1. Reflections on Dobbs, one year later, By O. Carter Snead, The Hill, June 24, 2023, 7:00 AM, Opinion  For those of us who affirm the intrinsic and inalienable equal dignity of every member of the human family, born and unborn, we must do better in making the case in the public square for a culture of life and civilization of love as a necessary pre-requisite to wise, just, and humane self-governance in a post-Roe world. First, it is essential to speak clearly about what, precisely, Dobbs decided. A majority of justices reasonably concluded that no interpretation of the Constitution faithful to its text, history, or the American legal tradition precluded the political branches of government from enacting laws and policies on abortion via the democratic process. …  Dobbs was thus not an arrogation of power by the Court; to the contrary, it was a vanishingly rare instance of the judicial branch devolving authority to the people. It was the opposite of an “anti-democratic” decision. Second, and more important, it is essential to explain why we are pro-life, and what this means for law and policy. It is not simply being “anti-abortion” (despite what journalistic stylebooks might say). Yes, it involves the legal protection of the unborn from abortion. But this simply follows from the deeper animating principle that every human being has equal matchless dignity and worth, and deserves love, support, and the basic protection of the law. The human context in which the question of abortion arises is thus not a zero-sum “vital conflict” among strangers, but rather a sometimes tragic crisis involving a mother and her child that requires us all to come to their aid and do everything we can to support them both (along with the child’s father, family, and community), before, during and after the child is born.  In public debate, we should draw civil but sharp distinctions between this vision for our shared life together with the competing approach. Press those on the other side to answer if they are willing to countenance any hard limits on elective abortion at any gestational stage or for any reason (e.g., sex-selection or to prevent the birth of a child with disabilities). For their part, the media should ask such questions as well. But to build a culture of life, it is not enough simply to persuade our pro-choice friends and neighbors to revisit long and closely held views. We must open our minds to new political approaches, partnerships, and the role of government in the name of pursuing the most effective and supportive outcomes for mothers, children and families. Build on the progress of “red” states that have expanded Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days up to 12 months, enlarged state-level tax credits for children, enacted paid maternity leave for state employees, and authorized significant funding increases for programs and nonprofits providing support for mothers and children. We must reach across the political divide to create even stronger networks of support for mothers, babies and families, even as disagreements on abortion persist. In “blue” states that have passed new laws expanding access to abortion, we must work for measures providing commensurate support for women and families who choose to parent or make adoption plans for their children.  O. Carter Snead is Professor of Law and Director of the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame and author of “What It Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics.” https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/4064951-reflections-on-dobbs-one-year-later/__________________________________________________________ 2. Religious Freedom Arguments Underpin Wave of Challenges to Abortion Bans, In lawsuits challenging state abortion bans, lawyers for abortion rights plaintiffs are employing religious liberty arguments the Christian right has used for decades, By Pam Belluck, The New York Times, June 28, 2023, 5:12 AM For years, conservative Christians have used the principle of religious freedom to prevail in legal battles on issues like contraceptive insurance mandates and pandemic restrictions. Now, abortion rights supporters are employing that argument to challenge one of the right’s most prized accomplishments: state bans on abortion. In the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, clergy and members of various religions, including Christian and Jewish denominations, have filed about 15 lawsuits in eight states, saying abortion bans and restrictions infringe on their faiths. Many of those suing say that according to their religious beliefs, abortion should be allowed in at least some circumstances that the bans prohibit, and that the bans violate religious liberty guarantees and the separation of church and state. The suits, some seeking exemptions and others seeking to overturn the bans, often invoke state religious freedom restoration acts enacted and used by conservatives in some battles over social issues.  Decades ago, some anti-abortion groups warned that religious freedom arguments might be used to bolster abortion rights. When Congress considered what became the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the National Right to Life Committee and the U.S. Catholic Conference raised that concern. “The Act, if passed, will be used to seek access to abortions,” the Catholic Conference’s general counsel wrote in 1992.  Josh Blackman, a professor at South Texas College of Law Houston who has criticized the lawsuits, questioned the plaintiffs’ legal standing, saying, “A lot of these women are sort of making prospective claims that, One day, I might be pregnant, and one day, I might have this problem and that might require me to have an abortion.” He said some plaintiffs could have religiously sincere “extenuating individual circumstances,” but that allowing widespread exemptions could undermine the law’s larger purpose.