1. Cardinal’s prison diary explores suffering, solitary lockup, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 30, 2020, 12:05 AM
Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted and then acquitted of sexual abuse in his native Australia, reflects on the nature of suffering, Pope Francis’ papacy and the humiliations of solitary confinement in his jailhouse memoir, according to an advance copy obtained by The Associated Press.
“Prison Journal,” which recounts the first five months of Pell’s 404 days in solitary lockup, also provides a play-by-play of Pell’s legal case and gives personal insights into one of the most divisive figures in the Catholic hierarchy today.
2. Joe Biden’s harshest critics are likely to be some of his fellow Catholics, The fight between Biden and conservative Catholics will be about more than policy, By Theresa Keeley, The Washington Post, November 30, 2020, 6:00 AM, Opinion
If the presidential campaign is any indication, Biden may have the most challenging time winning over one group of Trump voters: conservative Catholics.
This may be surprising, given Biden’s devout Catholicism and the role it plays in his political philosophy. Yet, even as Biden attended church during the campaign and talked about his faith, his conservative coreligionists charged him with not being a “real” Catholic.

As jarring as this may be, intra-Catholic squabbles in the political arena are nothing new. During the Obama administration, for example, Catholics sparred over the Affordable Care Act. Abortion tends to be the dividing line in many of these debates.

If the debates of the 1980s are any indication, conservative Catholics probably will present Biden’s biggest challenge politically and personally, because they will oppose his policies by attacking his faith, which is so central to him. Biden, in turn, will respond based on his policy views and his faith.
Theresa Keeley is assistant professor of U.S. and the world at the University of Louisville and author of “Reagan’s Gun-Toting Nuns: The Catholic Conflict over Cold War Human Rights Policy in Central America” (Cornell University Press, September 2020).
3. Pope Francis tells Orthodox leader: I am confident we will achieve full unity, By Catholic News Agency, November 30, 2020, 6:30 AM
Pope Francis told the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Monday that he is confident that Catholics and Orthodox Christians will attain full communion.
In a message to Bartholomew I on the Feast of St. Andrew, Pope Francis praised the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s efforts to promote Christian unity.
“We can thank God that relations between the Catholic Church and the Ecumenical Patriarchate have grown much over the past century, even as we continue to yearn for the goal of the restoration of full communion expressed through participation at the same Eucharistic altar,” he wrote.
“Although obstacles remain, I am confident that by walking together in mutual love and pursuing theological dialogue, we will reach that goal.”
4. Is religious freedom a liberal or conservative value?, By Kevin Baine, The Washington Post, November 29, 2020, 11:12 AM, Opinion
The Supreme Court’s recent decision to enjoin the governor of New York from enforcing strict numerical limits on church gatherings has triggered strong reactions from liberal commentators who see it as a signal of the court’s shift to the right.

What is most notable about this shift is that it is seen as a move to the right rather than to the left.
To be sure, the justices who favored the injunction are generally seen as conservatives, and those who opposed it are generally thought of as liberals. But what does it mean to be a liberal or a conservative when it comes to enforcing the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom? Don’t liberals generally have a more expansive view of the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and aren’t conservatives more likely to defer to the decisions of elected officials that might be seen as curtailing those rights? That was how liberals and conservatives lined up on issues of religious freedom in the last century.

So what are we to make of all of this? We might, for one, think twice before applying such labels to the outcome of difficult cases or to the justices who decide them.

The whole idea of a constitutional right, however, is that it protects against all government measures, liberal or conservative, that would interfere with its exercise. And the whole idea of judicial review is that judges will protect that right regardless of how unpopular its assertion may be. The Supreme Court has been faithful to these ideals when it comes to enforcing the First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of association. If it is equally faithful when it comes to enforcing the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, its decisions will be no more liberal or conservative than the right to religious freedom itself.
5. Pope, with new cardinals, warns church against mediocrity, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, November 29, 2020, 6:33 AM
Pope Francis, joined by the church’s newest cardinals in Mass on Sunday, warned against mediocrity as well as seeking out “godfathers” to promote one’s own career.
Eleven of the 13 new cardinals sat near the central altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, where Francis on Saturday had bestowed upon them the red hats symbolizing they are now so-called princes of the church.

