1. Justices Rule LGBT Workers Are Protected, By Jess Bravin and Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2020, Pg. A1

The Supreme Court ruled that bedrock federal civil-rights law prohibits employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a decision that for the first time extends federal workplace protections to LGBT employees nationwide.

The high court, in a landmark 6-3 decision, said the broad language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws workplace discrimination on the basis of sex, should be read to cover sexual orientation as well. Conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts in addition to the four more liberal members of the court, Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law,” the opinion said.


2. Another Win for the Kagan Court: She wins over Gorsuch and Roberts to rewrite the Civil Rights Act., By The Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2020, Pg. A16, Editorial

Congratulations to Chief Justice Elena Kagan on her big win Monday at the Supreme Court on gay and transgender rights in Bostock v. Clayton County. Ok, she isn’t the Chief, but she might as well be as her redefining of Antonin Scalia’s jurisprudence prevailed in a startling 6-3 ruling that included Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Justice Kagan didn’t write the majority opinion, but her views are all over Justice Gorsuch’s opinion that essentially rewrites Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

This judicial law-writing may also have damaging practical consequences. More than 100 federal laws prohibit sex discrimination, and plaintiffs will now use them as a cudgel to let transgender females compete in women’s sports, provide gender neutral restrooms, and force religious institutions to bow to their cultural wishes. Congress could have protected gay rights while working out these accommodations in legislation.

Bostock is merely the latest evidence that the Roberts Court, even buttressed by two Trump nominees, is in no consistent way “conservative.” On major cases Justice Kagan swings the biggest constitutional bat.


3. Assessing impact of abortion drugs on women and the environment: Is the push for chemical abortion hurting the environment?, By Kristan Hawkins, The Washington Times, June 16, 2020, Pg. B4, Opinion

The need for safe drinking water impacts everyone, which in the United States led to the creation of governmental agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tasked with protecting both planet Earth and those who live here.

But in this time of the coronavirus crisis, the abortion industry has come out of the shadows with what will be the future of their industry for early abortion — the sale and distribution of chemical abortion pills resulting in increasing amounts of aborted infants flushed into America’s waste water systems. For those tasked with keeping our water safe, human remains are called “pathological waste,” which the EPA recommends being carefully treated by incineration or other special handling.

This raises relatively new and unaddressed issues for those pushing chemical abortion pills on a global scale.

Students for Life of America recently reached out to the FDA asking the agency to require a new environmental assessment, especially at this time in which the abortion industry along with political allies including 21 state attorneys general, the ACLU and even a former FDA commissioner are calling for a change in how chemical abortion pills, also known as RU-486, are distributed and regulated.

Before chemical abortion drugs are basically deregulated, allowing for dangerous distribution of pills known to harm women and end preborn life, officials at all levels should exercise their authority to protect the environment and the people who depend on them for clean water by examining the impact of human remains in our nation’s water systems.

Kristan Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America.


4. Gorsuch Draws Rebuke From Right Over LGBT Worker Rights Ruling, By Bloomberg Law, June 16, 2020, 5:45 AM

Justice Neil Gorsuch found himself in the unaccustomed position Monday of taking flak from the right after authoring a landmark opinion extending job discrimination protections to LGBT workers.

Gorsuch’s use of “textualism”—the interpretive approach embraced by many conservatives—to justify his 6-3 ruling garnered the strongest rebuke.

“Justice Scalia would be disappointed that his successor has bungled textualism so badly today, for the sake of appealing to college campuses and editorial boards,” said Judicial Crisis Network President Carrie Severino. Her conservative organization spent millions to support Gorsuch and his fellow Trump-nominee Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Severino was referring to the late Antonin Scalia, who was widely viewed as the father of the textualist movement.

“Justice Scalia surprised conservatives in plenty of cases,” she said.

“But at the end of the day these are justices, including Gorsuch, who are going to get it right most of the time.”


5. With Slovak cleric’s new job, big things in a small package, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 16, 2020, Opinion

Monsignor Lubomir Welnitz of Slovakia, previously an official of the Apostolic Penitentiary (which, despite its name, is a court handling matters of conscience rather than a jail), was tapped as one of eight cerimonieri, also known as “masters of pontifical ceremonies,” who work under the direction of the pope’s Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, presently Italian Monsignor Guido Marini.

The new position isn’t terribly significant in itself, though it does imply some degree of proximity to the pope – and in the royal court of the Vatican, that’s no small thing. Drilling down, however, this relatively small step illustrates a few bigger points.

Three quick thoughts about all this suggest themselves.

