1. Biden friend Sen. Coons to elevate faith on convention stage, By Elana Schor, Associated Press, August 20, 2020, 1:09 AM

When [Senator Chris] Coons Coons speaks to the Democratic National Convention on Thursday before Biden’s speech accepting the party’s presidential nomination, his remarks will focus on faith — attesting in highly personal fashion to his longtime friend’s belief in God. The theme and timing of Coons’ speech on the pandemic-altered convention schedule underscore Democrats’ interest in engaging with religious voters on the basis of shared values with Biden.


2. Catholic bishops in southern Africa thank Pope Francis for 300,000 euro donation, By Catholic News Agency, August 20, 2020, 5:00 AM

The bishops’ conferences of Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi thanked Pope Francis last week for his gift of 300,000 euros ($355,000) to help vulnerable populations in the three southern African countries.

In their letter to the pope, the bishops expressed their joy and gratitude at the donation, which will support people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by natural disasters such as flooding and droughts.


3. Pro-Life Leaders Applaud the Pardon of Susan B. Anthony, With news of her pardon, Susan B. Anthony is remembered for her pro-life stance., By Alyssa Murphy, National Catholic Register, August 19, 2020

On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump marked the occasion by announcing the President will issue a long-overdue pardon to a hero of the suffrage movement.

During a news conference Aug. 18, President Trump said, “She was never pardoned for voting, that’s right, she was guilty for voting. And we will be signing a full and complete pardon.”

Daring to vote in the election of 1872, Susan B. Anthony was fined 100 dollars and arrested. A champion of women’s rights, Anthony was also a fierce defender of the life of the unborn.

Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor at The Catholic Association and who serves on a committee for the Susan B. Anthony List says the leading suffragist had no issue addressing the true harm abortion has not only on the baby but also on women. She points out that at the time, Anthony was not alone in her thinking.

“Susan B. Anthony has been an inspirational figure for the past 100 years, both for the cause of authentic women’s equality, and also for the rights of the unborn. Susan B. Anthony regarded abortion as violence against women and their unborn children.  Along with the other early suffragists, she viewed abortion as prenatal infanticide, and opposed it strongly.”

The language attached to the horror of abortion during the Suffrage movement is lightyears away from euphemisms adopted today when abortion is addressed in secular society. It’s not abortion, it’s “reproductive rights.” As Dr. Grazie Christie of The Catholic Association points out:

“It’s only in the last few decades that medicine has begun to countenance abortion as “healthcare”.  In Susan B. Anthony’s time, everyone from physicians to the least educated, understood that abortion was the violent and purposeful killing of an innocent human life.  And everyone also understood that in an abortion, the mother was being driven to destroy her child by outside forces like poverty and the irresponsibility of men.”


4. Christians under siege, according to virtual Napa conference, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, August 19, 2020

“Finding Hope in the New America” served as the theme of this year’s Napa Institute summer conference — a high-dollar gathering that brings together conservative Catholic philanthropists, lay leaders and high-ranking prelates — but in the more than 40 sessions of the 2020 virtual conference, its titular virtue of hope appeared to be in short supply.

Fear, instead, proved to be a dominant theme throughout this year’s talks, most of which were pre-recorded and posted online Aug. 14-15, as participants were warned of the potential “hijacking of the civil rights movement” as racial tensions persist throughout the country, and the rise of big government, as evidenced by certain measures taken to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

This year’s speaker lineup included papal biographer George Weigel, Australian Cardinal George Pell, FOCUS founder Curtis Martin and former Sen. Rick Santorum, many of whom warned, in the words of Weigel, that “America has been told a false story about itself” by secular elites and that Christians are increasingly under siege in the public square.

Weigel encouraged attendees to be prepared to play “good legal defense” in the years to come, especially in the fight for religious liberty. Similarly, Santorum said that in order to protect the “fragility of freedom,” Catholics must possess the same level of passion as “Antifa and other leftist organizations and atheistic organizations.”

Founded in 2010, the Napa Institute takes its inspiration from its former ecclesial advisor, the recently retired Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, who in the article “Catholics and the Next America” warned against the growing threat of secularization.


5. The Biden Platform: What Catholics should know, By Catholic News Agency, August 19, 2020, 2:40 PM

Joe Biden was officially nominated as the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential candidate on Tuesday evening. With the formalities over, what are the policies he will be running on?

The 2020 DNC platform draft says that religious freedom is a “fundamental human right” that nevertheless cannot be used “as a cover for discrimination.”

Democrats in Congress have promoted legislation, the “Do No Harm Act,” as a means of curtailing expressions of religious freedom which they claim are discriminatory.

The proposed legislation would limit the application of current religious freedom protections—the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—in cases such as objections to the contraceptive mandate, health care workers declining to participate in abortions, and religious adoption agencies placing children only with married opposite-sex couples.

The draft 2020 platform also supports reinstating policies such as the Obama administration’s transgender mandate. It condemns the Trump administration’s “dangerous and unethical regulation allowing doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies to discriminate against patients based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

A federal judge on Monday ordered a halt to implementation of the Trump administration’s rule that protected doctors with a conscientious objection to providing gender-transition surgery or abortion.

The DNC platform also calls for the U.S. to appoint “senior leaders” to drive LGBTQ advocacy in foreign policy; the Obama administration appointed the first Special Envoy for LGBTQ issues at the State Department, but the position is not yet required by law to be filled by each administration and has not been filled during Trump’s presidency.

The current 2020 DNC platform also supports the HHS contraceptive mandate, which business owners and religious non-profits have fought in court over its requirement that employers cover contraceptives in employee health plans.

The DNC draft platform also opposes private school vouchers as part of “policies that divert taxpayer-funded resources away from the public school system.” In some states, like Wisconsin, Catholic schools have been some of the beneficiaries of the state’s expansion of private school vouchers.

On marriage, Biden supported the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s, but in 2012 said he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage; his comments as vice president in an election year prodded President Obama to announce his support for same-sex marriage days later. As Vice President, Biden himself officiated at a same-sex wedding ceremony for two White House staffers in 2016.

Regarding abortion, the 2020 DNC platform builds upon the 2016 platform that one former Obama campaign staffer characterized was “extreme.” In 2016, Michael Wear, director of faith outreach for Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign, told CNA that the party’s abortion stance was “morally reprehensible.”

A group of Democratic public officials at the federal, state, and local levels wrote to the members of the platform committee on August 14, saying the support for late-term abortion will “push many voters into the arms of the Republican Party,” as many pro-lifers “are single-issue voters.”

The platform declares that “every woman” should have access to “safe and legal abortion” and that abortion, as part of comprehensive health care, is “vital to the empowerment of women and girls.”

It calls for a restoration of federal funding of Planned Parenthood, and taxpayer-funded abortion through repeal of the Hyde and Helms Amendments as well as the Mexico City Policy.


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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