TCA Radio Podcast – “Conversations with Consequences”.

Episode 10: The eugenics of abortion, with Gloria Purvis and Carter Snead

Is abortion good for minority women and minority communities? Is it possible to be a woman of color and be pro-life? “Big Abortion” is patently racist, from its inception by the infamous eugenicist Margaret Sanger to today, with most Planned Parenthood clinics located in minority neighborhoods. Today’s guests Gloria Purvis and Notre Dame Professor Carter Snead, along with the Catholic Association’s Grazie Christie and Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, discuss the eugenic history and present of abortion. We also discuss: Does abortion make our society less respectful of the disabled? We examine a well-written opinion of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in a recent case involving selective abortion, Box v. Planned Parenthood, where he laid out the long and sordid history of Planned Parenthood and its decades-long attack on children of color.

1. Pope offers Chinese clergy way to register with civil agency.

The Associated Press, June 28, 2019, 6:51 AM

The Vatican is telling Catholic priests and bishops in China they can register as required by authorities while professing loyalty to Pope Francis.

The Holy See on Friday issued guidelines about a new Chinese requirement demanding clergy sign a document pledging acceptance of the principle of independence of the Chinese church from the Vatican.

China’s estimated 12 million Catholics are split between those belonging to the official church and an underground church loyal to the pope.

2. Religious Suppression North of the Border.

By Avi Schick, The Wall Street Journal, June 28, 2019, Pg. A15, Houses of Worship

If religiously observant employees are given the chance, eventually people will focus on the job they are doing and not the clothing they are wearing while doing it. The best way to ensure respect for different faiths and cultures is to make them well-represented in all workplaces. That means not excluding them from the workforce or forcing them to hide their identities.

The Quebec law comes at the end of a decade that has seen increasing demands across North America for religious freedom to give way when it conflicts with other rights. The new law goes a step further by demanding that religious liberty be sacrificed simply to avoid offending skeptical secularists.

Those who understand how society is enriched by the full participation of religious adherents in public life must fight back. The law already has been challenged in court, but this is fundamentally a cultural battle that requires broader resistance.

There is a long history of American leaders standing up for religious freedom across the world. Now the abuse is occurring close to home. Some two dozen candidates are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Imagine if one of them had the courage to speak up in defense of the faithful across the border.

Mr. Schick, a partner at Troutman Sanders, was a deputy attorney general in New York state (1999-2006).

3. ‘Bling Bishop’ a classic case of Vatican’s ‘Ironic Employment Division’.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, June 28, 2019

I thought of that episode this week, speaking to a visiting clergyman who was astonished to discover that German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van-Elst – better known to the world as the “Bling Bishop,” whose exuberant spending in the Diocese of Limburg in 2013 caused such a furor that he was granted a “sabbatical” by the newly-elected Pope Francis – is actually now a Vatican official.

Originally, the Vatican said the Bling Bishop was being granted a temporary sabbatical outside the diocese. That “temporary” measure became permanent in March 2014, at a time when the Vatican was trying to negotiate an agreement under which Tebartz-van Elst would not be sued by the Limburg diocese in an effort to recoup its losses over the construction projects.

The question then became what to do with him since Tebartz-van-Elst was only 54 at the time of his exile, a full two decades short of the usual retirement age for Catholic bishops of 75.

In the end, Tebartz-van-Elst was brought to Rome and given a new gig as a “delegate for catechesis” in the Council for New Evangelization. Although his appointment is a matter of public record – it’s even on his Wikipedia page – the Vatican understandably made no effort to broadcast it, leaving even seasoned clergy a bit surprised to see him today taking charge of Roman meetings.

Despite that, Francis confirmed Battista Ricca in a sensitive post at an institution which, at the time, was also trying to shake off a well-earned reputation for scandal.

Of course, Francis presumably knows more about these situations than any of the rest of us, and he may well have perfectly valid reasons for appointing or confirming such officials to the posts they currently hold.

4. Australian archbishop: Abuse crisis has created gulfs, but also pulled Church together.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, June 28, 2019

Archbishop Anthony Fisher and around 40 Australian bishops have spent the week in meetings with Pope Francis and the heads of different Vatican offices for what’s known as the ad limina visit.

