UPDATED November 20, 2020

Section I. Father De Celles: Religious Liberty

Church Burnings, Etc.

Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

BLM Attacks Praying Catholics

SCOTUS Mixed Results

Snitching on Your Brothers

Our Country in Turmoil

Supreme Court and Discrimination “Based on Sex”

Racism

“Defund the Police”

Public Mass Cancelled Again

Section II. Special Column

October 21, 2020

Good for the Arlington Diocese to take this action in contacting HHS OCR to get priests to visit the dying and severely ill patients. I wonder what the result would be with a Democratic administration? Obviously Roger Severino will no longer be in the OCR of HHS, but back at Heritage Foundation.  These are the little things that matter with changes of administrations.

Click here to read about how the Arlington Catholic Diocese worked with HHS OCR to get priests to visit dying and severely ill patients.

Posted September 16, 2020

The following is the beginning of an Op-Ed by AB Salvatore Cordileone in the Washington Post 9/16/2020

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. For months now, the city has limited worship services to just 12 people outdoors. Worship inside our own churches is banned. The city recently announced it will now allow 50 for outdoor worship, with a goal of permitting indoor services up to a maximum of 25 people by Oct. 1 — less than 1 percent of the capacity of San Francisco’s St. Mary’s Cathedral.

This is not nearly enough to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of Catholics in San Francisco. In imposing these restrictions, the city is turning a great many faithful away from their houses of prayer.

People can freely go to parks here, as long as they stay six feet apart. If they follow proper social distancing and wear masks, people can eat on an outdoor patio with no hard numerical limit. Indoor shopping malls are already open at 25 percent capacity. Catholics in San Francisco are increasingly noticing the simple unfairness. As one of my parishioners asked recently, “Why can I spend three hours indoors shopping for shoes at Nordstrom’s but can’t go to Mass?”

Here is the link to Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s op-ed in the Washington Post on September 16, 2020.

September 15, 2020 – Please take a moment and read Cardinal Sarah’s plea to bishops around the world to open the churches to Mass with reasonable precautions.
September 15, 2020 – The Archbishop of San Francisco has called Catholics to participate in Eucharistic processions across the city Sept. 20, which will join together and walk past city hall before public Masses are said outside the city’s cathedral – in part to protest the city’s revised limits on public worship.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a memo to priests Sept. 13 that separate processions would begin at St. Anthony, St. Patrick, and Star of the Sea parishes, and would converge at United Nations Plaza near San Francisco City Hall.

The combined processions will then proceed past city hall to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, where San Francisco priests, led by the archbishop, will celebrate multiple outdoor, socially-distanced Masses in both English and Spanish.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed had announced this week that starting Sept. 14, houses of worship may have 50 people at religious services outdoors. In addition, indoor private prayer is allowed, but only one person at a time is allowed inside.

September 15, 2020 – Here are some important links which expand the understanding of Archbishop Cordileone’s decision for the Eucharistic processions (see above):

Archbishop Cordileone’s appearance on Raymond Arroyo 9/10:

National Catholic Register Article on the topic:

“Evidence Based Data the Guidelines to Celebrate Mass Safely are Working”

Attachments areaPreview YouTube video World Over – 2020-09-10 – Most Rev Salvatore Cordileone with Raymond ArroyoWorld Over – 2020-09-10 – Most Rev Salvatore Cordileone with Raymond Arroyo

We will devote this column to a review of the Democrat and Republican party platforms as they pertain to those issue which directly impact the ability of a Catholic to practice his/her faith both privately and in the public square with an emphasis on the issues regarding the protection of human life. 

Abortion Rights:

(Democratic platform) “Democrats are committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health rights, and justice. We believe unequivocally…that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion. We will repeal the Title X domestic gag rule and restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood….”

(Republican platform) “We call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage.”

(Comment) “Reproductive health rights” mean creating a universal right for access to contraceptives, sterilization for reproduction purposes, and both surgical and chemical abortions through all stages of a pregnancy. It was the inclusion of this in the Affordable Care Act that the Little Sisters of the Poor fought against and won twice at the Supreme Court.  It was the requirement that this provision be provided in faith-based business health insurance plans that Hobby Lobby successfully appealed at the Supreme Court.

Hyde Amendment’s prohibition to federal funding of abortions:

(Democratic platform) “Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to reproductive health and rights. We will repeal the Hyde Amendment, and protect and codify the right to reproductive freedom.”

