1. The Supreme Court Steps Up Again, The Justices partially enjoin California’s limits on religious services., By The Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2021, Pg. A16, Editorial
Politicians are increasingly trying to restrict core American liberties, and the courts are a last line of defense. The Supreme Court stepped into that breach again late Friday with a partial injunction against California’s disparate treatment of religious gatherings in the pandemic.

The pandemic restrictions are a foretaste of clashes to come as progressives in power impose their cultural values on Americans with traditional views. To adapt William F. Buckley Jr., the High Court will have to stand athwart abusive government yelling “Stop!”
2. Pope Francis says the world is ‘seriously ill’ from the consequences of the pandemic, By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, February 8, 2021, 6:41 AM
Pope Francis on Monday offered a grim assessment of humanity’s response to the pandemic in a lengthy speech that highlighted aspects big and small from a year of isolation and “despair.”
He talked about domestic violence in homes under pandemic lockdown. He emphasized the job losses predominantly among off-the-books workers, with no safety net on which to rely. He described a generation of children, alone and in front of their computers, enduring the “educational catastrophe” of school shutdowns or distance learning.
The world, Francis said, “is seriously ill.”
“Not only as a result of the virus,” the pope continued, “but also in its natural environment, its economic and political processes, and even more in its human relationships.”
3. Pope seeks ‘Copernican revolution’ for post-COVID economy, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 8, 2021, 5:39 AM
Pope Francis urged governments on Monday to use the coronavirus crisis as a revolutionary opportunity to create a world that is more economically and environmentally just — and where basic health care is guaranteed for all.
Francis made the appeal in his annual foreign policy address to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See, an appointment that was postponed for two weeks after he suffered a bout of sciatica nerve pain that made standing and walking difficult.
Francis urged the governments represented in the Apostolic Palace to contribute to global initiatives to provide vaccines to the poor and to use the pandemic to reset what he said was a sick economic model that exploits the poor and the Earth.
“There is need for a kind of new Copernican revolution that can put the economy at the service of men and women, not vice versa,” he said, referring to the 16th-century paradigm shift that stated the sun was at the center of the universe, not the Earth.
He said such a revolutionary new economy is “one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it.”
4. Some California churches hold indoor services after ruling, By Christopher Weber, Associated Press, February 8, 2021
Some California churches opened their doors to worshippers on Sunday, after the state revised its guidelines for houses of prayer following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that lifted a ban on indoor services during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the most significant legal victory against California’s COVID-19 health orders, the high court issued rulings late Friday in two cases where churches argued the restrictions violated their religious liberty. The justices said for now California can’t continue with a ban on indoor church services, but it can limit attendance to 25 percent of a building’s capacity and restrict singing and chanting inside.

The governor’s office on Saturday issued new guidelines that limit attendance at indoor services in areas of the state with widespread or substantial virus spread to 25% of a building’s capacity. Indoor services in areas with moderate to minimum spread are limited to 50% capacity.
5. Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam, Under the proposal, the Internal Revenue Service would begin sending $250 per month to millions of families in July, By Jeff Stein, The Washington Post, February 8, 2021, Pg. A1
Senior Democrats on Monday will unveil legislation to provide $3,000 per child to tens of millions of American families, aiming to make a major dent in child poverty as part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package.
The 22-page bill to dramatically expand direct cash benefits to American families was obtained by The Washington Post ahead of its release.
Under the proposal, the Internal Revenue Service would provide $3,600 over the course of the year per child under the age of 6, as well as $3,000 per child of ages 6 to 17. The size of the benefit would diminish for Americans earning more than $75,000 per year, as well as for couples jointly earning more than $150,000 per year. The payments would be sent monthly beginning in July, a delay intended to give the IRS time to prepare for the massive new initiative.
6. Pope’s move for women’s rights anything but a token gesture, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, February 7, 2021, Opinion
In what’s being hailed as a demonstration that Pope Francis is in earnest about empowering women within ecclesiastical structures, on Friday, for the first time ever, the pontiff named a woman as the Promoter of Justice for the Appeals Court of the Vatican City State.
In effect, the Promoter of Justice functions like a District Attorney in the United States, making the case for a criminal charge in front of the justices of the Vatican tribunal whenever a conviction comes up for appeal.

