TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 74 – Law And Leviathan With Adrian Vermeule & Why Liberalism Failed With Patrick Deneen
On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie discusses the rise of Liberalism given these current contentious times with two notable professors. Professor Adrian Vermeule of Harvard University joins with his new book, Law & Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State, and his own concept of common good constitutionalism. Professor Patrick Deneen of University of Notre Dame also joins as we revisit his classic, Why Liberalism Failed, and he also offers Catholics a truer, more nobler idea of liberty.
1. Pope seeks to ‘’liberate” Virgin Mary from the Mafia, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 18, 2020, 7:20 AM
Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the Mafia and organized crime groups from exploiting the image of the Virgin Mary for their own illicit ends.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Marian Academy launched the think tank Friday at a conference entitled “Liberating Mary from the Mafia.”
2. Defend Religious Freedom in the US and Abroad, By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer & Fr. Benedict Kieley, Real Clear Religion, September 18, 2020, Opinion
This term, the high court will again be asked to safeguard religious freedom against demands for ideological conformity. Fulton v. City of Philadelphia involves a Catholic-run foster care agency. City officials cut its decades-old ties with the agency after they realized that the agency would not operate contrary to church teaching on the nature of marriage. If last term is any indication, it’s highly likely that the Supreme Court will protect the Catholic agency’s right to serve needy children without having to abandon religious belief.
People of faith should be thankful that there is a federal judiciary inclined to protect them. But they also need to think beyond our borders, because the suppression of religious freedom here could have a terrible effect on parts of the world where faith is already experiencing a frontal assault.
Over the past few years, the United States has belatedly woken up to this international nightmare.
3. America Needs a Conservative Labor Movement, Revived and reformed unions can serve the traditional Republican goals of empowering individuals and preserving communities, By Oren Cass, The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2020, 5:53 PM, Opinion
Among modern institutions, one stands out for the breadth of conservative priorities it could advance: generating widespread prosperity, limiting government intervention, preserving families and ways of life, revitalizing communities and fostering solidarity. That institution is the labor union. 

Conservative social analysts have long celebrated the role of unions in free societies. The eminent sociologist Robert Nisbet declared unions “the true supports of economic freedom.” And as the labor expert Brian Dijkema notes, “It is no coincidence that what finally broke the Soviet Union was a Catholic trade union.” That union, Poland’s Solidarity, received substantial support from U.S. unions, which were ardently anticommunist.
For St. John Paul II, labor solidarity was a central tenet of Catholic social teaching. “The experience of history teaches that organizations of this type are an indispensable element of social life, especially in modern industrialized societies,” he wrote in 1981 as Solidarity gained momentum. “It is clear that, even if it is because of their work needs that people unite to secure their rights, their union remains a constructive factor of social order and solidarity.”

Rising corporate profits don’t lift workers’ boats on their own, nor will workers patiently take on water forever. The response favored by the left is to create more and larger programs of government redistribution and regulation. A better alternative would be to revitalize an institution capable of helping workers claim for themselves a genuine seat at the table and a larger share of the economy’s gains. Seen from this wider angle, the idea of a conservative labor movement doesn’t seem so crazy.
Mr. Cass is the executive director of American Compass and the author of “The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America.”
4. Trump’s New SCOTUS List Stirs Debate, While Biden Stays Mum, The president added 20 names to his working list of potential nominees for the Supreme Court, including three GOP senators, while Joe Biden, who has pledged to name a Black woman, has yet to release his top picks., By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, September 17, 2020
On Sept. 9, when Trump announced that he had added new names to his short list — the fourth time he has done so, the move reminded Republicans and Independents that the White House has made the issue a centerpiece of his reelection strategy.

“The list reinforces the president’s commitment to making this issue a high priority in his second term,” said Leonard Leo, a conservative legal movement leader who has advised the last three Republican administrations on judicial selections.
It will help “energize the GOP base, faithful Catholics and evangelicals, and others who understand that the courts have played an outsized role in driving a lot of the cultural controversies of the last several decades.”

