1. Vatican criminal trial to shed light on failed Carige bank takeover, By Giselda Vagnoni, Reuters, July 19, 2021, 8:03 AM
The thwarted takeover of a troubled Italian bank in 2018 will come into focus in a forthcoming Vatican trial that is tied to Pope Francis’s efforts to clean up Holy See finances after decades of scandals.
Weakened by mismanagement and bad loans, Carige bank was placed under special administration by the European Central Bank in early 2019 after a failed attempt led by one of its main shareholders, Raffaele Mincione, to take control.
Vatican prosecutors allege that Mincione bought a stake in Carige with embezzled money including funds raised from faithful Catholics and intended for the needy.
They have indicted him and another nine people including a prominent Cardinal Angelo Becciu over a multi-million-euro scandal that also involves the Vatican’s purchase of a building in one of London’s smartest districts.
2. Both on communion and Latin Mass, ‘weaponization’ may be Pope’s target, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 18, 2021, Opinion
So far this summer, there’ve been two big upheavals on the American Catholic landscape. They’re global Catholic questions that hardly apply only to the States, but which, for one reason or another, are felt with special intensity by Americans.
The role of Pope Francis in both cases is especially revealing.
The first tumult came in June, when the US bishops voted to move forward with a document on the Eucharist which potentially could set the stage for denying communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians. The second erupted Friday, when Pope Francis reversed Pope emeritus Benedict XVI’s liberalization of permission to celebrate the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.

On communion, Pope Francis has discouraged any attempt by US bishops to use ecclesiastical authority to enforce discipline, while on the Latin Mass he’s doing so himself, insisting that celebration of the old Mass for now must be tightly circumscribed, and, with time, encouraged to die out.

So why is he willing to wield ecclesiastical authority on the latter but not the former? One explanation can be captured in a single word: “Weaponization.”

Underlying the “weaponization” complaint is an impression that many conservative Catholics in the States who want to see President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Catholic Democrats, turned away in communion lines, feel that way not just out of concern for unborn lives but for much broader ideological reasons.

Similarly on the Latin Mass, one has the impression that at least part of Francis’s aversion is the impression that its devotees are attached to the older rite to make a political statement. By attending the pre-Vatican II liturgy, at least some aren’t simply making a spiritual or aesthetic choice but declaring where they stand in the church’s internal tussles – including, of course, what they think about Francis’s papacy.

It’s also not to say Francis is entirely consistent. By aligning himself and the Church so clearly with Greta Thunberg and the anti-climate change movement, for instance, critics might charge that Francis himself has “weaponized” the faith, at least on that front.
3. Is Pope Francis Leading the Church to a Schism?, Disagreements over same-sex relationships and the role of women are heightening tensions among Catholics worldwide., By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2021, Pg. C1
German Catholics have been meeting since last year to consider major changes to church life, including the blessing of same-sex relationships and the ordination of women—moves that many see as essential reforms after the clerical sex-abuse crisis. But the effort has drawn fierce criticism.
Cardinal Rainer Woelki of Cologne, leader of the conservative minority of German bishops, has warned that the process could lead to a schism and even “a German national church.” His warnings have been echoed by cardinals and bishops in other countries. “Please join me in praying for the universal Church and the bishops in Germany, that they step back from this radical rupture,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said in May.

But German progressives deny any intention to break with Rome and insist they are taking their cues from the pope himself, who has encouraged free discussion of sensitive topics that were taboo under his conservative predecessors. The synod originated as a response to a 2018 report commissioned by Germany’s bishops on the clerical sex-abuse crisis, which called for a more positive attitude to homosexuality and for rethinking priestly celibacy and the church’s power structure. Organizers expanded the agenda to address the role of women.

The prospect of a formal schism may still be remote in the case of Germany, but the longer-term question remains of what to do about an undeniable drifting apart on matters that touch on core questions of biblical interpretation and traditional moral teaching.
4. Bishops issue guidance in response to Pope Francis’ document on the Traditional Latin Mass, By Catholic News Agency, July 17, 2021, 10:50 AM
A growing number of bishops in the United States, including Cardinal Wilton Gregory of Washington, have issued guidance regarding groups celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass in their dioceses, after a new document from Pope Francis on Friday imposed restrictions on the use of the traditional liturgy.

