TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 197 – Filmmaker Don Johnson On Dysconnected & JP De Gance Talks Communio! With a new film exposing the dangers of transitioning, filmmaker Don Johnson joins Dr. Grazie Christie to discuss his new documentary, Dysconnected: The Real Story Behind the Transgender Explosion. As parishes across the country see dwindling numbers in Mass attendance, JP De Gance of Communio joins discussing the importance of evangelizing through marriage and relationship ministry. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pm on EWTN radio! 1. You Can See God in Van Gogh’s Paintings, By John J. Miller, The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion “It does me good to do what’s difficult,” Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo in 1888. “That doesn’t stop me having a tremendous need for, shall I say the word—for religion—so I go outside at night to paint the stars.” Only a few of Van Gogh’s nearly 900 paintings depict the stars, but they are among his best. … An earlier one, produced around the time he wrote to Theo about his need for religion, is “Starry Night Over the Rhône.” It shows a scene of the Big Dipper in the firmament above the southern French city of Arles, whose lights shine along a riverbank and reflect in the water as a couple locks arms in the foreground. The picture is arresting, with its mixture of dark blues and bright yellows. … Its obscure skyline includes easily overlooked details: the dome and spire of two churches as well as the tower of a convent. Their faint presence is a reminder that in the art of Van Gogh, faith flows as a powerful undercurrent.  Van Gogh’s explicitly Christian works include “The Raising of Lazarus,” “The Good Samaritan” and two versions of “Pietà,” one of which hangs in the Vatican. Others are at least implicitly religious.  “Café Terrace at Night” is another magnum opus with a possibly hidden meaning… Independent researcher Jared Baxter has called this Van Gogh’s “Symbolist Last Supper,” representing Jesus, the apostles and Judas. For some, this interpretation is a revelation. For others, it’s a stretch. We can’t ask Van Gogh for his opinion, though we know what he once wrote: “Try to understand the last word of what the great artists, the serious masters, say in their masterpieces; there will be God in it.” Mr. Miller is director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College and author of “Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists and Ideas.” 2. Spain: Police raid home of suspect in church machete attacks, By Sergio Rodrigo, Jennifer O’Mahony and Joseph Wilson, Associated Press, January 26, 2023, 7:36 PM Spanish police on Thursday raided the home of a young Moroccan man held over the machete attacks at two Catholic churches the previous night that left a church officer dead and a priest injured in the southern city of Algeciras.  The ministry said that the suspect had been under a deportation order since June last year because of his unauthorized migrant status in Spain. Authorities of neighboring Gibraltar, which sits across a bay from Algeciras, said that Kanjaa had been arrested in the tiny British territory in August 2019 when he tried to “come ashore from a Jet-Ski without the necessary documentation.” He was deported days later. The attacks have shaken the multicultural city located near the southern tip of Spain. Witnesses said that in the second incident, the assailant jumped on the altar of the Church of Nuestra Senora de La Palma, wielding a machete. He then attacked a sacristan — tasked with preparing Mass — inside the church and chased him into a town square before killing him. 3. Colorado baker loses appeal over transgender birthday cake, By Colleen Slevin, Associated Press, January 26, 2023, 4:03 PM The Colorado baker who won a partial U.S. Supreme Court victory after refusing to make a gay couple’s wedding cake because of his Christian faith lost an appeal Thursday in his latest legal fight, involving his rejection of a request for a birthday cake celebrating a gender transition. The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that that the cake Autumn Scardina requested from Jack Phillips and Masterpiece Cakeshop, which was to be pink with blue frosting, is not a form of speech. It also found that the state law that makes it illegal to refuse to provide services to people based on protected characteristics like race, religion or sexual orientation does not violate business owners’ right to practice or express their religion. Relying on the findings of a Denver judge in a 2021 trial in the dispute, the appeals court said Phillips’ shop initially agreed to make the cake but then refused after Scardina explained that she was going to use it to celebrate her transition from male to female.  Phillips, who is represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, maintains that the cakes he creates are a form of speech and plans to appeal.  