The Dispatch: More from CWR...

Extra, extra! News and views for June 29, 2022

Here are some articles, essays and editorials that caught our attention this past week or so.*

"Joe Pennell's Printing Press" (2004) by Frank Mason (

The Decision – “Guided by the history and tradition that map the essential components of the Nation’s concept of ordered liberty, the Court finds the Fourteenth Amendment clearly does not protect the right to an abortion.” DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL. (Supreme Court of the United States)

7 Don’ts Post-Roe – “Now that the Supreme Court has officially overturned the wretched Roe and Casey decisions, I think it’s timely to re-post what I wrote in May, when a draft of today’s opinion leaked.” How NOT to respond to the Roe reversal (Catholic Culture)

John Paul I – On the eve of the World Meeting of Families and with a view toward the beatification Sept. 4 of Pope John Paul I, attention turned to his initial openness to softening Catholic teaching on contraception and his later support for the teaching of St. Paul VI. John Paul I and the pill: He wanted change, but accepted ‘Humanae Vitae’ (National Catholic Reporter)

Degraded Reasoning – Vice President Kamala Harris implied the Dobbs decision somehow threatens “the right to interracial marriage.” The 5 Most Outrageous Reactions to the SCOTUS Pro-Life Decision (The Washington Stand)

Conservatives Rallied – The overruling of Roe and Casey was by no means inevitable; it was the result of a half-century of disciplined, persistent, and prudent political, legal, and religious effort. An Originalist Victory (City Journal)

No Right to Abortion – As many, many scholars on both sides of the abortion issue have pointed out over the decades – including Ruth Bader Ginsburg and countless others who are supportive of abortion rights – there is no explicit “right” to abortion in the Constitution. Post-Roe (Amy Welborn)

Forming One’s Conscience – Some widely held beliefs about conscience are seriously wrong, or at best extremely misleading. What is Conscience and When Should We Follow It? (Edward Feser)

An Ugly Truth – The hysterical freakout over a ruling that overturns a badly-reasoned decision, and returns abortion law to the democratic political process, is so very telling. Roe-pocalypse Now (The American Conservative)

Sent to Investigate – The case of an Argentine bishop currently serving a prison sentence of four years and six months for abuse took an unexpected turn this week. Jailed Argentine bishop’s lawyer sent by Vatican to investigate priests of his diocese (Crux Now)

Miracle or Not – A viral social media post has claimed a miraculous happening concerning a Eucharist in a Mayo church. Eucharist appears to bleed: Mayo miracle or holy hoax (Meanwhile in Ireland)

Redoubling Our Efforts – After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Catholic leaders and laypeople are preparing to step up efforts to promote a culture of life. Lay US Catholics to ‘redouble efforts to help moms’ after Roe overturned (Vatican News)

“I do what I am” – A new documentary about the Catholic priesthood asks priests what kind of life they are supposed to live as they reflect on their vocations and the role of the priest in Catholic theology and spiritual life. What is a Catholic priest? A new documentary asks the question (Catholic News Agency).

Political Violence – Threats, vandalism, doxxing, violence, seeking to intimidate judges — the pro-choice movement is simply showing its true colors. The Pro-Abortion Movement Makes Its Violent Tendencies Clearer Than Ever (The Federalist)

Opus Dei Founder – On June 26, we celebrated 20 years of St. Josemaría Escrivá’s sainthood. St. Josemaría Escrivá is the Saint of the Ordinary (National Catholic Register) 

Our Eternal Reality – Imagine if you will, that you took a copy of the morning newspaper, turned it upside down and then tried to read and make sense of it. A World Upside Down (Integrated Catholic Life)

(*The posting of any particular news item or essay is not an endorsement of the content and perspective of said news item or essay.)


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  1. Maybe Carl Olson, with his publishing knowledge, can explain what seems odd to me.

    I was curious why CWR was re-printing something by National Catholic Reporter. So I did a little investigating. The Reporter article on Pope John Paul I was authored by a Cindy Wooden associated with Catholic News Service. Here is a copy of the title and attribution from the Reporter: “John Paul I and the pill: He wanted change, but accepted ‘Humanae Vitae’

    I then searched the Catholic News Service (CNS) website and could find absolutely no record of the article. I searched numerous ways: Cindy Wooden, John Paul I, June 23, 2022, Humanae Vitae, etc. At CNS, I found no article in any way similar to what was the Reporter published by Ms. Wooden from CNS.

