1. Letter, Nazi dagger rekindle debates over wartime role of Pope Pius XII, By Crux, September 18, 2023 Two new discoveries regarding Pope Pius XII are rekindling debate over the role of the wartime pontiff, including a letter suggesting he had earlier knowledge of the Holocaust than previously believed and a Nazi dagger presented to the pontiff by a repentant SS officer.  The yellowed letter, dated Dec. 14, 1942, was written by an anti-Nazi German Jesuit named Father Lothar König and addressed to the personal secretary of Pope Pius XII, another German cleric named Father Robert Leiber.  The letter makes its more difficult to sustain, as some apologists for Pius XII have in the past, that the wartime pontiff did not explicitly and publicly condemn the Holocaust because he had only scattered and conflicting reports about the extent of the Nazi genocide.  In the same interview, Coco also revealed the existence of a dagger with the Nazi swastika which had been discovered in Pius XII’s private apartment after his death by his successor, Pope John XXIII.  Coco said that Lehnert explained that the dagger had been brought to a papal audience by an SS officer, who had planned to use it to attack the pontiff. Instead, Lehnert said, the SS officer had a change of heart and presented the dagger to the pope as a sign of repentance.  Over the years, critics of Pius XII have objected to what they describe as his “silence” on the Holocaust, while supporters claim he acted behind the scenes to save Jews and other Nazi victims. Asked to explain Pius XII’s discretion in terms of issuing public statements, Coco said that “several fears had an impact.” Among those concerns, Coco said, was the concrete possibility of reprisals against Catholics in Poland should the pope directly condemn the operation of Nazi death camps on their territory.  https://cruxnow.com/vatican/2023/09/letter-nazi-dagger-rekindle-debates-over-wartime-role-of-pope-pius-xii__________________________________________________________ 2. Trump, who nominated anti-abortion judges, calls six-week bans ‘terrible’, The former president also says he wouldn’t sign a federal 15-week ban but would negotiate with Democrats on the issue, By Mariana Alfaro and Hannah Knowles, The Washington Post, September 17, 2023, 8:25 PM Former president Donald Trump, the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, said a state abortion law signed by his top challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), which bans the procedure after six weeks, is “terrible.”  Trump declined to say what time frame he thinks is appropriate for an abortion ban and instead insisted that he would “sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.”   https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/17/trump-abortion/__________________________________________________________ 3. Abortion: The Allure and Danger of a Settlement, By Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, September 17, 2023, 2:44 PM, Opinion Most people don’t like fighting about abortion, and so a running theme of our decades of debate has been the wish that it would end. On the day after Roe v. Wade came down, the New York Times reported that it was “a historic resolution of a fiercely controversial issue.” Nearly two decades later, the Court re-affirmed Roe and said it was time for its opponents to accept that the issue had been resolved and end the country’s division. In a Meet the Press interview that aired today, Donald Trump insisted that he will finally end the abortion debate. “I would sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.” This peace would be achieved, he suggested, by “coming up with a number that’s going to make people happy.” That number would not be “terrible” like the six-week cutoff for abortion signed by Florida governor Ron DeSantis or “radical” like the acceptance of abortions very late in pregnancy by the Democrats. It has been pro-lifers who have refused time and again to let the fight be done. It may be the least popular stand the pro-life movement has taken. Most pro-lifers are well aware that public opinion does not permit a pro-life resolution of the controversy. But we have tried to hold open the debate so that we could secure some legal protections for unborn children and hope to gain more in the future. Pro-lifers should again reject any offer of a lasting settlement that falls far short of what justice requires. And Trump should be pressed on just what is so “terrible” about the pro-life laws of Florida — which Georgia, Iowa, Ohio, Texas, and many other states have equaled or exceeded. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/abortion-the-allure-and-danger-of-a-settlement/__________________________________________________________ 4. Common-sense ideas on abortion and parenthood, By Serrin M. Foster, The Washington Post, September 17, 2023, 4:48 PM, Letter to the EditorKudos to Marc A. Thiessen and Alyssa Rosenberg for championing common-sense solutions to the problems women face. It is not that difficult to listen to women — from those who have had abortions to those who are struggling as pregnant women at work. For the past 30 years, Feminists for Life has been on campuses and on Capitol Hill working to systematically eliminate the coercive reasons women feel driven to abortion, primarily a lack of resources and the support they need and deserve. I have found from meetings at the American Civil Liberties Union and the Heritage Foundation, and from working behind the scenes with women’s organizations, college administrators and pro-life groups, most people really want to help. Doing it together can move the agenda forward. Serrin M. Foster is president of Feminists for Life of America. