1. Don’t Slander St. Junípero Serra, California lawmakers sully the good name of a Catholic saint., By Salvatore J. Cordileone and José H. Gomez, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion

California lawmakers have passed legislation to replace a statue of St. Junípero Serra at the Capitol in Sacramento with a new monument honoring the state’s native peoples. The Serra statue has been in storage since it was torn down by protesters in July 2020. A humble 18th-century Franciscan priest, Serra would surely approve of a new monument honoring the indigenous Californians he spent his life serving. Unfortunately, the legislature has gone further, slandering his name and pushing a false narrative about the mission period in California.

“Enslavement of both adults and children, mutilation, genocide, and assault on women were all part of the mission period initiated and overseen by Father Serra,” declares Assembly Bill 338, which passed both chambers by wide margins and now awaits Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature. None of that is true.

The destruction of the state’s native people happened long after he was gone and many of the missions had been taken over by the government.

How we choose to remember the past shapes the people we hope to be in the future. We can think of no better symbol for this multiethnic state committed to human dignity and equality than to place two statues at the California Capitol—one celebrating the living heritage of California’s indigenous peoples, another reflecting the faith and leadership of their defender St. Junípero Serra.

Archbishop Cordileone leads the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. Archbishop Gomez leads the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


2. The Texas Abortion Law Is Unconventional Because It Had to Be, After Roe v. Wade, many people think abortion is off limits to democracy. It isn’t., By Bryan Hughes, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2021, Pg. A17, Opinion

There has been so much ill-informed commentary on Texas Senate Bill 8, the Heartbeat Act, that I feel compelled to explain its provisions and defend its logic. I am the author of the bill, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed in May.

The law does not ban abortions after six weeks. It requires that a physician performing an abortion first check for a fetal heartbeat. If there is a heartbeat, the physician may not abort the child. When a physician performs an abortion without checking for a heartbeat, or finds a heartbeat and performs the abortion anyway, he has performed an illegal abortion.

The mother cannot be sued, and we have bolstered programs to support expectant mothers. Last year the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program provided support to more than 100,000 pregnant women and adoptive parents through counseling, classes, car seats, diapers and other necessities. This year we added more than $20 million to the program, bringing total funding to over $100 million.

One of the numerous unfortunate consequences of Roe is that many people mistakenly believe any regulation on abortion must be illegitimate. This is not so. The Supreme Court does not have the power to declare subjects off limits to democratically elected legislatures.

I believe life begins at conception, and I believe most Texans are in line with that understanding of human personhood. If they are not, we have free and fair elections in which they can make their differences understood. Elected officials in other states may take a different view and they are not beholden to Texas’ voters.

The Heartbeat Act was necessary because Roe v. Wade attempted to take the question of abortion out of the hands of American democracy. Like it or not, states will keep crafting unconventional means of regulating abortion until the Supreme Court puts the question back where it belongs.

Mr. Hughes represents District 1 in the Texas Senate.


3. Pope Francis, during visit, urges Viktor Orban’s Hungary to ‘extend its arms toward everyone’, By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, September 13, 2021, Pg. A1

After meeting privately on Sunday with Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the far-right autocrat who has championed a vision of a closed-door Europe, Pope Francis took the stage in front of tens of thousands and called on the country to “extend its arms toward everyone.”

“My wish is that you be like that: grounded and open, rooted and considerate,” Francis said during an outdoor Mass, marking his only day in Hungary before he continues to Slovakia.

Francis’s remarks amounted to a careful but clear critique of Hungary’s anti-migrant policies under Orban, the three-term prime minister who has called migration a “poison.” The pope’s comments came at the tail end of his seven-hour trip to Budapest, where much of the attention had centered on how Francis would address a leader who is his political opposite.


4. Bishops urge Catholics to ‘Civilize It’ in political talks, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, September 13, 2021, Pg. A8

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wants the nation’s 70 million Roman Catholics to “lower the temperature” when the subject of politics comes up at church and elsewhere, said the head of the new “Civilize It: A Better Kind of Politics” initiative.

Speaking to The Washington Times on Friday, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, chairman of the group’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, said the past five years in the U.S. and around the world have demonstrated a need to change the manner of political discourse.

“I think it would be no surprise to anyone to realize that the tone of dialogue or the tone of the conversation has gotten a bit heated,” Archbishop Coakley, leader of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said. “This is very much behind what is motivating the bishops to adopt this ‘Civilize It’ initiative to remind us that we need to always be respectful of one another.”

