1. Religious Liberty Wins Another: The Eleventh Circuit rethinks an earlier ruling against a cross in a public park.

By The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals broke no new legal ground last week when it reversed its earlier decision ruling that a cross erected on a public park in Pensacola, Fla., had to go. But it carries the message that the so-called Lemon legal test that has long governed interpretations of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause may finally be dead.


2. Disgraced Catholic order vows to turn page on abuse with new norms.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, February 27, 2020, 5:10 AM

The new leader of the disgraced Legionaries of Christ Catholic religious order, whose founder was a serial sexual abuser, has promised to turn a page as the group enacted new norms to protect children.


3. ‘My life just isn’t as valuable as others’: Woman sues British government.

By Simon Caldwell, Catholic News Service, February 27, 2020

A woman with Down syndrome will take the British government to court in an attempt to change a law that permits abortions up to birth of children considered to be “seriously handicapped.”

Both object to the provisions of the 1967 Abortion Act that permit abortions of healthy babies no later than 24 weeks’ gestation but permit the abortion of disabled babies to term, including those with Down syndrome, cleft lip and clubfoot.

They want the High Court in London to rule that the Abortion Act “impermissibly violates the dignity of people with disabilities” as a precursor to the law being changed.

Crowter said she felt compelled to act after the government ignored advice from the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to amend the law to ensure that babies with disabilities were not “singled out.”


4. Barr, DeVos speak at religious broadcasters forum.

By Travis Loller, Associated Press, February 26, 2020, 7:15 PM

U.S. Attorney General William Barr warned a group of Christian broadcasters on Wednesday that the decline of religion in America is undermining liberal democracy. In a speech at the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Tennessee, Barr said religion is necessary to provide citizens with a moral compass. Without religious morality, tyranny is necessary to control people, he said.

Speaking to the convention earlier in the day, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said religious schools and colleges should be able to receive government support on an equal footing with public and other non-religious institutions.


5. Congressman seeks investigation of church’s sex abuse deals.

By Associated Press, February 26, 2020, 4:42 PM

A congressman is asking the Department of Justice to investigate settlements to two men who say they were victims of clergy abuse at a Catholic school in Mississippi.

In a letter, U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson says Catholic officials “exploited” the young men, The Clarion Ledger reported.

They were paid far less than what others have received through legal settlements with the church, the Mississippi Democrat said.


6. Senate Votes Offer a Preview of 2020 Abortion Politics: Two pieces of legislation that would more closely regulate abortion procedures failed to advance Tuesday.

By Andrew Duehren, The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2020, 9:25 AM

A pair of failed procedural votes in the Senate Tuesday indicated how each party is approaching abortion rights in the coming election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) brought to the floor two pieces of legislation that would more closely regulate abortion procedures. One would criminalize abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy, while the other would mandate that doctors provide medical care to infants deemed alive after abortion procedures.

Both bills failed to garner the necessary 60 votes to advance, and Mr. McConnell used the opportunity to attack Democrats as out-of-touch and extreme.


7. Archbishop Naumann calls Senate rejection of pro-life bills ‘appalling’

By Catholic News Service, February 26, 2020

By blocking two pro-life bills from going to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote, senators “failed to advance two critical human rights reforms that most Americans strongly support,” the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee said late Feb. 25.

Earlier that day, the Senate voted on motions to advance the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, S. 3275, sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, S. 311, sponsored Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska.

“It is appalling that even one senator, let alone more than 40, voted to continue the brutal dismemberment of nearly full-grown infants, and voted against protecting babies who survive abortion,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.


8. German Jesuit, Key Influence on ‘Synodal Path,’ Resigns Position: As secretary of the German bishops’ conference, the Jesuit priest has shaped the direction of the German Church for the past quarter century and has been a leading figure behind its controversial current ‘synodal path’

By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, February 25, 2020

Jesuit Father Hans Langendörfer, one of the most influential figures in the German Church, has unexpectedly announced his resignation as head of the secretariat of the German bishops’ conference.

News of his departure on Tuesday follows the similarly unexpected decision of Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who announced Feb. 11 he was stepping down as president of the episcopal conference.

As general secretary over the past quarter of a century, Father Langendörfer was widely viewed as the highly influential player behind most of the German hierarchy’s major decisions.  

A former research assistant to the late German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Father Langendörfer was known to be an intelligent tactician, noted for his political skills, and someone who exerted considerable control over the Church’s media apparatus.

Most recently, he has been a leading figure behind the Church in Germany’s two-year synodal path, which aims to tackle “key issues” arising from the clerical sex-abuse crisis, but which critics say threatens to undermine the Church’s teaching and possibly lead the Church in Germany into schism.


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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