First, though Welnitz is not a Jesuit, through Hnilica and Korec he’s got a sort of Jesuit pedigree. Indirectly, he thus joins a growing group of the people close to the pope with Jesuit ties, from Father Antonio Spadaro at the Jesuit-edited Civilità Cattolica to Cardinal Michael Czerny on migrant and refugee issues, and from Cardinal Luis Ladaria at the Vatican’s doctrinal office to Father Juan Guerrero Alves heading the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy (and playing an increasingly central role in the next phase of the pope’s attempts at financial reform.)

Every pope over time tries to surround himself with people he can trust, and it’s probably natural that the longer Francis is in power, the more inclined he is to turn to people from his own networks.

Second, it’s striking to think about a pope turning to a cleric from Slovakia to work under an Italian, joining a team that contains five Italians, another Slovakian, and a Pole. All in, that’s nine Europeans to organize public liturgies for a pope from Argentina who leads a church with more than two-thirds of its membership hailing from outside the West.

With no disrespect at all to Welnitz, who seems abundantly qualified (if not over-qualified) for the role, it does suggest that the much-vaunted “internationalization” of the Vatican, which has been talked about since the era of Paul VI, remains a work in progress.

Third, Welnitz comes from a church where persecution and even martyrdom for the faith isn’t just a dusty artifact of history, though the first-hand witnesses of those chapters of history are slowly disappearing – Hnilica, for example, died in 2006, Korec in 2015.

In other words, there’s a generation of testimony from contemporary martyrs at risk of being lost – and if having a Slovak cleric with Jesuit connections close to the pope can help serve as a reminder of the imperative of preserving it, so much the better.


6. New leader of German bishops signals no retreat from progressive line, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, June 16, 2020

In a recent interview, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, the new president of the German bishops’ conference, signaled openness to both married priests and women’s ordination and appeared to criticize a lengthy essay by Pope Benedict XVI last year on the root causes of the clerical sexual abuse crisis.

Bätzing was elected president of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference in March, taking the place of long-time heavyweight Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who has been a key player in the Francis papacy.

Marx is known for adopting a generally progressive approach to hot-button issues, pushing for a more progressive interpretation of Francis’s 2016 exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia, advocating for intercommunion in mixed marriages when one spouse is Catholic and one is not, and calling for greater openness to LGBT relationships.

He has also stirred the waters on the issue of clerical celibacy, which he said could have an impact on the Catholic Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis. In his homily for New Year’s Eve Mass in 2018, Marx ruffled feathers by saying that 2019 would be a year of “unrest and opposition” in the German Church with pressure for forward movement on multiple fronts, and that, “new thinking is required.”

Marx’s decision not to seek reelection as head of the German bishops came as a surprise to many, leaving some to question whether he had perhaps been politely asked to take a back seat due to the controversy he consistently stirred up.

However, if Bätzing’s latest interview is any indication, his tenure may not be any less provocative.


7. Supreme Court: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Covered Under Discrimination Law, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, June 15, 2020

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that employers cannot fire workers because of their sexual orientation or self-determined gender identity, while dissenting justices opined the Court was legislating from the bench.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion for the Court in a 6-3 decision, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh all dissented from the majority opinion.

The decision considered a trio of discrimination cases before the Court, two of which involved employees who said they were fired because of their sexual orientation in Bostock v. Clayton County and Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda.


8. USCCB: Supreme Court has ‘redefined’ the meaning of ‘sex’, By Catholic News Agency, June 15, 2020

The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference on Monday lamented the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in a case that considered whether federal civil rights law considers sexual identity and gender identity to be covered by laws prohibiting employment discrimination based upon sex.

“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law. This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life,” Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a June 15 statement.

The Supreme Court ruled June 15 that employers cannot fire workers because of their sexual orientation or self-determined gender identity, even while dissenting justices opined the Court was legislating from the bench.


9. Vatican frees broker as details emerge of costly London deal, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 15, 2020, 4:11 PM

The Vatican has released from detention an Italian businessman accused of extortion and fraud in a London real estate venture that to date has cost the Vatican more than 350 million euros (nearly $400 million), much of it donations from the faithful.

The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Gianluigi Torzi, who was jailed in the barracks of the Vatican gendarmes on June 6, was granted provisional release after he wrote a lengthy memorandum for prosecutors about his role in the deal.

Via his lawyers, Torzi has denied fleecing the Holy See and said the Vatican investigation is the fruit of a “gross misunderstanding.”


10. Argentine bishop resumes work as Vatican abuse probe wraps, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 15, 2020, Pg. 10:55 AM

An Argentine bishop close to Pope Francis has gone back to work at the Holy See’s financial administration office while under investigation in his native Argentina and at the Vatican for alleged sexual abuse.

The Vatican spokesman, Matteo Bruni, confirmed Bishop Gustavo Zanchetta had resumed work at the APSA patrimony office but said it in no way interferes with the investigations. He said Zanchetta remains at the disposition of Argentine judicial authorities.


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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