1. DOJ Files Appeal To Keep Abortion Pill Legal, Hundreds of pharma leaders blast judge’s ruling against the FDA; some states stockpile, By Laura Kusisto and Liz Essley Whyte, The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2023, Pg. A1 The Biden administration filed an emergency request Monday asking a federal appeals court to block a ruling that suspended approval of a widely used abortion pill, while some Democratic-led states announced contingency plans to stockpile abortion drugs. In a filing with the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department said a federal judge in Texas engaged in an “extraordinary and unprecedented” usurpation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s authority by ruling that the pill shouldn’t have been approved.   https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-asks-appeals-court-to-halt-abortion-pill-ruling-940d8c4c__________________________________________________________ 2. The Law and the Abortion Pill Case, By The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2023, Pg. A14, Editorial If you haven’t heard, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision invalidating the Food and Drug Administration approval of the abortion pill mifepristone is another example of a Trump-appointed judge assailing the administrative state. Or so the press and many legal scholars proclaim. But the dispute isn’t over whether an administrative agency stretched a law to do something Congress didn’t authorize, as in the Obama Clean Power plan (West Virginia v. EPA), the Biden Administration’s student-loan forgiveness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate. Nor does the mifepristone case implicate the judicial principle of Chevron deference, which holds that judges should defer to administrative agencies’ interpretation of ambiguous laws if they aren’t clearly unreasonable. Chevron has been abused by judges to uphold sweeping regulations even when laws aren’t ambiguous.  Too often lower-court judges use their review power under the APA to fly-speck regulators’ analysis. But Democrats don’t seem bothered when liberal judges do this to invalidate environmental reviews on fossil-fuel projects. And they cheered when federal Judge Thomas Rice, an Obama appointee, on Friday disagreed with the FDA’s safety restrictions on mifepristone. Our disagreement with Judge Kacsmaryk concerns the separation of powers, which is part of the originalist judicial project. Abortion policy should be set by the people and their representatives, not by judges. If higher courts overrule Judge Kacsmaryk on appeal, this will likely be the reason. And let’s see if the legal eagles on the left give them due credit for intellectual consistency. https://www.wsj.com/articles/matthew-kacsmaryk-decision-mifepristone-abortion-pill-fda-administrative-procedure-act-ce7db52d?__________________________________________________________ 3. FBI’s plan to spy on Catholic churches was shared with bureau field offices across U.S., By Kerry Picket, The Washington Times, April 11, 2023, Pg. A3 The House Judiciary Committee revealed new details Monday about the FBI field office in Richmond’s plan to spy on Catholic churches and church leaders, including that the plan was distributed to other FBI offices across the country. The FBI internal document revealed the bureau relied on information derived from at least one undercover operative who sought to use local religious organizations as “new avenues for tripwire and source development,” the committee said.The documents detail how the FBI planned to develop sources in Catholic churches, and was reviewed and approved by two senior intelligence analysts and the chief counsel for the Richmond office.  https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/apr/10/fbis-plan-spy-catholic-churches-was-shared-bureau-/__________________________________________________________ 4. A Legal Clash Over the Abortion Pill, By The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2023, Pg. A16, Editorial Abortion has been a political gift to Democrats that they want to keep giving, which explains why they sounded almost gleefully furious on Friday after a Texas federal judge overruled the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. A conflicting order by another lower court issued the same day means the issue could be headed to the Supreme Court. The Court’s Dobbs decision last summer handed abortion regulation to the states, but many on the anti-abortion right and abortion-rights left are trying to nationalize it again via the courts. This is the important context for the donnybrook over the abortifacient mifepristone, which the FDA has authorized through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.  The Justices in Dobbs sought to extricate themselves from regulating abortion, but partisans on both sides don’t want to let them. The partisans don’t appreciate that the stakes in these two cases go beyond abortion. If pro-life groups or Democratic AGs prevail, we’ll likely see more partisan challenges to FDA approvals, such as for Covid vaccines or Alzheimer’s treatments. Regulating drugs isn’t the business of the courts any more than abortion is. https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-legal-clash-over-the-abortion-pill-mifepristone-kacsmaryk-dobbs-courts-fda-rice-6ff2787e__________________________________________________________ 5. Democrats for Defying Court Orders, By The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2023, Pg. A16, Editorial One depressing sign of the political times is that partisans on the left and right are willing to trash political norms and institutions to get their way. The latest example comes from Democrats urging the Biden Administration to ignore last week’s federal court order concerning the abortion drug mifepristone.  