1. Facebook Wants To Host Your Virtual Pew, By Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times, July 26, 2021, Pg. A12
Last month, Facebook executives pitched their efforts to religious groups at a virtual faith summit. Sheryl Sandberg, the company’s chief operating officer, shared an online resource hub with tools to build congregations on the platform.
“Faith organizations and social media are a natural fit because fundamentally both are about connection,” Ms. Sandberg said.

 Bishop Robert Barron, founder of an influential Catholic media company, said Facebook “gave people kind of an intimate experience of the Mass that they wouldn’t normally have.”
2. The Growth of the Latin Mass: A Survey, By Crisis Magazine, July 26, 2021
Is TLM attendance growing? Most advocates of the TLM have assumed growth in recent months and years; Crisis Magazine even hosted a podcast in March titled, “Why is Traditional Catholicism Booming?” But the “fact” of traditional Catholicism growth was anecdotal—although many people were noting an increase in attendance at their TLM, there was no data to prove growth was happening.
To remedy this, Crisis Magazine surveyed U.S. parishes that offer at least one regularly scheduled TLM.

We first found a list of parishes offering the TLM at the Latin Mass Directory. Arguably the most comprehensive list available, it has been found to accurately reflect TLM parishes. The directory includes parishes that offer the TLM exclusively, as well as any parish that has at least one scheduled TLM—even if only monthly. This came to 658 parishes.
We received 82 responses to the survey (92% of responses were received before the motu proprio was released). Parishes from 33 states responded. This is an excellent response rate (20%), representing 12% of all TLM-celebrating parishes over a broad geographical range. We feel this is a strong representative sample.

The next four questions were related to attendance. We asked what the attendance at the parish’s Sunday TLM was in the following months: January 2019, January 2020, January 2021, and June 2021, in order to assess trends over the 30-month time frame.

We see clear evidence of significant growth over the 30-month period.

Nevertheless, TLM-attending Catholics still make up a very small minority in the Church. As noted, 658 parishes (pre-Traditionis Custodes) offer at least one TLM regularly. However, there are 16,702 total Catholic parishes in the United States, according to the most recent data. Thus, only 4% of parishes offer even one TLM on a regular (although not necessarily weekly) basis. In the ocean of American Catholicism, attendance at the TLM is still a small, albeit growing, bucket.
3. Pope honors grandparents on first World Day for elderly, By Associated Press, July 25, 2021, 7:25 AM
Pope Francis celebrated the Roman Catholic Church’s first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly on Sunday.
Francis solicited a round of applause from the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and urged people everywhere to reach out to older generations.
4. Exposé that brought down USCCB official likely to have lasting fallout, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 25, 2021, Opinion
No doubt the rights and wrongs will be discussed for some time. Instead, here I’ll sketch three plausible outcomes from the Pillar episode, designed to be descriptive rather than taking sides.
Training priests for ‘The Truman Show’

The clerical sexual abuse crisis has eroded that climate of discretion, and the Pillar report is a logical extension of the new world in which clergy now find themselves. You can debate the ethics as much as you like, but the raw reality is that if it’s technically possible to obtain data revealing a priest’s secrets, it will happen.
The terms “priest” and “private life” no longer belong in the same sentence unless they’re joined by a negative, as in, “does not have.”

Reconfiguring alliances
Great shocks to the system sometimes cause the political plates to shift, creating new alliances and disrupting old ones.

In Catholic terms, the Burrill episode may turn out to be such a shock, one that recasts the prevailing sense of who’s on which side. To put the prospect in overly generalized terms, the new fault line may not be so much left v. right, but center v. edge.
On the edge are independent operators with a sort of Malcom X, “by any means necessary” approach to what they see as church reform, whether of the left or the right – although it has to be said that these days, the most contentious and aggressive such forces seem to be on the right, probably no surprise in a time when the levers of power in the church are thought to be in the hands of the left.
In the center are establishment figures, beginning with clergy who now find themselves at perennial risk of being targets of the next exposé. It would also include mainstream Catholics turned off by the infighting and ugliness, as well as people who simply think there are certain standards of decency that shouldn’t be blurred and find themselves worried about where all this is heading.

New take on Catholic media
Once upon a time, when a bishop gave an interview to a Catholic news outlet it was the functional equivalent of hiring a PR firm. He could count on the reporter to cast him in a favorable light, to ask nothing uncomfortable or controversial, and to leave his reputation, at a minimum, no worse for the wear and tear.

Those days are long past, as today a wide range of independent Catholic platforms approach the church the same way a good metro paper approaches city hall, albeit filtered through their own editorial allegiances.
5. Congress Beats Up Charter Schools, A House spending bill cuts funding and adds new political strings, By The Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2021, Pg. A12, Editorial
Democrats in Washington say they want to reduce inequality. So why are they running a guerrilla campaign against charter schools that help so many children escape educational inequality?
That’s the untold story at the House Appropriations Committee, where Democrats recently voted to cut $40 million from the federal Charter Schools Program. The cuts came despite an overall 40% increase in federal education funding to $102.8 billion. President Biden’s budget proposed to hold spending for the Charter Schools Program flat at $440 million, but the committee cut that figure by nearly 10%.
Worse is the new language under the bill’s Section 314: “None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be awarded to a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.” Charter schools say this could make schools that rely on private vendors for, say, food services or curricula ineligible for any federal funding at all.
6. Vatican closes 2020 with shortfall, but better than forecast, By Associated Press, July 24, 2021, 12:26 PM
The Vatican closed out 2020 with a deficit of 66.3 million euros ($78 million), which was better than projected and even lower than pre-pandemic 2019, according to figures released Saturday.
The Vatican’s economy minister, the Rev. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves, credited lower spending and a milder-than-expected drop in revenues for the results.
The shortfall was narrower than the range forecast by the Vatican, which was between 68 million euros and 146 million euros. It was also lower than the 79.2-million-euro deficit recorded in 2019.
7. SF Archbishop says Pelosi can’t call herself a ‘devout Catholic’, By John Lavenburg, Crux, July 23, 2021
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, the home archdiocese of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has insisted that “devout Catholics” can’t support abortion, just after Pelosi had described herself in precisely those terms.
“Let me repeat: No one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,” Cordileone said in a statement. “The right to life is a fundamental – the most fundamental ­– human right, and Catholics do not oppose fundamental human rights.”
Hours earlier, at her weekly press conference, Pelosi stated her support for repealing the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of abortion, “because it’s an issue of health for many women in America,” and she also emphasized her Catholic faith.
8. Newark archdiocese to investigate app use allegations, By The Pillar, July 23, 2021
The Archdiocese of Newark says it will investigate the possibility of clerical sexual misconduct, in response to questions from The Pillar about the use of location-based hookup apps at several parish rectories in the archdiocese.
While a spokesperson told The Pillar it is “not acceptable” to use apps “inconsistent with Church teaching,” the archdiocese has also expressed concerns about the “morally suspect” collection of app signal data.

The Pillar contacted the Newark archdiocese after a review of commercially available app signal data showed patterns of location-based hookup app use at more than 10 archdiocesan rectories and clerical residences during 2018, 2019, and 2020. There are 212 parishes in the Newark archdiocese.

While it does not identify the names, addresses, or telephone numbers of particular users, data collected, commodified, and sold by hookup apps with the consent of users can include the usage location of particular devices at particular times.
Without compelling public interest regarding individual priests serving in archdiocesan ministries, The Pillar did not undertake to de-anonymize data about parish rectory app usage.

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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