1. Catholic woman’s silent prayer lawful, British police force admits; ‘thoughtcrime’ arrest dropped, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, September 25, 2023, Pg. A10 A Catholic woman in Britain who has twice been arrested for “praying silently in my head” near an abortion clinic had her latest charges dropped, with law enforcement apologizing. Isabel Vaughan-Spruce, a charitable volunteer arrested near the British Pregnancy Advisory Service’s clinic in Birmingham, received an apology from West Midlands Police for the amount of time it took to close out the investigation. Police blamed the delay in dropping the case on what they said was a referral to the Crown Prosecution Service, the public agency that prosecutes criminal cases in Britain and Wales, according to ADF UK, the legal group representing Ms. Vaughn-Spruce. The attorneys said the prosecution service “has firmly denied” involvement in the case. Ms. Vaughn-Spruce is “currently considering options to pursue redress” from the police force, the legal group said.   https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/sep/22/british-woman-cleared-thoughtcrime-silent-prayer-c/__________________________________________________________ 2. As Muslims’ status as political punching bag fades, some are fighting against LGBTQ+ acceptance, By Jaweed Kaleem, Los Angeles Times, September 25, 2023, 3:00 AM For months, hundreds of religious parents have regularly rallied outside a Maryland school board building, aghast at curriculum featuring books that portray LGBTQ+ families to elementary school kids. Waving American flags, they have chanted against “indoctrination” of children. They’ve sued to pull their kids from lessons and argued their case on Fox News.  The controversy in an overwhelmingly blue Washington, D.C., suburb highlights a shift. For decades, Muslims have been focused on fighting back against accusations of terrorism. But now, in clashes in left-leaning, diverse areas from the coasts to the heartland, they’re speaking out about what they see as intolerance of their faith.  In the blue city of Hamtramck, Mich., an all-Muslim city council recently sided with Muslim activists and banned the LGBTQ+ Pride flag on city property. Muslim residents are pushing for the same in nearby Dearborn, where close to half of residents are Arab Americans and protesters derailed a school board meeting last fall over an LGBTQ+-related curriculum. And at dozens of American mosques in other cities, congregational prayer leaders have instructed followers to confront “gender ideology.”   https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2023-09-25/lgbtq-muslims-evangelical-republican-christians__________________________________________________________ 3. Ideological rifts among U.S. bishops are in the spotlight ahead of momentous Vatican meeting, By David Crary, Associated Press, September 24, 2023, 8:29 AM Early next month, the Vatican will open an unprecedented gathering of Catholic clergy and laypeople from around the world. The synod is intended to be a collegial, collaborative event, though the agenda includes divisive issues such as the role of women in the church and the inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics. If there’s Exhibit A for how elusive consensus might be, it’s the United States’ participation. In effect, there are two high-level U.S. delegations widely viewed as ideological rivals — six clerics appointed by Pope Francis who support his aspirations for a more inclusive, welcoming church; five clerics chosen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who reflect a more conservative outlook and more skepticism of Francis’ priorities.  Bishops appointed by USCCB include its president, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, as well as Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York; and Bishops Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota; and Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/09/24/catholic-us-bishops-lgbtq-women-pope-francis/fe860708-5ad5-11ee-b961-94e18b27be28_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Pope Francis insists Europe doesn’t have a migrant emergency and challenges countries to open ports, By Nicole Winfield, Sylvie Corbet and Trisha Thomas, Associated Press, September 23, 2023, 7:32 PM Pope Francis challenged French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders to open their ports to people fleeing hardship and poverty, insisting Saturday that the continent isn’t facing a migration “emergency” but rather a long-term reality that governments must deal with humanely. For a second straight day in the French port city of Marseille, Francis took aim at European countries that have tried to close their doors to migrants and tried to shame them into responding with charity instead. He called for migrants to have legal pathways to citizenship, and for the Mediterranean Sea that so many people try to cross to reach Europe to be a beacon of hope, not a graveyard of desperation. The Mediterranean, Francis told Macron and a gathering of regional bishops, “cries out for justice, with its shores that on the one hand exude affluence, consumerism and waste, while on the other there is poverty and instability.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/09/23/pope-france-vatican-migration/eaea004c-59f3-11ee-bf64-cd88fe7adc71_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Pope Francis’ Russia Stance Angers Catholics in Central Europe, Pontiff’s conciliatory approach to Moscow draws unfavorable comparisons with predecessor St. John Paul II, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2023, 8:00 AM Pope Francis’ views on Russia and its invasion of Ukraine are alienating many Catholics in Central and Eastern Europe, who believe that the pontiff is understating Russia’s historic expansionism in the region and the threat it poses today. The pope’s recent praise of the 18th-century Russian empire that subjugated Ukraine stirred outrage well beyond Ukraine itself. “Central Europeans—people from Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic—we are shocked,” said Michal Klosowski, a Catholic journalist in Warsaw and the author of a recent book about Francis, referring to the pope’s recent comments. “The pope has no idea about the history of Central Europe and about the history of the Russian Empire. The nations of Central Europe were enslaved by the Russians for many centuries.”  https://www.wsj.com/world/europe/pope-francis-russia-stance-angers-catholics-in-central-europe-d3fcd476__________________________________________________________ 6. Should Schools Tell Parents When Kids Say They’re Transgender?, California wages legal battle against districts that require parental notification when children change gender identities, By Sara Randazzo, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2023, Pg. A6 When the school board in Chino, Calif., proposed a policy this summer requiring parents to be notified if a child changes gender identities at school, state officials resisted quickly.  California Attorney General Rob Bonta publicly urged the suburban community 35 miles east of Los Angeles to reconsider, saying the move could violate the state’s antidiscrimination laws and a student’s privacy rights.   The school board approved the new policy anyway, spurring Bonta in late August to sue Chino Valley Unified School District, arguing gender nonconforming students will suffer mental and emotional anguish and potential physical harm.  