1. Churches Push Back Against Coronavirus Restrictions, Clergy in the U.S. and Europe say limits on communal worship violate religious freedom, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2020, 5:24 AM
Religious leaders in Europe and the U.S. are pushing back harder against coronavirus restrictions than during the pandemic’s first wave, invoking their right to religious freedom and arguing churches are safe.
Protests in France and Britain, where bans on communal worship are now in place, have brought governments to the negotiating table with religious leaders. The Catholic diocese of Brooklyn, one of the largest in the U.S., is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court against numerical limits on worshipers.
Church leaders were largely deferential during the spring lockdowns to curb the spread of Covid-19. Many are taking a different tack now, convinced churches shouldn’t be treated more strictly than secular activities.
2. Vatican cardinal says ouster deprived him of possible papacy, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 20, 2020
The Vatican cardinal sacked by Pope Francis amid a corruption investigation is suing an Italian news magazine, claiming that his ruined reputation has eliminated his chances of becoming pope and will undermine the legitimacy of any future papal election.
Cardinal Angelo Becciu is seeking 10 million euros ($11.9 million) in damages, to be given to charity, in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the Sassari, Sardinia tribunal against L’Espresso magazine, the weekly affiliated with Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica.
The 74-page complaint raises questions about the conduct of Vatican criminal prosecutors, suggesting they leaked information to L’Espresso as they sought to build a corruption case around the Holy See’s 350 million-euro ($416 million) investment in a London real estate venture.
3. Correspondence shows Vatican vowed solidarity with Jews 25 years before Holocaust, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, November 20, 2020
At an event at the U.S. embassy to the Holy See responding to a rising tide of anti-Semitism in various parts of the world, the Vatican’s current Cardinal Secretary of State revealed that one of his predecessors, a full 25 years before the Holocaust erupted in Nazi Germany, vowed solidarity with the “children of Israel” in a letter to an influential American Jewish group on the basis of defending human dignity.
Speaking to participants in the online event, Vatican Secretary of State Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin quoted what he said was a recently discovered correspondence between the American Jewish Committee of New York and Cardinal Pietro Gasparri from 1915-1916 in the Vatican’s archives.
4. Tulsa Diocese ditches church coalition over abortion stance, By Associated Press, November 20, 2020
The bishop of the Tulsa Diocese said he withdrew his organization from the Oklahoma Conference of Churches last month because the coalition’s anti-racism and discrimination stance doesn’t include what he called “the most marginalized” and discriminated against group in the nation — the unborn.
The OCC, which is an ecumenical coalition of churches, released last month its theological statement on race and anti-discrimination, which declared “that no person should experience discrimination regardless of their sex, religion, race, immigration status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, age, gender identity/gender expression, ability, or socio-economic status.”
Seeing there was no mention of abortion in OCC’s newly released statement, Tulsa Bishop David Konderla withdrew the Catholic diocese, he said in statement dated Nov. 6 on the group’s website, The Oklahoman reported Thursday.
5. New York Says Render Unto Cuomo, Catholics and Jews take Covid-19 restrictions to the Supreme Court., By The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2020, 6:36 PM, Editorial
This week two Orthodox Jewish synagogues, affiliated with the organization Agudath Israel, appealed to the Supreme Court, asking to be freed of Mr. Cuomo’s order limiting houses of worship in certain zones to 10 or 25 people, no matter their normal capacity. The synagogues say they had “carefully and successfully complied” with mask requirements and social-distancing rules, and they’d split the traditional service into “several separate gatherings.”
Yet Mr. Cuomo’s “guilt-by-religious-association restrictions” have now made it “impossible” for them to exercise their faith, their application says. The burden is particularly heavy on the Orthodox, because they “are prohibited from vehicular travel on Saturdays and holidays,” making it impractical for them to “travel to synagogues outside of their restricted zones.”
Mr. Cuomo announced his Covid-19 “cluster” initiative in October, applying it to specific areas, such as in Brooklyn, that the applicants say show “clear gerrymandering to encircle primarily Orthodox communities and synagogues.” They also cite Mr. Cuomo’s comments on a call with Jewish leaders. “This is a fear-driven response,” he said. “You know, this is not a policy being written by a scalpel.” The application went to Justice Stephen Breyer, who has asked New York to reply by Friday.
In a separate appeal filed to Justice Breyer last week, the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn says Mr. Cuomo’s order “expressly singles out ‘houses of worship’ by that name for adverse treatment relative to secular businesses.” In red zones, the most restricted areas, offices and pet stores can run without capacity limits, because the Governor deems them “essential,” the filing says. In orange zones, “almost all commercial enterprises” can stay open.
How does this pass muster under the First Amendment?

Here’s a chance to readjust. Pet stores: open. Churches: closed. Those might be New York’s priorities, but they aren’t the Constitution’s.
6. Alleging sex abuse, 4 sue Vatican over handling of McCarrick, By David Porter, Associated Press, November 19, 2020, 6:22 PM
Four accusers of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick have filed a lawsuit against the Vatican, arguing it should be held liable for allowing the now-disgraced cleric to serve in multiple positions in New York and New Jersey when it knew of numerous allegations of sexual abuse against him.
7. Vatican bishop: Ethics committee will guide future investments, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, November 19, 2020, 7:30 AM
A Vatican bishop said this week that a committee of outside professionals is being created to help keep Holy See investments both ethical and profitable.
Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), said Nov. 19 that statutes for a new “Investment Committee” were waiting to be approved.
The committee of “high-profile external professionals” will work with the Council for the Economy and the Secretariat for the Economy to “guarantee the ethical nature of investments, inspired by the social doctrine of the Church, and at the same time, their profitability,” Galantino told the Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
8. Will a President Biden Protect Religious Freedom on the Domestic and International Stage?, By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, November 19, 2020, Opinion
The Trump and Biden campaigns had very different ideas about how to run the federal government. One matter that didn’t receive much attention — but should have — was how a Biden/Harris administration would protect religious liberty in America. It’s a crucial topic because the Trump administration went to extraordinary lengths to safeguard conscience rights and freedom of religion. It would be a tragedy to discover that the Biden/Harris transition team is planning on dismantling that legacy.
Let’s look at what the Trump administration managed to do, using a mixture of executive orders, new rules for government departments, institution-building and international diplomacy. It is, put simply, a formidable record of achievement.

President Trump began his presidency with firm actions in support of religious freedom.

The Trump administration was bolder than any of its predecessors in advancing religious freedom internationally.
It would be a great disappointment if the Trump administration’s achievements were ignored or — even worse — blotted out by a man who will be celebrated as our country’s second Catholic president.

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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