1. Amy Coney Barrett Confirmed To The Supreme Court, By The Catholic Association, October 27, 2020
Statement from Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association:
“The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a decisive victory in the effort to restore authentic constitutionalism and the rule of law to the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett is an extraordinarily accomplished scholar and jurist who has made it eminently clear that she believes a judge must apply the law as written as opposed to legislate one’s personal views from the bench. She is exactly the kind of judge that the American people elected President Trump to appoint. She is also the kind of role model who has balanced generosity at home with achievement in the workplace that America’s girls and women have been looking for. We have high hopes in her future as America’s next Supreme Court justice and we thank the president for putting her forward without flinching and the Senate for confirming her without faltering.”
Statement from Dr. Grazie Christie, Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association:
“The confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is great news for all Americans who prefer a fair and independent judiciary to an activist one. Judge Barrett has demonstrated that she will equally apply the law to everyone who comes before her and faithfully interpret the Constitution as written. Her profound knowledge of the law is only matched by her exemplary character. She is a role model for women and girls who aspire to reach the highest levels of accomplishment. Chairman Graham, Leader McConnell, and President Trump are to be commended for choosing and confirming such an excellent nominee.”
2. An African American cardinal, at last, Pope Francis elevates D.C.’S Archbishop Gregory, who has been a voice for reform, By The Washington Post, October 27, 2020, Pg. A22, Editorial
BY A rough count, no more than about 50 American Catholic prelates have attained the rank of cardinal since 1900, and every one of them was White. On Sunday, Pope Francis gave word that will change when he announced that the current archbishop of Washington, Wilton Gregory, will be elevated and become the first African American cardinal.
His installation at the Vatican next month will be an important milestone. It will also amplify the new cardinal’s voice both in the Catholic Church and nationally. His promising track record so far this century, as an archbishop taking over the scandal-ridden Washington archdiocese and, before that, as the first Black president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as archbishop of Atlanta, suggests he may be an influential voice for a church that is more inclusive, tolerant and racially clued-in, unafraid to take firm stances on socially divisive issues.
3. Justice Barrett Joins the Court, By The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2020, Pg. A14, Editorial
Justice Amy Coney Barrett, as she will now be known, was confirmed by the Senate 52-48 on Monday evening, with a swearing-in shortly thereafter. A few congratulations are in order, as well as some thoughts about the future of the Supreme Court.
Senate Republicans held firm against the Democratic demagoguery that portrayed Judge Barrett as a sworn enemy of everyone with pre-existing health conditions. Judge Barrett helped by acing her hearings.

Our hope is that the new Court will seek to restore the proper understanding of the separation of powers, while continuing to guard individual liberty as understood in the Constitution. This means reining in the administrative state, while nudging Congress to take back its powers by writing laws with specificity, instead of passing legislative Mad Libs for the executive to finish. Also important will be protecting individual Americans from the coming progressive assaults on free speech, religious liberty and gun rights, among other things.
4. Political tact doesn’t stop Pope from (indirectly) tweaking Trump, By John L. Allen Jr., October 27, 2020, Opinion
“A foolish consistency,” Ralph Waldo Emerson once famously wrote, “is the hobgoblin of little minds.” People and institutions of all sorts channel their inner Emerson all the time, invoking iron-clad principles when they’re convenient but finding loopholes when they’re not.
The Vatican is no exception, and the past weekend brought two examples when it comes to getting involved in civil politics.
Pope Francis himself is legendarily averse to being taken advantage of by politicians for electoral ends, so much so that, well before the COVID-19 pandemic, he kept finding excuses not to make a homecoming trip to Argentina, partly out of fear that one or another political alignment would try to spin it as an endorsement.

Yet on Saturday, Pope Francis met Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Vatican, delivering an impromptu speech warning of a looming crisis which he compared to the Great Depression of the 1920s and 30s. In terms of media coverage, the only headline was that Francis and Sanchez went maskless despite the fact the Vatican has reported a recent spike in COVID cases, including among the Swiss Guards.