California’s education department guides schools to never reveal a student’s gender identity without the student’s permission, and that transgender student records should be closely guarded. Bonta has publicly reprimanded five other school districts for passing what he calls “forced outing” policies. Other states, including North Dakota and Iowa, have gone in the opposite direction, with new laws requiring school districts to inform parents of gender-pronoun and name-change requests. North Dakota’s law, along with laws in Florida and Kentucky, allow school staff to ignore a student’s preferred pronouns. Those who support parental disclosure, including some transgender advocates, say that the decision to switch genders shouldn’t be taken lightly and that parents need to be involved to ensure children’s emotional and physical well being.  Other parents have sued in states including Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Virginia.   In San Diego County, a federal judge last week sided with two teachers who sued over their K-8 district’s practice of concealing gender-identity changes from parents at a student’s request.  U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez said the Escondido Union School District’s policy is unconstitutional and can’t be enforced against the two teachers, who argued it infringed on their religious beliefs. Benitez concluded the district’s practice “harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental-health intervention to determine if the incongruence is organic or whether it is the result of bullying, peer pressure, or a fleeting impulse.”   https://www.wsj.com/us-news/education/california-school-districts-transgender-students-38acd6b0__________________________________________________________ 7. Pope closes brief Marseille visit with defense of the unborn, elderly, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, September 23, 2023Pope Francis closed his brief overnight visit to Marseille urging local Catholics not to be discouraged amid a growth in secularism and an increased indifference to religion, saying they must seek to maintain the joy of following Christ. In addition to reiterating his support for migrant rights, the pontiff also challenged widespread acceptance of abortion and euthanasia in many European societies. Human life is discarded not only in the “rejection of many immigrants,” but also in “countless unborn children and abandoned elderly people,” he said.  https://cruxnow.com/pope-in-marseille-live-coverage/2023/09/pope-closes-brief-marseille-visit-with-defense-of-the-unborn-elderly__________________________________________________________ 8. US bishops urge Congress not to risk budget crisis over immigration crackdown, By John Lavenburg, Crux, September 23, 2023 With the threat of a government shutdown looming, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has written to congressional leaders urging bipartisan cooperation to avoid a shutdown and provide a “just budget” for the nation. “As the beginning of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 approaches, the nation once again faces the possibility of a government shutdown,” Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services wrote in the Sept. 21 letter. “As always, the Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties to address the situation.”  In essence, the bill would authorize $1.59 trillion of spending through Oct. 31. It would fund defense, veterans’ affairs and disaster relief programs at FY2023 levels, and reduce other program funds by 8.1 percent. It would also enact a number of border-related provisions similar to those in the “Secure the Border Act of 2023 (H.R. 2),” which the Republican-controlled House passed in May before it stalled in the Senate. Specific border measures the proposed spending bill would include construction of a border wall along at least 900 miles of the southern border, enhanced border security, additional requirements for asylum eligibility and the expansion of provisions that bar certain individuals from applying, increased requirements to qualify as a refugee, an expansion of the category of non-U.S. nationals who are subject to expedited removal, and more.  U.S. bishops have consistently opposed the “Secure the Border Act of 2023” and the provisions outlined in the “Continuing Appropriations and Border Enhancement Act of 2024” budget proposal. Broglio said in his letter that the provisions are “counterproductive and harmful.”  https://cruxnow.com/church-in-the-usa/2023/09/us-bishops-urge-congress-not-to-risk-budget-crisis-over-immigration-crackdown __________________________________________________________ 9. Bishop Strickland: ‘no communication from Rome’ following apostolic visitation, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, September 22, 2023, 12:25 PM Following a report that Pope Francis and Vatican officials held a meeting earlier this month to discuss requesting the resignation of Tyler, Texas, Bishop Joseph Strickland, the prelate said on Wednesday he has not been contacted by the Vatican about such matters. In addition, Strickland said if Pope Francis were to remove him from office he would respect the Holy Father’s authority but would not resign if asked. “Last week an article was published on a website called ‘The Pillar,’ and the article alleged that a meeting was held with Pope Francis where some of the members of the Congregation for Bishops recommended that I be encouraged to resign as bishop of Tyler,” Strickland said in a Sept. 20 letter to his diocese. “Let me be clear that I have received no communication from Rome regarding this. At this point it is simply an article discussing supposed leaked information from the Vatican,” he added.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255450/bishop-strickland-no-communication-from-rome-following-apostolic-visitation__________________________________________________________ 10. UN adopts resolution to protect ‘reproductive rights’ during next pandemic, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, September 22, 2023, 10:30 AM Global leaders adopted a United Nations resolution this week that urged member states to take certain actions when preparing for and responding to a pandemic — one of those actions appears to ask governments to secure access to abortion. The resolution’s language states that the focus is “pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response” and asks states to commit to actions that are “driven by equity and the respect for human rights.” The section focused on equality includes a commitment by states to protecting “reproductive rights.” “[We] call upon member states to take all measures necessary to ensure the right of women and girls to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights,” operative paragraph 10 of the global “call to action” reads in part. United Nations General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding and member states have wide discretion in how they interpret the text. However, some pro-life lawmakers are concerned about the language.   https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255447/un-adopts-resolution-to-protect-reproductive-rights-during-next-pandemic__________________________________________________________

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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