TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 253 – Conscience Before Conformity: Drawing Inspiration From The White Rose Resistance As we remember the brave witness of Hans and Sophie Scholl this week with the anniversary of the arrest and executions by the Nazi regime for the White Rose resistance, Dr. Paul Shrimpton takes us through the true history and the group’s reliance on such Catholic thinkers as St. John Henry Newman and St. Augustine. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Pro-life group tells Supreme Court the FDA violated federal law by loosening abortion-pill rules, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, February 23, 2024, Pg. A4 The group of pro-life doctors having their challenge to the abortion pill heard before the Supreme Court next month filed their brief Thursday, telling the justices the Biden administration’s lifting of certain safeguards for women runs afoul of federal law. Alliance Defending Freedom, the group representing pro-life medical professionals, said in its filing that their clients have had to treat women in emergency rooms due to complications from taking the abortion pill and that the drug should only be dispensed with supervision — a rule that the Food and Drug Administration moved to limit. The abortion pill has been available for at least two decades, but in recent years the FDA has moved to reduce the number of in-person doctor visits women would need to obtain the pill and alter the gestation period for which it could be dispensed. “Giving such unfettered power to FDA — an agency whose actions ‘affect every citizen,’ — is particularly problematic. Turning a blind eye to FDA’s patently unreasonable actions here, which jeopardize women’s health throughout the nation, would be unprecedented,” the group argued in its brief. The doctors are asking the Supreme Court to hold that the FDA’s actions ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act and to affirm a lower court ruling in their favor. 2. Bible-quoting Alabama chief justice sparks church-state debate in embryo ruling, By Peter Smith and Tiffany Stanley, Associated Press, February 23, 2024, 8:01 AM When the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos are considered children under state law, its chief justice had a higher authority in mind. By citing verses from the Bible and Christian theologians in his concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker alarmed advocates for church-state separation, while delighting religious conservatives who oppose abortion. Human life, Parker wrote, “cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself.” The Alabama court’s ruling last week stemmed from wrongful death lawsuits brought by couples whose frozen embryos were accidentally destroyed. The most immediate impact of the ruling was to leave in vitro fertilization clinics in Alabama potentially vulnerable to more lawsuits and reluctant to administer treatment. But not far behind were mounting worries about Parker’s explicit references to Christian theology. While Parker’s concurring opinion does not carry the force of precedent, advocates for church-state separation fear he could inspire judges in other states to push the envelope. 3. Belarus cracks down on clergy who supported protests of its authoritarian leader, By Yuras Karmanau, Associated Press, February 23, 2024, 5:10 AM The Rev. Viachaslau Barok was a familiar face in Rasony, a town in northern Belarus near the Russian border, overseeing construction of its Roman Catholic church and celebrating Mass daily for two decades. He got into trouble in December 2020, the height of anti-government demonstrations, when he posted a caricature of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko and another official on social media. He spent 10 days in jail. When security services raided his church in July 2021, however, he knew it was time to leave the country. Barok is among dozens of clergy — Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant — who have been jailed, silenced or forced into exile for protesting the 2020 election that gave Lukashenko a sixth term. That disputed vote triggered mass demonstrations, beatings of protesters and a crackdown on dissent — tensions that increased in 2022, when Belarus ally Russia invaded Ukraine. 4. Alabama’s Embryo Ruling Challenges IVF Practices Nationwide, The state’s supreme court extended personhood to frozen embryos, raising questions about the technology used in 2% of U.S. births, By Amy Dockser Marcus, The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2024, 7:03 PM The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children exacerbates a national dilemma: What to do with the more than one million embryos in storage across the U.S. Some fertility clinics in Alabama have said they would pause in vitro fertilization because they feared they could be vulnerable to lawsuits following the court’s ruling. Medical professionals elsewhere have said they worry similar restrictions could be imposed in their states. The quandary of frozen embryos’ fate is a byproduct of increasing demand for reproductive technology as more people delay childbearing to older ages, or have children on their own or with partners of the same gender. IVF, introduced in clinics more than 40 years ago, is now a mainstay of family-building that accounts for some 2% of U.S. births. 