1. The pro-life movement needs to move cautiously in purple states, By Marc A. Thiessen, The Washington Post, July 22, 2022, 7:00 AM, Opinion The New York Times is trolling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for not doing more to restrict abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. “A culture warrior goes quiet: DeSantis Dodges Questions on Abortion Plans” the headline blared. “While other Republican leaders vowed to charge ahead with new restrictions — or near-total bans,” the story said, “DeSantis offered only a vague promise to ‘work to expand pro-life protections.’” Never mind, apparently, that DeSantis signed into law a state ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy — similar to the Mississippi law the Supreme Court upheld in June. DeSantis is in a political bind, the story suggests, because “some on the right now see a 15-week ban as insufficient,” but restricting abortion further could risk his reelection campaign and presidential aspirations.  If Republicans in Florida successfully defend their 15-week ban, and people see that the world has not ended, then over time a majority might support further restrictions. But if Republicans push too far, too fast, their efforts could backfire. It is very easy to change state representatives. Pushing for restrictions beyond what the public supports could lead to the election of politicians who want to expand, not restrict, abortion. Winning hearts and minds also requires increasing support for mothers and children after birth. DeSantis understands this.  If Americans see the pro-life movement building a culture of life, one that supports women and children after birth, they will be more likely to support efforts by swing-state leaders such as DeSantis to expand protections for unborn life as well. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/07/22/pro-life-movement-broader-agenda-than-restricting-abortion/ __________________________________________________________2. Abortion and the Grumbling Crowd, By James Martin, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2022, Pg. A13, Opinion Should a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights receive communion? American bishops have been split on the question at least since Sen. John Kerry, a Catholic who strongly supported “the right to choice,” ran for president in 2004. The furor died down after Mr. Kerry lost, but the debate returned when President Biden became the first Catholic to occupy the Oval Office since Roe v. Wade in 1973.  The best solution may be to observe Jesus in the Gospels. He called people away from sin and to a metanoia—a word usually translated as “repentance” but better understood as a thoroughgoing change of mind and heart rather than solely a desire to repent. Yet during his public ministry, Jesus also regularly dined with “tax collectors and sinners,” much to the consternation of not only the crowds but his disciples. In the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus invites himself to dine at the house of Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector in Jericho, “all who saw it began to grumble” (Luke 19:7). The crowd disapproved of Jesus’ breaking bread with Zacchaeus, who probably would have been seen as the “chief sinner” in the town thanks to his collusion with the Romans. When I asked the late New Testament scholar Father Daniel J. Harrington about this passage, he pointed to the Greek word panta, which means “all.” He says the grumblers “would have included the disciples.” Even Jesus’ closest advisers were against breaking bread with sinners. He wasn’t. It’s no surprise that the controversy, and the grumbling, continues. Father Martin, a Jesuit priest, is editor at large of America Media and author of “Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/abortion-and-the-grumbling-crowd-biden-pope-francis-communion-eucharist-cordileone-jesus-catholic-church-11658415080?__________________________________________________________ 3. A less compact Europe on Ukraine could spell new pressure on the Pope, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 22, 2022, Opinion It’s just possible that what Russian President Vladimir Putin so far has failed to obtain on the battlefield in Ukraine, he may get by default as a result of Europe’s fractured and, arguably, dysfunctional political system. To date, Putin’s advances into Ukraine have been limited, in part as a result of a surprisingly resolute Europe pushing through an aggressive sanctions package and rushing to arm Ukraine to defend itself. Now, however, that determination may be on the verge of weakening. If that’s indeed how things unfold, it will be fascinating to see how the Vatican under Pope Francis reacts – whether it tacitly accepts the unraveling, or if it feels compelled to push back.  Up to this point, Francis has tried to maintain a delicate balance, making clear his sympathy for the victims of violence in Ukraine while not burning his bridges with either Putin or the Russian Orthodox Church. He’s made it clear, for instance, that his preference would be to travel to Moscow before he goes to Kyiv, in a clear effort to suggest openness to both sides. While Francis has faced some moral criticism both within and outside the Catholic fold for his nuanced line on Ukraine, there’s been relatively little political pressure to change course since the US and Europe seemed in lockstep, and therefore the pope’s position, while important, didn’t appear all that consequential. However, if the European calculus changes, it’s possible the pressure on Francis and the Vatican will escalate, perhaps especially from Ukraine’s Greek Catholic minority. Of course, things could work the other way as well. If new European governments are looking for a face-saving exit strategy from the conflict, perhaps the pope’s efforts at even-handedness and dialogue will be even more affirmed in Europe’s capitals. In any event, a less coherent Europe almost certainly means a greater spotlight on the Vatican’s own position on Ukraine – and should predictions of a papal outing to Kyiv in August prove accurate, Francis suddenly will have a mammoth global platform to demonstrate how he plans to respond. https://cruxnow.com/news-analysis/2022/07/a-less-compact-europe-on-ukraine-could-spell-new-pressure-on-the-pope__________________________________________________________ 4. Religious Doctrine, Not the Constitution, Drove the Dobbs Decision, By Linda Greenhouse, The New York Times, July 22, 2022, 5:00 AM, Opinion Does anyone really think it was motivated by disapproval of the court’s reliance in Roe v. Wade