TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 113 – Brian Burch On Eucharistic Coherence & Katy Faust On Reclaiming The Rights Of Children!
As the Supreme Court sided with a Catholic adoption agency this week, Dr. Grazie Christie talks to Katy Faust about her book, Them Before Us: Why We Need a Global Children’s Rights Movement, discussing how adult desires have shifted the focus from what is most important–our children and their emotional well-being and safety. As the USCCB is meeting this week for their Spring meeting discussing Eucharistic coherence, we also chat with Brian Burch of Catholic Vote about a new poll commissioned exploring what Mass-going Catholics believe on the issue. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily. especially for dads, this Father’s Day weekend! Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio!
1. One Cheer for the Roberts Court, By The Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2021, Pg. A16, Editorial
The Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on Thursday that Philadelphia can’t tell a Catholic foster-care agency to violate its faith as a condition of its city contract—a victory for religious liberty. Yet as Justice Samuel Alito writes in a 77-page cri de coeur concurrence, the faithful are owed more under the First Amendment.
The facts in Fulton v. Philadelphia show who is the cultural and legal aggressor. The Catholic Church has been caring for Philadelphia’s orphans since at least 1798, long before foster care was a government service. Catholic Social Services (CSS) has operated under a city contract for 50 years. No gay couple has ever asked CSS for certification as a foster family. Twenty-seven other groups meet that need.

The good news is that no Justice took Philadelphia’s side. But it’s hard not to read the Court’s narrow opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, as another example of his mode of seeking consensus by watering down principle. He wants to win over liberal Justices and he is reluctant to take the heat from overturning even dubious precedents. But the cost is less protection for religious belief that is increasingly under siege by the state.

Justice Alito’s concurring opinion, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, is a tour de force of originalist interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause.

The Chief Justice’s opinion is disappointing, though by now not surprising. More notable is that he was joined by the two newest conservatives, Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh. Had they joined Justice Alito, the Court would have had a 5-4 majority for a stronger statement protecting religion.
Justice Barrett also writes a concurrence, joined by Justice Kavanaugh, that was skeptical of Smith, while questioning what would replace it. The answer, in the concurrences of Justices Alito and Neil Gorsuch, is that the Court’s pre-Smith precedents were more than adequate. “The Court has emitted a wisp of a decision that leaves religious liberty in a confused and vulnerable state,” writes Justice Alito.
He’s right. The Little Sisters of the Poor, who object to ObamaCare’s contraception rule, have been to the Supreme Court twice, and President Biden has pledged to keep harassing the nuns. Unlike the liberals of 30 or even 10 years ago, today’s secular progressives are openly hostile to religious liberty, which needs a Supreme Court willing to defend it.
2. Catholic group wins battle over foster care, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, June 18, 2021, Pg. A1
A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the city of Philadelphia violated Catholic Social Services’ First Amendment rights by forcing the agency to place children with same-sex couples despite the organization’s religious beliefs.

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, said Catholic charities have been placing children into homes for centuries without discriminating.
“Those agencies have become the latest victim of woke culture as activists seek to push them out of the adoption and foster care space because of their religious values. Those efforts are rooted in an anti-Catholic bigotry that refuses to tolerate pluralistic views and beliefs,” Ms. McGuire said. “Thankfully, the Supreme Court has put an end to efforts to close down and cancel the faith-based agencies whose work on behalf of marginalized children is invaluable.”
3. Biden’s silence on executions adds to death penalty disarray, By Michael Tarm, Associated Press, June 18, 2021
Activists widely expected Joe Biden to take swift action against the death penalty as the first sitting president to oppose capital punishment, especially since an unprecedented spate of executions by his predecessor ended just days before Biden took office.
Instead, the White House has been mostly silent.
Biden hasn’t said whether he’d back a bill introduced by fellow Democrats to strike the death penalty from U.S. statutes. He also hasn’t rescinded Trump-era protocols enabling federal executions to resume and allowing prisons to use firing squads if necessary, something many thought he’d do on day one.
4. Supreme Court sides unanimously with Catholic Social Services in religious freedom case, By Kate Scanlon, Catholic News Agency, June 17, 2021, 9:17 AM
The Supreme Court on Thursday decided unanimously in favor of Catholic Social Services in its lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia, ruling that the city violated the group’s free exercise of religion.

“Today’s decision prohibits government sanctioned discrimination against religious adoption and foster care agencies because of their beliefs about marriage,” stated Ashley McGuire, senior fellow with The Catholic Association. “Those efforts are rooted in an anti-Catholic bigotry that refuses to tolerate pluralistic views and beliefs.”
“For more than two centuries, Catholic agencies have successfully placed the most at-risk kids in loving, forever homes. Today, the Supreme Court rightly affirmed that the Constitution guarantees faith-based agencies freedom from government harassment and discrimination because of their religious beliefs about marriage,” stated Brian Burch, president of CatholicVote.
5. A (likely vain) attempt at context for when Pope and President meet, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, June 18, 2021, Opinion
The Vatican never wants to embarrass its guests, and visiting politicians usually want nothing more than their picture with their pontiff. If you’re expecting Clash of the Titans, this just isn’t the stage.
Yet none of that seems to matter when a US President comes calling, because American media and commentators will insist on seeing such sessions as referenda on the entire relationship between a given administration and the Pope, the Vatican, the US bishops, the Catholic Church, and for matter, the Gospel.

