TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 218 – Kathryn Lopez On A Post-Roe World & Nathaniel Hurd Talks Religious Freedom And The Dodgers As we mark one year since the Dobbs decision, Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review shares her thoughts on what our post-Roe world needs most: love. As we enter into Religious Freedom Week, RFI’s Nathaniel Hurd joins to discuss the disgraceful event inside Dodgers stadium last weekend–and the signs of faith from thousands of Catholics praying peacefully outside. 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. Another NAEP Score Disappointment, By The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2023, Pg. A14, Editorial “National Assessment of Educational Progress scores decline” is a familiar story; the last installment was in May, with a report that 8th-grade U.S. history test scores hit an all-time low. The latest dispiriting data from the Nation’s Report Card is more evidence that learning loss from public-school closures won’t be easily recovered. NAEP scores for 13-year-olds declined by nine points in math and four in reading between the 2019-20 and 2022-23 school years, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reported. The math decline is the largest ever for this NAEP assessment. For the lowest-performing students, math scores were the worst since the 1970s, and reading scores were lower than the first data collection in 1971.  In the rare silver-lining department, NCES reports that Catholic school scores “were not measurably different” between 2019-20 and 2022-23. The reasons for the difference can’t be proven, but Catholic schools reopened much faster while teachers unions kept public schools closed. The educational devastation of remote school is well documented, and it’s becoming clearer that this effect won’t dissipate merely because students are back in buildings. __________________________________________________________ 2. The Guiding Light of Latin Grammar, By Gerard Gayou, The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion Nothing bored me more during the summer of 2008 than the prospect of studying Latin grammar. I needed a foreign language as part of my high-school curriculum, and I was loath to choose a dead one. I opted instead for Mandarin Chinese, an adolescent whim that shaped my young adult life. I continued to learn Mandarin in college before working in mainland China after graduation. God, however, often works in mysterious ways. I was shocked when, a decade after escaping high-school Latin, I was memorizing verb paradigms in a Latin course at the Catholic University of America. I had just entered seminary to become a Catholic priest, for which Latin study is mandatory. I sympathized with the prophet Jonah, swallowed by a fish after fleeing God’s will for a faraway land. “Man proposes but God disposes,” as Thomas à Kempis writes in “The Imitation of Christ.” But four years later, my reluctant foray into ancient languages has been formative and even exhilarating.  I couldn’t understand why my high-school classmates fled the modern world to lose themselves in Latin, let alone Koine Greek. But in our day questions still burn about who we are and where we are called. These languages offer us fresh yet ancient answers. As the declensions of a crisp Latin sentence guide a reader to its end, the wisdom of the ancients orients us to ours. Mr. Gayou, a seminarian of the archdiocese of Washington, is studying theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. __________________________________________________________ 3. Pope short of breath, says he’s still feeling effects of anesthesia 2 weeks after surgery, By Associated Press, June 22, 2023, 10:11 AM Pope Francis said Thursday he was short of breath and still feeling the effects of anesthesia from abdominal surgery two weeks ago. Francis made the comments to explain why he chose not to deliver a prepared speech to visiting charity workers for Eastern rite churches. Instead, the speech was handed out. __________________________________________________________ 4. Brazil’s president offers to try to win release of bishop imprisoned in Nicaragua, By Associated Press, June 22, 2023, 8:06 PM Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva offered Thursday to help try to gain the release of a Roman Catholic bishop imprisoned in Nicaragua. Lula made the comments after visiting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Bishop Rolando Álvarez was jailed by the regime of President Daniel Ortega for supposedly helping anti-government protesters. The bishop was sentenced to 26 years in prison, after he refused to board a plane carrying exiles to the United States in February. __________________________________________________________ 5. One year after the anti-abortion ruling, the White House keeps a spotlight on the issue, By Chris Megerian, Associated Press, June 22, 2023, 12:44 PM One year ago, Democrats suffered one of the most stinging political defeats in recent history as the Supreme Court, which had been methodically stocked with conservative appointees, eliminated the nationwide right to abortion. Unbowed on Saturday’s anniversary, however, it’s the White House, not Republicans, calling the most attention to the issue with a cascade of events designed to tap into simmering rage from the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  First lady Jill Biden met this week with women who were denied abortions even though their health was at risk. Vice President Kamala Harris appeared in an hourlong televised special in Dallas and will travel to North Carolina on Saturday for a speech. The capstone of the effort comes on Friday, when President Joe Biden will appear at a rally with abortion rights groups in Washington. The first lady, the vice president and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will also be there, a rare joint appearance by all four. __________________________________________________________ 6. The Importance of Hope in the Pro-Life Movement, By David French, The New York Times, June 22, 2023, Opinion  Why did decades of abortion declines reverse themselves in the Trump years? Why is the decrease in abortion after Dobbs so much less than even the most informed observers anticipated? It’s a tough question, and one that’s resistant to monocausal answers. But let me return to hope, specifically the sense of hope in America’s young adults, the very people who date, marry and start families. That’s also the cohort, unsurprisingly, that’s most likely to seek abortions. The decision to bring a child into the world is one of mankind’s most hopeful acts, part of a seamless garment of hope and love that begins with a mother and a father and the raising of kids into whom they pour their hearts — with the goal that those kids’ lives are better, more full and, yes, even more hopeful than their own. Tear the threads of that garment at any point, and hope starts to fail. Is a relationship loving and strong or unstable and ephemeral? Do you approach your own future hopefully or are you struggling with feelings of anger, anxiety and depression? Are you in a state of financial difficulty or crisis? Destroy people’s hope, and you can destroy their expectations of life, not to mention their desire to bring new life into the world. 7. New report: More than 50% of people live in a country with serious religious persecution, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, June 22, 2023, 4:15 PM More than half of the global population lives in a country in which state or non-state actors actively persecute people for their religious beliefs, according to the 2023 Religious Freedom in the World report. The report was released on the first day of Religious Freedom Week, in which the U.S. Catholic bishops have invited Catholics to pray for greater religious liberty both in the U.S. and around the world from June 22–29. Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic charity, published the report, which put 28 countries in the “red” category for religious freedom, which denotes religious persecution. Those countries are home to more than 4 billion people and make up about 51.6% of the global population. The red category includes the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, which the report found to be among the worst religious persecutors. All but one of the countries are in either Africa or Asia. Some of the offenders include Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. Nicaragua, which ranked in the less severe “orange” category in the 2021 report, has since moved into the “red” category in the 2023 ranking. This was caused primarily by President Daniel Ortega’s persecution of Catholic clergy and religious orders as a means to consolidate power and silence dissent.

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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