TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 219 – Summer Movies: Alejandro Monteverde Talks Sound of Freedom Opening 4th Of July! With a new movie on human trafficking coming to theaters on the 4th of July starring Jim Caviezel, Dr. Grazie Christie talks to director Alejandro Monteverde. Sound of Freedom exposes some devastating realities about children caught in the vicious system of being sold, and what one man is doing to bring them all home. 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 9-0 Victory for Religious Rights, By The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2023, Pg. A14, Editorial The Supreme Court has issued several notable unanimous decisions this term, and on Thursday the Justices delivered a resounding 9-0 blow for the rights of religiously observant workers. Groff v. DeJoy concerned whether the U.S. Postal Service was required to make accommodations for an evangelical Christian mail carrier who refused to work on Sundays.  The Court’s decision clears up its Hardison confusion and provides welcome guidance to lower courts. Here’s to another High Court victory for religious pluralism. 2. We Separate Church and State for a Reason, By Gentner Drummond, The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2023, Pg. A14, Letter to the Editor Regarding Nicole Stelle Garnett’s “Religious Charters Are OK in Oklahoma” (Houses of Worship, June 16): Oklahoma is now the testing ground in a deeply troubling effort to reshape public education in America by allowing state tax dollars to fund religious schools directly. The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa recently won approval from an obscure state board to operate a virtual charter school that purports to be “Catholic in teaching, Catholic in employment and Catholic in every way.” That the school is Catholic isn’t the issue. Once one religion receives approval, every religion is entitled to equal treatment. In all seriousness, the Satanic Temple has already indicated it may apply to sponsor a school. If state and federal courts allow the Catholic charter school to move forward, the damage to the ideal of religious liberty will be irreversible.  The framers of the U.S. Constitution clearly understood that the best way to protect religious liberty is to prevent the state from sponsoring any religion at all. Unfortunately, their centuries-old wisdom is now at risk of being discarded unless state or federal courts determine otherwise. While it is encouraging that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed a lower-court ruling to stand in Charter Day School Inc. v. Peltier—effectively affirming that charter schools are state actors—I expect much litigation on this issue in the months to come. Until then, I will continue to uphold my solemn obligation to honor the rule of law and defend the Constitution, so help me God. Gentner Drummond is the Attorney General of Oklahoma. 3. Christians Err if They Give Up on America, By D.G. Hart, The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2023, Pg. A13, Opinion American Christians sometimes do unusual things in pursuit of patriotism. During World War I, many Lutheran congregations raised American flags in their sanctuaries and hung patriotic bunting from their balconies. It was a sensible show of national pride since many Lutherans still worshiped in their religion’s native language and the U.S. was at war with the German Kaiser. Brandishing patriotic symbols was a plausible way to answer charges of disloyalty.  In certain sectors of the Christian world, such patriotic excess is in marked decline. \  The obvious challenge for Christian critics of secular America is to figure out where non-Christians—or the wrong kinds of Christians—fit in their preferred God-fearing state. That was the question the American Founders contemplated, and it’s worth contemplating the genius of their answer. The settlement hammered out in the 1780s somehow made room for all religious groups—including, eventually, skeptics and atheists. The full measure of religious freedom took a while to include Catholics, Mormons and Jews. But in time religious disestablishment freed all religious groups from governmental restrictions. The downside, for churches that had been established, was the loss of the government’s financial support. But the benefits more than compensated for the loss. Religious groups were free, and remain so, to practice their convictions without seeking the state’s approval.  Christians this weekend may not wish to sing the national anthem during worship, and churches are probably best advised not to sponsor a float in the local Independence Day parade. It’s possible to mix expressions of religious faith with patriotic fervor in ways that are unhelpful and unwise. And of course if the government makes demands that collide with religious duty, believers will, as the apostles sometimes did, “obey God rather than emperor.” But the desire to thank God for the U.S.A. by marching in a parade with the Boy Scouts or the Rotary Club is a noble one. Gratitude is a Christian virtue, and it’s entirely appropriate to express it in backyard barbecues and fireworks. Mr. Hart teaches history at Hillsdale College and is author of “From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin: Evangelicals and the Betrayal of American Conservatism.” 