1. Catholic bishop: bill changes would leave UK with ‘most extreme abortion legislation in Europe’, By Catholic News Agency, July 2, 2020, 4:00 AM

An English bishop has urged Catholics to resist a new push to strip away protections for unborn children that would “leave the U.K. with the most extreme abortion legislation in Europe.”

Bishop John Sherrington issued the appeal July 1 as Members of Parliament sought to table amendments to a domestic abuse bill that he said would introduce “abortion on demand, for any reason, up until when a child is capable of being born alive.”

A group of MPs will seek to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, which prohibit the administration of drugs or the use of instruments to cause a miscarriage.

Sherrington said: “This is being presented as decriminalizing abortion but it would, if carried, do far more than that. It would result in the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, up until when a child is capable of being born alive, with a ceiling of 28 weeks.”


2. ‘Espinoza v. Montana’ Is a Victory for Religious Freedom, By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, July 1, 2020, Opinion

Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue vindicates the free exercise of religion — all religions — but has special meaning for America’s Catholics.

At long last, the Supreme Court erased the vestiges of century-old anti-Catholic bigotry in the United States. The 5-4 decision made clear that the U.S. Constitution required Montana’s modest tuition-assistance program to be available for use at all private schools, including religious ones. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said that excluding a school from a private-school funding program because of its religious character was simply unconstitutional: “A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”

The decision couldn’t come at a better time. Despite their historic and current contributions to the well-being of America’s children, Catholic schools across the country are struggling to keep their doors open. Espinoza’s order to dismantle Montana’s Blaine Amendment allows states to respond to the danger of Catholic school closures. Today, nearly 1.8 million students attend Catholic schools, many in the inner cities or rural areas where public schools are failing. Racially and socioeconomically diverse, these schools disproportionately benefit low-income and middle-class children. Minority students make up approximately 20% of the Catholic school population. That is important not because these Catholic schools strive to fill racial quotas, but because these schools strive to live out their call to be places “of inculturation, of apprenticeship in a lively dialogue between young people of different religions and social backgrounds.”

In terms of academics, studies show that Catholic schools go a long way toward eliminating the achievement gap for low-income and minority children. They rank much higher in results — a 99% graduation rate, with 86% of their graduates going on to college — than their public school counterparts.

Catholics can take some comfort that, as the high court wraps up its 2019-2020 term, it wiped away a remnant of anti-Catholicism. But Espinoza is about more than righting the ugly past. It’s about our present and future. Tuesday’s ruling is a monumental victory for religious freedom for all Americans as well for our nation’s kids and Catholic schools.

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is a legal analyst for the Judicial Education Project


3. What the SCOTUS decision on anti-trafficking rules means for pro-life policies, By Catholic News Agency, July 1, 2020, 9:00 AM

The Supreme Court is deciding major life and religious freedom cases this term, but one less-recognized ruling could impact billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid.  

In USAID v. Alliance for Open Society International, the court ruled on Monday in a 5-3 decision that foreign entities of international humanitarian organizations do not have free speech rights.

As a result, U.S. foreign aid to these groups can be conditioned on them taking certain stances, including anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking positions. Other requirements — such as that foreign non-governmental organizations (NGO) not promote abortion — can also be levied, the court found.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) inserted an amendment to the law that created PEPFAR. As a condition for receiving U.S. assistance to fight AIDS and other diseases, organizations would have to take anti-human trafficking and anti-prostitution pledges.

In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that the anti-prostitution requirement was an unconstitutional violation of free speech when applied to domestic organizations. However, on Monday, the issue before the Court was whether those same protections extended to foreign affiliates of domestic organizations, with potential knock-on effects for life issues.


4. ‘Soft despotism’ of anti-Catholicism on the rise, USCCB religious liberty chair warns, By Catholic News Agency, July 1, 2020, 12:10 PM

The new leader of the U.S. Catholic bishops on religious liberty has warned of a “soft despotism” of religious intolerance in the U.S.  Archbishop Thomas Wenski told CNA that “new Jacobins” are driving Catholics from the public square for their beliefs. 

“We’re not second-class citizens because we are people of faith,” said Wenski, Archbishop of Miami and head of the U.S. bishops’ religious freedom committee, in an interview with CNA on Tuesday.

The archbishop said a new wave of religious intolerance is forcing believers and belief out of public life.

Wenski pointed to laws forbidding public funding of religious schools—overruled by the Supreme Court this week—but also in the HHS contraceptive mandate case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and 21 year-old Jack Denton, who was removed from his student government position at Florida State University for defending Church teaching.


5. Mississippi bans abortion based on race, sex, genetic issues, By Emily Wagster Pettus, Associated Press, July 1, 2020, 9:26 PM

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a law Wednesday that bans abortion based on the race, sex or genetic anomalies of a fetus, adding new limits in a state that already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the U.S.

Supporters say the new law would prevent abortion for Down syndrome or other conditions.


6. New Florida law requiring parental consent for abortion limits harm, Catholic bishops say, By Catholic News Agency, July 1, 2020, 1:37 PM

After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law requiring parental consent for a minor’s abortion, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the effort for reducing the “grave harm” of abortion.

“This common-sense measure simply holds abortion to the same consent requirements as most every other medical decision involving a child, including simple interventions such as taking an aspirin or getting ears pierced,” the bishops said June 30.

“As Catholics, we condemn abortion as a grave injustice that denies the fundamental human right to life. However, as long as abortion is legal, we support measures such as parental consent that will reduce the grave harm it inflicts.”


7. German diocese says the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, elder brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, has died at 96, By Associated Press, July 1, 2020, 7:40 AM

German diocese says the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, elder brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, has died at 96.


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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