I was struck, however, by the pope’s reference to the recent book Sindrome 1933, or “The 1933 Syndrome,” by Italian author Siegmund Ginzberg, who was born in Istanbul in 1948 to a Jewish family that shortly thereafter emigrated to Milan. For most of his career Ginzberg was a foreign correspondent for the Italian paper L’Unità, which once upon a time was the official publication of the Italian Communist Party.
The book compares the growth of right-wing populist movements today to the situation amid the Great Depression that paved the way for the rise of the Nazis in Germany, and Francis clearly suggested the comparison has merit. The pope said Ginzberg posits the analogy “very delicately,” but, in reality, it’s fairly explicit.
At one stage, Ginzberg notes that in 1932 some 14 million Germans voted for Adolph Hitler, and then writes: “There’s a strong temptation to blame the voters, the people who allow themselves to be ensnared. You hear the same thing for Trump, Erdoğan, Modi, Orbán, Bolsonaro … But in response, one could paraphrase the irony of Bertold Brecht: ‘If you’re disappointed by electoral results, I’d suggest you dissolve the people and elect another.’”

At the time Pope Francis made that reading recommendation, the U.S. election in which Trump’s fate will be determined was 10 days away.
One day later, Francis named 13 new cardinals, including Archbishop Wilton Gregory in the US. The main headline in the States was about Gregory being the first African American to get the red hat, but a common sub-header was along the lines of, “Prelate who took on Trump named cardinal.”

To put the point differently, when a pope or another senior Vatican official doesn’t want to do something, proximity to an election can be a useful way of explaining why not. When they do feel like doing something, however, concern over political fallout doesn’t always seem to stop them.
5. China continued religious crackdown during renewal of Vatican deal, By Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2020, 1:00 PM
The Chinese government continued to enforce sweeping restrictions on religious freedom in the weeks prior to the renewal of a deal with the Vatican on October 22.
According to Bitter Winter, an Italian magazine that focuses on religious freedom in China, the Communist government has recently ramped up enforcement of the prohibition on the sale and distribution of religious texts. Religious texts are not permitted to be mailed in China as they are considered to be “contraband.”

According to ChinaAid, a Christian NGO, Chinese publications have started to replace the words “Christ,” “church,” and “Jesus” in their books with the initials of the pinyin terms for those words to avoid censorship. Some book titles, ChinaAid reported on October 20, obscured religious words with color blocks.

Even long-dead Christians have been subject to persecution in China. Bitter Winter reported on October 16 that the previous month Chinese authorities authorities had demolished the tombstones of 20 Swedish missionaries, some of whom died over 100 years ago.

Despite the ongoing persecution of Christians in China, which has also seen Communist authorities bulldoze churches, arrest bishops, and offer bounties for information on underground religious services, on Oct. 22 the Vatican announced that it had agreed “to extend the experimental implementation phase” of the two-year provisional agreement first signed with the Chinese government on Sept. 22, 2018,
6. COVID-19 not an excuse to topple civil and religious liberties, Congress seems to have its priorities mixed up in debate over virus relief, By Ken Starr, Roll Call, October 23, 2020, 2:38 PM, Opinion
A crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic certainly calls for Congress and states to protect the health and economic security of the American people. At the same time, it should not serve as an invitation to trample on our civil and religious liberties in the process.
The current debate over the COVID-19 response is a perfect example. In Congress, lawmakers have proposed sweeping changes to provide companies with immunity from legal liability for injuries and deaths related to COVID-19. Concurrently, states are banning gatherings over a certain number of people, with a particular focus on those worshiping at churches, synagogues and mosques, while allowing similar numbers of people in other locations.
These are both examples of dangerous government overreach — one in which Congress should play no role and the other where Congress has not done nearly enough.

Lawsuits have been filed all over the country to put an end to this arbitrary and insidious attack on religious assembly. Yet members of Congress have been focused on phantom COVID-19 exposure claims instead of real lawsuits that are seeking to protect our civil liberties and religious freedoms.
Congress should not eliminate people’s legal rights. Rather, it should do more to protect our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms when there are problems of national significance worth solving.
Ken Starr is a former federal judge, solicitor general and independent counsel. He is currently of counsel to the Lanier Law Firm.
7. Abortion restrictions on the ballot in two states, Colorado, Louisiana decisions come with an eye on the Supreme Court, By Sandhya Raman, Roll Call, October 26, 2020, 5:01 AM
Voters in Colorado and Louisiana have the opportunity to weigh in on two different abortion restrictions through ballot initiatives this fall, following the approval of two similar initiatives in conservative states in 2018.
This comes as the national debate over the future of the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion case intensifies with the Senate poised to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday. Advocates on both sides of the issue say she could play a major role in upcoming cases before the high court that could chip away at abortion access.
So far, 17 cases are currently only one step away from the court. State-level changes through ballot initiatives or legislation could have major implications if the Supreme Court changes precedent on this issue.

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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