1. Federal Judge Blocks Texas Abortion Law, Judge grants Justice Department request for preliminary injunction against six-week abortion ban, By Brent Kendall, The Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2021, Pg. A3

A federal judge late Wednesday blocked enforcement of a Texas ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, a legal blow against a novel law that has severely limited the procedure statewide.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin issued a preliminary injunction blocking the law, saying the state had pursued “an unprecedented and aggressive scheme to deprive its citizens of a significant and well-established constitutional right.”

His order came in a case brought by the Justice Department, which sued Texas last month after abortion-rights advocates were unable to obtain a court order against the Texas restrictions.

The ruling is likely to spark a new chapter of fast-track legal proceedings that could land back at the Supreme Court in the coming weeks.


2. The Catholic Church’s never-ending scandal, A new French report reinforces the awful scale of clergy sexual abuse of children., By The Washington Post, October 7, 2021, Pg. A24, Editorial

The scale of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and lay figures against children in France since 1950, detailed in a report this week by an independent commission, was a jaw-dropping reminder that revelations of the church’s complicity and coverup in the scandal have not run their course, nearly two decades after they gained wide public notice.

Those findings prompted acknowledgments from senior French Catholic officials that the church had been disgraced. At the same time the report also bestowed upon victims knowledge at least as important: institutional recognition of the truth. In the absence of that, justice, let alone healing, is a pipe dream.

In Maryland, the office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) began contacting past victims of sex abuse by Catholic clergy and others in the fall of 2018, within weeks of the publication of the Pennsylvania report. In January 2019, Mr. Frosh announced a telephone hotline and email for abuse victims to report their stories. Investigators undertook what victims said were painstaking, detailed interviews.

Yet three years after that effort was launched, there are no announced conclusions, no report and no public updates beyond oblique official acknowledgments that an investigation is ongoing. Granted, prosecutors do not typically issue public pronouncements on probes while they are in progress. But at this point, Marylanders are entitled to ask: What is taking so long?


3. Abortion provision is latest roadblock in Democrats’ negotiations on spending bills, By Mica Soellner, The Washington Times, October 7, 2021, Pg. A4

President Biden now says he’s prepared to sign the proposed $3.5 trillion social-spending bill whether the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding for abortions, makes it into the package or not.

“I’d sign it either way,” Mr. Biden told reporters late Tuesday, adding that he wants to get the bill passed.

Despite the president’s suggested indifference about Hyde, the amendment could be a roadblock between liberal and moderate Democrats, who disagree on whether to include it or get rid of the amendment.


4. Republicans berate judge over religious-liberty case, By Alex Swoyer, The Washington Times, October 7, 2021, Pg. A2

President Biden’s nominee for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was in the hot seat with Republican senators Wednesday over her COVID-19 rulings against religious liberty.

At the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Judge Lucy Haeran Koh, a ruling in which she sided against a group of worshippers became a sticking point. Some Christians wished to hold a Bible study in their homes, but were prohibited under California’s COVID-19 restrictions. Secular gatherings — like at a salon or grocery store — were allowed. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling overturned Judge Koh’s ruling and sided with the church members. “Your decision was completely contrary to the law,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican. “Is it really that obscure to say that if California wants to allow casinos, bars, and strip clubs and movie studios to stay open, they also have to allow Christians to have a Bible study in their home?”


5. In money and sex abuse cases, Vatican tribunal shows some spine, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, October 7, 2021, Opinion

On the limited number of occasions when the Vatican tribunal now handles a case of consequence, the working assumption has been that it convicts who it’s supposed to convict and acquits who it’s supposed to acquit – i.e., that its role is to rubberstamp decisions made elsewhere, while lending them a veneer of legal respectability.

Yesterday, however, that perceived rubber stamp showed some spine.

Under presiding Judge Giuseppe Pignatone, former Chief Magistrate of Rome, the court issued rulings in two separate cases, each of which required some measure of resolve. Both represented an act of defiance against two entities which traditionally have wielded considerable influence over criminal cases here – in the first case, the Vatican’s prosecutor’s office, and in the second, the more ephemeral court of public opinion.

The first ruling came in the Vatican’s “trial of the century,” a blockbuster case involving ten defendants, including the very first cardinal to face such an indictment, and centering on a $400 million London property deal gone horribly wrong.

