TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 123 – Sr. Mary Grace & Kathryn Lopez On The Sisters Of Life & Edward Pentin Talks Afghanistan!

Is the Holy See working to hold talks with the Taliban? Veteran Vatican journalist Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register joins Dr. Grazie Christie this week to discuss the devastating situation in Afghanistan and the potentiality of the Vatican intervening to help so many desperate families trying to flee the country, especially persecuted Christians. We also learn all about the amazing work that the Sisters of Life are doing with Sister Mary Grace alongside our good friend Kathryn Lopez of the National Review who works steadfastly alongside the sisters working to help desperate women choose life. Father Roger Landry also shares an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7am ET/5pm ET on EWTN radio!

1. The Appeal of Giant Jesus Statues, Even the nonreligious can find solace in these benevolent and welcoming figures., By Charlotte Allen, The Wall Street Journal, August 27, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion

Christ the Redeemer, the iconic 125-foot statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro, will soon have an even bigger rival: Christ the Protector. The 140-foot statue, under construction 700 miles to the south, will join dozens of similar works around the world. But the influence of the 90-year-old original remains unsurpassed.

Christ the Protector has outstretched arms that make it look nearly identical to its predecessor. But the statue, located in the small rural town of Encantado, also boasts an internal elevator that will enable visitors to ascend to a viewing deck at the statue’s heart. The $350,000 project, expected to be completed by the end of this year, seems aimed at giving a tourist boost to Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state. But tourism isn’t the only reason.

The colossal statues may feel like crass appeals to the vanity of the wealthy or to the money that tourism can bring. But that neglects the complex motivations of religious people, who often view their trips to holy sites as pilgrimages as well as pleasurable excursions. The heart of Christ the Protector, for example, might resemble a small stylized heart visible on the chest of Christ the Redeemer in Rio.

2. Pope urges Catholic lawmakers to guide technological advances, Pope Francis greets a delegation from the International Catholic Legislators Network, and urges them to help create a more sustainable future while putting technology at the service of the common good, By Devin Watkins, Vatican News, August 27, 2021

“One of the greatest challenges confronting us is the administration of technology for the common good.”

Pope Francis offered that assessment on Friday in his address to members of the International Catholic Legislators Network.

The network, which was set up in 2010, seeks to support the work of the Holy See by bearing witness to the Gospel in service to members’ home countries.

Serving society, added the Pope, requires legislators to get to the root causes laid bare by the pandemic, which include poverty, social inequality, unemployment, and lack of access to education.

3. ‘Shame on the West,’ top European prelate says on Afghanistan, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, August 26, 2021

One of Europe’s leading cardinals has criticized the continent’s political leaders, and those throughout the west, for abandoning Afghani refugees, focusing more on numbers than on how best to help those fleeing violence.

Speaking to SIR, the news outlet of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, archbishop of Luxemburg and president of the Commission of Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE), said the images coming out of Afghanistan over the past week “hurt my heart. It hurts my heart to see how people are treated.”

“We had given hope to this people and now we have left them in Dante’s hell,” he said, adding, “I feel ashamed. Shame on Europe and the West. We talk a lot about values, but where are our values in Afghanistan now?”

4. German bishop says he’s skeptical about exempting priests from celibacy, By Catholic News Service, August 26, 2021

A German bishop who co-chairs the Synodal Path’s forum on priests said he is “skeptical” about exempting Catholic priests from celibacy.

Bishop Felix Genn of Münster said he accepted that people were deciding not to become priests because they did not feel called to celibacy, adding: “Perhaps they will then choose another profession in the church.”

He also expressed doubts about whether the forum would come to a clear position on celibacy. He said there was likely to be disagreement on whether it should be voluntary or compulsory.

5. Israel’s rabbinate asks Pope Francis to explain comments about Judaism, By Yonat Shimron, Religion News Service, August 26, 2021, 4:43 PM

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has written a letter to Pope Francis conveying its “distress” at comments he made suggesting Jewish law, as written in the Torah, is obsolete.

The letter, first reported on by Reuters, was sent by Rabbi Rasson Arousi, chair of the Commission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel for Dialogue with the Holy See. Arousi was referring to a homily Francis made during a general audience on Aug. 11.

In that homily, or sermon, the pope reflected on the Apostle Paul’s views in the New Testament that the Torah does not give life.

Speaking of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, the pope said: “It does not offer the fulfillment of the promise because it is not capable of being able to fulfill it … Those who seek life need to look to the promise and to its fulfillment in Christ.”

6. With PPF stalled, bishop moves forward with seminary renewal, By The Pillar, August 26, 2021

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is the most recent American bishop to introduce a propaedeutic, or spirituality, year as a component of priestly formation for seminarians studying to become priests in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Cordileone says that he hopes the propaedeutic year will form “a sort of a novitiate for the diocesan priesthood.”

In addition to focusing on a regimen of prayer, spiritual development, and personal discernment, the year will also include a technology fast, the archbishop said, with students breaking from computers, smart phones, and social media for six days a week.

Even while Cordileone and other bishops have launched propaedeutic years at their seminaries, there is an unresolved discussion between Vatican and U.S. Church officials over what exactly should be required in U.S. seminaries regarding propaedeutic spiritual formation.

The Vatican’s perspective on propaedeutic years is expressed directly in the 2016 Ratio fundamentalis, which sets baseline expectations and requirements for the formation of priests around the world. The document is an update to a similar text published in 1970 and updated in 1985.

The text also says that “ordinarily,” the propaedeutic period “is not to be less than one year or more than two.”

But in a document of their own, the U.S. bishops seem to have called for more flexibility on the issue.

7. Pope Francis Names Religious Sister to No. 2 Position in Vatican’s Social Development Office, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, August 26, 2021

Pope Francis on Thursday named Italian economist and Catholic religious sister Alessandra Smerilli secretary of the Vatican’s social development office on an interim basis.

Sister Smerilli was appointed “ad interim” secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development following the departure of secretary Monsignor Bruno Marie Duffé and deputy secretary Father Augusto Zampini, who have returned to their home dioceses, the Vatican announced Aug. 26.

8. Desperate Afghan Christians Turned Away at Airport, Aid Groups Say, By Alejandro Bermudez, Shannon Mullen, and Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, August 26, 2021

With time running out to rescue civilians fleeing the Taliban, Afghan Christians and others whose names appear on U.S. government lists of qualified evacuees are being turned away at the airport in Kabul, representatives of aid organizations and others told CNA Wednesday.

“I was told by contacts from various groups working to rescue those still in danger in Afghanistan—who must remain anonymous — that the State Department at least at a certain point was not implementing the lists that they require the organizations to compile — even though they have sent them multiple times,” Faith McDonnell, director of advocacy at Katartismos Global, an Anglican nonprofit ministry group based in Manassas, Virginia, told CNA Wednesday.

“It seems at present as if no one is getting any priority unless they have some sort of special connection inside the airport,” she said.

9. Pope Francis meets Nobel Peace Prize-winning Yazidi rights activist, By Inés San Martín, Crux, August 26, 2021

Pope Francis on Thursday welcomed Yazidi Nadia Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her work against the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The Vatican confirmed the meeting early afternoon Rome time, but gave no details, beyond noting that Murad was accompanied by her husband.

Murad is a member of the Yazidi religious community, and was sexually assaulted when the Islamic State Group took over much of western Iraq.

She and Francis had met briefly in 2017, at the end of one of the pope’s general audiences, and then again in 2018.

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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