TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 221 – The Miracle Club’s Thaddeus O’Sullivan & Mary Fiorito On The Synod On Synodality With The Miracle Club coming to theaters this weekend, director Thaddeus O’Sullivan joins to share his hope for this film that chronicles a group of women taking a pilgrimage to Lourdes all in earnest hope of receiving a miracle. As the Vatican published its full list of synod participants for the upcoming Synod on Synodality this Fall, Mary Fiorito of the Ethics and Public Policy Center discusses some concerns and why this ‘meeting’ in Rome may influence the faithful to play a larger role in their own parishes and communities. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. A Misguided Papal Mission in Moscow, By George Weigel, The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2023, Pg. A15, Opinion When asked in April about the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis broke some news: The Vatican was working on a secret “peace mission.” Shortly thereafter the pontiff named Cardinal Matteo Zuppi of Bologna—a papal dream candidate of Catholic progressives—as his personal representative for the project. Though the initiative’s goal has never been made clear, a recent book presentation in Rome, as well as Cardinal Zuppi’s initial meeting in Moscow, raised serious questions about the ideas informing it and its possible effects.  Pope Francis’s commitment to peacemaking is admirable, and his mission could still do important humanitarian work—say, by negotiating the release of hundreds of Ukrainian civilians taken hostage by the invaders or by arranging the return of Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russian troops. Indeed, the Vatican has claimed some progress on the latter. But so long as the Sant’Egidio community’s concept of peacemaking as a dialogue between politically and morally symmetrical parties is the Church’s strategic framework for dealing with the war, the papal mission can’t contribute to a just peace. Mr. Weigel is a distinguished senior fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center. 2. House GOP Threatens to Derail Defense Bill Over Abortion, Transgender Care, Democrats have warned that social-issue amendments would be poison pills, By Lindsay Wise, Simon J. Levien, and Isaac Yu, The Wall Street Journal, July 14, 2023, 12:52 AMThe Republican-controlled House passed contentious measures to limit abortion access and transgender care in a series of amendment votes late Thursday, moves that Democrats warned could derail an annual defense-policy bill that has passed Congress on a bipartisan basis for decades. The House approved GOP-backed amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act bill that would restrict abortion access for service members, ban transgender healthcare for troops and defund diversity initiatives.  The social-policy measures, which passed largely along party lines, are seen as poison pills to many House Democrats, and the amendments’ addition to the defense bill could tank its chances of final passage in the narrowly divided House. GOP leaders can lose no more than four Republican votes before needing Democratic support to pass the legislation. 3. First over-the-counter birth control pill gets FDA approval, By Matthew Perrone, Associated Press, July 13, 2023, 8:39 AM Federal regulators on Thursday approved the nation’s first over-the-counter birth control pill in a landmark decision that will soon allow American women and girls to obtain contraceptive medication as easily as they buy aspirin and eyedrops. The Food and Drug Administration cleared once-a-day Opill to be sold without a prescription, making it the first such medication to be moved out from behind the pharmacy counter. The manufacturer, Ireland-based Perrigo, won’t start shipping the pill until early next year, and there will be no age restrictions on sales. Hormone-based pills have long been the most common form of birth control in the U.S., used by tens of millions of women since the 1960s. Until now, all of them required a prescription. 4. Complex Catholic hospital mergers pose ethics challenge for U.S. bishops, By Kevin J. Jones, Lauretta Brown, Catholic News Agency, July 13, 2023, 1:30 PM The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked its Committee on Doctrine to address issues such as transgender surgeries and hormone treatments for a proposed update to the bishops’ “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” (ERDs). But due to the complexities of Catholic health care systems today, the bishops’ directives may not be easy to enforce. That challenge is underscored by a recent report that claims that non-Catholic hospitals within the country’s largest Catholic network of hospitals are performing transgender-affirming surgeries and possibly elective abortions. The report on the Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health network, published by the Virginia-based Lepanto Institute, alleges “indisputable proof of gross defiance of Catholic moral teaching on the part of CommonSpirit Health.”  As the U.S. bishops embark on the path to update their “Ethical and Religious Directives” along the lines of their doctrinal note on the gender issue, each bishop will continue to have a responsibility to ensure the ERDs are being enforced in the hospitals and health systems in their diocese. 5. Lawmakers grill FBI chief on anti-Catholic memo, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, July 13, 2023, 1:00 PM Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday pressed FBI director Chris Wray on a leaked memo from the bureau’s Richmond division that described an investigation into Catholic communities.  The internal memo, dated Jan. 23 and leaked to the press on Feb. 8, outlines a Richmond FBI’s investigation of “radical-traditionalist” Catholics. It claimed that violent extremists have “sought out and attended traditional Catholic houses of worship” and suggested “trip wire or source development” within churches that offer the Latin Mass and “radical-traditionalist” Catholic online communities.   Jordan and other members of the committee asked Wray why he has not released the names of the FBI agents involved in crafting the memo and why the FBI has refused to provide an unredacted copy of it. Jordan said he and other members of the committee would like to speak with those involved.  Wray told the committee that the FBI is conducting an internal review of the memo, which will likely be completed later this summer. He said he would provide the committee with a briefing on the findings. He would not commit to providing the names of the agents involved in approving the memo or providing an unredacted copy but said he would look into possibly providing a document with fewer redactions. 6. U.S. bishops call for release of Nicaraguan Bishop Álvarez, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, July 13, 2023, 12:32 PM Following failed negotiations with the regime of Nicaraguan dictator Daniel Ortega to free the persecuted Bishop Rolando José Álvarez Lagos, the U.S. bishops have called for the imprisoned prelate’s release. Álvarez, who in February was sentenced to 26 years in prison after declining exile to the United States, was convicted of treason, undermining national integrity, and spreading false news.  “We received news last week of yet another breakdown in negotiations to free Bishop Rolando Álvarez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua — unjustly sentenced to 26 years in prison and stripped of his citizenship in February,” Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, said July 7 in his capacity as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. “I particularly commend the recent Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling mandating the immediate release of Bishop Álvarez. The consensus from the international community is clear: The continued incarceration of Bishop Álvarez is unjust and must end as soon as possible,” Malloy said.

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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