TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 241 – Dr. Paul Shrimpton On White Rose & Mary Rose Somarriba Talks Verily Mag! With the rise of anti-semitism on college campuses, Dr. Paul Shrimpton shares the history of the White Rose discussing his book, Conscience before Conformity: Hans and Sophie Scholl and the White Rose Resistance in Nazi Germany. Mary Rose Somarriba also joins with Ashley McGuire to discuss a new era of Verily Magazine, “home for content that elevates the everyday.” Father 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. Ex-cardinal McCarrick’s sex assault case in Wisconsin appears to be dead, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, December 1, 2023, 6:00 AM A Wisconsin prosecutor has declined to challenge a doctor’s assessment that disgraced ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick is incompetent to stand trial, making it more likely the only remaining criminal charge against McCarrick will be dismissed.  A Massachusetts judge dismissed a criminal child sexual abuse charge against McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, in August, citing the same reasons. 2. Pilgrims yearn to visit isolated peninsula where Catholic saints cared for Hawaii’s leprosy patients, By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press, December 1, 2023, 8:00 AM Kalaupapa beckoned to Kyong Son Toyofuku. She had long prayed to visit the hard-to-reach Hawaiian peninsula, trapped by its deep-green, sheer sea cliffs and rugged, black rock shores that glisten under the Pacific’s pristine waters. As a daily Mass-going Catholic devoted to Saint Damien of Molokai, she wanted to walk where he walked, pray where he prayed, and witness for herself the place — both stunning and haunting — where the late priest spent a pivotal part of his life caring for banished people sick with leprosy. The pilgrimage to Kalaupapa, defined by its natural isolation in northern Molokai, is logistically challenging to make under normal circumstances, with longstanding rules including prohibiting anyone younger than 16 from visiting. It is even more so today because of lingering COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that canceled all pilgrimages and tours of the national historical park to protect the peninsula’s eight remaining former patients. Park and state health department officials have been easing restrictions and are considering when to resume organized pilgrimages and tours.  Damien’s love for Kalaupapa’s people was unconditional, said Barbara Jean Wajda of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She and Lau live on Kalaupapa, and helped the Toyofukus get a seat on the flight to the peninsula.  “For a lot of Molokai residents … we’re happy that Father Damien and Mother Marianne … are getting the recognition for the work and the sacrifices that they made,” she said, but added that people also need to be “respectful of that place of deep, deep sorrow and tragedy.” She worries what will become of the place when there are no more former patients living there. The walls of the sisters’ house, Kalaupapa’s largest dwelling, are filled with photos of the sisters who worked on the settlement after Marianne. Lau and Wajda could be the last. “Sister Alicia and I are committed to staying until the last patient leaves or dies,” Wajda said. “We don’t own anything, no land or property.” 3. Religious charities lose trust, fall behind veterans’ charities and nonprofit hospitals, poll finds, Generation Z least likely to have ‘high trust’ in religious groups, BBB’S survey finds, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, December 1, 2023 A new survey reveals that religious charities are no longer America’s most trusted, falling behind veterans’ charities and nonprofit hospitals for the first time. BBB’s, also known as BBB Wise Giving Alliance, evaluates public charities and verifies their trustworthiness. Its 2023 donor survey reported that Americans’ trust in religious charities fell from 29% in 2021 to 26.1% last year — displacing religious groups from the No. 1 “most trusted” spot for the first time since the survey was first taken in 2017. Veterans organizations (27.9%) and not-for-profit hospitals (27.1%) were the “most trusted,” followed by religious organizations, animal welfare groups (25.9%) and social service charities (24.9%). 4. Pope meets with chief of Peru sodality amid calls for dissolution, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, December 1, 2023 Despite a lingering flu causing breathing difficulties, Pope Francis met Friday with the leader of a Peru-based lay group amid an ongoing investigation into its financial activities and various reform efforts, and even a call from Peru’s top cardinal for the group to be dissolved. A Dec. 1 Vatican bulletin containing the pope’s scheduled meetings and appointments for the day showed that Francis had met that morning with José David Correa González, superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV). A society of apostolic life founded in Peru in the 1970s, the SCV has been a source of scandal for years after allegations surfaced against its founder, Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari, who has been sanctioned for various abuses, including the sexual abuse of minors. Correa González is the first non-Peruvian to head the organization. 5. Cardinal Parolin will represent Pope Francis at climate conference, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, December 1, 2023, 9:00 AM The Holy See’s Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin will head the Vatican’s delegation to the COP28 climate conference in place of Pope Francis, who continues to recover from an acute bronchial infection.  “I can confirm that the cardinal secretary of state, Pietro Parolin, will preside over the Delegation of the Holy See already present in Dubai on the occasion of COP28 to bring, on Saturday, Dec. 2, the contribution that the Holy Father would have liked to make,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement released Friday.  