TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 148 – Kristina Arriaga On Religious Freedom In China & Cuba + Walking With Moms In Need! Dr. Grazie Christie and TCA colleague Ashley McGuire chat with Kristina Arriaga, former vice-chair of USCIRF about religious freedom issues across the globe including China, Cuba, and Nigeria–and what we can do to help those suffering. Leigh Snead also joins for a TCA team talk on Walking with Moms in Need, a parish-driven pro-life ministry spearheaded by the USCCB to help moms-to-be choose life with confidence! Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pm ET on EWTN radio! 1. Catholic Schools’ Good Covid Year, By The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022, Pg. A16, Editorial Catholic schools have educated millions of Americans, and their decline in recent decades has been a cultural and educational tragedy. But crisis creates opportunity, and the news is that Catholic schools staged a surprising enrollment rebound during the pandemic. Imagine that: Stay open to teach children, and they will come.  Public school enrollment tumbled 3% last year. In December, National Public Radio found that most of the 600 districts it analyzed from across the country had a second year of declines. Many Catholic schools reopened while public schools remained closed. In Arlington’s Catholic diocese, all 41 schools were in person or hybrid by fall 2020. They were rewarded with a 7% enrollment increase of more than 1,100 students this year. The report doesn’t say this, but we wonder if the discovery by many parents of widespread and union-led political indoctrination in public schools has also helped Catholic schools. The voter recall of three San Francisco school board members this week showed that even liberals are revolting against radical progressivism in K-12 education. The solution is more education choice, whether in public charter, or secular or religious private schools. 2. Benedict, Sex Abuse and the Church’s Future, By Roberto Regoli, The Wall Street Journal, February 18, 2022, Pg. A15, Opinion Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has come under criticism for his handling of sexual abuse cases as an archbishop more than 40 years ago. … The matter is crucial not only to the legacy of Pope Benedict XVI but to the future of the Catholic Church.  What does all this have to do with the conflict within the church? There are two different interpretations. On one side, there are those—like the pope emeritus—who attribute the sexual-abuse crisis to the moral liberalism of the second half of the 20th century, stressing the personal responsibility for those crimes. The church may have mishandled its response, but the crisis was at its root a series of individual moral failings.  On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who attribute the abuses to a systemic crisis and blame the church as an institution. For the latter, this crisis should be a pretext to change essential aspects of church.  Sexual abuses should be addressed for what they are: grievous sins and crimes that took far too long to address. It would be an even greater tragedy if factional squabbles for power within the church diminish the effectiveness of the fight against abuse. Father Regoli, a biographer of Pope Benedict XVI, is a professor of church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. 3. Vatican spy story takes center stage as fraud trial resumes, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 17, 2022, 1:55 PM The Vatican’s big fraud and extortion trial resumes Friday after exposing some unseemly realities of how the Holy See operates, with a new spy story taking center stage that is more befitting of a 007 thriller than the inner workings of a papacy. According to written testimony obtained Thursday, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers brought in members of the Italian secret service to sweep his office for bugs and commissioned intelligence reports from them, completely bypassing the Vatican’s own police force in the process. The reported actions of Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, the No. 2 in the Vatican secretariat of state, raise some fundamental questions about the security and sovereignty of the Vatican City State, since he purportedly invited foreign intelligence operatives into the Holy See’s inner sanctum, and then outsourced internal Vatican police spy work to them.  Nothing was found. But Peña Parra then asked Tineri to produce some intelligence dossiers on key figures, Mauriello testified. Tineri and his boss at the AISI presented the findings to Peña Parra, handing over a white envelope in one of their many encounters on Vatican soil, he said. 4. Bishops’ gambit: Will Francis’ changes to canon law hand the USCCB a win?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, February 17, 2022, Opinion The pope’s changes Tuesday to the Church’s canon law could signal a shift in a long-rumbling dispute between the Vatican and the U.S. bishops, and possibly even a rare Roman climbdown, as bishops and the Vatican remain at loggerheads over a set of draft guidelines for the formation of seminarians. The new canonical norms modify the kind of oversight the Vatican gives to national norms for priestly formation, and the change, though small, might provide a way out of a complex negotiation between Rome and the U.S. bishops’ conference.  Among changes made by the pope on Tuesday was to canon 242 §1, which deals with national bishops’ conferences’ obligation to produce a “program of priestly formation” — a set of norms and guidelines which make concrete the Vatican’s requirements on the formation of seminarians.  Those programs of priestly formation have required, until Tuesday, the “approval” of the Vatican. Now they require simple “confirmation.” The change isn’t semantic, it’s legal, and could bear directly on a simmering dispute between the U.S. bishops and Rome. For several years now, the USCCB has been at an impasse with the Congregation for Clergy over their draft of a sixth edition of their own PPF. Central to the dispute is Rome’s requirement for an initial “propaedeutic” period of formation, focused on human and spiritual formation, take place separately from academic studies.  It would be a rare win for the USCCB in Rome, but one that the pope’s canonical changes seemed designed to encourage.

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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