Francis has often warned against clericalism during his papacy, and he picked up on that theme in Sunday’s homily.
“If we are awaited in Heaven, why should we be caught up with earthly concerns? Why should we be anxious about money, fame, success, all of which will fade away?” the pope said.
Deviating from his prepared text, he added: “Why look for godfathers for promoting one’s career?”
6. Federal judges uphold Kentucky governor’s virus school order, By Associated Press, November 29, 2020, 1:38 PM
A federal appeals panel has upheld Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s order to stop in-person classes at religious schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
A three-member panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Sunday issued a stay of a federal judge’s order from last week.
U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove ruled Wednesday that the Democratic governor’s order cannot apply to religious schools as the “First Amendment protects the right of religious institutions ‘to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.’”
But the appellate court said Sunday that it is likely to rule that Beshear’s order was “neutral and of general applicability” in that all schools were affected.
7. Court orders France to rethink 30-person limit on worship, By Associated Press, November 29, 2020, 9:18 AM
France’s highest administrative court on Sunday ordered a rethink of a 30-person attendance limit for religious services put in place by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
The measure took effect this weekend as France relaxes some virus restrictions, but it faced opposition by places of worship and the faithful for being arbitrary and unreasonable. Even before the ruling, several bishops had announced they would not enforce the restrictions and some churches were expected to defy it.
The Council of State has ordered that Prime Minister Jean Castex modify the measure within three days.
8. Getting beyond politics on Brooklyn’s religious freedom fight, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, November 29, 2020, Opinion
Probably it should come as no surprise that reaction to Wednesday’s US Supreme Court decision granting an injunction against limits on public worship imposed by New York State was immediately swept up into the broader political fulcrum of 2020.
After all, the governor who imposed those limits, Andrew Cuomo, is a liberal Catholic; the bishop who challenged them, Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, is a member of Opus Dei and conventionally seen as a conservative. Moreover, the deciding vote in the court’s 5-4 decision was cast by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Trump appointee, meaning one’s perception of the case often is tied to perceptions of Trump himself and his legacy.

The thing of it is, the case actually has nothing to do with politics, or at least it shouldn’t. What it poses instead is a question of fact: Is a uniform policy of limiting attendance at religious services to a certain fixed number of people a reasonable infringement on a constitutional guarantee, when the facilities in question have vastly different capacities and abilities to observe safety protocols?
If you can explain how that’s a left v. right issue, you’re smarter than me.

In other words, is it too much to hope for that such questions can be resolved rationally, and without the burdens of ideological a priori?  Maybe, maybe not. But for those inclined to see things that way, the Brooklyn case may well loom as a classic example.
9. Biden plans swift moves to protect and advance LGBTQ rights, By David Crary and Elana Schor, Associated Press, November 28, 2020, 9:05 AM
Now, as president-elect, Biden is making sweeping promises to LGBTQ activists, proposing to carry out virtually every major proposal on their wish lists. Among them: Lifting the Trump administration’s near-total ban on military service for transgender people, barring federal contractors from anti-LGBTQ job discrimination, and creating high-level LGBTQ-rights positions at the State Department, the National Security Council and other federal agencies.
In many cases the measures would reverse executive actions by President Donald Trump, whose administration took numerous steps to weaken protections for transgender people and create more leeway for discrimination against LGBTQ people, ostensibly based on religious grounds.

Beyond executive actions he can take unilaterally, Biden says his top legislative priority for LGBTQ issues is the Equality Act, passed by the House of Representatives last year but stalled in the Senate. It would extend to all 50 states the comprehensive anti-bias protections already afforded to LGBTQ people in 21 mostly Democratic-governed states, covering such sectors as housing, public accommodations and public services.

