1. Worthless or priceless?, Supreme Court to consider: Are our rights only valuable when a price tag is on them?, By John Bursch, The Washington Times, July 16, 2020, Pg. B4, Opinion

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide an enormously important question: How much do we value constitutional rights? The case, Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski, will decide whether constitutional violations that do not cause actual damages — like many government infringements of free speech or religious liberty — are worthless or priceless.

The Uzuegbunam case will resolve this conflict. I and my colleagues at Alliance Defending Freedom represent Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford, two now-former students at Georgia Gwinnett College. In 2016, while Chike was standing outside on campus, handing out literature and sharing his Christian beliefs, a college administrator stopped him. The administrator ordered him to stop speaking because he was not standing in one of the two microscopic “speech zones” where the college allowed student expression.

John Bursch is vice president of appellate advocacy and senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends), which represents Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford. John Bursch served as Michigan’s solicitor general (2011-13).


2. Disputes over Christopher Columbus statues play out in court; Knights of Columbus defend name, By Pat Eaton-Robb, Associated Press, July 16, 2020

Disputes over what to do with statues of Christopher Columbus in Connecticut have resulted in both civil and criminal complaints.

Sculptures of the explorer were erected in the 19th and 20th centuries across the state, which has a large Italian-American population, but many were taken down this summer following widespread racial injustice protests that began following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Demonstrators have targeted the statues because they say the Italian explorer was responsible for the genocide and exploitation of native peoples in the Americas.

City officials… are considering options, including the possibility of moving the monument to the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven.

Although they did not put up the statues, the Knights of Columbus believe that society needs to have a “civil debate on these issues and not settle differences with mob violence and destruction,” he said.


3. German archdiocese plans to cut parishes from 1,000 to 40, By Catholic News Agency, July 16, 2020, 5:45 AM

A German archdiocese is pressing ahead with plans to dramatically reduce the number of its parishes despite the Vatican’s decision to block a similar plan in another diocese.

CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German language news partner, reported July 15 that Archbishop Stephan Burger intends to turn the archdiocese’s 1,000 parishes into 40 mega parishes. 


4. Cardinal Dolan: Recent AP Story Sought to ‘Bash’ the Catholic Church, By Cardinal Timothy Dolan, National Review, July 15, 2020, 2:33 PM

Last week, the Associated Press published a scurrilous article, heavy on innuendo, about Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, charitable organizations, and other institutions that rightly received assistance from the federal government to pay their employees during the Covid-19 crisis.   Many news outlets picked up the story, which implied that there was something amiss in Catholic institutions receiving paycheck protection money.  Many of you have called or emailed me, wanting to know if the story was true.  My answer, quite simply, is absolutely not!   It was misleading at best, outright false at worst.  Here’s why.

First, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was designed to help employers continue to pay its employees when the economy went into lockdown in response to the coronavirus.  The purpose was to keep employees employed during these difficult times.  Religious institutions were invited and permitted to participate, as they employ large numbers of people across the country.  Here in the Archdiocese of New York, if you combine the number of fulltime employees in our parishes, schools, agencies, and central administration, there would be 6000 fulltime and 4000 part-time employees.  Without assistance from the PPP, many of our employers would have had no choice but to lay-off their employees, reducing the church’s ability to assist people in need, and forcing our people to seek unemployment.    That means your parish’s secretary, or the teachers in your child’s Catholic school, for instance, could easily have lost their jobs.  So, the money did not go to “the archdiocese” but to our workers.  The USCCB released a statement Friday which touched on many of these themes.  You can read their statement here.

A second problem is that the article tries to make some sort of connection between the sexual abuse crisis that has haunted the Church, and the Paycheck Protection Plan assistance.  Make no mistake, the money that the Archdiocese of New York received was used solely for the purposes outlined in the law, that is to continue to pay employees their salaries and benefits. Not one penny of that money was used in any way to settle lawsuits or pay victim-survivors of abuse.   We have none of this money left.  It has all be distributed to our workers, and the government is carefully auditing it.

Third, the AP article focuses solely on the Catholic Church, making it seem as if Catholics are unique in participating in the Paycheck Protection Plan.  In fact, religious organizations representing all faiths participated in the program, as it was intended.  Nationally, the Small Business Administration approved over 88,000 loans for religious organizations, supporting more than 1 million jobs.  Why then focus solely on the Catholic Church, unless the reporters had some animus towards the Church (which we suspect they do)?

Let me be clear: I am a fervent supporter of a free press, and have made it a priority of my tenure as Archbishop of New York to be open and available to the men and women of the media who seek to interview me.   The overwhelming number of reporters with whom I have interacted have been dedicated to their craft, seeking to get the story right, and by and large the coverage of the Church has been fair – critical and honest when reporting on my mistakes, willing to report on positive developments as well. 

This AP story, however, did neither.  It invented a story when none existed, and sought to bash the Church. 

Forgive me for “venting” in this way.  I usually take the advice of those who counsel me to not pick a fight in the press with someone who buys printers ink by the barrel – or, in today’s parlance, I guess, someone who has unlimited bandwidth.  But this story was so inaccurate, and left such a damaging impression I felt it was important to set the record straight with you.

Cardinal Dolan is Archbishop of New York


5. House committees reject pro-life amendments, By Catholic News Agency, July 15, 2020, 4:00 PM

Efforts to remove abortion funding in next year’s federal budget failed in the House Appropriations Committee earlier this week.

Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Andy Harris (R-Md.) offered pro-life amendments to legislation funding the government for the 2021 fiscal year, but their efforts were defeated when the full committee was considering the bills.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Cole offered an amendment to remove pro-abortion “poison pill riders” from a budget bill for the departments of Labor and Health and Human Services, or the “Labor-H” appropriations bill.

The bill, he said, was fundamentally flawed and so his amendment would prevent it from becoming law.

The Labor-H bill would defund abstinence-only education providers, would require health clinics that receive Title X family planning funding to refer for abortions, and would fund Planned Parenthood, he said.

The bill would also block funding of HHS to enforce conscience protections for doctors, health care workers, and faith-based organizations who don’t want to provide, participate in, refer for, or cover sterilizations, doctor-prescribed suicides, and abortions.


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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