TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 156 – Attorney General Bill Barr Talks Religious Freedom, Faith, And Family With the release of his new book, “One Damn Thing After Another,” Attorney General Bill Barr speaks with the TCA team about the dangers of progressivism, the greatest threats to religious freedom, and insightful stories about his faith and family life. Marking Holy Week, we also revisit with Father Roger Landry discussing our Lenten journey in light of the Easter Vigil this weekend–and also our need to keep the people of Ukraine in prayer. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Pope marks Holy Thursday ahead of prison feet-washing ritual, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, April 14, 2022, 7:12 AM Pope Francis has celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark Holy Thursday, hours before he was expected at an Italian prison to perform a foot-washing ritual for a dozen inmates in a gesture of humility. Attending the Mass were some 1,800 priests. Francis in his homily advised priests not to focus on worldly concerns such as power, planning and bureaucracy. He exhorted them to “serve, with a clear conscience, the holy and faithful people of God.” 2. No, Virginia, Pope Francis can’t play Santa Claus on Ukraine, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, April 14, 2022, Opinion Yet the two biggest nuts to crack in the pro-Russian coalition are China and India, and both are places where any pope has extremely limited options. Yes, Francis’s Vatican has signed a deal with China over the appointment of bishops, which, in theory, leaves open a channel of communication, but the Vatican can’t even get regional Chinese authorities to stop harassing Christian churches, let alone persuading the national government to rethink its position on the defining global crisis of the day. In any event, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State and the pope’s top diplomat, recently said that despite Vatican hopes to tweak the deal with China, even basic communication has been rendered difficult by the ongoing COVID crisis. As for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s electoral base is with the BJP, a right-wing Hindu nationalist movement in the country which sees Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism, as a foreign import which threatens India’s national identity. Amid the “saffron wave” that Modi’s government represents, it’s unlikely that papal appeals will do much to move the needle in terms of India’s foreign policy.  Inside Russia itself, despite decades of outreach by the Vatican to the Russian Orthodox Church — indeed, despite what critics, including many Ukrainians, would see as a Vatican policy of placating the Russian Orthodox to an unreasonable degree — Patriarch Kirill of Moscow has become increasingly firm in his support for the Kremlin’s line on the war. The sad reality is that as Pope Francis’s appeals for an end to the war become more urgent and pointed, the segment of the world’s population that most needs to hear it just isn’t disposed to listen. Of course, no pope possesses a magic wand that can make all the world’s problems disappear. In the current conflict, however, the pope’s options seem even more limited than normal – which, for the famously stubborn Francis, may only serve to make him all the more determined to try. 3. In Easter message, bishops urge prayers for papal visit to South Sudan, By Fredrick Nzwili, Catholic News Service, April 14, 2022 As the world prepares to mark Easter, Catholic bishops in South Sudan and Sudan have urged their faithful to pray for Pope Francis’ upcoming visit, while welcoming the pilgrimage as a blessing in a difficult year. The bishops made the call in an Easter pastoral letter, released April 11 after they met in the South Sudanese capital, Juba, to prepare for the visit. The trip is set for July 5-7 under the theme, “May all be one.” “We celebrate Easter this year, while preparing to receive the Holy Father, Pope Francis,” said Bishop Tombe Trille Kuku, who signed the letter as president of the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Sudan and South Sudan. “We hope his visit will renew us, as we are still shaken by forces of violence, death and by the evil of ethnic divisions within our church and society.” The pope’s trip coincides with the 11th anniversary of independence of South Sudan, the world’s youngest nation. A civil war triggered two years later left an estimated 400,000 people dead before the government and opposing rebel groups signed a peace pact. 4. Benedict XVI was ‘a prophet’ of Church’s future, Pope Francis tells Malta’s Jesuits, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, April 14, 2022, 4:30 AM Pope Francis has described Benedict XVI as “a prophet” for predicting that the Catholic Church would become a smaller but more faithful institution in the future. Speaking during a private meeting with Jesuit priests and seminarians earlier this month, the pope said he believed that this was one of the pope emeritus’ most “profound intuitions.” “Pope Benedict was a prophet of this