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/09/17/abortion-parenthood-common-sense-ideas/__________________________________________________________ 5. The Explosive Rise of Single-Parent Families Is Not a Good Thing, By Melissa S. Kearney, The New York Times, September 17, 2023, 6:00 AM, Opinion There has been a huge transformation in the way children are raised in the United States: the erosion of the convention of raising children inside a two-parent home. This shift is often not publicly challenged or lamented, in an effort to be inclusive of a diversity of family arrangements. But this well-meaning acceptance obscures the critical reality that this change is hurting our children and our society. The share of American children living with married parents has dropped considerably: In 2019, only 63 percent lived with married parents, down from 77 percent in 1980. Cohabitation hardly makes up for the difference in these figures. Roughly a quarter of children live in a one-parent home, more than in any other country for which data is available. Despite a small rise in two-parent homes since 2012, the overall trend persists. This is not a positive development. The evidence is overwhelming: Children from single-parent homes have more behavioral problems, are more likely to get in trouble in school or with the law, achieve lower levels of education and tend to earn lower incomes in adulthood. Boys from homes without dads present are particularly prone to getting in trouble in school or with the law.   For decades, academics, journalists and advocates have taken a “live and let live” view of family structure. Mostly this reflects a well-intentioned effort to avoid stigmatizing single mothers and to promote acceptance and respect for different family arrangements. But benign intentions have obscured the uncomfortable reality that children do better when they are raised in two-parent homes.  We need to work more to understand why so many American parents are raising their children without a second parent in the home, and we must find effective ways to strengthen families in order to increase the share of children raised in healthy, stable two-parent homes. Doing so will improve the well-being of millions of children, help close class gaps and create a stronger society for us all. Melissa S. Kearney is an economics professor at the University of Maryland and author of the forthcoming book “The Two-Parent Privilege: How Americans Stopped Getting Married and Started Falling Behind.” https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/17/opinion/single-parent-families-income-inequality-college.html __________________________________________________________ 6. Letter showing Pope Pius XII had detailed information from German Jesuit about Nazi crimes revealed, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 16, 2023, 5:58 PM Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6,000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland. The documentation undercuts the Holy See’s argument that it couldn’t verify diplomatic reports of Nazi atrocities to denounce them. The documentation from the Vatican archives, published this weekend in Italian daily Corriere della Sera, is likely to further fuel the debate about Pius’ legacy and his now-stalled beatification campaign. Historians have long been divided about Pius’ record, with supporters insisting he used quiet diplomacy to save Jewish lives while critics say he remained silent as the Holocaust raged. Corriere is reproducing a letter dated Dec. 14, 1942 from the German Jesuit priest to Pius’ secretary which is contained in an upcoming book about the newly opened files of Pius’ pontificate by Giovanni Coco, a researcher and archivist in the Vatican’s Apostolic Archives.  The letter from the priest, the Rev. Lothar Koenig, to Pius’ secretary, a fellow German Jesuit named the Rev. Robert Leiber, is dated Dec. 14, 1942.  However, Coco noted that Koenig also urged the Holy See to not make public what he was revealing because he feared for his own life and the lives of the resistance sources who had provided the intelligence. Pius’ supporters have long insisted that he couldn’t speak out strongly against the Nazis because of fears of reprisals.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/09/16/vatican-pius-holocaust-jews-pius-pope-poland/aca8bbea-5456-11ee-accf-88c266213aac_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. The Anti-Abortion Movement Won the Legal Battle, but It’s Losing the War, By David French, The New York Times, September 15, 2023, Podcast The abortion rate in America has steadily increased since 2016, despite the 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion. As a lawyer who once worked in the anti-abortion movement, Opinion columnist David French says there’s a crisis of hope driving this increase in abortion in America. To see a meaningful decrease, he says, the right needs to look past its legal victory and approach this issue in a more holistic way. “There’s no way to a culture of life without reaching hearts and minds,” he says. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/09/15/opinion/abortion-pro-life-law.html__________________________________________________________ 8. Canada bishops address ongoing search for Indigenous graves amid calls for greater accuracy, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, September 15, 2023, 9:54 AM                                                          No human remains were found in last month’s excavation of a Catholic church basement on Pine Creek First Nations lands in Manitoba, Canada, after the community asked a Brandon University archaeological team to conduct excavations in the search for any missing children who might have died decades ago in the community’s former residential school. In the summer of 2022, ground-penetrating radar discovered 71 anomalies on the lands of Pine Creek First Nation, also known as the Minegoziibe Anishinabe. Most anomalies were located in known burial areas on the grounds of the former Catholic-run Pine Creek Residential School. The community was surprised to find 14 of these anomalies in the basement of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Catholic Church, prompting fears the church held possible graves and a crime scene. However, excavations from late July to mid-August of this year failed to find any human remains.  