1. Beijing’s Collision With Christians, As the faith spreads, the Communist Party fears a threat to its political control, By Walter Russell Mead, The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2020, Pg. A15, Opinion
With the European Parliament threatening to block an investment deal with China over persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang, the shock waves released by Beijing’s Hong Kong crackdown still reverberating, and the debate over the next U.S. administration’s China policy heating up, this would seem like a bad time for Beijing to kick off another major international dustup over human rights.
But that logic holds little appeal for Chinese policy makers today; crushing domestic dissent takes priority over burnishing the country’s image. This is bad news for China’s Christians, who face growing hostility from a ruling party that until a few years ago was willing to turn a blind eye to the proliferation of unofficial “house churches” across the country.

China’s rulers saw how the strong example of Pope John Paul II contributed to the collapse of communism in Poland, and they were horrified at the part South Korean Christians played in that country’s transition to democracy. Local Christians’ prominent role in the Hong Kong democracy movement provided yet another argument for those counseling a stern crackdown. Something very ugly may be in the works.
2. Praying apart isn’t the same as praying together. That’s why we sued D.C., By Cardinal Wilton Gregory, The Washington Post, December 22, 2020, Pg. A25, Opinion
When the pandemic arrived in early spring, we joined the efforts to slow the spread of this terrible virus. While the stay-at-home orders were in place, we suspended public Mass and switched to virtual services. Once these orders were lifted, we gradually returned to in-person Mass, with many new precautions to keep people safe as they pray and worship: requiring that masks be worn at all times, limiting seating to every other pew, maintaining six feet between worshippers, creating new traffic patterns to maintain social distancing, additional sanitizing and the like.
We appreciate that our local officials have had to make difficult decisions in the face of unprecedented challenges.

But praying apart is not the same as praying together. We recently brought legal action to protect the free exercise of religion in the nation’s capital. This was a last resort, as we could no longer bear the burden of turning away the faithful from Mass due to D.C.’s 50-person cap on religious services when big-box stores, retailers, and even liquor stores and many other venues continued to operate without similar limits. The right of the faithful to assemble for religious services is one of our most cherished constitutional legacies, and we maintain it should be treated as an “essential” activity — just as D.C. regards shopping and so many other activities as essential. We simply ask that religious worship be treated in the same way so that we may continue to worship together and serve those in need.
Cardinal Wilton Gregory is the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington
3. Pro-lifers ask Senate to reject Becerra, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, December 22, 2020, Pg. A2
A coalition of pro-life advocates Monday urged the Senate to reject Xavier Becerra’s nomination to head the Health and Human Services Department, citing his absence of health care experience and his “disregard for people of faith.”

The letter spearheaded by Students for Life Action cited Mr. Becerra’s hostility to religious and conscience exemptions from abortion and birth control requirements, including his ongoing legal battle with the Little Sisters of the Poor over the state’s contraception mandate.
Signers include pro-life investigator David Daleiden, against whom Mr. Becerra led an unprecedented criminal prosecution over his undercover probe into sales of fetal tissue from abortion
4. Despite pandemic’s impact on coffers, pope says Vatican jobs won’t be cut, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, December 21, 2020
Vatican finances have taken a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns, Pope Francis said, but he promised Vatican employees none of them would lose their jobs.
Meeting a representative group of employees Dec. 21 to exchange Christmas greetings and offer them thoughts for reflection, the pope began by recognizing the health and economic difficulties the COVID-19 pandemic had caused for so many people.

The principle remains: “No one should be laid off, no one should suffer the awful economic effect of this pandemic,” he said to applause. “But together we must work harder to help each other solve this problem, which is not easy.”

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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