1. It’s not just abortion. The Democrats’ stand on religious liberty should trouble voters, By William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2020, Pg. A15, Opinion

But in this election there’s a new religious wrinkle, much more consequential than the tired debate over whether Mr. Biden is or isn’t a good Catholic. For the issue today is no longer whether progressive dogmas from abortion and marriage equality to gender identity will prevail. Most already have.

The question now is whether those who dissent from the new orthodoxy will be permitted to live their lives and run their institutions in accordance with their beliefs.

Nevertheless a Biden-Harris administration would mean a federal bureaucracy less interested in accommodating religious Americans and their institutions than in constricting them. Democrats say so in their platform, in which they “reject” the “broad religious exemptions” that “allow businesses, medical providers, social service agencies and others to discriminate.” In other words, religious liberty.

This is the sleeper threat. It’s already playing out in everything from licensing requirements (the Supreme Court is now deciding whether Catholic agencies that don’t place children with gay couples can offer foster care) and tax exemptions (Orthodox Jewish schools fear losing their status for adhering to biblical definitions of marriage) to conscience protections (a nurse in Vermont was forced to participate in arranging an abortion against her will). Mormons, meanwhile, wonder if the Equality Act, which is meant to protect LGBTQ Americans and is strongly backed by Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, would make Brigham Young University students ineligible for federal research dollars, Pell grants and student loans. Americans were given a preview of coming attractions during Covid-19, when Democratic officials treated bars and casinos better than churches.

All these things will come in the name of “reproductive health,” “equity,” “inclusion” and “nondiscrimination.” And a Biden administration would push them. How do we know? Because, as the New York Sun’s Seth Lipsky says, it’s hard to find a single religious-rights case where the Democrats took the religious side.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have this upside down,” says Bill Mumma, CEO and chairman of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The Constitution protects religion from government interference. But in their view, any government objective, no matter how controversial, takes priority over religious belief.”


2. How pro-life women fight for human rights, One hundred years after the 19th Amendment, pro-life women are still treated as unequal, By Penny Nance and Kay C. James, The Washington Times, August 25, 2020, Pg. B4, Opinion

The fact is, many on the left want to exclude pro-life women from this year’s milestone celebration of the success of the suffragists. They bristle at the thought of us having an equal claim to the women’s rights movement. They equate being pro-life and female as somehow being self-hating and opposed to the full equality of women.

Therefore, in their minds, we — and the millions and millions of women around the country like us — are not fully equal … to them.

However, abortion is not the litmus test for feminism. If it were, then those on the left might be surprised to find out that most of the women who led the fight for suffrage would have been excluded from the movement, and women’s suffrage may have eluded us to this day.

Today’s pro-life women believe in the intrinsic value of every human life and the equal rights of every human being, whether born or unborn. As such, we continue the fight for human rights and social reform in the image of the original suffrage movement until all are recognized as equal. That means pro-life women have just as much –- if not more –- of a claim to that history as any other woman.

Penny Nance is the CEO of Concerned Women for America. Kay C. James is president of The Heritage Foundation.


3. Moderates can find a home in the Republican Party, Democratic ticket increasingly does not align with a centrist view of abortion, By Charlotte Pence Bond, The Washington Times, August 25, 2020, Pg. B1, Opinion

This is an election season unlike those in the past, but more than anything else, it is a time when Americans will make a decision between two philosophies for the future of this country.

On Nov. 3, voters will not only elect a candidate, but they will also decide the role government should play when it comes to morality and individual freedom. The two parties vary widely when it comes to this area, and there is no policy that makes this dichotomy more obvious than that of abortion.

Americans are not as resolute on the legal status of abortion as some in the media and popular culture would like them to believe. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, “Though abortion is a divisive issue, more than half of U.S. adults take a non-absolutist position, saying that in most — but not all — cases, abortion should be legal (34%) or illegal (26%). Fewer take the position that in all cases abortion should be either legal (27%) or illegal (12%).”

Many voters find themselves in the center of this difficult matter, unsure on which side they may fall. They can find a home within the party that acknowledges the heartbreak that abortion causes, yet also recognizes that the individual citizens of each state should have their voices heard when deciding how it will impact their communities.

Charlotte Pence Bond is the author of “Where You Go: Life Lessons from My Father,” and the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence. She regularly speaks on the topic of abortion in the culture, and currently attends Harvard Divinity School, where she is a candidate for a masters in Theological Studies.


