1. Missouri Christian Church Wins Settlement Over COVID Restrictions on Worship, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, October 21, 2021

A Kansas City-area Baptist megachurch has reached a $150,000 settlement with the county over coronavirus restrictions, with the church claiming that the county treated them more harshly than secular institutions when it came to COVID protocols.

Abundant Life Baptist Church, which has locations in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs, Missouri, filed a lawsuit against Jackson County over a year ago, arguing, as places of worship in other states have, that the county’s coronavirus restrictions treated places of worship more harshly than secular institutions such as retail stores.

Under the terms of the settlement, Jackson County vowed that in exchange for the church dropping the lawsuit, it would ensure that future enforcement measures would not impose stricter requirements on religious organizations than their secular counterparts, the Christian Post reported.


2. A Little Wisdom from Bernard, By Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., First Things, October 21, 2021, Opinion

Bernard of Clairvaux, the great 12th-century saint and Doctor of the Church who renewed the Western monastic tradition, once warned that “The most grievous danger for any pope lies in the fact that, encompassed as he is by flatterers, he never hears the truth about his own person and ends by not wishing to hear it.”

Every pontificate has its courtiers. The current one is no exception; quite the opposite. Thus, St. Bernard’s words came easily to mind as I read a recent Austen Ivereigh article for America magazine. In it, Ivereigh claimed that “over the last eight years, a powerful U.S.-based media conglomerate has used its formidable wealth and power to turn a large portion of the people of God against Rome and its current occupant. And for good measure, against key reforms of the Second Vatican Council.” 

Frightening stuff; so where might this muscular wickedness spring from: Comcast? Facebook? George Soros’s Open Society Foundations? No. Today’s spirit of schism—Mr. Ivereigh describes it as “the diabolos, and calling it something else is just putting lipstick on a pig”—is the work of those iniquitous devils at . . . EWTN. Yes, that’s the network founded by that arch-troublemaker and woman religious, Mother Angelica, and funded largely by tens of thousands of small donations from ordinary, faithful Catholic individuals and families. 

To be fair, Ivereigh’s article simply elaborates on comments that Pope Francis made recently to Jesuits in Slovakia. Pope Francis didn’t name the offending media organization, but as journalists quickly confirmed, he meant EWTN.

Mr. Ivereigh is right to see mean-spirited ecclesial criticism from anyone as poisonous to the unity of the Church. But he might take his own words to heart in examining some of his own past work.  Moreover, not all criticism in a family is ill-intended or disloyal or inaccurate. Some anger, even anger at legitimate authority, is righteous. The virtue of Christian obedience is rooted in speaking the truth—with love, but frankly and firmly—and true religion has nothing to do with a posture of servility. 

Ivereigh should, but likely won’t, be embarrassed by his America article. The role of courtier doesn’t suit him. But then he’s hardly alone in that line of work during the current pontificate. 

No pontificate is well served when its promoters show contempt and belligerence toward perceived enemies. That kind of flackery simply produces more, and even more determined, critics who do indeed elide into enemies. One can hope that Pope Francis understands this. In the meantime, it’s worth stressing that the latest attacks on EWTN are both ugly and unjust, and calling them something else is, to borrow a thought from Mr. Ivereigh, “just putting lipstick on a pig.”

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., is the archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia.


3. Pope Francis calls for greater female leadership ahead of G-20 summit, By Claire Giangravé, Religion News ServiceOctober 20, 2021, 12:53 PM

In a message read by his secretary of state to a women’s advocacy group meeting ahead of the G-20 summit, Pope Francis called for greater female leadership in world affairs on Monday (Oct. 18), telling the Women’s Forum G-20 that “our world needs the collaboration of women, their leadership and their abilities, as well as their intuition and their dedication.”

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, read the pontiff’s message by video to a special two-day gathering in Milan of the Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society, founded by Publicis public relations to highlight women’s voices in government and diplomacy.


4. Texans will vote in November on whether governments can limit religious services, By Alejandra Molina, Religion News ServiceOctober 20, 2021, 4:33 AM

Texas voters will decide on Election Day (Nov. 2) whether state and local governments can impose limits on religious services, such as the public health orders that shut down houses of worship and businesses earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic.

