1. Hospitals’ Policies Come Under Religious-Rights Scrutiny, By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2020, Pg. A6

The Trump administration has stepped up interventions in complaints by patients and health workers who say they have been victims of discrimination under policies that hospitals and other health organizations have adopted to combat the coronavirus.

As the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has intervened in the complaints, it has been negotiating settlements and issuing guidance to remind health organizations, states and local governments about their responsibilities under federal law.

The office cites laws it says give it authority to intervene in religious-discrimination claims when health organizations get federal money. They also point to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which essentially prohibits the federal government from substantially burdening a person or institution’s religious exercise. “This is a time when the safeguards are put under stress,” Roger Severino, head of the Office for Civil Rights, said in an interview.

Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that defends religious freedom, said the agency had authority because most large hospitals get federal funding. He added that protecting religious freedoms was critical even during a pandemic—and can be done safely. “You don’t have to put religion and public health against each other,” he said.


2. Archbishop Gänswein: Benedict XVI’s ‘illness is subsiding’, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, August 11, 2020, 3:30 AM

Benedict XVI’s personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein has said that the pope emeritus’ illness is “subsiding.”

In an interview with the German newspaper Südkurier, Archbishop Gänswein is reported to have said that Benedict XVI’s “illness is subsiding” and that his medication has been reduced.


3. Chinese Catholic Exec Arrested in Hong Kong for ‘Collusion With Foreign Powers’, Pro-democracy businessman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying is the first prominent person to be arrested under Communist China’s new national security law., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, August 10, 2020

Hong Kong police today arrested Catholic business tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying under the city’s new national security law — the first high-profile casualty of the controversial ruling that Beijing imposed in June.

A leading pro-democracy activist and a strong critic of Beijing’s human-rights policies, Lai was detained for “collusion with foreign powers,” according to Mark Simon, a senior executive of Next Digital, Lai’s media company that publishes Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper.


4. HK Catholic activists arrested, US lawmakers sanctioned in China crackdown, By Catholic News Agency, August 10, 2020, 11:30 AM

Chinese authorities arrested pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and imposed new sanctions on American lawmakers August 10, as part of an apparent crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong.

Prominent democracy activists were arrested and charged for violating Hong Kong’s new national security law Monday, including Agnes Chow, a 23-year-old Catholic democracy activist. Chow has been outspoken in her support for civil rights in the former British colony.


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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.