1. Pope Francis Holds First Public Audience Since Lockdown, The appearance marks start of an effort to restore the pope’s public profile, diminished during the pandemic, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2020, 6:10 AM

Pope Francis held his first audience with members of the public since February, a small first step toward restoring his public profile, which has suffered during months of restrictions to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Without mass events, on whose energy he thrives, Pope Francis has struggled for attention and impact this year, compounding the problems of a pontificate that has been overshadowed in recent years by a string of crises and scandals, from clerical sexual abuse to the parlous state of the Vatican’s finances.


2. Pope all smiles at first public audience in 6 months, appeals for Lebanon, By Philip Pullella, Reuters, September 2, 2020, 5:48 AM

Pope Francis held his weekly general audience in public for the first time in six months on Wednesday, smiling and chatting as he re-emerged from the constraints of the coronavius lockdown.

The audience, at which the pope announced a day of prayer and fasting for Lebanon, was held in the San Damaso courtyard of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace and gave him the public contact he thrives on.


3. Will Planned Parenthood’s Millions Tip the 2020 Election?, The abortion giant has sunk unprecedented amounts of money to capture both the Democratic Party and the 2020 election, giving pro-life organizations’ ground game its strongest test yet., By Peter Jesserer Smith, National Catholic Register, September 2, 2020

The 2020 election cycle is witnessing an unprecedented amount of money spent over abortion politics, with Planned Parenthood seeking to tip the balance with tens of millions of dollars and an army of grassroots activists.

Planned Parenthood’s political operations have invested heavily in Democratic candidates, campaigns and organizations in order to protect hundreds of millions of dollars of annual revenue coming into the abortion giant.

At the outset of the 2020 election cycle, Planned Parenthood pledged to raise $45 million — more than triple what it raised in 2016 — and deploy its activists to push pro-abortion Democratic candidates it supports to victory. One of their early victories in the election was the primary defeat of longtime pro-life Democrat U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.


4. Ecuador’s bishops speak out against attempt to liberalize abortion laws, By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 2, 2020

After the National assembly in Ecuador approved a new “Organic Health Code,” the local bishops conference questioned its contents on abortion, the use of contraceptives by young girls, conscientious objection and the right to a sexual identity.

According to the bishops, the new health code — approved August 25 — is a threat to the human rights guaranteed by the country’s constitution, last updated in 2008.

In a statement released August 28, the bishops argue that human rights are affected in several ways, beginning with the “right to life from the moment of conception… [by] promoting abortion in an ambiguous or undetermined way, such as obstetric emergency.”


5. Hong Kong cardinal warns priests to ‘watch your language’ in homilies, By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020, 2:10 PM

The leader of the Diocese of Hong Kong has instructed priests to avoid politics in homilies and admonishing them for “offensive” and “provocative” preaching. The warning comes amid a crackdown on free expression in Hong Kong,  after the implementation of the new National Security Law in July.

A letter, obtained by CNA, was sent from Cardinal John Tong Hon, the former Bishop of Hong Kong and current administrator of the diocese on Friday.

“The homily is not meant to convey the preacher’s personal views (such as his own own view on a social or political issue) but God’s message,” the cardinal wrote.

“Our homilies must not lose touch with our daily life and the concrete situation of society. A reference to or brief analysis of current social issues would often be helpful and sometimes even necessary for a homily” with the aim of “encouraging the faithful… to bear Christian witness in social life and in social transformation,” he added.

“However, slandering and offensive expressions insinuating or instigating hatred and social disorder are unchristian and inappropriate for the liturgy.”

Cardinal Tong has previously spoken in support of the National Security Law, which came into force July 1.

The cardinal insisted the law would have “no effect” on the local Church’s religious freedom. Since the law came into force, Catholic journalists, political activists, and businessmen have been arrested on charges of sedition.

One priest told CNA the letter “went down like a bucket of cold sick” with some local Catholics.

The priest, who asked not to be named because of concerns he could be prosecuted under the National Security Law, said Tuesday that many local Catholics were dismayed by Cardinal Tong’s actions.


Another local priest, who also asked not to be named, told CNA that the cardinal’s letter was meant to have a “chilling effect” on priests speaking about the political situation.

The letter to clergy was released on the same day Tong intervened to stop a Catholic group affiliated with the diocese from running a prayer for democratic freedoms in Hong Kong in local newspapers.


6. Cardinal Parolin stresses ‘spiritual consonance’ between Pope Francis and Benedict XVI, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020, 1:00 PM

Cardinal Pietro Parolin has written an introduction to a book describing the continuity between Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The book, published Sept. 1, is entitled “Una Sola Chiesa,” meaning “Only One Church.” It is a compilation of papal catecheses that places the words of Pope Francis and Benedict XVI side by side on more than 10 different topics, including faith, sanctity, and marriage.

“In the case of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, the natural continuity of the papal magisterium has a unique feature: the presence of a pope emeritus in prayer next to his successor,” Parolin wrote in the introduction.

The Vatican Secretary of State highlighted both the “spiritual consonance of the two popes and the diversity of their style of communication.”


7. UK eyes making at-home medical abortion permissions permanent, By Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020, 12:03 AM

A temporary measure allowing UK women up to 10 weeks pregnant to take both abortion pills at home following a tele-conference with a doctor may be extended beyond the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers are planning a public consultation on whether to make the new rules permanent, according to The Times.


8. Trump campaign adds ‘unborn life’ to second term priorities list, By Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020, 11:00 AM

The Trump campaign has added bullet points concerning abortion and religious freedom to its list of second-term priorities, along with points regarding the nomination of federal judges and the Second Amendment.

The points, listed under the heading “Defend American Values,” were not originally part of Trump’s 50-point “core priorities” list, which was published by the campaign Aug. 23. They are believed to have been added over the weekend.

The priorities added to the list are: “Continue nominating constitutionalist Supreme Court and lower court judges,” “Protect unborn life through every means available,” “Defend the freedoms of religious believers and organizations,” “Support the exercise of Second Amendment rights.”


9. Black leaders blast ‘systemic racism’ of abortion in letter to Planned Parenthood, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2020, 10:15 AM

A coalition of Black leaders is calling out Planned Parenthood for “targeting” Black communities for abortions while professing to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

In a letter to Planned Parenthood’s acting president Alexis McGill-Johnson on Tuesday, more than 100 Black elected officials, pastors, and attorneys demanded that she “confront the systemic racism of America’s abortion practices” and renounce the organization’s founder Margaret Sanger for racist writings.

Several Black state legislators signed the letter, including Louisiana State Sen. Katrina Jackson (D), Texas State Rep. James White (R), and Georgia State Rep. Mack Jackson (D); Indiana’s attorney general Curtis Hill (R) also signed.

Pro-life activists Benjamin Watson and Alveda King signed the letter, along with political strategist Justin Giboney.


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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