1. Pope Francis: Don’t overlook goodness because of scandal, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, September 6, 2023, 3:06 PM Pope Francis on Wednesday encouraged people to look for the quiet goodness in the world, even when the tendency is to pay more attention to failure and scandal. “Just think how many hidden seeds of goodness make the garden of the world flourish, while we usually only hear about the sound of falling trees,” he said during his weekly public audience on Sept. 6. “People, we too like scandal. ‘Look at what barbarity, a tree fell, the noise it made!’ But you don’t see the forest that is growing every day. Because the growth is in silence,” the pope added. He urged people to look “toward the light of the good” in the world and to fight the tendency to only appreciate others to the extent that they share our ideas. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255287/pope-francis-don-t-overlook-goodness-because-of-scandal__________________________________________________________ 2. We disagree on abortion. Here’s a pro-family agenda both parties can support, By Marc A. Thiessen and Alyssa Rosenberg, The Washington Post, September 5, 2023, 9:00 AM We hail from opposite ends of the political spectrum. One of us is a pro-choice liberal who believes pregnancy and parenting are so momentous that no one should be forced to take them on. The other is a pro-life conservative who believes unborn life is sacred and that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was a godsend. But we agree that the high court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization guarantees more babies will be born, many of them in challenging circumstances. And we stand together in our belief that Republicans and Democrats must come together to better support these children and their families. This is especially important at a time when inflation has driven up the cost of everything from diapers to baby formula. Child-care costs are rising at nearly twice the rate of inflation, and thousands of child-care facilities across the country permanently shuttered in the coronavirus pandemic, making it harder and more expensive for parents to get by.Easing these burdens should be a moral imperative across the political spectrum. For pro-choice Americans, it’s the least the country can do for women who are seeing choices stripped from them and their children. For pro-life Americans, it represents a chance to build what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of life” in which the dignity of every person is upheld and supported at all stages. For both parties, a comprehensive family agenda should be a political imperative as well. As a candidate, President Biden promised to put his “whole soul” into bringing both parties together to do important things for the American people. By restoring divided government in 2022, midterm voters sent a clear message that they want both sides to fulfill that promise. Family policy is a place to start, especially because Democrats and Republicans have already cooperated on a wide range of bills to tackle many of these problems. Despite the bipartisan goodwill, little family legislation has been enacted. It’s time for Biden and congressional leaders to make this a priority. To nudge them along, we compiled a set of proposals to improve family life in the United States — from conception to college that are abortion-neutral and fiscally realistic. Compromise was inevitable: Alyssa set aside major investments in child care; Marc couldn’t persuade Alyssa to sign on for school vouchers. But the most heartening part of the exercise was how much we — and our congressional counterparts — agree on.  Make pregnancy less dangerous  Help parents afford babies  Support child-care needs  In any case, nothing in these proposals requires either side to concede its position on the underlying question of abortion. This shows that our fundamental disagreement on one of the most vexing moral questions of our time should not prevent people of goodwill from working together on something most Americans agree on: supporting families. If two Post columnists who agree on little else can do it, then Democrats and Republicans in Congress can as well. Because whether we are pro-life or pro-choice, we can — and must — be pro-family. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/09/05/bipartisan-family-policy-rosenberg-thiessen/__________________________________________________________ 3. The lack of Indigenous mass graves in Canada, After two years of uproar, none have so far been excavated, By Meghan Murphy, The Spectator, September 5, 2023, Opinion In May 2021, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the remains of 215 children had been found buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation band had confirmed the story, they claimed, quoting Chief Rosanne Casimir. “To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” she said. “Some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.”   It would have been a horrifying story — if it were true. But no remains had been discovered. No graves were discovered. There had been no excavation. Rather, ground-penetrating radar anomalies had been detected, which, for all we know, could have identified “2,000 feet of trenches in a long-forgotten septic field installed in 1924,” as one researcher suspects But stories of mass “unmarked graves” discovered at the site of a residential school for children proliferated nonetheless. “‘Horrible History’: Mass Grave of Indigenous Children Reported in Canada,” announced one New York Times story. In June, it was reported that 751 unmarked graves had been “discovered” at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. The Times recounted that these remains were of “mainly children.”  The implication was dark: that countless Indigenous children had been killed at residential schools in Canada, then buried stealthily in “unmarked graves.” The public, the media and the government responded accordingly.    