    Is this an oddity or usual typical practice?

    • We (the editors of CWR) post links in this weekly “Extra, extra!” section to pieces that we think are of interest or contain worthwhile information, even if we don’t agree with everything (or even much) found in the particular articles or sites in question. Personally, I read numerous articles each week from sources that are secular and/or antagonistic to the Catholic Faith; I also read pieces from sites that are “Catholic” but have a tenuous relationship with actual Catholic teaching.

      The Wooden piece is available through CNS for outlets that pay for the service. I’ve seen it on several sites.

  2. Thanks. Yes, finding the article on many other outlets but not at CNS was what I found to be odd. (I understand that CWR posts stuff with which the editorial staff does not agree.) I further searched other sources and historical stuff about Luciano, and he apparently did really say he wanted to further consider the morality of hormonal (inimical to nature) contraception. At promulgation of HV, Luciano was on board.

  3. Just a note on Feser’s Forming One’s Conscience. Dr Feser apparently interprets Saint Thomas Aquinas’ moral discernment as a process beginning with applying a universal moral principle to an act, whereas Aquinas holds that we first examine the conditions of the act the movement [discernment] is from the singular act ‘upwards’ so to speak to the universal principle. Synderesis is describe by St Gregory Nazianzen as this reflective assessment of the singular principle, the act, with the universal principles of the natural law. A downward application of the principle suggests casuistry which Aquinas rejects [although well known ethicist Germain Grisez applies this casuistic method and has written an ethical treatise in which he’s convinced covers every possible ethical act].
    Aquinas would add that the only thing that is necessary is to [first] deliberate the conditions of the act prior to confirming it via Synderesis. Most interpreters of Aquinas today and in the past have not recognized that Aquinas teaches that the proposed act [following deliberation] is a first principle, the act to be done. A first principle leads to an act or conclusion. And that universals are drawn from singulars. The reason is man’s inherent prescient knowledge of the good, the Natural Law Within. That inherent, prescient knowledge is realized [becomes actual knowledge] in the apprehension of a moral act.

      • Réponse à Elias Galy. In order to be faulted for the omission of grace we must manifestly state its omission.
        Now in the order of knowledge God has equipped the intellect with the capacity to reason and to apprehend truth of the nature of things as inherent to human nature, not as the work of grace. Augustine assumed in his epistemology that apprehension of such truth in the knowledge of principles, inference of transcendent, metaphysical knowledge that knowledge was the work of divine grace, whereas Saint Thomas corrected Augustine on this. For example, Aquinas also teaches on morality that the natural law, a moral law, is the reflection of the Eternal Law. That this knowledge is accessible to natural reasoning and apprehension. The Natural Law Within.
        Apart from naturally acquired knowledge of the Eternal Law as manifest in the Natural Law Within there are principles of moral judgment and behavior that supersede the capacity of man to know, and are necessary for our salvation, which principles are revealed to us as the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    • This diagram establishes apprehension of truth as the undergirding of conscience. That our reason, were it without its assenting knowledge would wander hither and thither as in endless discussion. Reason then is not the rule of truth rather its measure as rightly suggested by Feser. The rule is truth itself. Consequently truth is not the product of reason. Rather truth is the manifestation of the Eternal Law.

  4. Elias, Dr Feser doesn’t refer to grace since he’s addressing conscience from the perspective of reason, and man’s natural ability to apprehend. Con scientia means to act with knowledge. Augustine thought that knowledge acquired from without oneself was due to God’s illumination [a gift] not inherent to human nature. Aquinas corrects that accenting man’s inborn capacity to apprehend things.
    Insofar as the natural law understood as the Natural Law Within the gift of spiritual grace is not mentioned since the discussion, again, centers on the acquisition of knowledge. An inherent knowledge of the natural law prescient and realized in apprehension is the basis for conscience, and for the responsibility of all men to do good and avoid evil without the necessity of the gift of grace to acquire this knowledge [which is why the Decalogue is spoken of as a ‘reminder’ in the Catechism] but with the necessity of grace to consistently practice it.
    Apprehension is distinct from practice, and to practice justly with consistency requires the gift of grace. Man, then, can naturally apprehend the good, and naturally practice it, within limitations as historically evident within Roman and Greek culture, examples Cicero and Aristotle. Although, it isn’t until Christ and the grace won for us on the Cross that we find the consistent patterns of just and holy behavior of the saints and those striving to be.

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