1. The Equality Act Makes Women Unequal, H.R. 5 erases ‘sex’ as a legal category, with dire consequences., By Inez F. Stepman, The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion
All people are created equal, but Congress is considering a bill that would make some people more equal than others.
H.R. 5, styled the Equality Act, would redefine “sex” under federal civil-rights laws to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” overriding basic biology along with millennia of tradition.
This isn’t only a question of semantics. Nor is it merely an attempt to prohibit employment discrimination against sexual minorities. A 2020 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court already does that.
The Equality Act would go much further by making it illegal to distinguish “identity” from biology and thereby prioritize transgender people over women. By erasing sex as a distinct legal category, the measure threatens to open up female-only spaces and opportunities designed to increase representation for girls to biological men, which can endanger the safety of women and girls.
Ms. Stepman is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum.
2. Iraq’s struggling Christians hope for boost from pope visit, By Mariam Fam, Associated Press, February 24, 2021, 1:13 AM
Iraq’s Christian communities in the area were dealt a severe blow when they were scattered by the IS onslaught in 2014, further shrinking the country’s already dwindling Christian population. Many hope their struggle to endure will get a boost from a historic visit by Pope Francis planned in March.
Among the places on his itinerary is Qaraqosh, where this week Vatican and Iraqi flags fluttered from light poles, some adorned with the pope’s image.
Francis’ visit, his first foreign trip since the coronavirus pandemic and the first ever by a pope to Iraq, is a sign that “You’re not alone,” said Monsignor Segundo Tejado Muñoz, the undersecretary of the Vatican’s development office. “There’s someone who is thinking of you, who is with you. And these signs are so important. So important.”
3. Becerra’s critics urge Senate committees to reject his nomination for HHS, By Julie Asher, Catholic News Service, February 24, 2021
About 60 pro-life leaders signed a letter objecting to confirmation of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Becerra faced his first day of confirmation hearings Feb. 23 before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. A second day was scheduled for Feb. 24 before the Senate Finance Committee.
“Mr. Becerra is an enemy to every pro-life policy and law and has demonstrated complete disregard for the religious and moral convictions of those opposed to the brutal act of abortion,” said the letter, spearheaded by the Susan B. Anthony List. “His radical record in public office as California’s attorney general and member of Congress leads our organizations to ask you to reject Mr. Becerra’s nomination.”
Among those signing the letter were the heads of March for Life, Students for Life Action, Family Research Council, 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.
4. Pope can’t make ends meet with a ‘no firing’ policy, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, February 24, 2021, Opinion
From the beginning, Pope Francis has been committed to financial reform of the Vatican. It was the first study commission he created, it was the first major appointment he made, and it’s been a constant of his papacy over what’s now almost eight years.
Yet after all this time, Francis faces the same fundamental dilemma he did at the beginning: There’s no way to cut expenses and increase income, thereby reducing the incentives for suspect maneuvers, without trimming payroll, i.e., firing people – a step this pontiff (like all of his predecessors) has proven extraordinarily reluctant to take.

