TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 189 – Bill McGurn On The Innocence Of Jimmy Lai & Hong Kong Protests As Jimmy Lai awaits his trial in a Hong Kong prison, Bill McGurn of the Wall Street Journal discusses the innocence of Lai and how “in Jimmy’s sacrifice, the Lai family finds its redemption.” The team also revisits with Marie Joseph exploring the vital work pro-life pregnancy centers do especially in this post-Roe world. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for the second Sunday of Advent. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Can Colorado Tell Lorie Smith What to Say?, By Nicholas Tomaino, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2022, Pg. A13, Opinion Same-sex marriage wasn’t supposed to infringe on those who don’t believe in it. “It must be emphasized,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), “that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.” That hasn’t been Lorie Smith’s experience. She owns 303 Creative, a Denver-area company that designs wedding websites. Her faith teaches that marriage mirrors Christ’s relationship with the church and “fulfills the complementary nature of God’s first institution.” The state defines her business as a public accommodation subject to the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, which requires her to serve customers regardless of sexual orientation.  In 2016 she filed a lawsuit seeking to enjoin Colorado from requiring her to design websites for same-sex weddings. She lost in both district court and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Monday the high court will hear arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis, which will decide whether Justice Kennedy’s reassurance in Obergefell meant anything.  Colorado’s behavior is of a piece with how public-accommodation laws are “being twisted by state commissions to prohibit something they actually don’t,” says Michael McConnell, a Stanford law professor who served as a 10th Circuit judge from 2002 through 2009. The intent is to force objectors to affirm progressive orthodoxy about sex and sexual identity. 2. Vermont settles religious schools tuition lawsuits, By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press, December 1, 2022, 5:05 PM The Vermont Agency of Education and several school districts will pay tuition costs and legal fees to five families to settle lawsuits challenging the state’s practice of not paying for students to attend religious schools if their towns do not have a public school. In court filings late Wednesday, the two sides agreed to dismiss the two lawsuits in the aftermath of a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said Maine schools cannot exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition aid for private education. Like Maine, Vermont pays tuition for students living in towns that do not have a public school to attend other public schools or approved private schools of their choice. Following the Supreme Court decision, Vermont Education Secretary Daniel French sent a letter to the state’s superintendents in September saying the state’s school districts “may not deny tuition payments to religious approved independent schools or religious independent schools that meet educational quality standards.” 3. Trial over DeSantis removal of prosecutor on abortion ends, By Brendan Farrington, Associated Press, December 1, 2022, 7:32 PM Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t seeking political retaliation when he removed a prosecutor over abortion and transgender views, but simply wanted to ensure state law would be enforced, the governor’s attorney told a federal judge Thursday. Lawyers for Andrew Warren, a Democrat suspended from his twice-elected post as state attorney in Hillsborough County, disagreed, saying it’s clear DeSantis’ action was based on what Warren said and believed and not on his competence as a prosecutor. DeSantis suspended Warren in August over the prosecutor’s signing of statements that said he would not pursue criminal charges against seekers or providers of abortion or gender transition treatments, as well as his policies about not charging people with certain minor crimes. Warren is suing to be reinstated.  The three-day trial over Warren’s lawsuit against DeSantis concluded Thursday evening. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said it will be at least two weeks before he rules. 4. Prosecutors move to dismiss Wisconsin abortion ban challenge, By Todd Richmond, Associated Press, December 1, 2022 A group of prosecutors is asking a judge to toss out Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul’s lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban on abortions, arguing that it lacks legal merit and that there is no weight to assertions that it is unenforceable because of its age. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski filed separate motions late Wednesday to dismiss the case. All three argued that the lawsuit seeks to improperly restrict prosecutorial discretion and that Kaul lacks standing to sue because he hasn’t been personally harmed by the ban. Urmanski, the only Republican among the three, went further, rejecting Kaul’s argument that the ban is so old that it can no longer be considered to have passed with the consent of the people. “Wisconsin courts have never recognized that a statute can lose effect through disuse and, even if they had, this case would not warrant application of that principle,” Urmanski’s motion said. “If the Plaintiffs believe the statute lacks the consent of the governed, their appeal should be to the Legislature and the Governor to seek changes in the law, not this Court.” 5. ‘Gravely disappointed’: U.S. bishops respond to passage of the same-sex marriage act, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, December 1, 2022, 2:00 PM Today the U.S. bishops responded to the U.S. Senate’s passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, saying society “has lost sight of the purpose of marriage.” Bishop Robert Barron, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, strongly condemned the bill’s passage. “We are gravely disappointed that the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act passed the Senate and continue to call for its rejection,” Barron wrote. The Respect for Marriage Act passed the Senate Tuesday, redefining marriage to include unions between homosexual couples and mandating that all states must recognize homosexual marriages. The bill passed with bipartisan support, with 12 Republicans voting in favor. As passed by the Senate, the bill enshrines into law and expands the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized homosexual marriage across the nation. 6. As Cardinal Zen and Jimmy Lai Cases Attest, the Vatican Must Change Its Course With China, The Holy See must denounce the Chinese government’s ongoing human rights injustices with unequivocal language, By Andrea M. Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, December 1, 2022, Opinion It’s pretty easy for Americans to take religious freedom for granted. The same can’t be said for people living in China. Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party has developed a pathological suspicion of religious belief.  It goes without saying that there is no easy solution. But that does not mean that the Vatican cannot change course. Indeed, it is morally obliged to do so as soon as possible with respect to one subject: the treatment of Catholics in Hong Kong, which unlike the mainland has enjoyed a large measure of political and religious freedom. That freedom is now being snuffed out, as the cases of Cardinal Joseph Zen and Jimmy Lai illustrate.  If, as expected, the show trial of Jimmy Lai ends in his life imprisonment, the Vatican must denounce this injustice in unequivocal language. And, if it does not, Catholics must make their voices heard. Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is a civil-rights attorney and the director of the Conscience Project.

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.