1. New figures show that the number of abortions increased during the first six months of 2023, compared to the same period in 2020, when the procedure was legal throughout the country., By Sean Salai, The Washington Times,, September 13, 2023 New figures show that the number of abortions increased during the first six months of 2023, compared to the same period in 2020, when the procedure was legal throughout the country. The numbers cast doubt on the effectiveness of states’ restrictions on abortion since the Supreme Court ended a national right to the procedure in June 2022. The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute estimated that 511,000 abortions occurred in 32 states where the procedure was legal from January through June, compared to about 465,000 procedures during the same period in 2020 when abortion was legal across the entire country.  Pro-life advocates acknowledged the increase in abortion but stressed that state restrictions worked where officials enforced them. “Overall, plenty of data collected since the [Supreme Court] decision show that thousands of lives have been saved by strong state-level, pro-life laws,” said Michael New, an assistant professor of social research at the Catholic University of America and scholar at the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute. “As such, pro-lifers would do well to stay the course.” https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/sep/12/increase-abortion-casts-doubts-effectiveness-state/__________________________________________________________ 2. New pro-life group prepares to administer Kansas’ $2 million abortion-alternative program, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, September 12, 2023, 11:15 AM A recently formed pro-life network is preparing to administer the inaugural $2 million budget of Kansas’ newly created state-backed “Alternatives to Abortion” program. The state treasurer’s office said in a press release last week that “a Kansas-based nonprofit has been selected to administer the Alternatives to Abortion program” enacted by the state Legislature earlier in the year. The Kansas Pregnancy Care Network (KPCN) “was selected from the three eligible bids that were submitted to the Department of Administration,” the office said, noting the group “was the only Kansas-based entity that submitted a qualified bid.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255347/new-pro-life-group-prepares-to-administer-kansas-s-2-dollars-million-abortion-alternative-program__________________________________________________________ 3. Swiss bishops’ study finds more than 1,000 cases of clergy sexual abuse, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, September 12, 2023, 10:35 AM A comprehensive, yearlong investigation into sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Switzerland released on Tuesday has documented more than 1,000 instances of abuse dating back to the mid-20th century. The Swiss Bishops’ Conference commissioned the groundbreaking study by the University of Zurich’s Historical Seminar, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.  “The findings expose deep-rooted issues that go beyond the actions of individual perpetrators to systemic causes that Church leaders must answer for,” said Bishop Felix Gmür of Basel, president of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, in an immediate response to the study. The 136-page report documents 1,002 cases of abuse since the mid-20th century involving 510 accused and 921 victims. The research team cautioned that these figures represent “only the tip of the iceberg,” as numerous archives remain unevaluated.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255346/swiss-bishops-study-finds-over-1000-cases-of-clergy-sexual-abuse__________________________________________________________ 4. Synodal Secrecy: Is a Tightly-Controlled Information Flow the Best Way to Go?, The Vatican spokesman has said media will have limited access to Synod on Synodality’s sessions in keeping with past synods, and information reports on discussions will keep participants comments anonymous., By Russell Shaw, National Catholic Register, September 12, 2023, Opinion  So now the Synod on Synodality is here — it opens at the Vatican Oct. 4 and continues to Oct. 29 — and, like its predecessors, it will be held behind closed doors, with carefully tailored information fed to reporters concerning what’s happening. That suggests an unavoidable question: If the “synodal Church” that Pope Francis wants is to be the open, transparent affair he speaks of, is a closed-door synod with tight controls on the information flow the best way of launching it? The Holy Father explained the thinking behind the synod’s information procedures during the flight home from his recent visit to Mongolia. There had been talk about livestreaming the synod, but the Pope said a firm “No” to that. “We must safeguard the synodal climate,” he explained. “This isn’t a television program where you talk about everything. No, it is a religious moment, a religious exchange.” At a news conference several days later, Paolo Ruffini, head of the Vatican communication department, said there would be some limited livestreaming — the opening Mass, talks by two synod officials and a few other events, but none of the sessions in which the synod participants would speak their minds. Instead, Pope Francis had said on the plane, reporters would get information about the proceedings via a daily summary prepared by a committee headed by Ruffini. It would not identify any speakers by name, Francis explained, but the Ruffini group would be “very respectful of the speeches of each person and will try not to gossip but are to recount things … that are constructive for the Church.” One can certainly share the Pope’s desire that the synod retain its character as a spiritual event. But why would naming people who spoke at the synod be in conflict with that? Can’t everyone involved be trusted to say what is “constructive for the Church”? And however conscientiously the Ruffini group does its work, doesn’t the whole procedure smack of trying to manage the news? In the end, of course, the biggest practical problem with the plan is that it isn’t practical. It is ironic that the synod, sometimes described as completing the work of Vatican Council II — which after its first session became a model of open communication — should take place in semi-secrecy behind closed doors. Considerably more than 300 participants plus some staff will be at every synod session, and some will have no hesitation about talking privately to reporters. The journalists can be counted on to locate those inside sources — or the sources will locate them — thus creating an underground information flow beyond what the official summaries provide.  Against this background, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that conducting the synod in semi-secrecy is an odd way of moving ahead in creating a synodal Church where communication among all the faithful is supposed to be honest and transparent. And as that suggests, what is fundamentally at issue here is not media relations but ecclesiology.   In a book called Nothing to Hide (Ignatius, 2008) I discussed the events surrounding the U.S. bishops’ decision to open their general meetings to the media, as well as other situations in which the practice of secrecy worked to the disadvantage of the Church. Notable among these latter was the sex-abuse debacle, which one bishop whom I quoted called “the very worst scandal of our times.” At the end of the book I wrote that failures of communication reflect the reality of a Church “which at one and the same time is the spotless bride of Christ and a band of sinners. … When we speak of reforming the Church by open, honest communication and accountability, we are speaking of reforming ourselves.” As the Synod on Synodality prepares to get underway, I still think that’s true. Russell Shaw was in charge of media relations for the Catholic bishops’ conference of the United States from 1969 to 1987 and director of information for the Knights of Columbus from 1987 to 1997. He was a consultor of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications for 15 years and is a visiting professor of communications at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/synodal-secrecy-is-a-tightly-controlled-information-flow-the-best-way-to-go__________________________________________________________

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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