1. Big Tech Censors Religion, Too, There’s no rest for the faithful when it comes to the woke orthodoxy., By Josh Holdenried, The Wall Street Journal, March 29, 2021, Pg. A17, Opinion
It’s not only politics. So far this year, religious groups and figures have been silenced by tech companies at a rate of about one a week, according to a new report from the Napa Legal Institute.
Consider LifeSiteNews, a popular religious news website. In February its YouTube channel was permanently banned by Google, which deleted all its videos. Google claimed its action was a response to Covid-19 misinformation but wouldn’t tell LSN which video had offended its standards. The tech giant had flagged LSN for a video of an American Catholic bishop criticizing vaccines developed with fetal cells. The website’s editor in chief said “our best guess is that the channel was taken down for our frank and factual discussion of the controversy around abortion-tainted medicines and vaccines.”
In January, Bishop Kevin Doran, an Irish Catholic, tweeted: “There is dignity in dying. As a priest, I am privileged to witness it often. Assisted suicide, where it is practiced, is not an expression of freedom or dignity.” Twitter removed this message and banned Bishop Doran from posting further. While the company reversed its decision after public opposition, others haven’t been so lucky.

It seems likely that religious groups and individuals will face mounting threats from tech companies. Their views on marriage, sexuality, life and other moral issues are unpopular among the Silicon Valley set. Religious groups should refuse to silence themselves, change their views, or otherwise back down. Censorship is a symptom of a national collapse in civic culture. Curing the deeper disease will take all the courage and conviction we can muster.
Mr. Holdenried is vice president and executive director of Napa Legal Institute, which educates and protects faith-based nonprofits.
2. Federal appeals court sides with Ohio professor in student pronoun case, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, March 29, 2021, Pg. A3
A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a professor who was punished by his university for refusing to call a transgender student by the student’s female pronouns.
Nicholas Meriwether, a philosophy teacher at Shawnee State University in Ohio, sued the school after officials prepared a written warning against him and threatened suspension without pay or termination if he refused to use female pronouns upon the student’s request.
A federal judge ruled earlier that Mr. Meriwether’s manner of addressing the student was not protected under the First Amendment and dismissed his claims related to free-speech and religious protections.
In a unanimous ruling Friday from a three-judge panel, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the school violated the professor’s right to free speech and his lawsuit can continue in a lower court.
“Traditionally, American universities have been beacons of intellectual diversity and academic freedom. They have prided themselves on being forums where controversial ideas are discussed and debated,” wrote Judge Amul Thapar, a Trump appointee.
“But Shawnee State chose a different route: It punished a professor for his speech on a hotly contested issue. And it did so despite the constitutional protections afforded by the First Amendment.”

3. Pope on pandemic’s second year: Weariness, economic hardship, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, March 28, 2021, 7:36 AM
Celebrating Palm Sunday Mass for a second time in the pandemic without crowds of faithful, Pope Francis said while shock dominated the first year of the COVID-19 health emergency, now people are more weary, with the economic crisis growing heavier.
Traditionally, the pope leads a Palm Sunday procession through St. Peter’s Square in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists clutching olive branches and braided palms before celebrating an outdoor Mass.
But as Francis did in spring 2020, just weeks after the COVID-19 outbreak erupted in Italy — the first country in the West to be hit by the pandemic — the pontiff led the solemn service, which begins Holy Week, inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Pandemic safety concerns and Italian government restrictions on travel and other movements while the country struggles with a surge of infections has kept away the usual throngs of tourists and pilgrims.
4. Palm Sunday bombing at cathedral in Indonesia injures Catholics leaving Mass, By Catholic News Agency, March 28, 2021, 2:05 AM
A suspected suicide bomb attack targeted Catholics leaving a cathedral after Palm Sunday Mass on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
The explosion occurred March 28 outside Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi province, as church-goers were exiting the cathedral at the start of Holy Week.
Initial reports said that at least 10 worshipers were injured by the blast at the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Makassar.
5. ‘Pope of the Little Guy’ caught up in the heavy lifting of reform, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 28, 2021, Opinion
The common element in all five developments is a reaction to scandals involving abuse, either sexual or financial, and the ups and downs of the pope’s efforts to make things right.
Francis legendarily has a keen sense of justice and a hard-wired bias in favor of the underdog, and the initiative of his charitable right-hand man, Polish Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, to ensure that Rome’s poorest of the poor are not left out of the cycle of vaccinations while people with connections, money, or both, get the shots, is a classic illustration. For that matter, so is the pope’s insistence that the Vatican deficit not be balanced on the backs of worker bees, and that whatever belt-tightening is required begins with those Vatican personnel wearing crimson and purple.
In all honesty, those pays cuts won’t really move the needle – saving maybe $25,000 on cardinals’ pay every year isn’t a lasting solution to a $60 million deficit. Everyone knows the only way to balance the books is to cut payroll, by far the Vatican’s biggest expense, but so far Francis has refused to let anyone go in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
That, of course, is also an expression of the pontiff’s real concern for the little guy.
However, it’s also clear that Francis, like pretty much every reformer pope before him, is still struggling with the institutional translation of those core instincts.

