1. Global Public Opinion About Abortion Is Shifting, By Ben Schott, Bloomberg, September 20, 2020, 8:24 AM
Although the political debate surrounding abortion often seems most heated in the United States, recent data suggest that global public opinion on this thorny moral and medical issue is more fluid than one might think.
Ipsos has been tracking views on abortion annually since 2014. This year’s poll of 17,500 adults across 25 countries indicates that, on average, 70% think abortion should be permitted — down from 75% in 2016, and 2 percentage points lower than in 2014. (These figures include all abortion; when asked if abortion should be permitted “whenever a woman decides she wants one” the global acceptance rate falls to 44%.)
2. Vatican calls for ‘peaceful and just resolution’ of Belarus crisis, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, September 21, 2020, 5:00 AM
After President Alexander Lukashenko announced that he was putting troops on high alert and closing Belarus’ borders, a Vatican diplomat called Friday for dialogue and respect for the human rights of Belarusian protesters, who continue to take to the streets more than a month after disputed elections.
“The Holy See … renews its appeal for a peaceful and just resolution to the tensions through sincere dialogue, the rejection of violence, and respect for justice and fundamental human and civil rights,” Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič said in Geneva Sept. 18.
Speaking at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s special debate on Belarus, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva said that the Vatican had followed “with great attention the sociopolitical situation following the elections in Belarus.”
3. Archbishop Cordileone: San Francisco Mass restrictions ‘mocking God’, By Catholic News Agency, September 20, 2020, 2:00 PM
Catholics in San Francisco marched in Eucharistic processions across the city on Sunday to protest the city’s continued restrictions on public worship.
“For months I have pleaded with the City on your behalf, advocating for your need of the consolation of the Mass, and the consolation you derive from the practice of your faith and connection with your faith community. City Hall ignored us,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in his homily at an outdoor Mass following the processions Sept. 20.
“It has become clear to me that they just don’t care about you…We have been patiently putting up with unjust treatment long enough, and now it is time to come together to witness to our faith and to the primacy of God, and tell City Hall: No More!”
4. Does the Vatican need a Korean Air-style reboot?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, September 20, 2020, Opinion
In 2006, a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI at the University of Regensburg in Germany caused a global firestorm because of the way he chose to open it, quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor about Muhammad bringing “things only evil and inhuman.” Muslims took it as a slur, and in the ensuing protests churches were firebombed in the Gaza Strip and an Italian missionary nun was shot to death in Somalia.
Sometime later, I asked a senior Vatican official if he’d been shown a draft of the text in advance, would he have gone to the pope and advised him against saying it? The response was telling.
“He shouldn’t have said it, at least without more nuance,” this official told me. “But I don’t think it’s my role to offer unsolicited advice to the pope. If he asks me, I’ll tell him what I think, but I’m not going to go barging in and tell the Vicar of Christ what to do.”
That’s one reason Vatican personnel sometimes are reluctant to challenge superiors. Another is that often enough, voicing criticism can result in being frozen out and stalled in one’s career. Yet another is that little in the internal culture of the Vatican encourages such exchange, with “leadership” generally understood not as building a collegial workplace but in terms of command-and-control.
Whatever the explanation, it can be dangerous when a subordinate doesn’t feel he or she has the standing to alert the boss to a looming disaster.

[I]nhabitants of the culture have to learn a different understanding of what it means to respect authority, from accepting its decisions at face value to helping it achieve its aims by speaking up when danger looms.
The Vatican obviously isn’t an airline, but one wonders if a Korean Air-style reset might be helpful. It probably wouldn’t untie every knot in the system, but it’s hard to see how it might hurt.
5. Report: Chinese government imprisoning more priests, bishops, By Catholic News Agency, September 19, 2020, 4:56 PM
The Chinese government continues to imprison Catholic clergy – including bishops – who refuse to support the Communist Party, according to a new report out of the province of Jiangxi.
According to UCA News, priests in the Diocese of Yujiang who refuse to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association have been placed under house arrest as of September 1. These priests have been forbidden from “engaging in any religious activity in the capacity of clergy” as part of their punishment.

The clergy under house arrest reportedly include Bishop Lu Xinping of the Diocese of Nanking, who has been forbidden from celebrating Mass. Bishop Xinping has been recognized by the Vatican, but was consecrated as a bishop of the CPCA.

