TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 192 – Colm Flynn On Bethlehem’s Holy Family Hospital & Father Landry On A Eucharistic Christmas! As we celebrate Christmas this weekend, Colm Flynn of EWTN News takes us on a journey to Bethlehem as the Holy Family Hospital expects its 100,000 birth this year! Reflecting on the amazing reality that our Lord and Savior did indeed become a child, Father Roger Landry reminds us of the “mystery and majesty who reigns in the Eucharist.” Catch the show every Saturday 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. About That ‘Immaculate Reception’, The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 1972 miracle and the theological doctrine for which it’s named., By Patrick Gray, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2022, Pg. A13, Opinion  Most will recognize the name as a play on the Immaculate Conception but may not understand what this phrase means in Roman Catholic teaching. It isn’t a reference to Christmas or even to the unusual circumstances surrounding Jesus’ origins, of which the Virgin Mary was informed nine months earlier by the angel Gabriel, an episode called the Annunciation. Rather, the Immaculate Conception deals with the birth of Mary herself. Pope Pius IX formally defined the doctrine in 1854, stating that Mary, “in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ . . . was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin.” The Catholic Church celebrates it as a feast day on Dec. 8. It is hard to imagine anyone connecting this doctrine to the world of sports, if only because so few people would catch the allusion, much less appreciate the subtle theological distinction between the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth.  In Catholic tradition, St. Jude is the official patron of desperate causes. That’s why he’s the namesake for the renowned pediatric cancer research hospital. But on the gridiron on Sunday afternoons, it appears Mother Mary is the miracle worker. Mr. Gray is a professor of religious studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and editor of “The Cambridge Companion to the New Testament.” 2. Abortion ban changes split Wisconsin GOP under veto threat, By Scott Bauer, Associated Press, December 23, 2022, 8:03 AM Wisconsin Republicans who control the Legislature are divided over whether to push for rape and incest abortion exceptions in the face of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ pledge to veto any bill that keeps the state’s 173-year-old ban in place. Evers and Democrats are suing to overturn the 1849 law, which went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortions legal. The state law is a near-total abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape or incest and unclear language about protections for the health of the mother. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told The Associated Press on Thursday that he will push for passage of a bill granting clear exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. 3. Portraits From a Hong Kong Prison Cell: Postcards for Jimmy Lai This Christmas, Children young and old have joined a campaign to send letters of love and hope to an innocent man in China this winter — and we invite you to do the same., By Alyssa Murphy, National Catholic Register, December 23, 2022 A suffering Christ hangs from a cross, appearing thin and emaciated, sketched in black pencil, the only media available in a small jail cell inside Hong Kong’s Stanley Prison. Another image, with a bit of color, depicts Our Lord looking forlorn, wearing a crown of green thorns with red blood pouring from his hands, feet and his gouged side. The Blessed Mother, drawn in color, with golden-blonde hair and a silhouette of light radiating from her head, is portrayed with head bowed. These images are a few of the portraits that Jimmy Lai has been creating from the inner confines of jail as he awaits a trial that many say has already been decided, his fate already sealed. A media mogul who could’ve easily found safe haven in distant shores stands for his people who live in a country that is set on silencing men and women who stand for truth. As Catholics across the globe have been following the gut-wrenching reality of what is occurring in China with the trumped-up charges against Jimmy Lai in the wake of China’s so-called national security law, what can we as Catholics do for those suffering so unjustly? Lai, now spending his third Christmas alone in a cell, is being cheered up by schoolchildren.  Several schools have been sending him mail this Christmas. “Postcards for Jimmy” is a campaign that April Ponnuru started alongside her colleagues at Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation, an organization so dedicated “to the freedom of political prisoners being held in Hong Kong that it’s contagious,” Ponnuru noted in explaining this amazing project. “Jimmy’s story is particularly compelling for an American audience because he loves America — he has visited many times and shares so many of our values — and his Catholic faith is shared by millions of Americans.” 