Scardina, an attorney, attempted to order her cake on the same day in 2017 that the Supreme Court announced it would hear Phillips’ appeal in the wedding cake case. During trial, she testified that she wanted to “challenge the veracity” of Phillips’ statements that he would serve LGBTQ customers. 4. SC abortion ban gets hearing for first time this session, By James Pollard, Associated Press, January 26, 2023, 2:33 PM A South Carolina Supreme Court decision five days before the General Assembly returned for 2023 raised the possibility that abortion bans could once more dominate legislative debate in the state. That likelihood increased on Thursday when a House subcommittee approved the first abortion ban to get a public hearing in the state this year. A grueling special session spanning a dozen meetings and hours of floor debate throughout last summer and fall resulted in no new abortion restrictions. Then the highest court in South Carolina ruled in early January that a 2021 law banning abortions when cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks after conception, violated the state constitution’s right to privacy. But one of the leading proponents of the special session’s effort proved undeterred as his latest proposal took the first step toward becoming a law. Republican Rep. John McCravy introduced a bill that would ban abortion from conception with exceptions for rape, incest, fatal fetal anomaly and the mother’s life and health. Lawmakers on a subcommittee Thursday gave the bill a favorable report. The entire House Judiciary Committee must now pass the measure before it can reach the House floor for a vote. 5. Virginia Democrats defeat bills limiting abortion access, By Sarah Rankin, Associated Press, January 26, 2023, 7:35 PM In a series of key votes Thursday, Virginia Senate Democrats defeated several bills that would have restricted abortion access in the state, including a proposed 15-week ban with exceptions that was a priority for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin. They are the first decisive legislative votes in Virginia since the Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade. The votes mean that barring an extraordinary procedural move, such restrictions are unlikely to be enacted this year in Virginia, which currently has some of the South’s most permissive abortion laws. 6. Vatican lawyers deploy full court press against former auditor, Lawyers from three Vatican departments lined up in court to oppose the lawsuit for wrongful dismissal brought by Libero Milone, By The Pillar, January 26, 2023, 9:23 AM Vatican lawyers argued for judges to throw out a lawsuit brought by the former auditor general in a hearing Wednesday. Lawyers for three curial departments questioned the credibility of the evidence submitted by Libero Milone in his wrongful dismissal case, and suggested further possible criminal charges against him and his former deputy. In the first hearing of the suit, filed by the Vatican’s former chief auditor in November, lawyers for the Secretariat of State argued that the department should not be party to the case at all, while Milone’s former office said they had no record of the more than 500 pages of documentation submitted by the plaintiffs to support their case. Milone and his former deputy, Ferruccio Panicco, filed suit Nov. 4 last year, claiming that they were forced from their roles in 2017 and unfairly threatened with criminal prosecution, because of discoveries they made while doing their work. They have also said that after filing their suit, Vatican prosecutors informed them they were reopening a criminal case against them.  Milone is currently represented by Vatican-approved attorney Giovanni Merla but has repeatedly requested that he be allowed to nominate a second lawyer to represent him as well. Such arrangements are standard practice in Vatican City, and authorization for Italian lawyers to argue in Vatican courts is normally given as a matter of course. However, in Milone’s case, the court has rejected his nomination of Romano Vaccarella — a former judge on Italy’s constitutional court — despite Vaccarella having spent two years helping Milone prepare his suit. The case adjourned Wednesday with no date set for a further hearing. Chief judge Giuseppe Pignatone told the court that the bench would study the files submitted by Milone “with the utmost attention” before issuing a decision on when, how, and if the case will proceed. 7. Cardinal McElroy’s Attack on Church Teachings on Sexuality Is a Pastoral Disaster, Jettisoning the distinction between ‘orientation and activity’ means the end of chastity as a virtue to be strived for — or implies that ‘the LBGT community’ is not capable of chastity and should therefore be preached a lesser gospel., By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, January 26, 2023, Opinion That a cardinal wishes to change the Church’s teaching on the morality of same-sex sexual acts is not new. But there is a new one advocating just that, and one of the newest in the college at that. