TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 68 – Natasha Howes On The New Movie Fatima Plus Fr. Thomas Petri On The World Of Apparitions

On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie talks with TCA colleague Ashley McGuire about a big win for Catholic schools this week with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan as teacher’s unions attempt to prolong and exacerbate getting back into class this fall. We also get a firsthand look at a new movie out this month exploring the story of Fatima with producer Natasha Howes. Dominican Father Thomas Petri also joins to share the wonder of apparitions and why the Blessed Mother reveals herself to us–just when we need her the most. We also hear from Father Roger Landry with an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Make sure to tune in every Saturday at 5pm ET on EWTN radio!

1. Partisan Stalemate Has Stymied Aid for Pandemic-Stricken Schools, By Luke Broadwater, The New York Times, August 7, 2020, Pg. A6

[P]rivate and religious educators say Democrats are not recognizing the existential threat facing their schools. While many private schools have received small-business loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the pandemic’s hit to their bottom lines has been so brutal that some schools have no choice but to close their doors, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s alma mater, the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore.

Last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote to Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, urging Congress to support federal emergency relief funds for Catholic schools in urban areas that are in “crisis.”

More than 130 Catholic schools have already announced permanent closures in Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, New York and elsewhere, the bishops wrote. The letter asked for Congress to designate emergency funding for direct scholarship aid to low-income private school families.

2. The Democrats Biden Doesn’t Want, We’re liberal and we’re pro-life. The party refuses even to ask for our votes., By Kristen Day and Xavier Bisits, The Wall Street Journal, August 7, 2020, Pg. A13, Opinion

Joe Biden would be the most pro-abortion president in history. Although he was once a moderate, the Catholic former vice president now describes abortion as “essential health care,” caved in to the abortion industry on taxpayer funding, and has been proudly endorsed by Naral Pro-Choice America, an organization that advocates for the repeal of all regulations on abortion.

Democrats weren’t always like this.

Ms. Day is executive director and Mr. Bisits a board member of Democrats for Life of America

3. Court: Catholic school students likely to succeed in appeal, By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press, August 7, 2020

A federal appeals court has granted an injunction to stop Vermont from excluding some students who attend a Catholic school from participating in a state program while an appeal is pending, in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said states cannot cut religious schools from programs that send public money to private education.

“Appellants have a strong likelihood of success on the merits of their claims,” the 2nd Circuit said in granting the motion on Wednesday.

Last year, the group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit against the Vermont Education Agency on behalf of a number of students from the Rice Memorial High School in South Burlington saying they wished to take college classes under the Vermont Dual Enrollment program, but were excluded because they attend a Catholic high school.

4. Catholic voters group calls on Biden to condemn ‘rising climate of anti-Catholicism’, By Justine Coleman, The Hill, August 6, 2020, 7:40 PM

A Catholic voters group called on presumptive Democratic candidate Joe Biden to condemn the “rising climate of anti-Catholicism” in the country in a Thursday press release.

CatholicVote, a conservative faith-based advocacy group, requested that Biden, who is a Catholic, “publicly condemn the disturbing rise in attacks on Catholic symbols, churches, statues, and beliefs.”

The advocacy group said there’s recently been an “alarming number [of] arson-related church fires, desecration of sacred symbols and statues by extremist mobs [and] hate-filled rhetoric of leading members of the Democratic Party.”

5. Pope on Hiroshima: Possession of nuclear weapons “immoral”, By Associated Press, August 6, 2020, 8:34 AM

Pope Francis on Thursday marked the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attack on Hiroshima by calling for peace and repeating that not only the use of atomic weapons but their mere possession is immoral.

Prior to that, church teaching had held that nuclear deterrence could be morally acceptable in the interim as long as it was used toward mutual, verifiable nuclear disarmament. Francis has modified that after seeing the deterrence doctrine has essentially resulted in a nuclear status quo, with arms control treaties collapsing.

6. Catholicism a Casualty of China’s New Cultural Revolution, The Chinese Communist Party remains determined to extinguish the Catholic faith — over time., By Steven W. Mosher, National Catholic Register, August 5, 2020, Opinion

It is safe to say, nearly two years after the signing of the agreement, that while the Chinese Communist Party has achieved its goals, the Vatican clearly hasn’t.

To be sure, one reason for the failure of the agreement to produce significant gains for Catholic believers is the deteriorating situation in China for the followers of all faiths — Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim. In February 2018, months before the Sino-Vatican agreement was signed, the CCP issued a directive imposing onerous new restrictions on religion and religious believers in China. Then, in February of this year, a second directive followed, outlining in painful detail how these new restrictions would be implemented vis-à-vis all of China’s religions, religious institutions and religious practitioners.

But the situation in China is even more dire than this would suggest. The fact is that the CCP, led by General Secretary Xi Jinping, is at present carrying out a new Cultural Revolution, the specific targets of which include all organized religions and all religious believers. The goal is not simply to restrict and control all religious activity and belief, it is to completely replace such activity and belief with worship of the CCP, its ideology and its leaders.

If there is a tiny light at the end of the dark night that the Catholic Church is now experiencing in China, it is this: When the fifth underground bishop, Bishop Paul Ma Cunguo of Shuozhou, joined the Patriotic Association in a quiet ceremony a few weeks ago, his oath of allegiance was much different than those made by the previous four bishops.

Those who preceded him were required to publicly swear “to work for an independent, self-governing church,” a condition clearly in conflict with the magisterium. As circulated on social media, Bishop Ma’s oath did not include this phrase. Instead, he reportedly promised to be “be faithful to the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church, commit to building up the Church, the Body of Christ, and contribute to evangelization” and also to “abide by God’s command, fulfill his pastoral duties as a bishop and proclaim the Gospel faithfully.”

The only potentially questionable part of the oath — depending upon how it is interpreted — was a commitment to ensure that his diocesan priests would abide by the country’s constitution and laws, uphold the unity of the nation and social harmony, love the country and the church, and contribute to the “realization of the Chinese dream.”

I am not entirely sure what to make of this modified oath. If the CCP has dropped the pledge to “work for an independent, self-governing church,” it would be a major concession, since this phrase is the very definition of a schismatic church.

Of course — as always in the case of the Chinese Communist Party, one has to be alert to the possibility of duplicity. “They always have a knife up their sleeve,” as one senior Vatican official put it.

Is this a harbinger of better times to come for the Catholic Church in China, or is it merely a strategic deception intended to lure the Vatican into extending the agreement? Time will tell.

Steven W. Mosher (@StevenWMosher) is the president of the Population Research Institute and the author of Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream Is the New Threat to World Order

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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