1. Vatican spikes bishops’ letter to Biden warning ‘we cannot stay silent’ on ‘injustice of abortion, By Douglas Ernst, The Washington Times, January 21, 2021, Pg. A2
Catholic bishops attempting to warn President Biden that they “cannot stay silent” on abortion and other core issues of the faith were in fact silenced by the Vatican on Wednesday.
A letter, with a scheduled embargo until the Democrat’s inauguration, was spiked just before its planned publication by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Diocese of Tucson and others briefly published the letter before the Vatican intervened.
“Sources in the Vatican Secretariat of State, others close to the U.S. bishops’ conference, and sources among the U.S. bishops have confirmed to The Pillar that the statement was spiked after intervention from the Vatican Secretariat of State, hours before it was due to be released,” The Pillar reported.
Three sources close to the bishops’ conference told the website that Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark and Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago were among a handful of bishops who objected to the letter, which was penned by conference president Archbishop Jose Gomez.
2. Late Trump proposal would let religious firms get taxpayer-backed loans, By Aaron Gregg, The Washington Post, January 21, 2021, Pg. A17
The Small Business Administration has proposed new rules that would permanently allow religious businesses to receive taxpayer-backed small-business loans, forcing the Biden administration into a politically sensitive debate that raises questions about separation of church and state.
The proposed regulation, made public Tuesday afternoon on President Donald Trump’s last full day in office, would do away with restrictions preventing taxpayer-backed loans from going to “businesses principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs, whether in a religious or secular setting.”
If the rule were finalized, it would open up seven SBA loan programs to a range of religious-affiliated businesses, such as Christian publishers and for-profit schools affiliated with religious organizations. It is unclear whether the rules would also apply to tax-exempt places of worship such as churches or nonprofit health-care organizations such as Catholic hospitals.
3. Speaker Pelosi implies religious pro-lifers are sellouts, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, January 21, 2021, 5:00 AM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused pro-lifers of putting their opposition to abortion over the tenets of democracy in a recent appearance on former Sen. Hillary Clinton’s podcast.
“I think that Donald Trump is president because of the issue of a woman’s right to choose,” Pelosi said on the Jan. 18 episode of “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton,” blaming pro-life voters for boosting Trump into office.
“When you take the greed of those who want their tax cuts, that’s probably a small number [of voters], but nonetheless a number,” said Pelosi. Conversely, “then you take the abortion issue–and many of these people are very good people; that’s just their point of view. But they were willing to sell the whole democracy down the river for that one issue.”

Pelosi said that those who “reject terminating a pregnancy” should “love contraception,” and said that those who were opposed to this were hypocrites as they themselves did not have large families.
4. Catholics in Biden’s cabinet mirror him on abortion, By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency, January 21, 2021, 5:45 AM
While President Joe Biden has nominated a number of Catholics to serve in his cabinet, some of them have publicly contradicted Church teaching on abortion.

Xavier Becerra, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, was previously attorney general of California. In that role he defended the state’s law mandating that medically licensed pro-life pregnancy centers advertise where clients could obtain abortions.

Biden nominated Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to serve as Secretary of Labor. During his campaign for mayor in 2013, Walsh’s campaign website said that the disparity in the number of pro-life pregnancy centers to abortion clinics in Boston was detrimental to women’s health.
“In terms of reproductive choices, crisis pregnancy centers outnumber women’s health providers in Boston three to one, seriously undermining women’s access to quality family planning, appropriate counseling, and overall choice,” the website said.
Walsh also recieved a “Men for Choice” award from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts in 2016, according to the Boston Globe. Walsh stressed to that “I’m a pro-choice candidate, I’m a pro-choice mayor, I was a pro-choice legislator.
Three other cabinet nominees–Gina Raimondo, Tom Vilsack, and Jennifer Granholm–all backed pro-abortion measures in their roles as governor of Rhode Island, Iowa, and Michigan, respectively. Raimondo has been tapped to lead the Commerce Department, Vilsack the Agriculture Department, and Granholm the Department of Energy.
Denis McDonough, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, served as White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama, who held pro-abortion policy positions.
5. Sen. Tom Cotton: Xavier Becerra nomination – here’s why Senate should reject culture warrior for HHS post, Becerra has no experience in public health, large-scale logistics or other pandemic challenges, By Sen. Tom Cotton, Fox News, January 21, 2021, Opinion
But Becerra is most extreme when it comes to abortion. In Congress, he earned perfect scores from Planned Parenthood and NARAL by voting, for example, against the 2003 bill that banned partial-birth abortions. Becerra also cosponsored bills that would have mandated HHS to conduct research using human embryonic stem cells and forced religious employers like Hobby Lobby to cover contraception, such as the morning-after pill, that violates their sincere religious convictions.
Besides his extreme views, though, perhaps most alarming is how Becerra has wielded his power as attorney general to harass his political opponents with a flood of lawsuits and prosecutions.
Becerra has targeted social conservatives, religious groups and others who deny the Democratic Party’s dogmas about life, marriage and the family.

