TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 85 – Timothy Flanigan On Covid Vaccines & Carrie Gress Talks Theology Of Home For Advent!
On a new episode of Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie talks with Catholic Deacon and Dr. Timothy Flanigan about COVID vaccines quickly becoming available–are they ethical and what are the risks–Dr. Flanigan also addresses entering another phase of lockdown just as the winter months are upon us–and ways to uplift family and friends during the holidays. We also chat with Mary Hasson of the Ethics and Public Policy Center about some big news out of the UK court that will protect children from the dangers of gender ideology. Carrie Gress also joins with a look at her second installment of Theology of Home in light of the Advent season–as we wait with joyful hope–for Christmas.
1. The Children of Pornhub, Why does Canada allow this company to profit off videos of exploitation and assault?, By Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, December 4, 2020, 5:00 AM, Opinion
That supposedly “wholesome Pornhub” attracts 3.5 billion visits a month, more than Netflix, Yahoo or Amazon. Pornhub rakes in money from almost three billion ad impressions a day. One ranking lists Pornhub as the 10th-most-visited website in the world.
Yet there’s another side of the company: Its site is infested with rape videos. It monetizes child rapes, revenge pornography, spy cam videos of women showering, racist and misogynist content, and footage of women being asphyxiated in plastic bags.

Facebook removed 12.4 million images related to child exploitation in a three-month period this year. Twitter closed 264,000 accounts in six months last year for engaging in sexual exploitation of children. By contrast, Pornhub notes that the Internet Watch Foundation, an England-based nonprofit that combats child sexual abuse imagery, reported only 118 instances of child sexual abuse imagery on its site over almost three years, seemingly a negligible figure.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada calls himself a feminist and has been proud of his government’s efforts to empower women worldwide. So a question for Trudeau and all Canadians: Why does Canada host a company that inflicts rape videos on the world?

Executives of Pornhub appear in the past to have assumed that they enjoyed immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet platforms on which members of the public post content. But in 2018 Congress limited Section 230 so that it may not be enough to shield the company, leading Mindgeek to behave better.

Columnists are supposed to offer answers, but I struggle with solutions. If Pornhub curated videos more rigorously, the most offensive material might just move to the dark web or to websites in less regulated countries. Yet at least they would then not be normalized on a mainstream site.
More pressure and less impunity would help. We’re already seeing that limiting Section 230 immunity leads to better self-policing.
And call me a prude, but I don’t see why search engines, banks or credit card companies should bolster a company that monetizes sexual assaults on children or unconscious women. If PayPal can suspend cooperation with Pornhub, so can American Express, Mastercard and Visa.
I don’t see any neat solution. But aside from limiting immunity so that companies are incentivized to behave better, here are three steps that would help: 1.) Allow only verified users to post videos. 2.) Prohibit downloads. 3.) Increase moderation.
2. Macron Seeks an Enlightened Islam, Laïcité worked well with Catholicism, but how hard is it to tame a domestic religion?, By Christopher Caldwell, The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2020, Pg. A15, Opinion
Emmanuel Macron has resolved to be the president who finally eases tensions over France’s young and growing Muslim population. Every president since Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in the 1970s has resolved to do that. None succeeded, and the stakes have risen with each failure.

Mr. Macron is putting almost all his eggs in the basket of laïcité, the 115-year-old French system for regulating religion. (The word means “secularism.”)

Laïcité was not enacted prospectively as a means of securing religious freedom, the way America’s First Amendment was. The Left-Bloc government of Radical Prime Minister Émile Combes conceived of laïcité as the centerpiece of an explicitly anticlerical program. Passed in 1905, it aimed to drive the Catholic Church out of France’s institutional and educational life.

Today they are weaker, and they face a different religion, one that does not feature “turn the other cheek” among its precepts.
Nor does Islam have any hierarchy through which the state’s commands can efficiently resonate. When Combes told the church to close thousands of schools, bishops obliged. Laïcité requires such institutional interlocutors. Where France once tore down Catholic institutions, it must now build up Muslim ones.

Every Western country has a version of this problem. All our treasured “values” were formulated for a society more uniform and more orderly than today’s. Why do we assume these values will survive diversity? Why does France assume that a system devised to subordinate its historic religion can serve just as well to mediate between its more recent secularism and a (rising) foreign religion? For a long time laïcité has rested less on its own logic than on the forbearance of its citizens. Under conditions of globalization, mass migration and the ethnic and religious recomposition of that citizenry, such forbearance can no longer be assumed.
Mr. Caldwell is a contributing editor of the Claremont Review of Books and author of “The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties” (Simon & Schuster, 2020).
3. California church sees victory in order from high court, By Brian Melley, Associated Press, December 4, 2020
Lawyers for a church with more than 160 congregations across California said they would seek an immediate court order Thursday allowing indoor worship after the Supreme Court told a lower federal court to reexamine state coronavirus restrictions on church services.
The apparent victory for Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry follows a recent high court ruling in favor of churches and synagogues in New York.
Attorney Mathew Staver, who represents the church, said he expected a swift order from a Los Angeles federal judge blocking Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to close most indoor worship in most counties. He said the high court’s actions would also lead other churches to challenge COVID-19 health orders.
4. Judge refuses to dismiss media charges in Pell trial, By Associated Press, December 4, 2020, 12:12 AM
A Supreme Court judge in Australia’s Victoria state on Friday dismissed submissions from news media organizations and journalists that there is no case to answer on charges they breached a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse convictions in 2018.
More charges were tossed out in the case against Australian media outlets prosecuted over reporting of Pell’s abuse convictions. But the judge refused to throw out the bulk of the 87 charges of contempt of court for stories published after the cardinal’s guilty verdict.
5. Catholic bishops welcome ‘realistic’ new measures for public Masses in France, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, December 3, 2020, 9:00 AM
Bishops in France have welcomed new government measures that will allow more people to attend public Masses during Advent.
Gérald Darmanin, French Minister of the Interior, announced Dec. 2 a change to a previously proposed 30-person limit on attendance of public Masses after France’s highest administrative court overturned the restriction in response to a legal appeal by the Catholic bishops’ conference.
Under the revised measures, people will be required to leave two free seats between each person or family and to only occupy every other pew.
The French bishops’ conference issued a statement Dec. 2 calling the new measure “more realistic”  as it is proportionate to each church’s  building capacity.
6. Polish Catholic leader to European Parliament: There can be no compromise on the right to life, By Catholic News Agency, December 3, 2020, 8:00 AM
A Catholic archbishop spoke out Wednesday after the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning Poland’s pro-life laws.
In a Dec. 2 statement, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, president of Poland’s bishops’ conference, said that there could be no compromise on the right to life.
He said: “The right to life is a fundamental human right. It always takes precedence over the right to choose, because no person can authoritatively allow the possibility of killing another.”
The archbishop was responding to a resolution adopted by the European Parliament Nov. 26 condemning Poland’s “de facto ban on the right to abortion.”

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!

“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.