In any reform, stating principles and staging feel-good ways to illustrate them, however inspiring, is always the easy part. Figuring out how to embed those principles in operations – and being willing to pay the political price for doing so – is where the heavy lifting starts, and that would seem to be where Pope Francis finds himself now.
6. Stop the Executions, Mr. Biden, By The New York Times, March 27, 2021, Pg. A22, Editorial
Horror stories miss the point. No one disputes that the crimes for which people are sentenced to death are abhorrent and demand justice. But a society that sinks to the level of its worst offenders is not only hypocritical, it also poisons itself with an endless cycle of vengeance.
President Biden, who like most Democratic presidential candidates campaigned on ending the death penalty, can help break that cycle by imposing an immediate moratorium on federal executions, and commuting the sentences of the 50 or so inmates on federal death row in Terre Haute, Ind. These inmates account for a small fraction of the more than 2,500 condemned people around the country, but a moratorium would still be an important step toward admitting what the country’s highest court began to acknowledge decades ago: The death penalty is cruel, ineffective and morally repugnant. America needs to join most of the rest of the world and eliminate it.
7. China sanctions US, Canadian officials over Xinjiang, By Associated Press, March 27, 2021, 11:39 AM
China on Saturday announced new sanctions against U.S. and Canadian officials in a growing political and economic feud over its policies in the traditionally Muslim region of Xinjiang.
A statement from the Foreign Ministry said the head of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Gayle Manchin, would be barred from visiting mainland China, Hong Kong or Macao, and having any dealings with Chinese financial entities.

More than 1 million members of the Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been confined to detention camps in Xinjiang, according to foreign governments and researchers. Authorities there are accused of imposing forced labor and coercive birth control measures.
8. Arkansas governor signs medical conscience objections law, By Andrew Demillo, Associated Press, March 26, 2021, 5:00 PM
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections, a move opponents have said will give providers broad powers to turn away LGBTQ patients and others.
The measure says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. The new law won’t take effect until late this summer.
9. Senators demand investigation into Planned Parenthood getting PPP loans, By Catholic News Agency, March 26, 2021, 3:00 PM
A letter signed by 25 Republican senators is demanding an investigation into Planned Parenthood affiliates illegally accessing emergency small business loans.
“We write to request an investigation concerning how affiliates of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (‘Planned Parenthood’), a national organization with central control over its affiliates which has nearly $2 billion in assets, and over 16,000 employees nationwide, are continually able to obtain loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) when Small Business Administration (SBA) rules and guidance has made it clear that they are ineligible for such funds,” says the letter, reported by the Washington Examiner.
The letter was dated March 25 and addressed to Isabel Guzman, the administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
10. China imposes sanctions on leading British Catholic human rights campaigner, By Catholic News Agency, March 26, 2021, 9:00 AM
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) imposed sanctions Friday on a leading British Catholic human rights campaigner who highlighted widespread abuses in Xinjiang.
The Chinese authorities announced the measures March 26 against David Alton and eight other U.K. citizens, as well as four institutions critical of the country’s human rights record.
The individuals are banned from entering China, Hong Kong, and Macau, and Chinese citizens are forbidden to do business with them.
Alton, an independent member of the House of Lords, the upper house of the U.K. parliament, noted that the step followed the U.K. government’s introduction of sanctions against four senior Chinese officials on Monday over China’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority.
Writing on his website March 26, Alton said: “The imposition of tit-for-tat sanctions is a crude attempt to silence criticism. But the CCP needs to learn that you can’t silence the whole world and that the first duty of a parliamentarian is to use their voice on behalf of those whose voices have been silenced.”
11. Catholic bishop defends giving Communion to Protestant representatives at installation Mass, By Catholic News Agency, March 26, 2021, 8:00 AM
A Catholic bishop in Switzerland has defended giving Holy Communion to two Protestant church representatives and a Protestant politician at his installation Mass.
Responding to CNA’s request for comment, Bishop Joseph Bonnemain’s office offered a short statement March 22, pointing to Canon 844 §4 of the Church’s Code of Canon Law.
“The implementation of these norms with respect to individual concrete persons during a public celebration takes into account the existing circumstances and the personal attitude of the individual. The media, given privacy considerations, is not the place to comment on such a matter,” the statement said.
The episode was first publicized by the Swiss bishops’ media outlet, kath.ch, which reported that “in the presence of [Vatican Cardinal Kurt Koch], Joseph Bonnemain gave Holy Communion to three senior Reformed [Swiss Protestant] personalities: the president of the Swiss Protestant Reformed Church, Rita Famos; the president of the Zurich church council, Michel Müller; and Zurich government councilor Mario Fehr.”

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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