Consider two of Becerra’s rogue abuses of the law and his office.
Becerra prosecuted pro-life activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, who released undercover footage of Planned Parenthood executives discussing the sale of the body parts of aborted babies.

Another example is the Supreme Court case bearing his name, NIFLA v. Becerra.
Becerra defended California’s Reproductive FACT Act, a law targeting pro-life pregnancy crisis centers. The FACT Act compelled licensed pro-life clinics to distribute notices to their patients advertising the state’s free and low-cost abortion programs. The act also required unlicensed pregnancy centers – which frequently provide ultrasounds, pregnancy tests and counseling to women in need – to “conspicuously” post “in no less than 48-point type” that they are “not licensed as a medical facility by the State of California.”
The law notoriously did not impose the same demands on other clinics, such as those that provide free birth control.
The Supreme Court ruled against Becerra, explaining that the act compelled pro-life clinics to promote the very service they exist to oppose, a gross violation of the First Amendment.
Republican Tom Cotton represents Arkansas in the United States Senate.
6. USCCB President’s Statement on the Inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as 46th President of the United States of America, By Archbishop José H. Gomez, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 20, 2021
I look forward to working with President Biden and his administration, and the new Congress. As with every administration, there will be areas where we agree and work closely together and areas where we will have principled disagreement and strong opposition.
Working with President Biden will be unique, however, as he is our first president in 60 years to profess the Catholic faith. In a time of growing and aggressive secularism in American culture, when religious believers face many challenges, it will be refreshing to engage with a President who clearly understands, in a deep and personal way, the importance of religious faith and institutions. Mr. Biden’s piety and personal story, his moving witness to how his faith has brought him solace in times of darkness and tragedy, his longstanding commitment to the Gospel’s priority for the poor — all of this I find hopeful and inspiring.
At the same time, as pastors, the nation’s bishops are given the duty of proclaiming the Gospel in all its truth and power, in season and out of season, even when that teaching is inconvenient or when the Gospel’s truths run contrary to the directions of the wider society and culture. So, I must point out that our new President has pledged to pursue certain policies that would advance moral evils and threaten human life and dignity, most seriously in the areas of abortion, contraception, marriage, and gender. Of deep concern is the liberty of the Church and the freedom of believers to live according to their consciences.
Our commitments on issues of human sexuality and the family, as with our commitments in every other area — such as abolishing the death penalty or seeking a health care system and economy that truly serves the human person — are guided by Christ’s great commandment to love and to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable.
For the nation’s bishops, the continued injustice of abortion remains the “preeminent priority.”

Abortion is a direct attack on life that also wounds the woman and undermines the family. It is not only a private matter, it raises troubling and fundamental questions of fraternity, solidarity, and inclusion in the human community. It is also a matter of social justice. We cannot ignore the reality that abortion rates are much higher among the poor and minorities, and that the procedure is regularly used to eliminate children who would be born with disabilities.
Rather than impose further expansions of abortion and contraception, as he has promised, I am hopeful that the new President and his administration will work with the Church and others of good will. My hope is that we can begin a dialogue to address the complicated cultural and economic factors that are driving abortion and discouraging families. My hope, too, is that we can work together to finally put in place a coherent family policy in this country, one that acknowledges the crucial importance of strong marriages and parenting to the well-being of children and the stability of communities. If the President, with full respect for the Church’s religious freedom, were to engage in this conversation, it would go a long way toward restoring the civil balance and healing our country’s needs.
The Most Reverend José H. Gomez is the Archbishop of Los Angeles and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
7. In unprecedented move, Cardinal Cupich criticizes USCCB statement on Biden, By Catholic News Agency, January 20, 2021, 5:04 PM
Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, used Twitter to issue a scathing criticism of the USCCB’s official statement on the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
In his four-part Twitter thread on Wednesday, Cardinal Cupich said that “the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued an ill-considered statement on the day of President Biden’s inauguration. Aside from the fact that there is seemingly no precedent for doing so, the statement, critical of President Biden, came as a surprise to many bishops, who received it just hours before it was released.”
“The statement was crafted without the involvement of the Administrative Committee, a collegial consultation that is a normal course for statements that represent and enjoy the considered endorsement of the American bishops,” he said.
“The internal institutional failures involved must be addressed, and I look forward to contributing to all efforts to that end, so that, inspired by the Gospel, we can build up the unity of the Church, and together take up the work of healing our nation in this moment of crisis,” the cardinal said.