Doubtless, terrible things happened to some of the kids sent to residential schools in Canada. Past reports have been grim, with stories of sexual and physical abuse. But can there not be dark truths without reporting mistruths? Why must those who report on the situation accurately, such as Glavin, be labeled a “genocide denier” and a “residential school denialist”? It’s one thing to trust shocking headlines, but it’s another to maintain the conceit even after the story has been debunked.  Just a few months ago, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights tweeted, “It has been two years since the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”  Last week, CTV News reported that a Saskatchewan First Nation says it found seventy-nine suspected child grave sites and fourteen potential infant grave sites, also via ground-penetrating radar. Will excavating those sites also turn up nothing? The reality, apparently, is less appealing than genocide.   This is common nowadays. But why would you want it to be true that countless Indigenous children were killed, then tossed into unmarked graves across Canada?    https://thespectator.com/topic/lack-indigenous-mass-graves-canada/__________________________________________________________ 4. How COVID Accelerated the Collapse of Religious Practice in Italy, The latest official figures suggest that this country, long considered one of the bastions of resistance to de-Christianization on the Old Continent, is following the same path as its neighbors, albeit a few years behind the others., By Solène Tadié, National Catholic Register, September 5, 2023 The relentless process of secularization sweeping across Europe spares no country of Latin Catholic tradition, albeit more slowly and insidiously in some cases. Italy, still relatively unscathed by the presence of the Vatican in its midst, is nevertheless following the same trajectory as its European neighbors. According to the latest figures published by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat), Catholics attending Mass at least once a week have decreased by almost half in two decades, dropping from 36.4% to 18.8% between 2001 and 2022, with a notable acceleration of the trend from 2020 onward. The data showed that the closure of churches during the COVID-19 health crisis drove away a number of worshippers who did not return after the restrictions were lifted. In 2022, 31% of the population claimed not to have entered a church except to celebrate a wedding, baptism or funeral — compared with 16% in 2001. These figures are unprecedented in Italy’s history.  https://www.ncregister.com/news/how-covid-accelerated-the-collapse-of-religious-practice-in-italy__________________________________________________________ 5. Francis on China’s door-steppe: Next stop Beijing?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, September 5, 2023, 4:12 PM Pope Francis made history last week as the first pontiff to visit Mongolia, but the significance of his trip — for many Church- watchers — was that pope stood at the doorstep of a country intertwined tightly with the Francis legacy — Mongolia’s neighbor, China. While touring Mongolia and visiting the country’s tiny Catholic community, Francis appeared to keep at least one eye on China, and the pope even used his Mongolian trip to make an overt appeal to China’s Catholics. But with the mainland Chinese government having effectively nationalized the appointment of bishops and muscled the Vatican out of its own landmark deal with China, what is Francis hoping to achieve — and is it realistic?  In his comments during the now customary inflight press conference, the pope put a brave face on Sino relations, insisting that “relationship with China is very respectful, very respectful,” and that “the channels are very open.” But with China increasingly open about its willingness to act unilaterally in Church affairs, and even members of the Holy See’s diplomatic department voicing a kind of resigned frustration with the whole process, what, exactly, might Francis be hoping to achieve? During his trip to Mongolia, the pope perhaps gave an inkling. Sidestepping the Chinese government’s rolling tally of episcopal appointments without Vatican input, Francis said that “I think we need to move forward in the religious aspect to understand each other better, and so that Chinese citizens do not think that the Church does not accept their culture and values and that the Church is dependent on another, foreign power.”  Still, Francis does appear convinced that persuading the CCP that Chinese Catholics aren’t a threat to the social order is both possible and the key to unlocking better relations with Beijing, with, it seems, a papal visit the ultimate — and long desired — goal.  However positive, even deferential Francis might sound, Beijing knows all too well the risk it would be taking letting the pope in behind the great firewall. Even the most carefully stage-managed itinerary, with the most rigorously vetted texts for the pope to speak from couldn’t exclude totally the prospect of Francis going off script. And, whatever the cost in diplomatic (many would argue moral) capital the Vatican spends getting the pope there, the chances that it could become a catalyst for something beyond government control are real enough.  While debate will continue about what it has cost the Vatican, morally and diplomatically, to accumulate its current credit with China, the eventual question will likely become how his successor will choose to spend it. Depending on who Francis’ hypothetical “John XXIV” turns out to be, Francis’ legacy in China could prove to be a ruinously bad investment, or perhaps it will prove to be the price of making history. https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/francis-on-chinas-door-steppe-next__________________________________________________________

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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