If voters approve the measure, known as Proposition 3, it would add a clause to the Texas Constitution forbidding state or local authorities from prohibiting or limiting religious services.

The amendment has divided religious groups in Texas and has also amassed bipartisan support, passing both the state Senate and House of Representatives with a number of Democrats joining unanimous Republican support.


5. Fortenberry indictment tied to Middle East Christian advocates, By The PillarOctober 20, 2021

A Catholic U.S. Congressman from Nebraska has been charged with lying to federal investigators about an alleged scheme to launder campaign contributions from a foreign billionaire — a prominent Catholic philanthropist with ties to controversial charitable and business interests.

The congressman has vowed to fight the charges, and asked supporters for prayers.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has represented Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District since 2005. He is accused of lying to the FBI during a 2019 investigation of illegal campaign contributions.

The Republican congressman has insisted he is innocent. He discussed the charges in a video released on YouTube October 18, the day before the Department of Justice announced his indictment.


6. Parolin to French prime minister: Fight against abuse must respect seal of confession, By Michelle La Rosa, The PillarOctober 20, 2021

The Vatican Secretary of State reaffirmed the Church’s stance that the seal of confession is inviolable, during an exchange with the French prime minister this week. France is considering a law that would demand priests break the seal to report suspected abuse of minors.

In comments released by Vatican Media, Parolin and Castex traded thinly-veiled comments on a proposed French law to require priests to report sexual abuse of minors that they learn about in the context of sacramental confession.

Castex said that France’s 1905 laïcité policy does not exclude religion from society but “simply delimits the spheres of intervention of the state on the one hand and of religion [on the] other.”

He said the Church must “find the necessary answers” to address abuse, and stressed that the separation of Church and state “is not at all the separation between Church and law.”

Parolin emphasized in remarks that the Church is determined to fight abuse and collaborate fully with civil authorities, but added that this must always be done while “respecting the nature, the mission and the sacramental structure of the Church which are proper to her.”


7. Catholic leader says his archdiocese won’t take part in global synodal process, citing ‘ideological’ risk, By Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2021, 9:00 AM

A Catholic leader has said that his archdiocese won’t take part in the two-year global synodal process, saying that it would run “the risk of becoming ideological.”

Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz, Liechtenstein, announced his decision on Oct. 15, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.

“I am of the opinion that in our small archdiocese it is possible for good reasons to refrain from carrying out such a complex and sometimes even complicated procedure, which in our parts runs the risk of becoming ideological,” the 73-year-old archbishop wrote.

The archdiocese is based in the capital of Liechtenstein, a German-speaking microstate located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. The wealthy tax haven, which is smaller than Washington, D.C., has a population of 38,000 people, around 73% of whom are Catholic.


8. Pro-life groups must ‘wake up’ in support of pro-life Democrats, former congressman says, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2021, 11:00 AM

Pro-life Americans must do more to support embattled pro-life Democrats, said a Catholic former Democratic congressman.

Dan Lipinski is a Catholic eight-term congressman from Illinois who was ousted in a 2020 primary challenge by pro-abortion Marie Newman. He told CNA this week that support from pro-life groups in his primary fight was no match for an avalanche of pro-abortion spending against him.

“I was happy to see some support from pro-life groups, but the amount of money that came in from the other side certainly dwarfed anything that came in, support-wise, from pro-life groups,” Lipinski told CNA in an interview.

Pro-abortion political groups such as the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood Votes, and WOMEN VOTE! all predictably teamed up against Lipinski in the primary race, highlighting his pro-life voting record.


9. Synod on Synodality a learning opportunity for Catholic Church, Archbishop Gomez says, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, October 20, 2021, 2:00 PM

The upcoming gatherings of Catholics for a synodal process are important opportunities for outreach, support, and communication, according to Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. bishops’ conference.

“The Holy Father has called for the local churches to hold inclusive consultations with the People of God as part of the synod,” Gomez said Oct. 20. “We face a challenge after over a year of being physically distanced within our communities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This synod is an opportunity to meet the immense and important request of the Holy Father to engage in dialogue to better understand our call to holiness and feel the responsibility to participate in the life of the Church.”


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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