1. Supreme Court Expands Religious Rights: Pair of 7-2 decisions exempts employers from regulations they say impede their faith, By Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, Pg. A1

The Supreme Court expanded exemptions for religious employers from health-care regulations and antidiscrimination laws Wednesday, extending a line of decisions that have elevated the rights of religious exercise and the role of sectarian institutions in American society.

In one case, the court ruled that the Trump administration had the legal power to exempt employers that raise religious or moral objections to Affordable Care Act regulations requiring that health-insurance plans cover contraceptives, stripping the benefit from as many as 125,000 women employees. In the other, the court found that religious schools were immune from age and disability discrimination claims filed by lay teachers, saying courts shouldn’t interfere with how schools select teachers who educate students about the faith.

Both decisions came by 7-2 votes, with only the court’s most liberal justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, in dissent.


2. Religious Liberty Lives at the Supreme Court, By The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2020, Pg. A14, Editorial

Religious Americans sometimes fear that intolerant secular progressives will soon try to ruin them for holding traditional views. They can take heart in a pair of 7-2 rulings Wednesday from the Supreme Court, in which the Justices upheld conscience protections for nuns and parochial schools.

A President Biden would be under pressure from the left to undo protections for religious employers, so the fight could start anew in 2021. A question for Joe Biden: How much do you want to force Catholic nuns to violate their conscience to appease the secular left?


3. To understand this papacy, forget Rome – head to Lampedusa, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 9, 2020, Opinion

Catholic nerds undoubtedly will be delighted to know that Lampedusa, by now so inextricably linked to Pope Francis’s relentless efforts to promote good works, is actually one of three “Pelagian Islands” considered part of the Italian region of Sicily.

None of that, however, is what’s made Lampedusa globally evocative. Instead, it’s the island’s role as the primary entry point into Europe for wave after wave of migrants and refugees fleeing Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

What elevated Lampedusa into iconic status wasn’t just its gripping human drama, but the fact that an electric new pope chose the spot for his first trip outside Rome on July 8, 2013. The visit was just four and a half hours long, but rarely has a mere half-day in the life of a papacy been so replete with both symbolism and substance.

Since that time, Francis has referenced Lampedusa over and over again, so much so that it’s become a sort of synecdoche for his entire social and evangelical agenda.

It’s sometimes said that if you want to understand Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, you have to go to Gettysburg. In a similar fashion, arguably you can’t understand Francis’s papacy without going to Lampedusa – the one spot on the global map more than any other, even more than his native Argentina or his adopted city of Rome, with which this pope and his vision for both the Church and humanity, forever will be associated.


4. Some Nun Sense, By National Review, July 8, 2020, 7:48 PM, Editorial

In a modest victory for freedom, the Supreme Court has upheld the Trump administration’s protections for employers who object to having to provide coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization.

This mandate has been plaguing religious groups for nearly a decade.

Writing for the majority, Justice Clarence Thomas concluded that the relevant departments did in fact have “the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”

This is a welcome decision, upholding as it does the Trump administration’s authority to create carve-outs not only for religious employers but also for anyone with moral objections to the mandate’s requirements. It does not, however, go as far as one might hope, as Justice Alito notes in his concurrence, joined by Justice Gorsuch.

While this ruling determined on procedural grounds that the administration was within its rights to exempt some employers from the mandate, it did not address the question of whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act compels exemptions of some kind for employers with religious objections, as Justices Alito and Gorsuch persuasively argue that it does.

Declining to rule on those grounds, the Court’s majority opinion returns the Little Sisters to the appeals court that already botched this case. The Third Circuit now has another chance to rule against them and deem the Trump-administration policy “arbitrary and capricious.”

A better outcome would have been to apply the RFRA, considering whether the mandate serves a compelling government interest, whether it imposes a substantial burden on religious employers, and whether it accomplishes its goals by the least restrictive means possible. Though today’s decision was a small victory, it will take a more sweeping decision to offer some finality to debates over the mandate.


5. U.S. bishops welcome court decision on Catholic schools, By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, July 8, 2020

Two U.S. bishops said they welcomed the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling July 8 which said California Catholic schools could not be sued for job discrimination in firing teachers. The bishops said the decision “rightly acknowledged” the limit on state authority.

The statement was issued by Miami Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Michael C. Barber, of Oakland, California, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education.

Adrian Alarcon, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Catholic Schools, similarly pointed out that “religious schools play an integral role in passing the faith to the next generation of believers” and that the archdiocesan Catholic schools are “grateful that the Supreme Court recognized faith groups must be free to make their own decisions about who should be entrusted with these essential duties.”


6. Angelus picks up 11 Catholic Press Awards at 2020 media conference, By Angelus, July 8, 2020

Angelus, Vida Nueva, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ Catholic Directory were honored with a total of 18 awards from the 2020 Catholic Press Association for works published during 2019.

The awards were announced July 2 at the end of the annual Catholic Media Conference, which this year was held virtually for the first time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Competing against Catholic publications in the United States and Canada, Angelus stood out in several categories, including best regular columns and feature articles. We are very proud of our writers and staff for their hard work and achievements during 2019.


First place, “With Grace,” by Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie


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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