1. Donald Trump Owes Pro-Lifers, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2023, Pg. A15, Opinion When Donald Trump’s interview with NBC’s Kristen Welker aired Sunday morning on “Meet the Press,” he was criticized by some pro-lifers. Some didn’t like his calling the six-week ban on abortion signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis a “terrible thing,” while others took issue with his muddied answer on federal vs. state bans.  No one can deny Mr. Trump’s achievement with Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. His Supreme Court picks provided the margin of victory for overturning Roe v. Wade. He’s also right that absent Dobbs there would be no bans at all. But he is on shakier ground when he says that without him “the pro Life movement would just have kept losing.” It’s the other way around. Mr. Trump would never have been elected president without the active support of the pro-life and conservative legal movements. He had the wit to follow their lead. In 2016 when Mr. Trump first ran for president, nobody knew what he believed. So he asked Leonard Leo at the Federalist Society to produce a list of jurists who would interpret the Constitution as it was written and as the Founders understood it. Candidate Trump pledged to choose from this list for his Supreme Court nominees. So Mr. Trump deserves credit for the Court’s Dobbs decision. But Dobbs itself was the culmination of a nearly 50-year effort to place on the court justices who understood the constitutional travesty Roe represented. Over those five decades, often against long odds, pro-lifers provided the critical support needed to get these justices confirmed and the presidents who nominated them elected.  Ed Whelan is president emeritus of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “It’s one thing for pro-lifers to be grateful to Trump for appointing Supreme Court justices who were critical in overturning Roe,” he tweeted Sunday after the “Meet the Press” interview. “It’s quite another to think we should view him as an ally going forward.” As for going forward, there are two realities about a national abortion ban. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley pointed to one in the first GOP debate last month: Republicans don’t have the 60 Senate votes needed. The other is that those hoping abortion will go away as a national issue are dreaming. So long as the Democrats are pushing to codify Roe in federal law, voters will demand to know where candidates for president and Congress stand on the issue—and they will have to answer. Republicans will also have to respond when Democrats insist on constitutionally dubious policies, such as the Pentagon’s decision to underwrite, without the blessing of Congress, interstate travel by service members to obtain abortions. In short, Mr. Trump can rightfully claim credit for making Dobbs possible. But as abortion politics enters the post-Dobbs future, let’s not forget it was the pro-life movement that made Donald Trump possible. https://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-owes-pro-lifers-meet-the-press-desantis-abortion-6-weeks-3fe8814a__________________________________________________________ 2. Marriage decline more troubling in U.S. than birthrate drop, Poll: Evangelicals most concerned, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, September 19, 2023, Pg. A6 Members of U.S. religious faiths are more concerned about a drop in marriage rates than birthrates, a Pew Research study found. Evangelical Protestants are the largest group to say a decline in marriage “will have a negative impact on the future of our country,” with 55% agreeing, the Pew survey revealed. Also agreeing were 42% of mainline Protestants and 37% of Catholics. Thirty-four percent of historically Black Protestants saw the decline in marriage as a problem, while 20% of the religiously unaffiliated saw it as a negative.  Survey respondents were far more sanguine about Americans having fewer children. Only 27% of survey respondents said the trend did not bode well for the future. Evangelicals were most concerned at 37%, followed by mainline Protestants at 31%, Catholics at 26%, and historically Black Protestants at 23%. Only 19% of the unaffiliated said a lower birthrate was a problem.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/sep/15/americans-more-worried-about-drop-marriage-rates-f/__________________________________________________________ 3. The Pope’s Coming Vatican Showdown with American Conservatives, Francis’s recent journeys ahead of the October synod may be signals about the future direction of the Church., By Paul Elie, The New Yorker, September 18, 2023, Opinion As Catholicism was losing influence in Europe and Latin America, in the U.S. it was gaining influence on public policy, a development that would culminate in the reversal of Roe v. Wade. It wasn’t a stretch to imagine that an American might be elected Pope—Cardinal Dolan, say, whose name showed up on shortlists after Benedict resigned, in 2013. Instead, the Jesuit cardinal of Buenos Aires was elected. And not only has this first Pope from the Americas shown no special regard for the U.S.; the American Church has become the church that stands between Francis and his vision of Catholicism. That vision is dedicated to the poor and determined to go to the world’s margins, and devoted to the God of “nearness, proximity,” confident that, as Teilhard put it, “God is not remote from us. He is at the point of my pen, my pick, my paintbrush, my needle—and my heart and my thoughts.” The rise of traditionalist American Catholicism, that is, has met with the rise of a progressive Latin American Pontiff, whose vision is focussed on the Global South. All of this is prelude to the coming reckoning at next month’s synod. The familiar narrative is that Francis’s age—he will turn eighty-seven in December—is giving urgency to his efforts to foster progress in the Church. But the aging of the American traditionalists is just as significant. Cardinal-archbishops (the ones who head big-city archdioceses) are required to submit their resignations upon reaching seventy-five, and those who are allowed to stay on can no longer vote in the College of Cardinals for a new Pope once they turn eighty. Cardinal Burke is seventy-five; Cardinal Dolan, who will be a delegate at the synod, is seventy-three. There is cause for the traditionalists to worry that Francis will lead the Church into his nineties (as Benedict might have done, had he not retired unexpectedly at age eighty-five) and then yield the papacy to a successor chosen by younger cardinals