The conference began on Thursday and will conclude Dec. 12. 6. Lockdown Turned to Boycott in Our House, Once interrupted, the habits of religious worship can be hard to re-establish., By Matthew Hennessey, The Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2023, 6:13 PM, Opinion One casualty of the pandemic has been my daughter’s church attendance. We had a good routine in place before the lockdown. Now she won’t go under any circumstances. Magdalena, 17, has Down syndrome. The “little angel” stereotype doesn’t apply to her. She is smart and stubborn. She doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do without a fight. I suppose we could dress her up and drag her to Sunday Mass, but bitter experience tells me she would make us pay a dear price. It isn’t worth it.  I couldn’t blame her. Christ was spiritually present in our hearts but substantially present in the Eucharist miles away. Receiving him in the sacrament matters to Catholics.  By December 2020, countless Catholics nationwide had grown weary of church leaders’ acquiescence to state power. In these pages I urged bishops to stand up to politicians like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, erstwhile caesar of Albany, who seemed to delight in his arbitrary power to declare this shall open and that shall close. While many religious people told me they agreed with my piece, not much changed after it was published. Waves of coronavirus variants kept church leaders on their heels. It wasn’t until sometime in early 2022 that things started to level off. Attendance at my parish has since rebounded modestly. It isn’t anywhere near pre-pandemic levels, and a missing demographic can’t be ignored: My children are still sometimes the only kids present.  The past few years have been a spiritual disaster for my family and many others. We’re working on getting Magdalena back to church. I’m not sure how long it will take. One thing is obvious, however: The habits of religious worship are delicate. Once broken, they aren’t easily patched back together. This is especially true for those who live at the margins of society, which is sadly true of the disabled. Religious leaders had better remember that the next time they are ordered to lock up and bug out. They better remember Magdalena. 7. Pope to Orthodox patriarch: ‘Bonds of faith, hope and charity’ unite two churches, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, November 30, 2023, 11:13 AM On the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, Pope Francis sent a message to Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople expressing his “fraternal affection” and reflecting on the “deep bonds of faith, hope, and charity” between the two churches. The pope opened the letter by focusing on the journey of reconciliation between the two churches, noting that the feast of St. Andrew precedes the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January 1964. “That encounter was a vital step forward in breaking down the barrier of misunderstanding, distrust, and even hostility that had existed for almost a millennium. It is noteworthy that today we remember not so much the words and statements of those two prophetic pastors but above all their warm embrace,” the pope said in his letter. 8. German bishop says divisions within local Church are a ‘disaster for the faithful’, By Jonathan Liedl, Catholic News Agency, November 30, 2023, 4:25 PM A prominent German bishop and steadfast opponent of the controversial Synodal Way has leveled his harshest criticism yet of the state of the Catholic Church in his own country, describing the German episcopacy as deeply “divided”— and warned of potentially catastrophic consequences for Catholic believers. In the latest in a series of high-profile critiques of the German Synodal Way, Bishop Stefan Oster of the Diocese of Passau did not shy away from identifying profound theological disagreements as the source of division within the Catholic Church in Germany. “It is a tragedy that we, German bishops, have so little agreement on key issues of anthropology and ecclesiology,” Oster told the Polish Catholic publication Gosc Niedzielny in an interview published Nov. 30. The divided episcopacy “is obviously a disaster for the faithful in Germany,” said the 58-year-old Oster, who was tapped by Pope Francis to participate in the Vatican’s recent Synod on Synodality assembly after he was not selected as a delegate by the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK). 9. New York diocese offers $200 million to abuse victims in largest-ever settlement offer, By Tina Dennelly, Catholic News Agency, November 30, 2023, 4:55 PM In what it called its “best and final” offer to survivors of abuse, the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York on Monday proposed a plan that offers $200 million to approximately 600 survivors of abuse, the largest-ever settlement offer made in diocesan bankruptcy history. The new plan includes an immediate cash payout of a minimum of $100,000 to claimants with a lawsuit and a $50,000 minimum to claimants without a qualifying lawsuit. In a statement released Monday, the Long Island diocese called the plan “the best, most efficient, and most effective means to immediately begin compensating all eligible survivors equitably while allowing the diocese to emerge from bankruptcy and continue its charitable mission.” The settlement offer includes a diocesan contribution of $50 million as well as a $150 million contribution from “parishes, co-insured parties, and other Catholic ministries,” according to the statement. 10. The Dangers Pope Francis Avoided by Not Going to Dubai, Catholics ought to pray for the Holy Father’s recovery from illness — and in thanksgiving that he is not going to Dubai, By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, November 30, 2023, Opinion The cancellation of the papal trip to Dubai is a blessing in disguise.  