1. Appeals court rules against Nevada cap on church attendance, By Scott Sonner, Associated Press, December 16, 2020
A U.S. appeals court agreed Tuesday with two Nevada churches that have argued for months that the state’s COVID-19 restrictions are unconstitutional because they place harsher attendance limits on religious gatherings than casinos and other secular businesses.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed earlier federal court rulings that upheld Nevada’s hard cap on the size of indoor worship services. It instructed the district judges to preliminarily enjoin Nevada from imposing attendance limits for churches stricter than those for other gatherings or businesses.
2. Naming Xavier Becerra to head Department of Health and Human Services a stick in the eye, By Grazie Pozo Christie, The Washington Times, December 16, 2020, Pg. B3, Opinion
After four years of savage opposition to the Trump administration — opposition that too often morphed into the vilification of conservative Americans — Democrats are now talking “Can’t We All Get Along” unity.
And yet, President-elect Joe Biden’s naming of Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services is less of an olive branch than a sharp stick in the eye.  
This is true even for Latinos. Yes, we’re glad to see a Hispanic offered a top post, but we would prefer someone who shares our values and concerns. Never mind someone who has the basic health care qualifications for the top HHS job.  
Just what is so wrong with Mr. Becerra? Well, his radical position on abortion, for starters. 
Unlike most Americans who support common sense limits on abortion and try to balance the mother’s freedom of choice with her child’s right to live, Mr. Becerra is aggressively pro-abortion. He’s been that way since the start of his political career. From voting against requiring parental notification when a minor girl is trafficked across state lines to procure an abortion to voting in favor of both gruesome late-term partial birth abortion and discriminatory sex-selective abortions, he has come through 100 percent for the abortion lobby. His rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood? A-plus. 

His abject devotion to Planned Parenthood is also a problem. Latinos know only too well that this predatory corporation, which collects over half a billion dollars a year in federal and state monies, locates most of its facilities in minority neighborhoods, and disproportionately eliminates black and brown children.

Then there’s Xavier Becerra’s egregious record as California attorney general. He persecuted an order of nuns — the Little Sisters of the Poor — women who devote their lives, in poverty, to the care of our needy elderly who have no one else to take them in.

In another shameful episode, Mr. Becerra sought to force pro-life pregnancy resource centers to advertise, and refer for, abortions.

 Can anyone doubt that blunderbuss Becerra would gut the protections put in place by the Trump administration for health care workers’ conscience rights? Can anyone doubt that he would be loath to cross the abortion lobby no matter how dangerous or corrupt Big Abortion’s behavior may be?  
Someone so zealous on the subject of abortion — someone so willing to trample the free speech, religious liberty, and conscience rights of those who disagree with him on this issue — simply cannot be trusted to protect the rights of ordinary Americans, Latinos and non-Latinos alike. 
Grazie Pozo Christie, M.D. is a policy adviser for The Catholic Association.
3. Court won’t rehear case over Arkansas abortion restrictions, By Associated Press, December 15, 2020, 7:59 PM
A federal appeals court on Tuesday said it won’t reconsider its decision to lift a judge’s ruling that has blocked four Arkansas abortion restrictions from taking effect, including a ban on a common second trimester procedure.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it won’t rehear its August decision vacating the 2017 preliminary injunction issued against the restrictions. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights had challenged the measures, suing on behalf of Dr. Frederick Hopkins, a Little Rock abortion provider.
4. Justices asked again to reinstate rule for abortion pill, By Mark Sherman, Associated Press, December 15, 2020, 5:14 PM
The Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court a second time to reinstate a rule that women must pick up an abortion pill in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The request to the high court Tuesday comes just over a month before President Donald Trump leaves office. The rule has been on hold since July because of the pandemic and the new administration could suspend it during the public health emergency after Joe Biden takes office in January.
5. Justices order review of Colorado, New Jersey worship limits, By Associated Press, December 15, 2020, 1:04 PM
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered lower federal courts in Colorado and New Jersey to reexamine state restrictions on indoor religious services to combat the coronavirus in light of the justices’ recent ruling in favor of churches and synagogues in New York.
The high court’s unsigned decisions did not rule that limits imposed by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy were improper. But they did throw out federal district court rulings that rejected challenges to the limits.
The High Plains Harvest Church in the rural town of Ault in northern Colorado sued Polis, while a Catholic priest and a rabbi challenged the restrictions in New Jersey.
6. Federal judge again rules against allowing Tennessee abortion waiting period, By Catholic News Agency, December 15, 2020, 3:25 PM
A federal judge on Monday ruled against Tennessee for a second time this year, refusing to reinstate a 48-hour waiting period for abortions while the state appeals to a higher court.
In October, Judge Bernard Friedman ruled unconstitutional Tennessee’s mandatory 48-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion, which had been in effect since 2015.
Though waiting periods have been struck down before in state courts, this case marks the first time a federal court has struck down an abortion waiting period.
7. Pope Francis to agricultural sector: Seek solidarity, not just profit, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, December 15, 2020, 7:00 AM
Those who work in agriculture should consider the relationship between Creator, man, and nature, striving to operate on a paradigm of solidarity, not profit alone, Pope Francis said Tuesday.
Pope Francis made the comment in a message to Coldiretti, an Italian national confederation of cultivators, Dec. 15, during its end-of-year assembly.
Coldiretti is the largest association representing and assisting Italian agriculture. Its annual meeting was held online this year due to the ongoing health emergency.
The meeting is an event that “challenges every person of good will to rethink, even more today, the relationship between man, nature and the Creator as a factor of profound balance and communion,” the pope said, “in the search not for the logic of profit, but of service, not of the exploitation of resources, but of care and attention for nature as a welcoming home for all.”
8. Religious schools must accept ‘gender identity’, LGBT activists tell Biden, By Catholic News Agency, December 15, 2020, 10:30 AM
A leading LGBT activist group is calling for the Biden administration to create accreditation regulations of religious schools that would enforce acceptance of so-called transgender rights.
The pro-LGBT Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued its list of policy priorities for the incoming Biden administration, The Daily Signal reported on Monday
Among its priorities, the group’s Blueprint for Positive Change 2020 calls for the Education Department to update its regulations on school accreditation— including requiring religious schools to accommodate students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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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