(Republican platform) “American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion.” …[W]e call for codification of the Hyde Amendment and its application across the government, including Obamacare.”

(Comment) The Hyde Amendment was created in 1976. It bars federal funds to be used for abortion services. This Amendment has been embedded in all the appropriate funding bills year after year.  The Affordable Care Act bypassed the Amendment by requiring that the insurers provide funds for abortion services.  

Conscience clauses for healthcare providers and requirement that religious hospitals perform abortions, transgender surgeries, etc.:

(Democratic platform) “We will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity…and other factors. Democrats oppose restrictions on medication abortions are that is inconsistent with the most recent medical and scientific evidence and that do not protect public health.”

(Republican platform) “America’s healthcare professionals should not be forced to choose between following their faith and practicing their profession. We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. We support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, and enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.” 

This clause is directed at religious hospitals and medical centers that will not provide services which are contrary to their beliefs and at medical personnel who will not provide services that are contrary to their deeply heald religious convictions. Specifically, there have been lawsuits filed against Catholic hospitals that will not provide transgender-related surgeries.

Section III. Chronology of Attacks on Catholic Church Facilities and Statues

Current EventsUpdated November 20, 2020


November 15, 2020 – Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Washington State was damaged by an incendiary device dropped through a broken window. Fortunately, damage was slight. Two hours later, a nearby Baptist church’s interior was severely damaged by an unknown source. Police are still investigating the latter.

Recent Incidents of Vandalism against the Catholic Church in the U.S. and Canada:

September 15, 2020  A vandal destroyed a statue of Jesus at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso, Texas. 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. The statue is an “irreplaceable loss” and cannot be repaired.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/el-paso-catholic-cathedral-suffers-vandalism-attack-62365

September 9, 2020 – A man went on an hours-long vandalism spree at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Tioga, Louisiana. Damaged were at least six windows, several metal doors and numerous statues on the parish grounds. Fortunately, the parish security cameras caught the entire incident and the culprit was arrested and confessed to the damage two days later. The church recently withstood hurricane Laura with no damage except to two security cameras. Two others were functioning and captured the incident.

September 7, 2020 – Video captured a man and woman breaking into St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in St. Catherines, Ontario and stole the tabernacle with the consecrated hosts in it. It was later found the next day partially submerged in a body of water. The hosts may have dissolved after being exposed to the water. The thieves have not been captured.

August 1, 2020 – A Molotov cocktail – bottle filled with a flammable liquid – was thrown and exploded at Sacred Heart Church in Weymouth, MA. Fire damaged the entrance to the church.

July 23rd – City of Ventura, CA removed the statue of St. Junipero Serra from a park in front of City Hall and another inside the building after the city council voted for their removal ceding to the clamor that Father Serra was “Father genocide.”

July 18th – Monument to unborn children killed by abortion was knocked over at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Bloomingburg, NY.

July 17th – Drunken women deface Jesus statue in Calgary, Alberta.

July 16th – St. John’s Church in New Haven, CT vandalized with anarchist and satanic symbols part of St. Mary’s Parish where Fr. Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882.

July 16th – City Council of Ventura, CA voted 6-0 to remove statue of St. Junípero Serra from grounds of city hall.

July 16th – Status of Christ toppled at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Miami.

July 13th – A statue of Christ at a ski resort in Whitefish, Montana was painted and festooned with flags reading “Rise Up” and #BLM.” The local K of C maintain the shrine placed in honor or WWII vets.

July 11th – two statues of the Blessed Virgin were torched adjacent to Catholic churches in Boston.

July 11th – a Florida man set fire to a Catholic parish in Orlando FL as parishioners were preparing for morning Mass. 

July 11th – Statue of Blessed Mother vandalized at St. Stephen Catholic Church in Chattanooga, TN. Police forwarded the incident to the Department of Homeland Security calling it a hate crime.

July 11th – massive fire destroys the roof and interior of the eighteenth century St. Gabriel Mission church established by Father Serra in 1771. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the fire as a possible arson attack.

July 10th – Vandals damaged a statue of the Virgin Mary at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary in Queens. 

July 5th – Crucifix at a shrine belonging to the St. Bernadette’s Parish in Rockford, IL was smashed with a hammer.

July 4th – Rioters pulled down a statue of St. Junípero Serra at the California state capitol in Sacramento. 

July 3rd – Vandals damaged a state of the Blessed Virgin at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Gary, IN.

June 29th – St. Louis priest and laity defend statue of St. Louis before angry protesters.

