1. Philly, Catholics and Foster Kids, The Supreme Court’s next religious-liberty case could be big, By The Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2020, Pg. A20, Editorial
Religious liberty is America’s first freedom, enshrined in the opening 16 words of the Bill of Rights. But the rise of progressive secularism is putting increased tension on American pluralism. Case in point is Fulton v. Philadelphia, an appeal from a Catholic foster agency that the Supreme Court will take up Wednesday.
To the left, the case is simple: Catholic Social Services (CSS) won’t certify gay couples for foster placements. Philadelphia says this violates the city’s nondiscrimination rules, meaning that CSS can no longer be contracted as a foster agency unless it changes its policy. CSS sued. To hear progressives, what it’s asking for is a religious license to discriminate against Philly’s LGBT citizens.

An obvious solution is for Philadelphia to give CSS an exemption, while explaining to the public that foster care exists to help children and that gay couples are welcomed by other agencies.
But the progressive winners of the culture war seem unwilling to give quarter to the losers. In 2008 Barack Obama said he believed “that marriage is the union between a man and a woman.” A decade later, CSS was told that its policy, based on the same view, disqualified it from longstanding good work with Philadelphia’s children. Meantime, Joe Biden wants to renew the effort to foist contraceptives onto the health plans offered by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
In a big, diverse country of 330 million people, questions of religion are best approached with an inclination toward pluralism and an attitude of live and let live. But if that’s too much to hope as militant secularism advances, then at least the faithful have the First Amendment.
2. Pope returns to private library for audience as virus surges, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 4, 2020, 4:35 AM
Pope Francis urged people to follow recommendations from governments and health authorities to prevent coronavirus infections as he returned to his private library for his Wednesday general audience amid a surge of infections in Europe.
In another sign that the Vatican was reentering a semi-lockdown mode again, the Holy See announced that it was shuttering the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel to the public until at least Dec. 3.
The museums, which are a major source of revenue for the Holy See, had reopened June 1 after a nearly three-month shutdown during the first wave of the outbreak.
3. Vatican closes museums, tightens rules for new religious orders, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, November 4, 2020
In two significant moves announced Wednesday, the Vatican ordered the closure of its own museums as part of a new, broader national lockdown in Italy, and also required local bishops to seek Rome’s approval before creating new religious orders.
Italy signed a new decreto del president del consiglio dei ministri (dcpm), which is essentially a decree from the Prime Minister, announcing, among other things, a national curfew of 10p.m., strict distancing learning for high-schoolers, the closure on weekends and holidays of large shops, and the closure of museums.
In keeping with Italian state norms, the Vatican issued a Nov. 4 statement stipulating that its museums and villas will be closed from Thursday, Nov. 5 until Dec. 3 to curb the spread of the coronavirus amid Italy’s mounting numbers.
4. Philadelphia’s closing of a Catholic ministry will put kids at risk. The Supreme Court must stop it., By Toni Simms-Busch, The Washington Post, November 3, 2020, 3:04 PM, Opinion
Before my two boys found their forever home with me in September 2019, they were exposed to hardships that no one — let alone a toddler — should endure. My oldest, now 4, often went hungry, bouncing from one inadequate shelter to another. He was surrounded by drug-addicted adults fighting their own demons.
I consider his survival a miracle wrought by God. That my boys are now growing in resilience and love, however, I credit to Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services.
For more than two centuries, this organization has served vulnerable children with skill and compassion. Yet their ministry is under attack from Philadelphia authorities and activists who would rather see children suffer than allow religious charities to live out their beliefs. If this effort succeeds, the victims will disproportionately be families of color like my own.
I cannot stand by and let this happen. That is why I joined a lawsuit against the city, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia brought by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear our case. I can only hope that the justices do the right thing — and refuse to let Philadelphia take away the futures of these children.

On Wednesday, when the Supreme Court hears our case, the justices will decide not only CSS’s fate but the fate of thousands of children across the country — children just like mine. If CSS’s foster program is closed permanently, I will be devastated. Families could be left, as the city testified, to start over again and find someone else to work with — if that is even possible. For any foster parents who can’t, the city has acknowledged, their foster children “would have to be removed” — no matter the trauma it causes. And faith-based foster care programs will face an existential choice: surrender your beliefs or surrender your ministry.
5. Investments by Secretariat of State now under tighter control, says bishop, By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, November 3, 2020
A lack of oversight and control over the Vatican Secretariat of State’s investment activities may have facilitated some bad property deals, said Bishop Nunzio Galantino, president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See.
“Taking advantage of past experience and the mistakes made, we are working to get more prudent, transparent and professional management” of assets and ensure they are subjected to “adequate controls” so investments will be both ethical and profitable, he said in an interview Oct. 31 with Avvenire, the daily newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference.
Since June 2018, Galantino has headed APSA, the office in charge of administering properties owned by the Vatican in order to provide funds for the work of the Roman Curia.
6. Pope, Austrian church leaders urge end to hatred after Vienna attacks, By Catholic News Service, November 3, 2020
Pope Francis and Austrian church leaders expressed dismay and sorrow after terrorists attack that left at least five dead in central Vienna, and they urged citizens to uphold key values of tolerance and respect.
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, told Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna Nov. 3 that Pope Francis was “deeply shaken” by the news of “the acts of violence in Vienna that caused the death and suffering of innocent people.” In addition to the dead, at least 17 people were injured in Nov. 2 attacks at six locations close to the Austrian capital’s central Jewish synagogue.
7. Colorado voters fail to approve 22-week abortion ban, Proposition 115, By Catholic News Agency, November 3, 2020, 9:47 PM
Voters in Colorado rejected a ballot measure that would have banned abortion in the state after 22 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where a mother’s life is threatened.
Proposition 115 failed 59%-41%, with 81.5% of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
If the ballot measure had passed, doctors would have faced a three-year license suspension for performing or attempting to perform an abortion of an unborn child beyond 22 weeks of gestation. Women would not have been charged for seeking or obtaining an illegal abortion.
8. Louisiana voters approve Amendment 1 to exclude ‘right to abortion’ from state constitution, By Catholic News Agency, November 3, 2020, 8:47 PM
Louisiana voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment to prevent Louisiana’s courts from finding a “right to abortion,” or to public abortion funding, in the state’s constitution.
Amendment 1 passed 64%-36%, with 96% of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.
Known as the “Love Life Amendment,” the measure will update the Louisiana constitution to state that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
State Senator Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat, authored the amendment when she was a state representative, along with dozens of co-sponsors from both parties.
9. Philly archbishop: SCOTUS should uphold Catholic Church’s First Amendment rights, By Archbishop Nelson Pérez, Phidelphia Inquirer, November 2, 2020, Opinion
The Catholic Church in Philadelphia is steadfast in its commitment to serve the temporal and spiritual needs of all. The foster-care program of Catholic Social Services has been at the forefront of that mission since the very beginning.
However, not long before I arrived back in Philadelphia as archbishop, the city abruptly decided that no more children could be welcomed into foster homes arranged and supported by Catholic Social Services. The lawsuit that ensued now sits before the nation’s highest court while the homes of our foster families remain painfully empty. Our centuries-old enterprise on behalf of this city’s most vulnerable children is in jeopardy.

Essentially, we are being told that the Catholic Church must leave its faith at the door if it wants to serve those in need. But our faith compels us to do this work, and we have a right to conduct ourselves according to the tenets of our faith. My hope is that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of upholding the Catholic Church’s First Amendment rights.
Nelson J. Pérez is the archbishop of Philadelphia.

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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