4. The Dobbs decision: A political debate that is personal, I remain committed to protecting every unborn child’s right to life, By Rep. Michael Burgess, The Washington Times, June 30, 2023, Pg. B1, Opinion Before coming to Congress, I practiced medicine for nearly 30 years and had the privilege of delivering 3,000 babies. My career as a physician was dedicated to protecting the lives of children and families while running a pro-life practice in North Texas. Never in my lifetime did I think I would see Roe v. Wade overturned, but thankfully, it happened last summer. While reflecting on the anniversary of the Dobbs decision, I am reminded that when Roe v. Wade was originally decided in 1973, medical sonography was just beginning. Since then, it has developed into a science.  Having an abortion is not a simple fix or just another form of birth control as it is continually advertised. Abortion is a highly complex and deeply emotional decision. The decision affects the woman, her unborn child, other family members, and the health care provider. Thankfully, there is legislation, the Adoption Information Act, that seeks to provide mothers in a crisis pregnancy with another choice. Family planning centers should provide mothers with all options, not one that fits an ideology.  The Constitution is clear when it guarantees the right to life, and Congress must continue to enact policies that will build up communities. After a lifetime dedicated to pro-life work, I believe there is no question that it is the right thing to do. Michael Burgess is an American physician and politician representing Texas’ 26th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. __________________________________________________________ 5. In new ad, Scott vows to back 15-week federal abortion ban, Senator looks to Iowa caucuses as springboard, By Seth McLaughlin, The Washington Times, June 30, 2023, Pg. A5 Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate, is running a new radio ad in Iowa targeting Christian conservatives with a promise to support a 15-week federal abortion ban. Mr. Scott is among several candidates who could use a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses as a springboard in the race. He is looking to raise his profile with the social and religious conservatives who traditionally make up the lion’s share of the party’s caucus-goers. “As president, I will sign the most pro-life legislation that reaches my desk. Our immediate priority should be passing a national 15-week limit on abortion while we support Republican-led states that do even more to protect life,” Mr. Scott says in the “Sanctity of Life” ad. 6. Ex-Roman Catholic cardinal, now 92, is not competent to stand trial in sex abuse case, expert says, By Alanna Durkin Richer, Associated Press, June 29, 2023, 5:36 PM Former Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick is not competent to stand trial on charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a teenage boy in Massachusetts decades ago, an expert for the prosecution says, raising doubts about the future of the criminal case against the 92-year-old. Prosecutors this week disclosed the findings of their expert to the judge, who will ultimately rule on the once-powerful American prelate’s ability to face charges that he abused the boy at a wedding reception at Wellesley College in 1974. 7. Thousands in North Macedonia join Church protest against proposed laws on gender equality, identity, By Konstantin Testorides, Associated Press, June 29, 2023, 4:32 PM Thousands of people gathered outside the cathedral in North Macedonia’s capital on Thursday during a protest organized by the country’s Orthodox Church against proposed legislation on gender equality and identity which it says threatens family values. Church leader Archbishop Stefan said at the gathering in Skopje that the proposed bills would introduce “unacceptable and insulting new ideologies.” He said the message of Thursday’s protest was to ”say ‘yes’ to life, to emphasize the sanctity of the family formed by one man and one woman, (and) to say that we will we defend our dearest, the children.” The protest was also supported by North Macedonia’s leading Islamic officials, the Catholic Church and other religious communities. 8. North Carolina governor signs law clearing up several aspects of impending abortion law, By Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press, June 29, 2023, 6:19 PM Last-minute revisions to North Carolina’s new abortion restrictions that take effect this weekend were signed into law on Thursday by Gov. Roy Cooper. The Democratic governor’s decision to act quickly on changes from the Republican-controlled legislature should minimize the immediate results from a pending legal challenge. Still, a federal judge might temporarily block parts of the law that before it goes into effect Saturday. A lawsuit by a physician and Planned Parenthood South Atlantic claims that sections in the restrictions were so vague and confusing that doctors feared unintentionally breaking the law, affecting their ability to care for women seeking abortions. Enactment of the clean-up language appears to make moot arguments about several provisions cited in the lawsuit. That’s according to lawyers for abortion providers, legislative leaders and the state, who spoke before U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles during a Wednesday hearing. 