whom he has appointed. For the traditionalists, then, the synod is something like a last stand, where the legacy of two Popes just past will converge with the determination of the present one. https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-popes-coming-vatican-showdown-with-american-conservatives__________________________________________________________ 4. The Diocese of Rome’s Rupnik problem, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, September 18, 2023, 9:48 PM, Opinion The case of Marko Rupnik, the priest, former member of the Society of Jesus, and alleged serial sexual abuser, is back in the news Monday, after the Diocese of Rome published a statement on its investigation into the artistic community where Rupnik lived and worked. But rather than shedding new light on the accusations against the disgraced religious artist, or how he was allegedly able to groom and sexually abuse women religious for decades, the pope’s diocesan curia issued a statement exonerating the artistic community where lived and worked. The statement from the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome appeared even to favor Rupnik, questioning the legitimacy of his canonical prosecution. The apparent effort to downplay the scandal generated instant backlash and, rather than making it go away, seems to have only increased the size of the “Rupnik problem” it continues to face.  According to multiple allegations and the conclusions of his own former order, Rupnik, an internationally feted religious artist, used his artistic process to groom and sexually abuse religious sisters over a period of decades.  Instead, the case concluded by Rupnik being excommunicated by the DDF, the penalty required by canon law for attempted absolution of an accomplice. That penalty was lifted shortly thereafter following apparent contrition on Rupnik’s part and, despite the imposition of restrictions on his ministry he returned to a schedule of international travel and public speaking until details of the allegations against him surfaced in the press.   For many Church watchers, this is a continuation of a pattern in which Rupnik is formally punished by Church authorities but appears to remain prominently and publicly welcome in senior Church circles and especially at the center he led for many years.  Worst of all for Cardinal De Donatis, in appearing to second guess the canonical investigation into Rupnik’s crimes, the vicariate has drawn personal fire on both the cardinal and Pope Francis. The influential Vatican-watch website Il Sismografo published an editorial on Monday accusing the vicariate of “unbearable and untruthful verbal acrobatics” by referring to Rupnik’s canonical process and punishment as a “request for excommunication” instead of acknowledging that the penalty was imposed by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. The site’s editors argued that the vicariate’s intention was “to exonerate Pope Francis from the fact of having canceled the excommunication of Father Marko Rupnik.” While Francis has faced numerous accusations online of having personally interfered with the Rupnik case, no evidence or direct reporting has emerged to substantiate those claims — as a canonical matter, the DDF is legally competent to investigate (or delegate investigation) the crime of attempted absolution of an accomplice in a sexual sin, and to declare and later remit the penalty of excommunication. But those accusations are receiving a fresh airing now, thanks to Monday’s statement, compounded by its apparent suggestion Rupnik ought not to have been convicted at all. The result seems to be that, far from helping close the case on Rupnik, the pope’s diocesan curia have inflamed the scandal all over again, and painted his own diocese as sympathetic to Rupnik’s cause, and at odds with both the DDF and the Society of Jesus. For the Centro Aletti, the vicariate’s clean bill of health ironically means it will probably face even more media scrutiny in the future, and both the center and the vicariate are likely to face a fresh round of questions about Rupnik’s life and work in Rome in the weeks to come. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/the-diocese-of-romes-rupnik-problem __________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis meets with new Russian ambassador to the Vatican, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic New Agency, September 18, 2023, 1:45 PM Pope Francis on Monday met with the newly appointed Russian ambassador to the Holy See, Ivan Soltanovsky. The meeting, during which Soltanovsky presented his credential letters to the pontiff, comes days after papal envoy Cardinal Matteo Zuppi visited Beijing to discuss efforts to bring about peace in Ukraine amid the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255400/pope-francis-meets-with-new-russian-ambassador-to-the-vatican__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis says ‘no to war,’ urges climate action in livestreamed chat with Bill Clinton, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, September 18, 2023, 4:30 PM During a conversation with former President Bill Clinton, Pope Francis urged stronger action on climate change, called for diplomacy instead of war, promoted greater health care access for children, and highlighted the crises facing migrants and refugees. “It is important to spread a culture of encounter, a culture of dialogue, a culture of listening and of understanding,” Pope Francis said on Monday morning, appearing virtually at the Clinton Foundation’s 2023 Clinton Global Initiative meeting. Pope Francis was the first of several guests to address the audience at the event in New York City, which was focused on various humanitarian efforts taken up by the nonprofit. The foundation played a video that showed the pope’s involvement with Bambino Gesù pediatric hospital, which is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See, before the former president asked him to “say what you believe about the obligation of ordinary people to make a difference” in society. “It is necessary to share thoughts on how to contribute to the common good and how not to leave behind the most vulnerable people, such as children who, through the Bambino Gesù Foundation, are at the root of our meeting,” Pope Francis said.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255403/pope-francis-urges-climate-change-action-in-livestreamed-chat-with-bill-clinton__________________________________________________________

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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