1. Rendering Unto Caesars Palace, By The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial

The Supreme Court has in recent years strengthened protections for religious liberty, but during the pandemic it has been missing in action. The latest abdication came Friday as a 5-4 majority refused to offer relief against a Nevada order that restricts attendance at churches more than at casinos or movie houses.

Justice Alito’s [dissent] is the most comprehensive, and we recommend its dissection of the Nevada order on religious liberty and free speech grounds.

But for caustic concision, we quote from Justice Gorsuch’s one paragraph dissent: “In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.”


2. Barcelona cardinal holds Mass in defiance of government order, By Inés San Martín, Crux, July 27, 2020

Ignoring a warning from the government of Catalonia, a Spanish cardinal on Sunday led a funeral Mass for the victims of the COVID-19 coronavirus, hours after threatening to take “legal action” against civil authorities for the “arbitrariness” with which the right of religious freedom and worship is being treated.

Up until Friday, the archdiocese hoped the government of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region would raise the 10-person cap for religious events that was announced July 17 after a second wave of cases hit the region. This announcement came after the invitations for the funeral Mass had already been sent.

However, Cardinal Juan Jose Omella, the archbishop of Barcelona, argued that the cap was an arbitrary attack against religious freedom, a right protected by Spain’s constitution. His said it was not justifiable to allow up to 1000 tourists at a time in the Basilica of the Holy Family, where the funeral Mass was held, but only 10 people if they are attending a religious service.


3. Pope urges support for elderly during pandemic, By Associated Press, July 27, 2020

Pope Francis led pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the weekly Sunday blessing in a round of applause for elderly people suffering from loneliness during the pandemic.

Francis, on the feast day for Jesus’s maternal grandparents Saints Anne and Joachim, urged the faithful to consider every elderly person his or her own grandparent.

‘’Don’t leave them alone,’’ he implored, urging the faithful to reach out with a phone call, video chat or a visit where possible under distancing rules to impede the virus’ spread.


4. The Ghost of Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood and the complexities of anti-racism., By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, July 26, 2020, Pg. SR9, Opinion

This week, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced that it would remove Margaret Sanger’s name from its Manhattan Health Center. The grounds were Sanger’s eugenic ideas and alliances, which for years have been highlighted by anti-abortion advocates and minimized by her admirers. Under the pressures of the current moment, apparently, that minimization isn’t sustainable any more.

This is an interesting shift from just a year ago, when Clarence Thomas faced a wave of media scorn when he took note of Sanger’s eugenic sympathies. But Thomas was citing Sanger’s writings to suggest that abortion in America today reflects a kind of structural racism — an inherited tendency, which persists even without racist intent, for pro-abortion policies to reduce minority births more than white births. Whereas the removal of Sanger’s name, presumably, was intended to drive home the opposite point — to establish a clear separation between past and present, between racism then and abortion rights today.

But the difficulty is that according to current thinking on how structural racism lingers and what anti-racism requires, Thomas still seems to have a reasonable case.


5. Italy’s ‘resistance saints’ may offer hope for healing, By John L. Allen Jr., July 26, 2020, Opinion

Given the accumulated tumult of the Trump era, the George Floyd protests, the politicization of the coronavirus and the deepest levels of polarization ever detected, Americans may find themselves wondering if the lacerations in their society are simply too deep for Humpty Dumpty ever to be put back together again.

In that context, it may be useful to consider the experience of another Western society that once seemed so torn apart, its people so profoundly alienated from one another, to make any concept of national cohesion almost inconceivable, yet where today a gradual process of healing continues to unfold.

In Italy, the Fascist Party of Benito Mussolini came to power in 1922, though its real contours didn’t become clear until later. As it became steadily clearer through the 1930s that Europe was headed for war and that Italy would be on the side of Hitler and the Germans, the country became split between the fascisti, meaning supporters of Mussolini and the Axis, and the partigiani, the “partisans,” who resisted.

Three years ago, Pope Francis approved the beatification of Teresio Olivelli, a partisan who was beaten to death in a German concentration camp in 1945 after earning a reputation for sharing his food rations with other inmates and treating their injuries. That followed the 2013 beatification of Odoardo Focherini, an Italian journalist active in the resistance who issued false documents to Jews to help them escape, and who was likewise killed in a concentration camp. At the moment, the case of another resistance hero, Gino Pistoni, is in the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints after he was declared “venerable” in 1999.

None of this has split Italy in half again, perhaps mostly because of the passage of time, but in part, perhaps, because the country healed a little stronger at the break.

Granted, it’s been 75 years, and granted too, it’s not like contemporary Italian society doesn’t have its own deep fault lines. Still, the lesson is that recovery from divisions that once seemed irreparable can happen – and in that, perhaps, there’s a small degree of comfort.


6. Joe Biden’s Scholarship Choice, By The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2020, Pg. A12, Editorial

Amid all of the money Washington wastes, here’s some good news: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced this week that her department will award at least $85 million over five years for the Washington, D.C., Opportunity Scholarship Program.

The scholarships let lower-income parents of children trapped in failing public schools attend the charter or private schools of their choice. According to the Education Department, nearly 98% of students with Opportunity Scholarships graduate from high school, compared with 69% of D.C. public school students. Some 86% go onto college, while more than 90% of scholarship recipients are black or Hispanic, and the average family income is less than $27,000 a year.

