TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 59 – The Pandemic of Modern Day Slavery with Luke de Pulford

On this week’s Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie tackles the issue of human trafficking with Luke de Pulford, founder and visionary behind the ARISE Foundation. With over 40 million people enslaved around the world, Luke sheds light on his greatest ally in fighting modern day slavery: religious sisters–who’ve been at the helm for years. Grazie also chats with Sister Lynda Dearlove who works directly with those suffering from sexual exploitation in London’s East End.

1. The Gospel According to Xi: Beijing considers publishing official translations of holy texts like the Bible, By Matthew Taylor King, The Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2020, Pg, A15, Opinion

Believers in China already are under more pressure than at any time since the Cultural Revolution, and a new phase is beginning. Beijing no longer wants simply to repress religion but to transform it. Xi Lian, a professor at Duke University Divinity School, tells me that the Communist Party wants to “create a new version of Christianity shorn of its transcendent visions and values.”

The centerpiece of this campaign is a major new undertaking to rewrite holy scripture. China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency said late last year that Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Yang had presided over a meeting of so-called scholars and “religious people from the grassroots level” to discuss “making accurate and authoritative interpretations of classical doctrines to keep pace with the times.”

If Christianity is to survive in China, the country’s Christians will have to summon the virtues that sustained the faith in other times of persecution: integrity of witness, solidity of friendship, faithfulness unto death. For those of us raised in a free society, their burden is hard to imagine. But Christians know no greater comforts than the cross and the Bible—reminders of weakness transmuted into victory, testaments of God’s love for a fallen world.

Mr. King is the Journal’s Joseph Rago Memorial Fellow.

2. US bishops ask Supreme Court to protect Catholic foster agency in Philadelphia, By Catholic News Agency, June 4, 2020, 4:27 PM

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. bishops argued that a Catholic agency should not be banned from participation in the Philadelphia foster care system due to its beliefs on marriage.

“The Catholic Church serves orphans through adoption and foster care not simply because it cares about children, but because it is compelled to do this work—out of obedience to God’s Word, and in response to God’s love toward mankind,” the amicus brief said. “The Church’s theological commitment, present from its inception, to providing this privileged form of ministry helps illustrate the irreparable harm that the Church would suffer should it be blocked from continuing to do so.”

“Across the centuries and up to today, across the world and in the United States, the Catholic Church has been at the forefront of caring for orphans by placing them in loving homes,” the brief continued.

“This history, and the theological basis that animates it, together make clear that providing foster care represents a core religious exercise for Catholics. Although this ministry also serves the common good, and is often carried out in cooperation with government, these considerations do not reduce this ministry to a ’public function’ like picking up garbage or paving roads.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference filed the brief June 3 with the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the case Sharonell Fulton et. al. vs. City of Philadelphia.


3. Covid Double Standards: Looters run wild; parishioners stay home, By James Freeman, The Wall Street Journal, June 4, 2020, 3:43 PM, Opinion

“Clever Churchgoers Avoid Arrest By Disguising Themselves As Rioters,” says a recent headline on the satirical website Babylon Bee. Life may soon be imitating art if leftist governors and mayors persist in enforcing appalling double standards when it comes to social distancing.

The so-called government in Madison has been allowing just about everything except religious exercise.

This column will go out on a limb and suggest that political agendas are influencing the rules allegedly enacted to protect public health. The overt discrimination against religious exercise in Madison and New York City seems ideological, but often the rules seem designed more for political expediency. In states like New Jersey liquor stores are deemed essential by government but youth sports have been forbidden. This column of course has no quarrel with the former decision, only the latter.

Everyone should have a quarrel with politicians selectively enforcing limits on social gatherings depending on the beliefs and the speech of participants.

4. China makes preaching patriotism compulsory to reopen churches, By Catholic News Service, June 4, 2020

Catholics are upset about a directive from China’s communist government asking priests to “preach on patriotism” as a condition for reopening liturgical services, suspended earlier this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. reported the Catholic Patriotic Association and the Chinese Catholic educational administration committee of Zhejiang province jointly issued a notice May 29 on the resumption of liturgical activities.

“Religious places that meet the conditions of epidemic prevention will resume services from June 2,” it said while adding the patriotism requirement.

5. Australia’s bishops, religious consider proposals for change in governance, By Michael Sainsbury, Catholic News Service, June 5, 2020

Australia’s bishops and religious are considering the recommendations for change in a 208-page review into the governance of the church.

If implemented, they would see administrative and financial control of dioceses and parishes radically reshaped and shared between the clergy and laypeople and an increased role for women.

In mid-May, the bishops considered the report, “The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia,” submitted by the Implementation Advisory Group’s Governance Review Project Team. They are continuing to mull a response to 86 recommendations.


6. ‘We need a miracle,’ retired Hong Kong cardinal says on security law, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, June 4, 2020

Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party, has said a new security law puts the city’s autonomy at risk, and condemned the Vatican’s silence on the issue as political pandering with disregard to the faith.

“We are worried, we are very worried,” Zen told Crux, referring to the new security law Beijing is set to implement in Hong Kong. “We need a miracle; we need a miracle from heaven.”

7. NYC Mayor de Blasio: Protests essential, but not religion, By Catholic News Agency, June 4, 2020, 3:32 PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that ongoing protests in the city merit exceptions to coronavirus regulations, while religious services do not. The mayor’s remarks have drawn criticism from New York’s archdiocese.

“When you see a nation, an entire nation simultaneously grappling with an extraordinary crisis seeded in 400 years of American racism, I’m sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services,” de Blasio said at a June 2 press conference, while defending his policy of allowing mass protests while continuing to restrict religious gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Ed Mechmann, director of public policy for the Archdiocese of New York, said the mayor’s policy shows that religious liberty is now considered a low priority in the city.

“It is clear that in the eyes of our government officials, the politically preferred viewpoint of anti-racism is favored and allowed, while the unpopular one of religious worship is belittled and denigrated,” Mechmann wrote on the archdiocesan website June 3.


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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