9. The Supreme Court bolsters protections for workers who ask for religious accommodations, By Jessica Gresko, Associated Press, June 29, 2023, 5:24 PM The Supreme Court on Thursday used the case of a Christian mail carrier who did not want to work Sundays to solidify protections for workers who ask for religious accommodations. In a unanimous decision the justices made clear that workers who ask for accommodations, such as taking the Sabbath off, should have their requests honored unless employers show that doing so would result in “substantial increased costs” to the business. The court made clear that businesses must cite more than minor costs — known as “de minimis” costs — to reject requests for religious accommodations at work. Unlike most cases before the court, both sides in the case had agreed that businesses needed to show more. 10. Bishops rebuke House Dems for citing faith in defense of abortion rights, By John Lavenburg, Crux, June 29, 2023 After more than 30 Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently claimed the tenets of the faith “compel” them to defend abortion rights, multiple U.S. bishops’ conference chairmen have jointly rejected the argument, saying their rationale is “wrong and incoherent.” “Members of Congress who recently invoked teachings of the Catholic faith itself as justifying abortion or supporting a supposed right to abortion grievously distort the faith,” the chairmen said in a statement. “It is wrong and incoherent to claim that the taking of innocent human life at its most vulnerable stage can ever be consistent with the values of supporting the dignity and wellbeing of those in need.” 11. Franciscan friar gets 6 months in jail for blocking New York abortion clinic entrance, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, June 29, 2023, 3:55 PM Catholic priest and pro-life activist Father Fidelis Moscinski, CFR, has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for blocking access to a Planned Parenthood abortion facility by placing locks and chains on the gated entrance.  Judge Steven Tiscione laid down the six-month sentence, which is the maximum available for the specific crime. Moscinski was found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which imposes harsh penalties for obstructing access to an abortion facility or a pregnancy center. “My actions … were done because Planned Parenthood as an organization is in the business of killing,” Moscinski told the judge while asking for a lenient sentence, according to his remarks provided by the pro-life organization Red Rose Rescue. 12. Supreme Court Rules in Christian Mail-Carrier Case: Employers Must Accommodate Religious Practices, The unanimous vindication highlights how much Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination and the duty to accommodate religious practice are needed., By Andrea M. Picciotti-Bayer, National Catholic Register, June 29, 2023, Opinion At a time when our president and many of our nation’s lawmakers are hostile to traditional religious belief, this Supreme Court continues to reliably safeguard individual liberties and promote the common good. Take, for example, a decision issued at the end of the Court’s term by all the justices.  Groff v. DeJoy involved a former mailman from rural Pennsylvania who is a Sabbatarian Christian and therefore unable to work on Sundays. He left his job because his work schedule did not accommodate his religious practices. The Supreme Court sent his case back to the lower court with clarifying instructions for considering whether accommodating Groff would constitute an “undue hardship.”    America’s workforce reflects society. Both have become less and less “religious” since Title VII was passed. This is all the more reason why Title VII’s prohibition against religious discrimination and the duty to accommodate religious practice are needed — and the Court’s unanimous vindication of these rights is all the sweeter.  Andrea Picciotti-Bayer is a legal analyst for EWTN News, director of the Conscience Project and a media fellow at the Institute for Human Ecology at The Catholic University of America. 13. Vatican faces backlash after denying ‘nihil obstat’ to dean, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, June 29, 2023, 11:19 AM The Vatican is facing backlash after it vetoed the appointment of a prominent German-speaking moral theologian as dean of an academic institution in northern Italy.  A June 26 statement posted on the website of the Philosophical-Theological College of Brixen/Bressanone (PTH Brixen) announced that the Dicastery for Culture and Education had blocked the appointment as dean of Fr. Martin M. Lintner, O.S.M., “because of Prof. Lintner’s publications on questions of Catholic sexual morality.” The statement, signed by Bishop Ivo Muser, the college’s great chancellor, and the current dean Alexander Notdurfter, said that the bishop had decided, in agreement with Lintner, not to appeal the decision.  Many of Lintner’s publications and public statements have called for the Church to be open to the blessing of same-sex unions and a reimagining of Catholic teaching on sexual ethics and morality. The Dicastery for Culture and Education is the Vatican department that oversees ecclesiastical and Catholic institutes of higher education in conjunction with the world’s bishops. It is responsible for approving teachers of theological disciplines by issuing a nihil obstat, a declaration that “nothing stands in the way” of a candidate’s appointment.  In a joint statement, three associations representing German-speaking moral theologians expressed their “unreserved solidarity” with Lintner. “We note with incomprehension the refusal of the Roman nihil obstat for the election of Martin Lintner as dean of the Philosophical-Theological College of Bressanone,” it said. “We criticize the disciplinary intervention of the Dicastery for Culture and Education as professionally inappropriate and incomprehensible.” “Martin Lintner’s positions reflect a broad consensus within German-speaking moral theology and far beyond. Since the post-synodal letter Amoris laetitia (2016), they are increasingly found in magisterial letters as well.”

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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