TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 89 – Legal Scholar Helen Alvaré & Congressman Dan Lipinski!
Dr. Grazie Christie and Maureen Ferguson revisit with legal scholar Helen Alvaré looking at some of the biggest Supreme Court cases of the year. We also talk with outgoing pro-life Democrat Congressman Dan Lipinski about his pro-life record and if there is room for pro-life candidates in the party. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to close out 2020. Catch the show LIVE every Saturday at 7am ET/5pm ET on EWTN radio!
1. Back pain causes pope to skip Vatican New Year’s ceremonies, By Associated Press, December 31, 2020, 6:43 AM
Pope Francis is skipping New Year’s ceremonies due to what the Vatican says is a painful back condition, a spokesman said Thursday.
Matteo Bruni said Francis is suffering from “painful sciatica” and won’t preside at a year-end prayer service Thursday evening in St. Peter’s Basilica. The pope also won’t celebrate Mass on New Year’s Day in the basilica for the same reason.
2. Baptist, Catholic leaders reconcile vaccine support, Faiths give pause due to abortion opposition, By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, December 31, 2020, Pg. A6
Southern Baptist and Roman Catholic leaders are walking a tightrope in explaining their support for two COVID-19 vaccines, even though those drugs’ effectiveness was tested using genetic material from a line of cells linked to a fetus aborted in the 1970s.
Neither vaccine produced by U.S. drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer comprise or are derived from fetal cells, according to the manufacturers and U.S. regulators.
However, both used fetal cell line HEK-293 in a “confirmation test” of their innovative vaccines — a step that gives pause to some pro-life Christians.

In a Dec. 17 statement approved by Pope Francis, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the moral complicity between a person taking a vaccination in 2020 or 2021 and an abortion in 1973 is “remote.”
“It is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” reads the statement, signed by Cardinal Luis Ladaria and Archbishop Giacomo Morandi.
Some U.S. Catholic leaders have been less forgiving of British-Swiss biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s vaccine, which has been tested and produced using the HEK-293 line.

“Catholics have the duty to use vaccines that respect human life, when they are available,” wrote Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila; Bishop Stephen J. Berg of Pueblo, Arizona; Bishop Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Denver Auxiliary Bishop Jorge Rodriguez.
On the same day, however, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops stated that taking the AstraZeneca vaccine could be allowed, given the “urgency of the crisis,” and that persons may not “have a choice” without a lengthy delay or other serious health consequences.
“In such a case, just as accepting a vaccination for rubella with a morally compromised vaccine is morally permissible because of the lack of alternatives and the serious risk to the public health, so it would be permissible to accept the AstraZeneca vaccine,” wrote Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana.
3. After Abortion is Legalized in Argentina, Catholic Bishops Decry Chasm Between Politicians and the People, According to a November 2020 survey carried by independent pollster Giacobbe & Asociados, 60% of Argentinians opposed the law, while only 26.7% were in favor, By Catholic News Agency, December 30, 2020
After the Senate in Argentina legalized abortion in the early hours of Wednesday, December 30, the Argentinean Bishops Conference released a statement accusing the country’s political leadership of being far away from the sentiment of the people and vowed to continue working “with firmness and passion in the care and service of life”.
The long-debated bill to legalize abortion presented by President Alberto Fernandez to fulfill a campaign promise was finally approved in the Senate with 38 votes in favor, 29 against, 1 abstention, and 4 absences after 12 hours of debate. The bill was previously cleared by the House.
According to a November 2020 survey carried by independent pollster Giacobbe & Asociados, 60% of Argentinians opposed the law, while only 26.7% were in favor. But the law, one of the most permissive in the world and with no parallel in the region, was strongly supported by the media, TV personalities, and influencers.
4. Indiana AG: No charges recommended in fetal remains case, By Rick Callahan, Associated Press, December 30, 2020, 1:27 PM
Indiana’s attorney general recommended no criminal charges or licensing actions Wednesday after concluding an investigation into more than 2,000 sets of fetal remains found last year at the suburban Chicago garage of a late prolific abortion doctor.
Attorney General Curtis Hill said his office’s investigation determined the fetal remains were from abortions Dr. Ulrich Klopfer had performed at his three Indiana clinics between 2000 and 2003 and found that Klopfer failed to arrange for their proper disposition as required by state law. Investigators determined that Klopfer apparently acted alone in his handling of the remains, Hill said.
“No one is believed to have assisted Dr. Klopfer in his actions, and because Dr. Klopfer is dead, he cannot be charged with a crime or with medical misconduct,” Hill said in a statement, adding that he “does not recommend any criminal charges or licensing actions in this case.”

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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“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.