1. DeSantis’s Gamble on Abortion, By The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2023, Pg. A16, Editorial Ron DeSantis’s decision to sign a new Florida law that bans most abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is a political gamble that Democrats are eager to attack. The Governor’s obligation now is to explain and defend it if he wants to win the White House. Though Democrats will never admit it, the current abortion debate vindicates Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion in Dobbs last year overruling Roe v. Wade. “The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” he wrote. “Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.” He added earlier in his opinion that “we do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision.” Democrats predicted doom, but so far they are winning the post-Dobbs political debate in most places. The Court’s ruling was silent on abortion policy, and states as expected have gone in different directions. The Florida law will now be one of the country’s most restrictive.  Like Justice Alito, we don’t pretend to know how this debate will turn out in 2024. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a six-week ban after Dobbs and easily won re-election last year. Abortion is merely one issue among many that voters will consider as they measure the candidates. But one certainty is that Mr. DeSantis will be asked about the six-week ban again and again. The press is largely pro-abortion and believes the issue will hurt Republicans, so it will come up in every debate. Mr. DeSantis could say the issue should be settled at the state level, and that Florida’s law shouldn’t dictate to Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. That works for us, but you can expect other candidates to challenge that as insufficient. Mr. DeSantis will have to defend the six-week ban in any case. Now that the abortion die is cast, Mr. DeSantis’s presidential chances may hang on how well he defends the law just signed. https://www.wsj.com/articles/desantis-gamble-on-abortion-dobbs-florida-roe-white-house-election-2024-president-pregnancy-court-voters-555660bb__________________________________________________________ 2. The Postman’s Sabbath and Federal Law, The Supreme Court, religious workers, and the Civil Rights Act., By The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2023, 6:20 PM, Editorial How flexible must an employer be when a worker asks for a religious accommodation? The Supreme Court will ponder that Tuesday in Groff v. DeJoy, the case of a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier who resigned under reprimand after refusing to work on Sundays. Gerald Groff is an evangelical Christian, and in 2012 he started as a USPS noncareer rural carrier associate, which involved covering absences for career staff. Sunday shifts weren’t originally part of the gig, but then the USPS signed a deal to carry Amazon parcels. Mr. Groff’s post in Quarryville, Pa., began Sunday deliveries in 2015. At first, he says, he was given an exemption, “so long as he covered other shifts throughout the week.” But in 2016 the USPS and the union for rural letter carriers drew up a formal process for Sunday scheduling, quashing Mr. Groff’s opt out. He transferred to a nearby town where Sunday delivery hadn’t yet launched, but the Amazon program soon arrived. For a time, the USPS skipped Mr. Groff on the Sunday schedule or booked an extra carrier in his stead. Eventually he was admonished for missing more than 24 Sundays in two years. “Knowing termination was the next form of discipline,” he says, he resigned in 2019. This is a federal case because the Civil Rights Act bans employers from discriminating based on religious “observance.” There’s an exception that applies, however, if giving the worker an accommodation would pose “undue hardship.” That’s a lower bar than it might seem. In a 1977 case, Trans World Airlines v. Hardison, the Supreme Court said “undue hardship” meant anything that would require the employer “to bear more than a de minimis cost.” Is that what the Civil Rights Act really means? Don’t discriminate against the faithful, unless refraining would be inconvenient, in which case go ahead?  Whether Mr. Groff’s absences created actual hardship for the USPS is a matter of dispute, and the dissenting judge at the Third Circuit Court of Appeals wanted to send that question to trial. What’s clearer is that Hardison is hard to square with what Congress did when it enshrined American pluralism in the Civil Rights Act. https://www.wsj.com/articles/gerald-groff-usps-groff-v-dejoy-supreme-court-civil-rights-act-religious-observance-e722e759__________________________________________________________ 3. Pope slams ‘insinuations’ against John Paul II as baseless, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 16, 2023, 7:49 AM Pope Francis on Sunday publicly defended St. John Paul II, condemning as “offensive and baseless” insinuations that recently surfaced about the late pontiff. In remarks to tourists and pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, Francis said he was aiming to interpret the feelings of the faithful worldwide by expressing gratitude to the Polish pontiff’s memory. Days earlier, the Vatican’s media apparatus had described as “slanderous” an audiotape from a purported Roman mobster who insinuated that John Paul would go out looking for underage girls to molest. The tape was played on an Italian TV program by Pietro Orlandi, brother of Emanuela Orlandi, the teenage daughter of a Vatican employee who lived at the Vatican. The disappearance of the 15-year-old in 1983 is an enduring mystery that has spawned countless theories and so far fruitless investigations in the decades since.