1. The Incoherence of Pope Francis, The Vatican offers confusion instead of clarity in Gaza, Ukraine and China., By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, October 24, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion Pope Francis called President Biden on Sunday to talk about Gaza. The papal phone call came amid Israel’s public criticism of the Vatican’s tendency to treat the Israel Defense Forces as morally equivalent to the Hamas terrorists who targeted, attacked and butchered unarmed Israeli civilians.  Vatican incoherence is also sowing confusion in Ukraine. As with Gaza, the pope’s insistence on defining the problem as war itself—not Vladimir Putin’s unjustified invasion of a neighbor—also suggests moral equivalence. So even though he has talked about a right of nations to defend themselves and referred to “martyred Ukraine,” these get swallowed up by his “both sides” approach on war.  Finally there is China. Unlike in Israel and Ukraine, there is no war in China, but an invasion of Taiwan can’t be ruled out. Yet the Vatican has been largely silent on Beijing’s outrages, including the genocide of the Uyghurs. Last week the Acton Institute held the Rome premiere for its documentary “The Hong Konger: Jimmy Lai’s Extraordinary Struggle for Freedom.” In December Mr. Lai, founder of a popular pro-democracy newspaper, goes on trial in Hong Kong for sedition. Though Mr. Lai is arguably the best-known Catholic imprisoned in China, the church seems embarrassed by its heroic son. His name goes unmentioned by the pope and his diplomats. No doubt it is because acknowledging unjustly imprisoned Chinese Catholics risks underscoring the Vatican’s disastrous 2018 secret deal with China, which was supposed to mark a rapprochement with Beijing and improve the situation of Chinese Catholics.  The Vatican likes to boast of having the world’s oldest diplomatic service. But at a time when the world is desperate for moral clarity, it offers confusion. Every time the pope speaks of war, the Vatican’s credibility takes another hit because of his failure to make basic distinctions. This is especially true when he speaks about war-torn regions of the world, where justice appears to carry no weight in his moral calculus.  The Vatican summary of the pope’s conversation Sunday with the president reported that the two men spoke for 20 minutes about war and the steps toward peace. The White House readout said much the same. But it included this zinger: “The President condemned the barbarous attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians.” It’s a sad day when Joe Biden offers more moral coherence than the pope. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-moral-incoherence-of-pope-francis-gaza-ukraine-china-7831932f__________________________________________________________ 2. Despite State Bans, Legal Abortions Didn’t Fall Nationwide in Year After Dobbs, The first full-year census of U.S. abortion providers shows significant increases in abortion in states where it’s legal., By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times, October 24, 2023, 7:53 AM In the year after the Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion, something unexpected happened: The total number of legal abortions in the United States did not fall. Instead, it appeared to increase slightly, by about 0.2 percent, according to the first full-year count of abortions provided nationwide. This finding came despite the fact that 14 states banned all abortions, and seven imposed new limits on them. Even as those restrictions reduced the legal abortion rate to near zero in some states, there were large increases in places where abortions remained legal. Researchers said they were driven by the expansion of telemedicine for mail-order abortion pills, increased options and assistance for women who traveled, and a surge of publicity about ways to get abortions.  In the 12 months after the Dobbs decision in June 2022, there were on average 82,298 abortions a month, compared with 82,115 in the two months before Dobbs, WeCount found. The group, part of the Society of Family Planning, which supports abortion rights, collects monthly numbers from providers across the country. The new data, released Tuesday, included 83 percent of known providers, and researchers estimated the remainder based on historical trends and abortion data from states.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/24/upshot/abortion-numbers-dobbs.html__________________________________________________________ 3. Two Illinois Parishes Live on Either Side of a Catholic Divide, As the pope and church leaders meet in Rome to discuss the Roman Catholic Church’s future, they face a chasm between conservatives and progressives in the pews., By Ruth Graham, The New York Times, October 24, 2023 When the Rev. John Trout heard that Pope Francis wanted feedback from parishes before a major Vatican gathering this month on the church’s future, he decided that his suburban Chicago congregation would go all in. St. Joseph Catholic Church hung banners about the meeting, distributed surveys, and invited an expert from Loyola University Chicago to speak to parishioners. The parish hosted sessions in person and on Zoom to discuss questions offered as prompts by the Vatican: What are your hopes and dreams for the Roman Catholic Church? What about the church breaks your heart? Less than an hour south of St. Joe’s, the Rev. Anthony Buś of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in Chicago said he viewed the gathering in Rome not as an opportunity but as a potential threat, or at the very least an irrelevance. “Our voices are not going to be heard in the halls of the Vatican,” he said. “It’s ‘dialogue,’ but only if you toe the party line.”  The Synod on Synodality, the sprawling meeting in Rome, has become a flashpoint among different factions of the church’s leadership. Women and laypeople are participating in the meeting for the first time. Attendees have a broad mandate to discuss the future of the church, including ordaining women as deacons and outreach to L.G.B.T.Q. people.  But in a moment when the American church is especially polarized at the top, the synod is also laying bare the divide in the pews, and the scale of the challenge facing the pope. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/24/us/catholic-church-pope-francis-vatican-synod-rome-chicago.