1. EU court rules employers can limit religious symbols, By Associated Press, July 15, 2021, 4:27 AM
The European Union’s top court ruled Thursday that employers may forbid the wearing of visible symbols of religious or political belief, such as headscarves.
But the Luxembourg-based tribunal said in its ruling that courts in the bloc’s 27 member states should weigh up whether the ban corresponded to a “genuine need” on the part of the employer. They must also consider the rights and interests of the employee, including by taking into account national legislation on freedom of religion, it said.
The case was brought before the Court of Justice of the European Union by two women in Germany who chose to wear Islamic headscarves at their workplaces.
2. Court hears church’s lawsuit over Washington state law on abortion coverage, By Catholic News Service, July 15, 2021
A Seattle-area Christian church is fighting a Washington state law that requires churches to provide coverage for abortion despite their religious or moral objections.
The law states that if the church also offers maternity care coverage to its employees, it must provide coverage of abortions or face fines and criminal penalties, including imprisonment.
3. Vatican’s historic cardinal trial risks becoming political football, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 15, 2021, Opinion
What impact it may have on the course of justice in a Vatican tribunal remains to be seen, but one point is becoming steadily clearer about the case of Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who’s been indicted along with nine other defendants for various forms of financial crime and corruption and who’s set to stand trial beginning July 27.
That point? Like everything else in the 21st century, the Becciu case is becoming politicized and is emerging as a litmus test for broader attitudes toward the Francis papacy.
If you like Pope Francis, if you’re inclined to think of him as a brave reformer struggling against a rigid and hidebound institution, then you probably see Becciu as Exhibit #1 for what he’s up against – a classic creature of the Italian old guard who’s resistant to change, and who, unsurprisingly, is also corrupt and got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
On the other hand, if you see Francis as an unstable and doctrinally dubious figure, someone who’s fostered a cult of personality around himself and visited vengeance upon anyone who dares defy it, then you may be inclined to see Becciu as a fall guy, a patsy, who’s being put through a show trial in order to insulate the pope and his guys – especially Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State and a core Francis loyalist – from any culpability.

For any legal system, it’s important that its outcomes not only be just but also be perceived as just. Right now, that may be an increasingly steep mountain for the Vatican tribunal to climb, given the obvious political subtext — indeed, the whole thing risks turning Becciu into the Jean Valjean of the Catholic right, someone seen as being hounded by an unjust system.
All this perhaps makes it all the more important that the process unfold with maximum transparency, and its verdicts be as bulletproof as possible.
4. Vatican’s financial watchdog highlights ‘increasing trend’ in reports to Promoter of Justice, By Catholic News Agency, July 15, 2021, 5:40 PM
The Vatican’s financial watchdog authority reported Thursday that it received 89 suspicious activity reports in 2020, 16 of which it forwarded to the Promoter of Justice for possible prosecution.
In a 52-page annual report, released July 15, the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority (ASIF) said that the figures underlined “an increasing trend” in the proportion of reports sent onwards compared to the number received.
“As regards financial intelligence, in 2020 the Authority received 89 suspicious activity reports (SARs), 85 of which from the supervised entity, 2 from public authorities, 1 from a non-profit organization (NPO), and 1 from another entity,” the report said.
“It forwarded 16 reports to the Office of the Promoter of Justice (OPJ), of which 10 were first reports and 6 supplementary ones. This confirms an increasing trend in the proportion of reports sent and SARs received, demonstrating a steady improvement in the quality of SARs.”
5. 20 states support South Carolina in abortion lawsuit, By Meg Kinnard, Associated Press, July 14, 2021, 4:20 PM
Twenty states are supporting South Carolina’s defense of a new abortion law, arguing in an amicus brief that a federal judge was wrong to pause the entire measure instead of just the provision facing a court challenge.
In a filing Tuesday with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the states, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall argued that U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis overstepped her authority when she put the entire abortion law on hold, rather than just the portion being challenged.

The states that signed onto the amicus brief are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. All but three have Republican governors.
6. More than 220,000 people left the Catholic Church in Germany in 2020, By Catholic News Agency, July 14, 2021, 7:00 AM
More than 220,000 people left Catholic Church in Germany in 2020, according to official figures released on Wednesday.
The statistics issued by the German bishops’ conference on July 14 showed that 221,390 people exited the Catholic Church last year.
The figure was almost 19% lower than that of 2019, when a record 272,771 people departed. But it was higher than the 2018 figure of 216,078, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
7. Road to nowhere: Vatican made 7m investment in fake US highway, By The Pillar, July 14, 2021
A now-indicted senior investment manager at the Vatican Secretariat of State duped the Holy See into investing millions with a fake proposal to fund a highway in North Carolina, according to Vatican prosecutors.

Enrico Crasso is one of 10 individuals indicted by Vatican prosecutors July 3 for financial crimes. Crasso, who for years oversaw the investment of millions of euros in Church funds, is charged with multiple crimes, including embezzlement, corruption, extortion, money laundering, fraud, abuse of office, and forgery. A 488-page indictment released last week contains details of the charges against him and other Vatican figures.
One accusation against Crasso is that the investment manager secured a 7 million euro Vatican bond investment by pitching an investment proposal which had been falsified: While it purported to be a bond raising money to finance the construction of a highway in North Carolina, the money was actually used to fund an equity stake in three Italian companies.
Prosecutors also allege that the bond, not actually for highway construction, was sold by a U.S. based company Crasso owned, HP Finance, and that Crasso never disclosed that fact to Vatican officials.

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.