1. Report: Retired Pope Benedict XVI ill after visit to Germany, By Associated Press, August 3, 2020, 4:56 PM

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has fallen ill after his return from a trip to his native Bavaria to visit his brother, who died a month ago, a German newspaper reported Monday.

The daily Passauer Neue Presse quoted Peter Seewald, a biographer of the retired pontiff, as saying that the 93-year-old has been suffering from a facial infection since his return to Rome.


2. Black preborn lives matter, too, In the United States, more Black American lives are lost to abortion than all other causes of death, By James L. Sherley, The Washington Times, August 3, 2020, Pg. B2, Opinion

Among the many shouts demanding freedom and equal protection for Black Americans, silence excludes the millions of targeted preborn Black children who also deserve justice and humility.

In the United States, more Black American lives are lost to abortion each year than the total number of all other causes of death. Black children account for a disproportionate percentage of the more than 60 million lives lost to legalized elective abortions as a result of Roe v. Wade.

In an upcoming report in the peerreviewed journal of Health Services Research & Managerial Epidemiology, my colleagues and I show how the racial disparity of abortion is the overwhelming cause of the destruction of Black lives in America. Abortion is the hushed killer of Black life that has silenced millions of George Floyds before they even took their first breath of air. Yet, in this remarkable moment of social reform history, the lives of Black preborn children have been forgotten.

In the present upheaval, Americans must recognize the urgency of protesting for the lives of our preborn children, too. We must, in particular, offer support to Black mothers who disproportionally lose their children to state-sponsored abortion. We will not become the moral nation that many cry we should be until we are consistent and fully critical in our stated moral cause. Black lives do matter, both the born and the preborn.

James L. Sherley, M.D., is an associate scholar of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. He is co-author of a new report, “Perceiv-ing and Addressing the Pervasive Racial Disparity in Abortion.”


3. Two protesters arrested while chalking ‘Black Pre-Born Lives Matter’ on sidewalk, By Emily Davies, The Washington Post, August 2, 2020, Pg. C3

Two protesters outside a Planned Parenthood facility were arrested and charged with defacing public or private property early Saturday, according to D.C. police and video footage.

Erica Caporaletti, a 22-year-old student at Towson University, and Warner DePriest, a 29-year-old D.C. resident, were writing “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” with chalk on the sidewalk when police arrested them.

The arrests happened just before 6 a.m., soon after a group of about two dozen people, led by the antiabortion advocacy group Students for Life of America, showed up to paint in the street of the 1200 block of Fourth Street NE as part of what they called a campaign to highlight the impact of abortion on Black communities.


4. Pope prays for Nicaragua after cathedral bombing, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, August 2, 2020

Two days after an explosive was thrown into the cathedral of the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, destroying an ancient crucifix, Pope Francis has said he laments the loss of priceless spiritual treasures and is praying for the country.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square during his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis said his thoughts went “to the people of Nicaragua, who are suffering because of the attack on the cathedral of Managua, which was severely damaged, almost destroyed,” including “highly venerated images of Christ, which for centuries have sustained the life of the faithful.”


5. Newman might have some advice for Francis on China, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 2, 2020, Opinion

It was St. John Henry Newman who introduced the term “well-poisoning” into the argot of logicians, as a special instance of the well-known ad hominem fallacy. The idea is that just because there’s reason to distrust the party advancing an argument doesn’t make the argument itself invalid.

One wonders whether, if Newman were around today, he might be warning Pope Francis and his Vatican team about the dangers of just that fallacy vis-à-vis China.

Of late, Crux and many other news outlets have reported that Francis is facing growing pressure to speak out on China’s varied human rights abuses, including its constrictions of religious freedom. In a recent interview with Crux, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback bluntly said the Vatican needs to realize China can’t be trusted.