This is dangerous for the rule of law, and Democrats shouldn’t think they’ll be the only politicians who pick up the Wyden Nullification Doctrine. Southern Democrats called for “massive resistance” to legal orders in the 1950s after the Supreme Court’s school desegregation ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Is that now the Wyden-AOC model? Even if Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling is upheld on appeal, that won’t be the end of the matter. His ruling is procedural, and the FDA can re-approve the drug by closely adhering to the Administrative Procedure Act. We warned about this Wyden Nullification Doctrine before, and it’s encouraging that the Biden Administration is resisting so far. But there’s a risk the Administration will cave under progressive pressure if the legal rulings don’t go its way. If it does, the U.S. will take another giant step toward lawless politics. https://www.wsj.com/articles/democrats-for-defying-court-orders-wyden-mifepristone-fda-texas-abortion-kacsmaryk-d8ee9973__________________________________________________________ 6. Pope renews call to pray for peace celebrating Easter Monday, By Associated Press, April 10, 2023, 9:17 AM Pope Francis renewed his call to pray for peace on Easter Monday, celebrating the Regina Coeli (Queen of the Heavens) prayer in St. Peter’s Square. At the end of the prayer, the pontiff recalled the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to decades of violent conflict between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. In a restatement of his Easter message, he invited people to continue to pray for peace in the world, especially in troubled Ukraine. Pope Francis on Sunday invoked prayers for both the Ukrainian and Russian people and praised nations which welcome refugees.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/04/10/pope-francis-vatican-easter-monday/0ff10978-d7a2-11ed-aebd-3fd2ac4c460a_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Access to abortion pill in limbo after competing rulings, By Paul J. Weber, Matthew Perrone and Lindsay WhitehurstAssociated Press, April 8, 2023, 2:08 PM Access to the most commonly used method of abortion in the U.S. plunged into uncertainty Friday following conflicting court rulings over the legality of the abortion medication mifepristone that has been widely available for more than 20 years. For now, the drug the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2000 appeared to remain at least immediately available in the wake of two separate rulings that were issued in quick succession by federal judges in Texas and Washington. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee, ordered a hold on federal approval of mifepristone in a decision that overruled decades of scientific approval. But that decision came at nearly the same time that U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice, an Obama appointee, essentially ordered the opposite and directed U.S. authorities not to make any changes that would restrict access to the drug in at least 17 states where Democrats sued in an effort to protect availability.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/04/07/abortion-pill-lawsuit-mifepristone-misoprostol-kacsmaryk/08acd0ec-d5af-11ed-ac8b-cd7da05168e9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. On Fourth Easter Since Covid-19, Churches Face Fresh Challenges, By Francis X. Rocca and Kris MaherThe Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2023, Pg. A3 Three years ago at the height of the pandemic, Christians across the U.S. and the world celebrated Easter in ways that many found surreal, watching on TV or online as clergy officiated inside empty churches or at improvised alternatives such as drive-in services. Churches today have reopened their doors and, aside from the occasional congregant in a surgical mask, most celebrations of Easter this year won’t look much different from those in 2019. Yet many congregations are reduced in size from prepandemic levels, with a significant minority of members who continue to follow services virtually from home. Pastors and experts say those changes reflect longer-term trends that accelerated during Covid-19—an experience that holds lessons for how churches can survive and even grow in an increasingly irreligious environment.  Catholic parishes that kept congregations engaged during the period of Covid closures, largely through streaming and social media, have retained more of their flocks, said Dan Cellucci, CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute, which offers training and consulting to clergy and lay leaders. But the internet was a double-edged sword for Catholic worship in particular, because it habituated the faithful to worship without receiving the Eucharist, in which the church teaches that Christ is really present in the form of bread and wine. “I can stay in my jammies and have my Cheerios and listen to father’s homilies and comment on it,” said Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, describing the mind-set encouraged by online Masses. “The thing that’s a sad result of that is that people are not coming to church and not receiving Holy Communion.” Pew found that the percentage of Catholics who attend worship monthly or more decreased to 34% from 37% in 2019.   The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launched a Eucharistic Revival last year. The three-year project, which will include a national congress in Indianapolis next year, was conceived in response to a 2019 Pew study that found only 31% of U.S. Catholics believed that bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ during Mass. The revival encourages the formation of small groups at the parish level where people can learn about the Eucharist.  https://www.wsj.com/articles/easter-holiday-churches-covid-8699f4b0__________________________________________________________ 9. Broglio blasts military hospital for putting for-profit firm in charge of Catholic pastoral care, By Shannon Mullen, Catholic News Agency, April 8, 2023 A top U.S. military hospital ended its contract with a community of Franciscan friars just before Holy Week, putting a for-profit firm in charge of Catholic pastoral care, according to the Archdiocese of the Military Services. Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, the head of the archdiocese, blasted the move by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, calling it “incomprehensible.” The medical center ended its contract with the friars of Holy Name College in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland, on March 31, the archdiocese said in a statement. The friars have ministered at the medical center for nearly two decades, the archdiocese said. The archdiocese, which serves U.S. military personnel and veterans and their beneficiaries at military facilities around the world, said medical center awarded the contract for Catholic pastoral care to a secular for-profit company.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254054/broglio-blasts-walter-reed-for-putting-for-profit-firm-in-charge-of-catholic-pastoral-care__________________________________________________________ 10. Our Bodies, Ourselves and Our Lord, By Robert BarronThe Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion  That God the Father raised Jesus from the dead is the ground for Christianity’s consistent valorization of the body.  Central to a Gnostic anthropology is the conviction that the “real self” is radically other than the body and has complete sovereignty over it. Basic to the ascendant anthropology of the West’s cultural institutions is the characteristically Gnostic view of self in relation to body. Instead of recognizing the givenness of the body as an inescapable ingredient in one’s identity, we increasingly conceive of it as subordinate to the true self and hence endlessly malleable, subject to the dictates of the “real me.” Thus, though a person is in fact gendered all the way down, even to the level of the chromosomes, he imagines he can escape from his physicality through wishful thinking or surgical intervention, “becoming” a woman, despite the irreducible maleness of his body. Instead of being an essential aspect of the true self, the body simply serves the true self and assumes a subordinate role. Accepting this dualist understanding establishes within the heart of one’s personality a tension that continually generates anguish and frustration. Christians today must stand athwart this latest iteration of Gnosticism, with the same intelligence and moxie demonstrated by Irenaeus of Lyon nearly two millennia ago. And it is precisely on this great feast of the resurrection of Jesus that we should do so. Those of us who celebrate Easter, the day of the physical resurrection of the son of God, must say no to all attempts to subordinate the body to a supposedly “higher” self. The glory of God is indeed a human being—body and soul—fully alive. Bishop Barron leads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minn., and is founder of the ministerial organization Word on Fire. https://www.wsj.com/articles/our-bodies-ourselves-our-lord-jesus-christ-easter-sunday-resurrection-irenaeus-true-self-soul-catholic-5393824a__________________________________________________________ 11. FACE Act must be applied equally, Perpetrators of violence against women’s health centers must face justice, By Jeremy DysThe Washington Times, April 7, 2023, Pg. B3, Opinion While some banged on drums and chanted outside the homes of some Supreme Court justices after last summer’s Dobbs decision, vandals lurked in the shadows outside over a hundred of the nation’s pregnancy resource centers. The rule of law compels two new lawsuits meant to hold accountable those who would be violent in disagreement. Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed into law the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (“FACE”) Act in 1994. In addition to authorizing criminal penalties for those who attempt to prevent access to the nation’s reproductive health facilities, it also imposes certain civil penalties.  While the FACE Act has been used a smattering of times against those who wrongly attacked abortion facilities (and even some churches), it is being used for the first time in its history to hold the militant abortion access group Jane’s Revenge accountable. Following the Dobbs leak and decision, more than 100 pregnancy care centers — life-affirming reproductive health centers that provide faith-based counseling and free baby formula, diapers and clothing — found themselves under relentless, violent attack.  Our client, Heartbeat of Miami, even had two people hack their way into their computer system, giving them free access to the organization’s annual gala. Inside the event, they shouted obscenities, disparaged Heartbeat’s staff, volunteers and supporters, and leafleted the venue with propaganda, hoping to dissuade women from using Heartbeat’s services.  Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is now leading the effort to protect all reproductive health facilities across the country. In a lawsuit filed March 29, Ms. Moody seeks to impose the maximum civil penalties against the vandals who attacked the three Florida-based pregnancy care centers. First Liberty Institute commends Ms. Moody for her determination to hold these vandals, along with the broader network associated with Jane’s Revenge, accountable for the 100-plus attacks on life-affirming reproductive health facilities across the country since someone leaked the Dobbs decision.  Violence is never a proper response to political disagreement. Those who have used threats and violence to harass and intimidate must be held legally accountable. Applying the FACE Act to criminals associated with Jane’s Revenge ensures once again that our nation will not tolerate violence as a means to political ends. Jeremy Dys is senior counsel for First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to defending religious freedom for all. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/apr/6/perpetrators-of-violence-against-womens-health-cen/__________________________________________________________ 12. Pope Francis skips Good Friday at Colosseum in chilly Rome, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 7, 2023, 6:27 PM Pope Francis, hospitalized recently with bronchitis, skipped the traditional Good Friday nighttime procession at the Colosseum because of chilly weather in Rome, staying instead at his home at the Vatican while thousands of faithful turned out for the torchlit event. This Good Friday was the first time a pontiff was a no-show at the Colosseum Way of the Cross procession since 2005. Then, a weakened and ailing St. John Paul II, eight days before his death, silently watched the Way of the Cross ritual on TV at his apartment in the Apostolic Palace. The Vatican had said Francis would preside at the ancient Roman arena at the procession that recalls Jesus’ suffering before his crucifixion and death on a cross. But just a few hours before the procession’s start, the Vatican, citing the “intense cold” that has made evenings unseasonably chilly in Rome these days, revealed that Francis would stay at his residence in a hotel in Vatican City and follow the event from there.