1. Coronavirus is no excuse to exploit workers, pope says.

By Reuters, May 6, 2020, 5:24 AM

Pope Francis said on Wednesday employers must respect the dignity of workers, particularly migrants, despite economic difficulties brought on by the coronavirus crisis.

“It’s true that the crisis is affecting everyone but the dignity of people must always be respected,” Francis said at the end of his general audience, held from the papal library instead of St Peter’s Square because of the lockdown in Italy.


2. Little Sisters of the Poor Are Fighting on Two Fronts.

By Ashley McGuire, Real Clear Politics, May 6, 2020, Opinion

The Little Sisters of the Poor fight the good fight on two fronts. Their work caring for the dying and elderly poor puts them on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis. And thanks to the unrelenting, bullying efforts of Attorneys General Xavier Becerra and Josh Shapiro and friends, the nuns are also still leading the religious liberty fight in America. Today, they experience Round 2 at the U.S. Supreme Court in a case that should be renamed Insatiable Ideologues v. Little Sisters of the Poor.

But for reasons that remain somewhat unclear, our aforementioned attorneys general, the would-be legal heroes of modern-day sexual ideology, can’t resist trying to make an example out them. Come hell or high water, they will rope the nuns into complicity with things like abortion drugs in their healthcare plans. Their future political campaigns depend on it, doggone it! Never mind that the Supreme Court already told the federal government it must settle with the Little Sisters in such a way that their conscience rights are not compromised — and despite the fact that the president issued a subsequent executive order clarifying that under no circumstances can employers be forced to violate their religious or moral beliefs in their healthcare plans.

But using tricks of the legal trade, Becerra and Shapiro have found ways to drag the Little Sisters into courts all over the country, and today, back to the big one. One would be forgiven for thinking that a global pandemic that has strained America in unprecedented ways would make them relent. Because time spent fighting for the basic right to care for the dying and impoverished elderly according to the basic tenets of their faith is time taken from caring from the dying and impoverished elderly.

As detailed in our amicus brief in the nuns’ case, nuns founded our modern-day healthcare system, and many of the most famous hospitals in this country were founded by nuns going straight to, not away from, the sick during outbreaks and pandemics, be it the Franciscan sisters who started Mayo Clinic to treat lepers or the Sisters of Charity who founded St. Vincent’s hospital in the wake of a cholera epidemic. St. Vincent’s went on to be at the epicenter of the AIDS outbreak and now, the Covid-19 pandemic.

The only difference is that those nuns weren’t simultaneously fending off bullies who were weirdly obsessed with entangling them with birth control pills. But nevertheless, the Little Sisters persist in bearing two crosses, courageously carrying out their mission of mercy during one of America’s darkest hours, while at the same battling for their religious liberty in court.

Ashley McGuire is a senior fellow with The Catholic Association and the author of “Sex Scandal: The Drive to Abolish Male and Female.”


3. Supreme Court must finally protect Little Sisters of the Poor from anti-religious attacks.

By Nicole Russell, The Washington Examiner, May 6, 2020, 12:00 AM, Opinion

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor for the second time, as the group of nuns pleads once more for a religious exemption to Obamacare’s absurd contraceptive mandate. This case is a stellar example showcasing the importance of religious liberty — while also reminding everyone why Obamacare was such an authoritarian debacle in the first place.

The Little Sisters of the Poor first took their case to the Supreme Court several years after Obamacare was implemented, since the healthcare legislation required employers and insurance companies to cover birth control, and the sisters felt that they, along with other religious groups and organizations, felt they should be exempt.

The Trump administration issued a rule that granted respite to groups such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, broadening the religious exemption to the birth control mandate (which never should have existed in the first place). In response, the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued the federal government, claiming Trump had no right to broaden the exemption. Because of their obvious, compelling interest in this issue, the Little Sisters of the Poor intervened, and the case eventually worked its way to the Supreme Court — again.