Yet Francis’s seeming aversion to confrontation with China is well documented, ranging from a recent decision not to pronounce a chunk of text on Hong Kong in a draft of his Sunday Angelus address to not even publicly protesting revelations that state-backed Chinese hackers had penetrated the Vatican’s own computer systems.

This brings us back to Newman, because one suspects that Francis and his team may resist the critics’ advice on China because, frankly, they’ve got other reasons to be skeptical of who’s voicing that criticism.

In that regard, Brownback is a good case in point. He’s a devout Catholic well-known and respected in the Vatican, and he’s obviously virtuous because he’s from Kansas.

Yet Brownback is also a major Trump supporter, which isn’t exactly a position embraced by many in the pope’s inner circle. He’s also a staunchly pro-life conservative American Catholic, of precisely the sort criticized by a key papal advisor, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, in a 2017 essay in the semi-official Vatican journal Civiltà Cattolica.

Thus, two take-aways.

First, the fact that many of those urging Pope Francis to challenge China more aggressively may not have the highest stock in this papacy does not, ipso facto, make them wrong. The argument has to be addressed on its merits, independent of who’s pushing it.

Second, those who wish Francis to engage China more robustly might consider cleaning up their own wells a little bit, so the fear of poison doesn’t get in the way of their proposed cure.


6. After challenging California officials, Catholic home for trafficked girls set to open, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, August 2, 2020, 3:01 PM

Catholic charity that has prepared to open a home for underage victims of human trafficking has reached a resolution with California authorities after it was allegedly pressured to affirm LGBT sexuality, to inject sex hormones into any beneficiaries who identify as transgender, and to agree to drive minors to abortion clinics.

“We were able to meet the state regulations in a way that did not compromise our conscience as a Catholic agency,” Grace Williams, founder and executive director of Children of the Immaculate Heart, told CNA.


7. U.S. Sanctions China Paramilitary Organization Over Uighur Human Rights Concerns, By Ian Talley, The Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2020, Pg. A8

The Trump administration imposed sanctions on a Chinese organization and two current and former officials that U.S. officials say are linked to human-rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim population in northwestern China.

Earlier this month, representatives of China’s Uighur ethnic group said they filed hundreds of pages of evidence of human rights abuses to the International Criminal Court, including allegations that Chinese-run “political re-education” camps used torture and other methods to strip Uighurs of their religion and culture.


8. Pontifical academy defends coronavirus document that did not mention God, By Catholic News Agency, July 31, 2020, 6:53 PM

The Pontifical Academy for Life has defended its latest document on the coronavirus crisis following criticism that it did not mention God.

A spokesman said July 30 that the text, “Humana Communitas in the Age of the Pandemic: Untimely Meditations on Life’s Rebirth,” was addressed to “the widest possible audience.”

“We are interested in entering into human situations, reading them in the light of faith, and in a way that speaks to the widest possible audience, to believers and non-believers, to all men and women ‘of good will,’” wrote Fabrizio Mastrofini, who serves in the press office of the pontifical academy, which is led by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia.

The spokesman’s comments came in response to a stinging July 28 article in the La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, an Italian Catholic website founded in 2012.

The article, written by the philosopher Stefano Fontana, said that the document did not contain a single “explicit or implicit reference to God.”

Fontana concluded: “There is no doubt: it is a document that will please many people among the global elite. But it will displease — if they even read it and understand it — those who want the Pontifical Academy for Life to actually be the Pontifical Academy for Life.”


9. After AOC decries statue, Hawaiian Catholic says St Damien of Molokai ‘gave his life’ serving lepers, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, July 31, 2020, 1:28 PM

A Hawaiian Catholic catechist said that St. Damien of Molokai is a “hero” to the Hawaiian people, after a prominent congresswoman claimed the statue honoring him in the U.S. Capitol is part of colonialism and “patriarchy and white supremacist culture.”

 St. Damien “gave his life” serving the isolated leper colony at Kalaupapa peninsula on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, said Dallas Carter, a native Hawaiian and a catechist for the diocese of Honolulu, in an interview with CNA.