Late June – Anthony Weinert pulled down a statue of the Ten Commandments outside Flathead County Courthouse in Montana.

June 19th – Rioters tore down a statue of St. Serra in Los Angeles.

June 19th – Rioters tore down a statue of St. Junípero Serra in Golden State Park, San Francisco.

May 22nd – Vandals used power saws and grinders to behead Catholic bronze religious statues in the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario.

(multiple sources from www.catholicnewsagency.com and www.lifesitenews.com)

Section IV. Previous Church Persecuted Columns and Various Religious Liberty Articles

November 21-22, 2020

The Brooklyn Catholic Diocese asked the U.S. Supreme Court last Thursday to block the limits on in-person church attendance imposed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His order states that there can be no more than 10 or 25 individuals at a given service based on the number of COVID-19 cases in the area where a given church is located. The diocese contends that the order “effectively bars in-person worship at the affected churches – a ‘devastating’ and ‘spiritually harmful’ burden on the Catholic community.” The petition noted that many secular businesses including “everything from supermarkets to pet stores,” are permitted to remain open.

In May, a divided 5-4 court rebuffed similar challenges by religious institutions on orders created by Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Diego County in California. They also argued that the churches remained closed while commercial businesses, offices, and restaurants remain open. The diocese is hoping that the addition of Justice Amy Barrett on the court may swing that 5-4 vote in their favor.  The diocese first went to the federal district court in New York arguing that Cuomo’s order violates the Constitution’s free exercise clause. Both that court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit declined to block the limits. Justice Stephen Breyer gave New York until this past Wednesday to respond.

https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/11/brooklyn-catholic-diocese-asks-justices-to-block-limits-on-attendance-at-church-services/

November 14-15, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice’s periodic “Religious Freedom in Focus” provides updates on religious liberty and religious discrimination cases. Here is a sampling of their work:

  1. In October the Dept. of Justice participated in oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals (2ndCircuit) supporting a Vermont parochial school student challenging her exclusion from a state college course program for high school students because was enrolled in a Catholic school. This was part of a program where high school students could take up to two college courses while still in high school with tuition paid by the State. It was open to virtually any student other than those in a religious school under certain stipulations. The U.S. government sided with the student noting that excluding her from the program violated the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution.

  1. In September the Dept. of Justice filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Indiana Supreme Court explaining that the “First Amendment of the Constitution gives the Roman Catholic Archdiocese the right to decide for itself who should personify its beliefs, inculcate its teachings, and instruct students at religious high schools affiliated with the Archdiocese.” The case involved a teacher in a public same-sex marriage. The DoJ argued that the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision of Our Lady of Guadalupe School“shields from judicial review the Archdiocese’s direction…to terminate the …teacher.”

https://www.justice.gov/crt/religious-fredom-focus-volume-88-october2020

November 7-8, 2020

Vienna, Austria and Nice, France are the latest cities where Islamic terrorists attacked either Catholics or Catholic churches. Last Saturday, a 76-year-old religious sister was stuck in the face as she rode a bus in Vienna. A 19-year-old Afghan was later arrested and confessed to striking the sister.

A parish church in the Favoriten suburb of Vienna was the scene of an attack by a group of Turkish nationals. They stormed St. Aton’s Catholic Church shouting, “Allahu Akbar,” while kicking pews and damaging other furnishings in the church. 

Another Afghan was arrested last weekend after shouting Islamic slogans in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. 

In a matter not directly linked to anti-Catholicism, Austrian police and Islamic terrorists exchanged gunfire in six different locations in Vienna killing at least four people and injuring another 17. Cardinal Christoph Schönborn and other Austrian bishops appealed for prayers for the victims of the terror attacks. 

These attacks followed a knife attack in the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice, France on October 29th. Dead were a mother of three young children, the basilica sacristan, and a 60-year old French prosecutor. Both women had stopped by the basilica to pray. Others were injured in the attack. The lone attacker, who had shouted “Allahu Akbar” during and after the attack, was shot, injured, and arrested by police.

(CatholicNewsAgency.com, Nov 2, 2020)

October 31- November 1, 2020

Last week we cited a reflection by Bishop Emeritus Loverde where he listed the moral priorities guiding our decisions when entering the voting booth. These included: 1) protecting human life, (2) promoting family life, (3) pursuing social justice, and (4) practicing global solidarity. We continue with excerpts from his talk.

