1. Archbishop Gomez Reveals the Pseudo-Religions of Our Time, By Paul Kengor, Crisis Magazine, December 15, 2021, Opinion In this toxic era of bitter cultural division, few things divide people as bitterly as Critical Race Theory (CRT), which isn’t a surprise, given that CRT divides. It divides people into groups pitted against one another, into categories of oppressed vs. oppressor. Your group defines you. It’s an ideology that stereotypes and separates based on race—ironically, in the name of opposing racism. In that regard, it smacks of so many bad ideas on the political Left, such as the “tolerance” movement and its rigid intolerance toward those who dare disagree, or the “diversity” movement and its lack of diversity toward those of different views. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), warned in two recent excellent statements that CRT can morph into something even more dangerous. Gomez warned about “social justice movements” that have become “pseudo-religions.” He instead urged the “need to proclaim Jesus Christ boldly.” With the exception of a great piece posted at National Catholic Register by Lauretta Brown, which insightfully flagged and paired both statements, Gomez’s remarks have not gotten the attention they deserve. Gomez gave two complementary statements. The first was a November 4 virtual address to the Congress of Catholics and Public Life in Madrid. It deserves to be read in its entirety.  Equally of note, Gomez picked up on these themes in his address to fellow bishops on November 16, kicking off the USCCB’s fall assembly. On that occasion, he invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and others on the “American creed,” which Gomez rightly defined as “the belief expressed in our founding documents, that all men and women are created equal and endowed with sacred dignity, a transcendent destiny.” https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/archbishop-gomez-reveals-the-pseudo-religions-of-our-time?___________________________________________________________ 2. Pope Francis creates new foundation promoting principles of ‘Fratelli tutti’, By Catholic News Agency, December 15, 2021, 5:20 AM Pope Francis has approved the creation of a new foundation promoting spirituality, art, formation, and dialogue in the environs of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican announced on Wednesday. The Holy See press office said on Dec. 15 that the pope had issued a decree known as a chirograph establishing the Fratelli tutti Foundation, named after his 2020 encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/249889/pope-francis-creates-new-foundation-promoting-principles-of-fratelli-tutti-around-st-peter-s-basilica___________________________________________________________ 3. About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Are Now Religiously Unaffiliated, Self-identified Christians make up 63% of U.S. population in 2021, down from 75% a decade ago, By Gregory A. Smith, Pew Research Center, December 14, 2021 Christians continue to make up a majority of the U.S. populace, but their share of the adult population is 12 points lower in 2021 than it was in 2011. In addition, the share of U.S. adults who say they pray on a daily basis has been trending downward, as has the share who say religion is “very important” in their lives.  The recent declines within Christianity are concentrated among Protestants. Today, 40% of U.S. adults are Protestants, a group that is broadly defined to include nondenominational Christians and people who describe themselves as “just Christian” along with Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and members of many other denominational families. The Protestant share of the population is down 4 percentage points over the last five years and has dropped 10 points in 10 years. By comparison, the Catholic share of the population, which had ticked downward between 2007 and 2014, has held relatively steady in recent years. As of 2021, 21% of U.S. adults describe themselves as Catholic, identical to the Catholic share of the population in 2014.  Regular religious attendance is much less common among U.S. Catholics (35% of whom say they attend monthly or more often) and White Protestants who are not born-again/evangelical (28%). And frequent religious attendance is almost unheard of among religious “nones,” 97% of whom say they attend a few times a year or less. https://www.pewforum.org/2021/12/14/about-three-in-ten-u-s-adults-are-now-religiously-unaffiliated/___________________________________________________________ 4. What’s your religion? In US, a common reply now is “None”, By Luis Andres Henao, Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu And David Crary, Associated Press, December 14, 2021 According to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, this group — commonly known as the “nones” — now constitutes 29% of American adults. That’s up from 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.  