TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 245 – Father Ben Kiely On Christmas In The Holy Land & Marie Miller Music! As Christmas is cancelled in the Holy Land, Father Benedict Kiely of shares his thoughts on the plight of Christians in Bethlehem this winter. He also expounds on the latest news from the Vatican regarding same-sex blessings. Marie Miller also joins as she is pivoting away from secular music to songs with a Catholic and faith-filled focus. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily on the Holy Family and Mary, Mother of God as we look to this Sunday’s Gospel and NYE. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Free Expression Encore: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Hosted by Gerry Baker, The Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2023, 11:23 AM, Podcast The Free Expression podcast revisits Gerry Baker’s conversation with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of New York. The two discuss how Pope Francis is leading the church worldwide, the importance of the separation of church and state, and how a lack of religion and moral conviction is to blame for our toxic cultural environment. 2. Fernández: ‘It’s proper for each bishop’ to discern application of Fiducia Supplicans, By Nicolás de Cárdenas, Catholic News Agency, December 27, 2023, 5:00 PM The prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández, commenting on the reluctance expressed by individual bishops and bishops’ conferences regarding the declaration Fiducia Supplicans, stated that “it’s proper for each local bishop to make that discernment.” The declaration from the DDF establishes a distinction between liturgical blessings and those of an informal nature and encourages the blessing of persons in “irregular situations” and “same-sex couples” considering that, carried out with certain precautions, they should not be confused with approval of conduct or circumstances contrary to doctrine. In an interview published in the Spanish newspaper ABC, Fernández responded to the criticism and divergent opinions expressed by other cardinals, bishops, and bishops’ conferences, assuring that “if the text is read with an even disposition, it can be seen that it supports with great clarity and simplicity the perennial Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality.” 3. The Pope, Same-Sex Blessings, And Protestants, By Carl R. Trueman, First Things, December 28, 2023, Opinion The confusion surrounding the pope’s recent statement Fiducia Supplicans, a document that is ambiguous about whether Catholic clergy can bless those in same-sex relationships, says much about the times in which we live.  Catholicism has for many years given us an umbrella under which we can shelter from the worst excesses of the broader culture. Whether it is the fight against abortion, intrusive health care mandates, or the imposition of political ideology through regulations governing adoption, the Catholic Church has led, and has had the financial power and cultural presence to do so in a way unavailable to Protestants. Strange to tell, she has also been able to maintain with relative impunity some positions that the broader culture finds intolerable among Protestants.   Most immediately, Fiducia Supplicans will affect the pope’s own clergy, who will now come under huge pressure to bless same-sex couples even if their own consciences are troubled or compromised by doing so.   But Catholic clergy will not be the only ones touched by this dilemma. When the leadership is ambiguous on such an important matter, it weakens the position of the laity. What of the public school teacher under pressure to accept the kaleidoscopic identities of the sexual revolution? What about the employee of the software company pressured to do the same? The case of Franz Jägerstätter, so memorably retold in the movie A Hidden Life, is a good, albeit extreme, example of the courage needed by an ordinary Christian when abandoned by a craven, corrupt, and cowardly church leadership. That is the position in which the pope’s latest antics have placed ordinary people—people for whom taking a stand on the truth could cost them far more than it would ever cost the pope. The public school teacher could lose everything. The pope risks only the goodwill of the New York Times editorial column. And if he is not willing to risk that, why should anybody else bother to make a real sacrifice? This will also affect Protestants. Whether we like it or not, the officer class of our culture cares little for debates about transubstantiation and papal authority. It makes no real distinction between Catholics and Protestants. In its eyes we are all Christians and thus the shenanigans of the pope will put pressure on us all. The argument will be that, if Rome can change, why can we all not change? The possibility of sheltering under that broad cultural umbrella that Rome has provided will be withdrawn on this issue and we will feel the pain of that. There are two kinds of leaders: those who see their role as remaking their organizations in their own image, regardless of the collateral damage done to those further down the totem pole; and those who seek to protect the interests of the weakest and most vulnerable of those dependent upon them. Throughout his papacy, Francis has presented himself as the latter, but now it would seem that this has been no more than a specious cover for being the former. A good leader speaks with clarity. Francis seems incapable of doing so. And unfortunately, given the high profile of the Catholic Church, the chaos in Rome has implications for Wittenberg and Geneva, too. Carl Trueman is a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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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