TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 222 – Chloe Cole Talks Dangers Of Transgenderism & Ashley McGuire On FBI Memo Facts As clinicians across Europe have recently called out the American embrace of all things transgender, we revisit with Chloe Cole about her own experience, and what she wishes all adolescents and young teens knew about the false promises being offered. We also discuss the FBI memo as things heated up this past week with Rep. Jim Jordan threatening to put FBI director Christopher Wray in contempt for not producing the real facts on surveillance being done at Catholic churches across the country. 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. A Professor Sues the Student Paper, By Carl R. Trueman, The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion Stories of students canceling speakers have become commonplace in recent years. Last week South Bend, Ind., saw a new riff on this theme when Notre Dame sociology professor Tamara Kay sued a student newspaper for defamation, alleging that it misrepresented comments she made about abortion. At issue are articles published in October 2022 and March 2023. Ms. Kay disputes the latter article’s assertion that she was “posting offers to procure abortion pills on her office door.” The defense brief says this was based in part on a sign posted on Ms. Kay’s office door: “This a SAFE SPACE to get help and information on ALL Healthcare issues and access—confidentially and with care and compassion.” Ms. Kay also alleges the March article falsely attributes statements to her at an appearance before the Notre Dame College Democrats; the paper says a transcript shows the quotations are substantially true. The Rover has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit under Indiana’s anti-SLAPP legislation designed to protect freedom of speech. While the lawsuit’s immediate context is Notre Dame and its Catholic identity, the underlying issues raise deeper and broader questions about religious educational institutions and academic freedom.  How can these institutions maintain both their clear religious convictions and their academic integrity while also remaining places that educate rather than indoctrinate? That question will always be difficult to answer as long as the focus is on the freedom of the professoriate. A large part of the solution lies not with those who teach but with those who are taught. It’s reasonable for professors at religiously affiliated schools to be required to teach in a manner that doesn’t contradict the institution’s values. There’s no parallel demand for students. When they have the right to challenge their professors, the classroom welcomes fruitful intellectual dialogue—not groupthink.  This makes events at Notre Dame significant. The possibility of professors’ suing students will have a chilling effect on academic freedom and the integrity of any religiously affiliated school. Probably few professors would contemplate legal action against students, but what student will want to take the risk? And where do the boundaries of challenges to the professor’s teaching lie? In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or in the pungency of whatever argument a lawyer might make in court? A decision in favor of Ms. Kay seems unlikely—plaintiffs face a high bar in proving liability for defamation when they are public figures or, under Indiana law, when the case involves a matter of public concern. But it would do immediate catastrophic damage to the university’s intellectual and religious integrity. Student newspapers need press freedom if academic freedom is to mean anything—just as professors who teach at religious institutions must forgo unlimited academic freedom if the schools’ religion is to mean anything. Mr. Trueman is a professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College and a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. 2. Americans’ belief in God, heaven at lowest point in 22 years, Gallup survey says, Nearly 3 in 10 don’t believe in the devil or hell, poll finds, By Mark A. Kellner, The Washington Times, July 21, 2023, Pg. A1 Just 59% of 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. say they believe in God, a prime factor in the decline of overall belief in God from 90% in 2001 to 74% in May, a Gallup poll shows. Overall belief in God, angels, heaven, hell and the devil, which Gallup termed the five “spiritual entities,” has reached its lowest point in 22 years, according to survey results released Thursday. In its May survey, Gallup’s fifth since 2001, 69% percent overall said they believe angels are real, down 12 percentage points since the start of this century. Sixty-seven percent overall said they believe in heaven, a 16-point drop from 2001, and 59% said they believe in hell, down 12 points from 2001. Fifty-eight percent expressed belief in the devil, a 10-percentage-point decline over the 22-year period. 3. Supporters fight to resurrect cross after removal of landmark, Easement pulled after constitutionality questioned, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, Associated Press, July 21, 2023, Pg. A6 The 28-foot metal-and-plexiglass cross may be out of sight, but that doesn’t mean it’s forgotten. Far from it. Attorneys for the city of Albany and the Albany Lions Club squared off this week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco over the city’s decision to invoke eminent domain to take the club’s easement, which has been used by worshipers for 50 years to access and maintain the cross. The Lions Club was granted the easement as part of a 1973 deal in which the city acquired the 1.1-acre property from a third-party developer who purchased the parcel from Hubert Call, a community leader and Ms. Osborn’s grandfather. The land was subsequently turned into a public park. The arrangement worked for decades. In 2015, however, a group called East Bay Atheists began raising questions about the cross’s constitutionality. Albany’s mayor criticized the Lions Club in 2017 for lighting up the cross, which is fitted with fluorescent bulbs, on the anniversary of 9/11.  