1. Partisan battle grows over state funding for antiabortion centers, By Kimberly Kindy, The Washington Post, September 14, 2023, 6:00 AM After every Tennessee abortion clinic shuttered last year, Republican Gov. Bill Lee told state lawmakers they had a “moral obligation” to increase funding for a different service: crisis pregnancy centers.  This year, GOP-majority legislatures in 12 states passed 25 bills providing at least $250 million in new taxpayer funds or tax credits for crisis pregnancy centers, according to data collected by the Guttmacher Institute and Equality Now, nonprofit organizations that support abortion rights. That contrasts with seven similar bills passed in seven states totaling at least $115 million in 2021, before the Supreme Court’s decision.  But the increase in state funding has alarmed abortion rights supporters, who accuse the centers of misleading pregnant women and point to warnings by medical groups including the American Medical Association, which has called for a halt to public funding and has asked the organizations to “truthfully describe the services they offer.”  Thus far, judges have not found widespread fraud or abuse at the centers. In a 2017 ruling, a federal judge struck down a law in Baltimore, writing that “after seven years of litigation and a 1,295-page record before us, the City does not identify a single example of a woman who entered the Greater Baltimore Center’s waiting room under the misimpression that she could obtain an abortion there.”And in a pending lawsuit challenging the Illinois law, a federal judge shot down a request last month for the law to go into effect while the court case plays out, saying the evidence of harm the centers are causing was “thread bare.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/14/gop-lawmakers-crisis-pregnancy-centers-state-funding/ __________________________________________________________ 2. On synod secrecy, does Pope Francis risk destroying the village in order to save it?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, September 14, 2023 As first reported yesterday by Loup Besmond of La Croix, Pope Francis apparently is considering imposing pontifical secrecy on the upcoming Synod of Bishops on synodality, not simply on opinions and votes, as was past practice, but on all issues addressed during synod discussions.The stated aim would be to protect the frankness and honesty of those discussions. According to Besmond, such a provision is currently in the draft regulations for the synod being considered by the pope.On a more practical level, there’s a good argument that an imposition of pontifical secrecy just won’t work. In truth, the most obvious effect of a decree of secrecy is to ensure that the narrative regarding the synod will be dominated by its most extreme voices, meaning people with agenda to push and axes to grind, who will talk about what’s happening regardless of what the rule book may say. The people most likely to take a secrecy requirement seriously, by way of contrast, are those moderate voices inside the synod genuinely trying to enter into its spirit and to play a constructive role. If you gag those individuals, the only voices left will be precisely the ones whose penchant for ideological combat organizers most fear. The bottom line is that however infallible a pope may be on matters of faith and morals, it’s not within his power to prevent public disclosures about a Synod of Bishops. The only real choice is whether those disclosures will happen on his terms or someone else’s, and we’ll see in short order which way Pope Francis opts to go.  https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2023/09/on-synod-secrecy-does-pope-francis-risk-destroying-the-village-in-order-to-save-it__________________________________________________________ 3. European bishops concerned about draft bill on medical use of ‘human substances’, By ACI Prensa, Catholic News Agency, September 13, 2023, 4:30 PMThe Commission of the Episcopal Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) and the Commissariat of the German Bishops-Catholic Office in Berlin on Sept. 12 published a joint statement expressing their “deep concern” about a new draft bill that changes the position of the European Council and Parliament on the substances of human origin (SoHO) regulation.  The bishops stated that “as the Catholic Church we are convinced, with many others and for many reasons, that human life from the beginning, including unborn life, possesses its own dignity, right, and independent right of protection” and therefore it is their intention to draw attention to the consequences of the new SoHO regulation.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255361/european-bishops-concerned-about-draft-bill-on-medical-use-of-human-substances __________________________________________________________ 4. USAID announces ‘religious engagement policy’ aimed at partnering with faith groups, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, September 13, 2023, 10:45 AM The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Tuesday announced the establishment of a new “religious engagement policy” the agency said is meant to incorporate more religious groups and institutions into its global aid and development missions.  USAID, an independent department in the federal government, administers foreign aid and development assistance to civilian authorities worldwide. Its $50 billion budget funds humanitarian efforts in disaster response, socioeconomic development, and other areas.   In a policy document, USAID said it would take several steps to implement the program, including “assess[ing] a country’s religious landscape,” developing “approaches to engagement, partnership, and safeguarding,” “inviting religious actors into stakeholder consultations,” and maintaining “continuous engagement” with those stakeholders.  Bill O’Keefe, the executive vice president for mission, mobilization, and advocacy at the global humanitarian group Catholic Relief Services, said CRS is “excited” about the prospect of the new program.  “We are excited to see the policy and hope especially it facilitates even greater support and partnership between USAID, local Catholic partners, and other religious leaders critical to peace and justice around the world,” O’Keefe continued.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255355/usaid-announces-religious-engagement-policy-aimed-at-partnering-with-faith-groups-for-humanitarian-efforts __________________________________________________________

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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