TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 63 – Congressman Dan Lipinski & Legal Scholar Helen Alvaré On A Big Win For Catholic Schools!

On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie and TCA colleague Maureen Ferguson are joined by legal scholar Helen Alvaré with a look at two Supreme Court rulings this week including a big win for Catholic schools across the nation–plus–we hear from Congressman Dan Lipinski, serving the 3rd congressional district of Illinois, about his unwavering pro-life record & his battle with the abortion giant Planned Parenthood. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this special 4th of July episode.

1. Sacramento bishop condemns toppling of Serra statue in California capital, By Associated Press, July 6, 2020

A statue of a Spanish missionary in downtown Sacramento, California has been toppled by demonstrators.

The Sacramento Bee reports the statue of Father Junipero Serra in Capitol Park was brought down Saturday amid a protest focusing on the rights and historical struggle of indigenous people.

Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto denounced the toppling of the statue.

In a statement Sunday, Soto said “this act of vandalism does little to build the future.”

2. Military archbishop says Navy ban on off base worship ‘particularly odious to Catholics’, By Charles Collins, Crux, July 6, 2020

A prohibition on U.S. Navy personnel attending indoor religious services off base is “particularly odious to Catholics,” according the Archbishop for the Military Services.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio was responding to reports that some commands of the U.S. Navy have required service members to sign that they have received the orders on the prohibition, meaning that those who disobey will be held accountable. The orders also add that “civilian personnel, including families, are discouraged from” indoor church services, as well.

The orders were made in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Broglio said the orders are “particularly odious to Catholics, because frequently there is no longer a Catholic program on naval installations due to budgetary constraints or many installation chapels are still closed — even though many of them could well ensure appropriate social distancing.”

The archbishop said that after receiving this information, he immediately contacted the Navy Chief of Chaplains’ Office, which told him they have been unable to offer any relief from these provisions. Broglio added that his attempt to contact the Chief of Naval Operations has not even been acknowledged.

3. Staffer-signed letter: Planned Parenthood ‘steeped in white supremacy’, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, July 6, 2020, Pg. A1

Pro-lifers have long accused Planned Parenthood of racism, but the nation’s largest abortion provider may face a reckoning led by hundreds of employees and supporters who have charged the organization with being “steeped in white supremacy.”

A letter signed by more than 350 “current and former staffers” of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, as well as about 800 donors, supporters and volunteers, declared that founder Margaret Sanger was “a racist, white woman” and that the organization suffers from “institutional racism.” “We know that Planned Parenthood has a history and a present steeped in white supremacy and we, the staff, are motivated to do the difficult work needed to improve,” said the June 18 open letter from Save PPGNY.

The missive accomplished its primary goal: the ouster of Laura McQuade, who stepped down June 23 as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. But critics are watching to see whether Planned Parenthood, after decades of deflecting criticism from the prolife movement, can withstand the scrutiny of the “cancel culture” and Black Lives Matter.

4. Pope praises UN efforts for worldwide cease-fire, By Associated Press, July 5, 2020

Pope Francis is praising U.N. Security Council efforts for worldwide cease-fires to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

In remarks Sunday to the public in St. Peter’s Square, Francis hailed the Security Council’s “request for a global and immediate cease-fire, which would permit the peace and security indispensable for supplying so urgently needed humanitarian assistance.”

The pontiff called for the prompt implementation “for the good of the so many persons who are suffering.” He also expressed hope that the Security Council resolution be a “courageous first step for the future of peace.”

5. Proposed UK abortion changes could violate conscience rights, bioethics center says, By Charles Collins, Crux, July 5, 2020

Proposed amendments to a domestic abuse bill that would open up Britain to abortion on demand up to the 28th week of pregnancy would also lead to the violation of conscience rights for medical workers, the UK’s leading Catholic bioethics think tank is warning.

The UK Parliament is expected to start debating the bill on July 6, and there have been proposals to use the legislation to repeal sections 58 and 59 of the Offences Against the Persons Act and result in the introduction of abortion on demand, for any reason, until the 28th week of pregnancy.

In England and Wales, abortions are not allowed after the 24th week of pregnancy, although there are exceptions to the law.

In a statement, the Oxford-based Anscombe Bioethics Centre notes there is broad cross-party and cross-community support for the proposed Domestic Abuse Bill, but says two “invidious amendments have been proposed which would use the bill as a vehicle to expand abortion provision.”

6. Church embrace of legendary actor invites perspective on today’s fights, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, July 5, 2020, Opinion

For Americans, the big deal about yesterday is that it was July 4. (Cue the Bill Pullman speech from “Independence Day” here.) For Italians, perhaps especially Neapolitans, yesterday also was memorable for a small ceremony that took place in a cemetery in Naples.

