1. Pope’s Silence Speaks Volumes About Bishops’ Vote, By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, June 21, 2021, 6:18 AM
The divergence of the conservative American church from Francis’ agenda is now so apparent as to become unremarkable, and Vatican officials and experts said Saturday that the pope’s silence also underlined just how unsurprising the American vote, made public on Friday, was to the Vatican.

On Friday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted in a large majority at an often bitter virtual meeting to begin drafting guidance on the sacrament of the Eucharist. That guidance could become a vehicle for conservative leaders in the U.S. church to push for denying communion to prominent Catholics like Mr. Biden who support abortion rights.
But the public silence at the Vatican on Saturday, the officials said, also reflected that the pope and his top officials remained confident that the American conservatives would never actually pass such a doctrinal declaration on banning communion.
Church law says for that to happen, the bishops’ conference would need either unanimous support, which is essentially impossible, or two-thirds support and the Vatican’s approval.
2. Pope on Myanmar: Houses of worship serve as neutral refuge, By Associated Press, June 20, 2021, 7:38 AM
Pope Francis on Sunday decried the suffering of refugees in Myanmar and pleaded that houses of worship be respected as neutral places to take shelter.
He told the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his customary Sunday noon remarks that he was joining his voice to that of the Asian nation’s bishops in also calling for humanitarian corridors.
Francis lamented that thousands of displaced people in Myanmar are “dying of hunger.” Violence, including ravaging of villages, has become endemic since the army seized power in February, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

3. Congressman challenges Gomez with Eucharist ‘dare.’ What’s at stake now?, By The Pillar, June 19, 2021
Sixty Catholic Democrat members of Congress issued a statement on Friday saying they “agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life,” and work on policy initiatives aimed at “reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term and provide resources to raise healthy and secure children.”
But the representatives also said they follow their consciences, not Church teaching, on the legality of abortion.

The letter either misunderstood or willfully misrepresented what the bishops were up to, and could be seen as an effort to demonstrate the lawmakers’ commitment to ensuring legal protection for abortion.
Still, there was at first a good chance that individual bishops might have tried to reach out to lawmakers quietly, while the conference itself ignored the letter.
Until one congressman, Representative Ted Lieu of California, raised the stakes.

He has a 100% legislator rating from abortion lobbyist NARAL.
“Dear USCCB, I’m Catholic and I support contraception, a woman’s right to choose, treatments for infertility, the right for people to get a divorce, the right of same sex marriage,” Lieu tweeted Friday.
“Next time I go to Church, I dare you to deny me Communion.”

Whether by coincidence or by design, Lieu represents a district sitting squarely in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is led by Gomez.
And the congressman has a history of challenging bishops on Twitter.

So now Archbishop Gomez faces a practical and immediate challenge: A Catholic in his diocese has made a statement that seems designed to flaunt the willful inconsistency of holding political positions that obstinately defy Catholic doctrine, while continuing to receive the sacraments.
Does Gomez have to prohibit the Congressman from receiving the Eucharist? Certainly, Catholics who have heard tough talk from bishops on that subject over the past few months will expect that he will. And Lieu himself seems to have “politicized” the Eucharist by framing reception of Holy Communion into an act of implicit challenge of his own archbishop.
Few canon lawyers would have difficulty classifying Lieu’s tweet as evidence of “obstinate perseverance in manifest grave sin,” the criteria by which a Catholic can be denied the Eucharist.
4. Reset the Abortion Debate, By Leah Libresco Sargeant, The New York Times, June 18, 2021, Pg. SR7, Opinion
The court’s decision to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case centered on a Mississippi law that bans nearly all abortions after 15 weeks, has the potential to overhaul Roe.
The court has narrowed the scope of the case to one question: It asks “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” The case is an opportunity to dismantle the viability framework for regulating abortion, a framework that has proved to be both incoherent and inhumane.

