1. Joe Biden’s very Catholic Cabinet, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, January 19, 2021
Personnel is policy is an old Washington adage, and if it remains true, then Catholics fretting about how the Biden administration might treat the church may be misguided. More than one-third of Joe Biden’s incoming Cabinet are his fellow Catholics.
“There never has been a more Catholic administration in U.S. history,” Steven Millies, director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, tweeted when Biden first began announcing Cabinet positions in December
As Biden is set to become the second Catholic president in American history, he will be joined by more coreligionists than any other faith group in his Cabinet. While Biden has been adamant that he doesn’t proselytize, he has also insisted that people of faith will be taken seriously by his administration.

Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general and Biden’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, may prove to be the most controversial Catholic among Biden’s Cabinet.
Becerra, who also served as a co-chair for Catholics for Biden during the campaign, has come under fire from pro-life groups who believe he will eliminate conscience protections for health care workers and seek to force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception coverage for their employers.
2. Pope says MLK’s message of non-violent protest timely now, By Associated Press, January 18, 2021, 2:23 PM
The Vatican on Monday abruptly abandoned its extradition request for an Italian woman wanted on embezzlement-related charges in a case that could have tested whether Italy considers the Vatican a place where someone can get a fair trial.
At the hearing in a Milan court, the Vatican said it no longer was seeking to detain Cecilia Marogna, thereby removing any reason to proceed with an evaluation of her extradition. A statement from Vatican prosecutors said their decision would let her participate freely in an “imminent” trial in the city state.
However, the maneuver seemed more aimed at avoiding an embarrassing precedent that the Milan court could have set by ruling against Vatican prosecutors, given there is no extradition treaty between the two states. Marogna’s lawyers could have also argued that without such a treaty, Italian law bars sending citizens to a country where their “fundamental right” to a fair trial isn’t guaranteed.
3. Vatican drops Italian extradition bid in test of fair trial, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 18, 2021, 5:37 AM
Pope Francis on Sunday proclaimed an upcoming year dedicated to the family as he doubled down on one of his papal priorities and urged renewed attention to his controversial 2016 document on family life.
Francis announced the upcoming year on the family would begin March 19, the fifth anniversary of his document “The Joy of Love.” Among other things, the document opened the door to letting divorced and civilly remarried couples receive Communion, sparking criticism and even claims of heresy from conservative Catholics.
4. School choice lawsuit surge pushes possible high court fight, By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press, January 18, 2021, 7:33 AM
Vermont is facing at least its second lawsuit in four months over a voucher program that allows students in communities that don’t have schools or are not part of supervisory unions to attend schools of their choice, including approved private institutions.
The Vermont system in which certain towns pay tuition for students to attend other schools is unconstitutional because it’s not available to all students in the state, according to the Liberty Justice Center, a Chicago-based national nonprofit law firm that fights for school choice. If the lawsuit succeeds, officials at the nonprofit say they will file legal challenges in other states with similar school choice programs. But critics say the lawsuit is a veiled attempt to get a case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where conservative judges hold six of nine seats, to get more public funding into private education, including religious schools.
5. Prominent anti-abortion activist Joe Scheidler dies at 93, By Associated Press, January 18, 2021, 5:17 PM
Joe Scheidler, the founder of the Pro-Life Action League and prominent figure in the anti-abortion movement, died Monday, the organization announced. He was 93.
Scheidler died of pneumonia at his Chicago home, according to Thomas Ciesielka, a spokesman for the group.
His oldest son, Eric Scheidler, told the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday that his father “devoted five decades of his long life to proclaiming the value of human life at its most vulnerable stage, the child in the womb.”
6. Catholic saints among those to be honored in garden of American heroes announced by Trump, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, January 18, 2021, 3:35 PM
Among those who will be memorialized in the National Garden of American Heroes include St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American saint; St. Katharine Drexel, the first born-U.S. citizen to be canonized; St. John Neumann; and St. Junipero Serra, the first saint canonized on U.S. soil.
Ven. Fulton Sheen and Ven. Augustus Tolton, one of the first black priests in the United States, as well as Servant of God Dorothy Day, will be honored.
Archbishop John Carroll, S.J., the first Catholic archbishop in the United States, will also be included, as will March for Life founder Nellie Gray, poet and activist Fr. Thomas Merton, OCSO, and Fr. John P. Washington, a US Army chaplain who died helping save soldiers on the sinking Dorchester during World War II.
7. March for Life asks its supporters to stay home this year, By David Crary, Associated Press, January 16, 2021, 3:35 PM
Organizers of the March for Life, the anti-abortion movement’s preeminent annual event, are asking their supporters nationwide not to gather in Washington this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and political unrest.
Instead, a small group of invited anti-abortion leaders will march Jan. 29, and the event will be livestreamed, March for Life’s president, Jeanne Mancini, announced Friday.
“Since we are in the midst of a pandemic which may be peaking, and in view of the heightened pressures that law enforcement officers and others are currently facing in and around the Capitol, this year’s March for Life will look different,” she said. “The annual rally will take place virtually and we are asking all participants to stay home and to join the March virtually.”
Tim Tebow, the football star, is still scheduled to make a keynote speech at a virtual gala taking place after the downsized march, Mancini said.
8. Taiwanese president praises pope’s stance on human rights, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, January 16, 2021
At a time when the Vatican continues to draw fire for its controversial deal over the appointment of bishops with China, the president of arguably the most longstanding thorn in Beijing’s side has written Pope Francis instead to praise collaboration between Taiwan and Rome.
In a Jan. 13 letter to Pope Francis for the World Day of Peace, which is observed annually by the Church Jan. 1, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen highlighted Taiwan’s efforts to promote “a spirit of compassion and empathy” amid the coronavirus pandemic and pointed to several initiatives they sponsored to assist the Vatican and various religious communities in Rome throughout Italy’s coronavirus lockdown.
Since COVID-19 first broke out in Italy, Taiwan’s Embassy to the Holy See has been active in providing financial and sanitary aid to the Vatican and to religious congregations, institutions and communities that turn to them with requests for facial masks, hand sanitizer, and other materials.