There, at the cemetery of Holy Mary of Tears, connected to the nearby church of the same name, a small plaque was dedicated honoring Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Angelo Ducas Comneno Porfirogenito Gagliardi de Curtis di Bisanzio – Italian noble families do love their titles and surnames, don’t they? – far better known as “Totò,” Italy’s answer to Charlie Chaplin and perhaps one of the greatest comedic actors who ever lived.

Yet, as ever in Italy, there’s more to the story.

Here’s the thing: Totò is buried in a Catholic cemetery, and the new sculpture in his honor has been blessed by a Catholic priest. During his life, however, Totò had a contentious relationship with the Church, and he was often excoriated by ecclesiastical authorities as a public sinner.

The reason, as is often the case, was his marriage situation.

To sum up, we’re talking about a pop star kept at arm’s length by the Church during life, but who now is spending eternity in the Church’s embrace, accompanied by an image in his honor blessed by the Church.

Among other things, it’s a reminder of the healing power of time – which might, perhaps, invite a bit of perspective as we contemplate our oft-heated reactions to the controversies and perceived villains of today.

7. The Way Forward After June Medical, By O. Carter Snead, First Things, July 4, 2020, Opinion

My high school wrestling coach (of blessed memory) had one response whenever wrestlers would complain about injuries, bad calls from referees, or even cheating opponents: “None of it matters. Find a way to win.”

This is good advice for those of us—lawyers, politicians, doctors, concerned citizens—who have devoted our lives to building a legal and cultural landscape in which the intrinsic dignity of every human being, born and unborn, is respected and protected. Yes, the Court’s decision in June Medical Services v. Russo, which struck down a Louisiana law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, was a crushing disappointment.

But now is not the moment to dwell on anger or disappointment. … Quitting is not an option. So, the question before us is this: What in the Chief Justice’s concurrence (which controls as precedent for the lower courts) points a way forward for the legal effort to build a culture of life? A careful reading of his concurrence reveals several points to consider.

First, Roberts acknowledges that Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016), which struck down Texas’s admitting privileges requirement (and clinic regulations), was wrongly decided.

Second, in his concurrence, Roberts rejects the open-ended rule announced by Justice Breyer in Hellerstedt (and embraced again by Justice Breyer’s opinion for the four-justice plurality here) that empowers the Court to determine the constitutionality of abortion health and safety regulations by simply balancing, without deference to the political branches, the challenged law’s “benefits” versus its “burdens.”

In this way, Roberts nullifies the rule announced in Hellerstedt and replaces it with what he takes to be the correct legal framework prescribed by Casey, which begins with an easy-to-meet threshold question for the state: namely, whether it is pursuing a legitimate purpose via rational means.

Most important, June is a roadmap for tailoring arguments to the new swing vote on abortion, Chief Justice Roberts. It is certainly tempting to give up because there is still so far to go. But in the face of setbacks in the struggle for the equal protection of the law for every member of the human family, born and unborn, we must remind ourselves that none of it matters. We must find a way to win.

O. Carter Snead is the Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture, Professor of Law, and Concurrent Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame.

8. Texas’ Bishop Flores criticizes Planned Parenthood for anti-Mexican ethnic slur, By Catholic News Agency, July 4, 2020, 3:58 PM

The Bishop of Brownsville, Texas has criticized Planned Parenthood and pro-choice political organizations in the state for use of anti-Mexican ethnic slur in its campaign against the reelection of pro-life state Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

“While not surprised that Planned Parenthood would attack State Senator Eddie Lucio’s pro-life record, I am deeply discouraged that Texas Freedom Network and others would join in this malicious kind of attack, using such derogatory language to disparage him and his family,” Bishop Daniel Flores said in a July 3 statement.

The statement came after the Planned Parenthood Texas Votes PAC and the Texas Freedom Network reportedly used the term “Sucio Lucio” to describe the state senator in a direct mailing campaign.

9. Vatican’s new financial regulator vows transparency, By Philip Pullella and Stefano Bernabei, Reuters, July 3, 2020, 6:27 AM

The Vatican’s new financial regulator says he is confident that the days when the Holy See would “wash dirty laundry” in private are over and that Pope Francis’ recent spending rules are a sea change in transparency.

In an interview with Reuters, Carmelo Barbagallo, the head of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF), cited two recent scandals that were revealed by the Vatican and not by the media.

10. Vatican watchdog sees record cooperation levels despite raid, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 3, 2020, 7:54 AM

The Vatican’s financial watchdog agency has reported record levels of internal cooperation despite being thrown into turmoil in October when Vatican police raided its offices as part of an investigation into a 350 million-euro (nearly $400 million) London real estate deal.

The Financial Information Authority, created in 2010 to help the Vatican shed its reputation as an offshore tax haven, issued its annual report Friday. It said it received 64 suspicious activity reports last year and forwarded 15 of the cases to Vatican prosecutors for further investigation.

The agency, known by its Italian acronym AIF, reported receiving internal requests for information concerning 423 subjects, a record high number that indicated greater cooperation within the Holy See in efforts to stamp out money-laundering and other financial crimes, the report said.

