TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 251 – Deacon Harold’s Catholic Response To Racism & Finding Love On Ash Wednesday As we mark Black History Month, Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers offers his Catholic take on racism, what’s wrong with critical race theory, and why a relationship with Jesus is what matters most. With Ash Wednesday kicking off the penitential season of Lent next week on February 14, the TCA team talks the true story behind St. Valentine, and how we can mark the day in a unique and meaningful way. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily as we mark World Day of Marriage on Sunday. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. American bishops urge passage of anti-human trafficking bill, By John Lavenburg, Crux, February 9, 2024 Ahead of a House vote on a bipartisan human trafficking prevention bill, American bishops are calling on Catholics to urge their representatives to pass the measure, saying it is “critical for continuing and bolstering our nation’s efforts to eradicate human trafficking.” H.R. 5856, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2023 is on the House schedule and will be considered in the week ahead, according to a Feb. 7 update on the federal government’s legislation tracker. The American bishops, through their conference, as well as other Catholic leaders, have endorsed the bill for years. Most recently on Feb. 1, Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso, the U.S. Bishops’ Conference migration chair urged Congress “to pass the bill without further delay.” “It is incumbent upon all of us to unite in promoting efforts that prevent the evil of human trafficking,” Seitz said in a statement. “I join our Holy Father in inviting the faithful and all people of good will to uphold and affirm human dignity and grow in solidarity with those who are vulnerable to exploitation and have been impacted by this terrible evil of modern-day slavery.” 2. Near-total abortion ban rejected by Virginia House panel, By Associated Press, February 8, 2024, 4:40 PM, Opinion Lawmakers in the Virginia House of Delegates — controlled by Democrats who flipped the chamber in November after campaigning on abortion rights — decisively voted down a bill that would have instituted a near-total abortion ban. On a bipartisan 8-0 vote Wednesday night, a House subcommittee rejected the measure that would have prohibited abortions except in cases necessary to save the mother’s life, the Richmond-Times Dispatch reported.  On a party-line vote, Democrats on the same panel voted down a different bill that would have prohibited abortions sought on the basis of the sex or race of the fetus. 3. Republican effort to restore abortion rights in Missouri folds, By Summer Ballentine, Associated Press, February 8, 2024, 3:39 PM Republican-led campaign to restore abortion rights in Missouri ended Thursday, clearing the path for a competing, more sweeping constitutional amendment to get on the state’s November ballot. “Having two initiatives on the ballot would create confusion and potentially split the vote,” Missouri Women and Family Research Fund Executive Director Jamie Corley said in a statement. “No one wants that, so we have decided to suspend our campaign to amend Missouri’s abortion law.” Corley’s withdrawal means a rival campaign backed by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri and other abortion-rights groups can move forward without competition. The ballot initiative by Missourians for Constitutional Freedom would enshrine abortion in the state constitution while allowing lawmakers to regulate it after viability. 4. Prioritize Marriage, Not Same-Sex Blessings, The Church must make the perpetual renewal of marriage one of its central evangelical and pastoral priorities., By National Catholic Register, February 8, 2024, Editorial Cardinal Víctor Manuel Fernández’s controversial new instruction regarding blessings of persons in irregular unions raises the same question that was generated when the first Synod on Synodality assembly concluded in Rome last October: Does the Church have its priorities straight? In both cases, there has been outsized attention paid to the issue of same-sex blessings. However one may feel about that topic, surely we can all agree that the Church faces many more pressing problems today. One of these problems — and it’s a massive one — is the distressing decline of authentic Catholic matrimony. Over the past 50 years, according to statistics from Georgetown University, the annual number of Catholic marriages in the U.S. has decreased by nearly 70%, even as the Catholic population has increased by almost 20 million.  This trend mirrors the situation as a whole for American society: In 2021, the annual marriage rate declined to an all-time low of only 28 per 1,000 unmarried people, compared to the rate of 76.5 per 1,000 in 1965. Yet the data on the continuing value of marriage as the bedrock of a flourishing society remains. On average, women and men who are married are healthier, live longer, and are better off economically, and children raised within stable marriages fare significantly better across a broad range of sociological categories.    The contested topic of blessings for same-sex couples is an unfortunate distraction from this far-more-urgent call from the Pope to find ways to counter the implosion of sacramental marriage by strengthening the Church’s efforts to catechize young Catholic couples and support single Catholics who desire to be married. 5. Florida abortion amendment would aid ‘unscrupulous’ providers, Catholic doctor says, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, February 8, 2024, 1:14 PM A proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution at dispute before the state Supreme Court would give “unscrupulous” abortion providers free rein over vulnerable women in the state, a Florida doctor told EWTN this week.  The Florida attorney general last year asked the state Supreme Court to block the effort, claiming in part that it did not meet the state’s legal requirements for “clear and unambiguous language.” The case was heard by the state Supreme Court this week. Ahead of those oral arguments, Dr. Grazie Pozo Christie — a senior fellow for the Catholic Association and host of EWTN’s radio show “Conversations with Consequences” — told “EWTN News Nightly” that the measure, if passed, would “deny women all sorts of protections that they have against unscrupulous and bad actors out there in the abortion landscape.”  Christie said the amendment, if passed, would “immediately take away any kind of commonsense safety regulation around 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.

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