living body and a rational spiritual soul. Each person possesses intrinsic powers of intellectual knowledge, volitional love, and free choice, which typically manifest themselves gradually and develop throughout life. Human personhood does not depend on the development of these capacities but is rooted in our very nature, even from its beginning. Human beings who are unable to develop all the virtues of human flourishing due to disability, or other circumstances, always are and remain persons made in the image of God, equal and identical to others in their irreducible dignity.  Thus, a society that defends innocent life must do so consistently wherever it is threatened: by unjust forms of punishment; by poverty; by economic exploitation or human trafficking; by discriminatory treatment of the cognitively or physically disabled; by practices of assisted suicide and euthanasia; by unjust acts of war and terror. Our defense of life must be consistent and integral. Just Respect for Human Life Implies Respect for Other Goods Human beings are made not just for life, but for life in abundance, for a flourishing life. We always develop in our lives as persons together with others in a shared life marked by common goods, like marriage, knowledge, work, art, and religion, all of which must be pursued in cooperation with others in societies both voluntary and political. It is only by partaking of such common goods with others that we can truly flourish as human beings made in the image of God. These other goods, in turn, are dependent upon and in the service of the underlying good of human life. Since this is the case, defense of human life must radiate outward from a stable center of protection of innocent human life, born and unborn, to the promotion and defense of other goods constitutive of genuine human flourishing. Failure to protect these goods is a failure to protect human life.  A critical task is thus to articulate clearly the relation of the good of life to other fundamental goods of the human person and to mark out a policy path to the comprehensive protection of the common good. Respect for Other Goods Implies the Fundamental Respect for Human Life The relationship of life to the other common goods runs in the other direction as well. Failure to protect human life at all stages does harm to other essential elements of the common good. First, in any society in which some who are innocent are deemed unworthy of legal protections, it is possible in principle for the state to withdraw the right to life from others, and indeed from any.  Second, the goods of family life suffer when life is left exposed. Family life is a great good for children, parents, extended relations, and society at large.  Third, the culture of the university should allow for the pursuit of truth through honest public discussion and debate.  Fourth, our environmental ethics should be consistent.  God is the just author of all human life and dignity. God is also merciful to human beings, even when they fail or sin. The Scriptures teach that all have fallen short of the righteousness and justice of God, but that God has also had mercy on all and that he effectively offers them avenues of mercy. Recognition of this truth, far from disempowering us, gives us the strength to go on living with courage, to rise, and to attain to new heights in the order of love and truthfulness. While seeking to advance a society that protects human life from conception to natural death, we also follow Pope Francis in praying to God for a Church and a society that is always merciful. Mercy is not something opposed to truth or to justice, but it is integrally related to each of these. For mercy is life-giving, and knowing that God is merciful is key to our belief that society as a whole can change, can acknowledge the truth, and can move effectively over time to acknowledge the dignity of human life in the fullness of justice. This dignity is at the center of all we do, and so we aim to promote in the Church today an integral witness to her social doctrine, as one that rightly protects many human goods, and that always places life at the center. https://www.firstthings.com/article/2023/11/life-at-the-center-a-pro-life-statement__________________________________________________________ 12. Will Ohio Enshrine a Right to Abortion?, By Jack Butler, National Review, October 12, 2023, 4:18 PM, Opinion One record looms large for Ohio pro-life activists: oh-and-six. That figure represents the fate of their cause in voter-decided state ballot initiatives since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in June 2022. It includes both failed pro-life initiatives and, as in neighboring Michigan, successful pro-abortion ones. As Ohio prepares to vote this November on Issue 1, a pro-abortion constitutional-amendment initiative, that oh-for-six record underscores the challenge pro-lifers face. They are up against a well-resourced pro-amendment campaign. But they believe Ohio can defy the national trend if they make clear the radical implications of a yes vote.  The amendment’s provision that the state may prohibit abortion “after fetal viability” is little consolation to the pro-life side. For one thing, the determination of viability is left to the abortionist. The amendment also states that an abortion may not be prohibited if it is determined “necessary to protect the pregnant patient’s life or health.” “Health” has long been used in court cases not only in its literal sense but preceded by any number of adjectives that turn it into a figure of speech — financial, social, economic, familial, or psychological health, in Citak’s examples — whose effect is to allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. Further distressing outcomes that may become possible if the amendment passes and courts interpret its vague language broadly, as in other states, include the creation of “buffer zones” around abortion clinics that would prevent prayer groups from congregating near them, as well as an end to the state’s protections for medical workers with religious objections to performing an abortion. “If this amendment makes abortion a constitutional right, then a doctor who is qualified to perform [an abortion] can be required by his employer to do so, overturning current law that protects the conscience rights of health professionals,” Citak says. And if doctors don’t, “then they will be open to the liability for any harms” that a woman alleges “come to her from not performing the abortion.” Ohio taxpayers could also be implicated. After abortion was established as a “fundamental right” in Alaska, a court ruled that taxpayer dollars (through Medicaid) could be used to pay for elective abortions. Indeed, in neighboring Michigan, less than a year after its pro-abortion initiative passed, the legislature is seeking to gut many of the state’s remaining restrictions on abortion and to allow Medicaid to cover abortions. All of this would create an abortion regime in Ohio that went well beyond Roe v. Wade. And beyond abortion, pro-lifers even worry that the amendment’s language might be sufficiently broad to apply to so-called gender-affirming care, meaning that such treatments would also no longer require parental notification or consent. The amendment’s pro-life opponents know that its defeat is hardly assured. But they still believe they can succeed in Ohio where pro-life efforts in other states have failed. If they do not prevail in November, they will have at least learned from the experience about what works and what does not. And they will not give up. “The pro-life movement will never die,” Range says. “Because life is worth fighting for.” https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2023/11/will-ohio-enshrine-a-right-to-abortion/__________________________________________________________

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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