1. Jesuits, Missionaries of Charity stranded in Afghanistan, By Vatican News, August 17, 2021

Two Jesuits stranded in strife-torn Afghanistan have sought prayers as the Taliban militants took control of the troubled south-east Asian nation.  “Thank you for your continuous prayers for our safety. The way the situation is changing in the country, it is anyone’s imagination … safety does not make sense here. It is a chaotic situation,” Indian priest Father Jerome Sequeira, the country head of the Jesuit mission in Afghanistan, wrote in a message to his friends and colleagues.

Afghanistan fell to the Taliban after the United States ended its 20 years of operations there.  A relative calm reigned in the Afghan capital Kabul on August 16, a day after its president fled and the Taliban installed themselves in the presidential palace.  However, Kabul airport was a scene of pandemonium and roads leading to it were clogged with traffic and people, as thousands scrambled to flee the country in panic.


2. Church spokesperson: Pope won’t celebrate public Mass during Scotland visit for UN meeting, By Charles Collins, Crux, August 17, 2021

A spokesperson for the Catholic Church in Scotland says Pope Francis won’t celebrate Mass when he visits Glasgow for a UN climate conference.

In July, the Scottish bishops’ conference confirmed the pontiff would be in Scotland “for a very short time” for the Oct. 31-Nov. 12 conference. Although no date was given, world leaders will be addressing the conference Nov. 1 and Nov. 2.


3. Long fight over New Orleans abortion clinic back in US court, By Kevin McGill, Associated Press, August 16, 2021, 2:56 PM

Planned Parenthood is asking a federal appeals court to reconsider the question of whether the state of Louisiana must grant a long-sought license for an abortion clinic in New Orleans.

Planned Parenthood began the process to get a license to perform abortions at the New Orleans facility during Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. The efforts continued after Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards succeeded Jindal in 2016. Both men oppose abortion rights.

A 5th Circuit panel also refused to dismiss. But, while keeping the lawsuit alive and sending it back to the district court, the three 5th Circuit judges also ruled that federal courts can’t order the state to license the facility.

Last week, Planned Parenthood filed a petition asking the full 5th Circuit, with 17 active members, to consider the issue. It was not clear when the court will act on that request.


4. NY bishop hopes Child Victims Act deadline will close a ‘painful and sordid chapter’, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, August 16, 2021, 2:04 PM

At the close of the “lookback” window created by New York’s Child Victims Act, Bishop Michael Fisher of Buffalo said he hopes the process will bring “closure and healing” to those abused by clerics.

The lookback window, which closed Aug. 14, allowed child sex abuse victims to file lawsuits after their statute of limitations had ended.

“It is my hope and fervent prayer – and I know the hope of many of the Faithful across our Diocese – that we can move forward and ultimately bring a close to this very painful and sordid chapter which in no way obscures the tremendous good accomplished each and every day by our Church and those who live faithfully the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Fisher said Aug. 16.


5. What the bishops are saying about vaccine mandates, By Michael Deem and Michelle La Rosa, The Pillar, August 16, 2021

On July 30, the Archdiocese of New York issued a brief memorandum to priests regarding religious exemptions for COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The memo directs priests of the archdiocese to refrain from issuing or assisting Catholics in obtaining a religious exemption to a vaccine mandate.

The memo generated considerable controversy and confusion among Catholic and non-Catholics alike, particularly for its directive that “there is no basis for a priest to issue a religious exemption to the [COVID-19] vaccine” and that priests “should not be active participants” in assisting Catholics in obtaining a religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Several other dioceses have begun to weigh in on the question of vaccine mandates, with statements that have taken on varying tones. Last week, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego sent a letter instructing priests in his diocese to deny requests for religious exemptions to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, echoing the approach of the New York memo.

And on Aug. 16, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles issued a short statement saying that “the archdiocese is not providing individuals with religious exemption letters to avoid vaccination against COVID-19.”

But other dioceses have offered a different way of looking at things.

 In an August 6 letter, the bishops of Colorado stated, “In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, we are convicted that the government should not impose medical interventions on an individual or group of persons. We urge respect for each person’s convictions and personal choices.”

The Colorado bishops provided a template religious exemption letter for pastors, directly contradicting the Archdiocese of New York’s claim that objections to the vaccine must be based on personal conscience rather than Catholic belief.


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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