If viability is too muddled a standard to apply, the burden is on supporters of abortion access to propose a better criterion to balance the interests of parents and children. It is their job to find a particular development between conception and birth in which the legal and ethical claims of the child change. Meanwhile, it is the task of anti-abortion groups to make a post-Roe world that is as attentive to the needs and dignity of a mother as to those of her child.
With Dobbs, the Supreme Court has a chance to reopen this question for a country that remains divided. There’s no obvious compromise on the horizon, but that is the condition of a pluralistic nation with divides on values. Roe’s viability framework isn’t an answer to these questions. It’s an obstacle to debating them.
Mrs. Sargeant has written books about religion and community building and runs an online community that focuses on the dignity of dependence.
5. The religious freedom bomb may be about to detonate, By David Von Drehle, The Washington Post, June 18, 2021, 5:05 PM, Opinion
On Thursday, the Supreme Court again dodged the problem of religious freedom vs. discrimination. This time, the question was whether the city of Philadelphia could force Catholic Social Services to include qualified same-sex couples as prospective foster parents. Seizing on the fact that Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination law allows for certain exemptions, a unanimous Supreme Court ruled that fairness required an exemption be considered for CSS.

Americans also have a protected freedom of belief and expression. They cannot be compelled by the government to express or reject any religious views or political opinions.
No case puts the matter more sharply in relief than the matter of the baker and his cakes, which may well be headed back to the Supreme Court for round two. A transgender individual has asked Phillips to create a celebratory cake. When Phillips refused, a state district judge levied a fine without any of the gratuitous commentary that previously gave the justices their wiggle room.
The fact that these bedrock principles have collided inside a bag of cake frosting does not make them frivolous. Either the baker’s freedom of belief allows him to sell customized cakes only to those people whose identities and conduct comport with his religious beliefs, or the would-be cake buyers of Lakewood have a right to decide what Phillips will write on cakes as long as he operates a public business.

Underlying this dispute — the really explosive part — is a slippery slope. It seems monstrous to think that artisans have no control over the expressive content of their creations. Surely a seamstress who willingly provides choir robes and judicial robes should not be compelled to make robes for a Ku Klux Klan rally.
You and I might agree that a same-sex wedding is not remotely like a Klan rally. But some number of religious people would say that both are examples of sinful gatherings. I greatly prefer our view of the matter, but I’m not sure the government should — or rightfully can — put those who disagree out of business.
In a short but instructive concurring opinion to the Philadelphia ruling, Justice Amy Coney Barrett laid out difficult questions that will hit like shrapnel if and when this bomb goes off. Her insight reminds us that, of all the ways change can be made in a free society — by persuasion, by compromise, through boycotts and marches and social media campaigns — lawsuits can be the most destructive. “I’ll take my business elsewhere!” may be preferable to “I’ll see you in court!”
6. Biden doesn’t expect not to be admitted to Holy Communion, By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency, June 18, 2021, 8:15 PM
On Friday, US President Joe Biden was asked about a “resolution” of the U.S. bishops to deny him and other pro-abortion politicians Communion – even though their vote this week was on drafting the teaching document, not any national policy of denying Communion.
“That’s a private matter and I don’t think that is going to happen,” Biden said.
7. AOC, other Catholic Democrats urge bishops against ‘weaponization’ of Communion, By Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service, June 18, 2021, 5:24 PM
A group of 60 Catholic Democrats in the House of Representatives, including Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, released a “statement of principles” Friday (June 18) calling on U.S. Catholic bishops to avoid “weaponizing” the Eucharist. The statement was announced shortly after clerics voted to draft a document on Communion following debate that included discussion of whether or not to deny the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who back abortion rights.
The statement was distributed among lawmakers this week as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops convened virtually for their annual spring meeting, where the assembly debated whether to create a document on “Eucharistic coherence.” After hours of passionate back and forth that included references to denying the Eucharist to some elected officials, USCCB leadership announced approval to draft the Communion document on Friday.

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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