1. Pope sends respirators and PPE equipment to Covid-struck Colombia, By Vatican News, April 21, 2021
Pope Francis has made another donation consisting in life-saving respirators and other equipment to hospitals struggling to cope with the covid-19 pandemic.
Through the channels of the Apostolic Nunciature in Bogotà, four respirators and containers of PPE equipment needed to treat patients infected with the coronavirus have been distributed to hospitals in Colombia.
2. Hans Küng And The Perils Of Fame, By George Weigel, First Things, April 21, 2021, Opinion
During his 1977 rookie year with the Baltimore Orioles, future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray got a piece of advice from veteran Lee May: If you’ve got talent, May told the 21-year-old slugger, fame can’t help you, but the odds are it’ll ruin you. Murray followed May’s sage counsel and avoided the limelight. Father Hans Küng, the mediagenic Swiss Catholic writer who died at age 93 on April 6, didn’t. Therein lies a sad tale.
Hans Küng certainly had talent.

During and after the Vatican II years, Hans Küng invented and then exploited a new personality type: the dissident Catholic theologian as international media star.

Hans Küng was admirably clear about his position: He did not believe to be true, nor would he teach as the truth, what the Catholic Church definitively taught to be true. Thus it should have come as no surprise to anyone when, on December 15, 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith agreed with Father Küng, declared that he “could not be considered a Catholic theologian,” and withdrew his mandate to teach as a “Professor of Catholic Theology.”

At certain points, as I noted in a 2010 open letter to Father Küng, those anti-papal polemics descended into the toxic waste dump of calumny, not least because of Küng’s inability to liberate himself from liberal shibboleths on everything from abortion to AIDS to Catholic-Islamic relations to stem cell research—a sorry record for an intelligent man.
Lee May’s warning to Eddie Murray was spot-on: Fame is dangerous. Which is why, to paraphrase F. R. Leavis on the literary Sitwells, Hans Küng belongs more to the history of publicity than the history of theology. Requiescat in pace.
George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.
3. Who will be the next Bishop of Hong Kong?, By Catholic News Agency, April 20, 2021, 7:01 PM
Catholics in Hong Kong are reeling after several pro-democracy figures were sentenced last week to prison terms for their peaceful resistance to the Chinese Communist Party and its efforts to crack down on Hong Kongers’ freedom.
In the wake of the sentences, one observer said this week that this would be an ideal time for Pope Francis to appoint Hong Kong auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, who has publicly supported the island’s pro-democracy movement, as bishop of the diocese.
“Bishop Ha, a Franciscan, is widely loved and respected in Hong Kong as a pastoral leader who cares for his flock, and a shepherd who combines wisdom and courage, to stand true to his values as a religious leader without being a firebrand,” Benedict Rogers, co-founder and chair of the monitoring group Hong Kong Watch, wrote in an April 18 op-ed at UCA News.

In 2019, CNA learned that the Vatican had resolved to appoint Bishop Ha to lead the diocese.
While the appointment was being processed, however, Bishop Ha was publicly seen at the front of pro-democracy demonstrations against an extradition law, and his nomination was reversed before a public announcement could be made.
During January 2020, CNA reported that the Vatican had selected Fr. Peter Choy Wai-man, a vicar general of the diocese, as Hong Kong’s new bishop but had decided to delay the announcement of Fr. Choy’s appointment indefinitely. Some in the diocese have voiced concerns about Fr. Choy’s closeness to state authorities.
The Vatican has not announced any current candidates for the position.

Joseph Cardinal Zen Ze-kiun, SDB, who led the Diocese of Hong Kong from 2002-2009 and is a critic of the Vatican’s relationship to the Chinese government, has several times signaled his support for Bishop Ha.
4. Biden administration appeals to keep transgender mandate in place, By Catholic News Agency, April 20, 2021, 6:00 PM
The Biden administration is appealing to keep in place a mandate that doctors and hospitals provide gender-transition surgeries, regardless of their conscientious beliefs.
On Tuesday, the legal group Becket – which represents Catholic doctors and hospitals in their case against the “transgender mandate” – reported that the administration had filed an appeal to keep the mandate in place.

More than 19,000 healthcare professionals, nine states, and several religious organizations filed two lawsuits against the mandate; in December 2016, two federal courts placed an injunction on the mandate.
Two more federal district court judges ruled against the mandate in 2019 and 2021. In January, a judge in North Dakota granted permanent injunctive relief to Catholic doctors, hospitals, clinics, and benefits groups that sued over the mandate.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration appealed that ruling, asking that the mandate stay in effect. “This is bad for patients, doctors, and religious liberty,” Goodrich said.
5. Can the USCCB keep up with the news?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, April 20, 2021, Opinion
On Friday, the Biden Administration announced that it would not raise the cap on the number of refugees to be admitted to the United States for the current fiscal year. The move triggered a ferocious backlash from political supporters and religious leaders, and within hours, the White House reversed the policy, and pledged a revised cap in the coming days.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was among groups which expressed disapproval at Biden’s plan to keep the Trump-era cap in place.
But the trouble for the USCCB was that its statement came out Monday afternoon, nearly three days after Biden announced the policy, and then junked it.

The lag between fast-moving political events and the capacity of the US bishops’ conference to respond is not new, though this example might seem especially acute. The gaffe, if it can be called a gaffe, points to the continuing difficulty the bishops’ conference has in speaking to events in a timely way, even when it knows what the bishops want to say.

It has been noted before that the USCCB has a somewhat Byzantine system for approving public statements on any given issue: Each is generated by conference staffers, vetted by the bishops who sign it, by conference’s in-house leadership, perhaps by a bishop’s diocesan advisors, and by conference communication staffers.

As dioceses continue to hit serious financial difficulties, the conference will more often need to find ways to do more with less. And some voices will ask if communications isn’t an over-served expense, compared to other projects with a more tangible output.

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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