1. The Texas Abortion Case That Isn’t., By The Wall Street JournalNovember 1, 2021, Pg. A16, Editorial

Despite what you read in the press, abortion rights aren’t directly at issue in either case. The Court rejected Texas’s request to discuss the law’s merits on abortion. Instead, the Court will consider in Whole Woman’s Health v. Austin Reeve Jackson whether Texas can dodge federal court review by outsourcing enforcement to private parties. The question in U.S. v. Texas is whether the Justice Department can seek an injunction in federal court against the state.

The Texas law prohibits enforcement by state officials, instead authorizing private citizens to sue anyone who performs, aids or intends to perform or aid an abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which is usually around six weeks. Citizens who prevail are entitled to at least $10,000 in damages and legal fees.

The law in our view is clearly unconstitutional under the Court’s abortion precedents. But here’s the rub: Federal courts don’t have jurisdiction to hear the lawsuit by the abortion providers or the Justice Department. Full stop. Federal courts only decide cases and controversies between parties, and both plaintiffs lack legal standing to sue.

The Texas law will almost certainly be struck down in due course as long as Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land. But upholding the Supreme Court’s standing principles is also crucial to the rule of law, as Chief Justice John Roberts in particular has long held. In dismissing the importance of legal standing, progressives sound like Donald Trump when he derides the Court for refusing to hear his challenges to the 2020 election results. A bad Texas law doesn’t justify setting a bad judicial precedent.


2. Companies Challenge Vaccine Exemptions, By Chip Cutter and Thomas Gryta, The Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2021, Pg. B2

Big U.S. companies are taking a range of approaches to dealing with employee requests for a religious exemption to Covid-19 vaccine mandates, according to internal documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Employers say they are trying to meet federal requirements and protect their workers by getting them inoculated. Companies are weighing factors such as privacy issues and religious beliefs as they try to identify workers who are attempting to avoid the vaccine for other reasons. Some workers at companies that ask more questions say they feel the protocols were designed to discourage them from seeking a religious exemption.

The more detailed questionnaires, some experts say, reflect a view among employers that vaccine accommodations should be rare, and reserved for people who apply their religious beliefs in other decisions and behaviors as well.


3. Biden receives Communion in Rome amid debate in US, By Associated Press, October 31, 2021

President Joe Biden received Communion at St. Patrick’s Church, Rome’s American parish, during Saturday Vigil Mass, a day after saying Pope Francis told him he should continue to partake in the sacrament despite opposition of some conservatives in the U.S. upset with his position on abortion.

Biden and his wife, Jill, visited the English-speaking church that is the main place of worship for the American Catholic community in Rome and is located near the U.S. Embassy. The president stopped in between events at the Group of 20 world leaders’ summit taking place in the city this weekend.

While Biden regularly receives Communion in his home dioceses in Washington and Delaware, it was significant that he also received Communion in Rome. The pope technically is the bishop of Rome, and while he delegates day-to-day administration to his vicar, St. Patrick’s parish is technically in the pope’s diocese. As such, Biden received Communion in the pope’s diocese.


4. Traditionalists flood Rome after pope’s Latin Mass crackdown, By Associated Press, October 31, 2021

Traditionalist Catholics descended on Rome on Friday for their annual pilgrimage, hoping to show the vibrancy of their community after Pope Francis issued a crackdown on the spread of the old Latin Mass that many took as an attack on them and the ancient rite.

An evening vespers service at Rome’s Pantheon basilica, the first event of the three-day pilgrimage, was so full that ushers had to add two rows of chairs to accommodate the faithful. Many young families, couples and priests filled the pews, hailing from the U.S., France, Spain and beyond.


5. Pope: May ‘cry of the Earth’ be heard at UN climate summit, By Associated Press, October 31, 2021, 7:45 AM

Pope Francis on Sunday urged people to pray so that “the cry of the Earth” is heard at the U.N. climate summit getting underway in Glasgow, Scotland.

Francis in comments to the public in St. Peter’s Square, on Sunday, noted that it was the first day of the crucial gathering. He told the crowd: “Let us pray so that the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” is heard by summit participants.

“May this encounter yield efficient answers offering concrete hope to future generations,” the pope said. Francis has made care for the planet’s fragile environment a key plank of his papacy.


6. Context is king in understanding Pope’s approach to Biden on abortion, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, October 31, 2021, Opinion

Truth, they say, is the first casualty of war. A journalistic analog might be, “Context is the first casualty of hype.”  When you want to bang something like a cheap drum, the first rule is to avoid any context that might make the situation appear more complicated, less straight-forward, than simplistic narratives would suggest.

This weekend has offered a classic example with regard to US President Joe Biden’s keenly anticipated tête-à-tête with Pope Francis.

The necessary context to the Pope/Biden meeting is that avoiding a clash on abortion isn’t just the Vatican’s “America policy,” and it’s not directed at American Catholics. It’s the diplomatic playbook as applied to the US under a Democrat, whether Catholic or not. That playbook didn’t start with Francis and it won’t end with him, because it’s just how statecraft is practiced, whether in the Apostolic Palace or anywhere else.


