1. The Ungovernable Catholic Church, By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, Pg. A18, Opinion

The latest dramatic move by Pope Francis — his recent order abrogating the right of Roman Catholic priests to say their church’s traditional Latin Mass — fits neatly within a historical analogy that’s useful for understanding the larger drama of Catholicism: Namely, the church since the 1960s has been reliving the experience of France after 1789, with the arc of revolution and counterrevolution embodied in each successive pope.

In the divisions of the church, the pressure toward traditionalist and progressive extremes, both Latin Massgoers and German Protestantizers recognize the fact of Catholic decline. Both believe the other’s vision would break the church in order to save it. Both have weaknesses and very different sorts of strength. The outcome of their struggle is — as good Catholics know — somehow foreordained. But more than at any other point in my lifetime, neither past analogies nor present trends supply much clarity about the church’s future, and the better part of wisdom is to simply say, “God knows.”



2. Haiti’s evangelical leaders fend off a backlash, By Anthony Faiola and Widlore Merancourt, The Washington Post, July 29, 2021, Pg. A12

Haiti’s Protestant preachers, whose followers overtook Catholics two decades ago as the nation’s single largest religious group, were some of Jovenel Moïse’s most vocal opponents. Now their stance against the president — and the detention of one of their own as an alleged central figure in the plot to kill him — has sparked what they say is a dangerous backlash.

Catholic leaders in Haiti also denounced a turn away from democracy and the rule of law under Moïse. But evangelical leaders took a more confrontational approach, joining with civil society groups and calling their followers to the streets in February and March to protest Moïse’s attempts to change the constitution and fortify the powers of the presidency.

Haiti’s most influential evangelical leaders said Moïse was in league with the violent street gangs that have unleashed a wave of kidnappings, killings and rapes. Moïse denied the claim.



3. Roe v. Wade tears apart the fabric of our nation, The Supreme Court must overturn the ruling, By Father Frank Pavone and Alveda King, The Washington Times, July 29, 2021, Pg. B1, Commentary

In briefs we have filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the state of Mississippi’s quest to protect children from abortion, we are standing up not only for the unborn children who are its primary victims but for the mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings, communities of color and others who are impacted every day by a 48-year-old ruling that was wrongly decided and continues to tear at the fabric of our nation.

Priests for Life, which Father Pavone serves as national director and Alveda King as pastoral associate, has filed an amicus brief in which we assert that “This fateful decision has no legitimate foundation in law, it continues to tear at the fabric of our nation, and it has corrupted our judicial system. It is time for it to go.”

Prepared by our attorneys Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi at the American Freedom Law Center, the brief includes personal testimony of the way abortion harmed several women who are now part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life for which Ms. King has served as spokeswoman for more than a decade.

Priests for Life believes it is imperative that this Court hear their voices because these testimonies demonstrate that abortion is not only fatal to the unborn, it is exceedingly harmful to women,” the brief states. “The collective voice of these victims cries out to this Court to take bold action to permit states to mitigate if not halt altogether the devastating harm caused by abortion.”



4. Survey: Religious push raises coronavirus vaccine acceptance, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, July 29, 2021, Pg. A6

America’s religious communities have played an important role in upping acceptance of vaccines designed to thwart COVID-19, a survey released Wednesday morning revealed.

The canvass, the second of three planned for 2021 by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), measured public reaction to accepting vaccination as well as factors causing people to reject the shots.

So-called “vaccine hesitancy” has dropped across almost every demographic as of the end of June, the survey notes.

The survey revealed that Hispanic Catholics have seen the highest increase in vaccine acceptance, from 56% in March to 80% in June.

White Catholics (79%), other non-Christians (78%), other Christians (77%), the religiously unaffiliated (75%), and white mainline Protestants (74%) have each climbed above the 70% mark, with increases of 11–15 percentage points in each group since March.



5. U.S. bishops need to ‘listen to the people’ on Eucharist document, panel says, By John Lavenburg, Crux, July 29, 2021

Bishop Kevin Rhoades and Cardinal Joseph Tobin emphasized Tuesday the importance of dialogue with the whole American Church, not just the episcopacy, in formulating a new bishops’ conference document on the Eucharist.

What we need is a broader consultation with the American Church on the mystery of the Eucharist and not one that is perceived as political action,” said Tobin, archbishop of Newark, who is a member of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops. “It will make a more useful document.”

Rhoades, the chair of the U.S. Bishops Conference Committee on Doctrine that will ultimately draft the document, recalled a conversation he had with about 100 young adults in South Bend Tuesday night on the Eucharist, where he asked what they wanted to see in the document.



6. The Bishops, Donatism, and President Biden, By George Weigel, First Things, July 28, 2021

In an article first posted at Commonweal and republished on July 7 in La Croix International, Professor John Thiel of Fairfield University, while criticizing the U.S. bishops’ decision to prepare a teaching document on Eucharistic coherence and integrity in the Church, performed the not-inconsiderable feat of striking out four times (swinging).

