1. Pope Francis prays for an end to violence in Afghanistan, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 15, 2021

As Taliban insurgents were entering Kabul and the United States evacuated it’s embassy personnel from Afghanistan, Pope Francis on Sunday called for dialogue to end the conflict so that locals can live in peace, safety, and with mutual respect.

“I join in the unanimous worry about the situation in Afghanistan. I ask you to pray along with me to the God of peace so that the clamor of weapons ends and that solutions can be found around a table of dialogue,” Francis said to the thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.


2. Cardinal Burke, suffering with COVID-19, placed on ventilator, By Catholic News Agency, August 14, 2021, 10:00 PM

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke has been placed on a ventilator as he battles COVID-19, according to an update on his condition published on the cardinal’s Twitter account Saturday evening.

The tweet reported: “Cardinal Burke has been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 and is being assisted by a ventilator. Doctors are encouraged by his progress. His Eminence faithfully prayed the Rosary for those suffering from the virus. On this Vigil of the Assumption, let us now pray the Rosary for him.”


3. The Church and China: Can Catholics serve two masters?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, August 13, 2021

Cardinal Pietro Parolin praised the witness of Chinese Catholics Thursday, urging them to be good citizens, while reiterating his support for a controversial agreement between the Vatican and Beijing on the appointment of Chinese bishops.

But the Vatican secretary of state’s comments raise questions about whether it is possible to live as both a faithful Catholic and a loyal subject of the Chinese Communist Party, and whether it will remain so.

But both Chinese Catholic and Vatican watchers have expressed skepticism that it is possible to be both a good Chinese citizen and a good Catholic — suggesting that Chinese Catholics been asked, in the words of the Gospel, to be the servants of two masters?

While some Chinese democracy activists will eventually ask if Parolin’s “pride” in the witness of Chinese Catholics extends to the witness of Zhang and Lai, the cardinal himself has previously focused on the scope of national policies, rather than the plight of individual Catholics in China.

At the time the Vatican-China deal was renewed, he was asked about the persecution of local Catholics and responded “But what persecutions? You have to use the words correctly. There are regulations that are imposed and which concern all religions, and certainly also concern the Catholic Church.”

Since then, in a move likely to aggravate Catholics critical of the Holy See’s approach to China, Parolin has insisted, including in his interview this week,that “the West will have to apologize” for doubting the effectiveness of the Church’s engagement with Beijing.

But whether it is the West who will need to apologize, or whether Chinese Catholics may feel it is they who are owed an apology, seems to be a matter of unresolved disagreement.


4. Schools — and Schools’ Religious-Liberty Court Cases — Back in Session, Once again, the Supreme Court and lower courts are in the spotlight as guardians not just of First Amendment rights in general but also specifically of religious liberty., By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, August 13, 2021, Opinion

It looks like most schools will be open for in-person learning this fall. But there are still many questions about the coming school year. Will governors mandate children attending public and private schools to wear masks? Can all schools receive government grants to cover the cost of pandemic-related health-and-safety measures? Will needy families who want to send their children to private religious schools be able to do so?

Religious freedom is a common thread that runs through all of these questions. It’s no surprise, then, that courts are being asked to provide the answers.

Once again, the Supreme Court and lower courts are in the spotlight as guardians not just of First Amendment rights in general but also specifically of religious liberty. Soon enough, we will see if they can continue to take the heat.

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is the director of the Conscience Project.


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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