1. Catholics must resist the unjust repression of our right to worship, By Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, The Washington Post, September 17, 2020, Pg. A19, Opinion
I never expected that the most basic religious freedom, the right to worship — protected so robustly in our Constitution’s First Amendment — would be unjustly repressed by an American government.
But that is exactly what is happening in San Francisco.

And it is not just San Francisco. According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, six states with a combined population of 67 million Americans single out religious worship for unfavorable treatment compared to similar secular activities: California, New Jersey, Maine, Virginia, Connecticut and Nevada.
We Catholics are not indifferent to the very real dangers posed by covid-19. This is one of the reasons Catholic churches have developed rigorous protocols to protect public health in our facilities. We submitted our safety plans to the city in May along with other faith communities, and while indoor retailers had their plans approved and went into operation, we are still waiting to hear back.
Meanwhile, the scientific evidence from other jurisdictions is clear: These safeguards are working. As three infectious-disease specialists who reviewed the evidence on more than 1 million public Masses over the past few months concluded, there have been no documented outbreaks of covid-19 linked to church attendance in churches that follow the protocols. We have demonstrated that we know how to hold Mass safely. There is no reason not to allow us to put that knowledge into practice.

We want to be partners in protecting the public health, but we cannot accept profoundly harmful and unequal treatment without resisting. This is why I and other Catholics from across San Francisco will join in a public demonstration this Sunday calling on the city’s mayor, London Breed, to treat religious believers fairly.
At our demonstration, we will not be asking for special treatment. We just don’t want religious worshipers singled out for unfavorable treatment relative to people participating in activities with comparable risk profiles. All we are seeking is access to worship in our own churches, following reasonable safety protocols — the same freedoms now extended to customers of nail salons, massage services and gyms. It’s only fair, it’s only compassionate, and, unlike with these other activities, it’s what the First Amendment demands.
Salvatore Joseph Cordileone is the archbishop of San Francisco.
2. Biden’s attendance offers no guarantee of Catholic vote, Half plan to support Trump, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, September 17, 2020, Pg. A1
Catholic voters have an opportunity in November to help elect only the second Catholic president in U.S. history in former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, but the more devout followers are lining up behind President Trump.
Gone are the days when nearly 80% of Catholic voters united to push Irish Catholic Democrat John F. Kennedy into the White House in 1960. Catholic voters are split on the 2020 candidates, even though Mr. Biden is a lifelong Mass-attending Catholic and Mr. Trump is a Presbyterian.
A Pew Research Center poll released last month found that 50% of registered Catholic voters plan to vote for Mr. Trump, while 49% back Mr. Biden.
“The Catholic vote is not a monolithic vote in America,” said Brian Burch, president of the conservative CatholicVote. “We’ve moved away from that kind of tribal ‘If he’s a Catholic therefore I trust him’ view. There are other reasons inside our own church for that as well. It’s not enough to merely say you’re Catholic.”

“Among Catholics who do practice the faith in a substantive way, yes, there’s been a dramatic shift over the last several decades away from the Democratic Party and into the Republican Party, and I think it’s been especially pronounced under President Trump,” Mr. Burch said.
He cited the abortion issue and Mr. Trump’s appeals to “this notion of the importance of place, of country, of patriotism, of family, of meaningful work,” as well as his political grit in the face of opposition.
Mr. Trump has been widely described as the most pro-life president ever.
“His policies are demonstrative proof of his pro-life credentials, but, more important, and I increasingly hear this from Catholics, are his fortitude and courage,” said Mr. Burch. “Many Republican administrations in the past have paid lip service to the issue. And while they might be sympathetic to our cause, when things got difficult, they abandoned ship.”

CatholicVote sought to drive home the point Tuesday by introducing a $9.7 million campaign in six key swing states targeting “Joe Biden’s anti-Catholic record and policy agenda,” including digital ads, canvassing and direct mail.

The Catholic Association described Ms. Harris, a Baptist, as “the ringleader of the anti-Catholic bullying stance adopted by the Democratic Party.”
“With Harris now joining the race to become the next Vice President of the United States, Catholics are (rightfully) concerned about what the future of the country has in store, and whether the anti-Catholic sentiments will only get worse,” The Catholic Association said in an Aug. 13 statement.

