1. Pope formally strips Vatican secretariat of state of assets, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 28, 2020, 6:31 AM
Pope Francis has formally stripped the Vatican secretariat of state of its financial assets and real estate holdings following its bungled management of hundreds of millions of euros in donations and investments that are now the subject of a corruption investigation.
Francis signed a new law over the weekend ordering the secretariat of state to complete the transfer of all its holdings to another Vatican office by Feb. 4. The law also calls for all donations to the pope — the Peter’s Pence collections from the faithful as well as other donations that had been managed by the secretariat of state — to be held and managed by the Vatican’s treasury office as separate funds that are accounted for in the Holy See’s consolidated budget.
The changes are a response to a spiraling Vatican criminal investigation into years-long allegations of mismanagement of donations and investments by the Vatican’s secretariat of state which has resulted in losses of tens of millions of euros at a time of financial crisis for the Holy See.
2. Pope proclaims year of families, offers advice to keep peace, By Associated Press, December 28, 2020
Pope Francis on Sunday proclaimed an upcoming year dedicated to the family as he doubled down on one of his papal priorities and urged renewed attention to his controversial 2016 document on family life.
Francis announced the upcoming year on the family would begin March 19, the fifth anniversary of his document “The Joy of Love.” Among other things, the document opened the door to letting divorced and civilly remarried couples receive Communion, sparking criticism and even claims of heresy from conservative Catholics.
3. Reginald Foster, Priest for Whom Latin Was a Living Language, Dies at 81, By Margalit Fox, The New York Times, December 28, 2020, Pg. B7
Reginald Foster, a former plumber’s apprentice from Wisconsin who, in four decades as an official Latinist of the Vatican, dreamed in Latin, cursed in Latin, banked in Latin and ultimately tweeted in Latin, died on Christmas Day at a nursing home in Milwaukee. He was LXXXI.
His death was confirmed by the Vatican. He had tested positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
A Roman Catholic priest who was considered the foremost Latinist in Rome and, quite possibly, the world, Father Foster was attached to the Office of Latin Letters of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1969 until his retirement in 2009. By virtue of his longevity and his almost preternatural facility with the language, he was by the end of his tenure the de facto head of that office, which comprises a team of half a dozen translators.
4. Each year 1,000 Pakistani girls forcibly converted to Islam, By Kathy Gannon, Associated Press, December 28, 2020, 2:30 AM
Neha is one of nearly 1,000 girls from religious minorities who are forced to convert to Islam in Pakistan each year, largely to pave the way for marriages that are under the legal age and non-consensual. Human rights activists say the practice has accelerated during lockdowns against the coronavirus, when girls are out of school and more visible, bride traffickers are more active on the Internet and families are more in debt.
The U.S. State Department this month declared Pakistan “a country of particular concern” for violations of religious freedoms — a designation the Pakistani government rejects. The declaration was based in part on an appraisal by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that underage girls in the minority Hindu, Christian, and Sikh communities were “kidnapped for forced conversion to Islam… forcibly married and subjected to rape.”
While most of the converted girls are impoverished Hindus from southern Sindh province, two new cases involving Christians, including Neha’s, have roiled the country in recent months.
5. Massachusetts governor vetoes extreme pro-abortion bill the day after Christmas, By Catholic News Agency, December 27, 2020, 11:00 AM
Charlie Baker, the pro-choice Republican governor of Massachusetts, vetoed a bill that would legalize abortions up to birth and lower to 16 the age for girls to get abortions without a parent’s knowledge or consent.
The state House and Senate have sent the bill to Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday, December 22nd, rejecting changes he made earlier this month to limit the expansion of late-term abortions and to require parental consent before underage girls get abortions.
Explaining his decision to veto the bill, Baker insisted that although he supports abortion “I cannot support the sections of this proposal that expand the availability of late-term abortions and permit minors age 16 and 17 to get an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.”
Earlier in the year, the Massachusetts Catholic Conference stated that the bill, “if enacted, would expand access to abortion in Massachusetts.”
6. Ted Cruz and Hong Kong’s Democrats, The Senator blocks a bill opening America’s door to victims of China., By The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2020, Pg. A12, Editorial
So why did his son recently block legislation on the Senate floor to open America’s door to people like his father—Hong Kongers now enduring a crackdown by another Communist government?
The legislation is “The Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act of 2020,” and it passed the House in early December by voice vote. The bill would make it easier for Hong Kongers to gain refugee or temporary protected status. TPS allows people from designated countries to remain and work in the United Status.

The Hong Kongers who would take advantage of a legal path to the U.S. are decent, hard-working people like Rafael Cruz. The Republican Party spoke up for Soviet refuseniks and dissidents during the Cold War. But now some want a new Cold War with China while shunning its victims.
At a moment when many Biden appointees want to reset relations with China, conservative Republicans shouldn’t be working against an effort that would keep the heat on Beijing while giving Hong Kong people hope.
7. Over 40 pro-life leaders call on Senate to reject Biden’s nominee to head HHS, By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, December 26, 2020
Over 40 prominent pro-life leaders called on the U.S. Senate Dec. 21 to reject President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Mr. Becerra carries a national reputation for his vehement, unwavering support for abortion, including in the ninth month, his staunch convictions in opposition to conscience rights for medical professionals, and his hostile opinions regarding the freedoms of religious organizations, among other issues that are of major concern to us,” the leaders said in a letter to senators.

Pro-life leaders who signed the letter included the heads of March for Life, Students for Life Action, Family Research Council, Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life, Live Action, Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, Center for Medical Progress, And Then There were None and National Institute of Family & Life Advocates.
8. Pope on COVID-19 vaccine: Needy, vulnerable must come first, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, December 25, 2020, 7:46 AM
Pope Francis made a Christmas Day plea for authorities to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and needy, regardless of who holds the patents for the shots.
9. Belarus allows Roman Catholic archbishop to return, By Associated Press, December 25, 2020, 8:57 AM
Belarusian authorities have allowed a Roman Catholic priest to return to the country after denying him entry for months.
Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz of Minsk and Mohilev arrived in Belarus on Thursday. Kondrusiewicz was barred from entering the ex-Soviet nation for nearly four months after his criticism of the Belarusian authorities’ crackdown on protests demanding the resignation of the country’s authoritarian leader.

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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