1. Biden avoids uproar with absence from Notre Dame graduation, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, May 24, 2021, Pg. A4
The University of Notre Dame held its 176th commencement ceremony Sunday, and conspicuously absent was President Biden.
Mr. Biden did not deliver the address to the Notre Dame 2021 graduating class, breaking with recent tradition for newly installed administrations, as the nation’s second Catholic president continues to draw fire for pursuing a staunchly prochoice policy agenda.
The White House told the Catholic News Agency that the president was invited but had a scheduling conflict, avoiding a brewing uproar over whether the Catholic institution should celebrate Mr. Biden by awarding him an honorary degree, as is customary for commencement speakers. More than 4,300 “members of the Notre Dame community” and others signed an open letter to the Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university president, asking him not to invite Mr. Biden over his “pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty agenda.”
“He rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender, and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history,” said the letter. “The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama, an action that alienated countless Catholics and brought upon Notre Dame the harsh criticism of 83 cardinals, archbishops and bishops.”
2. Vatican labor protest highlights any pope’s management dilemma, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, May 23, 2021, Opinion
Let’s face it, labor complaining about management isn’t exactly new.

In that light, the fact that the Vatican’s worker bees recently sent a petition to Pope Francis asking him to meet to discuss his recent decision to cut salaries, complaining that lay managers in the Vatican sometimes get exorbitant salaries while the compensation of front-line workers languishes, shouldn’t be terribly surprising.
However, this is the Vatican, where two considerations make this development significant, however predictable it is.
First, we’re talking about an environment in which the cult of the bella figura usually reigns supreme, meaning the importance of putting a good face on things. There are precious few incentives to go around voicing complaints in public, which means that for the workers to have taken this step, frustrations must be running high indeed.
Second, the Vatican routinely speaks out on social justice, including labor/management relations, to the rest of the world. If it’s going to hold itself out as a moral authority, then obviously it has to be seen to walk its own talk, practicing what it preaches.

Though the workers don’t name names, it’s not too difficult to figure out the kind of figures they’re talking about. When Australian Cardinal George Pell was named Secretary for the Economy in 2014, for example, he hired his former CFO in the Archdiocese of Sydney, Danny Casey, to run the office at a reported salary of 15,000 Euro a month, which works out to an annual salary of about $220,000.

Such cases in the Vatican are fairly rare, but not unheard of, and understandably irritating for an ordinary lay person who does secretarial work in the Roman Curia for an annual salary of perhaps 20,000 Euro and lives in a crummy one-room Vatican apartment that hasn’t been properly maintained for decades.
Still, in any other institution in the world, paying $220k for a top-flight business manager wouldn’t be considered excessive … in fact, it probably wouldn’t be considered at all, it would be automatic.
This, in a nutshell, is the problem Pope Francis or any pope faces.
It’s basically a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” dilemma. On the one hand, we insist that popes be good business managers, or at least that they find good business managers to run things for them. We want the Vatican to make efficient use of resources, to avoid waste and scandal, and to adopt best practices of transparency and accountability.
On the other hand, we also want the pope to be a paterfamilias, treating his workforce not as cogs in a machine but members of a family. We want him to practice Catholic social teaching in the administrative operations of the Vatican, paying just wages, giving labor a voice, and, in general, not acting like a heartless CEO but a living saint.

Assuming Pope Francis does meet with the delegation of workers currently clamoring to see him, he’ll undoubtedly listen carefully and sympathetically. Finding ways to satisfy them without breaking the bank or depriving the Vatican of badly needed expertise, on the other hand, may prove harder to pull off.
3. A big abortion case could upend ‘Roe’ — and burn the court’s credibility, By The Washington Post, May 22, 2021, 8:00 AM, Editorial
MANY SUPREME COURT cases are complicated. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which concerns Mississippi’s severe 2018 abortion law, is not one of them. The court’s conservative majority, which chose to take the case this week, must choose: Will the justices unravel decades of precedent to achieve an ideological victory on the most hot-button of issues, or will they preserve the credibility of their institution? Mississippi flagrantly transgressed the court’s settled abortion jurisprudence in a scheme designed to produce precisely this Supreme Court showdown. In an instant, the court would burn a precious store of legitimacy if it upheld Mississippi’s brazen breach of long-settled precedent.
4. Cardinal Pell eyes a Vatican scandal he suspected long ago, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 22, 2021, 8:06 AM
For the three years that Pell was in charge of the Vatican’s finances, he tried to get a handle on just how much money the Secretariat of State had in its asset portfolio, what its investments were and what it did with the tens of millions of dollars in donations to the pope from the faithful.
He largely failed, as his nemesis in the Secretariat of State, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, blocked his efforts to impose international accounting and auditing standards. But now Becciu has been sacked, Francis has stripped the secretariat of its ability to manage the money and Vatican prosecutors are investigating the office’s 350 million euro investment in a London real estate venture.

Pell said he is heartened that Vatican prosecutors are on the case, given the tens of millions of euros that were lost in the deal. But he expressed concerns about possible problems in the investigation and wondered if the truth will ever come out.

He noted a British judge recently issued a devastating ruling against the Vatican in a related asset seizure case against the broker, Gianluigi Torzi. The judge said Vatican prosecutors had made “appalling” omissions and misrepresentations in their request for judicial assistance, and his ruling essentially dismantled much of their case against Torzi.
“He used the word ‘appalling’ about the level of competence,” Pell said. The issues flagged in the British ruling are “a matter for concern,” said Pell, for whom matters of due process are particularly dear.
“It’s a matter of basic competence and justice,” Pell said. “We must act within the norms of justice.”

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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