TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 116 – Leah Libresco On Mississippi Abortion Ban Case & Carrie Gress On True Feminism!
Dr. Grazie Christie and Maureen Ferguson talk with Leah Libresco about the upcoming Mississippi abortion ban case and an opportunity the Supreme Court has in resetting the terms of the abortion debate, with a look at the ‘moving target of viability.’ Carrie Gress of Theology of Home also joins to discuss true feminism and the perils of a ‘child-free by choice movement’ being heralded in the secular sphere. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel.
1. Study shows shifts in religious identity, The percentage of religiously unaffiliated Americans is on the rise, By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, July 9, 2021, Pg. A9
A new sweeping religion survey of nearly half a million Americans shows some regions of the country remain religiously homogenous — especially the Southeast — and charts the growing political influence of the religiously unaffiliated, whose presence has more than doubled in both major parties in recent years.

The survey and analysis digs deep into the big-picture story of American religion: Dramatic change in the past 20 years, especially the shrinking of the White Christian population and the growth of religiously unaffiliated Americans. PRRI says those two trends appear to be slowing in the last couple years , but CEO Robert Jones says it is too early to know if it’s more like a pause.
2. The Christian Heart of Hong Kong Activism, They’re only 12% of the population, but their values incline them toward sacrifice., By Dan Hitchens, The Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion
Only 12% of Hong Kongers are Christians, but they play an outsize role. Messrs. Lai and Lee, the most prominent of the activists sentenced in April, are Catholics. Benny Tai, initiator of the 2013-14 Occupy Central campaign, is a Protestant who held one of the movement’s early press conferences at a church. Christian leaders like Cardinal Joseph Zen and the Baptist minister Chu Yiu-Ming have been at the forefront of the cause. One of the most frequently heard protest songs has been “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord.”

Mr. Cheng believes Christians’ affinity for activism is natural. “You are ready to suffer in this life, and you seek a much more meaningful afterlife,” he says. That contrasts with an attitude sometimes found in Hong Kong: “ ‘Keep your head low, just concentrate on making money, don’t bother with other things. Avoid politics, that’ll only get you into trouble.’ The Christians, by their natural values, have a tendency to downgrade worldly goods at least a bit.”
3. Pope Francis’s surgery elevates questions about the remaining years of his papacy, By Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli, The Washington Post, July 9, 2021, 6:26 AM
The Vatican says Francis is progressing well after a pre-scheduled operation. He ran a fever Wednesday night, but that had resolved by morning, and subsequent scans and exams did not detect an infection. The Vatican said Thursday that Francis’s condition was continuing to improve.
Yet in Rome and in Catholic circles around the world, what is expected to be a week-long hospitalization has served as a reminder that the pope is reaching an age when people deal more frequently with health problems and become more vulnerable.
For some Catholics, this week’s events have brought urgency to a set of questions that previously seemed at a remove: questions about how Francis will manage his papacy as he nears the second half of his 80s; how long he’ll continue in the role; and whether he might one day step down.

Vatican watchers roundly agree that Francis is not close to stepping down, and instead may push into historic territory, at a time when humans — including popes — are living longer and longer.
But many also say Francis seems like he would be open to eventually resigning, as Benedict did, rather than holding on as a weakened or even incapacitated pontiff, as John Paul II did in the early 2000s.
4. Pope tells South Sudan leaders to make sacrifices for peace, By Associated Press, July 9, 2021, 8:29 AM
Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury marked the 10th anniversary of the independence of South Sudan on Friday by urging its rival political leaders to make the necessary personal sacrifices to consolidate peace.
Francis, Archbishop Justin Welby and the moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace, repeated their hopes of visiting South Sudan in a joint message to the country’s leaders. But they noted “much more needs to be done” to ensure peace and reconciliation.
5. Pew: Catholic homilies mention election, racism less than Protestant ones, By Mark Pattison, Catholic News Service, July 9, 2021
As news events made headlines across the United States for months last year — particularly the 2020 election, the coronavirus pandemic and racism in America — priests’ homilies did not mention these events nearly as much as did sermons by Protestant preachers, according to a report issued July 8 by the Pew Research Center.
Compared to their Protestant counterparts — whatever the stripe, be it mainline, evangelical or historically Black — Catholics brought up the rear when it came to sharing at least one sermon about the election last fall. Overall, 67 percent of churches did, but just 41 percent of Catholics. And just 19 percent of Catholic parish websites mentioned the election, compared to 28 percent of all churches surveyed.
While 20 percent of Catholics’ election-referenced homilies encouraged voting — on par with all Christian sermons surveyed — just 36 percent discussed issues, candidates or political parties, the lowest percentage of all Christian groups.
6. Pope temporarily had fever 3 days after intestinal surgery, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, July 8, 2021
Pope Francis temporarily had a fever three days after intestinal surgery, but routine tests and scans proved negative, the Vatican said Thursday.
The Vatican’s daily update said Francis was continuing to eat and move around unassisted, and had even sent his greetings to young cancer patients at Rome’s Gemelli Polyclinic hospital.
But spokesman Matteo Bruni said Francis did have a “fever episode” temporarily Wednesday evening.
7. Cardinal Tobin, Colorado bishops warn against federal abortion funding, By Catholic News Agency, July 8, 2021, 9:02 AM
Catholic leaders this week warned that proposed legislation could push billions of federal tax dollars toward funding of elective abortions.
“I am deeply concerned that the proposed federal budget would eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which, for 45 years, has prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
President Joe Biden, a Catholic, excluded the Hyde Amendment from his budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year. The amendment, federal policy since 1976, prohibits funding of elective abortions in Medicaid; according to one estimate, it has resulted in around 60,000 fewer abortions per year. Democratic leadership in both the House and the Senate are pushing for a repeal of the policy.
“Taxpayer-funded abortion represents a failure to recognize the sanctity of human life and promotes a culture in which human life in its most vulnerable moment is perceived as disposable,” Cardinal Tobin said.
8. USCCB Looks to Assist Federal Investigation of Boarding Schools for Indigenous, By Jonah McKeown, National Catholic Register, July 8, 2021
A spokeswoman for the U.S. bishops’ conference said it is looking to help with a new federal investigation of the history of boarding schools for Native American children.
Following the recent discovery of unmarked graves outside former Canadian residential schools, the U.S. government recently promised a comprehensive report on its involvement with the boarding schools for Native Americans.

In a June 28 statement, a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ conference said the bishops will “look for ways to be of assistance” in the investigation. Spokesperson Chieko Noguchi said she hopes the information will “bring some measure of peace to the victims and a heightened awareness so that this disturbing history is never repeated.”

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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