1. School-Opening Extortion, By The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2020, Pg. A14, Editorial

For most Americans the coronavirus is a scourge. But teachers unions seem to think it’s also an opportunity—to squeeze more money from taxpayers and put their private and public charter school competition out of business. That’s the only way to read the extraordinary effort by national and local union leaders to keep their members from returning to the classroom.

The proper political response should be to give taxpayer dollars to parents to decide where and how to educate their children. If parents want to use the money for private schools that are open, or for new forms of home instruction, they should have that right. No political force should have veto power over the education of America’s children.


2. U.S. House appropriations measure blocks conscience protection rule, By Catholic News Service, August 4, 2020

An omnibus appropriations bill approved by the House July 31 to fund a dozen federal departments and agencies blocks a conscience protection rule for health care providers who do not want to participate in abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide on religious or moral grounds.

“These poison pill provisions in H.R. 7617 seek to undermine the pro-life policies of the Trump administration,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “Sadly, those who would suffer from the pro-abortion provisions would be women and their unborn children.”

With a 217-197 vote, the House passed the Defense, Commerce, Justice, Science, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act of 2021.

H.R. 7617 blocks implementation and enforcement of a rule titled “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care,” issued by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. The rule was published in the Federal Register May 21, 2019.

It says medical workers or institutions do not have to provide, participate in or pay for procedures they object to on moral or religious grounds, such as abortion and sterilization. It was to have taken effect July 22, 2019, but enforcement was postponed because of court challenges.


3. Medjugorje message expresses Pope Francis’s ‘Marian Classic’, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 4, 2020, Opinion

More than a decade ago, I coined the phrase “Marian cool” to characterize Pope Benedict XVI’s attitude toward Mary. While the German pontiff developed a stronger attachment to Mary later in life than he had as a young theologian, when he feared Marian devotion was a distraction from the centrality of Christ, he’s remained distinctly cool to speculation about miracles, apparitions and revelations, always insisting they’re not the heart of the matter.

Rather than “cool,” then, maybe the best term for Francis’ style of devotion is “Marian Classic,” meaning a deep and abiding Marian faith that tends towards the classic expressions of that devotion … rather than newer-fangled phenomena which he may feel haven’t stood the test of time.

All of which brings us to a message Pope Francis issued Sunday to young people gathered at Medjugorje, the celebrated and also controversial site of reported Marian apparitions still officially under review by the Vatican.

Nowhere in the brief, 750-word message did Francis refer to any of the alleged supernatural phenomena associated with Medjugorje, nor did he cite any of the messages that devotees believe Mary has delivered.

Francis emphasized that he doesn’t dismiss the positive impact of Medjugorje on many of those who experience it.

“There are people who go there and convert, people that find God whose lives change,” he said. “This isn’t due to a magic wand, [but] this is a spiritual and pastoral fact that can’t be denied.”

That, perhaps, is the heart of “Marian Classic”: A passionate devotion to the Madonna, with a preference for time-honored expressions of that devotion, skepticism about thaumaturgical touches, and concern more for changed lives than spectacular revelations.


4. New York Extends Window for Abuse Lawsuits Due to Coronavirus, By Catholic News Agency, August 4, 2020

New York on Monday extended the window in the statute of limitations for people sexually abused as children to file lawsuits against the perpetrators.

On August 3, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, signed legislation extending the one-year window for Child Victims Act lawsuits until August 14, 2021. The window, which began in August of 2019, allowed for lawsuits to be filed over allegations of sex abuse long after the statute of limitations had expired.

Previously, survivors of sex abuse in the state had until the age of 23 to file criminal charges or a civil claim. Under the Child Victims Act, survivors can now file charges until age 28, or file a civil claim if they are younger than age 55.

The law also created a one-year “lookback” window for new lawsuits where the statute of limitations had already expired.

In May, Gov. Cuomo ordered that the deadline for lawsuits be extended by five months until Jan. 14, 2021, due to coronavirus-related delays in the court system. Non-essential court filings in the state had been halted in March due to the onset of the pandemic.

Now the legislation— S7082/A9036—will extend the deadline for lawsuits until August 14, 2021.


5. Pope Francis appoints Spanish layman as secretary general of Vatican’s economy office, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, August 4, 2020, 5:28 AM

Pope Francis Tuesday appointed a Spanish layman with a long career in finance economics to the number two position in the Secretariat for the Economy.

Maximino Caballero Ledo, 60, is from Merida, Spain, but has lived in the United States since 2007, where he is vice president of international finance at Baxter Healthcare, Inc., a medical products company.

As secretary general, Caballero joins prefect Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero, SJ, who has led the Vatican’s economy office since January. 


6. Church leaders praise John Hume for dedication to cause of peace in N. Ireland, By Charles Collins, Crux, August 4, 2020

John Hume was “a person of vision, who lifts us up to see and think beyond the confines of our own, much narrower, perspectives,” according to the Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh.

Hume, who died Aug. 3 at the age of 83, was principal architect of Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday peace agreement.

The Northern Ireland politician was the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the moderate voice for the Catholic minority in the North. He and the Protestant leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, David Trimble, shared the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end the Troubles, which had led to the deaths of over 3,500 people.


7. Bishops from Japan, U.S. call Catholics to work for nuclear disarmament, By Dennis Sadowski, Crux, August 4, 2020

Speaking during a 30-minute webinar Aug. 3, Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, and Archbishop Joseph Mitsuaki Takami of Nagasaki, Japan, reiterated long-standing calls by the bishops’ conferences of both countries that the world must reverse the path toward a renewed arms race because of the threat it poses to God’s creation.

“As long as the idea that weapons are necessary for peacemaking persists, it will be difficult to even reduce the number of nuclear weapons, let alone to abolish nuclear weapons. It would be ideal if the U.S. and Japan could truly reconcile with each other and work together for the abolition of nuclear weapons,” Takami said.


8. Vatican calls for arson investigation at Nicaragua cathedral, By Associated Press, August 3, 2020, 2:27 PM

An apparent arson attack on Managua’s cathedral has drawn the attention of Pope Francis and the Vatican after Nicaragua’s vice president initially dismissed it as an accidental fire.

The Vatican’s top diplomatic envoy in Nicaragua said Monday that he had requested the Nicaraguan government ensure a “serious, careful and transparent investigation” into the attack on the capital’s cathedral.

Later Monday, the National Police announced that they had finished their investigation and concluded the fire was accidental and not the result of a criminal attack.

However, the archdiocese said an unidentified person had tossed a “bomb” inside the chapel.


9. Vatican confirms Pope Benedict is ill, but says condition ‘not serious’, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, August 3, 2020

After rumors in the German press Monday suggesting Benedict XVI was suffering from a facial infection, the Vatican has confirmed the retired pontiff is sick but insisted his condition is normal for someone his age.


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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