Catholic Association Policy Advisor Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie summarized the importance of the case nicely in a statement:

The Little Sisters’ selfless, tender, and unstinting care for the elderly poor has been met with years of legal harassment, culminating in a third appearance before the Supreme Court. The Little Sisters of the Poor deserve to be free from government coercion that would force them to violate their conscience by providing abortifacients and other objectionable drugs and devices in their health care plan. These heroic women, who have persisted in their work during a pandemic which has made nursing homes dangerous hotspots of infection, ought to have their religious liberty rights confirmed once and for all by the highest court in the land.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court rules handily in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, so they can finally fulfill their calling without the burden of litigation over their head.


4. Obamacare’s contraception mandate is in peril again — yet still as fair as ever.

By The Washington Post, May 6, 2020, Pg. A24, Editorial

ONCE AGAIN, the Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, which requires nearly all health insurance plans to cover women’s birth control costs free of charge. The Obama administration exempted churches from the mandate, and it offered a reasonable compromise for other employers with religious objections. But the objectors rejected the compromise, and the Trump administration tore it up shortly after taking power, instead offering a large number of big employers a blanket exemption akin to the one churches got.

Federal law demands special care for the concerns of the faithful in striking a balance between religious liberty and governmental interests. It does not insist that there be no balance at all. The Obama administration accommodated all sides in good faith. The court should respect the principled balance that the Obama administration struck.


5. Atlanta’s new archbishop to be installed — at a distance.

By Jeff Martin, Associated Press, May 6, 2020, 1:19 AM

Atlanta’s new archbishop will be installed Wednesday in a socially-distant Mass, adapting some Catholic traditions in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

And instead of hugs, priests will applaud as Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer becomes the new leader of the Catholic Church in Atlanta.

Typically, the cathedral would be packed for such an occasion. Guests would include Pope Francis’ representative, the papal nuncio, who would present Hartmayer with the papal bull, a document inscribed in Latin appointing Hartmayer to his post. Rather than traveling to Atlanta, the nuncio will appear by video for that portion of Wednesday’s service.


6. Pope Francis speaks up for ‘harshly exploited’ agricultural workers.

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, May 6, 2020, 5:30 AM

The coronavirus crisis can be an opportunity to recenter work on the dignity of each person, Pope Francis said in an appeal at the end of his general audience broadcast on Wednesday.

“On May 1, I received several messages about the world of work and its problems. I was particularly struck by that of the agricultural workers, among them many migrants, who work in the Italian countryside. Unfortunately, many are very harshly exploited,” Pope Francis said May 6.

“It is true that the current crisis affects everyone, but people’s dignity must always be respected. That is why I add my voice to the appeal of these workers and of all exploited workers. May the crisis give us the opportunity to make the dignity of the person and of work the center of our concern,” he said.


7. Supreme Court to hear significant birth control coverage case: Oral arguments planned for Wednesday.

By Sandhya Raman, Roll Call, May 5, 2020, 6:39 AM

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday on whether two Trump administration rules that would expand the types of employers that could refuse to cover contraception can take effect.

Last year, the two rules from the departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor were set to permit the exemptions before being blocked in the courts. The case is being closely watched in part because the high court is more conservative than in the past.

Opponents of the rules say they could have decreased access to contraceptives for hundreds of thousands of women. But supporters of the rules say they are needed to protect against religious discrimination for employers whose beliefs conflict with contraception.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have challenged the Trump rules, with the two big lawsuits spearheaded by Pennsylvania and California.

“The Supreme Court already told the government to accommodate the nuns’ conscience rights and the president issued an executive order ensuring that employers cannot be forced to violate their religious beliefs,” said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association, in a statement. “Nevertheless, attorneys general like Xavier Becerra and Josh Shapiro just won’t stop harassing these women and keeping them from their life-saving work on behalf of our nation’s most vulnerable.”


