1. Sitting on billions, Catholic dioceses amassed taxpayer aid, By Reese Dunklin and Michael Rezendes, Associated Press, February 4, 2021, 1:36 PM
Scores of Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. had more than $10 billion in cash and other readily available funds when they received at least $1.5 billion from the nation’s emergency relief program for small businesses slammed by the coronavirus, an Associated Press investigation has found.

[Chicago] Archdiocesan officials said the money was needed to cover substantial expenses while parishioner donations slumped when lockdowns forced the cancellation of Masses. Without paycheck support, “parishes and schools would have been forced to cut many jobs” because the archdiocese couldn’t have made up the difference given its own expenses, spokeswoman Paula Waters wrote.
On top of good financial planning, dioceses benefited when U.S. stock markets rebounded and parishioners found ways to continue donating.
2. U.S. bishops want COVID-relief package to protect poor, vulnerable, By John Lavenburg, Crux, February 4, 2021
In a letter to Congress, the U.S. bishops outlined a number of key priorities – including housing assistance, healthcare and a pathway to citizenship – for lawmakers to consider for the next COVID-19 relief package.
“We ask you to continue your efforts to assess and respond to the needs that are present both here in our country and around the world,” the letter reads. “We especially encourage you to consider how additional COVID relief should promote the dignity and value of all human life and protect poor and vulnerable people who are at most risk.”

No matter what the final package amounts to, the bishops urged Congress in the letter to “use the money and policies in these bills to fund and promote life-affirming policies and not to advance the destruction of innocent unborn human life.” The contents of the relief package, found at the White House website, does not include any funding related to abortion.
The signatories of the letter are Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Bishop Shelton Fabre of Houma-Thibodaux and Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas.
 3. Both sides get a final chance to talk about SC abortion ban, By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press, February 3, 2021, 7:05 PM
After years of legislative wrangling over a bill that would ban almost all abortions in South Carolina, the public got what likely will be one final chance to speak for or against the ban.
About 50 people testified both in person and online at Wednesday’s House subcommittee hearing before the panel advanced the proposal. The bill passed the Senate last month after years of setbacks.
South Carolina lawmakers have been holding public hearings for years on the “ South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. ”
It would require doctors to use an ultrasound to try to detect a fetal heartbeat if they think pregnant women are at least eight weeks along. If they find a heartbeat, and the pregnancy is not the result of rape or incest, they can’t perform the abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger. That can be as soon as six weeks after conception and before many women know they are pregnant.

After 3 1/2 hours of testimony, the subcommittee voted 3-2 on party lines with Republicans prevailing to send the bill to the full Judiciary Committee, likely next week.
4. US bishops express support for Biden’s environmental actions, By Catholic News Agency, February 3, 2021, 5:01 PM
Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the US bishops’ domestic justice committee, praised Wednesday President Joe Biden’s environmental executive orders.
Biden’s executive action establishes the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, which the White House says will be “led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor and Deputy National Climate Advisor” in creating an office within the White House designated to implement the president’s domestic climate agenda.
It also creates the National Climate Task Force, which the White House says will bring together “leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable a whole-of-government approach to combating the climate crisis.”
Biden also issued executive orders that will require the United States to rejoin the Paris Agreement and will cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline project.

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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