TCA Radio Podcast – “Conversations with Consequences”.

Episode 8:Building community by reading together, with the ladies of CanaVox

Our host Grazie is joined by our TCA colleges Maureen and Andrea for a fascinating conversation with two of the founders of Dr. Ana Samuel and Ana Victoria Bethencourt talk about this dynamic, locally-based reading group program for today’s woman. Marriage is a big topic for Canavox study groups! You don’t have to grapple with the complex cultural issues of the day all alone.

1. Bishops Set Abuse Reporting Rules for Themselves.

By Ian Lovett, The Wall Street Journal, June 14, 2019, Pg. A3

U.S. Catholic officials approved a series of measures designed to make bishops and cardinals more accountable for sexual misconduct, the first concrete step they have taken to address the past year’s sexual- abuse crisis involving a cardinal.

At its semiannual meeting in Baltimore, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted Thursday to require all clergy to report sexual misconduct, including by bishops or cardinals, and for the complaints to ultimately be sent to Rome.

Under the new rules, allegations against bishops are to be reported to the metropolitan archbishops in the U.S., who oversee nearby dioceses. It is then up to the metropolitan archbishop to report the allegations to civil authorities. If the metropolitan archbishop is accused, the report will be sent to the next most senior bishop in the region.

2. Bishops’ long-awaited plan on abuse: They will police their own, Leaders of U.S. Catholics forgo granting significant authority to laypeople.

By Julie Zauzmer and Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post, June 14, 2019, Pg. A8

Catholic faithful across the country have demanded accountability from their bishops for the past year as sexual abuse scandals unfolded at the highest levels of the church. On Thursday, the bishops at last gave their response, in the form of a slate of new policies for policing themselves. 

Some Catholics, including advocates for more accountability, celebrated the new rules, which the bishops touted as major action. But to others, the policies do not go nearly far enough, because they still place the responsibility for handling abuse by bishops in the hands of fellow bishops, despite years of coverups.

3. U.S. hierarchy stop short of mandating lay involvement in bishop accountability.

By Christopher White, Crux, June 13, 2019

After three days of intense debate over the role of the laity in overseeing bishops accused of abuse or its cover-up, the U.S. Catholic bishops voted to enact new standards for holding bishops accountable that include lay involvement, although stopped short of making it a mandatory requirement.

While three major proposals were voted on Thursday, during the final day of their annual spring assembly, the most significant vote was to approve directives to enact Pope Francis’s new universal laws on bishop accountability on a local level. The document was approved by a vote of 218-1 with an emphasis on how the laity “should” be involved in the process.

Issued in May, Vos estis mux lundi  (“You are the light of the world”) is the product of last February’s Vatican summit on abuse where Francis pledged an “all-out war” on abuse. The new law – known as a motu proprio – makes it mandatory for all clerics and members of religious orders to report cases of clerical sexual abuse to Church authorities, including when committed by bishops or cardinals.

4. Maliciously distorting pro-life views.

By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, June 14, 2019, Pg. A23, Opinion

One measure of the seriousness of a Democratic candidate for president is his or her understanding of the importance of religion in our common life. I am not talking here of the perfunctory bow toward personal, sectarian belief, which is neither qualifying nor disqualifying in a prospective president. I refer instead to a candidate’s recognition that faith helps define compassion and justice for millions of Americans. 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) — whom few would accuse of seriousness in her presidential run — has taken a different path. In a recent interview with the Des Moines Register, she judged the religious motivations of people who are pro-life to be democratically illegitimate, because it is wrong to “deny women basic human rights.” 

To summarize: Opposing abortion, by definition, is a form of bigotry. And this bigotry comes from religion. And religion can’t be the basis for law. Therefore, in Gillibrand’s view, pro-life people are not only wrong; they are bigoted theocrats who threaten democracy. 

This is the willful and malicious misrepresentation of pro-life views. Religious people who oppose abortion do not do so because the Bible tells them to. The Bible is pretty much silent on the topic. Instead, their religious beliefs inform a certain anthropology — a belief that humans have rights and dignity because they are created in the image and likeness of God. 

This view clearly has some appeal among pro-choice activists, militant secularists and fading, desperate presidential candidates. But it is hardly the basis for a useful public debate. Gillibrand’s argument represents a type of ideological authoritarianism that seems fashionable in our politics. Instead of defeating other viewpoints through argument, she would rather prohibit them as illegitimate and unacceptable. Trying to win by disqualifying your opponent — by placing him or her outside the bounds of decency and public discourse — is easier than reason and persuasion. It is also a form of undemocratic cheating.