5. A Catholic College Defines ‘Woman’, St. Mary’s in Indiana backtracks from a decision to admit transgender males., By Nicole Ault, The Wall Street Journal, February 22, 2024, 1:20 PM, Opinion If Macy Gunnell, a sophomore at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., hadn’t been listening during her shift at the school’s admissions office, she might have missed the news: The all-women’s Catholic college was planning to admit trans-identifying men the next academic year. That would have undermined 180 years of school tradition, not to mention centuries of church teaching. Since the Sisters of the Holy Cross founded the college in 1844, it has admitted women only. “What alarmed me about the policy is the fact that it was not in accordance with the school’s foundations” or “basic” Catholic principles, Ms. Gunnell says. The Board of Trustees approved the policy in June 2023, and President Katie Conboy said she announced “an update” at a presemester event in August. But it was news to students and alumnae when Ms. Gunnell began getting the word out in November. What happened next didn’t follow the typical campus script. The administration backtracked—in the face not of a left-wing mob but of conservative calls to stick to principle. The transgender-admissions policy wasn’t the first sign of St. Mary’s departure from a “Catholic identity.” Ms. Conboy, who assumed office in June 2020, issued a “strategic plan” that commits the college to “achieve a culture of human dignity and solidarity” by creating an “office for Student Equity” and a “space to support LGBTQ+ students.” That’s consistent with the school’s curriculum, which according to an online catalog includes courses called “Queer Theology” and “Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies.” The blueprint also intends to “promote spiritual offerings from the world’s diverse faith traditions.”  The Rev. Daniel Horan, director of the college’s Center for Spirituality, posted the following day, in a since-deleted tweet: “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. . . . Instead of denying the existence and experience of others, perhaps you might try learning.”  Commitment to Catholic teaching on sex is what distinguishes St. Mary’s from nearly all colleges across the country. Twenty-three women’s colleges admit “at least some” transgender-identifying male students, according to Campus Pride, a national pro-transgender organization, while only three don’t. The outcry over the policy shows there’s demand for a school that’s different because it’s firm in its faith and principles. “We didn’t want St. Mary’s just to be following the crowd,” says Susan Powers, a 1981 graduate and member of the Loretto Trust effort. “Part of our attraction” is that “we find that we’re unique.” 6. 48 percent in new poll say they would support 16-week abortion ban, By Lauren Sforza, The Hill, February 22, 2024, 11:33 AM Nearly half of Americans in a new poll said they would back a national 16-week abortion ban after The New York Times reported former President Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, privately expressed support for the measure.  The Economist/YouGov new poll found 48 percent of respondents would support a national ban on abortions after 16 weeks of pregnancy, including 27 percent who strongly support that restriction. Thirty-six percent said they would oppose such a ban, while another 16 percent said they were not sure. When asked when abortion should be legal, if at all, 38 percent said the procedure should only be allowed in “special circumstances,” such as when the life of the mother is in danger. Another 8 percent said abortion should never be allowed. Twenty-nine percent said abortion should be legal with some restrictions, while 24 percent said abortion should always be legal with no restrictions. 7. Planned Parenthood asks Wisconsin Supreme Court to find 1849 abortion law unconstitutional, By Todd Richmond, Associated Press, February 22, 2024, 1:40 PM Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin asked the state Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn a 174-year-old state law that conservatives have interpreted as an abortion ban. It’s the second legal challenge to the statute since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated Roe v. Wade. The organization filed a petition asking the high court to rule the law unconstitutional without letting any lower courts rule first. And if the justices do so, Planned Parenthood will consider challenging other restrictions on abortion found throughout state law, including bans based on fetal viability and parental consent mandates, according to the organization’s chief strategy officer Michelle Velasquez. “This petition is really asking whether the Constitution protects access to abortion,” Velasquez said during a video news conference. “We’re asking the court to basically say laws related to abortion would be subject to the highest level of scrutiny.” 8. Amid funeral controversy, will Dolan watch the pitch?, By JD Flynn, The Pillar, February 22, 2024, 4:57 PM When he sat down for his satellite radio show this week, Cardinal Timothy Dolan likely knew exactly what he’d be asked about. As he talked about Lenten fish fries and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Harrison Butker, he probably knew what was coming next. But when he was eventually asked about a controversial funeral at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dolan seemed to hope he could skip the topic. “[People] are sick of hearing about it, aren’t they?” he asked his co-host. “I don’t [know], what do you do?” he continued. By most accounts, the cardinal is incorrect. Many Catholics are not sick of hearing about the Feb. 15 funeral of LGBT activist Cecilia Gentili, which was first permitted by New York’s cathedral, then defended by the archdiocese itself, and finally disavowed by the cathedral rector, who expressed outrage over the liturgy Saturday. In fact, one week after the controversial funeral made headlines in New York, both Catholics and LGBT activists are continuing to raise objections to the liturgy, and how it has been handled by the Archdiocese of New York. But while controversy continues, the man at its center seems eager to move on, with Dolan offering a few remarks, mostly to praise the cathedral staff, but seeming unwilling to engage on open questions about how the funeral came about, and about what lessons the Archdiocese of New York might learn. New York City clerics have told The Pillar they expect that Cardinal Dolan will try to skirt controversy on the issue, hoping to avoid provoking ire, even while fomenting frustration among his clerics. Cardinal Dolan is well-known to be a baseball fan. In that light, the cardinal’s approach to the funeral controversy points for some to a cardinal more willing to throw out the ceremonial first pitch than he is to swing big from the plate, even when he’s needed the most.

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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