The cancellation is a blessing, even as the cause is regrettable. The trip to Dubai for the COP28 climate conference would have reduced the Church to an NGO and the Vicar of Christ to her chief activist. Catholics ought to pray for the Holy Father’s recovery from illness — and in thanksgiving that he is not going to Dubai. The intense inward focus of the Synod on Synodality for a synodal Church marked the death of the evangelical urgency of Evangelii Gaudium. The 2019 Amazon synod’s revelation that the Latin American Church was still underserving the Amazon region marked the death of the great continental mission envisioned for Latin America at Aparecida in 2007. In similar fashion, the papal trip to Dubai for the U.N. climate conference would have marked a significant erosion of the Church’s identity. Those are strong words. But it was Pope Francis who said as much the day after his election as pope in March 2013. “If we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord,” he preached that day, contrasting an NGO, a non-governmental organization, with the identity of the Church.  “When the Church wants to boast of its quantity and makes organizations, and makes offices, and become somewhat bureaucratic, then the Church loses its main substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO,” the Holy Father said a month later. “And the Church is not an NGO.”  Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said “the Holy See is studying the ‘modalities’ by which the Pope will take part in the discussions from a distance,” perhaps delivering his address by video. No doubt his hosts will be disappointed not to welcome him in person. The Holy Father of 2023 shares that disappointment. Pope Francis in 2013, wary of becoming an NGO, would never planned to go at all.  Father Raymond J. de Souza is the founding editor of Convivium magazine. 11. Pope Francis and the ‘subsidiarity’ of the rule of law, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, November 30, 2023, 3:37 PM, Opinion There is no set process or criteria for disciplining or dismissing a bishop, one of the Vatican’s most senior canon lawyers said Tuesday, while insisting that decentralization remains central to the Church’s ecclesiology. Speaking to press Nov. 28, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, secretary of the Dicastery for Legislative Texts, also said that the post-conciliar “great decentralization” of the Church remained intact and aligned with the synod on synodality. Bishop Arrieta cited Vatican II and canon law, as he fielded questions on recent papal disciplinary action against an American bishop, as well as Vatican attempts to reign in the German synodal way.  But to many Church-watchers, there appears to be little consistency in how Pope Francis responds to differing situations involving bishops. Will Arrieta’s arguments be seen to address mounting criticism among bishops that — by ignoring his own legal reforms — the pope’s style of governance appears increasingly arbitrary and autocratic?  In 2016, the pope promulgated Come una madre amorivole, a motu proprio creating both criteria and procedures for the removal of bishops from office.  According to the pope’s legal mechanism, when a bishop is accused of negligence in office, the competent curial department (usually the Dicastery for Bishops) can be given given authority to investigate — with the explicit requirement that the accused bishop be allowed to present evidence in his own defense, and to “always be given the possibility of meeting with the superiors of the [curial department].” After discussing the case in a full session of its cardinal members and consulting other local bishops, the dicastery could then encourage the bishop to resign or decree his removal. But each case has to be personally approved by the pope, who himself is supposed to consult with “a special College of Jurists designated for this purpose.” Strickland at least according to the bishop himself, was not afforded this legal process, nor has he been given a clear indication about the exact reasons for his removal. It is, of course, the pope’s prerogative to dispense with merely ecclesiastical laws of his own making, but it is hard to credit Arreita’s claim that no such process exists. And the emerging pattern of Francis ignoring his own legal reforms in cases for which they seem designed is fueling wider suspicions and criticisms of the pope’s governance, with critics increasingly painting his application of episcopal discipline as arbitrary and motivated by personalities, rather than substance.  Some bishops, in Germany but also in neighboring countries, have gone so far as to publicly break from Church teaching, putting forth their own contrary beliefs on a range of doctrinal issues including human sexuality and sacramental theology, and demanding Rome move to accommodate them.  As a result, the building impression among Vatican watchers, including bishops across the world, is that the freedom to contradict Rome and defy Pope Francis is available to some but not others. Many canonists, bishops, and Church commentators have noted simultaneously the potential issues which could have warranted Bishop Stirkcland’s removal from office and the lack of due process he was afforded, even according to Pope Francis’ own personal legislation. Those same observers have noted, too, that bishops publicly dissenting from Church teaching and defying Roman instructions would seem to merit at least the same level of response — yet none has come.  So long as that remains the case, the emerging definition of synodality in the Church governance increasingly resembles a highly selective kind of subsidiarity.

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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