Unlike other witnesses, prosecutors videotaped Perlasca’s testimony, but they didn’t include those recordings in the materials submitted to the court and defense lawyers. During a hearing in July, the tribunal ordered them to turn over those recordings by Aug. 10, but the prosecutors balked citing the need to protect the privacy of those involved.

On Monday those same prosecutors asked the court to allow them to recollect all the evidence in the case, a time-consuming endeavor which presumably would have allowed them to interview Perlasca again and submit only that material, ensuring the tapes never surfaced.

Yesterday, the tribunal in effect replied, “Not so fast.”

While the judges approved the withdrawal and eventual resubmission of some charges, they allowed others to stand. Most importantly, the court ruled the prosecutors can’t have it both ways. They can’t rely on the Perlasca recordings to bring legal charges against someone – which, by definition, is a public act – and then refuse to turn over the recordings on the basis of privacy concerns.

Once again, the tribunal ordered the prosecutors to cough up the tapes, this time with a deadline of Nov. 3.

Tuesday’s second ruling came in the case of a former pre-seminarian named Gabrielle Martinelli, now a priest in the Italian diocese of Como, who’d been charged with sexual abuse of another pre-seminarian in a facility which, at the time, was located on Vatican grounds. The rector at the time, Monsignor Enrico Radice, was also charged with knowing about the abuse but covering it up.

Granted, the legal case was complex from the outset, involving charges that one minor abused another. The accuser also gave shifting, and sometimes conflicting, versions of events. From a PR point of view, however, the narrative was fairly simple: A Vatican court has the chance to show it takes abuse seriously.

Bear in mind, too, that the verdict came less than 24 hours after the release of a massively damning report on clerical sexual abuse in France, creating a swell of negative coverage around the world and stoking new questions about whether claims of reform are for real.

In the end, the judges absolved the two defendants.

What’s not disputable… is that reaching both decisions required the tribunal to show some gumption. If nothing else, that may suggest that as the London trial continues to play out, we have more surprises in store.


6. Better taxation, wealth redistribution are necessary, Vatican official says, By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, October 6, 2021

The increasing and extreme economic inequality in the world is rooted in an ideology of individualism in which investments and prosperity are aimed only at driving profit not helping the common good, said Archbishop Paul R. Gallagher, Vatican foreign minister.

“As wages have decreased, millions of individuals have been plunged into poverty, and this has set back poverty reduction targets by nearly a decade. The fault lines of the global economy, in fact, have been dramatically exposed,” he said Oct. 5, addressing a high-level U.N. meeting held online and hosted by the Caribbean island of Barbados.

More specifically, he said, there need to be new policies and changes in regulations in a number of areas.

“First, fighting rampant inequality cannot be achieved without fiscal redistribution and increasing the progressiveness of income taxation schedules,” he said, referring to fiscal and monetary policies that would redistribute income or benefits and to increasing tax rates as one’s taxable income increases.

There needs to be “adequate enforcement of corporate taxation, especially multinational enterprises,” he said, since “better taxation can redistribute a portion of the rents accruing to big corporations and help build up tax bases, especially in developing countries.”


7. Pope Francis creates new Vatican foundation for Catholic hospitals facing financial difficulties, By Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2021, 12:00 PM

Pope Francis has created a new foundation offering financial support to Catholic hospitals, the Vatican announced on Wednesday.

The pope established the foundation with a decree called a chirograph, the Holy See press office said on Oct. 6.

The document, dated Sept. 29, said that the pope had agreed to create the foundation for Catholic healthcare — known in Italian as the Fondazione per la Sanità Cattolica — in response to requests for “direct intervention” by the Vatican to help Catholic institutions.

Vatican News reported that the pope took the step in “the light of financial difficulties faced by a number of Catholic health facilities run by religious orders, who are sometimes forced to sell them.”


8. Vatican court absolves former altar boy in sex abuse trial, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 6, 2021

A Vatican tribunal absolved a former altar boy of charges that he molested a younger boy in the Vatican’s youth seminary, ruling Wednesday in the first clergy sexual abuse trial to be heard by the pope’s criminal court.

The three-judge panel acquitted Rev. Gabriele Martinelli of some charges and ruled others couldn’t be punished or allegedly occurred too long ago. The former rector of the seminary, the Rev. Enrico Radice, was similarly absolved.


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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