1. First Cuomo, Now Newsom, By The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial
The media are still preoccupied with Donald Trump, but there is other news, some of it even good. One example is the Supreme Court’s new attention to violations of religious rights in the pandemic.
Late last week the Court vacated a ruling by a district court that upheld California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s sweeping restrictions on religious gatherings. The unsigned order remanded the case for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court’s November ruling that enjoined similar restrictions in New York (Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo ).

Americans have put up with a lot this year to limit the spread of Covid. But too often Governors have imposed arbitrary restrictions without respect for the Constitution or common sense. The Supreme Court’s heightened scrutiny is welcome.
2. Vatican: Pope to visit Iraq in March, pandemic permitting, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, December 7, 2020, 7:13 AM
Pope Francis will make a pilgrimage to Iraq in March, pandemic conditions permitting, the Vatican said Monday, in announcing what would be the pontiff’s first trip abroad in more than a year.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni on Monday said Francis will make the March 5-8 visit, with stops in Baghdad, and the “plains of Ur, linked to the memory of Abraham,” the Biblical patriarch who is revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, as well as to the cities of Irbil, Mosul and Qaraqosh.
3. Pope: Christmas a sign of hope amid difficulties of pandemic, By Associated Press, December 6, 2020, 8:56 AM
Pope Francis says the Christmas season provides reason for hope amid the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.
During his Sunday blessing, Francis noted that the Vatican’s Christmas tree had gone up last week in St. Peter’s Square, and that work is underway to build the life-size Nativity scene next to it.
Pointing to the tree from his studio window over the square, Francis said such symbols of Christmas “are signs of hope, especially in this difficult period.”
4. Pope updates Vatican financial authority following scandals, By Associated Press, December 5, 2020, 8:53 AM
Pope Francis has revamped the Holy See’s financial intelligence and anti-money-laundering unit following financial scandals, including an ongoing in-house corruption probe, Vatican officials said Saturday.
The changes involve the governance and organization of the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency, which has been renamed the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority, or ASIF, the Vatican said. Until Saturday, the agency was known as AIF, or Financial Information Authority.
5. Catholic docs, bishop welcome UK ruling against puberty blockers, By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, December 5, 2020
A UK court has ruled children are unable to consent to taking drugs to change gender, in a landmark case welcomed by Catholic doctors and a bishop.
Three judges at the High Court in London ruled Dec. 1 that drugs known as puberty blockers must not be given to children under 16 without permission from a court to confirm that such therapies were in the child’s “best interests.”
6. Vatican archbishop expresses ‘grave concern’ at rise in attacks on believers at prayer, By Catholic News Agency, December 4, 2020, 2:00 PM
A Vatican archbishop expressed “grave concern” Thursday at the rise in attacks on believers praying in places of worship.
In a Dec. 3 address to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher said that “the Holy See wishes to express its grave concern for the rising number of terrorist attacks, hate crimes and other manifestations of intolerance targeting persons, places of worship, cemeteries and religious sites across the OSCE area and beyond.”

Gallagher, the Vatican’s Secretary for Relations with States, made the comments at a virtual meeting of the OSCE held in the Albanian capital, Tirana.
7. Mr. Biden And The Matter Of Scandal, By Charles J. Chaput, First Things, December 4, 2020, Opinion
Readers may recall that during the 2004 presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry led the Democratic ticket. As a Catholic, Kerry held certain policy views that conflicted with the moral beliefs of his Church. This led to internal tensions among U.S. bishops about how to handle the matter of Holy Communion for Catholic public officials who publicly and persistently diverge from Catholic teaching on issues like abortion. At the time, Washington’s then-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, along with Pittsburgh’s Bishop Donald Wuerl, had very different views from my own regarding how to proceed. 
I believed then, and believe now, that publicly denying Communion to public officials is not always wise or the best pastoral course. Doing so in a loud and forceful manner may cause more harm than good by inviting the official to bask in the media glow of victimhood. What I opposed in 2004, however, was any seeming indifference to the issue, any hint in a national bishops’ statement or policy that would give bishops permission to turn their heads away from the gravity of a very serious issue. At the time, fortunately, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith resolved any confusion about correct practice in these matters with its July 2004 memorandum to then-Cardinal McCarrick, Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion: General Principles.

The implications for the present moment are clear. Public figures who identify as “Catholic” give scandal to the faithful when receiving Communion by creating the impression that the moral laws of the Church are optional. And bishops give similar scandal by not speaking up publicly about the issue and danger of sacrilege.

When bishops publicly announce their willingness to give Communion to Mr. Biden, without clearly teaching the gravity of his facilitating the evil of abortion (and his approval of same-sex relationships), they do a serious disservice to their brother bishops and their people. The reason is obvious. By his actions during the course of his public life, Mr. Biden has demonstrated that he is not in full communion with the Catholic Church.

This is not a “political” matter, and those who would describe it as such are either ignorant or willfully confusing the issue. This is a matter of bishops’ unique responsibility before the Lord for the integrity of the sacraments. Moreover, there is also the pressing matter of pastoral concern for a man’s salvation. At minimum, every bishop has the duty of privately discussing these vital moral issues and the destructive effect of receiving Communion unworthily with public figures who act contrary to Church teaching. Reception of Communion is not a right but a gift and privilege; and on the subject of “rights,” the believing community has a priority right to the integrity of its belief and practice.
In the year ahead, a great many people will be watching our nation’s Catholic leadership. They will be led, for good or for ill, by the witness of America’s bishops.
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia and author of the forthcoming Things Worth Dying For: Thoughts on a Life Worth Living (Holt).

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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