In an Instagram story on Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked why there were not more statues honoring women historical figures, at the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection. The collection includes statues honoring historical figures from all 50 states, which are chosen by the states and sent by them to Congress for display.

“Even when we select figures to tell the stories of colonized places, it is the colonizers and settlers whose stories are told – and virtually no one else,” Ocasio-Cortez posted, with a picture of Fr. Damien’s U.S. Capitol statue in the background.

In 1969, Hawaii chose to honor St. Damien alongside Kamehameha I in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol.


10. The Meaning of Father Damien, By Michael Warren Davis, Crisis Magazine, August 3, 2020, Opinion

In September of 1881, while King Kalākaua of Hawaii was away on his world tour, his regent (and sister) Princess Liliʻuokalani visited the leper colony of Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai. Its administrator was a Belgian missionary, a Catholic priest named Father Damien De Veuster.

Liliʻuokalani had probably never seen a leper before. That’s the point of a leper colony: it shields the healthy from the suffering of the afflicted. Here on Molokai, however, the Princess was surrounded by six hundred of them. Lepers, you know, are like walking corpses. Their flesh falls off by the handful until they fall down dead.

Princess Liliʻuokalani was, quite literally, speechless. A royal minister in her entourage had to address the patients on her behalf. As soon as she returned to the capital of Honolulu, though, she named Father Damien to the Royal Order of Kalakaua. After succeeding her brother to the throne, she also became a champion of lepers in her own right, returning to Kalaupapa once more in 1884. Five years later, Father Damien himself succumbed to leprosy and died.

What could possess a healthy young priest to travel 12,000 miles from home to serve men and women suffering from such a hideous disease? Writing to his brother some years later, he explained: “I make myself a leper with the lepers to gain all to Jesus Christ. That is why, in preaching, I say ‘we lepers,’ not, ‘my brethren.’ ”

And I don’t know if Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has ever kissed a leper, or washed a leper’s wounds, or even met a leper before. Maybe she has. But, this past Friday, she posted a video to her Instagram criticizing the presence of Father Damien’s statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

“This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like!” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez declared. “It’s not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture and how it impacts the present day.”

The Congresswoman is wrong, of course, but that hardly matters. Many people have been wrong before. What’s so horrible about Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her comrades is that their world seems so dead. They prattle endlessly about “freedom,” and yet they’re chained to this dreary view of the world as a long, slow march of oppression and degradation.

I say we should pity them, and I mean it. I’m certainly no icon of charity, but I can’t imagine what it must be like to look upon the kindly face of Father Damien, horribly disfigured by sufferings borne in the service of his fellow man, and see nothing but “white supremacism.”


11. ‘Don’t leave them behind’: Bishops ask Black Caucus to remember Catholic schools, By Catholic News Agency, July 31, 2020, 1:00 PM

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is appealing to the Congressional Black Caucus to support families who opt to send their children to non-public schools, including Catholic schools. The letter comes as an estimated 500 Catholic schools are at risk of closing.

The letter was addressed to Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), the chairman of the Congressional Black Congress, and was signed by Bishop Michael Barber, SJ of Oakland, Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux, and Bishop Joseph Perry, an auxiliary bishop of Chicago.

Barber is the chairman of the USCCB’s committee on Catholic education; Fabre leads the USCCB’s  ad hoc committee against racism; and Perry is the head of the subcommittee on African American Affairs. 


12. Vatican finances: London deal players had prior history, By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, July 31, 2020, 12:30 PM

New details have emerged about the links between the two Italian businessmen at the center of the Vatican financial scandal.

In the months before Gianluigi Torzi was asked by the Holy See to act as middle man for the final purchase of the London property at 60 Sloane Ave. from Raffaele Mincione, a company owned by Mincione secured a multi-million-euro loan from a company controlled by Torzi.


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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