TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 122 – Rfi’s Eric Patterson Talks Afghanistan & Dr. Scott Hahn On Secularizing Scripture

With the dire situation unfolding in Afghanistan as the Taliban seizes hold of major cities, Dr. Grazie Christie turns to Religious Freedom Institute’s Vice President Eric Patterson for a real look at what is happening and what we as Catholics can do to help those suffering, especially the persecuted Christians. Dr. Scott Hahn also joins with a look at his latest book, ‘The Decline and Fall of Sacred Scripture: How the Bible Became a Secular Book,’ and the work Dr. Hahn is doing with priests and seminarians to combat this trend. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7am/5pmET on EWTN radio!

1. Christians in Afghanistan forced to hide under Taliban rule, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, August 20, 2021, Pg. A9

The minuscule community of Christian believers in Afghanistan has gone underground in fear of their lives after the hard-line Islamic Taliban returned to power this week in Kabul, an expert on persecution in the region said this week.

However, estimates suggest there are between 3,000 and 12,000 Christian believers in a nation whose population hovers around 38 million. Definitive numbers are difficult to come by, since publicly identifying as a Christian can subject an Afghan believer to beatings and death.

The return of the Taliban has sparked fears the Islamist insurgency will reimpose the strict Shariah-based law it followed when it ran the country in the years before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Non-Islamic faiths could be one of the first things targeted by the new regime as it consolidates power.

2. Papal foundation warns of ‘bleak future’ for religious freedom in Afghanistan, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 20, 2021

There’s an estimated 200 Catholics in Afghanistan – a tiny minority within the minority of around 7,000 Christians – and days after the Taliban took control of the country following the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a papal charity is sounding the alarm over their situation.

Aid to the Church in Need said it sees “a black future for religious freedom” in Afghanistan.

3. The Unconquerable Islamic World, Afghanistan shows the folly of mistaking Christian ideals for ‘universal’ ones., By Robert Nicholson, The Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion

Historians, soldiers and politicians will debate for decades the particulars of what went wrong during America’s intervention in Afghanistan. But a simple truth has been apparent for years: We Westerners failed not for lack of effort, but because military and economic power alone cannot change the Islamic world in a lasting way.

The U.S.-led coalition arrived in South Asia 20 years ago seeking justice after 9/11. Soon we turned into apostles of universal civilization, the idea that human beings everywhere would make the same basic decisions we made in building political community. We set out to establish a liberal democratic state, not realizing that politics lies downstream of culture, and culture downstream of religion. It never occurred to us that America was what it was because of Christianity, and Afghanistan was what it was because of Islam.

This blindness is driven by a noble desire to see humans as equal, interchangeable beings for whom faith and culture are accidents of birth. But these accidents are non-negotiable truths for hundreds of millions of people who would rather die than concede them. Failure to comprehend this is a symptom of spiritual emptiness: Alienated from America’s Christian origins, millions cannot fathom how faith could play a vital role in binding humans together.


The Islamic world may not change, or maybe it will—but it was never our job to decide. Our focus must be on curing the spiritual sickness that blinded us in the first place, recovering our own sense of civilizational self and reorienting our priorities accordingly.

Mr. Nicholson is president of the Philos Project.

4. Chicago, Philly archdioceses tell priests not to provide religious exemption from COVID vaccines, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, August 19, 2021, 3:05 PM

The archdioceses of both Philadelphia and Chicago have instructed their clerics not to assist parishioners seeking religious exemptions from receiving COVID-19 vaccines.

An Aug. 18 letter from Fr. Michael Hennelly, Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said that neither the archdiocese “nor its parishes are able to provide support, written or otherwise, for individuals seeking an exemption from the vaccine on religious grounds.”

And Blase Cardinal Cupich of Chicago wrote Aug. 17 to priests instructing them to “politely decline” requests for religious exemption, “and explain that doing so would mean that you would be endorsing something that is not in keeping with Catholic teaching,” according to a copy of the letter provided by WLS-TV.

“Parishioners surely can determine their own actions, but it would be important to clarify that they cannot use the teaching of the church to justify such decisions, which in their essence, are a rejection of the church’s authentic moral teaching regarding Covid vaccines,” the cardinal wrote.

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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