1. Catholic churches in England to reopen after 80-day closure, By Catholic News Agency, June 8, 2020, 6:00 AM

A cardinal has thanked Catholics for their “patience” after the government permitted churches in England to reopen for private prayer from June 15, more than 80 days after they were forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But public Masses will remain suspended until the government decides they can be resumed with a minimal risk of spreading of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 40,000 lives in the U.K. as of June 8.

In a statement June 7, Cardinal Vincent Nichols also thanked the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other officials for allowing the Church to take the first step towards the resumption of public Masses, which were suspended in March.


2. World reaches 400,000 virus deaths as pope urges caution, By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press, June 7, 2020, 8:41 AM

The confirmed global death toll from the COVID-19 virus reached at least 400,000 fatalities on Sunday, a day after the government of Brazil broke with standard public health protocols by ceasing to publish updates of the number of deaths and infections in the hard-hit South American country.

After Bolsonaro stoked his clash with health experts, Pope Francis cautioned people in countries emerging from lockdown to keep following authorities’ rules on social distancing, hygiene and limits on movement.

“Be careful, don’t cry victory, don’t cry victory too soon,” Francis said. “Follow the rules. They are rules that help us to avoid the virus getting ahead” again.


3. Politicians Shutter Churches and Synagogues, Then Tolerate Riots, By Abigail Shrier, The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2020, Pg. A13, Opinion

‘Are we in a pandemic or not?” a reporter from the Orthodox Jewish newspaper Hamodia asked New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday. “And do we have one set of rules for protesters and another for everyone else?”

Good questions. For nearly three months, the country founded to guarantee religious freedom has seen its houses of worship shut down.

Protesters in New York and across the U.S. have gone unmolested while gathering in “large groups,” even as rioters smashed and looted and set fire to public and private property. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who not long ago said keeping houses of worship shut was essential to save lives, marched on Tuesday with protesters, his mask and his lockdown suddenly forgotten.

Those of us who raised objections to the restrictions were derided for failing to care about human life and told to “use Zoom.” Did anyone have the temerity to suggest that the protesters who claimed the streets without restriction might likewise have availed themselves of Zoom?

Ms. Shrier is author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” out June 30.


4. The Last Anointing, By Elizabeth Dias, The New York Times, June 6, 2020

For centuries, priests have physically anointed the dying with oil to heal body and soul, if not in this life, in the next. Many Catholics have spent their entire lives trusting that in their most difficult hours a priest, and through him God, would come to their aid.

During the flu pandemic of 1918, many churches closed for services, but there was little question that a minister could visit the dying. A century ago, priests were “answering sick calls night and day,” one Catholic newspaper reported at the time. Now nurses and doctors, not spiritual leaders or families, are most likely to be death’s witnesses.

The sacrament is a way to recognize the sacredness of every human life, explained the Rev. Michael Witczak, associate professor of liturgical studies and sacramental theology at the Catholic University of America. The sick, the sinners, and the dying all have values and rights, he said.

Father Thomas Macdonald remembered how nurses would sometimes join in prayer with him as he anointed patients in intensive care.

“It’s easy to be secular, it is easy not to believe in God, when you think humanity basically has control over its own destiny and its affairs,” he said. “To live well requires preparing for death, recognizing that death is part of our human destiny. Without a belief in God, without a belief in a real purpose for our lives, I don’t know how that is done.”

And while the future of religion in America may be interesting to ponder, Father Connors said, he is focused on the job at hand: caring for people’s real spiritual needs.

“In 400 years, whatever happens in a pandemic, there will be priests to anoint God’s people,” he said. “Whatever happens.”


5. A Court Allows Slow-Motion Euthanasia in the U.K., By Wesley J. Smith, National Review, June 6, 2020, 4:52 PM, Opinion

In the United Kingdom, a 34-year-old unnamed patient (MSP) with a severe but treatable bowel problem is going to be kept in an artificial coma and denied sustenance until he dehydrates to death. This gets a bit complicated, so bear with me. MSP has a history of serious depression, mental illness and chronic bowel issues. He had a temporary stoma implanted as doctors tried to overcome the bowel problem. But after an attempt at corrective surgery, the doctors have now concluded that the stoma will have to be permanent.

