1. When an angry mob topples a statue sacred to Hispanic Catholics, Attacking the image of St. Junipero Serra sows division and exposes vandals’ ignorance, By Grazie Pozo Christie, The Washington Times, July 21, 2020, Pg. B1, Opinion

An angry mob vented its spleen against yet another statue depicting St. Junipero Serra — a figure sacred to Hispanic Catholics — toppling it, burning and beating it with sledgehammers.

The simple monument stood before the state capitol in Sacramento as a tribute to the Hispanic pre-history of the great state; its base was decorated with a map of the 21 Franciscan missions that settled California during the 1700s. This violent assault makes the goal of the gentle saint’s work in the New World — a harmonious society fully invested in the dignity and rights of all people — more elusive. And that is a great shame, because the vast majority of Americans today desire this same unity.

For Hispanics, Serra’s life’s work — his excruciating, months-long evangelical journeys up and down the California wilderness, his peaceful missions where agriculture was taught and noble Christian ideals like the inherent dignity of man were communicated — show that this line was drawn along the farthest edge of the saint’s heart.

Those who’ve destroyed St. Junipero’s images live comfortable and materially-abundant lives unlike most experienced in human history — and they likely can’t imagine the expansionist urge that sent the Spanish to the New World. It is too difficult, when good things come to them without having to cross oceans in creaking ships to find them.

And if God or the transcendent don’t figure as a force in their own lives, Catholic missionary zeal (undertaken as a work of love) must be entirely incomprehensible. Perhaps these young liberals are sure that by a process of moral evolution each successive generation is kinder and more enlightened — and that denizens of the past are to be judged by modern standards and invariably found wanting.

Although they hold themselves as vastly morally superior to St. Junipero and his brother monks, a better sense of history and some insight into their own condition might prompt them to reflect on where the line between good and evil crosses in their own hearts.

Grazie Pozo Christie is a policy adviser for The Catholic Association


2. Rollback Of Gender Protection Spurs Suit, By Stephanie Armour, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2020, Pg. A3

Two dozen Democratic attorneys general on Monday sued the Trump administration to block its rule ending protection against discrimination in health care for transgender patients.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks an immediate halt to the rule, which the Department of Health and Human Services issued last month.

The rule reversed an earlier Obama-era interpretation of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that barred discrimination by health organizations against patients based on age, race, color, disability, national origin or sex. The Obama administration’s definition of sex included gender identity, which meant most insurers couldn’t refuse treatment related to gender transitioning.

The rule is part of a broader Trump administration effort to advance religious protections, which have led to a spate of lawsuits.


3. Pope concerned by increased tensions between Armenia, Azerbaijan, By Junno Arocho Esteves, Crux, July 21, 2020

Pope Francis expressed his concern over escalating hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, prompting renewed fears of war in the Caucasus region.

After praying with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Sunday Angelus address July 19, the pope offered prayers for all suffering from COVID-19, as well as those suffering from economic repercussions “and situations of conflict.”

“In particular, I am following and am concerned about the renewed armed tensions in the past few days in the Caucasus region between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.


4. Argentine bishops battle corruption, legalized abortion, By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 21, 2020

Last week the city of Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, came a step closer to legalizing abortion. The Catholic bishops answered with a statement on the dignity of life, which, they argue, is not against the rights of women but in favor of life.

In the meantime, the bishops of Pope Francis’s native country are also leading a campaign against corruption, which one prelate has described as a virus as lethal as the coronavirus pandemic.


5. Vatican: In rare cases, lay faithful can lead marriage rite, By Associated Press, July 20, 2020, 8:23 AM

The Vatican said on Monday that in very exceptional circumstances and with special permission, lay Catholics can be allowed to perform marriage rites.

In a document issued by the Holy See office for clergy, the Vatican said that could only happen if there are no priests or deacons available, the nation’s bishops sign off on the exception and the Holy See OKs it too.


6. US religious freedom commission urges ‘more aggressive’ sanctions, By Catholic News Agency, July 20, 2020, 2:30 PM

The Trump administration needs to step up its pressure on religious freedom violators, said leaders of a federal religious freedom commission on Monday.

While the administration is sanctioning human rights abusers, it is not applying the same level of pressure to persecutors of religious minorities around the world,  wrote Gayle Manchin, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in a joint op-ed with USCIRF vice-chair Tony Perkins in the Washington Examiner.

“The imposition of a more aggressive targeted sanctions regime would go a long way in deterring religious freedom violators, bringing accountability to the perpetrators, and ultimately creating a world where all are free to practice their faith,” Manchin and Perkins wrote.


7. Attacks on Catholic statues continue over weekend, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, July 20, 2020, 3:43 PM

Several Catholic churches in the United States reported vandalism and other damage to statues over the past weekend, the latest in a spate of church vandalism over recent weeks.

While some attacks on statues, most notably in California, have been committed in public by large groups with clear political affiliations, the perpetrators of other acts, including those against the images of the Virgin Mary and Christ, have not been identified.


8. Democratic Party Aligns With the Growing Disregard for Religious Exemptions, According to pro-life Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski, ‘there are Democrats now who say that religious freedom, religious liberty are just code words for bigotry.’, By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, July 20, 2020

In the past year, opposition to religious exemptions has become more evident in the Democratic Party, especially when it comes to abortion and contraception — including among the party’s congressional leadership and its presumptive presidential nominee. 

Recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., discussed the “injustice” of the Hyde Amendment, a 44-year-old appropriations rider that blocks taxpayer funding of abortion and has been included in spending bills for decades on a bipartisan basis.

Additionally, many Democrats, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, voiced their disappointment at the Little Sisters of the Poor’s religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate being upheld at the Supreme Court. Biden commented that the ruling would “continue to strip health care from women.”

The shift of Democrats like Casey and Kaptur on these issues is reflective of a larger shift in the party.

The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), after all, was introduced by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and co-sponsored by then-Rep. Pelosi. The legislation, which clarifies the standards to protect religious liberty that should be applied in legal cases involving the Free-Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, passed unanimously in the House and nearly unanimously in the Senate, with just three votes against it.

By contrast, a large group of Democrats now seek to amend RFRA to specify that religious exceptions should not apply to “access to, information about, referrals for, provision of, or coverage for, any health-care item or service.”

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., is in political terms a victim of this party shift as an eight-term Catholic, pro-life congressman who lost his primary recently to pro-abortion challenger Marie Newman after abortion groups backed her with substantial funding.

Lipinski, who is Catholic, told the Register that “there are Democrats now who say that religious freedom, religious liberty are just code words for bigotry, and that’s very troubling to me.”


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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