TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 99 – George Weigel On ‘Not Forgotten’ & Preparing For Holy Week With The Litany Of Humility
Dr. Grazie Christie and Maureen Ferguson speak with George Weigel about his new book, ‘Not Forgotten: Elegies For, and Reminiscences Of, a Diverse Cast of Characters, Most of Them Admirable’ with a look at some amazing lives of saints and Catholic thought leaders. As we prepare for Holy Week, TCA colleague and editor-extraordinaire Dave Reinhard joins with a look at the Litany of Humility–and how we can best prepare our hearts and minds to unite ourselves to Christ’s suffering this Lenten season.
1. Becerra likely to be confirmed as Collins and Manchin declare their support, By The Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, March 12, 2021, Pg. A2
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra may be second only to progressive activist Neera Tanden as the president’s most hotly contested cabinet selection, but unlike Ms. Tanden, Mr. Becerra appears headed for confirmation.
Two swing voters — Sens. Susan Collins, Connecticut Republican, and Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat — said Thursday they would vote in favor of Mr. Becerra’s nomination to head the Health and Human Services Department, all but sealing the deal.
Despite “very different records on issues like abortion and the Second Amendment, he has affirmed to me his dedication to working with Members on both sides of the aisle to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the numerous needs of our nation in a bipartisan way,” Mr. Manchin said in a statement.
2. Arkansas House panel advances health care objections bill, By Associated Press, March 12, 2021
An Arkansas House panel on Thursday advanced legislation to allow doctors to refuse to treat someone because of moral or religious objections, a move opponents say would allow discrimination against patients.
The House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee endorsed a reworked version of the bill that says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. The panel last month rejected a broader version of the Senate-backed legislation.
Supporters of the bill say it would protect health care workers from being forced to perform something that goes against their conscience. Opponents, however, have said it would allow providers to turn LGBTQ patients away because of a provider’s personal beliefs. Similar measures have stalled in the Legislature in 2017 and 2019.
3. Survey: One in three Catholics in Germany thinking of leaving Church, By Catholic News Agency, March 12, 2021, 3:00 AM
A third of all German Catholics are considering leaving the Church, according to a new survey published on Thursday.
The representative study, unveiled March 11, was conducted by the Erfurt-based opinion research institute INSA Consulere on behalf of the Catholic weekly newspaper Die Tagespost and the Protestant news agency Idea. It confirms a previous survey’s findings that indicated similar numbers.
Of those surveyed who belong to the Catholic Church, 33% are considering leaving the church because of the ongoing scandals over the handling of clerical sex abuse cases, while 44% said that they were not going to turn their back on the Church. A further 14% of respondents indicated that they “didn’t know.” Nine percent of those involved in the survey did not specify an answer.
4. Read the Letter Amazon Sent to Republican Senators Over Its Book Policy, Amazon said it has chosen not to sell books on its platforms that frame LGBTQ+ identities as mental illnesses, By The Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2021, 8:27 PM
In a letter to Republican senators, Inc. responded to questions about why it recently removed a book about transgender issues that had been on sale on its platform for about three years.
Here’s a copy of the full letter Amazon sent to Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Mike Braun of Indiana and Mike Lee of Utah.

As a bookseller, we provide our customers with access to a variety of viewpoints, including books that some customers may find objectionable. Amazon works hard to ensure customers have a great shopping experience, and access to the widest and most diverse cross-section of written and spoken word in retail today.

That said, we reserve the right not to sell certain content. All retailers make decisions about what selection they choose to offer, as do we.
As to your specific question about When Harry Became Sally, we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.
5. At his eight-year mark, will Francis try turning down the temperature?, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 12, 2021, Opinion
Seemingly reinvigorated by the Coronavirus crisis, the 84-year-old Francis still has an ambitious agenda for the Church and the world.
Internally, his to-do list features a long-simmering reform of the Roman Curia, a sweeping clean-up in money management, the fight against clerical sexual abuse, empowerment of women and laity, a more collaborative (“synodal,” to use his word) mode of decision-making, and more. Externally, the pope has laid out a vision for a post-Covid world that turns on a deeper sense of human fraternity and solidarity, economic justice for the world’s poorest peoples, protection of the natural environment and an end to armed conflicts.
One factor complicating achievement of this agenda is that negative polarization is a powerful force in Catholicism too. For better or worse, Pope Francis, like virtually all public figures of this era, is divisive. Among some Catholics, he inspires ardent support; among others, perhaps a relatively small but determined minority, he elicits reflexive skepticism and opposition.
In that light, perhaps Francis might consider stealing a page from the Biden playbook and take himself out of the equation, at least as much as his office and public responsibilities allow.
What might that look like? In general, it would seem to mean reducing his own public profile and allowing pieces of his agenda to be carried by others, whether these “others” are individual actors, groups, or institutions.