MSP repeatedly expressed great horror at that prospect, worrying he would not be able to get a job or find a woman who would love him. Accordingly, he has been kept deeply unconscious post surgery. MSP’s parents are terrified that he will kill himself if he is released from the hospital with a stoma. They are convinced, given his advance directive and many conversations, that he would now rather be dead than alive.

So the hospital went to court to see whether — and how — doctors can make that happen legally. The court has ruled that the death can proceed.

But this is all wrong. First, how is this any different from administrating a lethal injection, other than the speed of death?

Second, there are many people who face very difficult medical situations and become suicidal. For example, people who become quadriplegic suddenly. But studies show that over time, perhaps with mental-health interventions, the rate of depression among such people is roughly the same as that among the general population.

In conclusion, here’s how I see it: This is a profound abandonment, albeit by a judge and parents trying to do the right thing. MSP is being given no chance of recovery. No chance of adjusting to new circumstances. No chance of receiving intensive mental-health interventions that might help him overcome his despair. No chance of finding happiness. No chance of finding a job. No chance of finding a woman to love. No chance at life.


6. 1st in-person Mass since suspension held in LA, By Associated Press, June 6, 2020, 8:25 PM

A Catholic archbishop has celebrated the first in-person Mass since public worship services were suspended in Los Angeles because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Los Angeles Times reports Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrated the Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels Sunday.


7. US cardinal at Vatican prays for Floyd, and America’s future, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 5, 2020, 2:35 PM

The highest-ranking American cardinal at the Vatican on Friday deplored the “unjust” killing of George Floyd, saying it laid bare that the Christian principles of the U.S. Constitution aren’t being applied to black people.

Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who heads the Vatican’s laity office, told The Associated Press that the brutality of what happened to Floyd after his arrest in Minneapolis was so unreal it seemed like a movie.


8. Vatican arrests businessman in shady London real estate deal, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 5, 2020, 4:34 PM

Vatican police on Friday arrested an Italian businessman involved in a controversial London real estate deal on suspicion of extortion, fraud and money laundering, the Holy See said.

Gianluigi Torzi was being held in the Vatican gendarmes’ police barracks after he was questioned by its chief prosecutors, the Vatican press office said in a statement.

Vatican prosecutors are investigating allegations of corruption in the Secretariat of State’s 2012 purchase of a 150 million euro stake in a luxury residence in London. The Vatican bought the other investors out at the end of 2018, but then realized it had taken on Italian middlemen, including Torzi, who were allegedly fleecing the Holy See of millions of euros in fees, according to officials familiar with the deal.


9. Madison changes church reopening rules after Catholic bishop threatens lawsuit, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, June 5, 2020, 12:10 PM

Churches in Dane County, Wisconsin, will be permitted to operate at 25% capacity, it was announced Friday, after the Diocese of Madison threatened to sue if previous reopening plans were not changed.

“Emergency Order #4 makes a clarification with respect to religious services,” said a release from Dane County on Friday.

“Religious worship services will no longer be categorized as a ‘mass gathering.’ All restrictions applicable to businesses will continue to apply to religious services,” they said.


10. Vatican cardinal: Catholics should be sign of unity in a divided society, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, June 5, 2020, 11:15 AM

The Catholic Church cannot be an authentic witness to unity in diversity if it only mirrors the divisions found in society, Cardinal Kurt Koch said Friday.

Koch told CNA June 5: “The Second Vatican Council in its constitution about the Church says that the Church is the sacrament of salvation, the sacrament of unity, and how we can demonstrate this beautiful sign of unity in the Church when we are divided?”


11. Pope Francis: We cannot remain silent as planet is plundered, By Catholic News Agency, June 5, 2020, 10:00 AM

Pope Francis said Friday that people should not remain silent as biodiversity is threatened by destruction and exploitation, in a message marking World Environment Day.

“Caring for ecosystems demands a look to the future, one that is not concerned only with the immediate moment or that seeks a quick and easy profit, but rather one that is concerned for life and that seeks its preservation for the benefit of all,” Pope Francis said in a letter to the host of the 2020 World Environment Day.

“We cannot remain silent … when we realize the very high costs of the destruction and exploitation of the ecosystem. This is not a time to continue looking the other way, indifferent to the signs that our planet is being plundered and violated by greed for profit, very often in the name of progress,” he said.


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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