1. Results of apostolic visitation of Germany’s Cologne archdiocese sent to Vatican, By Catholic News Agency, August 9, 2021, 4:00 AM
The results of an apostolic visitation of Germany’s troubled Cologne archdiocese have been sent to the Vatican, local media reported on Monday.
Pope Francis ordered the apostolic visitation amid fierce criticism of the archdiocese’s handling of abuse cases.

The pope is now expected to consider the report, whose conclusions are currently unknown.
2. Italian postal workers intercept suspicious letter to pope, By Associated Press, August 9, 2021, 5:41 AM
Law enforcement in Milan is investigating the source of an envelope containing three bullets addressed to the pope, Italian paramilitary police said Monday.

It had been sent from France.
The envelope was addressed by hand in pen to: “The Pope, Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, Rome,” and contained three bullets presumed to be for a pistol and a message referring to financial operations at the Vatican.
3. Some praise, some doubts as Facebook rolls out a prayer tool, By Holly Meyer and David Crary, Associated Press, August 8, 2021, 11:06 AM
Facebook already asks for your thoughts. Now it wants your prayers.
The social media giant has rolled out a new prayer request feature, a tool embraced by some religious leaders as a cutting-edge way to engage the faithful online. Others are eyeing it warily as they weigh its usefulness against the privacy and security concerns they have with Facebook.
4. Some European bishops give cautious backing to vaccination requirement, By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service, August 8, 2021
With COVID-19 still taking a toll across Europe, Catholic bishops are backing vaccination campaigns, while also counseling against coercion.
In Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has warned of tougher restrictions on those refusing jabs, the president of the bishops’ conference said in late July that vaccination should be a personal choice, but he urged Catholics to get vaccinated to ensure that freedoms would not be withdrawn again if there were a new spike after the summer.

In neighboring France, beginning Aug. 9, people wanting to participate in leisure activities or use public transportation will need proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recent recovery. Catholic bishops have backed compulsory vaccination for certain groups, despite widespread protests.

Several European bishops have reprimanded clergy for questioning vaccination policies.
5. At Vatican trial, will the real Alberto Perlasca finally stand up?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 8, 2021, Opinion
Sooner or later, such a script will be written about the $400 million London property scam at the heart of the Vatican’s blockbuster trial, featuring a sitting cardinal and a cast of shady characters straight out of Hollywood central casting. … When it is, the Henry Hill of the story has to be Italian Monsignor Alberto Perlasca, the conspirator-turned-informant who faces no charges but nonetheless is at the heart of the story.

In this story, Perlasca is basically Henry Hill of “Goodfellas” to the hilt, if you’ll pardon the expression, with the lone caveat that he didn’t wait to be busted to turn state’s evidence. During the trial’s opening hearing on July 27, prosecutors stressed that Perlasca had not become an informant under duress, because he volunteered before he was ever formally interrogated as a suspect. That’s a distinction without a difference, however, because Perlasca obviously saw the handwriting on the wall and got ahead of the game.

Then last Friday came another plot twist in this classic Roman potboiler: A sensational report in the Italian paper La Repubblica claiming to divulge the contents of a secret dossier allegedly deliver by Venezuelan Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Becciu’s successor as the pope’s chief of staff and his hand-picked instrument of reform in the Secretariat of State, to prosecutors in the London case.

In the dossier, Peña Parra supposedly describes a careful strategy within the Secretariat of State to pressure superiors, such as himself, into making hasty decisions that serve the interests of an old guard cabal and their allies in Italian finance. He also supposedly describes Perlasca as the lynchpin of that strategy.

So, one towering dilemma for the judges at the trial boils down to this: What is one to make of Monsignor Alberto Perlasca?
Is he, as Gerevini and Massaro seem at times to suggest, something of a naïf easily manipulated by more clever actors in the drama? Is he, as Perlasca himself wants us to believe, a victim of corrupt advisers and a predatory boss? Or was he, as the alleged Peña Parra dossier claims, a key conspirator in a pattern of cover-up, delay and misdirection – suggesting, perhaps, that he’s only cooperating now to save his own skin?
6. Vatican announces launch of Catholic ‘global compact’ on the family, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, August 6, 2021, 8:10 AM
The Vatican is launching a research project on the family to be carried out by Catholic universities around the world.
The results of the project, called the Catholic Global Compact on the Family, will be presented at an event held before the World Meeting of Families in Rome in June 2022.
The global compact was launched to create “a shared program of actions for promoting the family throughout the world in light of the social doctrine of the Church,” an Aug. 6 press release said.
7. Supreme Court shown 4D ultrasound images, urged to uphold Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, By Ryan Foley, The Christian Post, August 5, 2021
A nonprofit organization has submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court featuring ultrasound imagery over time to demonstrate how scientific advancements justify overturning the long-standing precedent in American abortion jurisprudence.
As the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to hear a major challenge to Roe v. Wade, a lawyer writing on behalf of the Catholic Association Foundation and three medical doctors filed the brief in support of the state of Mississippi in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last month.

The Catholic Association Foundation was “granted special permission from the Supreme Court” to include ultrasound imagery as part of its amicus brief, according to information obtained by The Christian Post.

“Roe and Casey’s viability standard is incomplete and outdated according to current science,” the brief declared.

The brief concluded that “the Court should relinquish its role as nationwide abortion regulator and return the job to the States and elected officials where it belongs.” The court is expected to hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in its upcoming October term. A decision is expected by next spring.

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!

“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.