What the Biden example suggests, however disanalogous the two cases otherwise may be, is that perhaps what the Church and the world may need right now from Pope Francis is simply less – less personality, that is, to make room for more policy.
6. Democrats muscle ahead with Biden’s health secretary pick, By Kevin Freking, Associated Press, March 11, 2021, 1:42 PM
The Senate voted on Thursday to advance President Joe Biden’s nominee for health secretary as Democrats muscled past Republican opposition using a new procedure put in place to avoid gridlock in the evenly divided Senate.
The Senate Finance Committee split along party lines, 14-14, earlier this month on the nomination of Xavier Becerra. While a tie vote in the past has often stalled a nomination, it proved to be more of a speed bump for Democrats than a stop sign under the Senate’s new rules.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., forced a vote to discharge Becerra’s nomination Thursday that succeeded 51-48. The vote clears the way for floor debate on confirming him to the position.
7. The child tax credit is a conservative dream fulfilled. Let’s help make it permanent, By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post, March 11, 2021, 5:08 PM, Opinion
For decades, empowerment and reform-oriented conservatives have argued that tax burdens should be shifted away from families with children. It was a central part of what claiming to be “pro-family” meant. During the George W. Bush administration, the child tax credit was doubled from $500 to $1,000 per child. The 2017 tax bill doubled the maximum benefit of the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child, and gave, on average, an additional $300 per child to families earning between $25,000 and $40,000 a year — thanks largely to the effort of Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).
Now the Biden stimulus bill has gone a large step further — creating a credit of $3,600 for children 5 and under, and a $3,000 credit for those aged 6 to 17. And because the credit would be refundable, it would even go to lower-income families who don’t pay taxes, in the form of a periodic payment from the government.
This measure should be supported on its merits. But it has accomplished something else that is profoundly hopeful. Rather than being lost in Twitter’s netherworld of inanity and insanity, Republicans are conducting a real-world policy debate.