The first whiff: “In the judgment of the bishops, Biden’s sin seems to be that, as a Catholic politician, he has not taken a public, political stand against abortion.” Wrong. What the bishops (and Catholics serious about human rights) object to is that the Biden Administration is bending every effort to increase the incidence of abortions at home and abroad.

The second whiff: “Biden has stated many times that he considers abortion to be a moral evil. This is his Catholic belief. But . . . he finds that his personal belief conflicts with the beliefs of other citizens and with the law in a democracy. . . .” Wrong. The Catholic rejection of abortion is not a distinctively “Catholic belief” and the bishops have never suggested that it is. Rather, the bishops have consistently argued that it’s a matter of elementary biology (the product of human conception is a human being and nothing other than a human being) and an elementary principle of justice (innocent life deserves legal protection in law in a just society).

We do care for the spiritual welfare of our fellow Catholics caught in the grip of Big Abortion, its propaganda and its campaign contributions. As fellow sinners touched by grace, we pray for their deeper conversion to the truth. And we applaud the bishops who call for that conversion by all appropriate means.



7. Day 1 of Vatican mega-trial begs question: Are prosecutors, judges out of their depth?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 28, 2021

It was both predictable and inevitable that the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” featuring fraud and embezzlement charges against Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine other individuals plus three corporate entities, and with the participation of attorneys representing other interested parties such as the Secretariat of State, would begin Tuesday with a whimper rather than a bang.

There were 30 lawyers crowded into a makeshift courtroom in the Vatican Museums on Tuesday, 27 of them for the defense, and none of them are getting paid to sit on their hands. They’re going to file motions, issue objections, contest prosecutors’ requests, and so on, and the result will be an avalanche of decisions the three-judge panel will have to make, all of which will take time.

Alas, this isn’t “Law and Order: Vatican.” There will be no swift denouement within the arc of an hour – this trial, already adjourned until Oct. 5, is likely to drag on for most of the fall and possibly beyond.



8. The demise of the Catholic Democrat is a tragedy — and an opportunity, By Matthew Schmitz, New York Post, July 28, 2021, 6:50 PM

The Catholic Democrats this nation once knew — staunch advocates of the unborn and the worker — are all but extinct. This is a loss worth mourning, given the moderating influence they once exerted on their party and the noble causes they championed. But it also offers a moral and political opportunity for a GOP with an increasingly working-class constituency.

Evidence of the Catholic Democrats’ demise is strewn across the American scene. Witness, most recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s standoff over abortion with the American bishops. Last week, Pelosi invoked her faith to justify repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal taxpayer money to fund abortions.

An older generation of pro-life Catholics, men like Bob Casey, Sr. and Sargent Shriver, may not have been perfect. But they could sincerely claim to follow the Roman church’s teaching, especially where it touched on human life.

Lacking the security that comes with capital but desperately hoping to gain a secure place in the elite, these people compete with each other by seeing who can most convincingly repeat ruling-class bromides on race, reproduction and sexuality. Any deviation from the woke consensus becomes the excuse for stripping a class competitor of prestige and employment. This is rocky ground for a new Catholic politics.

Is the Republican Party any better? Perhaps, if only accidentally. The party is so unsure of what it represents, so inept at enforcing discipline, that there may be some opportunity for Catholics to push the party in a direction that is relatively pro-worker while remaining firmly pro-life. If that proves to be the case, the real heirs of yesterday’s Catholic democrats will find their home on the right.



9. Boston Auxiliary Bishop Reveals Why He Voted Against Eucharistic Document, By Jonah McKeown, National Catholic Register, July 28, 2021

An auxiliary bishop of the Boston archdiocese on Sunday revealed why he voted against a motion of the U.S. bishops’ conference to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist.

Bishop Mark O’Connell, an auxiliary bishop of Boston, said in a July 25 statement that he believed the Eucharistic document would lead to greater polarization. Bishop O’Connell published his statement in the bulletin of St. Theresa parish in North Reading, Massachusetts, as a response to a parishioner’s question about denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians.

During the U.S. bishops’ virtual spring meeting in June, they debated a proposal to begin drafting a teaching document on the Eucharist. The proposed document outline covered the Church’s Eucharistic teaching on a number of points, including the need for Catholics to live out the Church’s teaching in public before and after receiving Communion.

Some bishops critical of the proposal said it would be interpreted as a call to deny Communion to specific pro-abortion politicians, and would thus result in greater political polarization.



10. Vatican says 5th Catholic bishop consecrated under China agreement, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, July 28, 2021, 12:00 PM

A Vatican spokesman confirmed Wednesday that the fifth bishop to be created under the 2018 Vatican-China deal has been ordained.

Anthony Li Hui was appointed coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Pingliang by Pope Francis on Jan. 11, according to spokesman Matteo Bruni.

Bruni said that Bishop Li was ordained in the Cathedral of Pingliang, in the province of Gansu, on July 28.

Pingliang, in north-central China, has a wider metropolitan population of more than two million people.

According to UCA News, the 49-year-old Bishop Li was consecrated by Archbishop Joseph Ma Yinglin of Kunming, president of the state-sanctioned Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China.



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