1. More than 75 briefs filed supporting Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban at Supreme Court, By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency, August 3, 2021, 3:01 PM

More than 75 amicus briefs have been filed at the Supreme Court supporting Mississippi’s ban on most elective abortions after 15 weeks, the state’s attorney general said last week. Many of the briefs were filed by Catholic or pro-life organizations.

Heather Hacker, the former assistant solicitor general of Texas, filed an amicus brief on behalf of law professors Mary Ann Glendon and Carter Snead, as well as one on behalf of The Catholic Association. Hacker told CNA that the high court’s abortion jurisprudence “is not grounded in the text, history, or tradition of the Constitution.”

Hacker said the brief for the law professors argued that Roe “was a leap when it was created, it’s been criticized by scholars since then ranging the political spectrum.”

Every time the court since Roe has tried to fix its abortion jurisprudence, it’s esentially made it worse,” Hacker said.

On behalf of The Catholic Association, Hacker argued that at the time of the Roe decision in 1973, “our understanding of fetal development was very limited.”

Modern ultrasound technology means “you can really see the baby’s humanity, and that was something really not contemplated by Roe,” Hacker said.

Dr. Grazie Christie, a policy advisor for The Catholic Association, told CNA there has been “tremendous change and advancement in the science since Roe versus Wade.”

There is really no mystery to the fact that at 15 weeks the fetus is very much alive and very human,” Christie said, adding that the understanding of fetal pain has changed as well.

It used to be thought that a baby couldn’t feel pain until the third trimester,” Christie said. “Now, we know it could be as early as 12 weeks.”



2. Bakery owner appeals ruling on transition cakeBy Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, August 4, 2021, Pg. A2

Colorado bakery owner Jack Phillips announced Tuesday that he has filed an appeal in a case brought over his refusal to create a pink-and-blue gender transition cake.

Mr. Phillips, whose nine year- old legal saga includes a 2018 win at the U.S. Supreme Court, challenged the Denver District Court’s ruling that he violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act when he turned down Autumn Scardina’s cake request in 2017, citing his religious convictions.

Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel Jake Warner said that no one “should be forced to express a message that violates their beliefs and conscience.”

An activist attorney demanded that Jack Phillips create custom cakes in order to test Jack and to ‘correct the errors’ of his thinking,” Mr. Warner said.



3. A Priest Finds Serenity in Humor, By Mike Kerrigan, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2021, Pg. A17, Opinion

Mr. Kerrigan is an attorney in Charlotte, N.C.

Amid the rancor dividing Americans, how do we learn to see one another as countrymen again? I reconnected recently with an old friend and Jesuit priest, Daniel Sweeney, with the intention of asking him.

In the 1980s, Father Sweeney taught world history at Georgetown Prep, the high school in North Bethesda, Md., where I was a student.

He recalled a time he’d repaired from the hurly-burly of instructing adolescent males to the tranquility of a faculty lounge. Seated beside him was another Jesuit faculty member, James A.P. Byrne, a priest known for saintly serenity and heroic patience. Their peace was interrupted by an obscenely loud knock on the door. It was the kind of gratuitous pounding both men instantly knew had been delivered by the sort of student from whom they’d sought respite. Father Byrne got up, exchanged words with the impertinent young man, and returned to his seat. “Who was at the door?” Father Sweeney asked.

It was just our Lord,” Father Byrne replied serenely, his Irish eyes twinkling, “in one of his most unrecognizable forms.” There was no shortage of excitable boys on campus, Father Sweeney’s lesson reminded me.



4. Pope resumes public audiences a month after major surgery, By Frances D’Emilio, The Associated Press, August 4, 2021

Pope Francis resumed his routine of holding weekly audiences with the general public a month after he underwent bowel surgery, and during the much-awaited appearance Wednesday he recalled the anniversary of the devastating Beirut port explosion and expressed the desire to someday visit Lebanon.

Francis walked unaided to the center of the stage of a Vatican auditorium. smiling as he gestured toward the visitors, before taking his seat in an upholstered chair and then addressing an audience of several hundred pilgrims and tourists, who wore masks as a precaution against COVID-19.



5. Moral Courage and the Many Cultures of Death, By George Weigel, First Things, August 4, 2021

Thanks to the pandemic, it’s been two years since I was last in Cracow, where for three decades I’ve done extensive research and taught great students while forming friendships with many remarkable people. It was wonderful to be back in one of the world’s greatest cities, and soon after I arrived in late June, I took a long walk to see what had changed. The first major difference I noticed was that the plaza in front of the central railway station (named for my late friend Jan Nowak-Jeziorański, a World War II courier for the Polish Home Army and the man from whom the future John Paul II got real news via Radio Free Europe’s Polish service) has a new, strikingly modern memorial, dedicated to the memory of Colonel Ryszard Kukliński.

That name is not well-known throughout a Western world that has largely forgotten the meaning and lessons of the Cold War. But if Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was right when he spoke about the Polish colonel in the mid-1990s, Ryszard Kukliński was a genuine hero of the long, twilight struggle against communist totalitarianism—the man who helped prevent a bloody Soviet invasion of Poland to crush the nascent Solidarity movement.

