1. Texas Doctor Says He Defied State Law by Performing Abortion, Antiabortion group is looking into the case of Alan Braid, who said he terminated a pregnancy after six weeks, By Christine Mai-Duc, The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2021, Pg. A3

An antiabortion group in Texas says it is looking into a physician’s claim that he defied a state law that recently took effect by performing an abortion on a woman past the sixth week of her pregnancy.

In an opinion essay published in the Washington Post, Alan Braid disclosed that he performed the abortion earlier in September.

John Seago, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, said the organization is looking into Dr. Braid’s claims. “It definitely seems like a legal stunt and we are looking into whether it is more than that,” said Mr. Seago. He noted that the law contains a four-year statute of limitations for citizens to sue for violations.


2. Why I violated Texas’s extreme abortion ban, By Alan Braid, The Washington Post, September 19, 2021, Pg. A31, Opinion

A new Texas law, known as S.B. 8, virtually banned any abortion beyond about the sixth week of pregnancy. It shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide. Anyone who suspects I have violated the new law can sue me for at least $10,000. They could also sue anybody who helps a person obtain an abortion past the new limit, including, apparently, the driver who brings a patient to my clinic.

For me, it is 1972 all over again.

And that is why, on the morning of Sept. 6, I provided an abortion to a woman who, though still in her first trimester, was beyond the state’s new limit. I acted because I had a duty of care to this patient, as I do for all patients, and because she has a fundamental right to receive this care.

I understand that by providing an abortion beyond the new legal limit, I am taking a personal risk, but it’s something I believe in strongly. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, my clinics are among the plaintiffs in an ongoing federal lawsuit to stop S.B. 8.


3. Critics, supporters of Vatican’s China deal have an ‘Annie Hall’ moment, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, September 19, 2021, Opinion

[T]wo people can look at exactly the same set of facts and draw diametrically opposing conclusions.

The thought comes to mind in light of a small news item out of the Vatican this week, one which didn’t really make any waves against the backdrop of the latest papal press conference and Francis’s words on abortion and communion, gay marriage, COVID vaccines, and so on.

The news is that a new bishop has been appointed in Wuhan, China, under the terms of the controversial “provision agreement” signed by the Vatican and the Chinese government in September 2018. Bishop Francis Cui Qingqi, 57, becomes the sixth Chinese bishop named under the terms of the agreement, and the fourth since the deal was renewed by both Rome and Beijing last October for another two years.

What has garnered more attention in the Catholic world, however, is that Qingqi apparently is very much a government man.

Critics of the China deal note that Qingqi basically has the same profile as the other five prelates appointed under its terms, meaning clerics known for being close to the government and unlikely to rock the boat. They suspected from the beginning the provisional agreement was nothing more than a tool for China’s Communist authorities to extend their control over the church and to muzzle critics of Chinese policies such as retired Cardinal Joseph Zen, and this string of new bishops has done nothing but confirm those reservations.

Yet the Vatican architects of the deal likely will look at the same situation and draw a very different conclusion. What they would say is that for the first time since the Communist takeover in China in 1949, all the country’s Catholic bishops are now both accepted by the government and in communion with the pope.


4. These Americans are devoted to the old Latin Mass. They are also at odds with Pope Francis., By Chico Harlan, The Washington Post, September 19, 2021, Pg. A1, Opinion

Francis’s decision, perhaps like no other in his eight-year papacy, has struck at the perilous fault line in the Catholic Church, where progressives and traditionalists are divided not only ideologically but also over how they pray. While the vast majority of Catholics attend the modern Mass — devised in the 1960s and celebrated in the local language — a small but devout group of traditionalists prefer the old rite, a ceremony conducted in Latin that dates back more than a millennium, and that has increasingly become a conservative emblem of protest.

But within the U.S. church — a global epicenter for the traditionalist movement — the pope’s decree has only deepened the opposition, expanding it to include fundamental questions about worship and what it means to be a good Catholic. Those loyal to the Latin Mass say they are simply praying the way hundreds of past popes have worshiped, the way saints have worshiped, the way their own grandparents worshiped — using a ceremony they find beautiful, rich, unblemished.

The pushback to Francis’s decision has been intense. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States who has become this era’s highest-profile papal critic, went so far as to call Francis a “non-Catholic pope.” Traditionalist Cardinal Raymond Burke, on his personal website, offered a 19-point critique of the decision. Many conservative-leaning U.S. bishops have simply allowed the Latin Masses to continue, and one, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., shared the text of his dispensation on a canon law listserv so other prelates could follow suit.


5. Pope to bishops: Listen to abuse victims for sake of church, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 18, 2021, 7:39 AM

Pope Francis urged European bishops on Saturday to listen to survivors of clergy sexual abuse and consider them partners in reform, warning that their failure to do so risks the very future of the Catholic Church.

Francis issued a videomessage to Central and Eastern European bishops who are gathering in Poland starting on Sunday for a four-day child protection conference organized by the bishops’ conference and the Vatican’s child protection advisory commission.


6. Many faith leaders say no to endorsing vaccine exemptions, By Peter Smith, Associated Press, September 17, 2021, 4:21 PM

As significant numbers of Americans seek religious exemptions from COVID-19 vaccine mandates, many faith leaders are saying: Not with our endorsement.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York laid out its own stance during the summer, saying that any priest issuing an exemption letter would be “acting in contradiction” to statements from Pope Francis that receiving the vaccine is morally acceptable and responsible.

Both the Vatican and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have said Catholics can receive the vaccines in good conscience given the lack of alternatives and the goal of alleviating suffering — even while objecting to research with even a remote connection to abortion.

A number of dioceses have adopted policies similar to New York’s, and bishops in El Paso, Texas, and Lexington, Kentucky, have mandated vaccines for employees.

But other Catholic jurisdictions are more accommodating of exemptions. The Colorado Catholic Conference, the policy arm of the state’s bishops, has posted online a template for a letter that priests can sign saying an individual parishioner may draw on Catholic values to object to the vaccines. South Dakota’s bishops have also taken that stance.

At issue for many Catholics and other abortion opponents is that the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines were tested on fetal cell lines developed over decades in laboratories, though the vaccines themselves do not contain any such material.


7. Supreme Court poised to hear biggest challenge to Roe v Wade in 48 years, By Alejandro Bermudez, Catholic News Agency, September 17, 2021, 2:31 PM

Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, presented its legal argument Monday for why the U.S. Supreme Court should strike down the state’s 2018 law prohibiting abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy, setting the stage for a momentous showdown over Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The filing means that both parties in the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, have now laid out their legal strategies. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case during its fall term, which begins Oct. 4.

While the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law is the primary question before the Court, both sides make clear in their respective briefs that the law is meant to be a direct challenge to Roe itself, and the decision that affirmed Roe’s central argument 18 years later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In its brief, the State of Mississippi explicitly asks the Court to overturn Roe, arguing that “the conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.”

In their amicus brief, legal scholars Mary Ann Glendon and O. Carter Snead argue that stare decisis obligates the Court to overturn Roe and Casey, because doing so would protect the Court’s integrity.

“These precedents are notoriously badly reasoned, and involve unworkable, constantly shifting standards that have sown confusion in this and other areas of the law,” Snead, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, told CNA in an email.

“Indeed, there are not five justices on the Supreme Court now who agree on what these precedents require,” he wrote. “Moreover, they have caused grievous real world harms; there have been more than 60 million abortions because of these lawless, anti-democratic, incoherent precedents.”


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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