Neither Vatican personnel nor White House and US diplomatic officials are naïfs, so they’re well aware that anything said or done during a meeting with a US president will be subject to endless examination. There are no accidents, so it’s fair to ask why a pope chose to do X, or why a president said y.
Yet both sides also have a powerful incentive for avoiding ugliness, and, almost always, if there’s a less confrontational explanation available for a given twist, it’ll turn out to be right.

So, when Pope and President do meet, it will no doubt be a great occasion to review the state of things vis-à-vis relations between the world’s leading Hard Power and its most prominent Soft Power.
Just don’t expect fireworks – and, then, brace yourself for a bumpy spin cycle for the next few days, no matter what actually happens.
6. Religious Liberty Victory! TCA Responds To Us Supreme Court’s Ruling On Catholic Adoption Agency, By The Catholic Association, June 17, 2021
Statement from Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association:
“Today’s decision prohibits government sanctioned discrimination against religious adoption and foster care agencies because of their beliefs about marriage. Catholic adoption agencies have been placing vulnerable children in loving homes for centuries without discriminating based on race, religion, sex, or disability. But those agencies have become the latest victim of woke culture as activists seek to push them out of the adoption and foster care space because of their religious values. Those efforts are rooted in an anti-Catholic bigotry that refuses to tolerate pluralistic views and beliefs. Thankfully the Supreme Court has put an end to efforts to close down and cancel the faith-based agencies whose work on behalf of marginalized children is invaluable.”
Statement from Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, MD, Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association:
“As a happy adoptive mom and a Catholic, I am heartened by the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in favor of religious freedom. Finding stable homes for children in need – and finding a good match for families that are ready to open their doors – is what Catholic Social Services do best. And, an “all hands on deck” approach is the right one when so many children are desperate for homes. In this case, all nine Justices have agreed that the city of Philadelphia violated the First Amendment when it targeted valuable religious agencies for their beliefs about marriage. The fact that Catholic Social Services can now resume their good work is a huge win for vulnerable children in Philadelphia.”
7. Pope Francis champions workers’ right to organize in unions, By Associated Press, June 17, 2021, 9:30 AM
Pope Francis is championing the right of all workers to unionize, as economic activity is poised to increase when the pandemic threat eases.
The pontiff stressed the needs of the most vulnerable workers, including migrants, in a video message Thursday to participants at a conference organized by the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency based in Geneva.
Francis said efforts to rebuild economies after COVID-19 setbacks must aim at a future with “decent and dignified working conditions,” originating in collective bargaining. He called the “right to organize in unions” one of the fundamental protections for workers.
8. Vatican hosts faith leaders ahead of Glasgow climate meeting, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, June 17, 2021, 7:43 AM
The Vatican will host a gathering of faith leaders this fall to build momentum behind a moral appeal for strong, courageous commitments to be taken at a November climate change conference in Glasgow, organizers said Thursday.
The Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, said the Oct. 4 gathering, sponsored by the British and Italian governments, is a “no-brainer” for the Holy See given Pope Francis’ frequent calls to better protect the Earth.
Gallagher said Francis would likely participate in the Vatican event, but he declined to confirm whether Francis would also travel to Glasgow to make an in-person appeal to world leaders to save the planet and those who are most vulnerable to climate change: Indigenous groups and the poor.
9. Lay advisor urges U.S. bishops to reconcile with all Catholics over clergy abuse, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, June 17, 2021, 12:32 PM
In responding to clergy sex abuse, U.S. bishops must expand their reconciliation efforts to include not only victim survivors, but all Catholics affected by the abuse crisis, the head of a lay advisory body to the U.S. bishops’ conference said on Thursday.
Suzanne Healy, chair of the National Review Board (NRB) – a lay advisory group to the U.S. bishops on protecting minors from abuse – addressed the U.S. bishops at their virtual spring meeting on Thursday.
10. Abortion is not healthcare, bishops say ahead of European Parliament vote, By Catholic News Agency, June 17, 2021, 1:00 PM
A commission of European bishops has responded to a report on abortion, due to be debated and voted on by the European Parliament next week.
The group said that it was “very concerned about a number of the representations and arguments” made in the so-called Matić Report, which seeks the recognition of a “right to abortion” and the redefinition of conscientious objection as a “denial of medical care.”
The position paper of the Secretariat of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), published June 17, said that it was “ethically untenable” to classify abortion as an “essential health service.”

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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“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.