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, created a cardinal by Pope Francis in 2019 and appointed relator general of the synodal process on synodality for a synodal Church, has been advocating for such a change because the “sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct.”  Now Cardinal Robert McElroy, bishop of San Diego and created a cardinal by Pope Francis just last August, has joined Cardinal Hollerich with a wide-ranging essay in America magazine this week. Cardinal McElroy argues that the synodal process on synodality for a synodal Church is an opportune time to revisit — and revise — some doctrines of the Church. Among those are the question of priestly ordination for women, but his main focus was on “radical inclusion of L.G.B.T. people.” There has been much reaction and more will certainly follow. Here I would just draw attention to one aspect of Cardinal McElroy’s pastoral approach: the abolition of chastity. Cardinal McElroy, in his discussion of Holy Communion, objects to traditional Catholic teaching that “all sexual actions outside of marriage are so gravely evil that they constitute objectively an action that can sever a believer’s relationship with God” — mortal sin, in usual parlance.  Cardinal McElroy’s argument, that “the distinction between orientation and activity” cannot be a “principal focus” undermines a great deal more than he allows. Indeed, as a confessor he would know how crucial the distinction is. A penitent who mentions an involuntary desire for adulterous relations but resists the temptation is not only not guilty of a sin, but is practicing virtue. A penitent who entertains such desires but does not act upon them is guilty of a sin, though likely not a grave one. And the penitent who engages in adultery is guilty of a mortal sin.  Jettisoning the distinction between “orientation and activity” in sexual matters means the end of chastity as a virtue to be strived for. Or, at the very least, implies a view that “the L.B.G.T. community” is not capable of chastity and should therefore be preached a lesser gospel.  Father Raymond J. de Souza Father Raymond J. de Souza is the founding editor of Convivium magazine. 8. Retired bishop calls on fellow bishops, pro-lifers to stay focused on culture of life, By Katie Yoder, Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2023, 9:00 AM An emeritus Texas bishop is calling on his fellow Catholic bishops — and all pro-life people — to focus on creating a culture of life following the overturning of Roe v. Wade.“2023 is the first full year without Roe v. Wade, but thousands of precious babies are still being killed by abortion,” Bishop Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, bishop emeritus of San Angelo, wrote in a January pastoral statement marking 50 years since the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that previously legalized abortion nationwide. He cautioned: “The abortion lobby is spending many millions of dollars, including your taxpayer dollars, on a comprehensive strategy to expand abortion even more this year.”Pfeifer, who served as bishop of San Angelo from 1985 to 2013, stressed that the Church and all pro-life people still “have much work to do in promoting pro-life messages to its own members and society at large.”  His comments come after President Joe Biden, a Catholic, issued a statement in support of abortion to commemorate the anniversary of the now-obsolete Roe v. Wade decision. Biden, Pfeifer said, “needs to remember there are no abortion rights in the Constitution nor in the Commandments of God.” In his statement, Pfeifer called on the bishops to remain unified on the pro-life issue. 9. Minnesota bishops decry bill that would make abortion a right, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, January 26, 2023, 2:00 PM The Catholic bishops of Minnesota urged lawmakers to vote down a bill that would codify the right to abortion, proposing instead a slate of pro-family measures that they say will reduce demand for abortions.   Minnesota’s H.F. 1, which has a companion bill in the state Senate, passed the House Jan. 19 by a narrow 69-65 vote. Abortion already is available in Minnesota throughout pregnancy for most reasons. The present bill — known as the Protect Reproductive Options Act — would codify into law a constitutional right to “reproductive freedom,” ensuring the right to abortion in Minnesota up to birth for any reason.   Separate bills under consideration in Minnesota would remove parental notification requirements for minors procuring abortions as well as remove state protections for babies born alive after an abortion. The midwestern state’s Catholic bishops lamented the haste with which the bills were being advanced and implored lawmakers to “pause” and consider the broader implications.

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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