Church of the future, a Church that will become smaller, lose many privileges, be more humble and authentic and find energy for the essential,” Pope Francis said during the meeting with Jesuits at the apostolic nunciature in Malta on April 3. “It will be a Church that is more spiritual, poorer, and less political: a Church of the little ones.” 5. Kentucky lawmakers override governor’s veto of abortion ban, By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, April 13, 2022, 8:05 AM New abortion restrictions passed by Republican lawmakers over the Democratic governor’s veto will force the only two abortion clinics in Kentucky to stop providing the procedures for women, at least temporarily, while the new law is challenged in court, abortion-rights activists said Wednesday. The law will draw immediate federal lawsuits, and attorneys for the clinics will seek a ruling to block the measure to allow the clinics to resume abortions while the case is litigated, the activists said. The two abortion clinics in Kentucky are in Louisville, the state’s largest city. 6. Francis and Kirill: A meeting on the margins?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, April 13, 2022 In the nearly two months since the invasion of Ukraine took steam, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill has planted himself ever more firmly behind President Vladimir Putin’s war.  With accounts of war crimes, massacres, and even acts of genocide emerging in the wake of the Russian withdrawal from the Kyiv region, Kirill finds himself increasingly isolated among the global Christian community, and within the Orthodox communion.  But in the midst of seemingly universal condemnation for Kirill, and his efforts to paint the Russian war effort as a kind of holy work, there is growing chatter around the Vatican that Pope Francis could be open to meeting with the Russian patriarch.  A friendly or fraternal visit could provoke serious ill-feeling among the rest of the Orthodox Churches, and reduce the pope’s diplomatic ability to act as a voice of moral leadership for both peace and justice in Ukraine. On the other hand, if Francis were to speak forcefully to the Russian patriarch, denouncing the Russian war and patriarch’s invocation of Christ in favor of it, it would almost certainly forfeit any ecumenical capital he’s amassed with Kirill since 2016, and only provoke the patriarch to double down harder on his claims that Russia is an Christian empire facing off against a hostile West. Either outcome could be a diplomatic and ecumenical setback for the Holy See. But, on the other hand, Francis has been clear that he sees himself as the “chief evangelist” of the Church, more than a diplomatic operator.  As his continued engagement with China has shown, he is willing to take concerted criticism for dealing with a violent and repressive power in exchange for just the chance to “talk,” even if it yields little or even no obvious progress.  While it is difficult to see any “good” outcome for the pope from a meeting with the Russian patriarch, it would be very like Francis to work all the harder for it anyway. The pope considers himself an apostle to the margins, and right now, few are more marginalized on the world stage than Kirill. 7. Pope names two prominent U.S.-based experts to Vatican science academy, By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, April 13, 2022 Pope Francis has appointed Stanley B. Prusiner, an American neurologist and Nobel Prize laureate in medicine, and Zeresenay Alemseged, an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist who discovered the fossilized remains of the “world’s oldest child,” to be members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The pope also appointed Emilce Cuda, an Argentine theologian and secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, as a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the Vatican said April 13. The two academies are made up of top-level scholars and experts from around the world who promote studies on issues of concern to the Vatican. 8. Cordileone on signing letter to German bishops: ‘Christ’s teaching is timeless’, By Catholic News Agency, April 13, 2022, 1:54 PM Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, one of the bishops who have signed a letter of warning to German bishops for their proposed reforms, emphasized on Tuesday that the Catholic Church is permanent and enduring. “The teaching of Christ is timeless. It’s not bound by any one generation, any one time or culture,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco, one of the signers, told EWTN News Nightly on April 12. “It’s universal, it applies to all times, all places, all cultures.” Cordileone spoke after more than 70 bishops, including himself, signed an open letter to Germany’s bishops warning that sweeping changes to Church teaching advocated by the ongoing process known as the “Synodal Path” may lead to schism. More signatories have added their names to the letter since its release Tuesday morning.

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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