TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 105 – Nicole Neily On Parents Defending Education & Dr. Christina Francis On Abortion Pill Dangers
With radical ideology infiltrating not only public schools but Catholic schools as well, Nicole Neily, President & Founder of Parents Defending Education, joins with a look at some of the biggest issues facing our children right now–and what we can do to make our voices known. We also talk with Dr. Christina Francis, Chair of the American Association of Pro-Life OB/GYNs about the FDA’s recent decision to relax regulations on chemical abortions–and the abortion industry’s moves to make these dangerous pills more available–regardless of the potential harm and risks involved. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Good Shepherd Sunday. Make sure to catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio!
1. Hoosiers Lead the Voucher Way, By The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2021, Pg. A14, Editorial
Ten years ago in these columns, we hailed Indiana for its leadership in establishing one of America’s most ambitious school voucher programs. On Thursday the Indiana Legislature built on that achievement by approving a budget that will take the program to 48,000 students a year from about 37,000.
The choice provisions in the budget have three main components. The first would lift the income cap for eligibility to $145,000 a year from $96,000. This would make as much as 90% of the population eligible for the program. The bill would also increase the voucher amount to 90% of tuition support levels, and eliminate the existing tiered system.

The teachers unions are unhappy. Their beef is that money to expand choice is taken from traditional public schools. And this year they lobbied local school boards to pass resolutions opposed to school choice.
But that common union line about choice robbing public schools isn’t true.

Since 2011, when Indiana pushed through its first voucher plan, more than a quarter-million Hoosier students have benefited. In an interview with Today’s Catholic, former Gov. Mitch Daniels explains the moral logic of choice this way: “Providing poor and minority families the same choice of schools that their wealthier neighbors enjoy is the purest example of ‘social justice’ in our society today.”
2. The Biden team has withdrawn a trump-era attempt to allow federally funded homeless shelters to exclude transgender people, HUD secretary says transgender people will not be excluded, By Tracy Jan, The Washington Post, April 23, 2021, Pg. A1
Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge announced Thursday the withdrawal of a Trump-era proposal to allow federally funded homeless shelters to exclude transgender people by accommodating only people whose sex assigned at birth matches those served by single-sex homeless shelters.
In a call with reporters, senior Housing and Urban Development officials said the agency is committed to enforcing a 2016 rule, finalized in the last year of the Obama administration, mandating that shelters provide access in accordance with a person’s gender identity.
3. Montana governor signs religious freedom bill, By Associated Press, April 23, 2021
Montana’s governor on Thursday signed a bill that codifies the right of people to challenge government regulations that interfere with their religious beliefs.
The legislation, by Republican Sen. Carl Glimm, requires the government to have a compelling reason to violate a person’s constitutional right to freedom of religion and to meet its goals in the least restrictive way possible.
“Citizens should not be left defenseless when their government attempts to burden their ability to live and worship according to their faith. This law provides a sensible balancing test for courts to use when reviewing government policies that infringe upon the religious freedom rights of Montanans,” the Alliance Defending Freedom said in a statement.
4. ‘It would make a big difference’: Human rights activist urges Vatican to change tack on China, By Catholic News Agency, April 23, 2021, 3:00 AM
A British human rights activist has said that it would make a “big difference” if the Vatican publicly expressed its concerns about the actions of the Chinese Communist Party.
Benedict Rogers told CNA April 21 that even a small gesture would be meaningful for those suffering as a result of Beijing’s actions both in mainland China and Hong Kong.
“I would say, you don’t have to speak out in a directly political way. For example, I think it would go a long way if the pope were simply to pray for the Uyghurs, and Christians in China, and the people of Hong Kong, as he does for so many other parts of the world, perhaps during the Sunday Angelus or on some other occasion,” he said.

Rogers is the founder of Hong Kong Watch, a U.K.-based organization monitoring human rights, freedoms, and rule of law in the city on China’s southern coast. The charity, founded in 2017, occupies much of his time, but he also works as a senior analyst on East Asia for the human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).
5. Biden’s Refugee Decision Is a Moral One, By Sabeeha Rehman and Walter Ruby, The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion
Joe Biden said on the campaign trail that he would raise the refugee-settlement ceiling to 125,000 during his first year in office. Last week the White House announced it would maintain Donald Trump’s 15,000-refugee cap. President Biden walked back the decision hours later under heavy criticism from his own party.
“We are going to increase the number,” Mr. Biden said Saturday.

There is a crisis here, but it is a moral one. Rejecting refugees and turning away unaccompanied minors would violate basic American principles. It would also disregard a central principle of the three Abrahamic faiths. As a Jew and a Muslim—and as Americans—we urge our Catholic president to uphold our shared imperative to welcome the stranger.
The Torah (“You shall not wrong nor oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt”) and the Quran (“Was not the earth of God spacious enough for you to flee for refuge?”) make the point clearly. The Christian Bible includes countless verses calling for the faithful to welcome foreigners. All three faiths’ history is steeped in stories of refuge. Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad all fled persecution and violence.

