1. Texas shows why Roe v. Wade needs to be overturned, By O. Carter Snead, The Washington Post, September 7, 2021, Pg. A19, Opinion

How did we get to this place in our national discourse on abortion where, instead of arguing about how to care rightly for women, children and families, we are screaming about the legal technicalities of “pre-enforcement challenges” and “sovereign immunity”?

The short answer? This is the predictable consequence of decades of confusion and upheaval wrought by the Supreme Court’s constitutionally unwarranted decision to make itself the sole arbiter of abortion law in the United States, first in Roe and again in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. And though it may seem counterintuitive, the only way to return to anything resembling normalcy is for the court to overrule Roe and Casey and allow the American people to govern themselves on this perennially vexed issue through the deliberative processes of the political branches.

The right to abortion has never been rooted in the text, history or tradition of the Constitution. Indeed, the putative source of authority — the 14th Amendment — was ratified at a time when abortion was criminalized in nearly every state. For almost a century after its enactment, no one seriously thought it precluded states from extending legal protection to unborn children.

The Supreme Court can put us on it by dismantling its ill-founded abortion law apparatus and freeing the American people to reason together, just like our friends in numerous other countries including England, France, and Germany have been free to do, and enact laws that protect and care properly for women, children (born and unborn) and families in need.

O. Carter Snead is a law professor at the University of Notre Dame and author of “What It Means to be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics.”


2. Pope attends screening of controversial film with his civil union comments, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, September 7, 2021

Pope Francis dropped in at the end of a screening of a documentary which created an international media fiasco last year for inventing a papal soundbite on civil unions.

The Francesco documentary by gay Russian Jewish filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky was shown to a group of migrant and refugee families, including around 20 who had just been evacuated from Afghanistan, inside the Vatican’s new synod hall on Monday evening.

The film was released in late October 2020 and featured a bombshell quote from Pope Francis who in a short 20-second clip said that homosexual individuals “have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

“You can’t kick someone out of a family, nor make their life miserable for this. What we have to have is a civil union law; that way they are legally covered,” the pope is heard saying in the clip.

Those remarks made headlines around the world, with papers and news outlets everywhere claiming that Pope Francis had become the first pope in history to endorse same-sex civil unions.

Amid the firestorm, Afineevsky said that the comments had been given to him during fresh interviews granted specifically for his documentary, however, doubt began to arise about the truthfulness of that claim in the days following the film’s release.

After extensive analysis of the 20-second clip by members of the Vatican press corps, it was established that those remarks from Pope Francis were not made in a new interview with Afineevsky, but that they had been taken from an interview the pope had given to Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki of Televisa in 2019 and patched together to create a soundbite implying the pope’s support of same-sex civil unions.

In this context, many were surprised to see Francesco get a Vatican screening, and even more surprised Pope Francis showed up, appearing to give the film his stamp of approval.


3. Vatican prepares to launch two-year syondal process on ‘synodality’, By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 7, 2021

On Tuesday, the Vatican presented the preparatory document for an upcoming ecclesial endeavor: A Synod on Synodality.

Synodality, according to the preparatory document, will grant Catholics the “the ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received.”

The meeting of the Synod of Bishops will take place in October 2023, but the event will officially start next month, with a process of listening, dialogue and community discernment in the local churches.


4. Our duty to challenge Catholic politicians on their abortion support, By Salvatore J. Cordileone, The Washington Post, September 6, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion

Prominent politicians lost no time in reacting hyperbolically to the Supreme Court’s decision refusing to enjoin Texas’s new law banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. President Biden announced a “whole-of-government effort” to find ways to overcome the Texas measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) denounced the Supreme Court’s refusal as a “cowardly, dark-of-night decision to uphold a flagrantly unconstitutional assault on women’s rights and health,” and promised new legal action: “This ban necessitates codifying Roe v. Wade” in federal law.

As a faith leader in the Catholic community, I find it especially disturbing that so many of the politicians on the wrong side of the preeminent human rights issue of our time are self-professed Catholics. This is a perennial challenge for bishops in the United States: This summer, we provoked an uproar by discussing whether public officials who support abortion should receive the sacrament of the Eucharist. We were accused of inappropriately injecting religion into politics, of butting in where we didn’t belong.

I see matters differently. When considering what duties Catholic bishops have with respect to prominent laymen in public life who openly oppose church teachings on abortion, I look to this country’s last great human rights movement — still within my living memory — for inspiration on how we should respond.

The example of New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel, who courageously confronted the evils of racism, is one that I especially admire.

You cannot be a good Catholic and support expanding a government-approved right to kill innocent human beings. The answer to crisis pregnancies is not violence but love, for both mother and child.

This is hardly inappropriate for a pastor to say. If anything, Catholic political leaders’ response to the situation in Texas highlights the need for us to say it all the louder.

Salvatore J. Cordileone is the Catholic archbishop of San Francisco.


5. Justice Department will ‘protect’ abortion seekers in Texas, By Associated Press, Crux, September 6, 2021

The Justice Department said Monday that it will not tolerate violence against anyone who is trying to obtain an abortion in Texas as federal officials explore options to challenge a new state law that bans most abortions.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department would “protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services” under a federal law known as the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

Garland said in a statement that federal prosecutors are still urgently exploring options to challenge the Texas law. He said the Justice Department would enforce the federal law “in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion.”


6. Texas bishops applaud Supreme Court ruling on abortion law, By John Lavenburg, Crux, September 6, 2021

Texas bishops have applauded the Supreme Court’s decision not to block a new law banning most abortions in the state, noting it’s the first time the nation’s highest court has allowed a prolife law to remain in place while litigation proceeds in lower courts.