Litigation ensued, and in 2018, U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled that the cross violated the Establishment Clause. The city was faced with a choice: Either sell to a private party the small plot of ground on which the cross rested or acquire the easement through eminent domain and remove the cross. The City Council chose the latter, passing a resolution in April 2022 to condemn the easement. U.S. District Judge Somnath Raj Chatterjee granted the city’s request for prejudgment possession of the cross pending the outcome of the Lions Club’s lawsuit over the eminent-domain action. The cross was removed June 8 over the objections of the Lions Club, which offered last year to buy the “underlying fee interest in the lot containing the cross from the City.” “The cross would then be in private ownership — there would be no Establishment Clause problem,” the Lions Club complaint said. Why not accept the offer? Albany Mayor Aaron Tiedemann said removing the cross was “consistent with our values.” “The city has actually put its money where its mouth is, and our city looks a little bit more accepting now in a way that we think is consistent with our values,” Mr. Tiedemann told the East Bay Times. “For the small local group of people that really want to see the cross stay, when you’ve had such privilege for so long, losing it feels like being oppressed. That’s going to be an adjustment for folks, but I think we will all get used to it, and I think it’s a real benefit.” In other words: The Albany City Council doesn’t want an outsized symbol of the Christian faith on display within its city limits, Lions Club President Kevin Pope said. “The City Council seem to hate what it represents, and rather than take an amount of money for the land and sell it to the Lions Club, they’ve decided to spend what we think is probably close to $1 million to resolve this issue, instead of doing the easy thing,” Mr. Pope said. “That’s how much they hate it.” 4. Vatican’s top abuse investigators to probe scandal-plagued lay group in Peru, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, July 21, 2023Next week the Vatican’s top two investigators will arrive in Peru to conduct an in-depth inquiry into the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), a scandal-ridden lay group whose founder has been sanctioned for various abuses, including the sexual abuse of minors. According to sources with knowledge of the visit, Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu will begin their work on Tuesday, July 25, speaking with both victims and the leadership and top members of the SCV. Scicluna is the Archbishop of Malta and also serves as adjunct secretary to the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, where Bertomeu is also an official, and which, among other things, is tasked with handling allegations of clerical abuse. Scicluna also serves president of a board of review for abuse cases within the dicastery. Among the primary motives for the investigation, according to sources, is the ongoing legal harassment of journalists who initially uncovered the SCV’s abuses by organizations associated with the group, as well as allegations of financial corruption, among other things. 5. Missouri Supreme Court orders the GOP attorney general to stand down in fight over abortion costs, By Summer Ballentine, Associated Press, July 20, 2023, 4:25 PM The Missouri Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the Republican attorney general to stand down and allow an initiative petition to legalize abortion in the state to move forward. Supreme Court judges unanimously affirmed a lower court’s decision that Attorney General Andrew Bailey must approve the cost estimate provided by the auditor, despite Bailey’s insistence that the cost to taxpayers of restoring abortion rights could be as much as a million times higher than what the auditor found. Because Bailey refused to approve Republican Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick’s cost estimate, the secretary of state has not been able to give the amendment his stamp of approval that is needed for supporters to begin gathering voter signatures to put it on the ballot in 2024. 6. Judge: West Virginia can’t require incarcerated atheist to participate in religious programming, By Leah Willingham, Associated Press, July 20, 2023, 12:08 PM A federal judge in West Virginia has ruled that the state corrections agency can’t force an incarcerated atheist and secular humanist to participate in religiously-affiliated programming to be eligible for parole. In a sweeping 60-page decision issued Tuesday, Charleston-based U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin said Saint Marys Correctional Center inmate Andrew Miller “easily meets his threshold burden of showing an impingement on his rights.” The state’s “unmitigated actions force Mr. Miller to choose between two distinct but equally irreparable injuries,” the judge wrote. He can either “submit to government coercion and engage in religious exercise at odds with his own beliefs,” or “remain incarcerated until at least April 2025.”  He alleged the federally-funded substance abuse treatment program — which is a requirement for his parole consideration — is “infused with Christian practices,” including Christian reading materials and mandated Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, where the Serenity and Lord’s Prayer are recited. 7. U.S. bishops’ report on clergy abuse: ‘Encouraging’ trends underscore need for reform, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, July 20, 2023, 2:20 PMThe number of abuse allegations against Church officials has declined again according to a new report from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, with the encouraging numbers underscoring what the bishops say is a need for reform and justice.  The July 2023 Report on the Implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, issued by the USCCB’s Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, revealed the results of the audit year of 2021-2022, with the report saying the data were indicative of “cultural changes in our Church.” An audit of several dozen dioceses throughout the country, performed by Stonebridge Business Partners, found “2,704 allegations … reported by 1,998 victims/survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy throughout 194 Catholic dioceses and eparchies that reported information.” The allegations concerned abuse “alleged to have occurred from the 1930s to the present.”Those numbers are down from over 4,440 allegations in 2019, 4,250 in 2020, and 3,103 in 2021, continuing what is now a four-year downward trend of abuse claims leveled against clergy. 8. U.S. bishops warn against proposed change to definition of brain death, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, July 20, 2023, 8:30 AMThe United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and a key Catholic bioethics group are both warning of a potential rewriting of U.S. law to broaden the definition of brain death, a revision they claim relies on “deficient medical criteria.” The USCCB and the National Catholic Bioethics Center said in a joint letter this month that the Uniform Law Commission was moving to revise the definition of whole-brain death without relying on “compelling scientific evidence” to do so. The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) is a nonprofit group based in Chicago that drafts model legislation for U.S. lawmakers. The group says on its website that it “provides states with nonpartisan, well-conceived, and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law.”

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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