The problem is that the Vatican’s pension system is seriously underfunded, and it’s not clear exactly how it will meet those obligations. Its annual deficits in recent years have made it impossible to set aside additional funds for future pension expenditures.
Given all that, there’s really no way around the conclusion that if the Vatican is to remain economically viable, it will have to cut payroll.
It’s not that the Vatican is overstaffed relative to other institutions – its ratio of bureaucrats to citizens compares highly favorably, for instance, with the U.S. federal payroll, a primary reason management guru Peter Drucker once called the Vatican one of the three most efficient institutions in human history.
It’s rather that the Vatican is overstaffed relative to its means, and probably needs to shrink by about a third in order to stay afloat long-term.
The question is whether Francis, a legendary advocate of labor and the working poor, will be the pope to face that reality head-on and to authorize the elimination of non-productive and non-essential personnel.
If not, then his financial legacy could be the ironic one of saving money, as the Vatican did last year, while also going broke. Every pope bequeaths some unfinished business to his successor – we’ll see if balancing the checkbook is one of the tasks this pope leaves behind.
5. Senators denounce Amazon’s removal of transgender-critical book, By Catholic News Agency, February 23, 2021, 6:00 AM
After a critique of the transgender movement was de-listed by Amazon this week, U.S. senators responded.
On Sunday, conservative scholar Ryan Anderson reported that his 2018 critique of the transgender movement When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was no longer listed for sale on Amazon.com. As of Tuesday afternoon, the book was still no longer available on Amazon.
After the company provided no explanation as to why Anderson’s book was no longer listed for purchase online, U.S. senators criticized the company on Monday and Tuesday.
“American oligarchs, cheered on by leftist politicians, are conducting digital book burnings,” tweeted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Tuesday. “@Amazon banned a thoughtful & well researched book on a complicated issue.”
The senator added that his office reached out to Amazon for an explanation, but that the company had not responded.
“The corporate left begins the banning of books. Openly and without apology. Welcome to the new normal,” tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.).
6. Health secretary nominee grilled on partial-birth abortion, taxpayer-funded abortion, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, February 23, 2021, 11:00 AM
President Biden’s nominee for health secretary on Tuesday would not commit to preventing federal funding of abortions, and would not say why he once opposed a partial-birth abortion ban.
Appearing before members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Tuesday, California’s attorney general Xavier Becerra would not answer why he voted against a partial-birth abortion ban in 2003, while a U.S. congressman.
If confirmed as health secretary, Becerra said he would try to find “common ground” with those whom he disagreed with on the issue.
“I think we can find some common ground on these issues, because everyone wants to make sure that, if you have an opportunity, you’re going to live a healthy life,” Becerra said in response to a question by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah); the senator had asked why Becerra, as a congressman, voted against a partial-birth abortion ban.
“I think we can reach common ground on many issues. But on partial-birth abortion, it sounds like we’re not going to reach common ground there,” Romney said in response.
7. When Amazon Erased My Book, By Ryan T. Anderson, First Things, February 23, 2021, Opinion
My book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment was released exactly three years ago. It was attacked twice on the New York Times op-ed page. The Washington Post ran a hit piece on it that was riddled with errors. It was obvious the critics hadn’t read the book. But they were threatened by it and wanted to discredit it lest anyone pick it up and learn from it.
Now, three years after publication, in the same week that the House of Representatives plans to ram through the Equality Act—a radical transgender bill amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964—Amazon has erased my book opposing gender ideology from its cyber shelves.
The people who did read the book discovered that it is an accurate and accessible presentation of the scientific, medical, philosophical, and legal debates surrounding the trans phenomenon. Yes, it advances an argument against transgender ideology from a viewpoint. But it doesn’t get any facts wrong, and it doesn’t engage in heated rhetoric.

Amazon never informed me or my publisher that it was removing my book. And Amazon’s representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about it. Perhaps they’re citing a religious objection to selling my book? Or maybe they only sell books with which they agree? (If so, they have a lot of explaining to do about why they carry Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.) If there’s a religious or speech objection, let’s hear it. But if it’s just an attempt to skew the conversation in the public square with an attempt to discredit one of the Equality Act’s most prominent critics, that’s a different matter.
So first, a caveat: If you fear what Big Tech can do if you dissent from gender ideology, just wait to see what Big Government will do if the so-called Equality Act becomes law. Second, a lesson: If you fear Big Government, don’t turn a blind eye to Big Tech. Conservatives need to get over the misguided belief that private businesses can do whatever they want. That isn’t true. And it’s never been the American law on the issue. Nor is it what the natural law supports.

My prediction is that in the short run I’ll sell thousands more copies of the book thanks to Amazon’s censorship. In the medium run, things will get worse for those who hold to traditional American values. But in the long run, a people can struggle against the natural law for only so long. And that’s true for both economics and gender ideology.
Ryan T. Anderson, a former First Things assistant editor, is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the author of When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment.

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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