“We celebrate every life saved by this legislation,” the state’s 20 bishops said in a Sept. 3 statement, adding that attempts by opponents of the law to “dehumanize the unborn are deeply disturbing.”


7. Pope backs schooling in Afghanistan, where Taliban ban girls over 12, By Inés San Martín, Crux, September 6, 2021

Pope Francis has called on whatever government will emerge in Afghanistan following the American withdrawal to allow children to receive an education, despite the Taliban policy of not allowing women to attend school after the age of 12.


8. Court rules Catholic school wrongfully fired gay substitute, By Associated Press, September 5, 2021, 5:28 PM

A gay substitute teacher was wrongfully fired by a Roman Catholic school in North Carolina after he announced in 2014 on social media that he was going to marry his longtime partner, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn ruled Friday that Charlotte Catholic High School and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Charlotte violated Lonnie Billard’s federal protections against sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Cogburn granted summary judgment to Billard and said a trial must still be held to determine appropriate relief for him.

The defendants said that they fired Billard not because he was gay, but rather because “he engaged in ‘advocacy’ that went against the Catholic Church’s beliefs” when he publicly announced he was marrying another man, the ruling said.

But Cogburn ruled that the school’s action didn’t fit into exemptions to labor law that give religious institutions leeway to require certain employees to adhere to religious teachings, nor was the school’s action protected by constitutional rights to religious freedom.


9. Is Pope Francis suffering from the ‘September curse’?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, September 5, 2021, Opinion

When the Italian soccer team laid an egg earlier this week in the World Cup qualifiers, tying 1-1 against a Bulgaria squad they were supposed to beat handily, many commentators here chalked it up to the so-called “September curse.” The idea is that it can be tough to shake off the cobwebs after the August doldrums, sometimes with embarrassing results.

Right now, Pope Francis could be forgiven for feeling like he’s been hit with the curse of September himself. The last few days, to put it mildly, have not been kind to the pontiff.

He’s given a major interview to the Spanish broadcaster Cope, discussing matters of vital importance ranging from Afghanistan to his own health, yet all anyone seems to be talking about is the fact that Francis confused Angela Merkel with Vladimir Putin, praising Merkel for something Putin actually said about Western efforts to impose democracy on other countries.

Then on Thursday, Rome’s chief rabbi joined a chorus of Jewish protest of remarks Francis had delivered on Aug. 11 during a General Audience, in which the pope said “the Torah does not give life.”

Things may not get any easier next week, when Pope Francis begins a brief trip to Hungary and Slovakia. He’s already off to a somewhat rocky start, since, in that Cope interview, he claimed not to know whether he’ll meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

As I said, such unpredictability is part of what many people like about Francis. For sure, journalists who cover the Vatican like it, because it means potential headlines and TV airtime whenever the pope opens his mouth.

On the other hand, Francis’s free-wheeling manner can also create tensions where either they didn’t exist before or, at least, were in hibernation, adding further instability and anger to a world already awash in both.

Either way, the early days of September 2021 seem unlikely to be remembered among the shining moments of this papacy. Now, we just have to see what the rest of the month may bring.


10. Lyft, Uber to Shield Texas Drivers, By Preetika Rana, The Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2021, Pg. A3

Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. said they would cover the legal costs of drivers in Texas who might be sued for ferrying women to abortion clinics.

Lyft’s Chief Executive Officer Logan Green tweeted the decision on Friday, saying the Texas law that bars abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy “threatens to punish drivers for getting people where they need to go—especially women exercising their right to choose.”

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi chimed in an hour later, tweeting: “Team Uber is in too and will cover legal fees in the same way. Thanks for the push,” he wrote, referring to Lyft’s Mr. Green


11. Judge shields Texas clinics from anti-abortion group’s suits, By Associated Press, September 3, 2021

A state judge has shielded, for now, Texas abortion clinics from lawsuits by an anti-abortion group under a new state abortion law in a narrow ruling handed down Friday.

The temporary restraining order Friday by state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble in Austin in response to the Planned Parenthood request does not interfere with the provision. However, it shields clinics from whistleblower lawsuits by the nonprofit group Texas Right to Life, its legislative director and 100 unidentified individuals.


12. Contradicting past statements, Biden says he doesn’t believe life begins at conception, By Christine Rousselle, Catholic News Agency, September 3, 2021, 12:01 PM

President Joe Biden (D) said on Friday, Sept. 3, that he does not believe life begins at conception – contradicting his previous statements on when life begins.

Biden answered a reporter’s question on abortion on Friday, after addressing the August jobs numbers at the White House. “I respect those who believe life begins at the moment of conception,” Biden said. “I don’t agree, but I respect that. I’m not going to impose that on people.”

At the 2012 vice presidential debate against Republican nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Biden stated plainly that he believed life began at conception.

“Life begins at conception, that’s the Church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life,” he said. “But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman.”


13. Church of England bishop to be received into the Catholic Church, By Luke Coppen, Catholic News Agency, September 3, 2021, 11:00 AM

A Church of England bishop said on Friday that he was stepping down to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.

The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Goodall, the Anglican bishop of Ebbsfleet, explained that he had taken the decision “after a long period of prayer.”

“I have arrived at the decision to step down as Bishop of Ebbsfleet, in order to be received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, only after a long period of prayer, which has been among the most testing periods of my life,” he said in a statement on Sept. 3, the feast of St. Gregory the Great, the sixth-century pope who launched a mission to convert England to Christianity.


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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