11. Court rules against abortion protesters: Justices also vacate wins for advocates challenging restrictions, By Robert Barnes, The Washington Post, July 3, 2020, Pg. A2

The Supreme Court on Thursday left in place laws in Chicago and Pennsylvania that restrict abortion protesters who gather near the entrances of clinics and other medical facilities.

Justice Clarence Thomas would have granted the challenge to Chicago’s ordinance, but no other justice indicated agreement.

At the same time, the court vacated wins for abortion rights advocates challenging two Indiana abortion restrictions. It sent the cases back for reconsideration in light of the reasoning the Supreme Court used in striking down Louisiana’s restrictions on abortion clinic doctors.

It is not unusual for the Supreme Court to send back some cases for reconsideration when it has recently decided a related case. But abortion rights advocates worry that Roberts’s concurring opinion in the Louisiana case might make it more difficult to prevail in some cases.

12. Vatican appeals for debt relief for developing countries at United Nations, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, July 3, 2020, 9:30 AM

The Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva is urging countries to help relieve the “crippling external debt burdens” of developing countries struggling in the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is no doubt that the current COVID-19 crisis will more severely affect the lives and livelihoods of those in the developing world,” Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič told the UN trade and development board July 2.

“The immediate challenge is to ensure that policymakers have the room and resources to respond to the health shock and to mitigate the accompanying economic damage. Whether and how this happens will have direct consequences for creating a fairer, more inclusive and resilient recovery,” the archbishop said.

The Vatican diplomat noted that one avenue that could soften the pandemic’s “potentially devastating impact” would be by “tackling the crippling external debt burdens accumulated, at both public and private levels, in developing countries over recent years.”

13. Democrats dodge abortion fight with plan to keep Hyde Amendment, By Sarah Ferris & Heather Caygle, Politico, July 2, 2020, 5:59 PM

House Democrats will keep a decades-old ban on government funding for abortion in spending bills this year, dodging an election-year clash with Republicans and disappointing liberal lawmakers and activists.

Senior Democrats had been considering scrapping the so-called Hyde amendment, which has restricted federal funding for most abortion services since 1976, amid a hard push from the party’s left flank.

But Democratic leaders ultimately decided to keep the language to avoid a brutal fight they were unlikely to win with a GOP-led Senate, according to multiple aides and lawmakers.

Repealing the language also risked flaring tensions within the Democratic caucus, with vulnerable moderates anxious about an abortion battle on the House floor just months before voters go to the polls.

14. Founder of German Schoenstatt Movement accused of abuses, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 2, 2020, 3:21 PM

Another founder of a 20th century lay Catholic movement has been accused of abusing his power, including sexually and spiritually, with nuns in his care.

A German researcher says she found evidence in newly released Vatican archives that the Holy See investigated the Rev. Josef Kentenich during the 1950s and because of his abuses ordered the German priest exiled from the Schoenstatt Movement.

Church historian Alexandra Von Teuffenbach said she wanted to reveal the truth about Kentenich and “demolish the many proposed reconstructions of alternative truths” since the process to get him beatified is making its way to the Vatican after more than 45 years.

15. Iowa governor signs abortion law amid court challenge, By David Pitt, Associated Press, July 2, 2020, 5:54 PM

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday signed into law a bill that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion, trying again to institute a restriction similar to one struck down two years ago by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Reynolds signed the measure into law just after lawyers representing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the state wrapped up arguments before a state court judge. The court must now decide whether to halt immediately enforcement of the new law, which is set to take effect Wednesday.

16. The Bigotry of Blaine No More, By Jeanne Allen, National Catholic Register, July 2, 2020, Opinion

Prayers of thanks, huzzahs and hoorays are being heard across the country since the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court June 30 that it is unconstitutional to discriminate against parents simply because they choose to send their children to a religious school. Wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the 5-4 majority opinion in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, “Drawing on ‘enduring American tradition,’ we have long recognized the rights of parents to direct ‘the religious upbringing’ of their children.”

The decision sent shock waves through the traditional education establishment, which has long maintained that funding should only flow to public schools, regardless of quality or fit to a child, or parental prerogative.

The data is worth reviewing again. Both math and reading assessments have revealed that student achievement has either been flat or dropping for most U.S. students. Between 2017 and 2019, there was no significant change from the prior 2017 assessment in math and marked decreases in reading. Reading scores were lower in more than half of the states at grade 8 since 2017.

According to the associate commissioner of the National Center on Education Statistics, which administers the Nation’s “Report Card,” “… students are struggling to understand and explain the importance of civic participation, how American government functions, the historical significance of events and the need to grasp and apply core geographic concepts.”

So DeRoche, like millions of parents and policymakers, challenges the concept of “education by zip code” — as he should — and believes that “every American parent should be making an active choice about where their children will be educated.”

With the Blaine cloud of bigotry being lifted by the Supreme Court, that pathway is now open.

Jeanne Allen is the founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform in Washington, D.C.

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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