Pope Vows to “Uproot Evil” of Clerical Sexual Abuse, Ten Million Hindus Could Meet During Pandemic,Government Restrictions on Religion at All-Time High, Justice Alioto Decries COVID Restrictions on Religious Freedom, Cuomo Slammed for Religious Freedom Restrictions, China Waging “Second Cultural Revolution” Against Buddhism

Pope Vows to “Uproot Evil” of Clerical Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis Visits Sick NunThe Vatican this month published A Report on the Holy See’s Institutional Knowledge and Decision-Making Related to Former Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick (1930 to 2017) McCarrick, the ex-archbishop of Washington, is accused of sexual abuse and has been stripped of his authority. The report details what decisions were made regarding McCarrick, what mistakes were made and how such matters will be addressed in future.

Ten Million Hindus Could Meet During Pandemic

Despite India’s high COVID cases, the annual Hindu Magh Mela – a religious pilgrimage to Prayagraj, India – will occur as usual. The event often attracts 10 million people, and so worries about the spread of COVID-19 have alarmed officials even though attendance is expected to be less this year because of the pandemic. “I think the risks are quite significant,” says Ziad Memish, who directs the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Mass Gathering Medicine in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Government Restrictions on Religion at All-Time High
New Study Reveals Religious Oppression Around The WorldThe Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life reported that in 2018 government restrictions on religion reached the highest point since Pew began keeping track in 2007. Authoritarian governments have ramped up the use of detentions and physical abuse, with examples from Armenia, Burma, Uzbekistan, and China. “The Chinese government restricts religion in a variety of ways,” said the Pew study, “including banning entire religious groups (such as the Falun Gong movement and several Christian groups), prohibiting certain religious practices, raiding places of worship and detaining and torturing individuals. In 2018, the government continued a detention campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other Muslims in Xinjiang province, holding at least 800,000 (and possibly up to 2 million) in detention facilities ‘designed to erase religious and ethnic identities,’ according to the U.S. State Department.”

Justice Alito Decries COVID Restrictions on Religious Freedom
Justice AlitoU.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito said in an online talk to the Federalist Society “The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty … It is an indisputable statement of fact, we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.” He made an example of Nevada’s governor who limited church attendance, while bars, casinos and indoor amusement parks remained open. Alito said that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which protects religious liberty, “does not contain a ‘craps clause’ or a ‘blackjack clause’ or a ‘slot machine clause.’”

Cuomo Slammed for Religious Freedom Restrictions

By Diana Robinson (Governor Andrew Cuomo) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Diana Robinson (Governor Andrew Cuomo) [CC BY 2.0],
via Wikimedia Commons

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn asked the Supreme Court last week to block limits imposed on in-person church attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic. The continuing dispute is over restrictions imposed on religious services while some secular businesses remain open. The Supreme Court rebuffed similar challenges over the summer, but this is the first one to come to the justices since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation last month, and the diocese could find more success before the now more conservative court. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo limited in-person attendance at church services to either 10 or 25 people.

China Waging “Second Cultural Revolution” Against Buddhism

According to the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) during the 70-year occupation of Tibet, the Chinese Communist Party beginning with Mao Zedong, has attacked Tibetan monasteries, sacred texts, scriptures monks and nuns. Now, under Xi Jinping, said the CTA, a second cultural revolution is being waged against Tibetan Buddhism. The atheistic government has formulated “Order no. 5” requiring all reincarnate monks to register for government approval, and for decades, it has been attempting choose the reincarnation of the 14th Dalai Lama.