1. Judge temporarily blocks abortion law.

By Associated Press, The Washington Post, October 2, 2019, Pg. A2

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Georgia’s restrictive abortion law from taking effect, following the lead of other judges who have blocked similar measures in other states.

The law signed in May by Gov. Brian Kemp (R) bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women realize they are expecting. It allows for limited exceptions.

It had been scheduled to become enforceable on Jan. 1.

The so-called heartbeat law is one of a wave of laws passed recently by Republican controlled legislatures in an attack on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.


2. Abortion ultrasound measure is upheld, Judge hands down mixed ruling in VA., Wait period, doctor-only procedures also retained.

By Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, October 2, 2019, Pg. B1

A federal judge in Virginia has upheld the state’s law requiring women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before obtaining an abortion and a separate measure requiring physicians to perform the procedure.

Abortion rights activists and providers had challenged Virginia laws they said unnecessarily restrict access, particularly for poor women, and make it difficult and expensive for clinics to operate.

In a 67-page ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson retained the waiting period that requires most women to make two trips — one for an ultrasound and another for the abortion.


3. Jury selection for fetal tissue videos case begins, Pro-life activists charged with fraud, trespassing.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, October 2, 2019, Pg. A7

Jury selection in the civil trial of prolife activists who secretly filmed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue begins Wednesday in San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick has limited the scope of the trial to determining whether David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt committed fraud and trespassed when they presented themselves as fetal tissue harvester company officials in order to gain entry to medical conferences and interview Planned Parenthood employees in 2014.

Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt, both members of the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress, in 2015 posted online videos of Planned Parenthood workers and officials discussing fetal tissue sales, an outlawed practice. The nation’s largest abortion provider filed the federal lawsuit in January 2016.

 In its lawsuit, Planned Parenthood says the covertly filmed videos violate California’s law requiring consent by all parties to be recorded. It says the videos led to a 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where three people were killed and nine others were wounded.

Defense attorneys argue that Mr. Daleiden, Ms. Merritt and others were acting as investigative journalists who were working to inform law enforcement of wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood in trying to profit on the sale of fetal body parts. No criminal charges have been brought against the abortion provider.


4. Will reason prevail on Nigeria’s own abuse crisis?

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 2, 2019

There are a number of interesting parallels between Catholicism in the U.S. and in Nigeria, including membership (roughly 70 million Catholics in the States, around 60 million in Nigeria), the fact they’re both English-speaking churches, and that Catholics in both places play an important role in the most populous nation on their respective continents.

Here’s one key difference, however: Say “Catholic priest” to the typical American and he or she may well reply “possible abuser,” due to wide coverage of the Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis. Say the same thing to the typical Nigerian, and the instinctive response today probably would be “victim.”

Therein lies an important tale of our times.

Referring to widespread insecurity in Nigeria, related not only to violence by the radical Islamic movement Boko Haram but also armed herdsmen from the large Fulani tribe, Adekoya issued a cri du coeur while addressing the group’s National Executive Assembly over the weekend.

“Catholics are tired of mourning and burying their priests who are daily murdered for no just cause,” he said. “Nigerians are tired of losing their dear ones to these killings.”

Over the last four months alone, an estimated 40,000 people have become refugees or internally displaced persons in the northwestern region of the country, amid frequent reports of kidnapping, torture, extortion, murder and sexual violence by attackers who also destroy homes and steal property.

In that context, Catholic priests have become frequent targets.

The tragic nexus between the abuse scandals in the States and the security crisis in Nigeria is this: It may be difficult for some Americans right now to gin up concern for the Catholic Church when it’s under attack, since what they hear and see about the Church and its failures isn’t likely to inspire sympathy.

Logically, however, the same passion for justice for victims that fuels the abuse scandals in the States ought also to drive engagement on behalf of victims in Nigeria and elsewhere. Whether violence inflicted on someone is sexual or religious in nature, it’s still a human rights abuse that offends the conscience.


5. Modern-day ‘suffragettes’ push for voting rights in Amazon synod.

By Elise Harris, Crux, October 2, 2019

As the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon approaches, women from several religious orders and organizations have banded together to demand they be given voting rights during the meeting, a privilege typically awarded only to ordained men.

“These are the modern-day suffragettes,” Deborah Rose Milavec, Co-Director of the Future Church advocacy organization, said of women pushing to be enfranchised during the Oct. 6-27 synod.

Speaking to journalists at an Oct. 1 news conference organized by Voices of Faith, she noted that roughly 80 percent of all consecrated people in the Catholic Church are women.

“We want to see women equally represented in all synods, in all decision-making bodies,” she said. While several women have been appointed to key positions in the Vatican, this “is just a first step,” she said, “but we would like to see equality for women in every area.”