The pilgrimage to the Eternal City comes at a very difficult time for the Australian Church, as the country awaits a ruling in Cardinal George Pell’s appeal of his December 2018 conviction on charges of “historic sexual offenses.”

This is the third time Fisher has been to Rome for this episcopal pilgrimage, having participated in one with each of the last three popes. This means he’s in a unique position to gage their usefulness, and he says this year’s has improved over previous experiences.

Yet, at the end of the day, “by far the best thing for us was the actual meeting with the pope,” Fisher told Crux on Thursday.

“Things are hard in the Church in Australia at this moment, but [the meeting with the pope] gave us certain encouragement,” the archbishop said. “I left thinking: Peter was told to be a rock for our faith, for the Church, and to confirm, encourage the brethren, and he really did that for us.”

5. Evangelizing the Amazon and the Gift of Priestly Celibacy.

By Fr. Roger Landry, The Anchor, June 28, 2019
Fr. Roger J. Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts and the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

Today is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and, since 2002, the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. It’s a day on which, pondering the divine and human love flowing through Jesus’ heart, we ask him to make his priests’ hearts like unto his, with ardent, pure, spousal and shepherdly love. It’s a day on which we pray to the Harvest Master not merely for more priestly laborers in his fields, but precisely for holy laborers.

There’s a famous scene in the life of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, when during an exorcism of a possessed woman, the devil howled at him, “If there were three like you on earth, my kingdom would be destroyed.” We never know whether we can believe anything the “father of lies” tells us, but if he happened to telling the truth to the Curé of Ars rather than lying to tempt him to pride, he would have been indicating that he feared three holy priests more than he worried about all other priests on earth combined.

Whenever I preach retreats for seminarians, priests or bishops, I always share this story, because, if the devil were really more frightened of a few saintly priests than of the other 435,000 priests who remain just good, or not morally good at all, then that should dramatically impact the way we live. To seminarians, I illustrate this point in a way that I hope they won’t forget: “God is not calling you to be a priest,” I tell them, with a long pause. “He’s either calling you to be a holy priest or no priest at all.”

There would likewise be an effect on the level of commitment the priesthood justly requires. Right now the priest must choose Christ over the goods of marriage and family. In a sex-obsessed age, such a decision is often heroic, and a capacity for heroism is even more important for priests than for soldiers. Priests’ joyful, celibate life of perpetual chastity, moreover, is a prophetic sign to this age that chastity is indeed possible, joyful and life-giving in every state of life. The loss of that witness would be a huge blow to the proclamation of the Gospel in our time.

The ultimate and most practical question, however, remains: Will this proposed change lead to a holier clergy and a holier church, or will it weaken the Church’s mission to evangelize and make saints of those in the Amazon and elsewhere?

6. Indiana archbishop defends firing of teacher in gay marriage.

The Associated Press, June 27, 2019, 11:12 PM

The Indianapolis archbishop said Thursday that his orders for two Catholic high schools in the city to fire gay teachers were about upholding church teaching on marriage and not about sexual orientation.

The archdiocese requires all teachers, guidance counselors and administrators at Catholic schools to sign employment contracts that acknowledge they are considered ministers who must follow church teaching.

Thompson maintained Thursday that he wasn’t focusing on same-sex marriages while overlooking school employees living together or who were divorced and remarried without receiving a church annulment. He said church leaders would help the employees take steps toward living according to Catholic teachings.

“It is about the living situation, it’s not the orientation,” Thompson said. “We would do the same thing if it was someone cohabitating.”

7. Democratic candidates tout abortion credentials in first debate.

Catholic News Agency, June 27, 2019, 3:00 PM

Taxpayer funding for abortions is a matter of “justice” for men and women Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said during the first Democratic primary debate Wednesday. 

Castro’s comments were echoed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who said that she does not support any restrictions on abortion, and wants to see the Roe v. Wade decision codified into federal law. 

Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow for The Catholic Association, an organization that promotes religious liberty, life, and the Church in the public square, was critical of Castro’s enthusiasm for taxpayer-funded abortion, and said it was a sign the party has been overrun by “abortion extremism.”

