The top five U.S. Catholic newsmakers of 2022: From an activist nun to a Supreme Court justice

Perhaps it should be acknowledged that 2022 – unlike recent years, with their epidemics, presidential elections and putsch attempts – felt a bit quieter on the news front. It was a nice deceleration from two years of madness in the world and in the church.

At the same time, there was a lot to read and report on, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade, inflation in the US and abroad, the persistence and emergence of Covid-19, an ongoing phenomenon. The US-Mexico border crisis, the currency collapse Crypto and much more.

For the past few years, editors America Here’s a list of the top five US Catholic newsmakers of the year. You can read the top five of 2020 here and 2021 here.

Without further ado, here are our top five Catholic newsmakers of 2022. (No, Joe Biden is not there – we decided three years in a row would be too much).

Unlike the past few years, with the epidemics, presidential elections and coup attempts, 2022 felt a little quieter on the news front.

Nancy Pelosi

In November of this year, the 82-year-old Democratic representative from California announced that she would not seek re-election to her position as party leader in the United States House of Representatives. The move ends a two-decade career as the Democratic House leader, during which Speaker Pelosi has made headlines for her relationship with other politicians and also for her occasional clashes with church leaders.

For Catholics, the biggest news about Ms. Pelosi in 2022 was the announcement by San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordillaone in May, barring Ms. Pelosi from receiving communion in the archdiocese because of her support for legal abortion. Archbishop Cordileone wrote an open letter to Ms. Pelosi in which he said that “there is no choice” in the matter. The archbishop appeared on America Media’s “The Gloria Purvis Podcast” to discuss his decision shortly after.

For her part, Ms. Pelosi defended her position and identity as a pro-choice Catholic. In late June, she met with Pope Francis in Rome and received Holy Communion there, according to witnesses.

Later this year, Ms. Pelosi’s husband was attacked in their California home by a QAnon conspiracy theorist. The suspect told police that he hoped to attack Ms. Pelosi because of “the lies of the Democratic Party.” Archbishop Cordileona and other church leaders in the US offered their prayers following the attack.

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In her final year as Speaker of the House, Ms. Pelosi oversaw the recent enactment of the Respect for Marriage Act, which legalized same-sex and interracial marriage. Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Robert Barron publicly opposed the law, calling it a “misnomer.”

In May, the Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordillaone, banned Ms. Pelosi from receiving communion in the archdiocese because of her support for legal abortion.

Shmuel Alito

A far cry from the Catholic majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, a far cry from the days when pundits spoke of a “Jewish seat” and a “Catholic seat” on the traditionally Protestant-dominated nine-seat bench. Whether the religious convictions of any group of justices influence Whether or not they were inclusive, the year’s most notable ruling was certainly at the heart of the story of a Catholic jurist. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 in a decision authored by Justice Samuel Alito, a 16-year veteran of the court considered its most politically conservative justices and the ideological heir to The late Justice Antonin Scalia.

An early draft of Justice Alito’s decision leaked on May 2 gave the gist of what was to come: In an opinion joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, Justice Alito wrote that Roe was “bigly wrong. From the beginning” and that “there Cancel Roe and Casey.”

In July, Justice Alito made headlines again when he told a gala dinner in Rome sponsored by the Religious Liberty Initiative of the University of Notre Dame Law School that writing the decision was “an honor.”

Justice Alito wrote that Roe was “bigly wrong from the start” and that “Roe and Casey should be overturned.”

Ron DesantiS

In a year when Republican hopes for a “red wave” collapsed in races across the state, Ron DeSantis was a big exception, winning his bid for re-election as governor of Florida by nearly 20%. Mr. DeSantis has gained national attention in recent years for his Covid-19 policy, which banned employers from mandating vaccinations, among other things, and his efforts to limit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. In September, the governor again made headlines when he flew a group of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in a ploy to draw attention to the border crisis. The move was criticized by US bishops, including Archbishop Thomas Vensky of his home state of Florida, who reminded political leaders that immigrants are “not faceless numbers – but human people”.

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In April, Governor DeSantis signed a 15-week abortion ban, which he was praised by the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops. In his speech after the approval of the bill, he said that “life is a sacred gift that deserves our protection.”

In 2019, shortly after Mr. DeSantis’ first election victory, America Praised the governor for his environmentally focused executive order that would provide funding for Everglades restoration.

Although their political beliefs clash in a myriad of ways, Catholics like Governor DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott figuratively, if not literally, share the same cup with Catholics like Ms. Pelosi and President Biden. That they remain so far apart on so many issues is indicative of the polarization that exists among Catholics in the US today.

In a year when Republican hopes for a “red wave” collapsed in races across the country, Ron DeSantis was a big exception.

Norma Pimentel

This year has marked an escalation in immigration politics, from the aforementioned Gov. DeSantis moving immigrants to “blue cities” to Catholic Texas Gov. Greg Abbott launching an investigation into US-Mexico border NGOs for potentially “facilitating the illegal transportation” of immigrants. The latter appears to Among these strategies is targeting Catholic Charities in the US, which has been working to help immigrants crossing the border by providing humanitarian aid.

One of the main faces of CCUSA has been Norma Pimentel, MJ, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley in Brownsville, Texas. Sister Pimentel has held that position for 15 years, during which time she met and worked with Pope Francis to help immigrants who fled their country of birth in the 2017 initiative This year she received the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom award in recognition of her work at the border.

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In a February article about threats to Catholic organizations that work with immigrants, Sister Pimentel said America that Catholic Charities is simply “restoring human dignity” to the people they serve.

She also encouraged politicians, including President Biden, to visit the border and see for themselves the reality on the ground.

“Do you really think people are uprooting themselves, putting themselves at risk when they go on a difficult journey just so they can get to our respite center to shower and eat a meal or sleep on a mat?”

In February, Sister Pimentel said America that Catholic Charities is simply “restoring human dignity” to the people they serve.

Christian Pulisic

Who is? Ninety percent of the country didn’t know Christian Pulisic of Christen Press until the end of November. No more. Following his star turn at the 2022 World Cup, Mr Pulisic is now a national hero. Although the United States national soccer team was eliminated by the Netherlands in the round of 16, he led the American national team to its first appearance in the knockout round of the World Cup since 1930.

Among the heroics of the young forward in Qatar was Scored the only goal against Iran In a 1-0 USA victory in a group game, achieved at great physical cost. While millions celebrated, Mr. Pulisic was left crumpled in the goal with what was later called a “pelvic bump.” Nevertheless, he returned a few days later to play in the next game. It was worth it, right?

Turns out, the man who scored the sweetest goal in U.S. World Cup history is coming to Hershey, Pa. In June, a local Catholic church in Hershey, St. Joan of Arc, held its annual community festival. One raffle prize?[A]USA signed jersey of Hershey native and St. Joan of Arc parishioner and professional soccer player Christian Pulisic.” That’s better than a million goldfish!

Mr. Pulisic is only 24. Let’s pray with the parishioners of St. Joan of Arc that he will be even better for the 2026 World Cup: the championship game will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, just a three-hour drive from Hershey.


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