8. Lessons learned during past pandemics – from a Catholic perspective.

By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, Catholic News Agency, May 5, 2020, Opinion

Coronavirus is only the latest iteration of an age-old human affliction. Even now, with the benefit of advanced medical science, our reaction – our confusion, our fear – is not so different from how our ancestors experienced recurrent and terrifying onslaughts of plague, cholera, and yellow fever across the ages. We can learn from the courage and ingenuity of those who travelled this road before us.

Consider the work of Dr. Carlos Finlay in Cuba. In 1880 he hypothesized, and then worked to prove his hypothesis, that yellow fever, a disease that regularly decimated coastal populations up and down the Americas, was spread by infected mosquitos.

Inspiration, however, was not enough to proceed. Courage and even heroism would be needed to prove Finlay’s hypothesis. These were at hand, thanks to 57 young Jesuit priests and brothers who volunteered as experimental subjects. As each arrived from Spain to staff the Colegio de Belen, newly founded by Queen Isabel II of Spain, he was met by Finlay, carrying a test tube filled with mosquitos that had just fed on a patient sick with yellow fever. Taking their lives in their hands, these Jesuits allowed themselves to be bitten for the sake of their fellow human beings. Three died of the bite, but all 57 were willing to do the same.

Subsequent experiments supported Finlay’s hypothesis.

You can also see today the same kind of valor that animated the Jesuit volunteers who let the infected mosquitos bite them. You see it in the countless men and women who keep showing up for work at nursing homes or crowded food production lines. Their examples help us all to keep up and increase our courage so we can join them as we ease back into our normal daily lives.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association


9. The Endless War on the Little Sisters of the Poor: Why does the left insist on making nuns pay for birth control?

By Helen Alvaré, The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2020, 7:07 PM, Opinion

The Little Sisters of the Poor are back before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, dragged by a handful of states that simply won’t rest until they’ve forced nuns to pay for birth control.

Those who oppose the Little Sisters of the Poor still can’t identify one woman who can’t get contraceptives without help from Catholic nuns. That was always strange given how many employers were exempted for reasons like administrative convenience. It was also ignorant about theology: For many faith traditions, mission-driven service outside the walls of a church is a central command.

Do the underserved women the states claim to defend exist, or is it all a political ploy to bring down religious exemptions and the faith-based ministries that rely on them?

Ms. Alvaré is a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.


10. Bill Barr and the Bill of Rights: The feds stand with a Virginia church cited for breaking lockdown.

By The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2020, 7:20 PM, Editorial

When Attorney General Bill Barr said last month that the federal government might intervene if state lockdowns go too far, critics derided him for irresponsible Trumpian bluster. Here’s what it means in practice: On Sunday the Justice Department backed a Virginia church whose pastor was cited for holding a service with 16 people.

The church says this is unequal treatment, and it submits photographs to make the point. One of them is a recent picture of Mr. Northam at a coronavirus press briefing. At least 21 people are visible in the room. Businesses deemed essential, meanwhile, attract hundreds. The church shows a photo of a Walmart parking lot, where its lawyers counted 268 cars. Virginia’s state-run liquor stores are open and reportedly had their best March on record.

When pressed last month about whether New Jersey’s lockdown comported with the U.S. Constitution, Governor Phil Murphy said the question was above his pay grade: “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.” We’re grateful Mr. Barr is.


11. Pro-life leaders ask for FDA crackdown on illegal sale of abortion drugs.

By Catholic News Agency, May 5, 2020, 1:00 PM

A group of pro-life leaders on Tuesday asked the Trump administration to crack down on illegal internet sales of abortion-causing drugs.

More than a year after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned certain online providers of abortion-inducing drugs that they were breaking the law, pro-life leaders sent a letter to the FDA asking them to take action against the providers. 

The pro-life coalition included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, Lila Rose, president and founder of Live Action, and Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life.

The FDA’s risk mitigation program “REMS” is reserved for higher-risk medications; it requires a certified health care provider to prescribe them in a hospital, clinic, or medical office setting.

However, the safety guidelines “are meaningless” if the drug is sold “over the internet with impunity,” the letter stated, exhorting the FDA “to act now to stop this predatory and dangerous practice.”


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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.