TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 172 – Father Dave Pivonka On Why The Body Matters & Jessica Hooten Wilson Talks Flannery O’Connor! As the HHS made dangerous moves this week that could force doctors to perform transgender surgeries, we revisit with Father Dave Pivonka about how these new efforts only hurt his student athletes at Franciscan University–and others across the country. As we remember Flannery O’Connor this week, we talk to University of Dallas professor and author Jessica Hooten Wilson about this fascinating writer and The Scandal of HolinessFather Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. How Changing One Law Could Protect Kids From Social Media, By Yuval Levin, The New York Times, August 5, 2022, 5:00 AM, Opinion Parenthood has always been fraught with worry and guilt, but parents in the age of social media have increasingly confronted a distinctly acute kind of powerlessness. Their kids are unwitting subjects in a remarkable experiment in human social forms, building habits and relationships in an unruly environment designed mostly to maximize intense engagement in the service of advertisers. It’s not that social media has no redeeming value, but on the whole it is no place for kids. If Instagram or TikTok were brick-and-mortar spaces in your neighborhood, you probably would never let even your teenager go to them alone. Parents should have the same say over their children’s presence in these virtual spaces. We may have the vague impression that that would be impossible, but it isn’t. There is a plausible, legitimate, effective tool at our society’s disposal to empower parents against the risks of social media: We should raise the age requirement for social media use, and give it real teeth.  Restrictions on access to the platforms would come with real costs. But, as Jonathan Haidt of New York University has put it, “The preponderance of the evidence now available is disturbing enough to warrant action.” Some teen users of social media see the problem, too. As one of Meta’s leaked slides put it, “Young people are acutely aware that Instagram can be bad for their mental health yet, are compelled to spend time on the app for fear of missing out on cultural and social trends.”  Real age verification would also make it possible to more effectively restrict access to online pornography — a vast, dehumanizing scourge that our society has inexplicably decided to pretend it can do nothing about. Here, too, concerns about free speech, whatever their merits, surely don’t apply to children.  This approach would also get at a core problem with the social media platforms. Their business model — in which users’ personal information and attention are the essence of the product that the companies sell to advertisers — is key to why the platforms are designed in ways that encourage addiction, aggression, bullying, conspiracies and other antisocial behaviors. If the companies want to create a version of social media geared to children, they will need to design platforms that don’t monetize user data and engagement in that way — and so don’t involve those incentives — and then let parents see what they think. Empowering parents is really the key to this approach. It was a mistake to let kids and teens onto the platforms in the first place. But we are not powerless to correct that mistake. Yuval Levin, a contributing Opinion writer, is the editor of National Affairs and the director of social, cultural and constitutional studies at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the author of “A Time to Build: From Family and Community to Congress and the Campus, How Recommitting to Our Institutions Can Revive the American Dream.” 2. DeSantis Ousts a Progressive Prosecutor, By The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2022, Pg. A14, Editorial San Francisco has already fired its soft-on-crime prosecutor, Chesa Boudin, and a similar effort is moving against Los Angeles’s George Gascon. On the other side of the country, Florida voters don’t have a similar history of recourse to recalls. But they do have Gov. Ron DeSantis. On Thursday he used his constitutional powers to suspend Tampa Bay prosecutor Andrew Warren. What’s making the headlines is Mr. Warren’s stance on abortion and transgender issues. Mr. DeSantis’s order cites a June letter Mr. Warren signed, along with Mr. Boudin and Mr. Gascon, in which they and other prosecutors promised to “decline to use our offices’ resources to criminalize reproductive health decisions.” The letter continues: “Our legislatures may decide to criminalize personal healthcare decisions, but we remain obligated to prosecute only those case that serve the interests of justice.” So they get to nullify the laws duly passed by a state legislature? “To take a position that you have veto power over the laws of this state is untenable,” Mr. DeSantis said Thursday. He’s right about that. For a prosecutor to announce ahead of time that he intends to decline whole categories of cases, simply because he disagrees with the legislators who wrote the criminal code, is an abuse of discretion.  “Removing a duly elected official should be based on egregious actions—not political statements,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, in criticizing Mr. DeSantis. Maybe egregious is in the eye of the beholder. But if Mr. DeSantis is correct about how Mr. Warren has been running his office, then what’s the argument that his conduct doesn’t fit the bill? 3. Kansas, Abortion and the Supreme Court, The winning side still wants judges to rule as philosopher kings., By The Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2022, Pg. A14, Editorial Abortion-rights supporters won a big victory on Tuesday in Kansas, but their conclusion seems to be that somehow this is a rebuke to Justice Samuel Alito and the Supreme Court. Far from it, the vote defeating a constitutional amendment to overturn a state Supreme Court ruling on abortion is a rousing vindication of Justice Alito’s majority opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. “The Kansas vote was a powerful reply to the Supreme Court,” proclaims Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle. John Harris of Politico writes, “So what does Alito think now, in the wake of Kansas voters resoundingly rejecting a proposal to remove protections for abortion rights from their state constitution?” We don’t know what Justice Alito’s personal views are on abortion, but we know for certain what his legal reaction to the Kansas vote is: That’s the way it goes in a democracy. And that’s exactly what the Justice said in his opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  The Von Drehle-Harris critique, by contrast, betrays that they and the many critics of the Justices are the ones who view the Supreme Court as a political body that should rule according to policy preferences. They’re angry with the Court because it didn’t preserve their abortion preferences in the law. That’s all the more reason to be grateful for the Court’s willingness to send abortion back to the people to decide. 4. Portugal cardinal meets pope as sex abuse allegations swirl, By Barry Hatton, Associated Press, August 5, 2022, 7:15 AM The archbishop of Lisbon met Friday with Pope Francis in a private audience at the Vatican to discuss “events in recent weeks that have marked the life of the Church in Portugal,” the Portuguese church said. The two-sentence communique gave no further details, and the Vatican does not comment on the pope’s private audiences with individual churchmen. But suspicion about what they discussed immediately fell on recent allegations of child sex abuse by priests and alleged cover-ups by senior members of the Portuguese church. 5. What Pro-Lifers Should Learn From Kansas, They asked for too much because they failed to prepare for the debate over abortion after Roe v. Wade., By Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2022, 6:55 PM, Opinion Most important, there is a political tradition in democracy that consists of these words: “That’s asking too much.” Don’t ask people for more than they can give. Don’t go too far, don’t lose by asking for a sweeping decision when people will be willing to go step by step. Ask for as much as they can give, pull them toward your vision, but don’t be afraid of going slow and steady, be afraid of overloading the grid. That’s part of what happened in Kansas: They were asked to take a step they thought extreme, and they don’t like extreme. You have to be clear in explaining how society will arrange itself if you get the measure you asked for. In this case, the pro-life cause, conservatives and the Republican Party have the chance to speak of, laud and increase state and private help for women bearing children in difficult circumstances. The antiabortion movement will never really succeed unless it is paired in the public mind with compassion for the struggling.

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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