1. Supreme Court throws abortion fight into center of midterms, By David Crary and Jill Colvin, Associated Press, May 18, 2021, 6:07 AM
In agreeing to hear a potentially groundbreaking abortion case, the Supreme Court has energized activists on both sides of the long-running debate who are now girding to make abortion access a major issue in next year’s midterm elections.
For many evangelicals, the case could serve as a validation of more than four decades of persistent work and a sometimes awkward relationship with former President Donald Trump, whose three Supreme Court appointments sealed a 6-3 conservative majority. If those justices unite to uphold a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, it would mark a first step toward the possible demise of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which established a nationwide right to abortion at any point before a fetus can survive outside the womb, roughly 24 weeks.
Abortion rights advocates, meanwhile, are urgently warning that the case is the biggest threat to decades of rulings that have consistently upheld, with some caveats, a woman’s constitutional right to decide whether to end her pregnancy.
2. Overturn Roe, By National Review, May 18, 2021, 6:30 AM, Editorial
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Mississippi’s appeal in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to decide the fate of the state’s Gestational Age Act. That law, passed in 2018 and held in limbo ever since by the courts, bans abortions after 15 weeks except “in a medical emergency or in case of a severe fetal abnormality.” Nothing in the text or history of the Constitution bars such laws, and the Court should say so.

Better still, it should put an end to the long charade of judge-invented abortion law. The Court should say that Roe v. Wade never had any legitimate basis in our Constitution, and return the issue to the people’s representatives. It should do so precisely because this issue is too important not to be decided by the people.

There is a time and place for the courts to move gradually, letting the law develop one case at a time. But there is nothing new under the sun in arguments about the constitutional pedigree of Roe v. Wade. A majority of the Court knows that Roe is nonsense. It is past time for the justices to say so. Sixty-two million Americans have died. How many more need to die before the judiciary exercises its one, indispensable role: to say what the Constitution is?
3. Smith: Beijing Olympics must be moved, Congressman to co-chair hearing on Xinjiang crisis, crimes against humanity, By Tom Howell Jr., The Washington Times, May 18, 2021, Pg. A4
Rep. Chris Smith’s first brush with China and the Olympics was in the early 1990s when he met Wei Jingsheng for dinner with Beijing’s secret police sitting a few feet away.
The communist government had released the famous dissident as part of its charm offensive to host the 2000 Summer Games, only to rearrest him after it came up short.

Fourteen years later, Beijing is prepping its Olympic Village and slopes of Hebei Province for the Winter Games in February even as the State Department says the communist government continues to engage in genocide and crimes against humanity against Muslim Uyghurs and other minorities in western China.
Mr. Smith is finding it hard to stomach.
“It’s an absolutely false premise China ameliorates its behavior when you reward them with the Olympics,” Mr. Smith told The Washington Times. “What a cruel joke that is. When are we going to learn the lesson that this is a malevolent dictatorship? We want to stand with the oppressed, not the oppressor.”
Mr. Smith is set to co-chair a bipartisan hearing Tuesday that will scrutinize China’s brutal crackdown on religious minorities and democratic dissent in Hong Kong amid growing calls for nations to withdraw from the approaching Winter Games.
4. Hong Kong’s new bishop wants differing views respected, By Associated Press, May 18, 2021
Hong Kong’s incoming Bishop Stephen Chow called for respect for different views as he prepares to lead a diocese that has been polarized by the city’s deteriorating political situation.
Chow said while he had “no big plan” on how to unify a Catholic community divided since months of anti-government protests in 2019, he believed that God wanted them to be united.
“Unity is not the same as uniformity,” Chow said at a news conference Tuesday, one day after Pope Francis named him to head the Hong Kong diocese. “One thing I’ve always mentioned recently in schools is plurality: We need to respect plurality.”