Communism was a distinctive form of the culture of death, for the effort to create “Homo Sovieticus” was a lethal assault on souls. Colonel Ryszard Kukliński took a courageous stand against that particular culture of death, knowing as he did that freedom is never cost-free: Freedom lived nobly always requires sacrifice. His example should be pondered by Catholic citizens and Catholic public officials throughout the West today, who are called to resist, with similar moral courage and effect, that form of the culture of death that masquerades as the ideology of “choice.” May we and our elected officials be as principled and brave as the Polish officer who took what John Paul II described at the United Nations in 1995 as the “the risk of freedom.”



6. Roe v. Wade was a lousy decision. The Supreme Court should take the opportunity to overturn it, By Ryan T. Anderson and Robert P. George, USA Today, August 3, 2021, 5:00 AM

Last month, Mississippi presented a brief to the Supreme Court arguing that our national charter, the Constitution of the United States, does not confer a right to abortion. This is irrefutably true. No such right can be found in the text of the Constitution, or in its structure, logic or original understanding. Mississippi then took the next step: asking the court to finally admit that cases claiming that there is such a right – Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey – had been wrongly decided and need to be overruled.

In what will prove to be the most watched – and most important – Supreme Court case in nearly half a century, the court will have an opportunity to correct a grievous error, one that has not only lent legal, indeed constitutional, cover to the elective killing of unborn children literally by the millions, but has also deeply corrupted American constitutional jurisprudence. If the justices – particularly those nominated as originalists and constitutionalists – fail to correct that error, they will undermine their own and the court’s credibility and precipitate a social revolt from conservative and Republican voters — voters who worked so hard to produce the current composition of the court.

While the current court may not be willing to go so far as to invalidate all legislation protecting abortionists, at the very least it must correct its own prior mistake of barring states from enacting legislation protecting unborn persons. Failure to do so will be, and will certainly be regarded as, a gross betrayal of the trust of those who worked to build a court whose members would be faithful constitutionalists. Worse than that, it would be a betrayal of persons in the womb.



7. New survey shows most Catholics have no idea who Cardinal McCarrick is. That’s a problem, By Kerry Weber, Religion News Service, August 3, 2021, 4:33 PM

Kerry Weber is an executive editor at America. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.

McCarrick, who was laicized in 2019, is the highest ranking individual in the Catholic Church to be charged in the abuse crisis. His alleged abuse spanned decades and has received national attention since it became public in the summer of 2018. But a recent survey commissioned by America Media and conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate found that only 38% of Catholics surveyed had heard of McCarrick.

Our data show that Catholics want the institutional church to respond to the crisis, but it has not always done its part to communicate what reforms have already begun or to open up new channels for dialogue. The disconnect is one that adds to the pain caused by the abuse and the cover-up by leaving many Catholics feeling stuck in a perpetual crisis and unaware of any progress or available resources.

Although 57% of Catholics surveyed say they pay “a great deal” or “quite a bit” of attention to the topic of sexual abuse in the church, the survey also shows Catholics remain awash in misinformation and uncertainty about the causes of the abuse crisis and the prevalence of abuse today.

Twenty-three percent of respondents said they did not know why the abuse crisis happened, and 66% of those surveyed overestimated the percentage of priests accused of abuse. In 2007, 52% of Catholics surveyed by CARA knew the percentage of priests credibly accused of abuse was less than 5%. But in the more recent survey, only 34% knew this. In addition, approximately two-thirds of respondents did not realize the majority of the abuse cases occurred prior to 1985.



8. US dismisses suit against Vermont hospital over abortionsThe Associated Press, August 2, 2021, 4:42 PM

The U.S. Justice Department has dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Vermont Medical Center alleging it forced a nurse to participate in an abortion procedure she objected to on religious grounds.

The one-page notice filed by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Friday gave no reason for its decision. The action was first reported by the online news site VTDigger.org.

The lawsuit, filed last December in the waning days of former President Donald Trump’s administration, alleged the Burlington hospital violated the “ Church Amendments,” which prevent hospitals from discriminating against health care workers who refuse to perform or assist with abortions.



9. Pope Francis’ Limited Public Response to Cuba Protests Draws Mixed ReviewsBy Jonathan Liedl, National Catholic Register, August 3, 2021

Since demonstrations swept across Cuba on June 11, a parade of U.S. politicians, foreign nations and even pop stars have spoken up with gusto in support of the anti-communist protests and against the island-nation’s authoritarian government and its crackdowns. But one voice has been comparably limited: Pope Francis’.

Just once since the demonstrations began has the Holy Father publicly addressed the political crisis in Cuba — a country where the majority of people are baptized Catholics despite more than 60 years of communist rule — and then only briefly. At his July 18 Angelus address, his first public appearance following a minor surgery, the Holy Father expressed his closeness to the Cuban people “in these difficult moments.”

Several Cubans were in St. Peter’s Square to hear the Pope’s words, many of them waving their country’s flag. According to one report, those gathered drew solace from the Holy Father’s address.

But for other Cubans, Pope Francis and the wider Vatican response to the crisis in Cuba has been, in fact, a disappointment. Church leadership has been criticized for a failure to speak up more forcefully against communism and in favor of the protesters calling for political change.



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