“We cannot simultaneously commit ourselves to human rights and progress while eliminating or marginalizing the weakest among us” (Living the Gospel of Life, U.S. Bishops, 1988, #20) For example, how can we expect a political candidate to protect a society from injustice, if he or she supports the taking of the life of a nearly born child, in a procedure known as partial-birth abortion?

“While we must support each of the four tiers…the [2nd, 3rd, and 4th] are meaningless without the first: the respect for the dignity of each human person…’Human life must be defended in all places and at all times.’ (Living the Gospel of Life, U.S. Bishop’s Conference, 1988 #33).” …By electing those who defend human life, we will be faithful citizens, caring for the most important of God’s creation – the human person – in the womb, in the family, in society, and in the world.”

Abortion Is front and center in the voting booth next Tuesday.

(Arlington Catholic Herald, 11/2/2000, p. 3)

October 23, 2020

So much has been erroneously said about the priorities in Catholic social teaching with regard to voting. This week and next, we will turn back the clock 20 years to remarks that now Bishop Emeritus Paul Loverde gave at a Citizenship Forum at Good Shepherd Parish.

“I offer the following reflections on the moral responsibilities that we have to elect leaders who truly provide ‘liberty and justice for all.’ I urge you to vote your minds, and not your feelings. We must look past the words and pictures, and seek the principles that form the positions of the individual candidates – comparing them with the moral priorities that we Catholics hold and are guided by when entering the voting booth.

“These four priorities include: (1) protecting human life, (2) promoting family life, (3) pursuing social justice, and (4) practicing global solidarity. 

“’Good people frequently disagree on which problems to address, which policies to adopt, and how best to apply them. But for citizens and elected officials alike, the basic principle is simple: We must begin with a commitment never to intentionally kill, or collude in the killing of, any innocent human life, no matter how broken, unformed, disabled or desperate that life may seem.’ (Living the Gospel of Life, U.S. Bishop’s Conference, 1988 #21). …By electing those who defend human life, we will be faithful citizens, caring for the most important of God’s creation – the human person – in the womb, in the family, in society, and in the world.”

(Arlington Catholic Herald, 11/2/2000, p. 3)

Last week we cited a reflection by Bishop Emeritus Loverde where he listed the moral priorities guiding our decisions when entering the voting booth. These included: 1) protecting human life, (2) promoting family life, (3) pursuing social justice, and (4) practicing global solidarity. We continue with excerpts from his talk.

“We cannot simultaneously commit ourselves to human rights and progress while eliminating or marginalizing the weakest among us” (Living the Gospel of Life, U.S. Bishops, 1988, #20) For example, how can we expect a political candidate to protect a society from injustice, if he or she supports the taking of the life of a nearly born child, in a procedure known as partial-birth abortion?

“While we must support each of the four tiers…the [2nd, 3rd, and 4th] are meaningless without the first: the respect for the dignity of each human person…’Human life must be defended in all places and at all times.’ (Living the Gospel of Life, U.S. Bishop’s Conference, 1988 #33).” …By electing those who defend human life, we will be faithful citizens, caring for the most important of God’s creation – the human person – in the womb, in the family, in society, and in the world.”

October 18, 2020

The “cancel culture” is out to destroy any individual, business, organization, or institution that does not subscribe to its distorted value that free speech is only free if it supports their twisted beliefs. Particular targets include businesses that refuse to cater to the irrational “same-sex marriages,” religious institutions that still retain an aura for the Almighty, businesses that operate in a Godly way, and individuals past and present of many kinds and backgrounds. 

For Catholics, such evidence is portrayed by a case before the U.S.  Supreme Court this term (Fulton v. City of Philadelphia discussed here previously) whereby activists are attempting to cancel Catholic Charities adoption agencies because they refuse to allow adoptions to same-sex or transgender couples. In California, the cancel culture tried to remove St. Junipero Serra from the history books, and unjustly limited the number of congregants in a Church.  

On a positive note, a district court in New York issued a temporary injunction allowing the New Hope Family Services, a 50-year-old adoption agency based in Syracuse, NY, to continue allowing such adoptions to only married males and females.  In Florida, a court recently required Florida State University to reinstate a Catholic on the Student Counsel after he was voted off merely for defending his Catholic faith.

As you head to the polls to vote in the next weeks, remember that “Religious Freedom’ and the “Cancel Culture” are both on the ballot.