China’s Catholics are legally only allowed to worship in churches approved by the Chinese government, but many attend underground churches led by bishops loyal to Rome.
Chow said Tuesday that there should not be the assumption that Beijing and the Chinese church are enemies since both churches believe in the same faith, and should try to seek understanding together.
However, he reiterated that the Latin Church does not have a formal diplomatic relationship with China, and therefore operates independently.
5. New Bishop of Hong Kong says ‘no’ then ‘yes’ to appointment, By The Pillar, May 17, 2021
Pope Francis has appointed Stephen Chow Sau-yan, SJ, as the new Bishop of Hong Kong in a long-awaited appointment. Appointing a bishop to Hong Kong took more than two years, as Vatican officials searched for a candidate who could earn trust amid a complex and fractious political environment.

Sources close to the appointment confirmed The Pillar on Monday that Chow’s appointment was the fruit of almost a year of deliberation over his candidacy, and that the Jesuit priest had initially refused the appointment. He is the third candidate to have received papal approval for the job, but the first to have been publicly announced; the previous two candidates were withdrawn over political concerns prior to public announcement.
6. Knoxville bishop replaced investigator in seminarian probe, By The Pillar, May 17, 2021
Bishop Richard Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, sidelined an investigator appointed to scrutinize allegations of sexual assault and misconduct committed by a diocesan seminarian. The bishop told The Pillar he intervened because he did not believe the investigator appointed by a diocesan review board was competent for the task, and that he is convinced of the seminarian’s innocence.
“I have been fighting in the diocese rumors about [the seminarian]…I’ve been constantly fighting these battles because I know he is innocent,” Stika said of the seminarian. “And if there’s anything, maybe I’m like a dog with a bone. I really believe somebody has to stand up for people when you think they’re innocent.”
7. Supreme Court will consider Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, By Catholic News Agency, May 17, 2021, 8:20 AM
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to consider a case involving a state 15-week abortion ban.
The court will be taking up the case of Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, involving Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The high court agreed only to consider one question presented in the petition for certiorari, namely, “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional?”
Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, the law in question, was signed into law in 2018 but is not currently in effect. Although it banned most abortions after 15 weeks, it included exceptions for when the mother’s life or major bodily function is in danger, or in cases where the unborn child has a severe abnormality and is not expected to survive outside the womb at full term.
8. After Supreme Court takes up abortion case, White House signals support for Roe v. Wade, By Catholic News Agency, May 17, 2021, 2:00 PM
The White House on Monday made statements in favor of legal abortion and the Equality Act.
Earlier on Monday, the Supreme Court had agreed to consider a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Asked about the court’s decision to take up the case, White House press secretary Jen Psaki would not specifically comment on the decision, but offered a general defense of legal abortion.
“Over the last four years, critical rights – like the right to health care, the right to choose – have been under withering and extreme attack, including through draconian state laws,” Psaki said at Monday’s White House press briefing.
President Biden, she said, “is committed to codifying Roe,” the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. While campaigning for president in 2020, Biden – a Catholic – supported the codification of Roe in law and called for taxpayer-funded abortion.
9. US bishop statements on Eucharistic coherence, By The Pillar, May 17, 2021
At their meeting next month, members of the U.S. bishops’ conference are expected to discuss a proposed document on “Eucharistic coherence,” on the worthy reception of Holy Communion by Catholics.

After a letter this morning from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the direction discussions will take during June’s U.S. bishops’ meeting is unclear. But a number of bishops have weighed in recently on Holy Communion and public life.

The Pillar has compiled their statements here, and will continue to do so:
Archbishop Samuel Aquila:

Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago: (excerpt, letter responding to Aquila’s essay)

Aquila: (excerpt, April 18 Catholic World Report article responding to Cupich’s letter)

Cardinal Wilton Gregory: (December 2020 RNS interview on why he will not deny Joe Biden communion)

Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland

Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas: (May 3 statement)

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone: (excerpt, May 1 pastoral letter Before I Formed You in the Womb, I Knew You)

Bishop David Ricken of Green Bay: (excerpt, May 14 article The Compass News)

Bishop Donald Hying of Madison: (excerpt, May 7 statement)

Bishop James Conley of Lincoln

Bishop Liam Cary of Baker, Oregon: (excerpt, May 6 statement)

Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego: (Feb. 1 Georgetown University online forum)

Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa: (excerpt, May 4 statement)

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix: (excerpt, May 6 statement)

Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence

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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