Since the signing of the China deal, many priests have reported harassment from civil authorities as they have refused to join the CPCA. There have been scores of reports of the Chinese Communist Party tearing down churches for dubious reasons, such as permitting issues.
Persecution has been particularly intense in the province of Jiangxi. There, the Public Safety Bureau and the United Front Work Department informed clergy that unless they joined the CPCA, they would not be permitted to preach.
Additionally, the Chinese Communist Party attempted to re-write the 10 Commandments to better reflect communist principles, and is working on a rewrite of the Bible.
Elsewhere in China, a priest has been kidnapped for over two weeks due to his refusal to join the CPCA.
According to AsiaNews, Fr. Liu Maochun of the Diocese of Mindong has been held by the Religious Affairs Bureau for 17 days. The Diocese of Mindong is located in the Fujian Province.
Fr. Liu is not recognized as an official member of the clergy as he belongs to the “underground” Church.
Per AsiaNews, Liu’s whereabouts have been unknown since September 1, after he was taken by the Religious Affairs Bureau following a pastoral visit to a hospital.
6. South Carolina Supreme Court justices discuss private school funding lawsuit, By Michelle Liu, Associated Press, September 19, 2020
Meeting in person for oral arguments for the first time since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments Friday over whether Gov. Henry McMaster has the power to direct $32 million in federal pandemic relief funds to private schools.
A central question of the lawsuit filed against the governor and conservative think tank Palmetto Promise Institute in July is whether the funds — the majority of the $48 million in discretionary education dollars granted to McMaster by the federal Department of Education — are considered public money, and how they can be used.

Republican governors in at least three other states — Florida, New Hampshire and Oklahoma — have directed their discretionary funds toward private schools. Elsewhere, governors have also spent their funds on Wi-Fi in school buses, tutoring from Teach for America recruits and mental health supports, according to the Hunt Institute at Duke University.
7. Knights of Holy Sepulchre give $3.5 million in emergency aid to Holy Land, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, September 19, 2020
As members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem around the world were experiencing their own COVID-19 lockdowns, they contributed some $3.5 million to a special fund to support the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, especially its schools and charitable outreach.
“Despite the difficult conditions on a global level, generosity was not lacking,” said a statement Sept. 17 from the order’s Vatican headquarters.
About 30,000 Catholic men and women around the world are knights or dames of the Holy Sepulchre, pledging to support the church of Jerusalem with their prayers, regular pilgrimages and financial offerings.
8. Synods may be just a little duller without Baldisseri around, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, September 19, 2020, Opinion
On Wednesday the Vatican announced that Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, who turns 79 at the end of this month, has stepped down as Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and will be replaced by Bishop Mario Grech of Malta.

In any event, Baldisseri has been among those colorful personalities who keep the Vatican interesting, no matter what you think of the substance of his positions. Time will tell if the next synod, however productive, is just a little duller because he’s no longer around.
9. Pope, Spanish bishops voice alarm over euthanasia debate, By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 19, 2020
During a meeting Saturday with the heads of the Spanish bishops’ conference, Pope Francis expressed concern over a measure to legalize euthanasia soon to be discussed by Spain’s Senate.
“It’s an issue that worries the pope,” said Cardinal Juan Jose Omella of Barcelona after the meeting. “I believe it’s not only about dying or not dying, but also [about] pain and accompaniment. When one receives treatment for pain and feels accompanied by family and professionals, one wants to live.”

If the bill were to pass, Spain would become the fourth European country to legalize physician-assisted suicide after Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Italy, Pope Francis’s own backyard, has not legalized the procedure, but the country’s top court ruled last year that in cases of “intolerable physical and psychological suffering” it shouldn’t be illegal either.
10. Abortion key issue in Supreme Court nomination process, By Catholic News Agency, September 19, 2020, 12:08 PM
As speculation mounts over who President Donald Trump will nominate as the next Supreme Court Justice, pro-life and pro-abortion voices are making it clear that the nominee’s stance on abortion will be a key issue.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged Friday that a Trump Supreme Court nominee will be voted on for confirmation by the United States Senate, even while there are fewer than seven weeks until the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, is reported to be Trump’s top choice, according to sources with insider knowledge.
On Saturday, a major pro-life organization endorsed Barrett and urged President Trump to nominate her.
“At this crucial time in the history of our great nation, it is imperative that a respected nominee is selected who will understand that the role of the High Court is to fairly interpret America’s Constitution and laws according to the meaning and intention of Congress and the Framers, and not seek to write their own value judgments into law,” Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life, said in a Sept. 19 statement.
11. Church’s ongoing clergy abuse scandals recounted in new podcast, By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter, September 19, 2020
As U.S. Catholics await the release of the Vatican’s report on former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was laicized by Pope Francis for serial sexual abuse, a new podcast chronicles the scourge of clergy abuse that has plagued the Catholic Church for more than seven decades.
Crisis,” released on Sept. 9, is produced by The Catholic Project, an initiative of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Among the more than three dozen individuals interviewed for the series — which includes firsthand testimonials from abuse survivors, priests, bishops, lawyers and accountability advocates — is Tom Roberts, longtime editor for NCR.
12. ‘Dogma lives loudly in you’ – Amy Coney Barrett’s 2017 confirmation hearing, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 19, 2020, 2:25 PM
Federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic mother of seven, is on President Donald Trump’s shortlist for a Supreme Court nominee, as the president makes plans to replace on the court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday evening.
Barrett was appointed a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. In her confirmation hearing, the judge faced hostile questions about her Catholic faith, prompting outrage and frustration among some Catholic leaders.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the committee, told Barrett directly that her Catholic beliefs were concerning, as they might influence her judicial decisions on abortion.
“Why is it that so many of us on this side have this very uncomfortable feeling that dogma and law are two different things, and I think whatever a religion is, it has its own dogma. The law is totally different,” Feinstein said.
“And I think in your case, professor, when you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you. And that’s of concern.”