4. Father Rupnik ‘egocentric and violent,’ a sister from his former community alleges, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, December 22, 2022, 12:20 PM A member of the Loyola Community, a women’s religious institute formerly connected to Father Marko Rupnik, has said, in her experience, the Jesuit priest and artist “is an egocentric and violent person.” The sister, who wished to remain anonymous, told CNA she did not know anything about sexual abuse or allegations of abuse, but that her experience of Rupnik was “of spiritual manipulation and humiliation.” Referring to an interview given by a former member of the Loyola Community describing in detail sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse allegedly at the hands of Rupnik, the sister said she “honestly could not imagine that he went that far.” “I can only say that Father Rupnik, this is my experience, is an egocentric and violent person,” she said via email. “Rupnik is a person who always wanted to be in the center of attention, to subjugate everyone to his own agenda, to receive honors …” 5. ‘Despicable’: Slovene bishops condemn Jesuit artist’s abuse, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, December 22, 2022, 12:44 PM Slovenia’s Catholic bishops on Thursday condemned as “despicable” the emotional, sexual, and spiritual violence committed against women by a famous Slovenian priest at the heart of an abuse and cover-up scandal roiling the Vatican and the Jesuit order of Pope Francis. The Slovene bishops’ conference broke three weeks of silence with a statement in which the churchmen also voiced solidarity with the victims of the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik and urged anyone harmed by him or any other priest who abused his authority to come forward.  The scandal involving Rupnik, a Jesuit from Slovenia whose mosaics decorate churches and chapels around the globe, erupted earlier this month when Italian blogs and websites reported claims by several women that Rupnik sexually, spiritually and psychologically abused them. 6. Appeals court halts Louisville abortion clinic buffer zone, By Associated Press, December 22, 2022, 12:10 PM A federal appeals court has temporarily barred the enforcement of a Louisville city ordinance that creates a buffer zone around health care centers, including a downtown abortion clinic that attracts protests. The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled the buffer zone infringes on the First Amendment rights of protesters who demonstrate in front of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center. The lawsuit challenging the buffer zone was brought by Sisters For Life and the Kentucky Right to Life Association, along with a few individual protesters. The appeals court wrote in an opinion Wednesday the groups “wish to offer leaflets and compassionate, if sometimes unwelcome, speech to women entering abortion clinics” but the limits imposed by the city law “likely violate the First Amendment.” 7. Rupnik remains consultor at key Vatican departments despite excommunication, Fr. Rupnik remains an official advisor to several Vatican departments, even after he was excommunicated and accused of sexually abusing consecrated women., By The Pillar, December 22, 2022, 12:34 PM Fr. Marko Rupnik, SJ, remains an official advisor to several Vatican departments, even after he was excommunicated for a major canonical crime, and is accused of spiritually and sexually abusing consecrated women. Rupnik was declared in 2020 excommunicated, for the canonical crime of abusing the sacrament of penance to abet his sexual misconduct. He was in 2021 formally accused at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith of serially abusing Slovenian religious women in the 1980s and 1990s. Rupnik is nevertheless still listed as a consultor – an officially appointed expert advisor – for several Vatican dicasteries, including those with oversight of clergy and liturgy. The priest’s roles on those departments amplifies questions about whether he was actually placed under ministerial restrictions by his religious order as his crimes became known to the Vatican — and about whether Vatican officials should have intervened to limit his participation in Church leadership and governance. 8. Catholic Church, Jewish community to bring 40,000 Christmas dinners to Mexicans in need, By Catholic News Agency, December 22, 2022, 3:15 PM The Archdiocese of Guadalajara, Mexico, has joined the Jewish community to provide 40,000 Christmas dinners for the poor this Dec. 25 in an initiative called “10,000 Christmases in one.” The event, which is being held for the fourth consecutive year, will bring food from 40 parishes and a shelter to those most in need in the Guadalajara metropolitan area. Father Javier Magdaleno Cueva, secretary chancellor of the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, said at a press conference that this initiative seeks to “bring hope to those whose lives have been difficult or who have suffered that year.” He also noted that the number of people who benefit from this event increases every year.

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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