The bishops’ group said the campaign is based on a 2020 encyclical, or teaching document, issued by Pope Francis called “Fratelli tutti,” which the pontiff released at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic, with an aim in part toward “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good.”


5. Vatican cardinal tries to heal rift with Jews after Pope’s rhetoric on Torah, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, September 13, 2021

The Vatican’s top official for dialogue with Jews has attempted to smooth over a rift that opened last month when several prominent rabbis complained about a speech given by Pope Francis in which he said the Torah, meaning Jewish scripture and law, “does not give life.”

Swiss Cardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, in an effort to reduce tensions, sent letters to two rabbis representing groups that had public objected to the pope’s remarks. In the letters, Koch tried to explain the theological background of the papal comments and pointed to Francis’s favorable position toward the Jewish community.



6. In Slovakia, Pope Francis calls for freedom in both civil society and Church, By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 13, 2021

Speaking to the civil authorities of Slovakia, a country that for decades was under one-party Communist rule, Pope Francis warned against the “single-thought” system of consumerism and ideological colonization.

“In these lands, until just a few decades ago, a single thought-system stifled freedom,” Francis said. “Today another single thought-system is emptying freedom of meaning, reducing progress to profit and rights only to individual needs. Today, as then, the salt of the faith acts not by reacting in worldly terms, by engaging in culture wars, but by quietly and humbly sowing the seeds of God’s kingdom, especially by the witness of charity.”


7. Polish nun, cardinal who defied communism are beatified, By Vanessa Gera, Associated Press, September 12, 2021, 9:15 AM

Poland’s top political leaders on Sunday attended the beatification of two revered figures of the Catholic church — a cardinal who led the Polish church’s resistance to communism and a blind nun who devoted her life to helping others who couldn’t see.

The beatification of Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski and Mother Elzbieta Roza Czacka takes place at a time of declining church attendance and as some Poles have formally left the church over sex abuse scandals and the church’s coziness with a divisive right-wing government.

In a time of growing secularization and societal divisions, the celebration is a reminder of the moral authority and the unifying power the church once held over the nation.


8. Pope: Aim to counter fundamentalist violence with schooling, By Associated Press, September 11, 2021, 3:52 PM

Unchecked poverty and ignorance help fundamentalist violence to take hold easily, Pope Francis said as he urged fellow religious leaders and others to counter the phenomenon by promoting schooling.

Francis made the call in a message to a four-day meeting that began on Saturday evening in Bologna, Italy, with the gathering aiming to foster understanding among religions.


9. Federal court rules against Tennessee abortion restrictions, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 10, 2021, 4:00 PM

A federal appeals court ruled against Tennessee’s abortion restrictions on Friday, nine days after another pro-life “heartbeat” law went into effect in Texas.

In July 2020, Tennessee enacted a law restricting abortions at several stages in pregnancy, including abortions conducted after detection of a fetal heartbeat which can occur as early as six weeks post gestation.

The law also prohibited abortions conducted because of the race or sex of the baby, or because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit ruled against both provisions, upholding a lower court’s ruling that halted them from going into effect.


10. Providence bishop: Catholic congressman’s abortion position ‘terribly disappointing’, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, September 10, 2021, 11:00 AM

Bishop Tomas Tobin of Providence on Thursday lambasted a local congressman’s newspaper editorial which explains his support for federally codifying abortion rights, despite his Catholic faith and professed personal pro-life views.

“We are so tired of hearing Catholic politicians say, as Jim Langevin does, ‘Although I remain personally opposed to abortion . . .’ and then go on to support abortion,” Bishop Tobin wrote in a Sept. 9 statement. “That pathetic excuse doesn’t fly anymore.”

A Sept. 9 column in the Providence Journal by Rep. James Langevin, a Democrat who represents Rhode Island’s second congressional district, explains how his position on legalized abortion has “evolved.” He says his increased support for abortion rights is the reason he will be voting for the Women’s Health Protection Act when he arrives in Washington D.C. in the coming weeks.

“Jim Langevin claims to be a ‘practicing Catholic,’” Bishop Tobin wrote, “but practicing Catholics do not promote the legalization of abortion which the Church clearly teaches is an ‘abominable crime.’”

Bishop Tobin concluded by acknowledging the obligation to speak the truth: “that every time an abortion takes place, a child dies.”

“Sadly,” he said, “that reality will now be on the heart and soul and conscience of Jim Langevin.”


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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