Three different bishops speaking on background to CNA said they were aware that Cardinal Cupich wanted a more supportive, clearly pro-Biden statement, and that he spent most of Wednesday trying to get the support of other bishops to come up with an alternative statement.
8. Knights of Columbus affirm Archbishop Gomez’ ‘balanced and prophetic statement’ on inauguration, By Catholic News Agency, January 20, 2021, 3:51 PM
The head of the Knights of Columbus on Wednesday expressed gratitude for the “balanced and prophetic” statement issued by the US bishops’ conference on the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden.
Supreme Knight Carl Anderson said Jan. 20 that the Knights are “grateful to Archbishop Gómez and the leadership of the USCCB for their balanced and prophetic statement about the teaching of the Church in relation to the issues that we face in our country.”
9. Archbishop Cordileone prays for Biden, states his support for USCCB president, By Catholic News Agency, January 20, 2021, 10:47 AM
The Archbishop of San Francisco on Wednesday stated his support for the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) president, who had noted areas of collaboration and concern with incoming President Joe Biden.
In a prepared statement that was not released on Wednesday morning as scheduled–but published later in the day after the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States–USCCB president Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles prayed for Biden. He noted areas of both agreement and disagreement between the bishops and Biden, who is Catholic.
According to sources at the conference, figures within the conference pushed back on language in the prepared statement that had highlighted areas of concern with the incoming Biden administration on abortion, gender, and religious freedom.
10. Indian PM meets with delegation of Catholic cardinals, By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux, January 20, 2021
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was asked to invite Pope Francis to the country during a Jan. 19 meeting with three of the country’s cardinals.

The cardinals also discussed the distribution of funds and scholarships for minorities in the country, claiming that Christians were not receiving their fair share.
Alencherry also said the cardinals brought up the jailing of Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, a longtime human rights activist in the country.
11. Pope prays Biden works to heal divisions, promote human dignity, By Catholic News Service, January 20, 2021
Pope Francis prayed that President Joe Biden would work to heal the divisions in U.S. society and promote human dignity and peace around the globe.
“Under your leadership, may the American people continue to draw strength from the lofty political, ethical and religious values that have inspired the nation since its founding,” the pope wrote in a congratulatory message Jan. 20 as Biden was inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.
Popes traditionally have sent such messages and assurances of prayer to a new U.S. president upon his inauguration and have included mention of issues of concern, particularly about the dignity of every human life.
12. Vatican begins vaccinating residents of its homeless shelters, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, January 20, 2021
As the Vatican health service continued vaccinating Vatican residents and employees against COVID-19, it also began offering the vaccine to homeless people who live in Vatican-owned shelters.
The first 25 shelter residents were vaccinated Jan. 20, the Vatican said, and more will be given the vaccine in the coming days.
13. Report: Probe can’t account for $2 million sent from Vatican to Australia, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, January 20, 2021, 12:00 PM
Investigators examining transfers from the Vatican to Australia have been unable to account for around $1.9 million sent between the two countries, local media reported on Wednesday.
Another $5.4 million in Vatican-linked transfers have been identified as being for legitimate expenses, such as travel, wages, and pension payments, The Australian newspaper said on Jan. 20.
Australian authorities have been investigating suspicious transfers from the Vatican to Australia for several months.
14. Second federal court strikes down transgender mandate, By Catholic News Agency, January 20, 2021, 7:55 AM
A federal court struck down the transgender mandate on Tuesday, the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The mandate that doctors perform gender-transition surgeries upon the referral of a mental health professional—despite objections that the doctor may have to the procedure—dates back to the Obama administration.
On Tuesday evening, Judge Peter Welte of the Eastern District of North Dakota granted Catholic groups that challenged the mandate permanent injunctive relief from having to provide or cover gender-transition procedures.

The court is the second federal court to rule against the mandate. In Oct., 2019, Judge Reed O’Connor of the North District of Texas struck down the mandate after doctors had sued, alleging violations of conscience.

The mandate, issued in 2016, stemmed from the Obama administration’s interpretation of Sec. 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in health care in a number of areas.
The administration interpreted it to include protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and issued its requirement of doctors not to refuse gender-transition surgery referrals.

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!

“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.