TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 70 – The China Crisis & Arrest of Jimmy Lai with Bill McGurn

On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie focuses on the crisis in China as the Communist party tightening its grip in Hong Kong. Veteran journalist Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal joins to share a moving story of his godson, billionaire tycoon Jimmy Lai, who was arrested, and most likely will be placed in prison. We also get a firsthand look at a new mini documentary with Nick Eberstadt of AEI on China’s one-child policy–and the detrimental impact of this rule still felt across the country today.

1. Harris vs. the Knights of Columbus, Can the Democrats tolerate Catholics who take the church’s teachings seriously?, By Adam O’Neal, The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2020, Pg. A13, Opinion

Kamala Harris had a question for Brian Buescher. “Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men,” the California senator wrote Mr. Buescher in 2018, while considering his nomination to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska. “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

Ms. Harris was preparing to run for president, and her permissive views on abortion would feature in the coming campaign. Knights of Columbus chief Carl Anderson had became a target for pro-choice Democrats. But the senator’s attack on the group was bizarre.

The Knights of Columbus isn’t a secretive political group but a Catholic fraternal organization. It has some two million members, councils around the world, and no partisan affiliation. It focuses on charity and has assisted persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

 Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii went further than Ms. Harris and asked Mr. Buescher, “Do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?” This overt religious test deserved the condemnation it received. Ms. Harris took a subtler approach but still effectively described adherence to orthodox Catholic views as incompatible with public service.

Polling fluctuates, but Catholics—about one-fifth of the country—are generally split on abortion. Only 47% of Catholics believe abortion is “intrinsically evil,” according to a February Real Clear Opinion Research survey. Twenty percent believe “it should always be legal,” while 31% support permitting it “except in the case of late-term abortion.”

It isn’t a cop-out to suggest that the most important action Catholics can take to fight abortion is to encourage their peers to go to Mass.

2. Disgraced W.VA. cleric faces reduced penalty, Vatican backs sanctions for bishop over misuse of funds, sexual harassment, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, August 21, 2020, Pg. B1

The Vatican has approved much-reduced reparations, including an apology letter that takes no direct responsibility, for the former head of a West Virginia diocese accused of misusing millions in church money and sexually harassing fellow clerics.

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield stepped down in September 2018 as leader of the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese amid allegations that he spent millions on personal extravagances and gifts to fellow clerics and that he harassed seminarians and young priests who worked for him.

3. Turkey turns second historic Istanbul church into mosque, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, August 21, 2020, 5:30 AM

A month after the former cathedral Hagia Sophia was converted from a museum into a mosque, another Istanbul church-museum, renowned for its exquisite Byzantine mosaics, will undergo the same transformation.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, ordered Friday that the 700-year-old Chora Church — currently the Kariye Museum — be turned into a fully functioning mosque.

4. Lawsuit dropped over Indiana abortion ultrasound mandate, By Tom Davies, Associated Press, August 20, 2020, 12:08 PM

Planned Parenthood has decided to drop its federal lawsuit challenging an Indiana law that will require women to undergo an ultrasound at least 18 hours before having an abortion.

The law was passed in 2016 by the Republican-dominated Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence, but had been blocked since a federal judge’s ruling in 2017 . Although that ruling was upheld by a federal appeals court, the U.S. Supreme Court in July sent the Indiana lawsuit back to the appeals court for a fresh review following a decision in a Louisiana case that abortion rights advocates worried signaled a greater willingness by the justices to uphold state restrictions.

Lawyers for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky and the state said in a Wednesday court filing they agreed the injunction blocking the law should end on Jan. 1, citing “events” over the past three years and the addition of a new ultrasound machine at Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Fort Wayne.

5. Former West Virginia bishop apologizes, reimburses diocese, By Associated Press, August 20, 2020

A former Catholic bishop in West Virginia has issued an apology two years after resigning amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, and the diocese said Thursday that he has repaid $441,000.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on Thursday released a letter from former Bishop Michael Bransfield on its website.

