1. Barr: Religious freedom central to democracy.

By Jeff Mordock, The Washington Times, January 30, 2020, Pg. A2

Attorney General William Barr warned Wednesday that militant secularism is suppressing religious liberty in the marketplace of ideas.

In an interview with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on his SiriusXM radio show, Mr. Barr said religious freedom is essential to maintaining limited government.

“To me, the problem today is not that religious people are trying to impose their views on nonreligious people. It’s the opposite. It’s that militant secularists are trying to impose their values on religious people and they’re not accommodating the freedom of religion of people of faith,” he said.


2. Help Families and Catholic Schools by Ending the Blaine Amendments.

By Grazie Christie & Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Real Clear Religion, January 30, 2020

At the heart of Espinoza are the infamous Blaine Amendments that are found in the constitutions of 37 states, including Montana. These laws were passed during dark days of anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic bigotry in the 1800’s to prohibit the government from funding schools run by the Catholic Church for newly-arrived immigrant children. At that time, public school students read from Protestant Bibles and recited Protestant prayers. Catholic schools were safe havens from nativist hostility to immigrants as well as the imposition of Protestantism. Today, Catholic schools are a bastion against liberal secularism, the new “religion” found in our public schools.

The state’s Blaine Amendment prompted the Montana Supreme Court to shut down a tax-credit scholarship program that awarded money to low-income families to defray tuition costs at religious and non-religious private schools. The mothers who’ve challenged this ruling all the way to U.S. Supreme Court argue that the free exercise of religion guaranteed under our First Amendment means that the state can’t exclude families from a scholarship program simply because they choose religious schools. Low-income parents across the country, hoping for a little help from the government so they can send their kids to a parochial school, may well find their dreams realized if the infamous Blaine Amendments are ruled unconstitutional.

One of the amicus briefs supporting the plaintiffs shared the overwhelmingly positive experience of seven Montana Catholic school families. The Catholic Association Foundation’s friend of the court brief makes clear what’s at stake for parents who need financial assistance to send their kids to Catholic schools. Disadvantaged students educated in Catholic schools – generally at a per-pupil cost far lower than their public counterparts – have had their lives transformed and been given tools that too many public school kids can only dream of receiving. Free from damaging ideologies and experimental teaching styles, and from the clash of economic and political interests that roil today’s public school system, Catholic schools are characterized by an atmosphere of cooperation and trust. Their clear and shared moral vision puts the ethical and moral development of each student on the same level as academic growth.

Everyone, we think, has a stake in Catholic schools’ success. These schools stand out in an American educational landscape that is sadly deficient. The end of the Blaine Amendments in Montana and the many other states where religious intolerance is kept alive could spell the beginning of better opportunities for the students who need them most.

Dr. Grazie Christie is Senior Policy Advisor at The Catholic Association. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is a Legal Advisor at the Catholic Association. They are also co-hosts of Conversations with Consequences, an engaging and in-depth radio show airing Saturdays at 5 pm EST on EWTN-affiliates and Sirius XM Channel 130.


3. Pro-lifers’ ad gets quietly sidelined for Super Bowl lineup.

By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, January 30, 2020, Pg. A1

This year’s Super Bowl should have no shortage of controversial ads, including spots featuring President Trump, Michael R. Bloomberg and drag queens, but there was one commercial that pro-lifers say was too hot for the network to handle.

Lyric Gillett, founder of Faces of Choice, accused Fox, which is broadcasting the game, of stringing her along after she began negotiating in July to air a powerful black-and-white ad featuring adults and children of different genders and ethnicities with one thing in common: they survived abortions.

“In an era where we’re trying to give survivors a voice, whether that is through the #MeToo movement or on any number of issues, for some reason we deem survivors of abortion worthy of being ignored into oblivion,” said Ms. Gillett. “That, to me, is both ironic but also just appalling.”


