1. The Vatican should use its leverage with China to free Hong Kong prisoners, By George Weigel, The Washington Post, September 1, 2020, Pg. A21, Opinion
As the democratic world scrambles to devise adequate countermeasures to China’s increasing repression in Hong Kong and beyond, there is one currently disengaged actor that could play a productive role: the Vatican. In the past, under Pope John Paul II, the Holy See was uncompromising in defense of fundamental human rights. That approach is needed now — but would require an overdue recalibration of the Holy See’s recent policy toward China.
In recent times, Vatican diplomacy in China has begun from the premise that a smoother relationship on ecclesiastical issues will clear the path to what a generation of Vatican diplomats have sought: full diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic. These diplomats imagine this will give the Vatican a place at the table where the great issues of world affairs are sorted out.
The eagerness with which this putative grail has been pursued baffles many. The failed Vatican Ostpolitik in Central and Eastern Europe during the 1960s and 1970s succeeded only in disabling and demoralizing local Catholic communities, while the Vatican itself was deeply penetrated by communist intelligence services.
Yet that same accommodating approach is playing out today.

The only power the Vatican has in 21st-century global politics is the moral authority that comes with the forthright defense of human rights for all. … Given the lack of hard power options to bring pressure on China to correct its abysmal human rights record, soft power may be the only available tool — and, paradoxically, the most effective one.
George Weigel is a distinguished senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon chair in Catholic studies, and the author of “The Next Pope: The Office of Peter and a Church in Mission.”
2. Pope: Use pandemic to give the environment a vital “rest”, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, September 1, 2020, 6:26 AM
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how the Earth can recover “if we allow it to rest” and must spur people to adopt simpler lifestyles to help a planet “groaning” under the constant demand for economic growth, Pope Francis said Tuesday.
In his latest urgent appeal to help a fragile environment, Francis also renewed his call for the cancellation of the debts of the most vulnerable countries. Such action would be just, he said, since rich countries have exploited poorer nations’ natural resources.
3. San Francisco Archbishop Calls on Mayor to End ‘Excessive Limits’ on Outdoor Mass, By Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020
In a letter to San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed and other city officials, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Monday called on the city’s secular authorities to, “at a minimum, remove the excessive limits on outdoor public worship.”
“Particularly for us as Catholics, attending the Mass and receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in person is the source and the summit of our faith, and we have shown we can celebrate the Mass safely,” Archbishop Cordileone wrote Aug. 31.
The San Francisco County Department of Health is currently limiting outdoor worship services to 12 people, with indoor worship services prohibited. The Archdiocese covers the city and county of San Francisco— where the cathedral is located— as well as San Mateo and Marin counties.
Archbishop Cordileone called the city’s restrictions on outdoor Masses “a serious deprivation of our rights as Americans under the First Amendment and our spiritual needs as people of faith.”
4. The Mass is ‘essential’, By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, September 1, 2020, Opinion
If American Catholics feel singled out in this strange year they are not being paranoid, they are simply paying attention. From church burnings to the verbal and physical abuse heaped on beloved saints and their statues, the incidents have piled up. And, on top of all this, local jurisdictions have too often piled on by categorizing the mass – the source and summit of Catholic life – as “non-essential.” 

Some Church prelates, notably Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco, are reacting not with anger but with gentle persistence and ingenuity. The Church in San Francisco has pleaded with local officials to be allowed to hold indoor masses while employing strict safety measures, as is being done in many parts of the country and, indeed, other parts of California.

In fact, a recent study of over one million public masses celebrated under strict guidelines in the U.S., shows no outbreaks linked to church attendance or evidence of viral transmission. 

And yet indoor mass under these science-based guidelines is prohibited in San Francisco—and limiting outdoor masses to 12 participants makes it impossible for any but a tiny portion of the Catholic population to go to mass.

