1. Our Real Pandemic, By Francis X. Maier, The Catholic Thing, May 5, 2021, Opinion
A lot of American life today is a blend of vanilla spirituality that doesn’t make many demands on our time and attention, and a practical consumer atheism that does. The decline in our Catholic numbers is simply the truth forcing its way to the surface through layers of self-deception that we’ve accumulated as a Church over half a century or more. The truth can be painful, but it’s never bad. The truth makes us free: free to change; free to remember who we are as Catholics and why we’re here; and free to do better.
This is why someone like Joe Biden is good news – not happy or comfortable news, but good news. Because in his appealing personality, his sunny smile, his reassuring words, and the duplicity of his administration’s actions, he embodies so much of our American Catholic moment.  It was the author J.D. Vance, just a few weeks ago, who pointed out that since his election, President Biden has spoken, again and again, about the need for unity and healing, and then his administration’s actions have gone in exactly the opposite direction. That’s called lying.  And lying, in one form or another, is the real virus, the real pandemic, infecting so much of American, including American Catholic, public life.
My point is this:  What we choose or don’t choose, what we do or don’t do, does matter.  Augustine said that being faithful in little things is a big thing, and the little things we do can sometimes have very big consequences.  Our job isn’t to succeed, but to witness.  Recovering a humility about our own silent apostasies, the need for our own deeper conversion, and clarity about the challenges for Catholic life in our country that lie ahead – these things begin the renewal of our Church and our nation.  And we can thank our current media and political leaders for pushing that process along with the unintended gift of their malice and mendacity.
2. Man charged with setting fire at historic California mission, By Associated Press, May 5, 2021
A fire that gutted much of a historic Catholic church in Southern California last year was intentionally set, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The July 11 blaze engulfed the the rooftop and most of the interior of the San Gabriel Mission as it was undergoing renovations to mark its upcoming 250th anniversary celebration. No one was hurt in the fire.
John David Corey, 57, faces multiple counts, including arson of an inhabited structure and first-degree burglary, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said in a statement.

The church was the fourth in a string of Catholic missions established across California by Junipero Serra — an 18th-century Franciscan priest who was canonized by Pope Francis in 2015 — during the era of Spanish colonization.
While many credit Serra with spreading Catholicism along the West Coast, he has long been a symbol of oppression among Indigenous activists.
Racial injustice protesters last year toppled Serra statues in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, and San Gabriel officials had moved the mission’s Serra statue before the fire to guard against potential vandalism. The public outcry against Serra last year was part of the investigation into the fire, but officials didn’t immediately announce any connection.
3. Vatican No. 2 intervenes to shed light on Swiss Guard deaths, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 4, 2021, 9:20 AM
The Vatican secretary of state has intervened personally to shed light on one of the most sensational Vatican scandals of recent times: The 1998 murder of the Swiss Guard commander and his wife, purportedly by a disgruntled younger Swiss Guardsman who then took his own life.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin asked the Vatican City State tribunal to pay “particular attention” to the request by the mother of the accused guardsman, Cedric Tornay, to have access to the confidential court files of the investigation that was officially archived in 1999.
Parolin cited the “understandable desire that animates the relatives to know the details of a particularly painful event,” according to a March 30 letter from the cardinal to the mother’s lawyers.
4. Markets need regulation; poor need protection from fallout, pope says, By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, May 4, 2021
Financial speculation is unsustainable and dangerous, therefore, markets must be regulated and the poor protected, Pope Francis said.
“We still have time to start a process of global change to put into practice a different, more just, inclusive, sustainable economy that leaves no one behind,” he said.
In a video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network May 4, the pope offered his prayer intention for the month of May, which is dedicated to the world of finance.
5. Wealthy corporations back Equality Act stripped of religious freedom protections, By Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2021, 3:00 PM
Federal LGBT legislation that excludes important religious freedom protections has the backing of over 400 American corporations with trillions of dollars in annual revenue.
More than 400 companies, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies, have joined a business coalition in support of the Equality Act, the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said on April 27.
The Equality Act would add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories under federal civil rights law, where race is currently protected.
The legislation also prevents religious freedom claims from being made by individuals and groups under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The landmark 1993 law has been invoked by many as a defense against various government mandates, but the Equality Act would override those religious freedom protections. 
The U.S. bishops’ conference has thus warned that the Equality Act could “punish” religious groups which do not recognize same-sex “marriage” and transgender ideologies.
6. Cardinal Ruini sees ‘risk of schism’ in Germany after Vatican ‘no’ to same-sex blessings, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2021, 12:00 PM
Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini has said that he is praying there will be no schism in Germany, as priests and bishops in the country announce their disagreement with a document from the Vatican saying the Church cannot bless same-sex unions.
In a May 4 interview with the newspaper Il Foglio, Ruini said: “I hope with all my heart that there will not be any schism, and I pray for this.”
The 90-year-old cardinal referenced Pope Francis’ 2019 letter in which he asked German Catholics to keep a “connection with the universal Church.”
“These words of the pope offer a standard and a valuable direction,” Ruini said. “I do not deny, therefore, that there is a risk of schism, but I trust that, with God’s help, it can be overcome.”
7. Why France is losing one religious building every two weeks, By Solène Tadié, Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2021, 1:00 PM
One religious building is disappearing in France every two weeks.
That is the conclusion of Edouard de Lamaze, president of the Observatoire du patrimoine religieux (Observatory of Religious Heritage) in Paris.
He is raising the alarm in the French media about the gradual disappearance of religious edifices in a country known as the “eldest daughter of the Church” because the Frankish King Clovis I embraced Catholicism in 496.

Lamaze told CNA in an interview that in addition to one religious building disappearing every two weeks — by demolition, transformation, destruction by fire, or collapse — two-thirds of fires in religious buildings are due to arson.
While these statistics include buildings belonging to all religious groups, most of them concern Catholic monuments, which still represent a large majority in France, where there are roughly 45,000 Catholic places of worship.

According to the most recent figures from France’s central criminal intelligence unit, 877 attacks on Catholic places of worship were recorded across the country in 2018 alone.
“These figures have increased fivefold in only 10 years,” Lamaze said, noting that 129 churches were vandalized in 2008.
8. USCCB applauds Biden for raising limit on refugee admissions, By Catholic News Agency, May 4, 2021, 11:30 AM
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday praised the Biden Administration for its decision to raise the refugee ceiling.
“As a nation of immigrants, we have a moral obligation to help our brothers and sisters around the world who are in need. The updated refugee admissions cap is a step in the right direction to help those who need it most,” said Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington and chair of the USCCB’s migration committee, in a statement on Tuesday.
On Monday, May 3, the Biden Administration announced that it would be increasing the limit on the number of refugees admitted to the United States for the 2021 fiscal year; the new cap for refugee admissions has now been set at 62,500.

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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