1. Religious persecution pandemic needs treatment, too.

By Tina Ramirez, The Washington Times, April 28, 2020, Pg. B2, Opinion

But for hundreds of millions around the globe, who suffer religious persecution and violence, such luxuries and normalcy are as foreign to them as the coronavirus-induced interruption of daily life is to us.

Simply because they believe differently, extremists and governments persecute, imprison and kill people of faith on a daily basis. Even neighbors, with whom we take comfort in these times, pose a threat to people of different beliefs across the globe.

Sadly, this pandemic of religious intolerance and persecution is growing — spreading faster and further every year. More than 8 out of every 10 people live in a place where governments put severe restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. In the last decade, social hostility against religious communities has almost doubled globally.

In Communist China, the government controls what people can believe and even how they can worship. Dissenters are sent to forced re-education through labor camps where they face torture and organ harvesting.

Tina Ramirez is the president and founder of Hardwired Global, and former founding staff director of the Congressional International Religious Freedom Caucus


2. Pope says obey rules during exit from coronavirus lockdowns.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, April 28, 2020, 3:39 AM

Pope Francis on Tuesday urged people to obey rules aimed at preventing a devastating second wave of infections as their leaders begin to ease coronavirus lockdowns.

From Europe to the United States to Asia, officials have been dealing with tensions and criticism of stay-at-home orders.

“In these days in which we are starting to have regulations to come out of quarantine, let us pray to the Lord that he gives his people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to the regulations so that the pandemic does not return,” the leader of the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholic said.


3. Pope’s call for ‘obedience’ on Mass restrictions both pastoral and political.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 28, 2020, Opinion

Tuesday morning, however, probably no one was more grateful than Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Conte got a badly needed favor, as the pontiff essentially hit the off switch on mounting Catholic resistance to the PM’s program for recovery by calling for “prudence and obedience.” What remains to be seen is whether, in addition to pastoral conviction, the utterance was also a clever political tactic, in effect putting the Italian leader in the pope’s debt and creating capital Italy’s bishops now can spend in negotiations with the government.

Francis began with a brief prayer intention, as has been his custom, and today it was devoted to what the Italians call “Phase 2,” meaning the gradual reopening of the country after two months of lockdown.

The plan triggered wide national blowback after Conte announced it on Sunday, in large part because while he authorized the celebration of small-scale funerals, he did not make any provision for the resumption of public Masses despite repeated appeals from the powerful Italian bishops’ conference, CEI, to be able to do so, employing precautions such as social distancing and masks and gloves.

All through the day Monday, criticisms of Conte’s decree mounted, so much so that by evening one news outlet half-jokingly announced the formation of a new political party called PTCC, standing for Partito di Tutti Contra Conte, or the “Party of Everybody against Conte.”

Enter Pope Francis, Tuesday morning.

“In this time in which dispositions are beginning to be made for exiting from the quarantine, let’s pray to the Lord that he gives his people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to those dispositions, so the pandemic does not return,” Francis said.

Yet it would be naïve to ignore that Francis’s statement also has political significance, in the sense that he’s just afforded Conte some breathing room as his “Phase 2” rolls out. The pope knows the government has promised to issue a protocol about the resumption of public Masses soon – and, perhaps, Conte now will be inclined to find a way to return Francis’s favor.


4. Health officials ready new guidelines, including for churches, as restrictions ease.

By Kevin Freking and Mike Stobbe, Associated Press, April 27, 2020

The Trump administration is reviewing proposed new guidelines for how restaurants, schools, churches and businesses can safely reopen as states look to gradually lift their coronavirus restrictions.

The draft guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been sent to Washington but still could be revised before being released to the public. The recommendations were obtained from a federal official who was not authorized to release them publicly.


5. Barr to prosecutors: Look for unconstitutional virus rules.

By Michael Balsamo, Associated Press, April 27, 2020, 9:13 PM

Attorney General William Barr on Monday ordered federal prosecutors across the U.S. to identify coronavirus-related restrictions from state and local governments “that could be violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”

Barr’s memo comes about two weeks after the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in a civil case in Mississippi, siding with a Christian church where local officials had tried to stop Holy Week services broadcast to congregants sitting in their cars in the parking lot.


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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