October 7, 2020

 

Justice Clarence Thomas, commenting on October 5th on the case of Kim Davis v. David Ermold, et al., noted that the right to same-sex marriage, promulgated in Obergefell v. Hodges, by the Court  “would threaten the religious liberty of the many Americans who believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman.”  While the Court recognized those who had  “sincerely held objections to same-sex marriage are often ‘decent and honorable’, the Court went on to suggest that those beliefs espoused a bigoted worldview (…because it ‘teach[es] that gays and lesbians are unequal’).”  The dissenting justices in the case (of which Justice Thomas was one)  “predicted that ‘[t]hese…assaults on the character of fair-minded people will have an effect, in society and in the court,’ allowing ‘governments, employers, and schools’ to ‘vilify’ those with these religious beliefs ‘as bigots.’ Those predictions did not take long to become reality.”  The court declined to hear Davis’ case. As Justice Thomas notes:  “Due to Obergefell, those with sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage will find it increasingly difficult to participate in society without running afoul of Obergefell and its effect on other antidiscrimination laws. It would be one thing if recognition for same-sex marriage had been debated and adopted through the democratic process, with the people deciding not to provide statutory protections for religious liberty under state law. But it is quite another when the Court forces that choice…leaving those with religious objections in a lurch.”

Posted October 7, 2020

September 15, 2020 – Please take a moment and read Cardinal Sarah’s plea to bishops around the world to open the churches to Mass with reasonable precautions.
September 15, 2020 – The Archbishop of San Francisco has called Catholics to participate in Eucharistic processions across the city Sept. 20, which will join together and walk past city hall before public Masses are said outside the city’s cathedral – in part to protest the city’s revised limits on public worship.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone said in a memo to priests Sept. 13 that separate processions would begin at St. Anthony, St. Patrick, and Star of the Sea parishes, and would converge at United Nations Plaza near San Francisco City Hall.

The combined processions will then proceed past city hall to the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, where San Francisco priests, led by the archbishop, will celebrate multiple outdoor, socially-distanced Masses in both English and Spanish.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed had announced this week that starting Sept. 14, houses of worship may have 50 people at religious services outdoors. In addition, indoor private prayer is allowed, but only one person at a time is allowed inside.

September 15, 2020 – Here are some important links which expand the understanding of Archbishop Cordileone’s decision for the Eucharistic processions (see above):

Archbishop Cordileone’s appearance on Raymond Arroyo 9/10:

National Catholic Register Article on the topic:

“Evidence Based Data the Guidelines to Celebrate Mass Safely are Working”

Attachments areaPreview YouTube video World Over – 2020-09-10 – Most Rev Salvatore Cordileone with Raymond ArroyoWorld Over – 2020-09-10 – Most Rev Salvatore Cordileone with Raymond Arroyo

A physician’s assistant was fired from a “Catholic” hospital in Oregon because she refused to perform procedures and prescribe contraceptive and abortion-causing devices which were contrary to Catholic moral teaching. Not only that, but the hospital asked her to sign a statement affirming the U.S. Bishop’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services which contained the Catholic teaching on such practices. This directive prohibited her from providing the services that she was fired for refusing to do. Megan Kraft had to excuse herself from these practices while in a secular medical school and she was excited about securing a position where she could practice her faith in the workplace at Providence Medical Group, part of the Providence-St. Joseph Health system, a Catholic entity located in the Portland, Oregon area.

 
She immediately noticed that on a routine form containing which procedures and practices she would do, she found procedures such as vasectomies, intrauterine device insertions, and emergency contraction. This was on the same list as “stitch or toenail removal.” She soon found that other physicians recommended patients for an abortion and the clinic encouraged providers to prescribe hormonal contraceptives. Her Catholic faith in practice got her fired from a Catholic medical group six months into her first medical job. 
 

Posted August 18, 2020

Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on August 11, 2020 calling for the attorney general to “focus your efforts on preventing…violence to both Catholic people and property.” Here is the link to the full article.

Posted August 14, 2020

The Pauline Book and Media Center are located in Alexandria
VA and also in downtown Chicago along the Miracle Mile. Sr.
Tracey Dugas, FSP, reported that during the Chicago riots in
June, the book store was extensively vandalized, but fortunately
not set afire and the chapel not desecrated. FYI, the sisters were
living in the upper floors of the store and were home during
these riots.

Last Sunday the rioters returned to the Miracle Mile. Sr. Tracey
reported that the rioters themselves did not damage anything
within one block of their store, but around the corner from the
store, they were driving by shooting at the police.
How did the sisters respond to the first attack? They reopened
the story by mid June. They also rolled out a movie night down
the street at Soldier’s Field parking lot showing the movie
Fatima (#FatimaTheMovie).