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/04/16/vatican-pope-francis-john-paul-orlandi/b347227a-dc4c-11ed-a78e-9a7c2418b00c_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Seeking Visibility, Pope’s Commission on Sex Abuse Gets a New Home, By Jason Horowitz, The New York Times, April 14, 2023, Pg. A7 Pope Francis liked the floor plan. “It’s a good space you have,” the pope, mapping out a square with his hands, said during a private audience last month to the Rev. Andrew Small, who manages the pope’s commission on combating sex abuse. “Have you moved yet?” Since Francis created his Commission for the Protection of Minors in 2014, the staff has occupied cramped offices in an old Vatican residence near the pope’s apartment. While the location at first suggested a proximity to power, the commission has over the last decade seen its influence eroded by entrenched Vatican interests and defections. Father Small said its staff was forced to borrow office space around the Holy See “like Bedouins” when bishops came to meet with them. Survivors of abuse, he said, struggled to find their hard-to-find corner. So in recent years, the commission quietly sought a change, or at least a change of address, to reassert the place that safeguarding children occupies in the church. That property hunt ended last month, when the commission took control of rent-free offices in a stately 16th-century palazzo controlled by the church in the middle of Rome. The commission says the new offices, previously unreported, in Palazzo Maffei Marescotti, just down the street from the Pantheon, amount to a concrete commitment to victims and a clear response to Vatican forces that it believes would rather see the issue of sex abuse stay hidden or kept far away.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/13/world/europe/vatican-sex-abuse-rome.html__________________________________________________________ 5. High court temporarily blocks restrictions on abortion pill, By Mark Sherman and Jessica Gresko, Associated Press, April 14, 2023 The Supreme Court said Friday it was temporarily keeping in place federal rules for use of an abortion drug, while it takes time to more fully consider the issues raised in a court challenge. In an order signed by Justice Samuel Alito, the court put a five-day pause on the fast-moving case so the justices can decide whether lower court rulings restricting the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug, mifepristone, should be allowed to take effect in the short term. The justices are being asked at this point only to determine what parts of an April 7 ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk in Texas, as modified by an appellate ruling Wednesday, can be in force while the case continues. The order expires late Wednesday, suggesting the court will decide that issue by then.  https://apnews.com/article/supreme-court-abortion-pill-mifepristone-ff152a443d8439e8fa5d9376070822b2__________________________________________________________ 6. Eucharistic pilgrimage expected to ‘restrict’ adoration in Chicago archdiocese, By The Pillar, April 14, 2023, 1:44 PM The Archdiocese of Chicago is expected to restrict the exposition of the Eucharist during a national Eucharistic pilgrimage that will traverse the Chicago region next year, ahead of the Eucharistic Congress scheduled for next July. The anticipated restriction comes amid differences of emphasis and approach among U.S. bishops over the Church’s Eucharistic revival process, now underway, and the $14 million Eucharistic Congress planned for 2024 — especially over the revival’s emphasis on adoration of the Eucharist.  While Cardinal Blase Cupich has argued that an emphasis on adoration could distract from catechesis about the importance of the Mass, Bishop Andrew Cozzens has stressed a unified vision between Eucharistic adoration and the worship of God in the Mass.  https://www.pillarcatholic.com/p/eucharistic-pilgrimage-expected-to__________________________________________________________ 7. Canada’s assisted suicide guidance for docs: ‘virtual’ assessments, and don’t tell patient’s family, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, April 14, 2023, 11:12 AM The Canadian government has released new recommended standards and advice for medical doctors concerning physician-assisted suicide that critics say do nothing to protect vulnerable patients from premature death. The new guidelines allow for “virtual” physician-assisted suicide, advise doctors not to notify family members when a patient requests suicide, and require medical professionals who object to physician-assisted suicide to refer patients to others who are willing to participate in their suicides. Health Canada released on March 27 the “Model Practice Standard for Medical Assistance in Dying,” as guidance for the practice of assisted suicide, made legal in 2016 and known as medical aid in dying (MAiD). More than 31,000 people have already died by legal euthanasia in Canada.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254096/canada-s-assisted-suicide-guidance-for-docs-virtual-assessments-and-don-t-tell-patient-s-family__________________________________________________________ 8. Catholic bishops back federal court ruling against ‘lethal’ abortion drug, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, April 14, 2023, 2:52 PM The U.S. Catholic bishops have praised a federal court’s action to restore limits on the use of the abortion drug mifepristone and urged an end to the distribution of the life-ending drug, just hours before the Supreme Court announced a temporary stay on the decision. “The 5th Circuit was right to recognize the dangers of unrestricted chemical abortion to women’s health and safety. We are grateful for the restoration of protections and any limitation on the use of these lethal drugs.” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said Friday. “We hope that the final ruling will result in removal of chemical abortion from the market altogether. Abortion is never the right choice for a difficult or unexpected pregnancy, as it always ends one life and risks another,” the bishops’ statement continued. “We pray ardently that our nation will authentically support and accompany women so that ending the lives of their children alone in their own homes will be unthinkable.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254104/catholic-bishops-back-federal-court-ruling-against-lethal-abortion-drug__________________________________________________________

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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