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/28/health/abortion-religious-freedom.html__________________________________________________________ 3. More than half a million left Germany’s Catholic Church last year as abuse scandal swirls, By Geir Moulson, Associated Press, June 28, 2023, 7:37 AM More than half a million people formally left the Catholic Church in Germany last year, significantly higher than the previous record as the church wrestles with a long-running scandal over abuse by clergy and with calls for far-reaching reform. The German Bishops’ Conference said Wednesday that 522,821 left the church last year, up from 359,338 in 2021, the previous record. That compared with just 1,447 people joining the Catholic Church, around the same as the previous year. The departures left the number of Catholic Church members in Germany at nearly 20.94 million, just under a quarter of the population.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/28/germany-catholic-church-abuse/1933a93e-15a8-11ee-9de3-ba1fa29e9bec_story.html__________________________________________________________ 4. Religion Creates Community. We’re Losing That., By Jessica Grose, The New York Times, June 28, 2023, 6:00 AM, Opinion  After months of reading about this massive change, and having had quite a few deep and very moving conversations with some of the over 7,000 readers who responded to my initial call-out about becoming less religious over time, the one aspect of religion in America that I unquestionably see as an overall positive for society is the ready-made supportive community that churchgoers can access. When I say “churchgoers,” of course, I mean those who attend a church, temple, mosque, gurdwara, friends meeting or any of the many traditional houses of worship in America. The idea of community connects them all.  I asked every sociologist I interviewed whether communities created around secular activities outside of houses of worship could give the same level of wraparound support that churches, temples and mosques are able to offer. Nearly across the board, the answer was no.  That doesn’t mean Americans can’t or don’t cobble together their own support networks and senses of meaning without organized religion; clearly, many do. But the group of Americans who are moving away from religion in the most significant percentages may have the hardest time building community from scratch, because they are often shortest on time and resources. As I noted in part four of this series, every demographic group in the United States is becoming less religious, but groups that are overrepresented among people with no religion in particular are those without high school diplomas, who are single, who don’t have children and who earn less than $50,000 a year.  Americans who are “further down the socioeconomic ladder” are lonelier than their more economically well-off counterparts. Americans with lower levels of education have higher mortality rates. And those are some of the same Americans who are alienated from religious institutions, even if many of them still believe in God.  https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/28/opinion/religion-affiliation-community.html __________________________________________________________ 5. Maryland’s libertine left-wing governor, Moore embraces abortion pills, LGBTQ agenda, By The Washington Times, June 28, 2023, Pg. B2, Editorial Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has been in office less than six months, but the Democrat has wasted little time in reflexively embracing every sexual shibboleth of the far left. It’s enough to make us miss Mr. Moore’s centrist predecessor, Republican former Gov. Larry Hogan. By pushing to spend more than $1.3 million in taxpayer funds stocking the state’s medicine chest with a ready reserve of the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol to make it “very, very clear that reproductive freedom is nonnegotiable” in the Free State and declaring June as “LGBTQIA+ Pride Month in Maryland,” Mr. Moore has made no pretense of following Mr. Hogan’s moderate model. In his effusive “Pride Month” declaration, Mr. Moore made it clear he’s no Blue Dog, center-left Democrat.  Appearing on June 18 on left-wing MSNBC, Mr. Moore made the hyperbolic claim that the removal of explicit, pornographic and age-inappropriate LGBTQ books from classrooms and school libraries was akin to castrating children.  There are good reasons that Hustler and other adult magazines aren’t available in school classrooms and libraries. Books such as “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” shouldn’t be either, period, full stop — Mr. Moore’s ill-informed, libertine protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2023/jun/27/editorial-marylands-libertine-governor-embraces-ab/ __________________________________________________________ 6. German police search church properties in probe of Cologne archbishop over perjury allegations, By Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press, June 27, 2023, 9:47 AM German police and prosecutors searched Catholic Church properties on Tuesday in connection with a probe of the archbishop of Cologne in western Germany over perjury allegations, authorities said. The searches included the vicar general’s office and the premises of an IT company that provides email services to the archdiocese headed by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. They also included Woelki’s home, German news agency dpa reported.