And where’s the fairness in all this when a dizzying array of other kinds of gatherings are being classed as “essential” or excused? In San Francisco, the list of exceptions to shutdown is long. Retail storefronts can remain open as long as staff and shoppers stay six feet  apart and do not exceed half normal occupancy. Factories, warehouses and logistics businesses can operate if everyone inside can remain six feet apart. Grocery stores, banks, airlines, childcare centers and summer camps – all are open. Political demonstrators are allowed to throng city streets by the packed thousands. It is safe and fair to classify religious observance as essential – because it is.
Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco won’t be the last prelate to gently and insistently work around the current restrictions that unfairly target religious Americans.
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie specializes in radiology in the Miami area and serves on the advisory board for The Catholic Association.
5. Abortion Supporter Joe Biden Quotes St. John Paul II, By Dr. Susan Berry, Breitbart, August 31, 2020
Maureen Ferguson, senior fellow for The Catholic Association, a group dedicated to being a faithful Catholic voice in the public square, observed once again Biden’s convenient use of the Catholic faith during his political speech.
“Joe Biden invoking Saint John Paul II to tell us to ‘be not afraid,’ represents a stunning irony, given Biden’s cowardly cave to the extreme pro-abortion wing of his party,” Ferguson said in a statement sent to Breitbart News.
“Biden flip-flopped in order to get his party’s nomination, endorsing taxpayer funded abortion throughout pregnancy, whereas Saint John Paul II tirelessly proclaimed that ‘The Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message …. there exists a great multitude of weak and defenseless human beings, unborn children in particular, whose fundamental right to life is being trampled upon.’”
6. Lawsuit seeks to block Tennessee abortion reversal law, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, August 31, 2020, 4:26 PM
Abortion rights groups on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging a newly enacted Tennessee law that would require women undergoing drug-induced abortions be informed the procedure can be reversed.
The complaint is the second legal battle targeting a sweeping anti-abortion measure Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed off on earlier this year.
7. After Hurricane Laura, Knights of Columbus pledge aid to Louisiana diocese, By Catholic News Agency, August 31, 2020, 10:30 AM
The Knights of Columbus have pledged to donate $150,000 to a Louisiana diocese badly hit by Hurricane Laura.
On Friday, the Catholic fraternal organization announced they would send assistance to the Diocese of Lake Charles, Louisiana, which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Laura last week. The Category 4 hurricane made landfall in western Louisiana on early Wednesday morning, resulting in ten deaths and up to $12 billion in damage in Louisiana and Texas.
8. Pelosi says ban on federal abortion funding will be dropped next year, By Catholic News Agency, August 31, 2020, 11:00 AM
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that a prohibition on federal funding for abortion will be excluded from spending bills next year if Democrats retain a majority in the House of Representatives, setting the state for the end of a 44-year-old bipartisan agreement on abortion funding.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently told some House Democrats that funding bills next year would not include the Hyde Amendment.
9. Archbishop Paglia: Catholic politicians cannot protect or promote abortion, By Catholic News Agency, August 31, 2020, 11:00 AM
The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life said Saturday that Catholic politicians should not promote or endorse legal protections of any kind for abortion, and called Catholics to promote the Gospel of Life.
“The Church is very clear in this regard. It is a response from the Catechism. It is a great mistake to promote legislation on abortion and euthanasia,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said Aug. 29, during a meeting organized by CELAM, the Latin American organization of bishops.
The archbishop offered a presentation on Pope St. John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Evangelium vitae, or “The Gospel of Life.”
Catholic politicians “must stop promoting laws against the life” of the unborn, Paglia said during his remarks. “There is no doubt about it.”
10. In letter to UN, US ‘categorically rejects’ right to abortion, By Catholic News Agency, August 31, 2020, 1:00 PM
The United States sent a strongly-worded letter to several UN committees in early August rejecting any implication that there is a right to abortion as “bizarre.”
The letter was sent on August 11, 2020, to several United Nations offices including: the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women and Girls; the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health; and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Its Causes and Consequences. It was published online on Aug. 25.
The letter was issued by the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. Andrew Bremberg is the U.S. Ambassador to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.
“We received your bizarre and inexplicable letter of May 22, 2020, regarding alleged undue ‘restrictions taken in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic impeding access to abortion services’ in the United States,” said Bremberg, referring to criticism the United States received after some states moved to restrict non-essential medical procedures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“As United Nations human rights mandate holders, you are undoubtedly aware that international human rights law does not recognize any ‘right to abortion,’” he wrote.
“The United States is disappointed by and categorically rejects this transparent attempt to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to assert the existence of such a right. This is a perversion of the human rights system and the founding principles of the United Nations,” said the ambassador.

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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