1. Pope Francis Tightens Vatican Spending Rules to Fight Corruption: New rules are aimed at addressing shortcomings in the Vatican’s procurement systems, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2020, Pg. A18

The Vatican published new procurement rules intended to prevent corruption and save money at the Catholic Church’s world-wide headquarters, whose already troubled finances have suffered acutely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The new rules, published Monday, are meant to address serious shortcomings in the Vatican’s procurement systems.

In his introduction to the 34-page edict, Pope Francis wrote that he was promulgating the legislation “to promote transparency, control and competition in the procedures for the award of public contracts” by the Holy See and Vatican City State.


2. Analysis: Vatican financial reform begins in earnest. Again., By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, June 1, 2020, 2:30 PM, Opinion

It is Groundhog Day for Vatican financial reform, again.

On Monday, Pope Francis published sweeping new laws governing Vatican financial dealings, setting new standards for contracts awarded by the city state and curial departments.

The new regulations, published in two parts, explicitly aim to inject transparency and accountability into the often opaque budgeting process of the Holy See and its institutions.

In fact, the new laws are not really that new: They resurrect measures called for during the first days of the Francis pontificate. And now they’re back.

With several members of staff suspended and investigations by prosecutors ongoing, Vatican watchers may give Monday’s announcement a cautious welcome as signs of a new beginning.

But on this Groundhog’s Day, some experts are wondering if this is really a sign of a springtime to come. The best predictor of whether the new reform measures will succeed may prove to be how Vatican prosecutors resolve issues from the recent past.


3. Churches in 6 states damaged by violent protests, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, June 1, 2020, 5:00 PM

Catholic churches and cathedrals in several cities were among the buildings damaged in the protests and riots that occurred nationwide over the past week.

Church buildings in California, Minnesota, New York, Kentucky, Texas, and Colorado were attacked. Many of the defaced or damaged churches were cathedrals. The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver sustained permanent damage.

Vandals repeatedly struck the Denver cathedral on multiple nights of the protests and riots over the weekend. The church building and rectory were spray painted with the slogans “Pedofiles” [sic], “God is dead,” “There is no God,” along with other anti-police, anarchist, and anti-religion phrases and symbols.


4. Religious freedom foes seek to leverage coronavirus controversies, By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, June 1, 2020, 6:00 PM

The Center for American Progress, a longtime critic of religious freedom protections, has claimed churches seeking equal treatment under coronavirus public health rules have been “distorting religious freedom into a license to spread the coronavirus.” But religious liberty experts disagree.

Churches “argue that religious freedom should essentially overrule all other rights,” Center for American Progress staff said in a May 6 commentary. “Using religious freedom as an excuse for continuing to hold in-person gatherings is one of the most alarming examples yet in their attempt to redefine the principle.”

But Teresa Stanton Collett, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, disagreed with that claim.

Religious liberty “exemptions simply honor the promise of religious liberty contained in our state and federal constitutions,” Collet told CNA May 29.

Richard W. Garnett, law professor at Notre Dame Law School, told CNA that these Center for American Progress commentaries “repeat their standard, but incorrect, claim that religious freedom advocates are ‘misusing’ religious freedom principles and laws in order to burden or harm others, are claiming an ‘absolute’ right to override general laws, and are trying to assert, in the name of religious freedom, a ‘license to discriminate’.”

As CNA has previously reported, the Center for American Progress is a participant in a multi-million dollar campaign to limit religious freedom protections, especially where these conflict with the claims of LGBT or pro-abortion rights advocates.

It was founded by John Podesta, a former chief-of-staff for President Bill Clinton and campaign manager for Hillary Clinton’s unsuccessful 2016 presidential run. In 2016, Podesta drew attention after leaked emails implied he had backed several political Catholic groups for a so-called “Catholic Spring” revolt against the U.S. bishops.


5. Masses reopen in Milwaukee despite bans of big gatherings, By Associated Press, June 1, 2020

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee reopened Mass to the public over the weekend in many city churches, despite an order that still bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

Archbishop Jerome Listeck told the Journal Sentinel said that though much smaller in scale than usual, it gave congregants the ability “to dip their toe in the water.”

The churches are limiting attendance to 25 percent of capacity.

In response to the pandemic, the City of Milwaukee’s order limiting gatherings to groups of 10 people or fewer remains in effect. The archdiocese has said, though, that it considers religious gatherings to be essential.


6. London archbishop says opening churches a matter of ‘basic equality’, By Charles Collins, Crux, June 1, 2020

A London archbishop says opening churches is not just a matter of religious freedom, but of “basic equality and justice.”

Writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Archbishop John Wilson of Southwark – which covers the parts of the British capital south of the River Thames – said there is a “growing frustration that churches remain closed for private, individual, visits of prayer.”

Churches were closed on March 23 when Johnson put the United Kingdom in lockdown to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The archbishop noted that as restrictions have been lifted – outdoor markets and car showrooms were allowed to operate from June 1 and non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen on June 15 – churches are being left out.


7. Pope: Pandemic is an opportunity for mission, service to others, By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, June 1, 2020

While isolation, social distancing and economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prove to be a challenge, Christians are called by God to take part in the church’s mission in the world, Pope Francis wrote in a message for World Mission Sunday 2020.

“The impossibility of gathering as a church to celebrate the Eucharist has led us to share the experience of the many Christian communities that cannot celebrate Mass every Sunday,” the pope wrote in his message, which was released by the Vatican May 31.

“In all of this, God’s question: ‘Whom shall I send?’ is addressed once more to us and awaits a generous and convincing response: ‘Here am I, send me!’” he said.

World Mission Sunday will be celebrated Oct. 18 at the Vatican and in most dioceses.


8. Pope Francis donates an ambulance to aid the homeless, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, June 1, 2020, 11:57 AM

Pope Francis has donated an ambulance that will be set apart to serve Rome’s poor and homeless population in need of emergency medical care.

“It is a new gift from the Holy Father, entrusted to the Office of Papal Charities, in favor of the poorest, in particular of the homeless who face the difficulties of the streets,” a Vatican communique stated June 1.

This is the most recent of Pope Francis’ many initiatives to serve the homeless near the Vatican.

During the coronavirus pandemic, St. Peter’s Square itself became a refuge for Rome’s homeless who could not find a place in the shelter’s across the city.

Despite added risks, the services for homeless men and women near the Vatican continued uninterrupted, including the papal charities-run showers and bathrooms, located under and between the right colonnade and a Vatican wall.



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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