Even in their personal philosophies, America’s nones vary widely, according to a recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. For example, 30% say they feel some connection to God or a higher power, and 19% say religion has some importance to them even though they have no religious affiliation. About 12% describe themselves as religious and spiritual and 28% as spiritual but not religious. More than half describe themselves as neither.  The growth of the nones in the U.S. has come largely at the expense of the Protestant population in the U.S., according to the new Pew survey. It said 40% of U.S. adults are Protestants now, down from 50% a decade ago. https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-religion-0722d2f1484d38163d75b32b6f095ddf___________________________________________________________ 5. Wisconsin attorney general won’t enforce any abortion ban, By Scott Bauer, Associated Press, December 14, 2021, 5:23 PM Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said in an interview Tuesday that he would not investigate or prosecute anyone for having an abortion should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and a currently unenforceable state ban takes effect. The comments to The Associated Press are Kaul’s strongest to date about how he would react to the Supreme Court undoing the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/wisconsin-attorney-general-wont-enforce-any-abortion-ban/2021/12/14/7ed28aa2-5d2c-11ec-b1ef-cb78be717f0e_story.html___________________________________________________________ 6. Justices asked to let Arizona enforce ban on some abortions, By Associated Press, December 14, 2021, 3:38 PM Arizona asked the Supreme Court Tuesday to allow enforcement of a ban on abortions performed solely because of Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities. The request from the state’s Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, comes as the high court is weighing rolling back abortion rights nationwide and in the immediate aftermath of a decision keeping in place Texas’ ban on abortion after about six weeks, while allowing some challenges to the law to continue. A federal judge blocked the provision of Arizona law enacted earlier this year that would have let prosecutors bring felony charges against a doctor who knowingly terminates a pregnancy solely because of a genetic abnormality. A federal appeals court also refused to allow its enforcement. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/justices-asked-to-let-arizona-enforce-ban-on-some-abortions/2021/12/14/d7e53a18-5d1d-11ec-b1ef-cb78be717f0e_story.html___________________________________________________________ 7. Supreme Court’s NY Decision Is a Blow for Religious Freedom, The decision not to intervene and immediately block the New York COVID-vaccine mandate is a disappointing move., By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, December 14, 2021, Opinion This past Monday afternoon the Supreme Court, for the second time in the last two months, declined to halt a state COVID-vaccine mandate for health-care workers with religious objections. The Court’s decision not to intervene and immediately block the New York state mandate is a disappointing move, given the Court’s generally “pro-religious liberty” track record in reviewing pandemic-related restrictions.  A large number of Americans have taken the COVID-19 vaccine. I am among them. And many of us consider ourselves to be religious. Our Constitution’s protection for the religious beliefs of Americans is not limited to those that are shared by a majority of believers but simply for those with sincerely held beliefs. So while Monday’s order was disappointing, we must still hope, as Justice Gorsuch wrote in his dissent from Monday’s order, that the Court’s ruling “will not be the final chapter in this grim story.” Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is a legal analyst for EWTN News. https://www.ncregister.com/commentaries/supreme-court-s-ny-decision-is-a-blow-for-religious-freedom___________________________________________________________ 8. Nuns and Catholic hospitals head to court over HHS transgender mandate, By Kaelan Deese, Washington Examiner, December 13, 2021, 3:52 PM The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear arguments Wednesday over whether a Health and Human Services mandate can force religious-based hospitals to perform sex-reassignment procedures that could cause “harm” to patients, plaintiffs say.  “Those fighting the mandate are Catholic doctors, hospitals, and clinics who joyfully serve all patients regardless of sex or gender identity,” according to a statement from Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which served as legal counsel for the plaintiffs.  “The decision to undergo gender reassignment therapy is a difficult and deeply personal one, and it is especially complicated and sensitive in the case of children,” Becket wrote in a press release. “It is a healthcare decision that should be left between a family and their doctor, and not decided by politicians and government bureaucrats. “ https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/nuns-and-catholic-hospitals-head-to-court-over-hhs-transgender-mandate___________________________________________________________

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.