Enter Joe Biden, whose own children benefitted from private schools. But in his recent unity platform with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Mr. Biden specifically calls for eliminating the D.C. scholarships. It takes a special political animus to kill scholarships for poor minorities while proposing literally trillions of dollars in new spending on countless other programs.

There’s no moral or fiscal justification for killing the scholarships. Either Mr. Biden doesn’t realize this is in his platform, or he’s decided he must sacrifice the children to the demands of the teachers unions and the political left. This is a scandal in plain sight.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/joe-bidens-scholarship-choice-11595630807 ___________________________________________________________

7. Black Catholics’ history: Will US Catholic schools teach it?, By David Crary, Associated Press, July 25, 2020, 8:11 AM

he history of Black Catholics in the U.S. is a dramatic mix of struggles and breakthroughs, but it has been largely ignored in the curriculum of Catholic schools. That may soon change.

Amid the national tumult over racial injustice, there are high-level calls for the schools to teach more about the church’s past links to slavery and segregation, and how Black Catholics persevered nonetheless.

In the archdioceses of Chicago and New Orleans, top leaders are encouraging their schools to place a new emphasis on teaching about racial justice, as well as the history of Black Catholics. The National Catholic Educational Association is forming an advisory committee to study how similar initiatives could be launched in the thousands of Catholic schools nationwide.


8. Federal judge blocks sweeping anti-abortion law in Tennessee, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, July 24, 2020, 6:27 PM

Tennessee will not be allowed to enforce one of the strictest abortion bans in the country as a legal battle over the measure’s constitutionality moves through court, a federal judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge William Campbell had already issued a temporary restraining order against the law just hours after Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed off on it earlier this month. Campbell doubled down on blocking the law from being implemented Friday, arguing the plaintiffs had a strong likelihood of proving sections of the anti-abortion law were illegal.


9. Christian abortion critics urge Dems to change platform, By Elana Schor, Associated Press, July 24, 2020, 9:08 AM

A group of more than 100 Christian pastors, religion professors and other advocates is urging the Democratic National Committee to adopt a party platform that’s friendlier to abortion opponents.

In a letter organized by the anti-abortion group Democrats for Life and set to be sent Friday, the group of Christians calls on the Democratic Party to rescind its platform’s support for ending restrictions on federal funding for abortion. That language was added to the party’s 2016 platform, to the frustration of anti-abortion Democrats. Last year, Joe Biden, the Democrat’s presumptive presidential nominee, shifted his position to back an end to restrictions on government funding for abortion.


10. US Supreme Court denies Nevada church’s appeal of virus rule, By Scott Sonner, Associated Press, July 24, 2020, 8:46 PM

A sharply divided U.S. Supreme Court denied a rural Nevada church’s request late Friday to strike down as unconstitutional a 50-person cap on worship services as part of the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court refused to grant the request from the Christian church east of Reno to be subjected to the same COVID-19 restrictions in Nevada that allow casinos, restaurants and other businesses to operate at 50% of capacity with proper social distancing.

Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal majority in denying the request without explanation.


11. Washington Post settles defamation lawsuit with Nick Sandmann over March for Life controversy, By Catholic News Agency, July 24, 2020, 3:05 PM

The Washington Post has settled a defamation lawsuit filed by Nick Sandmann, who as a student at Covington Catholic High School was at the center of a national controversy after the 2019 March for Life.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed. In February 2019, Sandmann and his lawyers filed a defamation lawsuit requesting $250 million, the price Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos paid to purchase the newspaper in 2013.


12. Knights of Columbus founder to be beatified in October, By Catholic News Agency, July 24, 2020, 1:08 PM

Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus Catholic fraternal organization, will be beatified on October 31, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints announced this week.

The congregation made the announcement on its website and Twitter page July 20.


13. House spending bill undermining pro-life protections, By Catholic News Agency, July 24, 2020, 1:00 PM

Pro-life leaders are sounding the alarm against efforts in the House to undermine pro-life protections in federal spending bills.

On Friday, the House passed a “minibus” bill outlining funding of various federal agencies, including the State Department and foreign operations. Pro-life groups, however, have warned that the legislation would undermine the Mexico City Policy, which bars foreign groups that promote or provide abortions from receiving U.S. assistance.

In the legislation, H.R. 7608, the section on global health activities—Sec. 7068—ensures that “none of the funds made available by this Act” for the State Department and foreign operations “shall be made available to implement the Presidential Memorandum on Mexico City Policy dated January 23, 2017.”


14. Vatican criticizes lack of prosecutions for human trafficking, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, July 24, 2020, 8:30 AM

The dignity and rights of trafficking victims require the international community to do more to prosecute and bring down traffickers, a representative of the Holy See said this week.

Fr. Joseph Grech of the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the International Organisations in Vienna, addressed an international conference July 20-22 on the prosecution of traffickers.

There are large discrepancies in the numbers of victims of human trafficking and the number of traffickers prosecuted each year. The 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report estimated there are 25 million trafficking victims around the world, but fewer than 12,000 traffickers were prosecuted in 2018.


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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