Bishops across the U.S. have granted permission for the Traditional Latin Mass to continue in their dioceses while they study the document and determine how to proceed.
5. Traditionis custodes: French Catholic bishops express ‘esteem’ for Traditional Latin Mass communities, By Catholic News Agency, July 17, 2021, 2:40 AM
France’s Catholic bishops expressed “esteem” on Saturday for the people and pastors of Traditional Latin Mass communities following the publication of Pope Francis’ motu proprio Traditionis custodes.
The bishops issued a statement on July 17, the day after the pope made sweeping changes to his predecessor Benedict XVI’s 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, which had acknowledged the right of all priests to say Mass using the Roman Missal of 1962.
6. Past, present U.S. officials cite value of protecting religious freedom, By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, July 17, 2021
In office or out of office, past and present leaders in the U.S. government stressed the need to push for religious freedom across the world during the July 13-15 International Religious Freedom Summit held in Washington.
Mike Pompeo, former secretary of state and CIA director, focused on China in his 10-minute speech.
“Forced abortion and sterilization should strike at the heart of every American who cares — or claims to care — about what happens in the world,” Pompeo said, repeating a charge leveled against China’s treatment of Uighur Muslim women.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., delivered prerecorded remarks, as did Samantha Power, the current administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and onetime U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Pompeo’s successor as secretary of state, Antony Blinken.

During a July 15 panel discussion, Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del., and James Lankford, R-Okla., talked about faith in their workplace — including their own, the Senate.

Melissa Rogers, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, garnered applause at the summit when she said Biden would appoint a new at-large ambassador for international religious freedom “in the coming weeks.” The seat has been vacant since Brownback exited the post with other appointees from the Donald Trump administration.
7. Former House member urges fierce protection of religious rights, By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, July 17, 2021
It’s been six years since Frank Wolf served in Congress for a dozen two-year terms. But for the 82-year-old retired congressman, the fire is still in his belly when it comes to protecting the religious rights of people worldwide.
“I have seen firsthand the results of genocide,” Wolf said in remarks July 14 at the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington.

Wolf, widely credited for getting the International Religious Freedom Act passed in 1998, recalled going on a mission to one country with Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and meeting with members of a persecuted religious minority. “When we went back,” he said, “every one of them had been murdered.”

Wolf turned his attention to China, “where Buddhist monks and nuns have been setting themselves on fire to protest their cultural annihilation by China … Falun Gong faces severe persecution amid continued reports of organ harvesting … More than 1 million Uighurs have been placed in detention camps.”
But what stirred Wolf’s ire anew is the specter of fellow former members of Congress lobbying their successors to lift restrictions placed on China for its persecution activities.

Wolf said, “We need a law prohibiting former members of Congress and high officials from representing companies complicit in genocide and religious persecution.”
“Until such legislation is passed, current members of Congress should not take political contributions form such lobbyists and nobody in Congress or the executive branch should meet with these lobbyists,” he added, garnering applause from those present.
8. Court: UI violated religious club’s First Amendment rights, By Margery A. Beck, Associated Press, July 16, 2021, 7:49 PM
A federal appeals court has upheld a 2019 ruling against the University of Iowa, affirming that the university discriminated against a Christian club by stripping it and dozens of other religious clubs of their registered status.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeal on Friday found that a lower federal court correctly ruled that the university can’t selectively deregister student organizations. That ruling came on a lawsuit filed by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship after university administrators deregistered its local chapter along with multiple other religious groups.

The appeals court said Friday that the university engaged in “viewpoint discrimination” by selectively enforcing its policy requiring all clubs to offer equal opportunity and access regardless of classifications including race, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.
9. Latin Mass Supporters React With Dismay to Pope’s Severe New Restrictions, ‘I pray that the faithful will not give way to the discouragement which such harshness necessarily engenders but will, with the help of divine grace, persevere in their love of the Church and of her pastors,’ Cardinal Raymond Burke told the Register, By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, July 16, 2021
Pope Francis has issued sweeping restrictions to the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, reversing previous papal decrees that had liberalized the Mass celebrated before the liturgical reforms of Pope St. Paul VI in 1970, and urging a “return in due time” to the liturgy instituted after the Second Vatican Council.

In comments to the Register, Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura, noted what he sees as a number of flaws in Traditionis Custodes, saying he could not understand how the new Roman Missal is the “unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman Rite,” as the new motu proprio states. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass “is a living form of the Roman Rite and has never ceased to be so,” Cardinal Burke noted.
He also could not understand why the motu proprio takes effect immediately, as the decree “contains many elements that require study regarding its application.”
The American cardinal further noted that in his long experience he has not witnessed the “gravely negative situation” Francis describes in his letter.

Cardinal Burke also questioned the motu proprio’s tone, observing that it is “marked by a harshness” towards faithful who worship in the Extraordinary Form.

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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