TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 91 – Dr. Scott Hahn Discusses ‘It Is Right And Just’ & Professor Adrian Vermeule
Dr. Grazie Christie speaks with Dr. Scott Hahn about his new book, “It Is Right and Just: Why the Future of Civilization Depends on True Religion,” and calls on all Catholics to be courageous in living out our faith loudly within the public square. Dr. Grazie also revisits with Professor Adrian Vermeule about his book, “Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State” and his own concept of common good constitutionalism. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily. Make sure to catch the show on EWTN radio every Saturday at 7am ET/5pm ET.
1. Vatican financial is reform going in the right direction, Pell says, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, January 15, 2021
Australian Cardinal George Pell, formerly the Vatican’s top official on financial affairs, said he believes the pope’s recent reforms signal progress, and called for additional competent laypeople to be involved in the process.
Speaking of Pope Francis’s decision in November to transfer control of Vatican finances from the powerful Secretariat of State to the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), the Vatican’s treasury office, Pell said “There’s no doubt that if it’s implemented appropriately and well, it represents massive progress.”
Around the same time Francis made that shift, he also beefed up the oversight role of the Secretariat of the Economy, of which Pell previously served as president, by giving the office control over spending.
2. Joe Biden will be only the second Catholic president – and a conundrum for the faithful, By Deena Yellin,, January 15, 2021, 4:05 AM
Biden poses a problem for believers, said Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, based in Washington, D.C. The former vice-president “campaigned heavily on his Catholic faith, while at the same time not even trying to hide the fact that he holds many policy positions that directly contradict the foundational and immutable teachings of the Catholic faith,” she said.
“He has adopted extreme pro-abortion views,” including federal funding for abortions, she said. “His presidency threatens to leave Catholics and the nation more divided than ever on the matters of life and religious liberty, areas where Church teaching is eminently clear.”
3. How to Make the Islamic World Less Radical, Recontextualize the teachings of Islam to address extremism—and to inspire reform., By Yahya Cholil Staquf, The Wall Street Journal January 15, 2021, Pg. A15, Opinion
The recontextualization of Islamic orthodoxy is crucial to the welfare of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a prerequisite for any rational and humane solution to the multidimensional crisis that has plagued the Muslim world for more than a century. Leaders throughout the world can best contribute by examining the understanding of Islam that flourishes in Indonesia and urging other Muslim nations to consider a similar path.
Mr. Staquf is general secretary of the Nahdlatul Ulama Supreme Council and a co-founder of Humanitarian Islam.
4. How Religion Shaped Modern Economics, In the 18th century, a new Protestant belief that people have control over their destinies fostered the rise of free-market ideas., By Benjamin M. Friedman, The Wall Street Journal, January 14, 2021, 12:01 PM, Opinion
The idea that we are morally conscious agents, with free will and the power of choice, had important implications for the economic sphere as well. This more expansive and more optimistic vision of human character helped to foster new insights into the beneficial consequences of individual initiative. If people can understand what is in their spiritual interest and act on it, they can do the same for their worldly interests, improving their own lives and the lives of others, too. Adam Smith’s crucial contribution was to identify market competition as the mechanism that enables individual initiative to realize its potential.
This benign sense of our human capacities, enabled by a historic transition in religious thinking, has continued to influence the trajectory of Western economics ever since. It also helped to inspire the new experiment in political democracy that Americans began the same year that Smith published “The Wealth of Nations.”
Mr. Friedman is a professor of political economy at Harvard University. This essay is adapted from his new book “Religion and the Rise of Capitalism,” which will be published by Knopf on Jan. 26.
5. Heartbeat abortion ban may finally pass in South Carolina, By Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press, January 14, 2021, 1:29 PM
South Carolina lawmakers are again considering a bill that would ban most abortions in the state and it seems much more likely to pass this time thanks to conservative gains in the General Assembly and at the U.S. Supreme Court.
The ban on abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks after conception, have passed in several other states, but can’t be enforced because of court challenges.
6. Rome university reverses decision to honor priest’s pro-life work, By Cardinal Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, January 14, 2021
For a variety of reasons, “especially in relation to the political situation” in the United States, the Legionaries of Christ university in Rome will not honor Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said the head of the university’s bioethics faculty.
The bioethics department of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum had announced Jan. 7 on the university’s website that it would give Pavone its “A Life for Life” Award and that a Switzerland-based association would provide a monetary prize “to recognize and support Father Pavone’s mission.”
Less than a week later, the university’s academic vice rector issued a statement saying, “Taking into account elements that were not considered at the time of the original decision, the Faculty of Bioethics will forego the awarding of the prize to Father Frank Pavone.”
7. Father James Martin connects Catholic leaders to Capitol riots; Bishop Stika unimpressed, By Catholic News Agency, January 14, 2021, 8:42 PM
Bishop Richard Stika of Nashville voiced skepticism of Father James Martin’s recent essay claiming that Catholic leaders’ criticism of President-elect Joe Biden’s stance on abortion helped contribute to the conditions for the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Martin’s essay, “How Catholic Leaders Helped Give Rise to Violence at the U.S. Capitol,” ran Jan. 12 at the website of the U.S. Jesuits’ America magazine, where Martin is editor-at-large.
Martin collected various bishops’ and priests’ comments critical of Biden’s stand on abortion and questioning whether a Catholic could vote for him. Though these criticisms ranged from respectful to inflammatory, Martin argued that their criticism “does not adequately reflect church teaching” and sent the message that the election was “an almost apocalyptic battle between good and evil.”
8. US bishops disagree with designation of Cuba as terrorism sponsor, By Catholic News Agency, January 14, 2021, 6:29 PM
The US bishops’ chair for international justice and peace has expressed his disagreement with the State Department’s return of Cuba to a list of state sponsors of terrorism.
The decision was based in part on Cuba’s provision of haven to Colombian rebel leaders and fugitives from US justice, as well as Cuba’s support of Nicolas Maduro, the disputed president of Venezuela, who is not recognized by the US.
9. NY archdiocese responds to questions over its victims’ compensation fund, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, January 14, 2021, 4:01 PM
The Archdiocese of New York responded Thursday to questions about its victims’ compensation program.
An ABC News story Jan. 14 had reported that, according to an attorney chosen by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to run a victims’ compensation fund, the fund was set up to dissuade lawmakers from passing a law to allow for a flood of new clergy abuse lawsuits.
ABC News reported the transcript of a 2017 conference call between the attorney, Kenneth Feinberg, and representatives of Catholic dioceses of Syracuse, Buffalo, and Rochester, discussing the compensation fund.
On the call, Feinberg reportedly said, “I think the Cardinal [Dolan] feels that it is providing his lawyers in Albany with additional persuasive powers not to reopen the statute [of limitations].”