To be sure, Summaria is hardly the first person to be appointed to a Vatican position which, in retrospect, ends up seeming an impossible gig, or at least one you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
She is, however, one of the few women ever given such an assignment, and perhaps that’s the ultimate sign of seriousness about women’s empowerment Pope Francis could deliver – offering a woman not simply the same rank and privileges as the men in the system, but the same potential frustration and heartache too.
7. Naming undersecretaries for synod, pope gives a woman a vote, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, February 7, 2021
Xaviere Missionary Sister Nathalie Becquart will not be the first woman undersecretary of a major Vatican office, but she will be the first woman with a right to vote at a meeting of the Synod of Bishops.
Pope Francis named the French sister one of two undersecretaries of the Synod of Bishops Feb. 6.

Becquart, the former director of youth evangelization and vocations for the French bishops’ conference, also said in the interview she was convinced more progress would come.
“Changes will come with the new generation as more and more young people — not only young women but also young men — ask for women’s equality,” she said. Added hope comes from meeting “more and more priests and bishops now that are speaking out for women. I have seen an evolution; at the beginning, the question of women in the church was a question from women, and now it is also an important topic for many men, priests and bishops — and even the pope!”
8. Can Catholic Social Teaching Unite a Divided America? President Biden, Sen. Rubio and many non-Catholic thinkers see a way forward in the church’s long tradition of public discourse, even as they disagree in interpreting it, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2021, Pg. C1
What is Catholic social teaching? And why should it matter to the nearly 80% of Americans who do not belong to the church?
A body of doctrine on law, politics and economics developed by popes since the late 19th century, Catholic social teaching has historically been more influential in Europe and Latin America than in the U.S. But some on both sides of the aisle, not all of them Catholic, say its concepts are especially needed at this fractured moment in American politics.

Church teachings on social questions are set out in the philosophical terms of natural law, which predates Christianity and doesn’t depend on an appeal to scripture.

Two of the central concepts of Catholic social teaching are solidarity and subsidiarity. Both have been influential beyond Catholic circles, including in European Union law, which considers them key principles.
Pope John Paul II defined solidarity as “a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.”

The second concept, subsidiarity, is generally understood as the principle that social and political activities should be organized insofar as possible at the local level.

Catholics on the left and right also agree that their church’s social doctrine is inseparable from its teaching on morals, including sexual and medical ethics. But they differ forcefully over how much political weight to give what Pope Benedict XVI called nonnegotiable moral issues, especially abortion. “For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the ‘pre-eminent priority,’” wrote Archbishop Gómez, quoting a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voter guide, in his statement on the presidential inauguration.
9. Bridgeport’s Bishop Caggiano named next Legatus head chaplain, By Catholic News Agency, February 6, 2021, 6:01 AM
Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport has been named the next chaplain of Legatus International, a Catholic business leaders’ association with over 100 chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
“Legatus is blessed to have Bishop Caggiano as International Chaplain, empowering our chapters and members with Christian ethics and values as they navigate the mission field as ambassadors for Christ in the marketplace,” Stephen Henley, Legatus executive director, said Feb. 4
Caggiano’s term as chaplain is five years long. In this role he will work to help Legatus’ 5,000 members progress spiritually, give guidance to chapter chaplains, and oversee the theological content of Legatus programs. He also serves as an ex officio member of the Legatus International Board of Governors.
10. Ask Dr. Land: What does President Biden’s pro-abortion blitz say about America?, By Richard D. Land, Christian Post, February 5, 2021
What an extraordinary fortnight the first two weeks of the Biden administration has been.  “Sleepy Joe,” the invisible, “stealth” candidate, the moderate, sober antidote to the phalanx of progressively more progressive leftist democratic presidential candidates, has morphed into “whirlwind Joe,” firing off Executive Orders at a record-breaking pace including greatly expanding the U.S. taxpayers funding of abortion both here and around the world.