Though voting rights in a synod are typically afforded only to priests or Church hierarchy, during the October 2018 Synod of Bishops on youth, an exception was made to allow two non-ordained male religious to participate as full voting members, yet no such exception was made for religious women.


6. The Model New Evangelization Bishop.

By George Weigel, First Things, October 2, 2019

Out on the Kansas plains, he was just turning 21 when the Second Vatican Council promulgated its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) and its Decree on the Pastoral Office of the Bishops in the Church (Christus Dominus). So it’s unlikely that the Fathers of Vatican II had Charles Joseph Chaput in mind when they described the ideal diocesan bishop in the third millennium of Christian history—an evangelist, sanctifier, and governor who would accept those weighty responsibilities so that the gospel might be proposed for the salvation of the world.

But, in God’s providence and through his own cooperation with grace, Archbishop Charles Chaput has lived the episcopal vocation the Council fathers limned in an exemplary way.

There is much talk of “collegiality” and “synodality” in some Catholic circles today; Archbishop Chaput has been a far more collaborative leader in Rapid City, Denver, and Philadelphia than many of those who talk that talk but walk a walk of episcopal autocracy. Then there is the now-familiar trope about bishops having “the smell of the sheep”; Archbishop Chaput, a true gentleman, is far more accessible and far more amenable to input, suggestions, and even correction from those under his authority than some, appointed to high office under that ovine pastoral rubric, who barely know a sheep or two, much less smell like them.

An ugly and absurd cartoon of Catholicism in the United States—suggesting that we are a Church of rigid moralists and wealthy right-wing nuts—has infected Rome for several years. Archbishop Chaput has been a target of that viciousness. Those responsible for perpetrating the cartoon might remember that it was first peddled by Mr. Theodore McCarrick, who was never reluctant to trash Charles Chaput to anyone foolish enough to listen.


7. Vatican prosecutors conduct raid on Secretariat of State offices.

By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2019, 8:40 AM

Vatican prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices in a raid executed Tuesday at the offices of the most senior curial department.

According to a statement from the Holy See press office Oct. 1, the raid was conducted at the offices of the general affairs section of the Secretariat of State. The action was authorized by the Vatican City court’s Promoter of Justice, Gian Piero Milano, and Adjunct Promoter of Justice Alessandro Diddi.

The documents and devices were taken in connection to an investigation following complaints brought last summer by the Institute for Religious Works (IOR) – commonly called the Vatican Bank – and the Office of the Auditor General concerning a series of financial transactions “carried out over time,” the statement said.

The Secretariat of State is the central governing office of the Catholic Church and the department of the Roman Curia which works most closely with the pope. It is also responsible for the governance of the Vatican City state.


8. China marks 70 years of communism and human rights abuses.

Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2019, 4:32 PM

On Tuesday, the People’s Republic of China marked the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country’s communist regime. While some world leaders offered congratulations, others reflected on the nation’s long history of human rights abuses.

The White House and State Department offered official best wishes on behalf of the administration. President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people on Tuesday morning. On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered his own greeting to the Chinese people, saying that the U.S. “wishes the people of China happiness, health, peace and prosperity in the year to come.”

By contrast, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a statement on Tuesday that referenced the shooting by a police officer of an 18 year-old protester in Hong Kong earlier that day.

“Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range,” Sasse stated.

“The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.”

Ongoing protests in Hong Kong, in which Catholics have played a significant role, have opposed China’s communist regime and have reportedly led worries within the government that mainland Catholics could push for a similar uprising. Travel by some Catholics to Hong Kong has reportedly been restricted.


9. Sex at the High Court: On the Redefinition of “Sex” in Civil Rights Law and Faulty Accounts of “Discrimination”

By Ryan T. Anderson, The Public Discourse, October 1, 2019

Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in cases that ask whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bans employment discrimination on the basis of sex, extends to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status.

It’s an odd legal argument, given that the public meaning of the word “sex” in 1964—and today, for that matter—refers to our status as male or female, not our sexual attractions, desires, actions, or identity. That’s why progressive activists have been trying for the past forty years to get Congress to pass laws that would add “sexual orientation” as a protected class, and it’s why they’ve been doing the same for “gender identity” for the past dozen years.

Because their attempts to work through the legislative process failed, activists took their arguments to court. And they failed there, too—at least, until April 2017. That marked the first time ever that a federal appellate court ruled that the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Prior to that ruling, all eleven appellate courts that had addressed the issue had ruled that “sex” does not mean “sexual orientation.” And it wasn’t until March 2018 that, for the first time ever, an appellate court ruled that Title VII banned discrimination based on transgender status.

Activists would like to see the Supreme Court affirm these novel—indeed, activist—appellate court rulings, redefining the term “sex” in the Civil Rights Act and embracing a simplistic account of “discrimination.” Here’s why it shouldn’t.


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