Supreme Court gets thrown curveball in religious freedom case
Today the U.S. Supreme Court hears one of the most important church/state cases on its docket this year, but the case just took a major plot twist.
Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer considers whether religious organizations can be shut out of Missouri state grants precisely because of their religious mission. But the new governor of Missouri just reversed course on the issue and said he will allow religious organizations to apply for state grants. This, of course, is not retroactive, but the Court on Friday asked for both parties to offer their views on the governor’s decision.
The case has been one of the most anticipated this year, and the addition of Neil Gorsuch to the bench is of special interest to many, as the case has obvious implications for many religious organizations including Catholic schools and school choice programs.
Many Catholic colleges embrace yoga despite Hindu spirituality
In a piece criticizing Benedictine College of Kansas for its plans to rename a yoga class and change the content to ensure the class focuses only on physical exercise and not spiritual or cultural elements—a perfectly appropriate action for a faithful Catholic college—The World Hindu News exposes several other Catholic colleges and universities that have yoga classes apparently without due caution.
“Prominent US Roman Catholic universities/colleges—University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, College of the Holy Cross, Boston College, Villanova University, Santa Clara University, Providence College, College of Saint Benedict, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Marquette University, University of Dayton, Creighton University, John Carroll University, Loyola University Maryland, Xavier University, Fordham University, etc., offer various classes and programs of yoga regularly,” the piece states. “Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University of Leuven) in Belgium, one of the oldest and most renowned universities in Europe founded in 1425, offers various yoga classes. It is launching ‘Mindful Yoga’ at University Parish ‘specifically for PhD students and staff.’”
With that lineup of colleges—many of which have severely compromised their Catholic identity—one might almost think that the paper was supporting Benedictine’s argument.
Fr. John Riley, chancellor for the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, said yoga “is a mind and body practice developed under Hinduism, the goal of which is spiritual purification that will lead to a higher level of understanding and eventually union with the divine.”
He continued: “It is for these reasons that Catholics are alerted to the dangers of the practice of yoga and are encouraged to look for other exercise alternatives that do not incorporate a spiritual dimension.”
Catholic University of Louvain dismisses professor for calling abortion ‘murder’
A visiting lecturer at Belgium’s Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) has been dismissed for calling abortion “murder.”
The college initially suspended Stephane Mercier after a feminist group complained about his comments. But later, he received a letter from the university advising him of his outright dismissal. In a statement, UCL said that abortion was legal in Belgium and it respected women’s autonomy to opt for it.
The professor simply told students, “the truth is that abortion is the murder of an innocent person.”