1. A Union Education in Chicago, The Chicago Teachers Union doesn’t want Catholic schools to open for classroom teaching lest they embarrass public schools., By The Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2020, 5:39 PM, Editorial

Catholic schools are reopening for classroom instruction in Chicago—that is, unless the teachers union can get the politicians to shut them down.

The Catholic archdiocese reports that a survey this summer showed an overwhelming majority of Catholic parents—their customers—want their schools to reopen with in-person learning.

But now some Catholic teachers are complaining, and they are being egged on by the Chicago Teachers Union and its allies, especially Arise Chicago. Arise Chicago is a faith-based labor group whose board of directors includes a “political organizer” for the CTU.

The unions fear that they’ll look bad if private schools open successfully while keeping Covid-19 contained. The decent approach should be to wish them success.


2. Pope praises priest who pioneered Argentine form of liberation theology, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 24, 2020

Last weekend, he sent a note to pay homage to a priest from Argentina who died of cancer Aug. 16. Known as a poet, singer, and a defender of Argentina’s biodiversity, Father Julian Zini penned some of the country’s most famous Mass songs.

Zini was a member of the “Movement of Priests for the Third World,” founded after the Second Vatican Council by a group of priests who had a strong political and social participation. Between 1967 and 1976 the movement worked as an Argentine version of Liberation Theology, with ties to leftwing Peronism but with less affinity for Marxism.

Peronism, named after General Juan Doming Peron, is Argentina’s most important political party, technically called Justicialismo, Though Peron’s philosophy was tied with “doing what needs to be done” at any given time, which leads the party to fluctuate on issues such as taxes and privatization of public services, it’s always been labeled as a force close to the country’s poor and which favors unions.

Even though there were no bishops involved in the movement of Priest for the Third World, their founding document is based in the declaration of Medellin from the Conference of Catholic Bishops from Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM) and Vatican II, and tied poverty in the Third World to exploitation by multinational firms of industrialized countries. The first meeting of the movement took place in 1968, with the explicit support of several bishops, including Enrique Angelelli, today a candidate for sainthood declared a martyr by Pope Francis.


3. Pius X a reminder that Vatican reform isn’t a political animal, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 23, 2020, Opinion

Two days ago, the Church marked the liturgical feast of St. Pius X, who reigned from 1903 to his death on August 20, 1914, and who was canonized in 1954. To mark the occasion, Vatican news carried a laudatory interview with an Italian historian styling Pius X as a “Pope-Reformer of the Church.”

Yet there’s also a grand irony in the Vatican’s praise for Pius X, because there’s obvious dissonance between his papacy and that of the current occupant of the Throne of Peter, Pope Francis.

Pius X was the great anti-modernist pope, the one who directed the Holy Office to issue Lamentabili sane exitu, condemning 65 specific alleged modernist errors, which was followed by his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis.

All that seems worlds away from Francis’s approach. Francis routinely encourages dialogue and friendship with the sciences, and nothing appears to irritate him more than “pharisaical,” “rigid” and “legalistic” forms of religion.

So, why would Pope Francis’s Vatican go out of its way to praise the anti-modernist pope?

To begin with, Friday’s writeup never even mentioned Lamentabili or the oath, and alluded to Pascendi only in passing.

That emphasis is part of a broad revision of Pius’s reputation in recent years, styling him not a policeman but a great reformer.

Those similarities between Pius X and Francis, despite the obvious political and theological gap, may suggest an important lesson.

Even with the hyper-politicization of nearly everything in the early 21st century, there still is a surprisingly large swath of matters that don’t break left v. right. Efforts to rationalize the administrative structures of the Vatican, for example – to break cycles of corruption, to improve efficiency and to make better use of limited resources – don’t really have much to do with ideology.

In other words, Vatican reform ought to be something both sides in the wars of culture within the Church can support, and even Francis’s fiercest critics should take some satisfaction in seeing him try to resurrect Pius X’s legacy in that regard.

Whether that will be enough finally to break the grip of vested interests and cultural inertia that have proven so successful in the past in taming reform efforts, however, is another question entirely.


4. Who Are the Real Catholic Politicians?, A NOTE FROM OUR PUBLISHER, By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, August 21, 2020, Opinion

As Catholics, we know that Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. But as citizens of a representative democracy, we are also called to participate in our country’s political process, one important expression of which is by voting.

The process of casting our vote requires serious discernment, and as we discern, we might consider what a courageous Catholic politician might look like. An example of the sort of challenges we face as Catholics in navigating our current political landscape is already evident in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Different factions and media outlets have suggested different standards for Catholic politicians in the Democratic Party. Some have proposed presidential nominee Joe Biden, others Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC). I do believe that there are notable Catholics serving or seeking to serve our country, but I would strongly caution against labeling either Biden or AOC as exemplars of Catholicism.

Ocasio-Cortez’s commitment to abortion is also demonstrated by her endorsement of Marie Newman’s primary challenge to Rep. Dan Lipinski of Illinois, one of the few remaining pro-life Democrats in Congress — and himself a Catholic. After surviving other well-funded challenges in previous elections, Lipinski lost the Democratic primary in Illinois’ third district to Newman in March.

And that brings us to a man who we might actually consider to be both a brave legislator and a committed Catholic.

