1. Florida abortion rights at stake as state Supreme Court takes up challenge to GOP-led restrictions, By Curt Anderson, Associated Press, September 8, 2023, 1:12 AM The fate of abortion rights in Florida will be at stake Friday morning when the state Supreme Court is expected to take up a challenge to a law banning the procedure in most cases after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which will determine whether an even stricter six-week ban signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis can take effect. The seven justices — including five conservatives appointed by DeSantis, a GOP candidate for president — are set to hear oral arguments in Tallahassee in the lawsuit brought by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and others.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/08/abortion-ban-florida-desantis-supreme-court/5d2950f8-4e06-11ee-bfca-04e0ac43f9e4_story.html__________________________________________________________ 2. The international community must stand up for Nicaraguan Catholics, By Anna Lee Stangl, The Washington Post, September 7, 2023, 2:17 PM, Letter to the Editor Regarding the Sept. 2 Metro article about the escalating attacks by the Nicaraguan government on the Catholic Church in recent years, “Alumni grieve after Nicaraguan government seizes Jesuit-run university”: Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a human rights organization, has monitored the Nicaraguan government’s siege on religious freedom, including harassing and detaining religious leaders, arbitrarily canceling religious events, and stripping the legal status of many universities and nongovernmental organizations with a religious affiliation. Though the attacks on the Catholic Church are highly visible, other groups are also in Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega’s sights. Over the past three years, CSW has documented hundreds of cases of religious freedom violations affecting a diverse spectrum of faith groups. Religious groups are an influential sector of independent civil society. It is no surprise that those who have not overtly allied themselves with Mr. Ortega have become his targets. His attempts to extinguish Catholicism in Nicaragua merit world condemnation on a much larger scale. The United States has rightly maintained Nicaragua on its list of Countries of Particular Concern for religious freedom violations, and the European Union has been highly critical. The international community must raise its voice on behalf of all religious groups whose rights are being violated — before freedom of religion or belief is eradicated altogether. Anna Lee Stangl is head of advocacy at Christian Solidarity Worldwide. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/09/07/nicaraguan-catholics-international-community-support/__________________________________________________________ 3. Coach who took prayer case to Supreme Court resigns after one game back, By Glynn A. Hill, The Washington Post, September 7, 2023, 9:00 AM Joseph Kennedy, the Washington state high school football coach who lost and then regained his job after the Supreme Court ruled that he could pray on the field, resigned from his position Wednesday. Kennedy’s resignation came four days after he returned to the field for his first game since 2015. In a statement posted on his website, the 54-year-old Kennedy cited “multiple reasons for his resignation including taking care of an ailing family member out of state.” “I believe I can best continue to advocate for constitutional freedom and religious liberty by working from outside the school system so that is what I will do,” Kennedy said. “I will continue to work to help people understand and embrace the historic ruling at the heart of our case. As a result of our case, we all have more freedom, not less. That should be celebrated and not disrespected.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/09/07/coach-prayer-supreme-court-resigns/__________________________________________________________ 4. California lawmakers vote to fast-track low-income housing on churches’ lands, By TrÂn NguyỄn and Sophie Austin, Associated Press, September 7, 2023, 9:09 PM California lawmakers are debating nearly 1,000 bills during the hectic final two weeks of the Legislative session. Here’s action taken by the California Legislature Thursday: Religious institutions and nonprofit colleges in California could soon turn their parking lots and other properties into low-income housing to help combat the ongoing homeless crisis, lawmakers voted on Thursday. The legislation would rezone land owned by nonprofit colleges and religious institutions, such as churches, mosques, and synagogues, to allow for affordable housing. They would be able to bypass most local permitting and environmental review rules that can be costly and lengthy. California is home to 171,000 homeless people — about 30% of all homeless people in the U.S. The crisis has sparked a movement among religious institutions, dubbed “yes in God’s backyard,” or “YIGBY,” in cities across the state, with a number of projects already in the works.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/09/07/california-bills-affordable-housing-gender-neutral-bathroom/27768f04-4dc3-11ee-bfca-04e0ac43f9e4_story.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Hundreds of military promotions are on hold as a Republican senator demands end to abortion policy, By Kevin Freking and Tara Copp, Associated Press, September 7, 2023, 8:17 AM Top defense officials are accusing Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville of jeopardizing America’s national security with his hold on roughly 300 military promotions, raising the stakes in a clash over abortion policy that shows no signs of easing. Tuberville brushed off the criticism, vowing he will not give in. “We’re going to be in a holding pattern for a long time,” he said, if the Pentagon refuses to end its policy of paying for travel when a servicemember goes out of state to get an abortion or other reproductive care.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/09/07/senate-military-nominations-holds-tommy-tuberville/65d96e5a-4d33-11ee-bfca-04e0ac43f9e4_story.html?