1. Supreme Court Declines to Block Restrictive Texas Abortion Law, By Brent Kendall and Jess Bravin, The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2021, 1:45 AM

A divided Supreme Court late on Wednesday allowed the nation’s toughest restrictions on abortions to take effect, declining to block a new Texas law that bars the procedure after about six weeks of pregnancy.

The court’s nighttime order, which rejected an emergency request by clinics and abortion-rights advocates, marks a turning point in the legal battle over abortion rights and comes the day the Texas ban went into force. While not a final ruling on the measure’s constitutionality, the court’s action validates, at least temporarily, a novel attempt by Texas lawmakers to insulate antiabortion legislation from court challenge.

The unsigned order came on a 5-4 vote, with most of the conservative justices in the majority.

The high-court majority said abortion providers “raised serious questions regarding the constitutionality of the Texas law at issue.” But the court went on to say that continuing litigation over the abortion restrictions raised “complex and novel” questions about legal procedure that undercut the providers’ request to halt the ban right now.

“In light of such issues, we cannot say the applicants have met their burden to prevail in an injunction or stay application,” the court wrote.

Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s three liberal justices dissented.


2. All talk: Has Pope Francis given up on getting something out of the China deal?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, September 1, 2021, Opinion

Pope Francis offered rare comments on the Vatican’s dealings with China, defending the Church’s controversial diplomatic efforts with the Communist regime while acknowledging that the process has yielded “questionable” results.

The pope was unusually candid for a Vatican official about the challenge of engagement with China, while doubling down on commitment to the diplomatic process. But the pope’s remarks raise the prospect that the Church is now committed to “dialogue” for its own sake, and has given up any expectation of real progress.

The pope also acknowledged criticism of the controversial Vatican-China deal, which handed the government a role in the appointment of bishops and has heaped pressure on local clergy to take oaths of loyalty to the state-sponsored Church under Communist authority.

Francis said he sympathized with those who wanted to “set the pope’s path” for him on China, and allowed that the criticism can be legitimate “if it is done with good will.” But, despite this apparent openness to other opinions, many within the Vatican say that there is actually little, if any, tolerance for disagreement on the Vatican’s China policy.

Taken as a whole, with only a handful of new bishops appointed for the country, and the apparently settled internal opinion that the Vatican has no influence to wield on human rights, it seems fair to ask what, if anything, Rome has gained from its Chinese diplomacy — and what, if anything, it hopes to achieve in the future.

The current version of the Vatican-China deal is set to run through 2022. But, with it increasingly clear that the pope expects neither good faith in diplomatic talks or concrete results on the ground, it’s paradoxically hard to see it not being extended, or ever judged a success.


3. Two Bold and True Responses to the Dangers of Gender Ideology, By Father Roger Landry, National Catholic Register, September 1, 2021, Opinion

The push to substitute “gender identity” or “gender expression” for biological sex has enormous ramifications in terms of law, education, economy, health, medicine, safety, sports, language and culture, as well as in terms of basic anthropology, human dignity, human rights, marriage and family, motherhood and fatherhood, and the cause of women, men, and especially children.

For that reason, Pope Francis has repeatedly, courageously and emphatically spoken out. He has done so not just out of love for the truth, but consistent with his pastoral prioritization for those on the peripheries of existence, especially those who bear the difficult cross of feeling trapped in the biological reality of a body discordant with their psychological self-identification.

Various governmental institutions and professional societies have sought to ban mental health professionals from even offering such care, despite the well-documented harm that comes from the malpractice of giving young children puberty blockers, then cross-sex hormones, and finally gender-reassignment surgery.

That’s why Pope Francis’ moral leadership and clarity on this issue is so important. It’s also why his courage must literally encourage others in the Church to follow him in speaking out and working to oppose gender ideology and trying to help those with gender confusion get the true help they need.

