1. Pope expresses ‘shame’ at scale of clergy abuse in France, By Associated Press, October 6, 2021, 5:12 AM

Pope Francis expressed “shame” for himself and the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday for the scale of child sexual abuse within the church in France and acknowledged failures in putting the needs of victims first.

The pope spoke during his regular audience at the Vatican about a report released Tuesday that estimated some 330,000 French children were abused by clergy and other church authority figures dating back to 1950.


2. Vatican judges in fraud trial agree defense rights violated, By Associated Press, October 6, 2021, 8:19 AM

The Vatican tribunal hearing a landmark fraud case ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had deprived 10 defendants of their rights and ordered prosecutors to turn over key pieces of evidence and redo their investigation for some suspects.

Tribunal President Giuseppe Pignatone said there had been “lamentable violations” by the pope’s prosecutors in failing to give the suspects the chance to respond to all accusations against them during the preliminary phase of the investigation.

Pignatone also repeated his July 29 order for prosecutors to hand over the videotaped recordings of a key suspect-turned-star witness whose testimony formed the basis for several of the charges in the indictment. He rejected as incomprehensible the prosecutors’ arguments that the witness’ privacy would be compromised if the tapes were released to the defense.


3. Manchin’s ‘red line’ on abortion splits Democrats, By Aris Folley, The Hill, October 6, 2021, 6:00 AM

Democrats are clashing over whether to include in their sweeping spending plan a decades-old amendment that blocks Medicaid and other federal health programs from being used to cover abortions.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), already a key stumbling block to Democratic unity on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, has drawn a line in the sand around the issue, but others in the party are split over whether to include the so-called Hyde Amendment in a portion of the spending bill that would create a new federal program to provide health care coverage to low-income individuals in GOP-led states that haven’t adopted Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In recent days, Manchin has signaled he would not support the package without the amendment, which has been included in annual government funding bills since it was introduced by then-Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) in the 1970s.


4. ‘Relic of the past’: Why women don’t need Roe v. Wade to flourish now, By Maureen Ferguson, USA Today, October 6, 2021, 8:00 AM, Opinion

The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on Dec. 1 for the most consequential abortion case in a generation.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization involves a Mississippi law limiting most abortions past 15 weeks. With this case, the court must reconsider the premise of Roe v. Wade.

The case has attracted an extraordinary number of friend-of-the-court briefs, some offering a refreshing vision of how women are flourishing and what it means to be human.

A quick summary of key briefs illustrates the competing visions. It is striking that one vision is filled with hope, beauty and compassion, reflecting the loving interdependence of human beings.

The other is overwrought with despair, tragically limited in terms of resourcefulness and resiliency, and utterly discordant – positioning mother against child.

Mary Ann Glendon and O. Carter Snead, professors of law at Harvard and Notre Dame universities, brilliantly argue the court should return abortion policy to the states to allow for a more harmonious human response to the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy.

Another brief written by 240 women scholars and pro-life feminist organizations, led by Helen Alvare of the Scalia Law School at George Mason University, provides mountains of evidence that women’s social and economic advancement over the past decades has not been dependent upon abortion access.

A heart-warming brief from female physicians, including my colleague Dr. Grazie Christie, illuminates the advances in science and medicine since 1973 in understanding fetal pain, fetal and maternal medicine, and ultrasound technology.

In stark contrast, the brief filed by the abortion lobby is stuck in a 1970s mindset. It is a hopeless series of anecdotes from abortion doctors focused on their own feelings toward their trade, creepily describing how it feels “natural” to end the life of a fellow human being.

The reasoning undergirding Roe is a relic of the past. Progress requires us to update our laws to reflect what we know in our hearts to be true about the flourishing of human persons, both mother and child.

Maureen Ferguson is a senior fellow for The Catholic Association.


5. Planned Parenthood’s Supreme Court brief is highly deceptive, No arguments on the rights of the unborn, only scaring stories meant to distract, By Leigh Fitzpatrick Snead, The Washington Times, October 6, 2021, Pg. B4, Opinion

Friend-of-the-court briefs have now been filed in the Supreme Court abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The brief filed by Planned Parenthood and other major abortion providers is starkly revealing – just not in the way they intended.

It has little analysis of the Mississippi law and nothing about the unborn child at 15 weeks – the issue at the heart of the case. Instead, it is a maudlin fog of stories meant to distract and gaslight. The brief makes plain that the nation’s largest abortion provider fails to concern itself with women or children, health care, or even science.