“I am writing to apologize for any scandal or wonderment caused by words or actions attributed to me during my tenure,” Bransfield wrote in the letter, dated Aug. 15.

The $441,000 repayment is far less than the $792,638 sought by the church that was presented to Bransfield last November.

6. In new term, Supreme Court once again takes up religious liberty, By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, August 20, 2020

As part of what seems to be a new trend for the Supreme Court, it will once again take up a religious liberty case in its new term with oral arguments Nov. 4 in a case about a Catholic social service agency excluded from Philadelphia’s foster care program for not accepting same-sex couples as foster parents

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and a few Catholic Charities agencies joined more than 30 other religious groups, states and a group of Congress members urging the Supreme Court to protect the faith-based foster care in Fulton v. Philadelphia.

7. DOJ: Catholic school student wrongly excluded from program, By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press, August 20, 2020

The U.S. Department of Justice says a Vermont student who attends a Catholic school was wrongly excluded from a state program, considering a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that said that states cannot cut religious schools from programs that send public money to private education.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief in the case, saying that the federal appeals court should overturn the district court’s earlier denial of a preliminary injunction.

Last year, the group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the Vermont Education Agency on behalf of some students from the Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington, saying they wished to take college classes under the Vermont Dual Enrollment Program, but were excluded because they attend a Catholic high school.

8. Court: Group can’t sue San Antonio over Chick-fil-A decision, By Associated Press, August 20, 2020, 7:15 PM

A group of conservatives doesn’t have the legal standing to sue San Antonio over its rejection of a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the city’s airport, a Texas appeals court ruled.

The San Antonio City Council approved a contract last year with an Atlanta-based company to bring new vendors to San Antonio International Airport but told it to strike Chick-fil-A and find another food vendor, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Councilman Roberto Treviño cited the fast food chain’s history of donating to groups opposed to LGBT rights.

Five conservatives, including former council candidate Patrick Von Dohlen, sued the city seven months later, alleging that the council had violated a so-called Save Chick-fil-A law that Texas lawmakers passed last year that bars government agencies from punishing companies or people for donating to or affiliating with religious organizations.

Von Dohlen and fellow plaintiff Michael Knuffke said they would appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.

9. US bishops praise Trump administration for pro-life aid policy, By Catholic News Agency, August 20, 2020, 11:30 AM

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the Trump administration’s efforts to tie U.S. aid to pro-life policy on Thursday, following the release of a report indicating widespread compliance with the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance policy.

The Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance rule is an expanded version of the Mexico City Policy, which forbids the use of U.S. federal funding for foreign non-governmental organizations that promote abortions through counciling, referrals, or who work to expand abortion access and legality.

“The Trump Administration deserves our praise for ensuring that U.S. global health assistance funding actually promotes health and human rights, and doesn’t undermine them by promoting abortion,” said Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City in Kansas, the chairman of the USCCB’s pro-life committee.

“Killing innocent and defenseless unborn children through abortion is not health care. Abortion violates an unborn child’s most basic human right, the right to life, and it also can wound the mother emotionally and physically. Americans recognize this injustice and an overwhelming majority of them oppose giving tax dollars to organizations that are more committed to promoting abortion than providing health services,” said Naumann in a statement released by the U.S. bishops’ conference.

10. Legal abortion ‘above my pay grade,’ says religious sister who will pray at DNC, By Kevin Jones, Catholic News Agency, August 20, 2020, 10:52 AM

Sister Simone Campbell, who is set to offer a prayer at the Democratic National Convention Thursday, has declined to take a stand on the morality of abortion protections, and a CNA examination finds donors to her organization, Network Lobby, have links to pro-abortion rights advocacy.

Asked Aug. 19 whether her organization opposes the legal protection of abortion, Campbell told CNA, “That is not our issue. That is not it. It is above my pay grade.”

“It’s not the issue that we work on. I’m a lawyer. I would have to study it more intensely than I have,” Campbell added.

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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