It would be impossible for the U.S. to accept everyone who seeks refuge here. But this country can do much more—especially after four years of anti-immigration policies. Remaining true to our most deeply held values, religious and national, means we cannot continue to turn away so many.
Ms. Rehman and Mr. Ruby are authors of “We Refuse to Be Enemies: How Muslims and Jews Can Make Peace, One Friendship at a Time,” just out from Arcade.
6. Pope warns Earth heading for self-destruction without action, By Associated Press, April 22, 2021, 12:45 PM
Pope Francis warned Thursday that the world is “on a path of self-destruction” if political leaders fail to courageously use the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to make the planet a fairer and greener place.
In a video message released on World Earth Day, Francis said political leaders have an opportunity to “come out better” following lessons learned about the social injustices laid bare during the pandemic.
“Both global catastrophes, COVID and the climate, show that we don’t have time to waste,” Francis said. “Time is pressing on us and, as COVID-19 has shown, we do have the means to meet the challenge. We have the means. It’s time to act, we’re at the limit.”
7. New Justice Department official opposed Little Sisters of the Poor in contraceptive mandate case, By Catholic News Agency, April 22, 2021, 10:23 AM
An Obama-era Justice Department official with a history of pro-abortion and pro-transgender statements was confirmed to a top position at the agency on Wednesday.
The Senate voted 51-49 to confirm Vanita Gupta, former president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former civil rights head at the Justice Department, as associate attorney general on Wednesday afternoon. Gupta, a daughter of Indian immigrants, will be the first woman of color to hold the position.
From 2014 to 2017, Gupta served as head of the civil rights division at the Justice Department. In her new role, she will be expected to address race relations and police reform at the Justice Department, but in overseeing the civil rights division she could also be in a position to advance transgender ideology and abortion.

In the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor against the HHS contraceptive mandate, Gupta argued in 2020 that the sisters and others should not have a religious exemption to the mandate; the rule required health plans to cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortifacients.
8. Cardinal Cupich asked Archbishop Aquila for ‘public clarification’ over Eucharistic doctrine, By The Pillar, April 22, 2021
Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago wrote to Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila last week to express “a number of concerns,” after Aquila published an essay on theological and pastoral issues concerning the reception of Holy Communion. Cardinal Cupich urged the archbishop to offer a “public clarification” of his arguments.
Aquila’s essay was published in America April 14.

“I am compelled to address the error that any baptized Catholic can receive Communion if he or she simply desires to do so. None of us have the freedom to approach the altar of the Lord without a proper examination of conscience and proper repentance if grave sin has been committed,” Aquila wrote.
“The Eucharist is a gift, not an entitlement, and the sanctity of that gift is only diminished by unworthy reception. Because of the public scandal caused, this is especially true in the case of public officials who persistently govern in violation of the natural law, particularly the pre-eminent issues of abortion and euthanasia, the taking of innocent life, as well as other actions that fail to uphold the church’s teaching regarding the dignity of life,” the archbishop continued. 
Several sources, among them a senior official in one U.S. archdiocese, told The Pillar this week that shortly after the essay was published, Cupich wrote to Aquila, taking issue with that argument.
The cardinal’s letter to Aquila — which has been seen by The Pillar — was dated April 14, the same day Aquila’s essay was published. The letter said that Cupich had “a number of concerns” with Aquila’s essay, and was especially concerned about the paragraph quoted above.
“I respectfully note that to claim that we can do anything to diminish the Eucharist, or its effects, is contrary to the church’s longstanding teaching,” Cupich wrote.

The Pillar was unable to confirm whether Aquila responded directly to Cupich. But in a second essay, published April 18 at Catholic World Report, Aquila offered a public clarification, of sorts.
While he did not identify the bishop who wrote to him, Aquila wrote that a bishop had expressed concern about his essay and had asked for a clarification.
“Because of the confusion I may have caused, I promised the bishop that I would make a public clarification,” Aquila wrote. His essay proceeded to offer a thorough explanation of his view, which the archbishop called an “amplification of the point” he had previously made.
Aquila’s April 18 essay affirmed that sacraments make available grace ex opere operato — the point Cupich raised in his letter. But the archbishop wrote that he also affirms another principle of sacramental theology, namely that “right faith” is necessary for a person “to reap properly the salvific benefits of the sacrament.”

The theological disagreement comes as the doctrinal committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference is reportedly preparing a text to address the issue of “Eucharistic coherence,” its term for questions related to the reception of the Holy Communion by pro-abortion politicians and other Catholics publicly and consistently at odds with some aspect of Catholic doctrine.
9. A hidden army of ‘very brave’ nuns fight child trafficking, “The pimps got to the point with the nuns where they just left them alone,” said a sex-trafficking survivor. “Because nothing you say or do is going to run them away.”, By Jake Whitman, Cynthia McFadden and Rich Schapiro, NBC News, April 4, 2021, 6:00 AM
Sister Rose Paite stepped inside this sprawling city’s main train station and scanned the crowd. She often visits public gathering places like this as part of her life’s mission: to save children from being trafficked.

Paite is not a lone crusader. She’s part of a vast but little-known network of Catholic nuns dedicated to fighting human trafficking across the globe. The organization, Talitha Kum, was formed in Rome in 2009 and now operates quietly in 92 countries.
The group is made up of roughly 60,000 religious sisters. The work they do is often dangerous and daring — confronting pimps on darkened streets, patrolling dusty alleys that host brothels. The sisters also operate safe houses in several countries, providing refuge for women and girls fleeing their captors.
Their work doesn’t only take place in the streets. The organization pushes for systemic change, lobbying for stronger laws to combat human trafficking.

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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