1. Pope Francis calls for civil union law for same-sex couples, in shift from Vatican stance, By Catholic News Agency, October 21, 2020, 6:35 AM
In a documentary that premiered Wednesday in Rome, Pope Francis called for the passage of civil union laws for same-sex couples, departing from the position of the Vatican’s doctrinal office and the pope’s predecessors on the issue.
The remarks came amid a portion of the documentary that reflected on pastoral care for those who identify as LGBT.
“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it,” Pope Francis said in the film, of his approach to pastoral care.
After those remarks, and in comments likely to spark controversy among Catholics, Pope Francis weighed in directly on the issue of civil unions for same-sex couples.
“What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered,” the pope said. “I stood up for that.”
The remarks come in “Francesco,” a documentary on the life and ministry of Pope Francis which premiered Oct. 21 as part of the Rome Film Festival, and is set to make its North American premiere on Sunday.
2. HHS touts revised policies for religious visits at hospitals, Move comes after complaints, By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, October 21, 2020, Pg. A8
Federal civil rights attorneys announced Tuesday the resolution of religious discrimination complaints that were filed after hospital systems in Maryland and Virginia were accused of denying Catholic priests access to perform sacramental rites during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights announced “modifications” to visitation policies at MedStar Health System, which operates 10 hospitals in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia; and at Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The changes ensure visitation access by chaplains or clergy to hospital patients, HHS said in a statement.
3. Pope reverts to mask-less old ways amid growing criticism, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 21, 2020
A day after donning a face mask for the first time during a liturgical service, Pope Francis was back to his mask-less old ways Wednesday despite surging coronavirus infections across Europe and growing criticism of his behavior and the example he is setting.
Francis shunned a face mask again during his Wednesday general audience in the Vatican auditorium, and didn’t wear one when he greeted a half-dozen mask-less bishops at the end. He shook hands and leaned in to chat privately with each one.
4. Hospitals resolve complaints of clergy access amid pandemic, By Associated Press, October 21, 2020
Hospitals in Maryland and Virginia have resolved religious discrimination complaints with federal officials over the hospitals’ decisions to block clergy access to patients during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.
In response to the complaints, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton, Maryland, and Mary Washington Healthcare in Fredericksburg, Virginia, revised their visitation policies to allow patients to receive religious services as long as clergy members follow infection prevention practices.
The complaint against Medstar was filed in July by a patient, while two complaints against Mary Washington were brought by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
5. Pennsylvania justices review priest abuse lawsuit’s ruling on time limits, By Mark Scolforo, Associated Press, October 21, 2020
Pennsylvania’s highest court on Tuesday grappled with whether a woman’s lawsuit on claims of sexual abuse by a priest decades ago should be allowed to proceed — a lower-court ruling that has launched many other lawsuits since it was issued a year ago.
In oral argument, the justices focused questions on whether the plaintiff, Renee Rice, waited too long to sue the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
Rice has argued that a 2016 grand jury report alerted her to allegations that church officials’ silence about a priest who she says molested her amounted to fraudulent concealment.

The court is considering whether last year’s Superior Court decision improperly did away with the statute of limitations and a discovery rule for civil actions. It also will decide how long the church and church officials were obligated to disclose what they may have known about Bodziak.
6. Australian law enforcement examine Vatican money trail, By Rod McGuirk, Associated Press, October 21, 2020, 7:53 AM
A range of Australian law enforcement and corruption agencies are examining a reported transfer of money from the Vatican that Italian media have speculated might be linked to the overturned convictions of Cardinal George Pell for child sex abuse.
The national financial crime intelligence agency, two police forces and a public sector corruption watchdog have been drawn into the Vatican scandal, although details of what has piqued their interest in Australia remained scant on Wednesday.
Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera speculated in recent weeks that Vatican investigators were looking into whether Pell’s nemesis at the Vatican, ousted Cardinal Angelo Becciu, wired 700,000 euros ($823,000) in Vatican money to a bank account in Australia, and whether that money was tied to Pell’s sex abuse trial.
7. NY Catholic Conference: Follow the science. Open the churches., By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2020, 4:00 PM
New York’s Catholic dioceses continue to push back on new coronavirus restrictions that have shut down more than two dozen churches in the state, despite there being no connection between churches and an outbreak of the virus.
Dennis Poust, director of communications for the New York State Catholic Conference, told CNA Tuesday that the state’s dioceses “are not aware of any outbreaks related to a Catholic Church anywhere in the state, including in the so-called ‘hot zones,’” identified by New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo announced at the start of October that there would be new “cluster” designations of “red,” “orange,” and “yellow” for zip codes that are experiencing new cases of the coronavirus.
For houses of worship located in the “red” zip codes, capacity is limited to 10 people, a figure which grows to a maximum of 25 for houses of worship in “orange” zip codes. Public and private schools, as well as “non-essential” businesses located in these “red” and “orange” zip codes were also forced to close due to the new restrictions.
8. Pro-Life Democrats Make the Case for a 22-week Abortion Ban in Colorado, By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, October 21, 2020
As Colorado voters consider a ballot measure to ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, pro-life Democrats have been vocal in support, stressing its mainstream appeal and the need to give care to vulnerable human beings who can survive outside of the womb.
“When people realize abortion is allowed up to birth for any reason in Colorado most are shocked. People travel from all over the U.S. and even the world to Colorado to get late-term abortions,” Kristin Vail, vice president of Democrats for Life of Colorado, told CNA Oct. 19. “I don’t think people want our state to be known for that.”
“Every human has value and deserves to live free from violence. Late-term abortions are especially horrific because at 22 weeks fetuses can feel pain and can survive outside the womb with medical support,” Vail said. “Proposition 115 will save lives from abortion.”
9. Sr. Simone Campbell, head of Network, to step down in March 2021, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, October 20, 2020
After 16 years of leading the nation’s most politically engaged group of religious sisters and becoming the face of the Nuns on the Bus movement, Social Service Sr. Simone Campbell announced on October 20 that she would be stepping down as head of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, effective March 2021.
Campbell, who is also a lawyer, has served as executive director of Network since 2004. In a statement released on Tuesday, she said “the time has come for new leadership.”

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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