__________________________________________________________ 6. Documents identify thousands of Jews hidden by Catholic religious during Nazi occupation of Rome, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, September 7, 2023, 8:30 AM Research in the archive of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome has uncovered a list of the names of thousands of Jewish people who found shelter from Nazi persecution in Catholic religious congregations in Rome from 1943-1944. While some of the information was first published in 1961, the full documentation, particularly the lists of people hidden in the Catholic institutions, had been considered lost, a Sept. 7 press release explained. The Nazis occupied Rome from Sept. 10, 1943, until June 4, 1944, when the city was liberated by the Allied forces. During that nine-month period, approximately 10,000-15,000 Jews faced persecution, and almost 2,000 Jews, including children and adolescents, were deported and murdered. The newly rediscovered documentation references more than 4,300 people hidden by 100 women’s religious congregations and 55 men’s religious congregations during the persecution.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/255301/documents-identify-thousands-of-jews-hidden-by-catholic-religious-during-nazi-occupation-of-rome__________________________________________________________ 7. There’s No Abortion Exception in the First Amendment, For 23 years, local governments have been allowed to enact content-based restrictions on free speech through abortion-facility buffer zones. Now, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to restore free speech for pro-lifers no matter where they stand., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, September 7, 2023, Opinion Debra Vitagliano is a 65-year-old Catholic mother of three. In her job as an occupational therapist for children with special needs, she sees the Church’s teaching about the inherent value of every human life affirmed on a daily basis. Three years ago, Debra felt called to become more personally involved in the pro-life movement. She began by attending prayer vigils outside her local Planned Parenthood abortion facility. It was at these gatherings that she saw firsthand the lifesaving work being done by so-called “sidewalk counselors.” These people have special training to be able to share with young women entering the facility that abortion isn’t the only solution, that help is available, and that they aren’t alone. Debra was inspired by what she witnessed and decided to become a sidewalk counselor herself.  Legislators in New York’s Westchester County, however, wouldn’t allow Debra to do that. On the heels of last year’s Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, they passed a law that made sidewalk counseling within 100 feet of an abortion business a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. Consider how selective that is. Debra could approach a woman within this “bubble zone” and ask her the time of day, or discuss the weather or even try to bring her to faith in Jesus Christ. This is America, after all, and the sidewalks and streets outside abortion businesses are considered public space. But share her views on the sanctity of life? Or hand out a flyer with information about where a woman in a crisis pregnancy can go for medical care, adoption guidance, job counseling, or free diapers and other forms of material support? No. That’s illegal in Westchester County. Adding to the outrage is the fact that the county legislators knew they had the U.S. Supreme Court on their side in their content-based restrictions on free speech — at least for the time being. For the past 23 years, the controlling precedent in abortion buffer-zone cases has been a decision called Hill v. Colorado. A 6-3 majority in 2000 rejected a request by pro-life activists to overturn a Colorado law that’s virtually identical to the one Westchester County adopted. The majority acknowledged that the plaintiffs had “clear and undisputed” free-speech concerns.  Stevens’ reasoning was as muddled then as it sounds today. Hill isn’t just a terrible precedent; it conflicts with subsequent decisions the Supreme Court has rendered on free speech, and it’s high time it was overturned.  Fourteen states signed an amicus brief Aug. 25 seeking to restore the free-speech rights of sidewalk counselors. The states are: Kentucky, Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. “There is no abortion exception to the First Amendment,” the states’ brief said. “Sidewalk counseling is not second-class speech, and government restrictions on it must meet the same standards as every other content-based restriction. Hill was wrong from the moment it was decided. And only this Court can fix it.” Several legal experts as well as pro-life organizations, including pregnancy-resource centers, have also filed amicus briefs.  How many lives have been lost because of the Court’s poor judgment? America is better than that. Please join me in praying for Hill v. Colorado to be consigned to the legal ash heap, as happened with Roe last year. Michael Warsaw is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, and the Publisher of the National Catholic Register. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/there-s-no-abortion-exception-in-the-first-amendment__________________________________________________________ 8. Ukraine’s Catholic bishops tell pope that his praise for Russia’s imperial past ‘pained’ Ukrainians, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 6, 2023, 12:12 PM Ukraine’s Greek Catholic bishops told Pope Francis on Wednesday that his words praising Russia’s imperial past had pained the Ukrainian people, bringing complaints about the Vatican’s diplomatic neutrality in Moscow’s war on their country to the heart of the Holy See. The bishops were in Rome for a periodic meeting and met with the pope in person for nearly two hours. They came an hour early, at 7 a.m. at the pope’s invitation, so he could listen to them without rushing, participants said. While thanking Francis for his prayers, the bishops said certain statements and gestures from the pope and the Vatican “are painful and difficult for the Ukrainian people, who are currently bleeding in the struggle for their dignity and independence,” according to a statement from His Beatitude Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Greek Catholic church in Ukraine.  https://apnews.com/article/pope-russia-ukraine-war-9d67a223d69e070041a5fa0c1a5f6a82__________________________________________________________

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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