In one Orwellian passage after another, the brief talks about how abortion “saves lives.” It features anecdotes of women whose pregnancies were life-threatening even though the Mississippi law at issue in Dobbs includes a “medical emergency exception.”

Another of the brief’s macabre passages says that “abortion providers are on the cutting edge of ethical health care in this country.” But it fails to explain why, if this were true, the overwhelming majority of ob-gyns aren’t willing to perform abortions, with one 2011 study showing only 14% would perform the procedure.

For a brief that truly focuses on the heart of the matter in this case, a brief that discusses a 15-week old unborn baby in all its wonderfully made glory, read an amicus brief in support of Mississippi filed by three female physicians who serve women in need – a radiologist, neonatologist, and an ob-gyn. They stunningly describe what a child is capable of at 15 weeks gestation, the point after which the Mississippi law bans elective abortions: “Not only is the baby’s heartbeat detectable … but the four chambers of the fetal heart are visible. So is the blood “whooshing” between the chambers on color doppler ultrasound…The fetal profile is petite perfection: the gently sloping nose, the distinct upper and lower lips. The mouth opens, and we can even see the tongue move in high-resolution images…This is the living reality of what is at issue in this case: a tiny boy or girl who, at 15 weeks, kicks, breathes, and hiccups, who has little fingers that open and close …. ” Anyone paying attention can see from its brief that Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry have no legal argument to make. Their only hope is to distract from the facts of the case, which undoubtedly support Mississippi’s right to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

Leigh Fitzpatrick Snead is a Fellow for The Catholic Association.


6. Old-Fashioned Originalism and the Case Against Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court justices shouldn’t indulge their own moral preferences in interpreting the Constitution., By Ed Whelan, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2021, Pg. A16, Opinion

In “Originalist’ Judges Lose Sight of Truths that Precede Law” (op-ed, Sept. 30), Hadley Arkes proposes a “better originalism” that he thinks is rooted in the “moral ground of the Constitution.” But as we old-fashioned originalists recognize, the Constitution’s moral ground includes the propositions that judging is distinct from legislating and that Supreme Court justices shouldn’t indulge their own moral preferences in interpreting the Constitution.

Mr. Arkes twice claims that the standard originalist case against Roe v. Wade (1973) is merely that “abortion is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution.” But the case for the position that the Fourteenth Amendment allows states broad leeway in regulating or prohibiting abortion in fact rests heavily on historical evidence, including the many state laws that existed at the time that the amendment was ratified.


7. In Vatican trial surprise, defense turns the tables. And it might work, By JD Flynn, The Pillar, October 5, 2021, Opinion

The Vatican’s historic criminal trial of Cardinal Angelo Becciu and nine other defendants could come to an end Wednesday, if judges rule that the case’s investigative phase should be reopened because prosecutors have not followed the rules of evidence and criminal procedure.

That ruling wouldn’t formally bring the case to an end, but it would be widely understood as a sign that the Vatican City’s prosecutors are not up to the job they’ve been given, and need a mulligan to set things right. If judges give them a reset, there is a decent chance the case will never again see the inside of a courtroom.

In fact, the reason prosecutors offered to reopen their investigation is because they’ve been hammered by the defense with criticisms of their work up to this point. And the defense have both a European regulatory agency and a British judge on their side; both have also criticized prosecutorial efforts in the case.

It would be regarded as a major victory for the defense counsel if they managed to discredit the Vatican’s prosecutors on just the second day of hearings in the Vatican’s sprawling financial scandal trial.

But if judges rule this week that the trial should continue without interruption, defense lawyers have already telegraphed their next move.

Rather than again discredit the prosecution, they’ll next aim to discredit Vatican City State’s entire criminal justice system. And they might succeed.

Attorneys making motions and arguments which claim the Vatican City State’s courts are not legitimate organs of justice might be preparing to argue to the Italian government that any willingness to incarcerate defendants in the finance trial would be effectively complicity in unjust and unlawful imprisonment.

The Vatican City State would say it is a sovereign entity, with the right to conduct its courts according to its own law. But if lawyers are able to persuade Italian judges that Vatican criminal courts are procedurally illegitimate, they could put a halt to any cooperation from Italy in the court’s proceedings.


8. Bishops to continue discussion of Catholics and Eucharist in fall meeting, By Carol Zimmermann, Catholic News Service, October 5, 2021

When the U.S. bishops meet this fall for their annual assembly, they will revisit the discussion they began in mid-June about the Eucharist and will be presented with a drafted document on the “meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the church.”

But in the time since their virtual spring assembly, the topic of the Eucharist, and particularly the debate it raised about denying Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion, has prompted ongoing discussion.


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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