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/27/germany-catholic-church-abuse-police-raids-archbishop/b98b6cf2-14c5-11ee-9de3-ba1fa29e9bec_story.html__________________________________________________________ 7. Storied Baltimore Catholic family sues archdiocese, says sexual abuse led to death, Francis X. Gallagher Jr.’s father founded a law firm that still represents the Baltimore Archdiocese in sexual abuse matters. Now, his children say church officials mishandled his own clergy sexual abuse claims., By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, June 27, 2023, 2:58 PM For more than 60 years, the name Francis X. Gallagher has been linked prominently in Baltimore with the Catholic Church. The late Gallagher Sr. in 1961 founded an influential law firm that represented the Baltimore Archdiocese and does so to this day; his name adorns Catholic institutions in the city, his face smiles from black-and-white photos with a pope on one side, a cardinal on the other. But behind closed doors, his grandchildren now say, Catholic institutions destroyed the Gallagher family through clergy sexual abuse, neglect, coverup and shame. In a wrongful-death lawsuit filed Tuesday in Baltimore Circuit Court, two of Gallagher Sr.’s adult grandchildren allege that their father, Francis X. Gallagher Jr., a successful city lawyer, banker and philanthropist, was sexually abused as a 14-year-old in 1974 while he worked the night shift as a receptionist at St. Mary’s Seminary. The suit claims that the alleged abuse, along with the mishandling of his allegations by the archdiocese and its lawyers at Gallagher, Evelius & Jones, emotionally wrecked Gallagher Jr., who began using drugs and overdosed last August at the age of 62.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/06/27/storied-baltimore-catholic-family-files-suit-against-archdiocese-claiming-sexual-abuse-wrongful-death/ __________________________________________________________ 8. Hundreds of Md. parents protest lessons they say offend their faiths, A crowd of mostly Muslim and Ethiopian Orthodox parents wants the state’s largest school system to exempt their kids from LGBTQ content, By Nicole Asbury and Katie Shepherd, The Washington Post, June 27, 2023, 9:24 PM Hundreds of parents demonstrated outside the Montgomery County Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday demanding that Maryland’s largest school district allow them to shield their children from books and lessons that contain LGBTQ+ characters. The crowd was filled largely with Muslim and Ethiopian Orthodox parents, who say the school system is violating their religious rights protected under the First Amendment by not providing an opt-out. Three families have filed a lawsuit against the school system. The books that feature LGBTQ+ characters are a part of a supplemental curriculum the school system launched this academic year. It adds titles for every grade level, including kindergarten to fifth grade, where the curriculum has been the most controversial.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/2023/06/27/muslim-orthodox-lgbtq-books-mcps/ __________________________________________________________ 9. 30 Catholic Democrats sign letter on Dobbs anniversary vowing to support abortion, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency June 27, 2023, 11:00 AM Thirty Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter on the first anniversary of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision vowing to continue to support abortion despite the overturn of Roe v. Wade. The group of Democrats, led by Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro and including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, cited their Catholic faith and St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici as reasons to support abortion. “The fundamental tenets of our Catholic faith — social justice, conscience, and religious freedom — compel us to defend a woman’s right to access abortion,” the letter stated. “Our faith unfailingly promotes the common good, prioritizes the dignity of every human being, and highlights the need to provide a collective safety net to our most vulnerable.”  Christifideles Laici was published in 1988 after the 1987 bishops’ synod on the vocation and mission of the laity. In his exhortation, John Paul II called on the lay faithful to fully join in the Church’s mission to confront the growing indifference toward religion and violations against the dignity of the human person. “Who is able to count the number of babies unborn because they have been killed in their mothers’ wombs, children abandoned and abused by their own parents, children who grow without affection and education?” John Paul II wrote. “Despite all this, then, humanity is able to hope. Indeed it must hope: the living and personal Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, is the ‘good news’ and the bearer of joy that the Church announces each day, and to whom the Church bears testimony before all people.”  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254672/thirty-catholic-democrats-sign-letter-on-dobbs-anniversary-vowing-to-support-abortion __________________________________________________________ 10. Religious freedom report shows dangerous trends in the West, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency June 27, 2023, 9:00 AM Although the most severe cases of religious persecution are currently taking place in certain African and Asian countries, the 2023 Religious Freedom in the World report highlighted dangerous trends within Europe and the Western world. The report, published by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), showed a rising trend in compelled speech, hate speech laws, censorship, the rise of cancel culture, and a growing intolerance toward some faith-based views in the West. The Catholic organization is also following threats in Ukraine to religious freedom from the Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian governments amid the ongoing war. In some African and Asian countries, the persecution is often more direct, such as China’s internment of Uyghur Muslims or Nigerian Islamists slaughtering Christians. In Western countries, policies that discriminate against religious groups are more subtle.  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/254658/religious-freedom-report-shows-dangerous-trends-in-the-west __________________________________________________________

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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