1. A more conservative court hears same-sex foster parent case, By Jessica Gresko, Associated Press, November 5, 2020, 2:17 PM
The Supreme Court on Wednesday seemed likely to side with a Catholic social services agency in a dispute with Philadelphia over the agency’s refusal to work with same-sex couples as foster parents.
The case is a big test of religious rights on a more conservative court.

With the addition of three appointees of President Donald Trump, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, the court would seem poised to extend protections for religious objections to anti-discrimination laws.
Kavanaugh, for his part, suggested Wednesday there should be a way for Catholic Social Services to continue to work with foster families. The case, Kavanaugh said, requires the justices to think about how to balance “very important rights” the court has recognized: Religious rights and the right to same-sex marriage.
2. UN investigator: Rights of minorities to worship undermined, By Edith Lederer, Associated Press, November 5, 2020
The U.N. special investigator on religious freedom urged countries to repeal laws undermining the right of minorities to worship and hold beliefs, pointing as examples to China’s detention of Uighurs, 21 countries that criminalize apostasy, and sweeping surveillance of Christians in North Korea and Muslims in Thailand.
Ahmed Shaheed warned that “the failure to eliminate discrimination, combined with political marginalization and nationalist attacks on identities, can propel trajectories of violence and even atrocity crimes.”
3. Pope tightens oversight on creation of new religious orders, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 4, 2020, 10:27 AM
Pope Francis on Wednesday tightened oversight on creating new religious orders to exert more Vatican control over the process and prevent charlatans from duping the faithful.
The new law was approved as the Vatican in recent years has cracked down on the founders of some religious orders and lay institutes after they were found to have been religious frauds who sexually or spiritually abused their members.
4. Report: Catholic nuns in China forced out of convent amid government harassment, By Catholic News Agency, November 4, 2020, 5:57 PM
Due to pressure from the Chinese government, eight Catholic nuns have reportedly been forced to leave their convent in the northern province of Shanxi. Their current whereabouts have not been reported.

The nuns have been under constant surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party because they used to live abroad and have refused to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the communist-run state church, according to Bitter Winter.
5. Supreme Court Hears Case Pitting Religious Liberty Against Same-Sex Marriage, By Paul Strand, CBN News, November 4, 2020
An important religious liberty case went before the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday – the first heard by new justice Amy Coney Barrett.   A Catholic foster agency in Philadelphia had told a reporter because of its belief in traditional marriage, it would refer same-sex couples to other foster agencies rather than place children with such couples.

After the case was heard, Senior Fellow Maureen Ferguson at the Catholic Association wrote, “For 200 years, Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services tirelessly rescued the suffering children trapped in foster care by placing them in loving homes. In a politicized and heavy-handed decision, the city of Philadelphia excluded Catholic Social Services and their partner families from its foster care program, leaving 250 children in limbo awaiting a foster home.”
She continued, “In oral arguments today, Justice Kavanaugh pointedly asked why city officials provoked this unnecessary fight since there are 30 other foster care agencies in Philadelphia that place children with same-sex couples. Justice Thomas focused on the bigger question of whether foster care programs exist for the good of vulnerable children or to advance the rights of LGBTQ adults.”
Ferguson concluded, “We hope the Court will side with the needs of children and the people of faith at Catholic Social Services who have demonstrated heroic love for vulnerable foster kids for two centuries.”

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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