As we went to press, we have been assured the sisters (and the
Blessed Sacrament) are safe. There is a line in the film, “I’ve
never seen Our Lady with a sword, yet she is always destroying
a serpent. Her strength is in her identity. Her ‘yes’ to the Lord is
why the enemy is defeated.” Let us keep the sisters in our
prayers as they deal with the rioting in Chicago.
Links to these and other articles can be found at https://
straymonds.org/religious-liberty-blog/. Check often during the
week for updates.

Posted August 10, 2020

Some Catholic schools are now reacting to the recent U.S. Supreme Court Guadalupe School decision by shoring up their employment contracts and policies. The decision affirmed the “ministerial exception” for religious educators. Of significance is that the ministerial exception can help protect Catholic education only if employee standards clearly require fidelity and religious duties for all positions and across the full curriculum. Institutions that compromise Catholic identity and have weak policies risk being left unprotected.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society said, “The best thing that Catholic educators can do immediately is to batten down their Catholic identity as tightly as possible. This provides the best defense under the First Amendment, religious exemptions, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Most important, it’s the right thing to do.” 

Catholic families don’t need more watered down Catholic education. Young Catholics deserve an authentic Catholic education. More than ever, we need graduates of faithful Catholic education who are prepared to transform a confused and wayward culture.

(https://www.crisismagazine.com/2020/a-fragile-peace-for-catholic-education)

Posted August 5, 2020-

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed during the Clinton presidency, provides for a safe harbor for religious organization to act in the public square while still maintaining their religious beliefs. Catholic hospitals have come under attack for protecting the life of children and the dignity of others by denying abortions, sterilizations, and transgender hysterectomies. Now the ACLU and others are eyeing a proposed merger between a secular and Catholic hospital system in Washington state – CHI Franciscan (Catholic) and Virginia Mason (secular). 

Even before the ink was dry on the press release announcing the proposed merger the ACLU, representatives of the LGBTQ community, and assisted suicide advocates were already lobbying to force the proposed merge system to practice medicine in a secular fashion, by requiring Catholic hospital to perform all of the immoral practices listed above. 

Wesley Smith, J.D., a special consultant for the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney, writes in LifeNews.com (8/4/2020) that, “The attacks on medical conscience are likely going to increase into a nationwide legal conflagration, perhaps culminating with the Supreme Court determining whether the constitutional guarantees of free exercise of religion retains vigor or will be shriveled to a puny ‘freedom of worship’ concept.”

Posted July 30, 2020

Posted A Return to the Holy See and Chinese Communist’s Secret Agreement

The parish has been overwhelmed by Church persecuted incidents in the U.S. We have not forgotten what is happening in China.

If you have been following this column, you would know that the Holy See and the Chinese Communist government made a secret agreement in September 2008. It was to be interim nature such that it either had to be renewed, renegotiated, or scrapped by September 2020 – that is now about a month away. You may have read in the secular press that it is being reported that the Chinese government has hacked the website of the Holy See in advance of these negotiations. 


To bring us all up to speed, Robert Moynahan’s Inside the Vatican has been keeping track for us. Here is a link to his latest newsletter which is a thorough update to the situation: 

Posted July 29, 2020-


Casinos can host thousands, but churches are limited to 50 congregants – so says the U.S. Supreme Court when asked to intervene in a recent Nevada case involving Calvary Chapel, an evangelical church. The court was asked to intervene because of the disparity between the two circumstances described above.  Even though the normal social distancing rules were in place for the church, the court in a 5-4 ruling would not grant an emergency appeal. The four dissenting justices: Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Thomas all said that the court should have taken the case. Calvary chapel wished to offer services for up to 90 people representing 50% capacity. On the other hand, the state argued that it could lawfully discriminate against places of worship for public health and economic reasons. 

As for the “economic reasons,” the casinos bring much tax money to the state so it’s beneficial to have them operating whereas churches don’t. Justice Kavanaugh argued to that specific point citing that, “no precedent suggests that a State may discriminate against a religion simply because a religious organization does not generate the economic benefits that a restaurant, bar, casino, or gym might provide.” The case returns to the lower courts where it will be pleaded. 