The failure to find evidence of “mass graves,” as many media reports categorized the discovery of anomalies, has prompted some observers to call for greater accuracy in documenting what really happened to Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.  Bishop Emeritus Fred Henry of Calgary has said the Catholic Church in Canada should press the government for proof about missing children whose parents didn’t know what happened to them.  “Why is the Catholic Church not asking the federal government for proof that even one residential child is actually missing in the sense that his [or] her parents didn’t know what happened to their child at the time of the child’s death?” he wrote in an email to Toronto’s Catholic Register in August.  Despite historical questions and cultural tensions in Canada, the country’s Catholic bishops have said they will continue to support Indigenous communities while acknowledging the failings of Catholics involved in the Church-run residential school system. “It is good that rigorous research is being conducted by professionals to understand better what happened at the schools. The bishops are supportive of such research,” Archbishop Richard Gagnon of Winnipeg told CNA Sept. 6. “They also understand and share the desire for truth to be at the heart of reconciliation.” “That said, it is the priority of the bishops at this time to lead the Church in finding ways to walk with Indigenous peoples, to build relationships, to apologize when appropriate for suffering experienced within Church-operated institutions, and to be allies in the pursuit of justice,” Gagnon said.The Canadian newspaper The Catholic Register, citing Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Archbishop Don Bolen of Regina, said the bishops collectively “have chosen to listen rather than respond to every event and demand arising from the process.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255374/canada-s-bishops-address-ongoing-search-for-indigenous-graves-amidst-calls-for-accuracy__________________________________________________________ 9. Legal group pleads for imprisoned Bishop Álvarez’s rights before human rights commission, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, September 15, 2023, 6:30 PM A Christian legal group has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on behalf of Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Álvarez, who is serving a prison sentence under the regime of President Daniel Ortega for criticizing the dictatorship’s human rights violations. Álvarez, the bishop of Matagalpa, began serving a 26-year, four-month prison term in February, charged with being a “traitor to the homeland.”  ADF International announced the filing of its petition Sept. 14, saying there are “no effective avenues for legal recourse available in Nicaragua” under Ortega, who has effectively ruled the country as a dictator for years.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255390/legal-group-pleads-for-imprisoned-bishop-alvarezs-rights-before-human-rights-commission__________________________________________________________ 10. Chinese priest convicted of ‘fraud’ for refusal to recognize state-sanctioned Church, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, September 15, 2023, 6:50 PM A Catholic priest in China was convicted of “fraud” and “impersonating religious personnel” on Sept. 13, ChinaAid reported Father Joseph Yang Xiaoming of the Wenzhou Diocese in Zhejiang, China — south of Shanghai — was found to be in violation of the law after he refused to register with the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA). The court-imposed administrative penalties on Yang include “the cessation of his [priestly] activities, the confiscation of illegal proceeds of 28,473.33 yuan ($3,913), and a fine of 1,526.67 yuan ($210),” UCA News reported. In May 2021, shortly after his ordination, the Longwan District Religious Affairs Office started legal proceedings against Yang.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255391/chinese-priest-convicted-of-fraud-for-refusal-to-recognize-state-sanctioned-church__________________________________________________________ 11. Bishops celebrate National Migration Week, highlight overlooked ‘right to remain’, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, September 15, 2023, 7:10 PM The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is highlighting the overlooked right to remain in one’s country during its weeklong celebration of National Migration Week from Sept. 18–24. “For millennia, people have been forced to flee their homelands, seeking safety and security, because of factors beyond their control,” El Paso Bishop Mark J. Seitz, the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Migration, said in a statement ahead of the celebration.  … The USCCB’s statement reflects the theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay,” which Pope Francis announced in May. “The decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even in our day, it is not,” Pope Francis said in his announcement. “Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one’s native land is forcing millions of persons to leave. … Migrants flee because of poverty, fear, or desperation. Eliminating these causes and thus putting an end to forced migration calls for shared commitment on the part of all, in accordance with the responsibilities of each.” The USCCB said the right to remain in one’s natural homeland and not be forcefully displaced is a right that is often overlooked in the immigration debate in the United States.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255392/bishops-celebrate-national-migration-week-highlighting-overlooked-right-to-remain__________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.