1. Justice Department goes all out to protect us from praying septuagenarians, Rounding up Christians, By The Washington Times, September 21, 2023, Editorial America is in the midst of an unprecedented crime wave. In the District alone, the murder rate is already up 29% over last year and the number of strong-arm robberies has soared by 67%. Rather than address the rampant violence, federal prosecutors set their sights on Jean Marshall, 73, and Joan Bell, 74, who were convicted Friday over a quiet 2020 protest at a D.C. abortion clinic. The two women were pronounced guilty along with seven other Christians who “engaged in a conspiracy” to temporarily block the entrance to Surgi-Clinic on F Street NW while saying prayers and singing hymns.  At most, the incident should have been handled by local police under garden-variety trespassing statutes — just like the stunts left-wing environmental activists pull all the time. In April, the group Declare Emergency stormed the National Gallery of Art and threw paint on the case containing the famed “Little Dancer” sculpture by Edgar Degas. The same group in August linked hands across all lanes of Interstate 395, bringing rush-hour traffic to a dead stop so they could demand the end of fossil fuels. Naturally, there are a few key differences between these demonstrations. The pro-life activists inconvenienced only “Patient A” with the intention of persuading her not to kill her unborn child — or failing that, preventing her from doing so. By contrast, the environmentalists inconvenienced thousands, making them miss important appointments or show up late for work. The museum vandals and freeway-blockers know they’ll be punished little, if at all. In February, a D.C. judge let off a 75-year-old activist who blocked I-395 with no jail time. But the Justice Department wants its pound of flesh from those who dare challenge the one cause Democrats hold most sacred. Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, the anti-abortion protesters will now spend up to 11 years behind bars and have to pay up to $350,000 in fines. The duration of their incarceration depends on the mood of U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. In a particularly spiteful move, federal prosecutors sought and received a finding from the unsympathetic D.C. jury that the septuagenarians’ obstruction of the clinic door constituted “violence,” which allowed the judge to lock up the Christians as soon as her gavel came down — even though the decision is not yet final. An emergency appeal has been filed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the selective prosecution.  Republicans in Congress need to recognize the gravity of allowing an increasingly brazen Justice Department to tip the scales of justice and undermine the First Amendment.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/sep/20/editorial-justice-department-goes-all-out-to-prote/__________________________________________________________ 2. Top US bishop calls failure to replace priest on Air Force base ‘incomprehensible’, By John Lavenburg, Crux, September 21, 2023 It appears Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, remains without a contracted priest, and may not have one for at least a few more weeks, even after Archbishop Timothy Broglio publicized what he termed the “incomprehensible” situation earlier this month. On Sept. 6, Broglio, head of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, revealed that the Maxwell Air Force Base contracting office would not fill the role until late September or mid-October, even though they’ve been aware of the need to fill the vacancy since April 2023. “I call on the appropriate elected officials of the U.S. Government to assert control over the bureaucracy that is permitted to deny First Amendment rights of the men and women in uniform and their families,” Broglio, who is also president of the U.S. Bishops Conference, said in a Sept. 6 statement. “There is a priest to fill the position,” he added. “It is incomprehensible that it is still unfilled.”  The situation between the archdiocese and Maxwell Air Force Base comes in the wake of a dispute with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in April, after it chose not to renew a contract with Franciscan priests who had ministered at the hospital for more than two decades, instead awarding the assignment to a secular defense contractor.  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/09/top-us-bishop-calls-failure-to-replace-priest-on-air-force-base-incomprehensible__________________________________________________________ 3. Trump Takes Heat From Religious Conservatives for Softness on Abortion Bans, Blowback comes as former president, who hasn’t staked out a clear abortion position, heads to Iowa for campaign swing, By John McCormick and Alex Leary, The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2023, 9:00 AM, Opinion Donald Trump’s criticism of a six-week abortion ban is triggering condemnation from some religious leaders and a few of his 2024 Republican presidential nomination rivals. Trump is in a dominant position in the GOP contest and has often been able to brush off criticism from his right, but some opposed to seeing him become the nominee are seizing on recent remarks to question his commitment to an issue central to many Christian conservative voters. The former president and others in the party are grappling with how to discuss a topic that has cost Republicans support in recent elections. In an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the former president said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had done a “terrible thing and a terrible mistake” by signing into law in April a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.   https://www.wsj.com/politics/elections/trump-takes-heat-from-religious-conservatives-for-softness-on-abortion-bans-c856397b__________________________________________________________ 4. Attorney General Merrick Garland reacts to accusation of DOJ’s anti-Catholic bias, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, September 20, 2023, 7:25 PMAttorney General Merrick Garland strongly objected to accusations that the Department of Justice would discriminate against Catholic Americans during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday.   Garland called the suggestion of anti-Catholic bias “outrageous” and “absurd” when questioned about a memo that originated with the Richmond Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The memo, dated Jan. 23 and leaked to the media in February, revealed an FBI Richmond investigation into “radical traditionalist” Catholics and their possible ties to “the far-right white nationalist movement.” It suggested “trip wire or source development” within Latin Mass communities to mitigate risks.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255434/attorney-general-garland-reacts-to-accusation-of-dojs-anti-catholic-bias__________________________________________________________ 5. Republicans urge repeal of ‘weaponized’ FACE Act due to anti-pro-life bias, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, September 20, 2023, 6:10 PM Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy and 25 House Republicans introduced a resolution Tuesday to repeal the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, a law that has been used extensively by the Biden administration to penalize pro-life activists. Passed in 1994, the FACE Act imposes criminal penalties on individuals convicted of “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct” that interferes with access to abortion clinics, places of worship, and pregnancy centers. The resolution introduced by Roy in the House and sponsored by Utah Senator Mike Lee in the Senate would repeal the FACE Act on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional use of federal power and that it has been weaponized against people of certain religious and political beliefs. In a Monday press release Roy said that “free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs. Yet, Biden’s Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life.”   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255433/republicans-urge-repeal-of-weaponized-face-act-due-to-anti-pro-life-bias __________________________________________________________ 6. The real mystery of Rome’s Rupnik report, By Ed. Condon, Catholic News Agency, September 20, 2023, 8:36 AM The Vicariate for the Diocese of Rome issued on Monday a statement on its investigation into the artistic community founded by the disgraced former Jesuit Marko Rupnik. The statement generated considerable criticism, for lauding the Centro Aletti’s “healthy community life without any particular critical issues” and praising its members for “maintaining silence” about the scores of accusations that Rupnik spiritually and sexually abused women, including through overtly sacrilegious sexual acts. The report also appeared to defend Rupnik, who was expelled from the Society of Jesus earlier this year, and it called into question the Vatican’s decision to briefly excommunicate him for a crime against the sacrament of confession. To some critics, the Diocese of Rome’s Sept. 18 assessment appeared to back the famous artist, despite dozens of what the Society of Jesus’ own investigator called “highly credible” accusations of sexual abuse. But apart from those issues, the report raises another serious question.  The diocesan investigator’s report seemed to draw from the files of a sealed canonical criminal investigation, in which the Diocese of Rome played no apparent part. So how did the investigator access that paperwork? There are three most obvious possible answers to that question.  Those answers point either to serious lapses in the handling of confidential materials, or to a concerted effort to undermine Rupnik’s conviction and defend his reputation.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/the-real-mystery-of-romes-rupnik __________________________________________________________

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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