7. Biden Says Pope Told Him He Is A Good Catholic, By Francis X. Rocca and Catherine Lucey, The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2021, Pg. A8

President Biden, after meeting Pope Francis, said the pontiff told him to continue receiving Communion, amid a controversy among U.S. church leaders over whether the president’s support for abortion rights should disqualify him from receiving the sacrament.

“We just talked about the fact he was happy that I was a good Catholic and I should keep receiving Communion,” Mr. Biden said. The Vatican didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, has come under fire from some U.S. bishops who say that Catholic politicians who support legal access to abortion should be barred from Communion. In a little more than two weeks, at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore, U.S. bishops are expected to debate whether to make a collective statement to that effect.

Mr. Biden declined to say on Friday whether he and the pope had discussed the U.S. bishops’ debate, saying “that’s a private conversation.”


8. High Court Turns Back Exemption Bid, By Jess Bravin, The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2021, Pg. A3

The Supreme Court on Friday denied an emergency request by healthcare workers in Maine for a religious exemption from the state’s requirement that they be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Three conservative justices dissented, arguing that workers should be able to opt out for religious reasons because the state authorized medical exemptions to the vaccine requirement.

The action means a lower court order upholding the mandate, which took effect Friday, remains in place, although the plaintiffs still can appeal through the Supreme Court’s regular procedures.


9. N.Y. Mandate on Vaccines Is Upheld, By Jimmy Vielkind, The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2021, Pg. A3

A federal appellate court sided with New York officials Friday and removed a temporary injunction that had allowed healthcare workers to seek religious exemptions to the state’s Covid-19 vaccination mandate.

Three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled against plaintiffs in two cases brought by healthcare workers who said New York’s mandate violated their Christian beliefs. The state required all workers in hospitals and nursing homes to receive at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by Sept. 27 or face termination.

Similar cases have been brought challenging vaccination mandates in other states, and legal experts have said the questions they raise could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

New York’s mandate allowed for exemptions for medical, but not religious, reasons.


10. Biden is America’s most prominent Catholic. The church’s most conservative wish he wasn’t, A debate over whether Biden should be able to participate in one of the core elements of his faith has spilled out into public., By Ginger Gibson, NBC News, October 30, 2021, 2:40 PM

When President Joe Biden met Friday with Pope Francis at the Vatican, he presented the pontiff with a 100-year-old handspun cloak from a church in the nation’s capital with a long history and a liberal bent.

But it wasn’t the priestly attire that sent the strongest message. It was the box it came in, inscribed with a Bible verse that reads, in part, “… if any of you has a grievance against someone … [f]orgive as the Lord forgave you.”

It could be viewed as a tacit nod to the fight in which Biden, only the second Roman Catholic to be elected president, has found himself embroiled back home over the future of the faith to which he’s ascribed his whole life.

“Biden is openly embracing policy positions that directly contradict the church’s most fundamental teachings,” said Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at the conservative Catholic Association. “The church doesn’t have the choice, really, of staying silent.”

In June, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops devoted its national meeting to discussing Biden and his public support of abortion rights. The Catholic Church opposes abortion and teaches that life begins at conception. The sacrament of Communion is at the core of practicing the Catholic faith, a demonstration that they believe Jesus was the son of God and that the wine and bread are transformed into his actual body and blood.

“He is a very confusing figure to American Catholics because he very much campaigned on his faith and Catholicism and at the same time is sort of openly flouting church teaching,” McGuire said of Biden.


11. Archbishop Cordileone ties Eucharistic reverence to respect for life, By Autumn Jones, Catholic News Agency, October 30, 2021, 10:50 AM

In a new reflection, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone identifies a common thread linking abortion, homelessness, and the urgent need for Eucharistic revival among Catholics: a challenge to look beyond outward appearances and see “the deeper spiritual reality.”

“As political issues, homelessness and abortion are treated as separate things. But with the Catholic sacramental sense we can see that whether we are speaking of the unhoused or the unborn, the underlying issue is the same: Can we see beyond the merely material to the deeper spiritual reality?” Cordileone said.

“What we Catholic bishops and other leaders must seek is not just words on a page,” he added, “but a profound Eucharistic revival, which requires a renaissance in the Catholic sacramental imagination.”

Cordileone released the reflection to CNA Friday in advance of a Requiem Mass For The Homeless he will preside over on Nov. 6.


12. Vatican declines to comment on whether pope told Biden to keep receiving Communion in ‘private conversation’, By Catholic News Agency, October 29, 2021, 10:52 AM

The Vatican declined to comment Friday on U.S. President Joe Biden’s statement that Pope Francis encouraged him to keep receiving Holy Communion during a private audience.

The Vatican, which has a long-standing policy of not commenting on specific statements attributed to the pope during private meetings, emphasized that the encounter between the two men on Oct. 29 was “a private conversation.”

Matteo Bruni, the director of the Holy See press office, told reporters: “I would consider it a private conversation, and it is limited to what was said in the public statement.”

Bruni was referring to a press release issued by the Vatican saying that the two men spoke about the environment, the coronavirus pandemic, refugees, and human rights.


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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