“By equating ‘reproductive justice’ with taxpayer funding of abortion, he reveals the party’s fundamental schism with Americans writ large on the issue,” said McGuire. 

McGuire believes that this election will result in “a competition between the candidates as to who can be most extreme on abortion” and that “Castro was just the first one out of the gate.”

8. Pro-Life Groups Respond To Dem Candidates Pushing Taxpayer-Funded Abortions.

By Mary Margaret Olohan, The Daily Caller, June 27, 2019, 3:54 PM

Pro-life leaders fired back at pro-choice Democratic candidates Thursday after the presidential candidates touted support of taxpayer-funded abortions at the Democratic presidential debates Wednesday night.

Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow at the Catholic Association, pointed out that Julian Castro’s eagerness to show support of taxpayer-funded abortion points “to the abortion extremism that has taken over his party.”

“Americans overwhelmingly oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for abortions, and yet Democrats are actively and aggressively working to undo legal barriers like the Hyde Amendment,” McGuire added. ” They now believe that forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions is a matter of “justice.” No doubt this election cycle will unveil a competition between the candidates as to who can be most extreme on abortion; Castro was just the first one out of the gate.”

9. Amazon Synod Mission Abandoned?

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, June 27, 2019

The special synod for the “Pan-Amazonian Region” has a difficult question to answer: Why should the Church intensify its efforts in these remote mission lands if the mission itself is unclear?

The preparatory instrumentum laboris (working document) — from which the synod deliberations will proceed in October — was released June 17. Addressed to the theme “Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology,” the document raises questions about the validity of the Church’s mission in Amazonia.

Do the indigenous peoples of the Amazon need the Gospel? And if they do, is it the same Gospel that the Lord Jesus sent the apostles to preach ad gentes (to the nations)?

While the affirmative answer to those questions is given repeatedly by the Church’s magisterium, the instrumentum laboris (IL) obscures that reality and borders on calling it into question. As a “working document,” it will leave the synod fathers in October with a substantial amount of work to do.

While initial media coverage has focused on a proposed discussion about ordaining married “elders” to deal with a shortage of priests, the IL proposes a discussion on something rather more profound. Would it be possible to ordain such men as priests only for the sacraments, but not, as it were, as pastors with governing authority?

10. Ginsburg’s “Neutrality” over Religious Liberty.

By John M. Grondelski, Crisis Magazine, June 25, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (joined by Justice Sotomayor) wrote the dissenting opinion in last week’s Supreme Court decision upholding the presence of Bladensburg’s Peace Cross on public land. The Court, fractured about the basis for its ruling, nevertheless managed to cobble together a 7-2 split (with Justices Breyer and Kagan as part of the majority) to agree on an outcome that left the cross alone.

In her dissent, Ginsburg appealed to 1947’s Everson v. Board of Education decision, in which a 5-4 court interpreted the First Amendment’s prohibition against an “establishment” of religion to require “governmental neutrality … between religion and nonreligion.” According to Ginsburg, the Peace Cross decision broke with the line of precedent begun in Everson.

If your conscience does not want to share in the meaning of a religious symbol (e.g., the Peace Cross), Ruth Bader Ginsburg is ready to defend your rights. If your conscience does not want to fund an action that your conscience deems killing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is ready to tell you to suck it up. She treats your right to be free from religion as practically inviolate; she regards your right to act on your religion to be circumscribed by “laws of general applicability” and tests of significant impingement on third party interests.

While the Court arrived at the right conclusion in the Peace Cross case, the incoherencies and contradictions within First Amendment precedents remain because of Everson and, even more so, McCollum v. Board of Education (1948). Add to this the Court’s reluctance to abandon precedent; however, no matter how twisted (and ad hoc) subsequent decisions are forced to be as a result. Ginsburg is at least consistent in where this line of reasoning leads. This suggests the need, not for reaching that constitutional cul-de-sac, but for recovering the primordial meaning of the First Amendment as protecting religious freedom and conscience, free of judicial accretion.

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.