1. Trump declares national day of prayer for Americans affected by virus.

By Dave Boyer, The Washington Times, March 16, 2020, Pg. A5

With many houses of worship shuttered around the country, President Trump proclaimed Sunday a national day of prayer for all Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic and for the national response efforts.

He said Americans must remember that “no problem is too big for God to handle.”

Mr. Trump urged people “of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers for all those affected, including people who have suffered harm or lost loved ones.”


2. National Catholic Prayer Breakfast scrubbed due to coronavirus concerns.

By Christopher White, Crux, March 16, 2020

As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to lead to a cancellation of events, organizers of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast have cancelled this year’s scheduled gathering scheduled for March 30.

The National Catholic Prayer breakfast takes place each spring and brings together more than 1,000 Catholic leaders to the nation’s capital for a morning of prayer and speeches.


3. Pope in Dramatic Visit to Empty Rome to Pray for End of Virus.

By Philip Pullella, Reuters, March 15, 2020, 4:03 AM

Pope Francis ventured into a deserted Rome on Sunday to pray at two shrines for the end of the coronavirus pandemic, as the Vatican said his Easter services will be held without the public for the first time.


4. Despite Coronavirus, Some Religious Services Continue: Houses of worship defy calls to avoid group gatherings; ‘We rely on God for his protection’

By Ian Lovett and Elizabeth Findell, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2020, 6:14 PM

As the spreading coronavirus has shut down much of America, houses of worship are among the last places where large public gatherings are still taking place.

Despite the suspension of professional sports, music festivals and some schools, many religious groups decided the imperative to worship outweighed public-health concerns. In doing so, they defied the recommendation of some experts and public officials, including Kentucky Gov. Andy Beashear, who asked churches in his state to shut their doors.


5. Getting a jump on Catholic consequences of the coronavirus.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 15, 2020, Opinion

Still, in Catholic terms, there are certain consequences one can begin to anticipate now – some almost certain, some merely possible and dependent on other factors that can’t presently be anticipated. Here’s a pair of each.

Likely Consequences
(1) Focus on Health Care
Globally, the Catholic Church operates 18,000 health care clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 percent of them located in developing countries. It’s by far the largest non-governmental provider of health care in the world.

Despite that staggering infrastructure, the reality is that relationships between those facilities and the institutional Church tends to be fairly loose, with leaders on either side often not thinking about, or talking to, their counterparts on the other.

The impact of a global pandemic almost certainly will change that calculus. Bishops will realize they need to know more about public health readiness and how the Church can help respond in moments of emergency, and Catholic hospital leaders will be anxious to make friends anywhere they can, since they’re as overwhelmed right now as everyone else in the field.

(2) Focus on the Elderly
The coronavirus is a disease that strikes disproportionately at the elderly, at least in terms of fatalities, and it’s exposed ways in which elderly persons are often vulnerable and isolated when facing health care emergencies.

At one stage, Francis suggested that World Youth Day be reconceived as a festival celebrating the bond between the young and the old. That might be an idea the pope will be tempted to revisit in the wake of this crisis.

Possible Consequences
(1) Theology of “Spiritual Communion”
From a Catholic point of view, perhaps the single most direct consequence of the lockdowns currently being imposed to fight the disease is the inability to get to Mass on Sunday. Moreover, it’s happening during Lent, and there’s the very real prospect that many Catholics may be forced to watch Holy Week liturgies on TV or their computers rather than attending in person and receiving the Eucharist.

In light of the restrictions, many pastors and theologians have suggested this may be a good time to dust off the traditional concept of “spiritual communion,” meaning a sort of participation in the Mass and the Eucharist for people who, for one reason or another, either can’t go to church or who are barred from receiving the Eucharist if they do.

In a nutshell, the idea is that the desire to receive the Eucharist is a grace in itself, and, if one offers up that desire in prayer to God, it can become an occasion for even greater grace and spiritual growth.

(2) Perspective
This is probably the biggest longshot of all, but it’s just possible the coronavirus may elicit a different perspective on the issues that usually get people excited in the Church, producing endless divisions, heartache, and acrimony.

One would think a global scourge that so far has claimed more than 5,000 lives and infected 150,000 people might invite a rethink about what truly is a “life or death” issue, and that it might also beckon reflection on how our common humanity, including our shared exposure to threats such as the coronavirus which obviously don’t discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, creed or ideology, is at least as fundamental as the things that set us apart.


6. US Hispanic Catholics are future, but priest numbers dismal.

By David Crary, Associated Press, March 14, 2020, 9:07 AM

Hispanics now account for 40% of all U.S. Catholics, and a solid majority of school-age Catholics. Yet Hispanic Americans are strikingly underrepresented in Catholic schools and in the priesthood — accounting for less than 19% of Catholic school enrollment and only about 3% of U.S.-based priests.


7. European Court of Human Rights declines to hear cases of pro-life midwives.

By Catholic News Agency, March 13, 2020, 2:12 PM

The European Court of Human Rights has declined to hear the case of two Swedish nurses denied midwife jobs because of their refusal to perform abortions.

“We are very disappointed by the Court’s decision not to take up the cases of Ms. Grimmark and Ms. Steen. A positive judgment from the Court would have been an important step in the protection of the right to freedom of conscience,” said Robert Clarke, Deputy Director of Alliance Defending Freedom International.


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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