These contributions so far have not been acknowledged by the pope or any other Vatican official, despite the fact that statements of public praise of China were issued after the Red Cross Society of China and the China-based Catholic Hebei Jinde Charities Foundation in April donated health supplies to the Vatican Pharmacy, including facial masks, to support patients infected with COVID-19.
9. US bishops applaud Supreme Court ruling in favor of FDA abortion pill regulations, By Catholic News Agency, January 15, 2021, 10:06 PM
The U.S. bishops’ pro-life chair on Friday praised a Supreme Court decision allowing federal regulations of the abortion pill to stand during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision reversed a federal judge’s injunction on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) safety regulations of the abortion pill.
The ruling allowed the FDA to use its authority as requested and continue to prohibit remote prescriptions and dispensing of the abortion pill during the pandemic.
10. British Columbia hospice to be evicted over euthanasia opposition, By Catholic News Agency, January 15, 2021, 4:47 PM
A hospice in Delta, British Columbia is laying off all staff next month as they will be evicted from their building due to their opposition to euthanasia.
The Delta Hospice is a 10-bed hospice. It is operated by the Delta Hospice Society, an organization which was founded in 1991. The hospice is located a one-minute drive away from a hospital which provides euthanasia.
Last year, the Delta Hospice Society was informed that they would be losing $1.5 million in funding from the Fraser Health Authority, a public health care authority in British Columbia, as well as its permission to operate as a hospice, in February 2021. This was due to their refusal to offer “assisted dying,” the Canadian legal term for euthanasia.
Euthanasia and assisted suicide were legalized federally in Canada in June 2016. Religious hospitals are not forced to provide euthanasia, but no such conscience rights exist for secular institutions like the Delta Hospice Society.

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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