1. Federal judge places hold on Tennessee heartbeat-based abortion ban, By Catholic News Agency, July 15, 2020, 4:00 AM

Citing the need to protect the unborn, the Tennessee governor has signed strong heartbeat-based abortion restrictions into law. However, a federal judge quickly placed a temporary injunction on the law.

“We all have the responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our community,” Governor Bill Lee said in a signing ceremony broadcast on Facebook Live July 14. “The most vulnerable in Tennessee includes the unborn.”

With the signing of the bill, he said, Tennessee becomes “one of the most pro-life states in America”.


2. ‘Pray for Your Poor Uncle,’ a Predatory Priest Told His Victims, As former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick became a powerful figure in the church, several boys from one family say he targeted them, By Elizabeth Bruenig, The New York Times, July 15, 2020, 5:00 AM

Rain fell in New York City four days before Christmas of 2018. Francis M. had planned to be in the city that day for business, but he had dutifully put aside time when asked to answer questions at the Archdiocese of New York offices about his experiences with “Uncle Ted” — former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

A tall, broad-shouldered man nearing 60 at the time, with blue eyes and steely gray hair, Francis had been in enough depositions in his career as an attorney to know how these question-and-answer sessions went. He assumed he would relate the story of his interactions with Mr. McCarrick, which began when he was 11, and then he would return to his usual routine.

Francis told me he thinks it’s possible to distinguish the church from the people who have for decades debased it. How dearly I wanted to hear that; how crucial it was for me to believe it. Francis went on in his gentle, searching tone. “All throughout the church, and the church’s history, you can see times where there were people who were really living testaments to their faith,” he said. “And you can see people who took advantage of the power that they had. And that God allows that is just kind of, part of the mystery we’re all going to have to figure out, when we go to ask him. Right?”


3. Catholic Symbols of the Faith Targeted in Recent Statue Attacks, One priest believes ‘that prayers and priestly blessings are always the appropriate response to vandalization of holy things and images of saints.’, By Mary Rose Short, National Catholic Register, July 15, 2020

Throughout the past weeks, vandals have destroyed and defaced statues across the United States. Memorials to historical figures on both public and private property have been defaced with paint, toppled, or removed entirely. Statues of Mary and the saints are among the damaged, leaving Catholics with questions of how to respond.

“I think the statue-toppling did begin as part of the Black Lives Matter movement and was focused on the Confederate statues,” V. Bradley Lewis, a professor at The Catholic University of America, told the Register. “But it has clearly taken on its own momentum now, and any statue of a person held to be at odds with contemporary political opinions seems to be fair game.”

Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, was one of the first bishops to publicly denounce the destruction of statues and memorials, saying, “I cannot remain silent.” He released a letter decrying the vandalism. “The secular iconoclasm of the current moment will not bring reconciliation, peace and healing,” he wrote. “Such violence will only perpetuate the prejudice and hatred it ostensibly seeks to end.”

Even statues on church grounds are a target. St. Patrick’s Church in Joliet, Illinois, reported that vandals destroyed a small statue of the Blessed Virgin in front of the parish rectory during the night on June 23. The church pledged to replace the statue and build a grotto to protect it in the future. “We ask that you take this as a call to pray even more fervently for the conversion of hearts,” a representative of the church said on the church’s Facebook page.

National news outlets reported on San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s prayer service and exorcism in Golden Gate Park at the site of a destroyed statue of St. Junípero Serra. Archbishop Cordileone said the service was in response to “an act of sacrilege.”


4. Tennessee gov to do ‘whatever it takes’ in abortion fight, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, July 14, 2020, 6:25 PM

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that he will do “whatever it takes in court” to defend one of the strictest abortion bans in the country currently blocked from being implemented.

Lee had signed the abortion measure into law the day before. However, a federal judge quickly granted a temporary restraining order because he was “bound by the Supreme Court holdings prohibiting undue burdens on the availability of pre-viability abortions.”