One prelate who has certainly risen to occasion is Bishop Michael Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, who on Aug. 12 published a pastoral letter, “A Catechesis on the Human Person and Gender Ideology,” which is probably the finest articulation of the Church’s pastoral approach to gender ideology written anywhere until now.

In response to the great danger of a misguided charity and false compassion to those with gender dysphoria, the pastoral letter models truth in charity and authentic mercy. It deserves not just to be read, but studied and shared.

Father Roger Landry Father Roger J. Landry, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, is national chaplain for Catholic Voices USA.


4. Biden ‘deeply committed’ to legal abortion, after Texas’ pro-life law goes into effect, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, September 1, 2021, 12:30 PM

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said his administration is “deeply committed” to upholding legal abortion, after Texas’ pro-life “heartbeat” law went into effect.

“My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right,” Biden, a Catholic, said of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

​​The Texas Heartbeat Act went into effect on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court did not act on a last-minute petition to block the law.


5. Bill tells NC hospitals to let in clergy during emergency, By Associated Press, September 1, 2021

North Carolina hospitals would be required to let a pastor or other clergy member visit a patient even during a declared emergency like a pandemic under legislation that received final General Assembly approval on Wednesday.

The bill, which got unanimous Senate approval almost four months after a House vote, would require the minister to comply with health screenings and other infection controls that don’t interfere with religious beliefs. Hospitals could deny access to clergy members who didn’t pass the screening.


6. Make the brave choice to lead a simpler, eco-friendly life, pope says, By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, September 1, 2021

People should change the way they eat, travel and use natural resources, energy and products so they minimize their harm to the earth, Pope Francis said.

“Let us pray that we all will make courageous choices, the choices necessary for a simple and environmentally sustainable lifestyle, taking inspiration from our young people who are resolutely committed to this,” the pope said.

In a video message released by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network Sept. 1, the pope offered his prayer intention for the month of September, which he dedicated to “an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.”


7. Vatican exonerates Brooklyn Bishop accused of sexual abuse, By Bobby Caina Calvan, Associated Press, September 1, 2021

The Vatican has concluded that allegations of sexual abuse dating back a half century against the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn do not “have the semblance of truth,” but an attorney for the accusers said they would press forward with their civil cases.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, said Wednesday that the Vatican has closed its investigation into allegations made separately by two men, who accused the bishop, Nicholas DiMarzio, of abusing them a half century ago when he was a priest in New Jersey.

In response to the allegations, Dolan hired a law firm to conduct an investigation. That inquiry was led by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The findings were then forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for its review, which determined that the accusations were baseless.


8. Catholic bishop: Harvard jumped the shark with atheist ‘chaplain’, By Robert Barron, New York Post, August 31, 2021, Opinion

Word has just come down the line that Harvard University has elected its first-ever atheist chaplain.  Yes, you read that right: Greg Epstein, who identifies as a “humanist rabbi,” has been chosen as president of chaplains for the religious community at the fancy Ivy.

Talk about jumping the shark.

Epstein, who has been ministering to the nonbelievers and nonreligious seekers at Harvard, has been described as a “devout atheist.” Yet he will be coordinating the efforts of all the chaplains at one of America’s premier universities.

Churches should, of course, be reaching out to this demographic, including by sponsoring conversation klatches, or philosophical debating societies, or pizza and beer forums where students discuss matters ethical and spiritual. And if Harvard wanted to appoint an unbeliever to oversee these confabs, the school would get no argument from me.

What does bother me is the complete and abject surrender on the part of the presumably religious leaders at Harvard who chose this man. If a professed atheist counts as a chaplain — which is to say, a leader of religious services in a chapel — then “religion” has quite obviously come to mean nothing at all.

I’m sure Epstein is a nice fellow. I have nothing against him. But I do want to urge his presumably religious colleagues at Harvard who elected him: Show a little self-respect. Being a chaplain has something to do with the worship of God — and you shouldn’t be ashamed to say it.

Robert Barron is the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles.


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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