But Catholic leaders said the questions she faced were disturbing.

“Such bigotry has no place in our politics and reeks of an unconstitutional religious test for qualification to participate in the judiciary. What these Senators did today was truly reprehensible,” said Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.org.
“Senator Feinstein’s shockingly illegitimate line of questioning sends the message that Catholics need not apply as federal judges,” added Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association.
13. Pelosi to church: ‘Follow science’ on COVID-19 restrictions, By Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press, September 19, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed back Friday against the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco’s criticism of COVID-related restrictions, saying he should “follow science” rather than advocate for fuller in-person gatherings for Mass and worship.
Asked about Archbishop Salvatore Joseph Cordileone’s recent op-ed protesting limits on larger public gatherings, Pelosi, a practicing Catholic, said he should not be putting people’s lives at risk.
14. Pelosi ‘misspoke’ on San Francisco Mass attendance, spokesman claims, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 18, 2020, 5:58 PM
Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office told CNA Friday evening that she “misspoke” when she described “recently” attending Mass in a San Francisco church, despite the city’s months-long ban on indoor Masses.
“The Speaker misspoke. She has not been in San Francisco since September 5th due to ongoing talks around COVID relief and appropriations,” spokesman Drew Hammill from the Speaker’s office told CNA in a statement on Friday evening.
“She [Pelosi] has been participating regularly in church services virtually,” Hammill said.
Hammill did not explain what Pelosi referred to when she described Sept. 18 attending what appeared to be an indoor Mass and receiving Communion “recently” at a San Francisco church.

Earlier on Friday morning, at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi was asked by Erik Rosales of EWTN News Nightly about a recent op-ed by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, Pelosi’s archbishop, on the “unfairness” of the city’s public health rules.

Pelosi answered that “I have been to church in San Francisco recently, and I did receive Communion.”
She then went on to describe the experience in some detail, noting that she had to “sign up” to attend and that “I got in under the wire” as there were only two places left.
San Francisco has banned public indoor religious services—except for funerals—for months. Outdoor services are permitted with a cap on 12 people, although Speaker Pelosi’s recollection of the event recounted an indoor service.
“And when we got there—the church maybe holds 250 people. There were probably 12 people,” she said, “very, very, very spaced. But that was it, no more would be allowed.”
“And then we did receive Communion,” she said, noting that the priest washed his hands before distributing Communion, and that she received Communion in the hand.
15. China’s Catholics And The Church’s Moral Witness, By Michael R. Pompeo, First Things, September 18, 2020, Opinion
The human rights situation in China has deteriorated severely under the autocratic rule of Xi Jinping, especially for religious believers. Credible reports have exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s program of forced sterilizations and abortions of Muslims in Xinjiang, its abuse of Catholic priests and laypeople, and its assault on Protestant house churches—all of which are parts of a “Sinicization” campaign to subordinate God to the Party while promoting Xi himself as an ultramundane deity. Now more than ever, the Chinese people need the Vatican’s moral witness and authority in support of China’s religious believers.

Pope Francis said in 2013 that “Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did.” History teaches us that totalitarian regimes can only survive in darkness and silence, their crimes and brutality unnoticed and unremarked. If the Chinese Communist Party manages to bring the Catholic Church and other religious communities to heel, regimes that disdain human rights will be emboldened, and the cost of resisting tyranny will rise for all brave religious believers who honor God above the autocrat of the day. I pray that, in dealing with the Chinese Communist Party, the Holy See and all who believe in the divine spark enlightening every human life will heed Jesus’s words in the Gospel of John, “The truth will set you free.”
Michael R. Pompeo is U.S. Secretary of State.
16. COVID-19 pandemic increasing discrimination against Egypt’s Christians, By Crux, September 18, 2020
Persecution is the reality of life in Egypt for Christians, and it is gotten worse over the past decade, according to a leading human rights group.
Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 100 million people, making the country home to the largest Christian population in the Arab world.

Research by International Christian Concern – a U.S.-based ecumenical Christian advocacy group – says the unemployment rate of Christians in Upper Egypt is 80 percent, compared to the national rate of 9 percent. Meanwhile, the average Christian income is $115 a month, as opposed to the national average of $313.
Most recently, many Egyptians have pushed conspiracy theories blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on the Christian minority.
17. Two Vatican officials sign agreement to cooperate on fighting corruption, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, September 18, 2020, 8:45 AM
The Vatican’s prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy and auditor general signed a memorandum of understanding Friday on the fight against corruption.
According to a message from the Holy See press office Sept. 18, the agreement means the offices of the Secretariat for the Economy and the auditor general “will collaborate even more closely in identifying the risks of corruption.”

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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