TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 193 – RFI’s Steven Rasche On Christian Persecution & Nicole Caruso Talks Worthy Of Wearing! As the year ends, we take a look at some of the biggest threats to religious freedom with Steve Rasche of Religious Freedom Institute including Christian persecution in Nigeria. We also revisit with Nicole Caruso on dressing with the ‘feminine genius’ in mind as we ring in the New Year! Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily reflecting on the Blessed Mother! Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. The Global Threats to Religious Freedom, As 2022 ends, Christians in some countries are facing increasingly dire acts of state-sponsored persecution, By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, December 30, 2022, Opinion As African Cardinal Robert Sarah recently noted, Christians in Western countries like the U.S. face growing threats to our own religious-liberty rights. But when reviewing the worldwide religious-freedom situation in 2022, it’s important to acknowledge that believers in many other nations continue to face far more dire and direct persecution than we Americans are currently encountering. In terms of global threats to the religious liberty of Christians, three nations come particularly to mind: Nicaragua, China and Nigeria.  As U.S. Catholics concerned about the fate of our fellow believers elsewhere, we too should be offended by what appears to be a manipulation of the State Department’s watchlist of religious-liberty violators for unstated political reasons. Christians and other people of faith who are unjustly under attack in other countries around the world deserve concrete recognition of their plight from the U.S. government — and concrete action to pressure egregious offenders like the Nigerian government to change course. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s certain that the international religious-liberty situation will continue to be one of the world’s most pressing human-rights issues. Consequently, we will need to redouble our prayers for our brothers and sisters in faith elsewhere, as well as continuing our support for Catholic organizations like the Knights of Columbus and Aid to the Church in Need that are on the frontlines of defending persecuted Christians. God bless you! Michael Warsaw is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, and the Publisher of the National Catholic Register. 2. Prayers for ailing Benedict in retired pope’s native Bavaria, By Kirsten Grieshaber and Geir Moulson, Associated Press, December 29, 2022, 11:08 AM People in Pope Benedict XVI’s Bavarian homeland prayed Thursday for the retired pontiff, a favorite son of the region even 40 years after he left Germany for the Vatican and nearly a decade after his resignation stunned the world. At the St. Oswald church in the small town of Marktl am Inn, where a future pope named Joseph Ratzinger was baptized more than 95 years ago, Sandra Maier, the lay head of the local congregation, put up a framed picture of Benedict, lit a red candle and arranged a small pew so parishioners could kneel and pray for him. 3. US bankruptcy court approves $121M clergy abuse settlement, By Associated Press, December 29, 2022, 4:54 PM A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved a $121 million reorganization plan for one of the oldest Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. as it tries to stem financial losses from clergy abuse claims that date back decades. The Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico said U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David T. Thuma confirmed the agreement during a hearing in which he commended the parties for working through what had been an arduous process. In a statement, Archbishop John C. Wester thanked the panel of abuse survivors who represented fellow survivors in their claims against the archdiocese. He described it as challenging work as the group continued to deal with the aftermath of their own abuse. 4. Red states that banned abortion consider expanding Medicaid for mothers, By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, The Washington Post, December 29, 2022, 4:08 PM In Texas, Medicaid covers new mothers for only two months after they give birth.  The limits on Robinson’s Medicaid coverage after the emergency insurance lapses hinges on Texas’s long-standing rejection of Obamacare, which included provisions for expanded Medicaid. And it has set up an uncomfortable dynamic: While Texas and nearly a dozen other red states have resisted expanding Medicaid for those who are pregnant, many of them have also restricted access to abortion, leading to more new mothers needing coverage. Now Republican lawmakers in Texas, Mississippi, Wyoming and other red states face a choice: Focus exclusively on further restricting abortion, or join antiabortion groups and Democrats lobbying to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage.  Some national antiabortion groups that support postpartum Medicaid expansion have proposed other legislation to expand funding for those who are pregnant, in the wake of new state curbs on abortion after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision erased the protections of Roe v. Wade.  Texas Right to Life and other antiabortion groups are lobbying for passage of a year-long postpartum Medicaid extension at the next legislative session that starts in January. 5. Pre-March for Life rally to feature Mass and performances by Brother Isaiah and other Catholic artists, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, December 29, 2022, 1:30 PM The Sisters of Life and the Knights of Columbus will be hosting an all-new “Life Fest” rally on the morning of the 2023 March for Life to inspire the next generation in a “new spirituality of love and life,” according to a press release.  Life Fest will take place on the morning of the March for Life, from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m., on Jan. 20, at Washington D.C.’s Entertainment and Sports Arena.  “In the wake of the recent Dobbs decision, we see a profound opportunity to build the culture of life in a new way,” Sister Maris Stella, S.V., said in the press release. The rally’s theme, “Because love is the answer,” highlights a Catholic, pro-life response to an increased need to support vulnerable women after the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade allowed many states to restrict or ban abortion. 6. 2022 was the worst year for the Catholic Church in Nicaragua, By Walter Sanchez Silva, Catholic News Agency, December 29, 2022, 2:00 PM Lawyer and researcher Martha Patricia Molina Montenegro reported that “2022 was the most disastrous year for the Nicaraguan Catholic Church.”  In a text shared with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, Molina wrote that in one year the Church was the target of “140 attacks from the Sandinista dictatorship.” President Daniel Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo have been ruling Nicaragua as a dictatorship since 2007. Molina pointed out that among the attacks “there are unjust criminal proceedings that do not adhere to what the laws mandate, confiscations, kidnappings, hate speech and the prevention of freedom of movement.” In addition, the regime shut down non-profit religious organizations and religious media outlets. The lawyer also said that the dictatorship has deported, exiled, and expelled people; perpetrated desecrations and robberies; carried out sieges; made threats and prohibited processions. 7. Catholic bishop, priest released after two months in Eritrea prison, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, December 29, 2022, 4:00 PM After more than two months in detention in Eritrea, Bishop Fikremariam Hagos Tsalim and Father Mehereteab Stefanos have been released, several sources reported Thursday. The 52-year-old bishop heads the Eritrean Catholic Eparchy of Segheneity. Father Stefanos, before his imprisonment, was a parish priest at St. Michael’s Parish in the same eparchy. It is still unknown whether another priest, Capuchin Friar Abbot Abraham, has been released. Security agents had arrested Bishop Tsalim and two priests Oct. 15 at Asmara International Airport upon the bishop’s arrival from Europe. The three clergymen were detained at Adi Abeto prison, according to Agenzia Fides.  The three detained clergy were accused of criticizing human rights violations in their homilies, CNA’s sister agency ACI Africa reported in October, citing a source who did not want to be named for security reasons. The objects of their criticism included the forced military enlistment of young people and evictions and confiscation of property of those who refused to go to war.

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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