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/2023/04/07/good-friday-pope-colosseum/292ef522-d549-11ed-ac8b-cd7da05168e9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 13. Decades of Catholic clergy sex abuse in Baltimore finally come to light, By The Washington Post, April 7, 2023, 4:26 PM, Editorial More than 20 years after revelations of Catholic clergy sex abuse shocked the world, the indelible features of the scandal — its scope over time and geography and the scale of its horrors — have not lost their capacity to astonish. Each major disclosure adds to the disturbing portrait of the violence that has been perpetrated against children and the church’s systematic coverups. That was driven home once again by the release of a major report by the Maryland attorney general’s office documenting the abuse of hundreds of children and young adults over nearly six decades in just one of the church’s dominions, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, where nearly a half-million Catholics live today. Adding judicial insult to clerical injury, the full report was withheld from the public for months on orders from a Maryland judge. A different judge finally authorized its release, with redactions.  The Baltimore archdiocese cooperated with the attorney general’s office as it prepared the report and did not oppose its release by Maryland’s current attorney general, Anthony G. Brown (D). But it also paid some legal fees for members of a group that persuaded a judge to seal proceedings around the report’s release and to redact some names in it. Moreover, church lobbyists in Annapolis were instrumental in getting state lawmakers to pass a 2017 law that barred future extensions in the period during which adult victims of abuse may sue to seek restitution from their abusers or their enablers in the church. And the church continues to oppose lifting the statute of limitations on civil suits. Justice in clerical sex abuse cases has advanced, but it remains a work in progress. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/04/07/catholic-clergy-sex-abuse-baltimore-report/__________________________________________________________ 14. Good Friday at the Vatican: Papal preacher warns against relativism and ‘vortex of nihilism’, By Courtney MaresCatholic News Agency, April 7, 2023, 12:00 PM At the Vatican’s Good Friday liturgy, the papal preacher warned against the danger of believers being drawn into the “vortex of nihilism” by the post-modern world’s “total relativism.” Cardinal Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., compared Friedrich Nietzsche’s words “God is dead” with the Catholic Church’s proclamation of the death of Christ as he preached at the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on April 7 in St. Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Pope Francis. At the beginning of the liturgy, Pope Francis arrived at the basilica dressed in red vestments in a wheelchair. Unlike in previous years, he was unable to lay prostrate but spent a moment in silent prayer before the main altar at the beginning of the liturgy. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254047/good-friday-at-the-vatican-papal-preacher-warns-against-relativism-and-vortex-of-nihilism__________________________________________________________ 15. Pope washes feet in Holy Thursday rite at Rome youth prison, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 6, 2023, 11:04 PM In a Holy Thursday ritual symbolizing humility, Pope Francis washed and dried the feet of a dozen residents of a Rome juvenile prison, assuring them of their dignity and telling them “any of us” can fall into sin. The Casal del Marmo facility on the outskirts of Rome is the same juvenile prison where Francis performed the first feet-washing ritual of his papacy, demonstrating his belief that the Catholic Church should give attention to people living on society’s margins. On Thursday, Francis repeated the ritual on 10 male and two female residents who are serving time at the facility. He leaned over and poured water on one foot of each, then used a white towel to gently pat the foot dry before kissing it.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/04/06/pope-holy-thursday-vatican-footwashing/7dfbb310-d459-11ed-ac8b-cd7da05168e9_story.html__________________________________________________________ 16. Idaho, Indiana ban ‘gender-affirming’ drugs, sex-change surgeries for minors, By Kevin J. JonesCatholic News Agency, April 6, 2023, 2:15 PM Idaho and Indiana have banned “gender-affirming care” for minors, joining 11 other states that have made it illegal to provide cross-sex hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and purported gender transition surgeries to those under age 18. “Permanent gender-changing surgeries with lifelong impacts and medically prescribed preparation for such a transition should occur as an adult, not as a minor,” Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said upon signing the ban into law on Wednesday. Indiana’s House of Representatives approved the legislation, S.B. 480, by a vote of 65-30, while the Senate passed the bill 36-12. Both bodies are Republican-controlled. The bill bans providing minors hormone therapies, puberty blockers, or purported gender transition surgeries, also known as sex-change surgeries. Violation of the law can result in a civil action from an individual who has received the drugs or procedures or his or her legal guardian. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254045/idaho-indiana-ban-gender-affirming-drugs-sex-change-surgeries-for-minors__________________________________________________________

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.