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Judge blocks Colorado law preventing medical abortion reversal treatment, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, October 24, 2023 A federal judge in Colorado has blocked a state law that prevented a Catholic health care clinic from offering progesterone to reverse medically induced abortions. U.S. District Judge Daniel D. Domenico on Saturday issued a preliminary injunction to allow Bella Health and Wellness to offer the abortion-countering medication, saying the state law infringed on the clinic’s “free exercise of religion.” The clinic “considers it a religious obligation to provide treatment for pregnant mothers and to protect unborn life if the mother seeks to stop or reverse an abortion,” Judge Domenico, a Trump appointee, said in his ruling.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/oct/23/judge-blocks-colorado-law-preventing-medical-abort/__________________________________________________________ 5.  Biden: The Pope Supports Us, By Andrew Restuccia, The Wall Street Journal, October 23, 2023 President Biden said Pope Francis expressed his support for the U.S.’s approach to Israel during a phone call between the two men on Sunday. “The pope and I are on the same page. He was very, very interested in what we are doing to deal with some of the crises we are facing, particularly in Israel this time around,” Biden, a devout Catholic, told reporters at the White House on Monday. The president said that he laid out the U.S.’s “game plan” for the region during their call. “The pope was across the board supportive of what we’re doing.” https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/israel-hamas-war-news-gaza-palestinians/card/biden-the-pope-supports-us-aUK7P8l2tupzE0Ur7RnH__________________________________________________________ 6. Catholics Against Antisemitism: Now More Than Ever, The timing of this week’s conference, once seemingly accidental, is more urgent than ever, for three reasons., By Mary Eberstadt, National Catholic Register, October 23, 2023, Opinion A historic conference unfolds this week, Oct. 24 – 26, on the Franciscan University campus in Steubenville, Ohio, called “Nostra Aetate and the Future of Catholic-Jewish Relations at a Time of Rising Antisemitism.” It was first scheduled to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Tree of Life shooting in nearby Pittsburgh, where an antisemitic murderer took the lives of 11 people, and injured six more, as they worshipped God on Oct. 27, 2018, in their synagogue.  Co-sponsored by Franciscan University and the Philos Project, the gathering, which will be livestreamed and recorded, aims to take relations between Jews and Catholics to a new plane of solidarity in a moment newly urgent. The conference gives Catholics everywhere a goal to unite at a critical moment in history. I must admit that several months ago, upon first being approached to give the closing address, my initial reaction was puzzlement. Catholics against antisemitism? Wasn’t that already a thing? It seemed likely that Catholics know something about the landmark Nostra Aetate — the official declaration of the Second Vatican Council, reiterating that the Catholic faith begins with the patriarchs and prophets of ancient Israel, and condemning the notion that Jews share collective guilt for the death of Jesus. Many must also know of Pope John Paul II’s, and other popes’ personal devotion to the people of the Covenant. What, I wondered, could need adding to the ledger after all that? Now we know.  In a day when other initiatives marching under the Catholic banner confuse, and sometimes dismay, the faithful, this conference represents an opportunity to opt for clarity and solidarity over confusion and division. In sum, its participants will try to do what we’re supposed to do: defend the faith and its implications for Catholics and Jews with high spirits and without apology — because that’s what being Catholic means. Many prominent people have already signed the statement. It’s to be hoped that, in the weeks and months to come, Catholics of all vocations will have that same opportunity — beginning with those reading these words. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/catholics-against-antisemitism-now-more-than-ever__________________________________________________________ 7. Archbishop: If a Synod Proposal is at Odds With the Gospel, ‘That’s Not of the Holy Spirit’, ‘We’ve got to be careful about blaming everything — all our opinions, our interests, lobbies, and factions — putting all that on the Holy Spirit,’ Archbishop Fisher said., By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2023 During the Synod on Synodality, we must be careful about “blaming everything on the Holy Spirit,” Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney has said, noting that if a proposal is radically at odds with the Gospel then “that’s not of the Holy Spirit.” “The Holy Spirit is Christ’s Spirit. He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son, and so he is only ever going to be saying things that are consistent with what Christ has revealed to us in the apostolic tradition,” Archbishop Fisher told CNA in an interview in Rome this week. Much emphasis has been placed on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit during the October assembly with synod delegates gathering for nearly daily small-group “conversations in the Spirit,” described on the synod website as “a dynamic of discernment in a synodal Church.” The Australian Dominican explained that if some synod proposal is “radically at odds” with the Gospel and the apostolic tradition, “that’s not of the Holy Spirit because we cannot have Christ and the Holy Spirit at war with each other.”  “Catholics like to think that the Holy Spirit elects the pope, the Holy Spirit chooses our bishops and priests for us, the Holy Spirit does this and that. And there’s no doubt that God’s hand, God’s providence, is there in all those important things in our lives and in the life of the Church. But we’ve also had some terrible popes in history. We’ve had some awful priests and bishops and awful things happen in people’s lives. And was the Holy Spirit absent? No, but he permitted those things to happen.” “So let’s not pin everything on the Holy Spirit that happens at the synod or anywhere else in our lives. I think that’s actually superstitious to do that,” he added.  https://www.ncregister.com/cna/archbishop-if-a-synod-proposal-is-at-odds-with-the-gospel-that-s-not-of-the-holy-spirit__________________________________________________________

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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