1. Judge rules Colorado can’t deny funds to Christian preschool for affirming two biological sexes, By Sean Salai, The Washington Times, October 26, 2023 A federal judge has ruled that Colorado officials cannot deny universal preschool funds to a Christian school over campus policies upholding the biblical belief in two biological sexes. In the decision issued Saturday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Domenico blocked the state from excluding Darren Patterson Christian Academy from the taxpayer-funded program on the basis that affirming only male and female sexes violates anti-discrimination requirements. “Exclusion of a preschool is inherently anti-universal, and denying participation based on one’s protected beliefs or speech is not equitable,” wrote Judge Domenico, a Trump appointee.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/oct/25/judge-rules-colorado-cant-deny-funds-to-christian-/__________________________________________________________ 2. Pope’s big synod on church future produces first document, but differences remain over role of women, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 25, 2023, 2:11 PM Pope Francis’ big meeting on the future of the Catholic Church headed into its final stretch Wednesday, with differences over the role of women still dividing the assembly even as it produced its first document after a month of debate. The Vatican released a letter from the 364-member synod, or meeting, to rank-and-file faithful, updating them in general terms on where things stand in their deliberations. It was approved 336-12 by the voting members of the assembly, which for the first time has included 54 women voting alongside bishops. The letter said the church going forward must be committed to listening to everyone, especially the poor and marginalized and victims of abuse by clergy. The church, it said, must commit itself “concretely and structurally to ensuring that this does not happen again.”  The whole process has generated tremendous hope for change among progressive Catholics and resistance from conservatives. In the letter released Wednesday, synod members made clear that those differences remain and will be outlined in more detail in a 40-page synthesis document that will be voted on Saturday night.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/10/25/vatican-women-synod-pope/5652a990-735a-11ee-936d-7a16ee667359_story.html__________________________________________________________ 3.  Tennessee attorney general sues federal government over abortion rule blocking funding, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, October 25, 2023, 7:15 PM Tennessee’s top legal chief says the federal government is wrongly withholding millions of dollars in family planning funds after the state refused to comply with federal rules requiring clinics to provide abortion referrals due to its current ban on the procedure. Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Knoxville earlier this week seeking to overturn the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decision. “We are suing to stop the federal government from playing politics with the health of Tennessee women,” Skrmetti said in a statement. “Our lawsuit is necessary to ensure that Tennessee can continue its 50-year track record of successfully providing these public health services to its neediest populations.” An HHS spokesperson said the department does not comment on pending litigation.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/10/25/tennessee-abortion-clinic/7dfc1670-7369-11ee-936d-7a16ee667359_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope Francis on women deacons: ‘Holy orders is reserved for men’, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, October 25, 2023, 12:35 PM Pope Francis reaffirmed the impossibility of women becoming priests, or even modern Church deacons, in an interview for a book released Tuesday in Italy. The question of whether some women in the early Church were “deaconesses” or another kind of collaborator with the bishops is “not irrelevant, because holy orders is reserved for men,” the pope said. The pope’s answers to questions about women’s roles in the Church were included in a book published in June in Spanish as “El Pastor: Desafíos, razones y reflexiones sobre su pontificado.”  About the possibility of women deacons, Francis pointed out that the diaconate “is the first degree of holy orders in the Catholic Church, followed by the priesthood and finally the episcopate.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255804/pope-francis-on-women-deacons-holy-orders-is-reserved-for-men__________________________________________________________ 5. The Synod On Synodality At The Halfway Point, By George Weigel, First Things, October 25, 2023, Opinion The Synod on Synodality meeting this month is the first of a two-part synodal assembly; the second session is scheduled to meet a year from now, in October 2024. No one is sure what will happen between now and then in terms of agenda-setting and process, but some important questions have been raised, and some serious concerns surfaced, during the first half of this synodal double-header.   What is this? The Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document) referred to “the Synod . . . in which the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place.” Is this a synodal sandwich, in which what was once known as the Synod of Bishops happens within “the Synod”? What kind of authority does a synodal sandwich have? What, exactly, is “the Synod,” and the role and authority of bishops within it?  Recovery of what? Invention of what? Since its inception in 2021, it has been said, not least by the pope, that this “synodal process” is recovering an ancient Christian practice that was never lost in the Christian East, but which had lain fallow in the Christian West for centuries. It is worth noting, however, that not a single churchman from the Christian East, Catholic or Orthodox, recognizes in Synod-2023 what is meant in their churches by a “Synod.” Nothing has been recovered in this process; but something is being invented. What is it? Theology, please. The conversations “in the Spirit” during the closely controlled small-group discussions at Synod-2023 have too often been dominated by sociological clichés, not serious theology. This is particularly true of the discussion of Holy Orders and who the Church can ordain, in which theological considerations—Christ’s spousal relationship to the Church, for example—were rarely encountered.  Yet it was precisely secularized cliché-mongering that led to the implosion in the 1980s of the once-promising Anglican–Roman Catholic dialogue, as the Archbishop of Canterbury explained to John Paul II that the Church of England’s decision to ordain women to its priesthood was heavily influenced by social change (e.g., if Margaret Thatcher can be prime minister of the U.K., why shouldn’t the Church of England ordain women?). Similarly lame thinking, devoid of serious theology, has been evident in the small-groups’ discussions of evangelization, often framed by secular notions of inclusivity that have little to do with conversion to Christ. And where, over the past two millennia, has the Catholic Church described and categorized people by their sexual desires (i.e., as “LGBTQ+ Catholics”)? Isn’t there a serious theological problem here? Broadening the bandwidth. It seems likely that the dramatis personae at Synod-2024 will be the same cast of characters gathered in Rome this month. However, this would raise serious questions about an assembly that claims to be representative of the universal Church. Over the past three weeks, it has become obvious that Synod-2023 (not unlike the German “Synodal Way”) is largely an assembly of Church professionals, and a narrow band of Church professionals at that. There seems not to be a single parish priest at Synod-2023. Religious sisters from growing institutes of consecrated life are notably absent, while religious sisters from dying communities are present and prominent. Leaders from lay-led evangelization ministries like FOCUS (the Fellowship of Catholic University Students) are absent, while other lay Catholics are here because they tick certain boxes in the game of identity politics.         What’s wrong with real debate? The “Conversation in the Spirit” methodology of Synod-2023’s small groups not only discourages engaging differences; it virtually bans discussing them, because the participants are supposed to be “listening,” not debating. Which of course means dodging issues. The method also suggests that all opinions are equal (because they must be assumed to be Spirit-inspired), which is both nonsense and an insult to the Holy Spirit. The same lack of true tolerance—the engagement of differences within a bond of charity and civility—has marred the Synod’s general congregations, where those allowed to speak are carefully chosen by the Synod managers and then confined to very brief statements, with no follow-up questioning. Neo-colonialism lives. The Synod’s focus on certain “hot-button” issues—the ordination of women, the alphabet anthropology of the LGBTQ+ activists present—seems to many African and Asian bishops another exercise in the neo-colonialism against which the pope has warned. This must be addressed before Synod-2024, and the living parts of the world Church, especially those in Africa, afforded more respect for their experience and their concerns than they have received this month. https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2023/10/the-synod-on-synodality-at-the-halfway-point__________________________________________________________

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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