TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences”

Episode 50 –  Father Benedict Kiely and Religious Liberty Expert Tom Farr on the Coronavirus Crisis

Dr. Grazie Christie and Andrea Picciotti-Bayer travel across the pond to discuss the latest on the coronavirus crisis with Father Benedict Kiely, Founder of Father discusses his own experience in isolation after travel to the States as well as how this virus is impacting the most vulnerable in Africa and the Middle East: the persecuted Christians.

Tom Farr of the Religious Freedom Institute also joins with a look at how this pandemic is impacting religious liberty and conscience rights. Tom also discusses the plight of Christians in China where the coronavirus was first detected.

1. Israel to help Christians share ‘holy fire’ amid outbreak.

By Josef Federman, Associated Press, April 3, 2020, 6:53 AM

Israel is working with foreign governments and Orthodox Christian leaders in the Holy Land to make sure that one of their most ancient and mysterious rituals — the Holy Fire ceremony — is not extinguished by the coronavirus outbreak, officials said Friday.

Each year, thousands of worshippers flock to Jerusalem’s Old City and pack into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher — built on the site where Christian tradition holds that Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected — for the pre-Easter ceremony.

2. Driving-up confessions pop up in age of social distancing.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, April 3, 2020, Pg. A1

Inventive methods of confession — formally called the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Roman Catholic Church — are popping up across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, which temporarily has halted traditional worship and religious services across the country.

With coronavirus cases increasing and isolation measures becoming more stringent, there’s no telling when Mass will return to normal. Some groups comprising lay people have circulated an online petition calling for bishops to demand that governors declare religious services as “essential” or that social distancing protocols be eased to reinstate the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, currently on hold in many dioceses for fear of the highly contagious virus.

3. Asia’s top cardinal: China’s ‘criminal negligence’ responsible for coronavirus pandemic.

By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux, April 3, 2020

One of Asia’s top prelates has laid the blame for the coronavirus on the doorstep of China’s communist government, saying it has the “primary responsibility” for the pandemic which has put much of the world under lockdown.

“The Chinese regime led by the all-powerful [Chinese President Xi Jinping] and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – not its people – owes us all an apology, and compensation for the destruction it has caused,” said Myanmar Cardinal Charles Bo, the president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences [FABC].

4. Abortion Is ‘Essential’ Only to Abortionists’ Revenue: Banning the elective procedure all makes perfect sense to health care professionals and the larger public — but not to abortion proponents like Planned Parenthood.

By Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie, National Catholic Register, April 2, 2020, Opinion

Crises serve to clarify. COVID-19 is forcing all of us to make difficult choices. We are having to separate the necessary from the superfluous and sifting the essentials from accompanying chaff.

In health care, we have no choice but to be realistic about this process. Bracing for what we know is coming — a flood of very sick patients into a system with a finite number of hospital beds, and a growing dearth of protective equipment for doctors and nurses — we are canceling elective procedures and postponing medically necessary ones that can safely be postponed.

This all makes perfect sense to health care professionals and the larger public, but not, alas, to abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood and activists who want to keep the abortion train running full steam ahead during this dangerous pandemic.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have released detailed guidelines to assist doctors and hospitals in determining what procedures should be canceled or postponed. Severe and immediate threat to life, limb or organ? Go ahead with the surgery, even in a hospital with COVID-19 patients. It’s the same for cancer patients and cardiac patients who need urgent inpatient treatment.

However, procedures that can be postponed should be postponed — even, for instance, if the patient is in pain from arthritis or renal colic. Of course, cosmetic surgeries and other purely elective procedures must be indefinitely postponed, since the supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers is limited, and hospital beds should be free for the COVID-19 surge.

As much as abortion providers and activists might deny it, abortion is by definition an elective procedure. Pregnancy is not a disease or an illness. As such, abortion is not a medically necessary “treatment.”

The Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the abortion lobby, lists the reasons why women seek abortion. Although the reasons are many and varied, none are medical. Financial instability, fear of interrupting one’s education, being unmarried or being unwilling to give birth to a child and give the child up for adoption — all these are social, not medical reasons for seeking an abortion.

The global catastrophe of COVID-19, with its daily tragedies and mass enforced isolation, the terrible economic consequences that are being felt even now by the most vulnerable and that loom before the rest of us, is laying essential truths bare. One truth is that we depend on each other much more than we thought we did. Another truth is that abortion businesses will sacrifice even public safety and the critical needs of a strained health system to maintain their bottom line.

Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie is a policy adviser for The Catholic Association

5. Dan Lipinski, One of the Last Pro-Life Democrats, Discusses Abortion and His Party: ‘We know how important this issue is, protecting life, and we need to keep fighting,’ the outgoing representative counsels.

By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, March 31, 2020

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., is an eight-term Catholic, pro-life congressman who lost his primary recently to pro-abortion challenger Marie Newman after abortion groups backed her with substantial funding.

But despite this setback the Catholic congressman remains firm in his pro-life beliefs and in his decision to remain true to those convictions despite the cost to his political career.

Lipinski spoke with the Register in a phone interview Monday about the ways he’s seen the Democratic Party shift on the abortion issue, what the pro-life movement can do to embrace Democratic voters, and why his pro-life stance is so important to him.

[Brown]: Pro-lifers across the country were disappointed by your loss in the primary. To what do you attribute the outcome?

[Lipinski]: I don’t believe this would have been a race if not for the fact that there was between $2 and $3 million, maybe even more, spent against me based on the fact that I’m pro-life. This is money spent by NARAL and Emily’s List and other abortion groups. That certainly had a significant impact on the election, I believe.

[Brown]: How has pro-abortion activism and the pro-life movement changed in the years you’ve been in office?

[Lipinski]: There used to be many more pro-life Democrats in Congress even back 10 years ago, when the Affordable Care Act passed. … Things have changed significantly in the party.

It’s exemplified in the fact that Joe Biden, when he announced he was running for president, felt that he needed to change his decadeslong position on the Hyde Amendment on taxpayer funding for abortion.

[Brown]: What kind of influence do Planned Parenthood and other abortion groups have over Democratic politicians?

[Lipinski]: They have a lot of money, and it makes a big difference. The issue is if you want to run for office as a Democrat and you’re pro-life, you know these groups — NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List and others — you know that they are going to spend a lot of money to defeat you in the primary. Those groups are likely the reason that these Democrats running for president understand that they can’t have these groups opposing them. That’s why they take the extreme position on abortion.

I think one of the most important things that is missed is how extreme the position is of these abortion groups.

I can’t think of anything that we voted on [in the House] with regard to abortion that is not supported by a majority of Americans. These groups manage to never confront these issues because they don’t want to confront those issues — because they know that the majority is opposed to the position that they take.

[Brown]: What are your thoughts on the insistence of many abortion clinics on remaining open despite the global pandemic and shutdown of nonessential health-care providers?

[Lipinski]: It’s just in keeping with the efforts of these organizations, especially Planned Parenthood: to try to continue to send the message out that abortion is simply medical care. And that’s an issue that we in the pro-life movement need to continue to fight against. This battle over abortion and whether abortion is essential care during the coronavirus pandemic is just another place where that’s happening. I would fully expect Planned Parenthood to make that point, first of all, because their business largely is providing abortion, and they want to keep trying to send the message to the general public that abortion is simply medical care.

[Brown]: How has your Catholic faith influenced your political life and your life in general?

[Lipinski]: I am hopeful that my Catholic faith has really influenced everything in my life.

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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