1. Churches challenging stay-at-home orders in court.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, May 20, 2020, Pg. A10

A lawsuit filed by a group of churches in Oregon briefly led to an eight-hour lifting of the governor’s stay-at-home order, before the Oregon Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling and restored the order this week.

But churches in Oregon and across the nation are gaining steam in petitioning for preliminary injunctions to reopen amid coronavirus shutdown orders.

Over the weekend, a federal judge in Illinois requested expedited briefs in a lawsuit filed by two churches against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s stay-at-home orders, which do not allow for religious assembly of more than 50 people until a vaccine is developed.

In North Carolina, U.S. District Judge James C. Denver III issued a restraining order against Gov. Roy Cooper’s restrictions on religious gatherings, allowing for indoor services over the next 14 days.

On Monday, two churches in Minnesota also asked a federal judge to strike down Gov. Tim Walz’s restriction of religious assembly, saying churches are being singled out.

By the time cases reach higher courts, however, many states already may have allowed religious assembly to resume.


2. On 5th anniversary of Laudato Si’, faith organizations divest from fossil fuel.

By Charles Collins, Crux, May 20, 2020

This week, 42 faith institutions from 14 countries announced they are divesting from fossil fuels, the largest ever such joint announcement from religious organizations.

The announcement coincided with the fifth anniversary of the publication of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s landmark ecological encyclical.

Although the 42 signatories come from a variety of faith traditions, just half are Catholic institutions. There are now more than 170 Catholic institutions around the world that have made commitments to divest from fossil fuel companies.


3. US says California order discriminates against churches.

By Robert Jablon, Associated Press, May 19, 2020, 10:19 PM

The head of the federal Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division told Gov. Gavin Newsom Tuesday that his plan to reopen California discriminates against churches.

Restaurants and other secular businesses are being allowed to reopen under social distancing guidelines but not churches, which are limited to online and similar services.


4. New members of Congress call for Born Alive abortion vote.

By Catholic News Agency, May 19, 2020, 1:00 PM

Two newly-elected members of Congress signed a petition on Tuesday to bring a key pro-life bill to the House floor for consideration.

Reps. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) and Tom Tiffany (R-Wisc.) were both sworn in to the House on Tuesday morning, and signed the discharge petition for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act afterward according to the office of Minority WHIP Steve Scalise (R-La.).

The petition needs 218 member signatures to force consideration of the bill. While most bills do not advance out of committees to the House floor, a successful discharge petition would force consideration of the measure by the entire body.

Wagner’s legislation has 192 cosponsors, with a Senate version having been introduced by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).


5. Labor Department issues new religious freedom guidelines.

By Catholic News Agency, May 19, 2020, 12:00 PM

The Department of Labor (USDOL) issued new protections for federal employees and faith-based grant recipients last week, with religious freedom groups praising the move.

On Friday, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia issued a directive that agency leaders should incorporate respect for religious freedom into the daily operations of the department.

The agency also clarified protections for faith-based organizations and religious non-profits applying for federal grants, emphasizing equal treatment for both religious and secular groups applying for grants.


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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