5. Faith in American society and its protection under the law by Antonin Scalia.

By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, The Washington Times, July 14, 2019, Pg. B2, Book Review

Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift? A welcome addition to your summer reading list? A timely inspiration to dig deeper in your faith? “On Faith: Lessons from an American Believer” fits all three bills.

This treasure of a book offers a glimpse into the central role Catholicism played in Antonin Scalia’s personal life and the late Supreme Court justice’s understanding of religious liberty in our public life.

Christopher Scalia, the eighth of Justice Scalia’s nine children, and Ed Whelan, a former Scalia clerk and now head of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, are the co-editors of this volume. Their previous collaboration was the 2017 New York Times best seller, “Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith and Life Well Lived.” This time around, they focus on the justice’s views on faith in American society and its protection under the law, as expressed in speeches and Justice Scalia’s better-known opinions and articles. The new book’s special charm comes in the reflections of people close to Justice Scalia on the impact his Catholic witness had on their lives.

 “On Faith” paints a portrait of man who was so much more than an accomplished American jurist. In his commitment to God, family and country, Antonin Scalia lived his long and distinguished life as an “American believer.”

Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is legal adviser for The Catholic Association Foundation.

6. Appreciating Fatherhood.

By Fr. Roger J. Landry, The Anchor, June 14, 2019

This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day throughout the United States. It’s a relatively recent feast, made a permanent national holiday on the third Sunday of June only in 1972 when it was signed into law by President Nixon. President Lyndon Johnson had given the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers only six years prior. Mother’s Day, by contrast, was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 to be held on the second Sunday of May. The earlier celebration for mothers is partially explained by the desire to honor the work of moms at a time in our nation’s history when women and their contributions to society were often widely underappreciated. But the length of the delay for fathers may also explain how the role of men precisely as fathers has similarly been underappreciated.

Pope Benedict in a 2012 General Audience spoke about the greatness of fatherhood in the divine plan. “Perhaps people today,” he said, “fail to perceive the beauty, greatness and profound consolation contained in the word ‘father’ with which we can turn to God in prayer because today the father figure is often not sufficiently present and all too often is not sufficiently positive in daily life. … From Jesus himself, from his filial relationship with God, we can learn what ‘father’ really means and what is the true nature of the Father who is in heaven. … In the Gospel Christ shows us who is the father and as he is a true father we can understand true fatherhood and even learn true fatherhood.”

That’s why on this Father’s Day, in addition to thanking our earthly dads, we should also be celebrating God the Father and the spiritual fatherhood of Jesus — both quite fittingly on Holy Trinity Sunday — as well as the way priests are called by both to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in becoming spiritual fathers after the image of Father and Son.

7. Maine making public, private insurers cover abortions.

The Associated Press, June 13, 2019

A bill requiring public and private insurance companies to cover abortion is now law in Maine with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ signature Thursday.

The new law will take effect in 90 days and requires all insurers that cover prenatal care to include coverage of abortion. The proposal faced pushback from Republicans and a handful of Democrats who argued against taxpayer-funded abortions.

8. Twitter Is Now Banning Conservatives For Investigative Journalism About Big Tech’s Abortion Activism.

By Madeline Osburn, The Federalist, June 13, 2019

After investigative reporters at Project Veritas published information from a whistleblower in Pinterest headquarters, revealing the social media site’s bias against pro-lifers, Twitter joined in the censorship. On Wednesday, Twitter banned Project Veritas for violating its “rules against posting private information.”

In this case, the “private information” was screenshots of Pinterest’s internal communications and Slack messages, which showed one Pinterest employee calling Ben Shapiro a “white supremacist” and adding him to the “sensitive terms list.”

Project Veritas also discovered that the term “Christian” was removed from auto-fill search functions, and that for a time, users were not allowed to post any pins that linked to the pro-life Live Action website. An internal list showed that Live Action was on a banned list of porn sites, then banned entirely.

Pinterest also labeled undercover videos of Planned Parenthood from Center for Medical Progress’ David Daleiden as “conspiracy,” even though digital forensic experts said his videos were “authentic and show no evidence of manipulation.”

The layers of censorship here are overlapping. First, Pinterest censors content that offends their employees’ personal or political beliefs, despite what their users want to post or share according to their own personal or political beliefs. Second, Twitter then censors the investigative journalists exposing the Pinterest censorship. Then, YouTube removes content Project Veritas put up about the Pinterest and Twitter censorship. It’s a social media blackout.

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in 2018, he admitted that Planned Parenthood had never been censored for their pro-abortion messages on Facebook.

Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement, who was questioning Zuckerberg at the time, has aged well: “There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship.”

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