on substantive due process, an interpretation of the 14th Amendment that accords meaning to the word “liberty” in the Due Process Clause? Is there anyone who believes that if only the Constitution had included the word “abortion,” the anti-abortion movement would have failed to gain political traction? (Although the Dobbs majority treated the absence of the A-word in the Constitution as nearly fatal to Roe all by itself, it is worth observing that the Constitution’s 7,600 words, including its 27 amendments, contain neither the word “fetus” nor “unborn.”) No one really buys the argument that what was “egregiously wrong” with Roe v. Wade, to quote the Dobbs majority, was the court’s failure to check the right analytic boxes. It was not constitutional analysis but religious doctrine that drove the opposition to Roe. And it was the court’s unacknowledged embrace of religious doctrine that has turned American women into desperate refugees fleeing their home states in pursuit of reproductive health care that less than a month ago was theirs by right.  Justice Alito took pains to present the majority’s conclusion as the product of pure legal reasoning engaged in by judges standing majestically above the fray of Americans’ “sharply conflicting views” on the “profound moral issue” of abortion, as he put it in the opinion’s first paragraph. And yet that very framing, the assumption that the moral gravity of abortion is singular and self-evident, gives away more than members of the majority, all five of whom were raised in the Catholic church, may have intended.  There is another norm, too, one that has for too long restrained the rest of us from calling out the pervasive role that religion is playing on today’s Supreme Court. In recognition that it is now well past time to challenge that norm, I’ll take my own modest step and relabel Dobbs for the religion case that it is, since nothing else explains it. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/22/opinion/abortion-religion-supreme-court.html__________________________________________________________ 5. Vatican puts brakes on German church reform proposals, By Associated Press, July 21, 2022, 9:47 AM The Vatican put the brakes on the German Catholic Church’s reform path Thursday, warning against any effort to impose new moral or doctrinal norms on the faithful on such hot-button issues as homosexuality, married priests and women’s roles in the church. The Holy See issued a statement warning that any attempts at imposing new doctrines “would represent a wound to the ecclesial union and a threat to the unity of the church.” The statement marked the second time the Holy See has weighed in publicly to rein in progressives in Germany who initiated a reform process with lay Catholics as a response to the clergy sexual abuse scandals. Francis wrote a letter to the German church in 2019, offering support for the process, but warning church leaders against falling into the temptation of change for the sake of adaptation to particular groups or ideas. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/vatican-puts-brakes-on-german-church-reform-proposals/2022/07/21/a3fdc0d2-08fb-11ed-80b6-43f2bfcc6662_story.html__________________________________________________________ 6. Vatican cardinal backs fossil fuel nonproliferation treaty, By Associated Press, July 21, 2022, 8:50 AM A top Vatican cardinal endorsed calls for a fossil fuels nonproliferation treaty and said Thursday that all new exploration and production of oil must be phased out to prevent global temperatures from rising to a “precipice.” Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Canadian Jesuit who runs the Vatican’s ecology and development office, made the comments while presenting Pope Francis’ annual message about caring for God’s creation. In the message, Francis repeated his call for an end to industrial extraction practices used in mining, tapping oil and forestry, saying they are destroying forests, polluting rivers and poisoning food sources. Czerny went further, throwing his support behind a grassroots initiative for a treaty to phase out fossil fuels, support economies and workers to diversify away from them, and to improve access to renewable energy sources. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/vatican-cardinal-backs-fossil-fuel-nonproliferation-treaty/2022/07/21/b33d3f12-08f3-11ed-80b6-43f2bfcc6662_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. House OKs bill to protect contraception from Supreme Court, By Associated Press, July 21, 2022, 1:53 PM The right to use contraceptives would be enshrined in law under a measure that Democrats pushed through the House on Thursday, their latest campaign-season response to concerns a conservative Supreme Court that already erased federal abortion rights could go further. The House’s 228-195 roll call was largely along party lines and sent the measure to the Senate, where it seemed doomed. The bill is the latest example of Democrats latching onto their own version of culture war battles to appeal to female, progressive and minority voters by casting the court and Republicans as extremists intent on obliterating rights taken for granted for years. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-dems-move-to-protect-contraception-from-supreme-court/2022/07/21/35a78ce0-08aa-11ed-80b6-43f2bfcc6662_story.html__________________________________________________________ 8. N. Carolina AG won’t seek to renew 20-week abortion ban, By Hannah Schoenbaum, Associated Press, July 21, 2022 North Carolina’s Democratic attorney general declined Thursday to meet Republican legislative leaders’ demand that he ask a federal court to lift an injunction on a state law banning nearly all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Republican leaders had asked Attorney General Josh Stein, the state’s top lawyer, to return to court to reinstate the restriction – which has been unenforceable since 2019 – after the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning nationwide abortion protections removed the legal underpinning for the injunction. “The Department of Justice will not take action that would restrict women’s ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions,” Stein said. “Protecting that ability is more important than ever, as states across the nation are banning abortions in all instances, including rape and incest.” https://apnews.com/article/abortion-health-north-carolina-phil-berger-government-and-politics-aeef8f273aa782f9d8f1dc251fb3db69__________________________________________________________

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.