Critics, including prominent religious conservatives, say the bill raises religious freedom concerns and could require some faith-based organizations to operate against their beliefs.
10. Biden and Cardinal Wilton Gregory share a mandate for healing divisions, By Christopher White, The Washington Post, November 28, 2020, 10:58 AM, Opinion
When Pope Francis needed someone to help heal Catholics in the nation’s capital recovering from the latest round of clergy sex abuse that had engulfed now former cardinal Theodore McCarrick, he tapped Archbishop Wilton Gregory as its new leader in April 2019.
This January, when Joe Biden becomes only the second Catholic president in U.S. history, the politician who pledged to heal America amid a global pandemic, economic dislocation and a racial reckoning will have Gregory as his local pastor.
Both men have been put in their positions with a mandate for reconciliation and are united by a shared admiration for Pope Francis who on Saturday elevated Gregory to the Catholic Church’s College of Cardinals, making him the first African American to receive the honor.

While some bishops have expressed reluctance to work with a Biden administration, Gregory has already signaled a different approach.

Now, in their new assignments, both men will find themselves confronting strikingly similar situations: a church and country fractured by racial wounds, tremendous infighting and a loss of trust in institutions and their leaders.
Christopher White is the national correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.
11. Pope elevates 13 new cardinals then puts them in their place, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 28, 2020, 10:12 AM
Pope Francis raised 13 new cardinals to the highest rank in the Catholic hierarchy Saturday and immediately warned them not to use their titles for corrupt, personal gain, presiding over a ceremony marked from beginning to end by the coronavirus pandemic.

During his homily, Francis warned the new cardinals against falling into corruption or using their new rank for personal advancement, saying that just because they have a new title, “Eminence,” doesn’t mean they should drift from their people.
His comments reflected Francis’ constant complaint about the arrogance of the clerical class, as well as his current battles to fight corruption in the Vatican hierarchy.

With Saturday’s new cardinals, Francis has named 73 of the 128 voting-age cardinals, compared to 39 for Pope Benedict XVI and 16 for St. John Paul II. While the outcome of a future conclave can never be predicted, it’s not a stretch to suggest that a hefty majority of today’s electors presumably share the pastoral and doctrinal attitudes of the pope who named them.
12. Archbishop Cordileone: New COVID church closures violate right to worship, By Catholic News Agency, November 28, 2020, 9:07 PM
As surging COVID-19 cases lead to new restrictions in the San Francisco area, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said the treatment of churches is discriminatory and violates the right to worship.
“[W]orship is both a natural and a Constitutional right. My people want to receive the Body and Blood of Christ; they need it, and have every right to be free to do so,” the archbishop said in a November 28 statement.
He criticized a new health order from the state of California placing San Francisco and San Mateo Counties into a more restrictive tier of coronavirus restrictions, resulting in a ban on indoor worship services.
The health order treats religious worship as a “non-essential” activity, while allowing hair and nail salons, massage parlors, and tattoo parlors to remain open, Cordileone noted.
“This is precisely the kind of blatant discrimination to which the Supreme Court gave injunctive relief in New York,” he said, referencing a decision Wednesday which blocked New York from similarly closing houses of worship while allowing secular retail venues to remain open.
13. The Supreme Court finally has a majority that will protect religious freedom, By Henry Olsen, The Washington Post, November 27, 2020, 5:26 PM, Opinion
Amy Coney Barrett’s accession to the Supreme Court excited religious liberty advocates. They believed her originalist jurisprudence, combined with her evident devout faith, would make her a firm advocate of interpreting the Constitution’s free exercise clause to defend religious liberty. Her decisive role in the court’s opinion this week enjoining the overly strict regulations from New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on how many people can gather in a house of worship shows how right they were.

Liberals have often defended the court’s jurisprudence as a defense of minority rights against majority tyranny. Barrett’s confirmation shows there is now a court majority that recognizes religious rights are worthy of constitutional protection, too. That’s a development that will likely pay dividends for conservatives for years — and perhaps decades — to come.

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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