(See LifeSiteNews.com July 27, 2020)

Posted July 21, 2020-


This week we focus on attack last week on St. John’s Church in New Haven, CT. The church doors were vandalized with anarchist and satanic symbols. The significance of the church is that it is part of St. Mary’s Parish in New Haven which is where Father Michael McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in 1882. 
To follow up on an incident previously reported here where a church was damaged with a vehicle attack in Ocala, FL. The sheriff’s detective said that the suspect has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is not taking his medication,” reported a local newspaper.
The suspect told the detective that what he did was ‘awesome,’ and he smiled and laughed while he was questioned at the sheriff’s office,” the newspaper added. “Referring to himself as the ‘king’ and saying he was on a ‘mission,’ the suspect told the detective he has problems with the Catholic Church and made reference to several Bible passages, including the Book of Revelation.”

Posted July 9, 2020

Elections Have Consequences

“Elections have consequences!” Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Pro-Life activities, made that point in a recent interview lamenting the “unfortunate” Supreme Court decision striking down a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have privileges at a nearby hospital. It was a 4-5 decision with Justice Robert being the swing vote.

AB Naumann noted that, “We don’t elect Supreme Court justices. But we do elect Presidents who appoint them, and we do elect Senators who are the ones who have to confirm the appointments of the President.” He noted that currently on the court there are four solid pro-life votes. “We think that we are very close to having a majority” on the court, he continued. But we need another pro-life justice. Thus we need a president who will nominate one and a Senate that will confirm one. “So elections do make a difference.”

https://www.vaticannews.va/en/world/news/2020-07/archbishop-Naumann-women-are-the-second-victims-of-abortion.html

Supreme Court Defers to Canon Law in Catholic School Decision

The Court’s ruling rests on whether an employee is a ‘teacher of religion’ and therefore a minister of the faith.

There is an admirable concession to Catholic Church authority in the Supreme Court’s July 8 ruling on the “ministerial exception” for Catholic schools.

Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority opinion for Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Agnes Morrissey-Berru, defers to the authority of the Catechism and the Church’s canon law with regard to Catholic education.

https://m.ncregister.com/blog/reilly/supreme-court-defers-to-canon-law-in-catholic-school-decision

Posted July 8, 2020

Supreme Court rules in favor of Little Sisters of the Poor in ObamaCare contraception case

The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Trump administration and the Catholic charity

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration acted within its authority when it expanded exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement for employers to provide insurance coverage that includes contraception — in a victory for Little Sisters of the Poor, the Catholic group that has been at the center of the national debate over the mandate.

The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Trump administration and the Catholic charity that cares for the elderly in two related disputes against Pennsylvania, which sued over the validity of a rule from the Trump administration that allowed religious-affiliated groups and some for-profit companies to opt-out of providing contraception coverage to employees.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, ruled that the Trump administration’s challenged rulemaking was aboveboard, and hailed the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Lower courts had previously blocked the Trump administration’s changes.

“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for a majority of the court.

Catholic schools have right to fire teachers, Supreme Court says

The decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said: “What matters, at bottom, is what an employee does.”

He said that even though the elementary school teachers “were not given the title of ‘minister’ and have less religious training” that the teacher in the previous court case involving the ministerial exception, the court holds that the same rule applies.

“The religious education and formation of students is the very reason for the existence of most private religious schools, and therefore the selection and supervision of the teachers upon whom the schools rely to do this work lie at the core of their mission,” Alito wrote.

https://www.ncronline.org/news/justice/catholic-schools-have-right-fire-teachers-supreme-court-says

Posted July 6, 2020

San Francisco shuts down Catholic Masses. In a letter to Archbishop Cordileone, the city of San Francisco demanded that the Archdiocese cease offering indoor religious services, except for funerals with up to 12 attendees; and that the face covering and social distancing requirements will be followed at all outdoor services.

Father Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea parish in San Francisco, commented that, “Clearly some people in the city government and the news media find religion intolerable. They hate religion. “They may hate religion, and they may hate religious persons,” he added. “They may not restrict our rights as free American citizens.” This became personal after he found a nail stuck into the tire of the motor scooter that he uses to get around.

Father Illo blogged, “The free exercise of religion is an essential activity in America, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution…Fifty people crowd onto city busses…several hundred times a day…. Groups of twenty people gather in Golden Gate Park without masks…. Hundreds gather in Costco from 9-9 every day. Dozens of people eat at restaurants on the streets around my church, without masks. The mayor addresses hundreds of people in a protest at City Hall, many of whom wear no masks. And the city is telling my church that we cannot have a gathering of more than 12 people, outside, for an activity that is specifically protected by the Constitution?”

