1. As Christians Mark Easter in Isolation, Pope Francis Proclaims ‘Contagion of Hope’: Under restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, millions marked Easter Sunday at home.

By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2020, Pg. A18

Celebrating Easter in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis on Sunday proclaimed what he called a “contagion of hope,” after he offered Mass in a near-empty St. Peter’s Basilica.

Speaking before just a handful of people, the pontiff called for the “victory of love over the root of evil, a victory that does not bypass suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss, transforming evil into good.”

Similar scenes played out in churches large and small throughout the world.


2. It’s Still America, Virus or Not: Draconian orders and enforcement will undermine public support for social distancing.

By The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2020, Pg. A16, Review & Outlook

Americans by and large have willingly obeyed the government’s shelter-in-place and social-distancing orders, but that doesn’t seem to be enough for some public officials. They’re indulging their inner bully in ways that over time will erode public support for behavior that can reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

In Louisville, Ky., Mayor Greg Fischer prohibited Christian believers from gathering on Easter Sunday—including in “drive-thru” services in which worshippers remained in their vehicles. The mayor’s position was neither constitutionally nor epidemiologically sound.

A local congregation sued, arguing the mayor had violated their right to free exercise of religion. Federal Judge Justin Walker, in a cogent decision issued over the weekend, stayed the mayor’s hand. President Trump recently nominated Judge Walker to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, as noted in these columns. His defense of religious liberty won’t endear him to Senate Democrats.

As these limits on liberty drag on, the courts will be asked with growing frequency to rule on whether mayors and governors have the authority to decide which businesses must shut down and which may remain open, what products the latter may sell, and whether religious believers may be barred from gathering in a parking lot while remaining in their cars. Public-health emergencies give government officials wide latitude. But the First Amendment still bars government from prohibiting the free exercise of religion and still guarantees the right to free assembly.


3. Knights of Columbus will provide funding, volunteers to help food banks.

By Catholic News Service, April 13, 2020

The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, announced April 7 it is launching a multimillion-dollar food drive and delivery operation to support the nation’s food banks, which are reporting unprecedented numbers of people in need of food as the coronavirus pandemic has forced people out of work now for weeks.

The fraternal organization said it plans to mobilize its 1.25 million members in the U.S. to help in over 20 cities in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

“In addition to confronting the threat of the COVID illness itself, we are facing a pandemic situation in which hunger is a growing concern for an increasing number of unemployed individuals and their families,” Carl Anderson, the fraternal order’s Supreme Knight and CEO, said in a statement.


4. Pope proposes considering a ‘universal basic wage’

By Catholic News Agency, April 12, 2020, 6:15 PM

In an Easter letter to members of popular movements and organizations, Pope Francis suggested that the coronavirus crisis may be an occasion to consider a universal basic wage.

“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights,” he claimed.


5. Bending Rules, Priests in Italy Aid the Sick at Their Own Peril.

By Jason Horowitz and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, April 12, 2020, Pg. A1

Italy’s coronavirus outbreak is one of the world’s deadliest, and while the doctors and nurses on the northern Italian front line have become symbols of sacrifice against an invisible enemy, priests and nuns have also joined the fight. Especially in deeply infected areas like Bergamo, they are risking, and sometimes giving, their lives to attend to the spiritual needs of the often older and devout Italians hardest hit by the virus.

Across Italy, the virus has killed more than 100 priests, many of them retired and especially vulnerable to a scourge that preys on older people, whether it be in nursing homes or monasteries. Avvenire, the newspaper run by the Italian bishops conference, is honoring the dead with the hashtag “PriestsForever.”


6. Judge: Alabama can’t prohibit abortion during pandemic.

By Kim Chandler, Associated Press, April 12, 2020, 9:34 PM

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state’s response to coronavirus.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction sought by clinics to prevent the state from forbidding abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompson said abortion providers can decide whether a procedure can wait.


7. Texas clinics ask Supreme Court to allow certain abortions.

By Associated Press, April 11, 2020, 7:32 PM

Abortion clinics in Texas on Saturday asked the Supreme Court to step in to allow certain abortions to continue during the coronavirus pandemic.

The clinics filed an emergency motion asking the justices to overturn a lower-court order and allow abortions when they can be performed using medication.


8. Australia’s Cardinal Pell urges Christians to embrace suffering.

By Reuters, April 11, 2020, 12:16 AM

Suffering should be embraced and redeemed through service even when a result of a miscarriage of justice, Australia’s Cardinal George Pell, who spent 404 days in jail before his sexual abuse conviction was overturned this week, wrote on Saturday.

“Christians see Christ in everyone who suffers — victims, the sick, the elderly — and are obliged to help,” Pell wrote in his Easter message in the Weekend Australian, accompanied by a photograph in which he wears his cardinal’s robes.

“I have just spent 13 months in jail for a crime I didn’t commit, one disappointment after another (…) But with every blow it was a consolation to know I could offer it to God for some good purpose, like turning the mass of suffering into spiritual energy.”


9. Pope: Easter gives hope in our ‘darkest hour,’ despite fear.

By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 11, 2020, 12:25 PM

Easter offers a message of hope in people’s “darkest hour,” Pope Francis said, as he celebrated a late-night vigil Mass Saturday in St. Peter’s Basilica, with the public barred because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pontiff in his homily likened the fears of current times to those experienced by Jesus’ followers the day after his crucifixion.


10. Doctors, nurses in Good Friday procession at Vatican.

By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 10, 2020, 1:51 PM

A pair of white-coated doctors who care for coronavirus patients participated in a torch-lit Good Friday procession, watched over by Pope Francis and held in a hauntingly nearly empty St. Peter’s Square instead of at Rome’s Colosseum because of the safety measures aimed at containing the virus’ spread.

Francis presided over the late-night ceremony from the steps outside St. Peter’s Basilica as the procession circled 10 times around the square’s central obelisk, slowly following a path marked by candles set on the square’s cobblestones. Besides the two doctors, who are part of the Vatican’s health service, were a former prison inmate and the chaplain of prison in Padua, northern Italy, a uniformed penitentiary police officer and nurses.


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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