TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 247 – Sisters Of Life On Life Fest & Katy Faust On Why Surrogacy Is Child Trafficking With March for Life events this month, we talk with Sister Ann Immaculee and Sister Marie Veritas of the Sisters of Life all about the profound experience at SEEK 2024 and what we can expect from the upcoming Life Fest! With strong words from Pope Francis on the evils of surrogacy, we talk with Katy Faust of Them Before Us about the wounds that this inflicts on all involved. 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! 1. ‘Anti-pope.’ ‘Blasphemous.’ Criticism of Francis comes in strident terms., By Anthony Faiola, Michelle Boorstein and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, January 12, 2024, 9:30 AM Pope Francis is facing some of the most vociferous objection to papal authority in decades, in language that might have stunned past popes.  Some of this resentment is long-simmering. Almost as long as he’s been pope, Francis has been confronted by dissenting church traditionalists.  The death of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI had been widely expected to clarify any muddiness about the hierarchy in Vatican City, leaving just one figure wearing papal white within its ancient walls. A year later, the voices questioning Francis’s basic authority have only grown louder, at the same time that bold, legacy-cementing moves by the 87-year-old pope have prompted broader backlash within the church. Francis is experiencing a level of reproach that some observers say is the fiercest since Pope Paul VI reaffirmed the church’s ban on artificial birth control in 1968. Today’s criticism is further amplified by social and digital media. An even more striking distinction, though, may be the overt disdain some clerics are showing to a man seen by Catholics as the Vicar of Christ atop the Throne of Saint Peter.  The number of Catholic clerics loudly and proudly announcing their intent to disregard the pope grew last month after Francis shifted Vatican guidance and authorized priestly blessings of same-sex couples and other “irregular” relationships, as long as those benedictions are kept separate from marriage. 2. Pope Francis calls for greater dialogue and cooperation between Christians, Marxists, By Matthew Santucci, Catholic News Agency, January 12, 2024, 10:30 AM Pope Francis this week called for cooperation between Christians and Marxists as a way to achieve greater “dialogue” and help in the search for the “common good.” “I thank you for your commitment to dialogue,” the pope said in a private meeting on Jan. 10 with 15 representatives of DIALOP (Transversal Dialogue Project), an association of European leftist politicians and academics that seeks to bridge Catholic social teaching and Marxist theory.  Highlighting the nexus between social, economic, and ecological issues, the pope said that “politics that is truly at the service of humanity cannot let itself be dictated to by finance and market mechanisms.”  “Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: It requires decisions, programs, mechanisms, and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment, and an integral promotion of the poor, which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.” …. 3. ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ Signals Further Divisions Within Catholic Church, Without enforcement to correct high-profile abuses of the Vatican guidance, observers say the threat of schism over same-sex blessings looms., By Jonathan Liedl, National Catholic Register, January 12, 2024 If the Vatican is serious about not allowing its recent controversial guidance on blessings for same-sex couples to lead to further confusion and division in the Catholic Church, experts worry that a vital element is still missing from its approach: enforcement. Since Fiducia Supplicans was released on Dec. 18, several priests have apparently defied the guidance. While the declaration allows for the possibility of spontaneous, nonliturgical blessings that don’t cause confusion about the Church’s teaching on sexuality and marriage, some priests have offered pre-planned blessings that have been highly publicized, while others have blessed same-sex couples in liturgical settings. Furthermore, Church leaders in Germany have indicated that they don’t see Fiducia Supplicans as an impediment to their plans to push for doctrinal changes nor to offer formalized blessings of same-sex couples. However, while Vatican leadership has issued an unprecedented “clarification” of the declaration, and has continued to issue words of warning to Germany, no public actions to correct high-profile abuses of the guidance have been made. And some Church observers fear that if the Holy See doesn’t take steps to rein in problematic applications and interpretations of Fiducia Supplicans, differences in practice could lead to incompatible understandings of sexuality and marriage, setting the stage for deep divisions in the Church. In turn, if left unchecked, those divisions could even lead to possible schism, which would involve Catholic bishops formally breaking union with the Pope and the rest of the Church over doctrinal differences. 4. Africa’s Catholic hierarchy refuses same-sex blessings, says such unions are contrary to God’s will, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, January 11, 2024, 9:21 AM In the greatest rebuke yet to Pope Francis, the Catholic bishops of Africa and Madagascar issued a unified statement Thursday refusing to follow his declaration allowing priests to offer blessings to same-sex couples and asserting that such unions are “contrary to the will of God.” The statement, signed by Congolese Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo on behalf of the symposium of African national bishops conferences, marked the closest thing to a continent-wide dissent from the declaration Francis approved Dec. 18 allowing priests to offer such blessings. That declaration from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith has sent shock waves through the Catholic Church, thrilling LGBTQ+ Catholics as a concrete sign of Francis’ message of welcome but alarming conservatives who fear core doctrines of the church are being ignored or violated. The controversy has deepened a growing chasm between Francis’ progressive, reform-minded papacy and the conservative church in much of the world, especially Africa, where the number of Catholics is growing at a faster rate than anywhere else. 5. French conference supports ‘Fiducia’ after nine bishops voiced doubts, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, January 11, 2024, 8:04 AM Days after nine French prelates announced they would not authorize blessings to same-sex couples as requested by a recent Vatican declaration, the Permanent Council of the French Bishops’ conference has said instead that such blessings should be given as a sign of “unconditional and merciful welcome.”  The statement comes after nine French bishops earlier this month refused to allow blessings for same-sex couples, saying priests may bless homosexual individuals but not couples. The Archdiocese of Rennes, led by Archbishop Pierre d’Ornellas, issued a statement to that effect on Jan. 1 on behalf of the bishops from the Ecclesiastical Province of Renne, which includes the Dioceses of Quimper, Rennes, Saint-Brieuc, Vannes, Angers, Laval, Le Mans, Luçon, and Nantes. 6. Argentine president formally invites Pope Francis to visit native land, By Julieta Villar, Catholic News Agency, January 11, 2024, 9:00 PM The president of Argentina, Javier Milei, has sent Pope Francis a formal invitation to visit his homeland and anticipated that the trip “will bring fruits of peace and brotherhood to all Argentines.” After assuring Pope Francis that he “does not need an invitation to come to his beloved Argentina,” Milei extended his call “to visit our beloved homeland, according to the dates and places that will be indicated to us.” In his Jan. 8 letter, Milei also thanked the Holy Father for his telephone call immediately following Milei’s election as president and emphasized that he values the pope’s “wise counsel” and the wishes for “courage and wisdom” conveyed during the call.

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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