June 29, 2024 // National

News Briefs: June 30, 2024

Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Abortion Drug

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – On Thursday, June 13, the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a challenge to mifepristone, a pill commonly used for abortion, finding that the challengers lacked standing to bring the case. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the court found in FDA v. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine that the “plaintiffs lack Article III standing to challenge FDA’s actions regarding the regulation of mifepristone.” “Plaintiffs are pro-life, oppose elective abortion, and have sincere legal, moral, ideological, and policy objections to mifepristone being prescribed and used by others,” Kavanaugh wrote. “Because plaintiffs do not prescribe or use mifepristone, plaintiffs are unregulated parties who seek to challenge FDA’s regulation of others.” The ruling was not unexpected, as during March oral arguments in the case, justices from across the court’s ideological spectrum appeared skeptical that the coalition of pro-life doctors challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s reduced regulations had legal standing to bring the lawsuit, with the question of standing becoming more of a focus than whether the FDA acted lawfully. Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of Arlington, Virginia, Chair of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, told OSV News that the ruling was “procedural” and “really didn’t rule on the merit of the case or the substance.” Still, he said, “it’s disappointing because, again, what it does is it makes this abortion pill even more accessible and available,” with this pill having “devastating effects.”

Catholic Radio Host Al Kresta Dies at Age 72

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (OSV News) – Longtime Detroit-area radio personality Al Kresta died on Saturday, June 15, six weeks following a liver cancer diagnosis. He was 72. Kresta, who was host of “Kresta In the Afternoon” on Ave Maria Radio, was formerly a top-rated Christian talk radio host and evangelical Protestant pastor in the 1980s and 1990s who returned to Catholicism, the faith in which he was raised. In 1997, Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan recruited Kresta to launch Ave Maria Communications, where Kresta served as president and CEO in addition to his duties as a host, broadcaster, speaker, and author. For years, “Kresta In the Afternoon” was aired across the diocese by Redeemer Radio. Kresta is survived by his wife, Sally, whom he married in 1977, and their five children.

$150M Donated to Boost Northwest Indiana Catholic Schools

MERRILLVILLE (OSV News) – In what is described as “the largest single investment” in prekindergarten-to-grade-12 Catholic education in history, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation is donating $150 million to the Chicago-based Big Shoulders Fund to support Catholic schools in the Diocese of Gary. The gift, which will be made throughout the next 10 years, aims to improve the schools’ quality, accessibility, and sustainability, with the goal of making them the “highest performing network of Catholic schools in the United States” that could create a national model, said William Hanna, the foundation’s Executive Director. Bishop Robert J. McClory of Gary called the donation, announced on Wednesday, June 12, “extraordinary,” noting that “this is a sign of hope and confidence in our Catholic schools, and a time to rejoice and look to the future.” The Diocese of Gary is home to 17 parish elementary schools and three diocesan high schools currently serving nearly 6,000 students.

Vatican Accuses Former U.S. Nuncio of Schism, Begins Trial

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Officials with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of Faith have begun an extrajudicial penal trial to determine if Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former nuncio to the United States, is guilty of schism, the archbishop said on social media. In a June 20 post on X, the archbishop published a letter he said he received from the dicastery via email informing him of the trial. The letter, written on the dicastery’s stationary and signed by Msgr. John Kennedy, Secretary for the dicastery’s section for discipline, said the archbishop was summoned to appear at the dicastery’s office June 20 to hear “the accusations and evidence against him regarding the crime of schism of which he is accused.” It continued to detail the specific elements of schism, accusing the archbishop of “public statements which result in a denial of the elements necessary to maintain communion with the Catholic Church: denial of the legitimacy of Pope Francis, rupture of communion with him, and rejection of the Second Vatican Council.”

Court Blocks Enforcement of EEOC Abortion Provision

WASHINGTON, D.C. (OSV News) – A federal court in Louisiana on Monday, June 17, issued a temporary injunction blocking a federal agency from enforcing an abortion provision in regulations meant to add workplace protections for pregnant workers against Catholic ministries who challenged them. In United States Conference of Catholic Bishops v. EEOC, religious groups challenged final regulations for the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that grant workers protections for time off and other job accommodations for pregnancy-related medical conditions such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and lactation – but also for abortion, which was opposed by many of the bill’s supporters, including the USCCB, which, along with other religious institutions, filed a lawsuit against the regulations in May. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act legislation was supported by many Catholic groups, including the U.S. bishops’ conference, but Chieko Noguchi, USCCB Spokeswoman, said that while the conference supported the law itself, the EEOC “hijacked the law,” and its regulations would, in effect, force the USCCB to “knowingly support employees as they get abortions, and it forbids us from encouraging them to choose life.

Law Requires Louisiana Public Schools to Post Ten Commandments

LAFAYETTE, Louisiana (OSV News) – Public school classrooms in Louisiana will now be required to display the Ten Commandments by the beginning of 2025 as part of a new educational reform law signed by Governor Jeff Landry. The Republican governor was at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Wednesday, June 19, to sign the “Dream Big” Education Plan, a package of close to 20 bills spanning scholarship accounts, limitations on discussion of gender and sexuality in K-12 schools, and the mandated posting of “the Ten Commandments and other historically significant documents … in courthouses and other public buildings,” according to the law’s text. The bill on the commandments noted the historical significance of the Decalogue in the development of the United States, and cited Supreme Court precedents for the list’s inclusion on government property. Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel of Lafayette welcomed Landry’s scholarship accounts legislation, which the bishop said would help “parents with limited resources” to exert school choice for their children.

Pope Francis engages in a light-hearted moment with comedians Stephen Colbert, Chris Rock, Jimmy Fallon and other comedians after an audience at the Vatican June 14, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

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