4. Court to decide fate of French cardinal in sex abuse coverup.

By Nicolas Vaux-Montagny, Associated Press, January 30, 2020, 7:15 AM

A French appeals court is deciding whether a French cardinal is guilty of covering up the sexual abuse of minors in his flock.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the archbishop of Lyon, was found guilty in March of failing to report a predator priest to police and given a six-month suspended sentence. But Pope Francis refused to accept the cardinal’s decision to resign until the appeals process is complete.

The Lyon court, in southeast France, is to rule Thursday afternoon. The prosecutor’s office was seeking an acquittal.


5. New database of abusive clergy will ‘put pressure’ on bishops to improve transparency.

By Christopher White, Crux, January 30, 2020

A new, independent database listing nearly 6,000 priests accused of abuse was launched this week, marking what some observers say is a sign of a new era of transparency in the Catholic Church and others labeling it the “privatization of justice” after years of church leaders blocking such efforts.

The database, which was activated on Monday, was a yearlong effort by ProPublica, “a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.” The launch comes after the 2018 release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which sent shock waves through the U.S. Church as it chronicled seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 victims at the hands of 300 priests.

Since then, numerous dioceses have rushed to publish their own list of accused priests.

As of January 20, they note, there have been at least 178 lists produced by U.S. dioceses and religious orders. 41 dioceses and dozens more religious orders, they write, have not yet done so.

Terrence McKierney, president and co-director of the organization, Bishop Accountability, hailed the ProPublica effort as one that “absolutely will increase pressure on other dioceses to publish lists.”


6. Appeals court says Catholic university not obligated to allow unionizing.

By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, January 29, 2020

A Jan. 28 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington reversed a 2017 ruling by the National Labor Relations Board ordering a Pittsburgh Catholic university to bargain with its adjunct faculty group.

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities applauded the decision in Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit v. National Labor Relations Board.

“For us, this has always been a case about how the government decides to recognize our designation as faith-based institutions,” the association said.


7. Nonprofit, archdiocese invest more than $90M in 30 schools.

By Associated Press, January 29, 2020, 11:51 AM

The Archdiocese of Chicago and a nonprofit will together invest more than $90 million over 10 years in 30 Catholic schools in lower-income neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides, officials announced Wednesday.

Under the agreement, Big Shoulders Fund will donate $47.5 million to the schools serving 5,600 students and assume their financial risk while the archdiocese will provide $44.9 million, they said. The deal also will let the archdiocese stabilize its annual operating aid for Catholic schools.


8. Federal court hears Kentucky abortion procedure law appeal.

By Dylan Lovan, Associated Press, January 29, 2020, 4:18 PM

Kentucky officials have asked a federal appeals court to restore a state law that bans a common second trimester abortion procedure.

The law passed in 2018 was struck down last year by a federal judge in Frankfort, who ruled that it creates a “substantial obstacle” to a woman’s right to an abortion.

The Kentucky Attorney General’s office argued on behalf of the law Wednesday before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.


9. Women at the March for Life Reject the Pro-Choice Feminist Narrative.

By Katie Yoder and Mairead McArdle, National Review, January 29, 2020, 2:45 PM

Despite the feminist narrative peddled to them by the abortion industry and pro-choice advocates, the tens of thousands of women who traveled to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life believe that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman.

From mothers to teenagers to U.S. Senate candidates, women at the 47th annual march told National Review that they stood behind the rally’s theme: “Life Empowers: Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.”

Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association agreed, saying that “women have been sold a lot of lies about what empowerment is.”

“I think the ability of women to bring new life into the world is one of our most unique and empowering qualities,” she said. “And I think abortion has served to sort of train women to deny that about themselves, to think that they’re not capable of both succeeding in other ways and being a mom.”

She criticized second-wave feminists for setting up “this standard that the way women achieve equality with men is to be like men.” Abortion, she said, was “the ultimate masculinization of women, but in a violent and hideous way.”

While she recognized that the “feminist movement has tethered itself to the pro-choice movement,” she had hope for the future.

“I actually think it’ll be this generation’s group of feminists that will drive forward sort of a new, a pro-life feminism,” she concluded.


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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