See http://www.frilloblog.com and

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/san-francisco-archdiocese-threatened-with-restraining-order-for-offering-indoor-masses/

Posted July 2, 2020

In a commentary in the Wall Street Journal on 6/24/20 (”The Abolition of Man and Woman” posted below on June 25th), Professors David Crawford and Michael Hanby from the John Paul II Institute comment on the Bostock v. Clayton County, the recent Supreme Court ruling redefining the definition of “sex” under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “If each of us is defined by a ‘gender identity’ only arbitrarily related to our male and female bodies, now relegated to a meaningless biological substrate, then there is no longer any such thing as man or women.”                                    

On 6/29/20, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down The Louisiana Unsafe Abortion Protection Act by a 5-4 margin. “The law would have required abortion clinics to follow the same standards of health and safety as managed for hospital facilities, and that physicians who perform abortions hold admitting privileges at local hospitals.”

https://sophiainstitute.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=b08c16feae130c0b4312d5ceb&id=cdf60fd508&e=ba920a2c17

On 6/30/20, the Supreme Court decided in favor of religious schools in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that Montana’s state constitution discriminated against religious schools in barring their access to a taxpayer-funded scholarship program. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion of the court that the U.S. constitution “condemns discrimination against religious schools and the families whose children attend them.” https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/soft-despotism-of-anti-catholicism-on-the-rise-catholic-bishops-religious-liberty-chair-warns-90987

Cardinal Joseph Zen, emeritus archbishop of Hong Kong, has no confidence that the new security law that took effect in Hong Kong will protect the religious freedom. Many may have seen the front page photos recently of the Communist Chinese government arresting protestors. The law basically removes the independence of Hong Kong to maintain their own security thus moving the city closer and closer to the strict control of the Communist government.

https://catholicherald.co.uk/cardinal-zen-no-confidence-in-hk-religious-freedom-after-new-security-law/

Posted July 1, 2020

The Navy has imposed a ban on its personnel from attending any indoor off base church service. See the like to the article above. The Archdiocese for the Military Service spokesperson said that the Archbishop has gotten several of the orders rescinded and was working to get all of theRescinded.

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/navy-bans-troops-from-indoor-religious-services-while-allowing-protests-house-parties

Posted June 30, 2020:


 In Virginia, July 1st bring a new sex orientation and gender identity law which can levy huge fines for churches, religious schools, and ministries operating according to their beliefs.

https://www.adflegal.org/blog/Virginia-huge-fines-churches-and-ministries-operating-according-beliefs

Virginia governor imposes a snitch law on churches and other houses of worship that do not comply with his Covid directives.

Liberty Counsel: Gov Ralph Northam encourages ‘snitching’ on churches, neighbors for not wearing masks

U.S. Justice Department tells NYC that they can’t restrict attendance at religious services when they don’t restrict attendance at rallies and riots.

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/justice-department-nyc-pandemic-rules-cant-favor-protests-over-religious-services-57752

Catholic Chaplain at MIT ousted because of his preaching the Catholic faith contrary to the twisted logic of the University.

Toppling statues of Junipero Serra “fails test” of history, California Catholic bishop says.

Just how Catholic are Catholic hospitals. Check out the story of Megan at the Providence Medical Group in Oregon, a Catholic institution founded in the 1800s by the Sisters of Providence.

https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/catholic-medical-professionals-can-be-punished-for-following-their-conscien

Posted June 25, 2020

The Abolition of the Man and the Woman

Posted June 24, 2020:

The current term of the U.S. Supreme Court is about to end and there are still several important cases yet to be decided.

Please read in the Father De Celles’ column in this week’s bulletin (https://straymonds.org/wp-content/uploads/2020-06-21.pdf) of the recent disastrous result of Bostock v. Clayton County and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC which redefined the meaning of sex in the 1954 Civil Rights Act.

There is one more scheduled session of the court this term (Monday, June 29th) where opinions are rendered although it is possible that they could add more days to the term.

Important cases left to be heard which pertain to religious freedom include Espinoza v. Montana Dept. of Revenue (challenging tax credits to religious schools); June Medical Services v. Russo (challenging the constitutionality of a Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals); Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania (yes they are back in court again as the Pennsylvania AG sued them for not providing birth control in their health plan); and Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berry (whether courts can hear employment discrimination claims brought by Catholic elementary school teachers).

St. Thomas More, Patron of Religious Freedom, PRAY FOR US!!