1. In 1992, surprising majority declined to overturn Roe.

By Robert Barnes, The Washington Post, May 30, 2019, Pg. A1

Here’s what happened at the Supreme Court more than 25 years ago, when a majority of the justices were nominated by Republican presidents opposed to abortion rights and then presented with a carefully designed invitation to overturn Roe v. Wade: They didn’t.

This week, once again with a majority of justices nominated by Republican presidents opposed to abortion rights, the Supreme Court began what felt like a reevaluation of the constitutional right to abortion.

The high court on Tuesday upheld one part of a restrictive Indiana law that had been struck down by lower courts, but it decided against reviving a more controversial portion that would have limited a woman’s opportunity to get an abortion.

More opportunities to limit — or eliminate — the fundamental right established by Roe are coming to the court. How the justices respond will define the court in the public’s mind.


2. Dueling footnotes over abortion foreshadow a fight to come.

By James Hohmann, The Washington Post, May 30, 2019, Pg. A20, PowerPost

“Although the court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever.” Justice Clarence Thomas

Justice Clarence Thomas opened a 20-page concurring opinion, in which he likened not just abortion but also birth control to eugenics, by taking shots at his Supreme Court colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The two longest-serving justices were sniping at each other over a compromise decision on an Indiana law that essentially punted the battle royal over Roe v. Wade to the next term at the earliest.


3. La. governor pledges to defy his party and sign abortion ban, ‘Heartbeat’ legislation carries the support of local Democrats.

By Jacqueline Kantor and Reis Thebault, The Washington Post, May 30, 2019, Pg. A19

The legislation, a “heartbeat” ban, resembles other bills passed this year in deep red states that could outlaw abortions after an ultrasound is able to detect the electric pulsing of what will become a fetus’s heart, a milestone that can come at six weeks — before some women even know they’re pregnant.

But Louisiana’s measure is the first to receive the imprimatur of prominent local Democrats, whose support for the legislation has provoked anger from party members nationwide, who see it as a betrayal in the battle over abortion rights.

More than two-thirds of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a number that has increased by 20 percent since the mid-1990s, according to Pew Research Center.


4. Louisiana Lawmakers Pass Curb on Abortion.

By Arian Campo-Flores, The Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2019, Pg. A4

The Louisiana House passed a bill that would effectively outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, the latest in a wave of antiabortion legislation this year aimed at challenging U.S. Supreme Court protections for the procedure.

Representatives passed the measure 79-23 on Wednesday, three weeks after the state Senate passed it 31-5. The bill doesn’t include exceptions for cases involving rape or incest. It now goes to Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign the bill into law.


5. Double-barreled McCarrick news perfectly captures accountability challenge.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, May 30, 2019

Sometimes the fates who govern the news business have a wicked sense of timing. After a long stretch of relative quiet regarding Theodore McCarrick, the ex-cardinal who was defrocked over sexual misconduct and abuse charges, Tuesday brought not one but two major new developments.

Crux, along with CBS, published correspondence from McCarrick confirming that he was placed under Vatican restrictions in 2008, claiming that Cardinal Donald Wuerl (the Archbishop of Washington at the time) was aware of those restrictions despite his denials, and also revealing that McCarrick played a major role in backchannel diplomacy with China under Pope Francis.

Roughly an hour after our story broke, a new interview with Francis by Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki made the rounds, in which the pontiff insisted “I knew nothing, obviously, nothing, nothing,” about accusations against McCarrick.

However, the double whammy of these two stories coming at once does neatly illustrate two of the major questions left hanging by the McCarrick case, which in turn encapsulates the meta-narrative of the entire saga.

One of those hanging questions, obviously, is what Wuerl knew and when he knew it.


6. Top Vatican official echoes Müller, says dialogue key to political disagreement.

By Elise Harris, Crux, May 30, 2019

Facing a steep uphill battle with an increasingly populist Europe, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin on Wednesday backed comments from a fellow prelate insisting that the Holy See engage politicians with opposing political views, saying the approach must be one of dialogue.

Speaking to journalists May 29, Parolin noted that “The pope said – and he continues to say –  dialogue, dialogue, dialogue” as the right approach to any discussion. And dialogue, he said, “is above all done with those who don’t think like us, those with whom we have some difficulty or problem.”


7. ‘No priest may obey’ proposed law, California bishop says.

Catholic News Agency, May 29, 2019, 4:00 PM

Bishop Michael Barber, S.J., of the Diocese of Oakland, California, has said he would sooner accept arrest and prison than comply with a state law that would force priests to violate the seal of confession. Barber made the statement in a letter released to the diocese on Tuesday.

“I will go to jail before I will obey this attack on our religious freedom,” wrote Barber.

“Even if this bill passes, no priest may obey it. The protection of your right to confess to God and have your sins forgiven in total privacy must be protected. I urge you to contact your State Senator today to protest this bill.”

The bishop said he is entirely in favor of laws that protect children from abuse, and supports the work undertaken by the Church to ensure the safety of minors. But, he insisted, this support does not extend to Senate Bill 360, a proposed state law which would force priests and other religious ministers to report suspected cases of child abuse involation of priest-penitent priviledge.


8. Biden, Bernardin, and Today.

By George Weigel, First Things, May 29, 2019

Yet a year later, the same Vice President was filmed dancing merrily in the aisles at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, holding up a pro-choice placard during a demonstration celebrating the legal killing of unborn children. How can this be?

In can be, in part, because of the way the “consistent ethic of life,” which some are trying to resurrect, has been twisted out of shape by politicians, and by partisans looking for cover for their favored candidates.

I, for one, have no doubts about the pro-life credentials of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, principal promoter of the “consistent ethic” in U.S. public policy debates. But decades after the Chicago prelate first proposed linking Catholic pro-life advocacy to other issues involving the defense of the dignity of the human person and, in Bernardin’s case, nuclear arms control, the effect of the “consistent ethic” argument is clear: It has provided cover to Democratic politicians who either buy pro-“choice” ideology, or who fear challenging the well-financed and quite implacable pro-abortion forces in their party, by allowing these solons to suggest that they’re batting .333, or .500, or even .750 on the “life issues” because of their stand on health care, or immigration, or nuclear non-proliferation.

Those are not inconsequential issues; they have serious moral dimensions; they surely involve the dignity of the human person. But they do not, and cannot, substitute for the grave moral obligation to reverse the abortion license, the lethal logic of which now extends to the infanticide of children who somehow manage to survive the “procedure” (according to the governor of Virginia and more than a few Democratic presidential aspirants). 

Some may imagine Cardinal Bernardin applauding, or at least tolerating, Joe Biden’s flip on the Hyde Amendment. To do so, however, is to dishonor the cardinal’s memory, while continuing to let self-seeking politicians distort the meaning of “Catholicism” in American public life.


9. Figueiredo Report the First of Many to Come?

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, May 29, 2019

Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo’s release of information on Theodore McCarrick suggests what a new era of whistleblowing might look like in the Church.

Whatever the Holy Father may or may not have known, excerpts of correspondence published Tuesday by Mgsr. Anthony Figueiredo seem to indicate that the broad outline of what Archbishop Viganò claimed about McCarrick is true.

According to Msgr. Figueiredo’s materials, Cardinal McCarrick was told in 2008 by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, then the prefect for bishops, to move out of the seminary where he lived in retirement, not to travel to Rome, and not to accept any speaking engagements, public appearances or travel without prior approval from Cardinal Re.

It would be shocking if such extraordinary measures against a cardinal were taken without the approval of Pope Benedict XVI. The monsignor’s materials do not explicitly indicate what Benedict’s role was and what decisions he personally took.


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