In response to the ABC News report, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York told CNA on Thursday that the victims’ compensation program was voluntary and was set up to help victims “find healing.”
He said that it was also established to provide an “alternative” model “to litigation as passed in the Child Victims Act,” and was “offering compensation without the need to engage in drawn-out and difficult litigation.”
“As far as Mr. Feinberg’s comments, you would have to ask him. Cardinal Dolan was not a participant in that call, and cannot comment on what he may or may not have said,” the spokesman said of the reported 2017 conference call.
10. Congressional report: Biden administration should push Vatican to ‘reevaluate’ China deal, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, January 14, 2021, 3:33 PM
A new congressional report calls for U.S. diplomatic engagement with the Vatican to “reevaluate” its 2018 agreement with China on the ordination of bishops.
The annual 2020 report by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), published on Thursday afternoon, includes calls for the incoming Biden administration to work with the Vatican on persecution of Catholics in China.
In particular, the list of diplomatic priorities includes pressing the Vatican to “publish the original [2018] agreement and any negotiated revisions” in the interest of transparency and accountability for Chinese officials.
11. Bishops urge French Catholics to pray and fast as bioethics bill returns to Senate, By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, January 14, 2021, 7:00 AM
French bishops asked Catholics on Wednesday to pray and fast for the next four Fridays for respect for human life from conception in response to new legislation.
With France’s controversial bioethics bill returning to the Senate for a second round of debate this month, the French bishops’ conference launched a prayer campaign on Jan. 13 in light of the “widespread blindness to the dignity of every human being” in French society.

The French Senate is resuming its consideration of the bioethics bill after a six-month hiatus. The bill would fund medically assisted procreation for lesbian couples and single women. Currently in France, IVF is restricted to married or cohabiting men and women with a diagnosis of infertility.

Also reintroduced in the Senate bill was a provision on so-called “savior siblings” — embryos created via in vitro fertilization for the use of the stem cells in their umbilical blood to treat a sick older sibling.

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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“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.