“I expect record turnout among Mass attending Catholics,” said Mr. Burch, “given the existential stakes of this election.”
3. Survey: Teens less likely to profess faith than parents, Data reflects trend of Americans turning away from religion, By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, September 17, 2020, Pg. A6
A new survey finds that American teens are far less likely than their parents to see faith as an integral part of their lives.
Only 24% of teens say faith is “very important” to them, compared with 44% of adults, according to survey results published last week by the Pew Research Center.
Meanwhile, nearly a third of American young people (32%) between the ages of 13 and 17 identify as “religious nones” (unaffiliated with any or any faith tradition), reflecting the trend of Americans turning away from traditional religion. But most teens follow their parents, the survey shows.
4. What’s in a name? At the Vatican, a debate on inclusiveness, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 17, 2020
The Vatican responded Wednesday to criticism that the title of Pope Francis’ upcoming encyclical on the post-COVID world is sexist, saying the document, “Fratelli Tutti,” (“Brothers All”) in no way excludes women.
In Italian, “fratelli” means brothers but it is also used as the inclusive, brothers and sisters.

On Wednesday, the Vatican’s editorial director, Andrea Tornielli, stressed that the title was taken from the words of St. Francis of Assisi, the pope’s namesake, and therefore couldn’t be translated differently.
Writing in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, he said an encyclical by its very nature is addressed to the whole world and that the title in no way excludes half the human race.
5. Bishops say proposed HUD rule gives faith-based shelters some flexibility, By Julie Asher, Crux, September 17, 2020
Three U.S. Catholic bishops said that a proposed modification to a 2016 federal rule governing who temporary and emergency shelters must take in “is a step in the right direction” because it allows faith-based facilities more flexibility.
The proposal issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to modify rules “with respect to sex-specific accommodations poses considerations affecting the well-being of, and service to, the poor,” the bishops said in a Sept. 11 statement.
“Though not perfect nor answering all questions, it is a step in the right direction toward improving flexibility while respecting all persons’ right to basic shelter, for which we are grateful,” they said.
6. New law bans officials from closing Ohio places of worship, By Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Associated Press, September 17, 2020
Houses of worship can’t be shut down by local or state officials, and elections can’t be moved from their prescribed dates, under a bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Mike DeWine and pushed by fellow Republican lawmakers angered over orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
DeWine expressly did not order religious institutions shut down in Ohio because of the pandemic, and was praised by religious groups for that decision.
But because governors in other states restricted religious gatherings in some form, the measure is necessary as a proactive move should such a situation arise in the future, said state Sen. Terry Johnson, a southern Ohio Republican who pushed the proposal.
7. Tennessee defends abortion reversal law in legal challenge, By Kimberlee Kruesi, Associated Press, September 16, 2020, 12:18 PM
A Tennessee law requiring doctors to inform women that drug-induced abortions may be reversed is critical for women who may change their minds halfway through the procedure, the state’s top legal chief said.
Last month, abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit arguing the newly approved statute violated several constitutional rights because it not only illegally singled out abortion patients and physicians who provide the procedure, but also forced doctors to relay a “controversial government-mandated message.”
8. Cardinal Tobin says Biden remarks not ‘endorsement’ of candidate, By Catholic News Agency, September 16, 2020, 1:45 PM
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said on Tuesday that voters could choose Joe Biden in good conscience, and suggested he would have difficulty voting for President Donald Trump. The cardinal told CNA Sept. 16 that his comments were not intended to endorse any political candidate for office, but declined to say whether he believes a Catholic could vote in good conscience for Donald Trump.
While the cardinal’s remarks Tuesday recognized that the Democratic party platform seeks to “remove the unborn child from the equation,” Tobin did not indicate what issues he thought might justify a vote for Biden, in light of the U.S. bishops’ conference teaching that ending abortion is the “preeminent priority” in public life.
“I neither endorsed nor opposed anyone running for office. I simply reminded Catholics of our responsibility to take part in the elective process,” Cardinal Tobin said in a statement to CNA on Wednesday.

During the panel, the cardinal said of the November presidential elections that “a person in good conscience could vote for Mr. Biden,” the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. The statement provoked backlash from Catholics who pointed to Biden’s expansive abortion agenda as a reason not to vote for the candidate.
But Tobin said Tuesday that “I, frankly, in my own way of thinking, have a more difficult time with the other option,” in apparent reference to Trump. 
9. El Paso cathedral suffers vandalism attack, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, September 16, 2020, 12:35 PM
A vandal destroyed a statue of Jesus at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso, Texas on Tuesday, the latest in an ongoing series of attacks on churches across the United States.
According to the diocese, someone entered the sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral Tuesday morning and destroyed a nearly 90-year-old statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The statue had been placed behind the main altar of the church, which was open for prayer at the time of the vandalism.
10. Pope Francis to release new encyclical on Oct. 4, By Catholic News Agency, September 16, 2020, 8:00 AM
Pope Francis will release his new encyclical Oct. 4, the Vatican announced Wednesday.
The Holy See press office said Sept. 16 that the encyclical Fratelli tutti, on fraternity and social friendship, would be issued at noon Rome time on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.

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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