5. Criticism of Cardinal Dolan letter ‘silly,’ Weigel publisher says, By JD Flynn, Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2020, 6:30 PM

The publisher of a new book by papal biographer George Weigel said Tuesday that it sent Weigel’s latest text to Catholic cardinals as a matter of course, and that it often sends newly published books to Catholic leaders.

“It’s not uncommon for Catholic publishers to send books to Catholic leaders, including cardinals and bishops. It certainly isn’t uncommon for us. But even if it were uncommon, there is nothing scandalous about it,” Mark Brumley, president of Ignatius Press, told CNA, after a July 14 report from the National Catholic Reporter said that New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan had sent the book, entitled “The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission,” to cardinals.

Dolan, who is known to be a longtime friend of Weigel’s, wrote a one-line cover letter when the publisher mailed the book to cardinals, Brumley told CNA. The letter said “I am grateful to Ignatius Press for making this important reflection on the future of the Church available to the College of Cardinals.”

While the National Catholic Reporter said the letter was “an apparent break with the longstanding practice that the Catholic Church’s highest prelates refrain from publicly lobbying for possible candidates for the papacy,” Brumley disagreed.

“It is scandalous for someone, with knowledge of the content of Cardinal Dolan’s letter, to assert or imply that Cardinal Dolan was politicking for a candidate for the next conclave. Or that the book is politicking for a candidate for the next conclave,” Brumley told CNA.

Weigel told CNA that the book, while titled “The Next Pope,” does not actually discuss the next papal conclave. Instead, he said it attempts to reflect on how the Church, and the papacy, can continue the mission of the New Evangelization in the decades to come.


6. Gail Collins v. the Little Sisters: A Concurrence, Cataloguing some of the errors in a New York Times column on the Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, By Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, July 14, 2020, 2:33 PM

Kathryn Lopez and Alexandra DeSanctis have both scorched Gail Collins’s attack on the Little Sisters of the Poor, and yet there is still more to say about how wrong it was. I’ll go through some of Collins’s errors and fatuities in the order they appeared in her column. I make no claim that my list is exhaustive.

1.Collins begins by spinning a hypothetical in which a group of nuns had a religious objection to cardiac care and refused to cover it for their employees. It would be absurd, she suggests, to allow this refusal.

In the full hypothetical, we would have had no mandate that cardiac care be covered for all of our history until recently. Then an administration would introduce that mandate but exempt the employers of tens of millions of people from it, often for reasons of administrative convenience, explaining to the Supreme Court (see p. 65) that these people would have plenty of sources of contraceptive coverage other than their employers. But it would simultaneously insist that the nuns who have a religious objection to the mandate should not get an exemption. And it would find no employee of theirs, in years of litigation, who expressed any concern about losing access to cardiac care.

Under these circumstances, it is hard to see how it could reasonably be maintained that making the nuns provide the coverage was the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest — as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act requires. So even these hypothetical nuns might win their case, and deserve to.

2. “But the nuns didn’t want to let the government know what they weren’t doing. That counted as aiding and abetting the enemy, so they dug in their heels.”

This is simply false.

3. “Now, other employers with religious scruples or simply a yen to save money will leap on the bandwagon.”

Collins may not realize it, but she is contradicting one of the key underpinnings of the legal campaign against the Little Sisters, which was that the coverage would not cost them anything.

4. “You have to admit the anticontraception forces were brilliant to get the Little Sisters of the Poor as their star in court.”

It is understandable that progressives resent the PR problem of looking as though they are bullying a group of charitable nuns. One simple solution to the problem would have been for them to refrain from bullying nuns.

5. “Groups like Planned Parenthood refused to cooperate with the Trump rule that prohibited doctors from giving their patients information on abortion availability.”

There is no Trump rule that prohibits doctors from giving patients information on abortion availability.

It is tempting to say that the case against the Little Sisters must be weak if this is the best effort it can make. The case is indeed weak. But what this column proves is that Collins is more interested in sneering about her subject than in learning anything about it.


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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