Lipinski stands in sharp contrast to both Biden and Ocasio-Cortez in two ways. He stands by his Catholic beliefs concerning the right to life and has not abandoned his beliefs even at the cost of his career.

Mother Teresa used to say that God had called her to be faithful, not successful. It’s a sad day in America when, for political elites, the difference between successfulness and faithfulness is whether one is willing to support the legalized killing of helpless children.

Despite constant challenges from within his own party, including the latest that cost him his career of public service in Washington, Lipinski was the Democratic Party’s conscience on abortion, a reminder that once men like Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson and even Joe Biden, among others, had stood tall in support of life. Lipinski remained an unapologetically pro-life Democrat at great personal cost.

He wasn’t one of the loudest voices in Congress, and he didn’t make his party’s presidential ticket, but he held to his beliefs and his knowledge that every person — born or unborn — matters. Whether they know it or not, both Congress and the Democratic Party will be diminished by the loss of Lipinski’s presence and witness in his congressional role.

I hope and pray that our nation might be blessed with more Catholic politicians like him who would rather pay a political price than compromise their principles and, most importantly, their faith.

https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/who-are-the-real-catholic-politicians ___________________________________________________________

5. US bishops ‘applaud’ Trump administration over fetal tissue research decision, By Catholic News Agency, August 21, 2020, 8:00 AM

The U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee praised the Trump administration on Thursday after a federal ethics advisory board recommended against federal funding of fetal tissue research.

The Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—set up by the Trump administration to review grant proposals for federally-funded fetal tissue research conducted outside of NIH facilities—issued its report on Tuesday.

In its report, the advisory board said that members voted to withhold federal funding of 13 different fetal tissue research proposals, and voted not to withhold funding of one such proposal.

In response, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City—the head of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee—said the bishops “applauded” the administration “for moving NIH in a direction that shows greater consideration for medical ethics in research, and greater respect for innocent human life.”


6. Catholic Education Hangs in the Political Balance, Proponents say the November election’s outcome will determine the future of many schools., By Judy Roberts, National Catholic Register, August 20, 2020

Politicians like to say a child’s zip code shouldn’t determine his or her future, but what they propose to do about that can differ vastly, especially for students who attend Catholic schools.

“The issue of education is extraordinarily important in every election, but in this election, it will be even more pronounced,” Brian Burch of Catholic Vote told the Register. “It will not simply be an issue for Catholics, as it often has been in the past, but also many others who are finding Catholic schools places of refuge in light of the limitations imposed by public-school systems because of the pandemic.”

Indeed, Ashley McGuire, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, said Catholic schools have stood out because of their efforts to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown while many public schools are remaining closed, often because of pressure from teacher unions.

“It has intrigued people that Catholic schools are trying to open,” she said. “It’s showing how committed they are and how free they are from the politics of teacher unions.”

In the Washington, D.C., area where McGuire lives, she said Catholic schools are some of the only schools that are reopening, though often with limited staff and resources.

“Parents and faculty want to go back to school, and the administrators of Catholic schools have put their heads down and created a plan to allow kids to go back to school safely,” she said.

McGuire said she can’t remember the last time an issue affected everybody regardless of socioeconomic status: “This policy issue is directly impacting families right now … and working against reopening schools are the public-school unions.”

She added that the situation has presented an opportunity to remind people that Catholic schools are unique in the world of private and independent schools, in that they serve primarily low-income and middle-class families seeking good alternatives to often-failing public schools, with 40% located in inner-city communities. Yet many operate on a shoestring budget while achieving educational outcomes that are the envy of all schools in terms of graduation rates, entry into colleges and successful STEM programs.

McGuire said, “They clearly exist for the students.”

Still, many political leaders continue to resist any form of aid to students in Catholic and other private and religious schools.

Although both Republicans and Democrats agree the latest coronavirus relief package should include funding for schools, the two sides have parted ways over a Republican proposal to designate 10% of any allocation for public schools to go to private and religious schools. Republicans also want to provide Education Freedom Scholarships for which federal tax credits would be available to donors to the scholarship programs. Both are aspects of a plan put forward by the Trump administration.

Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform said although the tax-credit aspect in the stalled bill appears unlikely to succeed, there is still some hope that private schools could get 10% of whatever public schools are given. How that money could be used is unclear, although given it would be distributed to states, governors may have some flexibility in determining its application.

However, Catholic Vote’s Burch said, “Given the deep hostility of the Democratic Party to Catholic education in part because of their deference to public-school teachers’ unions, it is not a surprise that Catholic schools may once again be given scraps, despite their critical role in providing education for millions of children, Catholic or otherwise.”

According to the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), more than 21% of the 1.7 million students enrolled in Catholic schools are racial minorities, and 19% are non-Catholic.

“It’s a scandal,” Burch said, “that there is not the political support needed to help these children.”

The partisan divide over coronavirus relief funding for Catholic-school children is likewise evident in the differences between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Although both candidates claim to want to invest in education, Burch said, Trump’s support of tax-credit scholarships and his willingness to put cash in the pockets of families to direct the education of their children almost mirror Catholic teaching that parents are the primary educators of their children.

He said, “President Trump could accurately be described as the most pro-Catholic education president in American history.”


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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