The child credit in the stimulus package is just a temporary measure. Pro-family Republicans should work with Democrats to make it permanent.
8. Parliament votes to declare entire EU an LGBT ‘freedom zone’, By Associated Press, March 11, 2021
The European Parliament has overwhelming adopted a resolution declaring the entire 27-member European Union a “freedom zone” for LGBT people, an effort to push back on rising homophobia in Poland and elsewhere.
The parliament announced Thursday that there were 492 ballots in favor of the resolution and 141 against in a vote that came after a debate in a session of parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.
The resolution came largely in reaction to developments over the past two years in Poland, where many local communities have adopted largely symbolic resolutions declaring themselves free of what conservative authorities have been calling “LGBT ideology.”
9. Poll shows Americans want politicians to use faith when making decisions, By John Lavenburg, Crux, March 11, 2021
The majority of people across the country, especially Catholics, prefer that President Joe Biden and other politicians use their faith to make decisions, a new study from the St. Leo’s University Polling Institute shows.
Specifically, the study found that 67.4 percent of Catholic respondents want Biden to use his faith to make decisions.
Marc Pugliese, an associate professor of religion and theology at St. Leo’s, noted Biden’s support for legalized abortion has brought into question whether his decisions are guided by his personal convictions, or, if they’re politically motivated.
10. UK judge lifts restraining order on arrested Vatican businessman, By The Pillar, March 11, 2021
Lawyers acting for Gianluigi Torzi announced Thursday that a UK judge has removed a restraint order placed against him on behalf of the Vatican. The Italian businessman was arrested in Vatican City last year as part of an ongoing investigation into the London property deal and the finances of the Secretariat of State.
The restraint order was placed against Torzi by the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales at the request of Vatican City authorities. While the details of the order have not been released, such orders are typically imposed at the beginning of criminal investigations and can limit a suspect’s access to assets and bank accounts, if prosecutors believe that assets may be moved ahead of a later judgment.
“His Honour Judge Baumgartner – sitting at Southwark Crown Court, has ruled that a Restraint Order obtained by the DPP on behalf of the Vatican City State against Gian Luigi Torzi be discharged and awarded him costs,” said a statement from Torzi’s law firm, Janes Solicitors.
An injunction prevents the details of the judgment from being released, but the court could permit the transcript of the case and full decision to be published after hearing arguments from both parties, Torzi’s attorneys said.
Torzi was arrested in June 2020 in Vatican City, on charges of extortion, embezzlement, aggravated fraud, and money laundering over his role in the London property deal, which saw the Secretariat of State acquire the building at 60 Sloane Avenue for a reported 200 million; it also took on a 150 million euro mortgage on the building.
11. Bishops commend Biden for protecting Venezuelans from deportation, By Catholic News Agency, March 11, 2021, 10:20 AM
The U.S. bishops’ conference praised the Biden administration on Thursday for granting special immigration status for Venezuelans to remain and work in the United States.
The Biden administration announced on Monday that it would be designating Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for the next 18 months. Citizens of countries granted TPS are permitted to work and live in the United States and are shielded from deportation, due to conditions in their home country that would endanger them upon their return.
“We commend this just and humane decision by the Administration, which will provide much needed relief to those Venezuelans already present in the United States,” said a statement released on Thursday by Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary bishop of Washington and Bishop David Malloy of Rockford.
12. How a new executive order would promote gender ideology and silence free speech at schools, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, March 11, 2021, 11:30 AM
A new executive order could promote gender ideology in public and some private schools while affecting both the privacy of women and the intellectual freedom of children.
President Biden on Monday issued an order reinterpreting federal civil rights law to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. The order instructs Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to begin reviewing actions taken by the Trump administration, the first step toward reversing those actions.
The order states the Biden administration’s policy, that “all students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex…including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” This policy, the order said, applies to schools receiving federal aid.
This language about fighting “discrimination” against one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, said Mary Rice Hasson, the Kate O’Beirne Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), is not about preventing “bullying,” but is rather a promotion of gender ideology.
“This sets the stage for massive indoctrination of America’s children in a worldview –gender ideology—that is fundamentally at odds with Christian beliefs,” she said.
“This administration intends to use the force of law to transform every public school (and private schools that receive federal funds) across the country into a venue to promote LGBTQ identities and behaviors, regardless of what parents and local school boards want,” she added.
13. ACLU gets $15 million LGBT grant from billionaire foe of Christian morals and religious freedom, By Catholic News Agency, March 11, 2021, 8:31 PM
The American Civil Liberties Union has received a major donation from a billionaire heir whose LGBT activism includes both funding for efforts to limit religious freedom and funding for Christian groups – including Catholic dissenters – that want to change their churches’ teachings on marriage and sexual morality.
The donation of $15 million from Jon L. Stryker and Slobodan Randjelovic, his same-sex spouse, is the largest LGBT-focused grant in ACLU history. The organization will rename its LGBTQ & HIV Project for the two men, the ACLU announced March 4.
Stryker is an heir to the Stryker Corporation medical devices manufacturer. Forbes magazine has estimated his net worth of $4.4 billion. Before the latest grant to the ACLU, he reportedly has given $585 million to causes ranging from great apes conservation to LGBT advocacy, often through his philanthropic organization the Arcus Foundation.
This giving includes millions of dollars in grants specifically earmarked to promote limits on religious freedom. In 2016, for instance, Stryker’s Arcus Foundation gave the ACLU a $150,000 grant to implement “a national coordinated media and public-education campaign to beat back religious exemptions at federal and state levels,” the foundation website said. 
Stryker’s giving to religious groups also backs groups which undermine Christian sexual morals. Arcus grants have gone to Catholics for Choice, which rejects Catholic teaching on abortion, and the Equally Blessed Coalition of groups like Dignity USA, Call to Action and New Ways Ministry, which engage in LGBT advocacy and reject Catholic teaching on sexual morality and the sacraments. Some of the groups back ordination of women and think same-sex unions should be recognized as sacramental.

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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