And not only has President Biden turned his back on one of the bedrock beliefs of his Roman Catholic faith, he continues to enjoy the accolades of a fawning press core that speaks of his “devotion” and his “deep faith.”
However, it goes far deeper than that.  According to a poll conducted this week, significant majorities of Americans of all faiths reject the radical pro-abortion agenda now being implemented with breakneck speed by that “devout Catholic,” President Biden.  Speaking to the apparently glaring contradiction between Biden’s dedication to his faith and his politics, the Catholic Association’s senior fellow Ashley McGuire spoke for millions of Roman Catholics and other religious Americans when she said, “If there’s an area where Catholics are most confused, it’s how can you be somebody who’s so ardently promoting your Catholicity while at the same time adopting views that are so extremely divergent from where you Church is on the issue.”
11. Does a pontifical foundation use Pope Francis to spread gender ideology?, By David Ramos, Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2021, 5:01 PM
The Scholas Occurrentes Pontifical Foundation, which states that its goal is to create a new vision for the education of children around the world, is not only using Pope Francis’ support to fundraise around the world, but also to disseminate material on gender ideology to children in at least a dozen countries in Latin America.
Since 2015, sporting the Scholas Occurrentes emblem, the collection of books  “Con Francisco a mi lado” (“With Francis by my Side”) has been published in association with secular newspapers in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Nicaragua, and Bolivia. The collection, nevertheless, includes material that is not only in contradiction with Catholic teaching on identity and human sexuality, but specifically against the teachings of Pope Francis regarding “gender theory.”
12. Knights of Columbus elect Patrick Kelly next Supreme Knight, By Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2021, 3:50 PM
Patrick E. Kelly will be the next Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, the largest Catholic men’s fraternity in the world. He succeeds outgoing Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson, who stressed Kelly’s diplomatic and military background and his long service with the Knights, including leading their response to the coronavirus epidemic.
13. Did ‘the Roman Catholic Church’ unjustly collect federal aid? AP story misrepresents Church finances, expert says, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2021, 12:10 PM
A Feb. 4 investigative story from the Associated Press inaccurately portrays “the Roman Catholic Church” as a “giant corporate monolith” that raked in federal aid while sitting on billions of dollars that they could have used to pay employees, a canon and civil law expert told CNA.
In reality, “the Roman Catholic Church” in the US is made up of tens of thousands of separate nonprofits, most of which did not have legal access to liquid cash necessary to pay their employees when the pandemic took hold last year.
The CARES Act, passed in March 2020, initially authorized some $350 billion in loans to small businesses, known as the Paycheck Protection Program, which was intended to allow them to continue to pay their employees.
The loans, given by the Small Business Administration, were approved on a first come, first served basis. According to reports, an estimated 12,000-13,000 of the 17,000 Catholic parishes in the U.S. applied, and most were encouraged to do so by their dioceses.
According to the AP’s analysis, “dioceses” and “other Catholic institutions” collectively received about $3 billion from the PPP program, leading the authors to conclude that “the Roman Catholic Church” was perhaps “the biggest beneficiary of the paycheck program.”
Father Pius Pietrzyk, OP, a canon and civil lawyer and a professor at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, told CNA that in conflating the finances of dioceses with those of individual parishes and other Catholic entities, the article gives the impression that “this is all one budget with fungible dollars”— a “gross misrepresentation” that belies a “fundamental ignorance” of Church finances in the US.
The article goes on to claim that the total assets for all Catholic entities in the US, including dioceses, parishes, and charities, totals more than $10 billion and in some cases increased slightly over the course of the pandemic.
Importantly, to reach the $10 billion figure, the AP “also included funding that dioceses had opted to designate for special projects instead of general expenses; excess cash that parishes and their affiliates deposit with their diocese’s savings and loan; and lines of credit dioceses typically have with outside banks.”
The AP story does not assert that dioceses or other Catholic entities committed fraud or broke the law by applying for and receiving PPP loans, but a strong theme in the article is that “the Roman Catholic Church” did not need the loans, and could have afforded to continue to pay its employees with the assets “the Church” had on hand.
14. Nearly 50 senators pledge to oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, By Catholic News Agency, February 5, 2021, 11:00 AM
Nearly 50 senators have signed on to a letter pledging to oppose taxpayer funding of abortions.
Senate Pro-Life Caucus chair Steve Daines (R-Mont.) announced the letter on Friday, as “a unified message” to Democratic leadership that the 47 signers would “vote to block any bill that would undermine the Hyde Amendment or any other pro-life protections.”

Notably, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not sign the letter. He vocally supported the Hyde Amendment in December, in an interview with National Review, and said he would vote against legislation repealing it.
Manchin, who is endorsed by Democrats for Life of America, is considered a key vote in the Senate with Democrats and Republicans both holding 50 seats.
15. Mitt Romney Wants Your Child to Have a $4,200 Yearly Allowance, To pay for increased aid to parents, he would end the deduction on state and local taxes entirely, By Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg, February 5, 2021, 8:50 AM, Opinion
Mitt Romney is putting forward a wildly ambitious proposal to re-orient the American welfare state toward children. The federal government transfers a hefty chunk of national income from younger people to the elderly. The Utah Republican senator wants more money to go to the parents of minor children.
His plan would create a child allowance. Nearly all U.S. children — excluding only those from the highest-earning households — would be allotted a monthly benefit worth $4,200 a year up to age 5 and $3,000 a year up to age 17.

The net effect of the plan on work and marriage will require further study. But the plan has some very considerable virtues, starting with the one that Romney highlights: It would substantially reduce poverty and drastically reduce extreme poverty, especially among children.

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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