1. Justice Department seeks order against Texas abortion law, By Associated Press, September 15, 2021, 1:10 AM

The Justice Department has asked a federal court in Texas to stop the enforcement of a new state law that bans most abortions in the state while it decides the case.

The Texas law, known as SB8, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity — usually around six weeks, before some women know they’re pregnant. Courts have blocked other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law differs significantly because it leaves enforcement to private citizens through civil lawsuits instead of criminal prosecutors.

In Tuesday night’s emergency motion in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, the Justice Department said “a court may enter a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction as a means of preventing harm to the movant before the court can fully adjudicate the claims in dispute.”


2. How Catholic dioceses are handling COVID vaccine employer mandates, By Kate Scanlon and Michelle La Rosa, The Pillar, September 14, 2021

Catholic dioceses will not be exempt from the employer vaccine mandates announced last week by the Biden administration – and responses to the mandate could bring into the spotlight already-existing divisions among Catholics over vaccine mandates.

The new federal regulations, announced September 9, will be implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They will require organizations that employ at least 100 people to mandate that their employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or take weekly COVID tests.

“The OSHA vaccine mandate applies to dioceses that employ more than 100 people,” Roger Severino, Senior Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, told The Pillar.

He added that the religious exemptions included in the mandate “are so narrow that I question their legality.”


3. Senators condemn protest at Kavanaugh’s home after Texas abortion law allowed to take effect, By Ann E. Marimow, The Washington Post, September 14, 2021, 2:00 PM

Senators from both political parties on Tuesday criticized an abortion rights demonstration outside the home of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh a night prior.

A group of about 50 people gathered at his residence in the D.C. suburbs to protest the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to block a Texas law banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and called for Kavanaugh’s resignation.

Speaking at the start of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) called the protests “another blatant attempt to intimidate the judiciary” and anyone who “disagrees with the radical agenda.”


4. National Catholic Prayer Breakfast speakers emphasize evangelism, unity, By Kurt Jensen, Catholic News Service, September 14, 2021

Evangelism and Christian unity were the main topics at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Sept. 14, an event which often puts more emphasis on politics and pro-life advocacy.

“The commitment to the truth will always transcend the knee-jerk categories and characterizations that are the media’s daily bread, let’s face it,” said Bishop Steven J. Lopes, who heads the Houston-based Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.

If the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s abortion ban, Maureen Ferguson, a National Catholic Prayer Breakfast board member, said: “We all need to step up for mothers in need.”


5. Catholic Hong Kong activist honored at prayer breakfast, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 14, 2021, 4:01 PM

A Catholic democracy advocate was honored in absentia on Tuesday at a Catholic gathering in Washington, D.C., while he remains imprisoned in Hong Kong.

Jimmy Lai, a media entrepreneur and Catholic pro-democracy advocate in Hong Kong, was given the Christifidelis Laici award on Sept. 14 by organizers of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast. The award is named for Pope John Paul II’s 1988 exhortation on the mission of the laity in the world.

Lai “believed that we are created for truth and that it is our job to speak the truth,” said William McGurn, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board who accepted the award on Lai’s behalf on Tuesday. “His publications told the truth about China & Hong Kong.”


6. Blocked from serving their church, Catholic women push for female deacons, By Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service, September 14, 2021, 4:03 PM

Casey Stanton wanted to offer encouragement, love and healing to the inmates at the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, where she served as a chaplain intern a few years ago.

But as a Catholic woman she could not represent her church there in any official capacity.

The state of North Carolina requires chaplains in its state prison system to be ordained. And the Catholic Church does not ordain women — neither as priests, nor as deacons.

In April, Stanton co-founded Discerning Deacons, an organization that urges conversation in the Catholic Church around ordaining women deacons. Stanton hopes it might add to ongoing efforts on multiple continents to restore women to the ordained diaconate, which the church in its early centuries allowed.

On Monday (Sept. 13), a new commission set up by Pope Francis to study women in the diaconate began meeting for one week in Rome. It is the fourth group since the 1970s to discuss ordaining women deacons, and many are hoping they will release their recommendations publicly so the church can lay the groundwork for restoring the order.


7. Two Cheers For The Texas Heartbeat Act, By Josh Hammer, First Things, September 9, 2021, Opinion

We have seen a tremendous amount of misinformation, disingenuousness, and unjustified hysteria this week in response to S.B. 8, Texas’s novel new heartbeat law, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The Supreme Court, by a narrow 5-4 margin, denied various Texas abortion provider plaintiffs’ emergency request for the Court to enjoin any enforcement of the Texas Heartbeat Act.

The arcane procedural structure of the Texas Heartbeat Act has thus far ensured its survival, amid judicial scrutiny, where other states’ similar fetal heartbeat laws have failed. The short- to medium-term result is that hundreds, possibly thousands, of innocent unborn Texans will be spared an untimely death. That is itself worth celebrating—indeed, it is itself worthy of two cheers for the novel law. Pro-lifers should be joyful about this substantive result.

But a full three cheers is inappropriate for at least two reasons.

First, as Blackman noted, “S.B. 8 expressly stipulates that citizens’ suits must comply with Roe v. Wade.” That is a rather curious inclusion on the part of the draftsmen, for the simple reason that a large swath of post-fetal heartbeat abortions still occur before fetal “viability” and are thus suspect under Roe and its infamous successor, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Second, and related, the Texas law makes no attempt to shift the constitutional playing field on the substantive abortion jurisprudence of Roe, Casey, and Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

By the time procedurally adequate litigation is launched under S.B. 8, many unborn Texan lives will have been spared. That is a beautiful thing, and pro-lifers around the nation should be pleased. But cable news-induced hysteria notwithstanding, the Texas abortion law amounts to a dilatory tactic. It does not take direct aim at Roe and Casey. An anxious pro-life movement awaits clarity on that front.

Josh Hammer is Newsweek opinion editor, a research fellow at the Edmund Burke Foundation, and a contributing editor of Anchoring Truths.


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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