1. Pope voices ‘affection’ for Americans as he meets Blinken, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, June 28, 2021, 7:39 AM
Pope Francis on Monday voiced affection for the American people as he met at length with the U.S. secretary of state, the Vatican said, without indicating whether the two discussed the sharp divide among U.S. bishops over giving Holy Communion to politicians supporting abortion rights like President Joe Biden.
The pontiff accorded U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken a substantial chunk of time, especially in view of a government official who isn’t a national leader.
2. Transgender rights, religion among cases justices could add, By Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko, Associated Press, June 27, 2021, 7:42 AM
The justices just wrapped up a case involving a church-affiliated foster care agency that declined to work with same-sex couples, ultimately siding with the agency. Now they’ll have to decide whether to hear other cases involving religious freedom claims. Alternately, they could send the cases back to lower courts for review in light of their recent decision.
The pending cases include a dispute out of Washington state involving a florist who refused to provide arrangements for a same-sex wedding. The Supreme Court already sent that case back once to lower courts to be revisited after the court’s 2018 ruling involving a Colorado baker who declined to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
Also waiting is a case involving a Catholic hospital in Maryland sued by a transgender man who sought to have a hysterectomy. The hospital canceled the procedure, saying it was contrary to its Catholic faith, after learning the reason for it.
3. On anti-homophobia row, Vatican PR once again defuses bomb after it goes off, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 27, 2021, Opinion
In response to a burgeoning controversy this week over the Vatican’s novel protest of a draft anti-homophobia law in Italy, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Secretary of State, said Thursday the goal of the move wasn’t to interfere with Italy’s internal politics but rather to head off a potential problem.
Instead of waiting until the measure, known here as the “Zan bill” for the openly gay legislator who introduced it, was formally adopted, Parolin said the idea was to signal potential glitches so they can be solved before creating diplomatic, legal and even constitutional headaches, mostly related to religious freedom.
So far. So good. The problem is that from a communications point of view, the Vatican didn’t practice what Parolin was preaching, i.e., getting ahead of a potential problem. It was always written in the stars that their note verbale, or diplomatic communique, on the draft law would go public and make waves, yet Parolin used the same interview to insist the note was “certainly not to be published” and seemed to suggest he was surprised when it leaked.

Either that portion of Parolin’s interview was disingenuous, or he was serious about being surprised to see the note in the press – and frankly, it’s hard to know which would be the more alarming prospect.

All this might just be amusing – okay, okay, it is sort of amusing anyway – were it not for the fact that when a bomb like this goes off, it’s really not the Parolins of the world left to pick up the pieces. It’s bishops, even outside Italy, with no clue what’s going on suddenly fielding phone calls from reporters seeking comment; it’s pastors, fielding angry questions from parishioners; and it’s ordinary lay Catholics, facing puzzled looks and consternation from co-workers, friends and family.
In other words, the consequences of a Vatican PR failure fall disproportionately on people with no role in creating it. The tragedy is, all this could have been avoided.
How? Well, the best move would have been for the Vatican to make the note public the day it was presented to Sebastiani.

That might not have satisfied everyone, but it certainly would have been preferable to the cacophony the Vatican’s silence actually created.
4. Letter from Pope Francis expresses support for Fr. James Martin’s controversial ministry, By Alejandro Bermudez, Catholic News Agency, June 27, 2021, 10:57 AM
In a personal letter sent to Fr. James Martin SJ dated June 21, Pope Francis expressed support for his controversial ministry and encouraged him to “continue this way.”
The letter, handwritten in Spanish, was a note of thanks for pictures Fr. Martin had sent to the pope, and was first reported in Italian by Vatican News before being shared by Fr. Martin on his Twitter account; Fr. Martin included an unofficial translation of the letter into English. 

“I want to thank you for your pastoral zeal and your ability to be close to people, with the closeness that Jesus had, and which reflects the closeness of God,” Pope Francis wrote in his personal letter. “God’s ‘style’ has three elements: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is how he comes closer to each one of us,” the Pope also said.

Fr. Martin’s ministry has become increasingly controversial because of his incremental departure from Catholic doctrine.
5. Vatican probes alleged abuse negligence by Polish cardinal, By Associated Press, June 26, 2021, 5:47 PM
The Vatican’s embassy in Poland said Saturday that a Holy See envoy spent 10 days in the country checking reports of alleged negligence by a retired archbishop of Krakow who had served as personal secretary to the late Pope St. John Paul II.
The embassy said that during his June 17-26 visit, retired Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco held a number of meetings and reviewed documents.
“The aim was to verify signals, also made in public, of negligence by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz during his term as the archbishop of Krakow (2005-2016),” the embassy statement said.
6. After controversy, U.S. Catholic bishops say there will be ‘no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians’, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, June 25, 2021, 5:54 AM
Days after a vote that triggered a tsunami of Catholic debate about Communion and politics, leading U.S. Catholic bishops working on an upcoming document about the sacrament are now de-emphasizing direct confrontation with President Biden or other Catholic politicians who support abortion rights.
Seventy-five percent of members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted during their annual spring meeting on June 17 to go ahead with the drafting of a position paper on the “meaning of the Eucharist,” the core ritual of the Catholic faith, believed to be the presence of Jesus. Before the vote, live on Zoom, dozens of bishops debated the fact that the proposal for the document was a response to the election of Biden, a weekly Mass-attending Catholic who supports abortion rights.

Four days after the vote, on June 21, the USCCB released a Q&A excising past mention of Biden, a national policy or a focus on abortion.
“There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us,” the Q&A said.
7. AP-NORC poll: Most say restrict abortion after 1st trimester, By David Crary and Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, June 25, 2021, 4:56 PM
A solid majority of Americans believe most abortions should be legal in the first three months of a woman’s pregnancy, but most say the procedure should usually be illegal in the second and third trimesters, according to a new poll.
The poll comes just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving a currently blocked Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, two weeks into the second trimester. If the high court upholds the law, it would be the first time since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision confirming a woman’s right to abortion that a state would be allowed to ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb.
The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 61% of Americans say abortion should be legal in most or all circumstances in the first trimester of a pregnancy. However, 65% said abortion should usually be illegal in the second trimester, and 80% said that about the third trimester.
8. A Response To The “Statement Of Principles”, By Salvatore J. Cordileone, First Things June 23, 2021, Opinion
We need faithful Catholics in both political parties to fight for a civilization of truth and love.
 The Democratic party of my youth was the champion of “the little guy”—the factory hand, the farmer, the blue-collar worker. We bishops are charged with teaching the fullness of the faith both to the powerful and to the powerless. In that capacity, I ask each representative who signed this letter to commit to protecting the “littlest guys and gals” of all. Abortion is the axe laid to the roots of the tree of human life. Claims to respect the equal dignity of every human being sound hollow when one systematically enables or tolerates denying the right to life of the most vulnerable.
 Rejecting abortion is a tall order for a Catholic Democrat in the current environment, I know. But this week especially, the week when we remember St. Thomas More, is a good time to look deep in the soul and ask: Will I be God’s servant first? 
Salvatore J. Cordileone is the archbishop of San Francisco.

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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