4. The U.S. Admits Too Few Refugees, By Reid Ribble, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2020, Pg. A15, Opinion

While President Trump has rightly critiqued the autocratic tendencies of socialism, on his administration’s watch the U.S. has increasingly turned away victims of communism and religious persecution. In 2016, before Mr. Trump took office, slightly under 85,000 refugees were admitted to America. Since then, the administration has systematically slashed the ceiling for refugee arrivals, resulting in a historically low cap of 18,000 for this fiscal year. Only about 8,602 have been permitted entrance so far—on track for a decline of almost 90% from 2016.

A new report from Open Doors USA—an organization that supports persecuted Christians abroad—and World Relief documents how abruptly the door has been closed: From the 50 countries where Christians face the most severe oppression, the U.S. resettled about 18,500 Christian refugees in 2015. Midway through 2020, the U.S. had resettled fewer than 950.

Resettlement of other persecuted religious groups—Muslims from Myanmar, Jews from Iran, Yazidis from Iraq—has plummeted at similarly stark rates.

Rather than banning all immigrants from “jihadist regions,” which has included persecuted Christians and other religious minorities, the U.S. should simply have banned jihadist terrorists—which has long been U.S. policy.

Mr. Ribble, a Republican, represented Wisconsin’s Eighth Congressional District, 2011-17.


5. Priest baptism story offers memo for reformers: Look before you leap, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 25, 2020, Opinion

Robert K. Merton, a famous American sociologist, was, by all accounts, a smart guy. Among other things, he popularized the expression “law of unintended consequences” to refer to situations when a person does something for one reason, but he or she finds that it produces all sorts of other unexpected results.

Right now, Father Matthew Hood of the Archdiocese of Detroit is living proof of Merton’s dictum.

As is well documented, Hood saw a note from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released August 6 stating that baptisms performed using the formula “we baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” are invalid, and that anyone baptized using “we” instead of “I” needs to be baptized again.

What followed for Hood has been a whirlwind. He was baptized, confirmed and received the Eucharist on August 9, then ordained a transitional deacon on August 15 and a priest on August 17. In other words, for him, life is more or less back to normal.

It’s not quite the same for all those who received the sacraments from Hood over the last three years, while he’s been serving as an associate pastor at St. Lawrence Parish in Utica, Michigan, and before that at Divine Child in Dearborn.

How is this situation an illustration of the law of unintended consequences?

Well, although Springer himself hasn’t spoken out since the news broke, it’s reasonable to assume that he used the “we” formula with good intentions. In its statement on the case, the archdiocese said that Springer, who’s now retired and no longer in active ministry, was told to stop using “we” in 1999 and abided by the decision.

In general, people who want to substitute “we” for “I” in the baptism rite generally do so because they’re concerned about clericalism, wanting to emphasize the role of the community, especially the family, in what it means to incorporate an infant into the Church.

Yet in this case, Springer almost literally destroyed the village in order to save it.

In other words, the moral of the story is look before you leap. An old idea, perhaps, but one that never really goes out of fashion.


6. Evidence shows Mass is safe when guidelines are followed, doctors say, By Catholic News Agency, August 25, 2020, 2:52 AM

Evidence suggests that church services following public health guidelines do not present a greater risk of spreading the novel coronavirus than other similar activities, doctors said last week.

Washing hands, social distancing, and mask requirements have helped prevent the spread of COVID-19, even in cases when contagious, pre-symptomatic parishioners took part in church events, three members of the Thomistic Institute Working Group on Infectious Disease Protocols for Sacraments & Pastoral Care concluded.

Doctors Thomas McGovern, Deacon Timothy Flanigan, and Paul Cieslak authored an article for Real Clear Science on Mass attendance and COVID-19 Aug. 19.


7. German bishops to accept Vatican offer of ‘clarifying discussion’ on parish instruction, By Catholic News Agency, August 24, 2020, 6:01 PM

The German Bishops’ Conference has said it will accept the Vatican’s invitation to discuss the new instruction on parishes at a meeting in Rome, suggesting that it will be accompanied by laymen representing the “Synodal Process” under way in Germany.

At the conclusion of their meeting in the Bavarian town of Würzburg Aug. 24, the permanent council, comprising the diocesan bishops of the 27 Catholic dioceses in Germany, announced the decision that Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg would “accept the offer of conversation made by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Beniamino Stella”.


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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