1. Pope, on eve of summit, urges fractured EU to find unity over coronavirus.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, April 22, 2020, 3:51 AM

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Europe to remain united in overcoming the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, speaking on the eve of an EU summit to discuss a huge but divisive economic stimulus package.

The pandemic has put new strains on the unity of the 27-member bloc, again exposing splits between the richer north and the poorer south.

He asked for prayers “so that Europe manages to have this unity, this fraternal unity of which the founding fathers of the European Union dreamed”.


2. Church has no simple answer on coronavirus surveillance, experts say.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 22, 2020

Italy led much of the world into a coronavirus lockdown, with the highest infection rates and death counts during March and early April, and now it’s also setting a tone for the exit, with the government here announcing a gradual return to normality beginning May 4.

Even before it debuted, however, authorities were forced to roll back a key element of the plan involving a digital tracking app that would record people’s movements as a means of preventing a new round of contagion once the quarantine ends, but which has generated serious resistance related to privacy, surveillance and big government.

So far neither the Italian church nor the Vatican have spoken out, but according to experts both in Italy and the U.S. on the intersection of privacy and Catholic doctrine, should they enter the fray, their position likely wouldn’t be clear-cut.

“From the viewpoint of the social teaching of the Church, it’s not a simple yes or no,” said Lorenzo Cantoni, a professor of information technology and new media at the Italian Swiss University in Lugano, Italy.

“On the one hand, there’s the value of protecting public health. On the other is individual privacy and freedom, which is to be protected and preserved,” Cantoni said. “Balancing these two principles is the issue, which is not at all easy.”


3. In these states, pandemic crisis response includes attempts to stop abortion.

By Dan Keating, Lauren Tierney and Tim Meko, The Washington Post, April 21, 2020, 3:19 PM

Several states have tried to ban abortions as part of emergency orders against elective medical procedures and nonessential businesses. Abortion rights supporters said the changes put unfair burdens on women.

A federal appeals court allowed Texas to stop all abortions as part of the state’s coronavirus response, the first time federal courts have allowed any state to have a complete ban on abortion since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision declared access to abortion a constitutional right.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans allowed medication abortions to proceed a week ago while it considered the matter, then Monday ruled that the state could ban both surgical and medication abortions in response to coronavirus.

A federal judge in Texas had initially blocked the state’s restrictions, and federal judges in Oklahoma, Alabama and Tennessee have done the same.

In Ohio, federal courts allowed a limit on surgical abortions to remain in place but preserved access to medication abortions. A compromise in Iowa created essentially the same result. In both states, surgery can be done to protect the life of a pregnant woman. Arkansas and Alaska have also restricted surgical abortions while allowing the more common medication abortions used early in pregnancy to continue.

Mississippi, Indiana and Utah have discussed or issued restrictions but clinics remain open so far.


4. Federal judge: Oklahoma abortion ban can’t be enforced.

By Associated Press, April 21, 2020, 12:45 PM

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s attempt to ban abortions during the coronavirus pandemic cannot be enforced, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin issued a preliminary injunction late Monday after abortion providers sued Stitt over the ban. The injunction replaces a temporary restraining order that the same judge issued last week that allowed most abortions to continue.


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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