By contrast, Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, has adopted a very different approach to this issue during the final months of his campaign for president.
Before choosing Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a former prosecutor of Indian and Jamaican ancestry, as his running mate, Biden promised to appoint a Black woman to the high court.
“We are putting together a list of a group of African American women who are qualified and have the experience to be on the court,” Biden told reporters in late June.
Noting that the prospective nominees still faced extensive background checks, Biden did not reveal any names. Almost three months later, his campaign still has not provided any specifics, and he did not mention the courts during his Aug. 20 acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.

At present, Biden already faces pressure from his party’s left flank to support its picks for judicial appointments. Demand Justice, an increasingly influential progressive group that has made Trump’s Supreme Court nominees a campaign issue in battlefield states, has released its own short list.

While Trump’s latest list with its inclusion of three GOP senators, a White House deputy counsel and the U.S. ambassador to Mexico raised some eyebrows, it is not yet clear whether these names have reassured pro-life voters. And Cruz and Hawley have now signaled they have no intention of leaving the Senate.
But Leonard Leo, who has worked with three GOP administrations on the selection of Supreme Court nominees based on “jurisprudential outlook,” took the diverse, and more “overtly political,” list in stride.
During an election year, “the president is reaching out to many different constituencies in his movement, and the list is reflective of that,” said Leo.
“Some [on the list] will have long and deep records, and some may need some time to build a deeper record. But they are all people who share his vision.”
5. The Crucial Issue of School Choice Is On the Ballot This Election, By Grazie Pozo Christie, Townhall, September 17, 2020, 1:32 PM, Opinion
Catholic parochial schools have long been lifelines for underprivileged and immigrant children. So, going to the polls this November, Americans who appreciate the enormous individual and societal benefits provided by Catholic parochial schools should take note of where the candidates stand on the crucial issue of school choice.  
As it turns out, the difference between political parties and presidential candidates is stark. 
On one side we have Joe Biden. The powerful teachers’ unions have endorsed him because they feel confident he will continue to support a monolithic public school system that has underperformed for millions and contributed heavily to the racial disparities that fuel current urban unrest. The unions incessantly call for more “investment” into schools that have failed – failed not for lack of funds but from an institutional culture that is broken.  

On the other side of the issue is President Trump. The first night of the Republican National Convention showcased a California public school teacher who pointed out that union efforts to stop school choice are responsible for “trapping so many precious, low-income children in dangerous, corrupt and low-performing schools.” And, as South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott said about his own difficult childhood, “I realized a quality education is the closest thing to magic in America. That’s why I fight this day for school choice.”  
This explains why Trump’s second-term agenda promises to “Provide School Choice to Every Child in America.” It’s a promise built on past performance. In 2017, the Trump administration expanded tax-deferred 529 education savings accounts so they can be used for parochial schools. This year, the president insisted, over the objections of teacher unions and congressional Democrats, that Catholic and other private schools be eligible for Covid-19 aid.  

Happily for President Trump, school choice not only remedies the grave inequality in American education, it’s also popular. A recent survey found that 78 percent of Republicans and Democrats favor education savings accounts, and a full 59 percent of Democrats favor school vouchers. Indeed, 72 percent of black and Hispanic parents do as well. For them, the failing of public schools is up close and personal. Their kids’ futures – and in a very real sense, our country’s future – may very well hang in the balance.
The 2020 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns have dealt a mortal blow to countless businesses and institutions across the country – schools are no exception. As the new school year begins (sort of), it’s worth noting that many beloved Catholic parochial schools have been shuttered. Gone after surviving world wars, great depressions, and recessions. The fate of many of the remaining Catholic schools may depend whether the person in power for the next four years favors school choice – or not. 
Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association and co-host of the syndicated radio show Conversations with Consequences
6. Pew sees religious voters’ support for 2020 nominees mirroring past elections, By Kurt Jensen, Catholic News Service, September 17, 2020
Support for Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden from voters who identify as religious appears to adhere to earlier patterns, a Pew researcher told a Georgetown University panel Sept. 15.
According to recent Pew Research Center polling, 59 percent of white Catholics say they’re voting for Trump, with 40% supporting Biden. Hispanic Catholics shift the other direction, favoring Biden 65%.

Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac, senior researcher at Pew, said the data also was consistent with exit polls from 2016. “Those might not be too surprising for anyone following these trends,” she observed.
Trump voters appear to be more deeply motivated. About two-thirds of white evangelicals say “their vote for (Trump) is a true vote for him” and not just a vote against Biden, Sciupac said.
Abortion, survey results indicate, is a more important issue for white evangelicals (61 percent) than for white Catholics (38 percent), Hispanic Catholics (39 percent) or Black Protestants (33 percent). The response on abortion trailed the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign policy, immigration and climate change as top election issues.
7. Cardinal Tobin Doesn’t Help When He Criticizes Voting for Donald Trump, By Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, September 17, 2020, 1:05 PM, Opinion
Newark’s Cardinal Tobin has said that it is more problematic to vote for Donald Trump than for Joe Biden. With all due respect, I don’t know that he should be making that call in either direction. The bishops’ role is to inform consciences. He seems to think we are beyond “single issue” voting. Unfortunately, I think he buys into some cultural lies in his implication. By single issue, we, of course, know he means abortion. But here’s the thing: Abortion has never been a single issue…Abortion kills. And more than the baby. It harms the woman. It wrecks families. It always changes things. Think about little things in your life that have had enduring impacts. Sometimes unintentional things, sometimes evil. Abortion is evil. It pits a mother against her child. We pretend it is health care. We pretend it’s necessary. We don’t even say necessary evil. We celebrate it (Andrew Cuomo’s lighting up the Freedom Tower and the bridge he named after his father always seems to be a most perverse example) and literally have women shouting their abortions.

One of my pet peeves, though, is people sitting around complaining about bishops and what they should or shouldn’t do. So, I’m done now, and will try to keep doing some of that work we often seem to assume is the purview of the bishops in the public square myself, for what it’s worth. Because we are all part of the Church, so we need more Catholic leaders, not fewer. Step up to the plate with God as your witness, fueled by His love for us. Imagine how that could change so much. Pray for it, rigorously and overflowing with hope and a desire to preserve and protect life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom. Including the freedom to operate in good conscience going forward. We owe it to those who have given their live for the same. We owe it to the likes of the Little Sisters of the Poor, who have gone to the Supreme Court twice to protect our first freedom. Joe Biden promises to force them back. Joe Biden makes it impossible for me to vote for him. That saddens — and angers — me, frankly. Because if he were who he sometimes claims to be, we could be a much healthier country.
8. Why priests don’t endorse candidates: Experts respond to FEC chair, By Ed Condon, Catholic News Agency, September 17, 2020, 5:00 PM
In an interview Wednesday, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission accused Catholic bishops of “hiding” behind the Church’s tax exempt status instead of backing political candidates, and said that priests and lay Catholics have a “right” to conduct political activity on parish premises.
The Catholic Church has had long-standing policies against endorsing particular candidates for political office. Experts in civil and canon law explained to CNA why Catholic clerics do not endorse political candidates, and why that issue touches on the religious liberty of the Church.
James E. Trainor, a Catholic, was appointed to the bipartisan commission by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the Senate earlier this year. He spoke Wednesday in an interview with the website Church Militant.
In his interview, Trainor questioned the legal and moral authority of bishops to limit the endorsement of candidates from the pulpit and in the pews.

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told CNA that in his view Trainor’s comments reflected a serious misunderstanding of the relationship between priests and bishops in the Church.
“Mr. Trainor seems woefully ill-informed about the relationship between the bishop and priests of a diocese,” Weigel said.
“He also seems to think of his fellow-Catholics as dolts who require specific instructions on voting from their religious leaders.”
Weigel reflected on a longstanding American anti-Catholic stereotype that bishops and priests direct Catholics about how to cast their votes.
Trainor’s view “mirrors the false charge laid against Catholic immigrants for decades by anti-Catholic bigots, which suggests that Mr. Trainor is also not very well versed in U.S. Catholic history,” Weigel said.
9. Former top U.S. Catholic official: There are ‘morally grave’ reasons to vote for Biden, By Thomas Reese, Religion News Service, September 17, 2020, 2:30 PM
There are “morally grave” reasons Catholics should vote for Joe Biden for president rather than Donald Trump, according to a former top official at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who endorsed the former vice president in an article in the Jesuit journal America on Thursday.
The article by John Carr, who worked for decades as the bishops’ adviser on issues of justice and peace, marks the first time he has endorsed a political candidate.

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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