TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 199 – Relief Efforts In Turkey & Syria + Dangers Of Spirituality Devoid Of God With staggering numbers still rising after a horrible 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey and neighboring Syria, Edward Clancy of Aid to the Church in Need joins the show to discuss relief efforts on the ground and how Catholics across the globe can help those suffering. Set to the backdrop of a demonic statue now erected in Manhattan, Ashley McGuire joins Dr. Grazie Christie to unpack Ross Douthat’s recent piece on the dangers of spirituality–when those searching wander untethered to any reality of God. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! Catholic students sue Smithsonian over pro-life hat removal, Group accuses space museum of First Amendment rights violation, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, February 9, 2023, Pg. A10 The Catholic students and chaperones who said they were kicked out of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum over their pro-life beanies have filed a federal lawsuit accusing the institute of violating their First Amendment rights. The American Center for Law & Justice sued on behalf of nine students and three parents from the Our Lady of the Rosary School in Greenville, South Carolina, saying they were told during a Jan. 20 visit to remove their matching blue beanies with the message “Rosary PRO-LIFE” or leave. 2. Texas sues to stop rule on abortion pills, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, February 9, 2023, Pg. A2 Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued to stop the Biden administration from enforcing its “pharmacy mandate” requiring qualified retail pharmaceutical firms to dispense abortion pills or risk losing Medicare and Medicaid funding. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, cited the Health and Human Services Department’s July 13 guidance saying that refusing to fill prescriptions for abortion pills would violate federal law banning sex discrimination based on pregnancy. The guidance cited the Affordable Care Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but Mr. Paxton argued that none of the federal statutes named addresses pregnancy, and that “the Defendants know this” because they issued a proposed rulemaking in August to add pregnancy discrimination to the ACA, popularly known as “Obamacare.” On the other hand, he said that the administration’s “pharmacy mandate” runs afoul of the ACA, which includes a section saying that it does not preempt state law on abortion, as well as Title IX and the Hyde Amendment. 3. Court should uphold commonsense legislation on abortion in Florida, 15-week limit consistent with sentiment of most Americans, By Dr. Karysse Trandem, The Washington Times, February 9, 2023, Pg. B4, Opinion In the post-Roe era, state courts across the nation are being asked to overturn laws protecting the unborn. And the Sunshine State is no exception. The Florida Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case challenging the state’s law limiting abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. That means unborn children may lose their protection from the excruciating pain of abortion before the second trimester. Such a decision would be a tragedy for both mother and child. Florida’s commonsense 15-week abortion law is consistent with the sentiment of a majority of Americans who don’t support abortion after the first trimester, in large part because of the pain inflicted upon unborn children in the womb. Court discussions, however, rarely involve a discussion around the medical definition of “pain” at this gestational age — much less an analysis of the increased risks that abortions at this stage pose to the health of the mother. As an OB/GYN, I am tasked with the responsibility for two lives — the mother’s and the baby’s — when a pregnant woman walks through my doors. This shouldn’t be an anomaly in the medical industry. Science undeniably confirms that an unborn child, at all stages of development, is a living human being with its own separate and unique DNA.  Performing an abortion at 15 weeks not only agonizes the child moments before its devastating passing, but the mother is also at increased risk of death. Studies reveal that as the uterus grows, the risk of death from abortion increases by 38% for each added week beyond eight weeks. In contrast to earlier abortions, the relative risk of death is 14.7 times higher at 13 to 15 weeks, 29.5 times higher at 16 to 20 weeks, and 76.6 times higher beyond 21 weeks. Recklessly endangering the life of one patient while deliberately and painfully ending the life of another, as shown by the dark reality of abortions at 15 weeks, is the opposite of health care. State courts have an immense responsibility to uphold commonsense laws, like Florida’s 15-week limit that save lives and bolster the efforts of OB/GYNs to exceptionally serve both moms and babies entrusted in their care. Dr. Karysse Trandem is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologic surgeon in Naples, Florida. She has completed distinguished research fellowships at both the National Institutes of Health in Washington and the World Health Organization in Geneva. 4. The FBI Might Be Infiltrating Your Local Latin Mass, By Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, February 8, 2023, 2:59 PM Kyle Seraphin has a leaked FBI document that purports to show the extremism of “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics.” The document outlines opportunities for agents to recruit assets within the Catholic Church itself. What’s astonishing about the document is the shoddiness of its analysis and sourcing. The belief that “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” are a potential threat seems to come entirely from an old report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is buttressed in the appendices with a clickbait piece from the Atlantic — about populist and hyper-masculine depictions of rosary beads — and a few more from Salon. Christian opposition to abortion and to certain political priorities of the LGBT community are held in this report to be a sufficient basis for linking “Radical-Traditionalist Catholics” to white supremacists and other racially motivated extremist groups. Pope seeks release of Cubans arrests during 2021 protests, By Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press, February 8, 2023, 7:00 PM Pope Francis hopes Cuban authorities will release and grant amnesty to people arrested and sentenced after the historic protests that took place in 2021, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, who traveled to the island as the pontiff’s special envoy, said Wednesday. During an act at the University of Havana to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s visit to the island, Cardinal Stella also said the Catholic Church hopes that Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel and U.S. President Joe Biden can hold talks amid current tense relations between the countries.  “The Church wants, seeks, has manifested this proposal (amnesty),” said Stella. “I think the issue is on the table… The Pope very much wants there to be a positive response, whether it is called amnesty, clemency, the words can be secondary, but it is important that the young people who at one point expressed their thoughts… they can go back to their homes.” EU bishops demand release of clergy detained in Nicaragua, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, February 8, 2023, 11:05 AM European bishops on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of Nicaraguan clergy detained in the government’s crackdown on the Catholic Church, saying they have been falsely accused and are being subjected to unjust persecution. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, president of the Commission of the Bishops Conferences of the European Union, said European bishops would do “everything in their power” to press EU institutions to work to liberate the detainees. Hollerich’s letter to the head of the Nicaraguan bishops conference came a day after a Nicaraguan court sentenced four Catholic priests to 10 years in prison on conspiracy charges stemming from long-standing government allegations that the church backed illegal pro-democracy protests. A fifth priest was sentenced on the same charges Sunday. 7. More states are paying to send children to private and religious schools, The school-choice movement, riding a wave of parental rights campaigns, is resurgent, By Laura Meckler and  Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post, February 8, 2023, 5:00 PM For years, school-choice advocates toted up small victories in their drive to give parents taxpayer money to pay for private school. Now, Republican-led states across the country are leaving the limitations of the past behind them as they consider sweeping new voucher laws that would let every family use public funds to pay for private school. Last year, Arizona created what activists consider a model program: Every child who forgoes public school for private programs, including religious schools, is eligible for a taxpayer-funded payment worth $7,000 — almost as much as the state sends to public schools per student. In January, Iowa and Utah followed suit, creating their own universal programs. GOP governors in ArkansasSouth CarolinaVirginia and Oklahoma have listed these programs among their top priorities for 2023. In other states, Republican lawmakers are pushing the same.  Many voucher and voucherlike programs enacted in recent years were more modest: Called “scholarships,” they created tax incentives for donations to nonprofits that would subsidize certain families who wanted to send their children to private school. Eligibility was limited — typically by income, to those in a particular area or to children with special needs. The new, more expansive version does away with this shuffling of dollars. Now the plans are run by the state, with direct appropriations. They are open to anyone, and the money can pay for tuition or other expenses, a huge benefit to home-schooling families. Calling these programs “scholarships” and now “education savings accounts,” or ESAs, also allows advocates to avoid the word “vouchers,” a term that grew politically unpopular in some quarters. 8. State Department Official: ‘After Careful Review’ Nigeria to Remain Off Religious Freedom Watch List, More than 5,000 Christians were killed in 2022 in Nigeria, according to religious freedom watchdog Open Doors International, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, February 8, 2023 A U.S. State Department official sent EWTN a statement noting that “after careful review” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has decided not to put Nigeria back on a list of offenders of religious liberty. The statement comes as human rights advocates and members of Congress are pressing the Biden administration to place Nigeria on the watch list in an effort to stop the violence and persecution of Christians in the country. More than 5,000 Christians were killed in 2022 in Nigeria, according to religious freedom watchdog Open Doors International. The widespread violence and persecution of Christians in Nigeria have continued this year with the January murder of Fatheaac Achi, who was burned to death Jan. 17. 9. Biden tells Congress to codify Roe, pass LGBTQ protections, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, February 8, 2023, 6:08 AM During his 2023 State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade and pass legislation banning discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity. The proposals put him at odds with the U.S. Catholic bishops. “Here in the people’s House, it’s our duty to protect all the people’s rights and freedoms,” Biden said. “Congress must restore the right that was taken away [when the Supreme Court overturned] Roe v. Wade.” Codifying Roe v. Wade would establish federal abortion laws that mirror the standards that were set under the now obsolete Roe v. Wade decision. Such a law would prohibit states from banning abortion and would prevent certain state-level abortion restrictions. Since the Supreme Court overturned the ruling, 13 states have banned most abortions and another five have imposed more restrictions on abortion. In six other states, proposed bans and restrictions have been held up in the court system.  In addition to the president’s support for abortion, he reiterated his support for laws that would establish federal civil rights protections for people identifying as LGBTQ. The legislation, known as the Equality Act, would ban discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.  “Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity,” Biden said. ‘Our strength is not just the example of our power but the power of our example. Let’s remember the world’s watching.” This legislation has also received pushback from the USCCB. 10. Benedict XVI describes ‘Protestantization’ of the Eucharist in posthumous publication, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, February 8, 2023, 8:30 AM In a 2018 essay published after his death, Pope Benedict XVI said a Protestant-like understanding of the Eucharist and strong calls for intercommunion are often found together. Commenting on the current situation of eucharistic life in the Catholic Church, the pope emeritus said: “One process of great impact is the almost complete disappearance of the sacrament of penance.” There is also the understanding of Communion as merely “a supper,” he added. “In such a situation of a very advanced Protestantization of the understanding of the Eucharist, intercommunion appears natural.” Benedict’s essay on the Eucharist is part of a series of texts the pope emeritus wrote after his resignation in 2013. The essays, letters, and reflections have been collected into a single volume, “What Is Christianity?,” which was published in Italian last month.

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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