TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 206 – Roma Downey Talks ‘On A Wing And A Prayer’ & Ashley McGuire On Dangers Of Identity Politics Released just in time for Easter, Roma Downey joins to discuss her new movie based on a miraculous true story starring Heather Graham and Dennis Quaid, coming to Amazon Prime on Good Friday. Ashley McGuire also shares her thoughts on recent research showing how dangerous social media is for young girls–and what role identity politics plays in anxiety and depression. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Palm Sunday. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pm on EWTN radio! 1. Vatican: Pope to leave hospital on Saturday, eats pizza, By Frances D’Emilio, Associated Press, March 31, 2023, 7:45 AM Pope Francis is expected to be discharged on Saturday from the Rome hospital where he is being treated for bronchitis as his recovery proceeds in a “normal” way, even had pizza for dinner and will be in St. Peter’s Square for Palm Sunday Mass, the Vatican said. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni gave the update in a written statement on Friday. In a subsequent statement, Bruni said that Francis was due to be in the square for the Mass, which marks the start of Holy Week and ushers in a series of solemn public ceremonies that culminate on Easter on April 9. Francis, 86, was hospitalized on Wednesday at Gemelli Polyclinic, where doctors said the pontiff was receiving antibiotics intravenously to treat his bronchitis. 2. The Embodiment of Truth, Why we can be grateful for the U.S. bishops’ new document on gender identity., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, March 31, 2023, Opinion By the end of March, at least 21 state legislatures across the United States were considering bills that would restrict medical interventions that aim to alter a young person’s biological sex.  It’s in this context that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a new document that cogently clarifies why it is categorically wrong for medical personnel to undertake hormonal and surgical procedures that purport to realign a person’s biological sex with an opposite “gender identity.” The bishops have taken special care to emphasize that the healing ministry of Christ demands that all human beings are to be cared for with dignity. And the fact that Catholic facilities treat more than one-in-seven patients in the U.S. alone demonstrates Catholic commitment to health care. The purpose of the U.S. bishops’ doctrinal note was carefully measured: to provide guidance to Catholic health-care providers about why their participation in these so-called “gender transition” procedures is morally impermissible. But as is always the case these days when someone dares to challenge transgender orthodoxy — which holds that human sexual identity is a purely subjective phenomenon that can be altered at will — the hostile response from transgender activists to the doctrinal note was notably less measured. In their statement, the U.S. bishops highlight a few salient facts about the reality of human existence that can’t be ignored or rejected, in the context of gender transitioning.  We can be grateful for their new document, and we should offer our prayers on their behalf, to strengthen them as they continue to provide this courageously faithful witness in the face of the torrent of invective that their fidelity inevitably provokes. Michael Warsaw is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, and the Publisher of the National Catholic Register. 3. Chinese Christians Detained in Thailand While Seeking U.N. Protection, Two U.S. citizens taken in alongside 63 church members, who say they faced years of government harassment in China, By Chun Han Wong, The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2023, 5:56 AM A self-exiled congregation of Chinese Christians seeking United Nations protection from religious persecution faces potential deportation from Thailand, where police have detained the group along with two Americans who were assisting them. Thai immigration police rounded up 63 members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church on Thursday, taking them from their hotel in the coastal city of Pattaya to a police immigration bureau facility, according to the church’s pastor and an American activist who has been supporting the congregation’s efforts to seek asylum. Police took the church members’ passports and held the congregation at the facility overnight, pending their appearance before an immigration court for overstaying their visas, according to the pastor, Pan Yongguang, who was among those detained. The court hearing could take place as early as Friday, though police have given conflicting information on when the proceedings may start, Mr. Pan said. The two Americans detained with them are Deana Brown, founder of a Texas-based nonprofit that helps people flee religious persecution, and Stacy Nichols, a traveling nurse who volunteers with Mrs. Brown’s group. 4. Will disowning ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ reopen a theological can of worms?, By John L. Allen Jr., The Wall Street Journal, March 31, 2023, Opinion Though it was, in a sense, 530 years in the making, required two separate departments of the Roman Curia to address, and came a full eight months after demands burst into full public view during a high-profile papal trip to the New World, Thursday’s repudiation of the “Doctrine of Discovery” by the Vatican may turn out to have been the easy part. To be clear, what the Vatican formally disowned yesterday is a legal and political concept, not a theological tenet. “The legal concept of ‘discovery’ was debated by colonial powers from the sixteenth century onward and found particular expression in the nineteenth century jurisprudence of courts in several countries, according to which the discovery of lands by settlers granted an exclusive right to extinguish, either by purchase or conquest, the title to or possession of those lands by indigenous peoples,” Thursday’s statement said.  Yet no matter how hard the Vatican may try, it seems unlikely that the theological underpinnings of what came to be known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” can be avoided indefinitely. Indeed, the issuance of Thursday’s statement seems likely to embolden forces seeking a theological reevaluation too. Philip P. Arnold, a professor of religious studies at Syracuse University and the director of an Iroquois cultural center, told the New York Times that yesterday’s repudiation was only a “first step.” The Vatican needs to address the “worldview” underlying the Doctrine of Discovery, Arnold said, including the idea that Christianity is superior to other religions. And therein lies the rub. When Pope Alexander VI granted King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I sovereignty over a broad swath of the “New World” in Inter Caetera, he may well have been issuing a political decree that was not, in itself, de fide. Yet there’s no denying that the underlying justification was theological, rooted in the inherently missionary nature of Christianity.  One of thorniest doctrinal dilemmas unleashed by the Second Vatican Council, though never resolved by it, was how to reconcile two core teachings: First, the missionary nature of the church, expressed in the final command of Christ on earth to “make disciples of all nations”; and second, the idea that non-Christian religions nevertheless contain “seeds of the word” and “often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men.” The practical question which presents itself, in light of that tension, is whether the Catholic Church should still be trying to convert followers of other religions or not.  It’s possible — indeed, it seems, likely — that as reaction to Thursday’s joint statement continues to unfold, activists and thinkers inside and outside the church may press to reopen the theological issues they see as underlying the “Doctrine of Discovery.” If so, Vatican officials may end up feeling as if, in the effort to cure one headache, they’ve inadvertently created many more. 5. Kansas moves to help survivors pursue child sex abuse claims, By John Hanna, Associated Press, March 30, 2023, 6:18 PM Abuse survivors and advocates who’ve pushed for legislation making it easier in Kansas to prosecute abusers and file lawsuits decades later have achieved a breakthrough in the Legislature, where the proposal is advancing quickly. The bill would remove limits on how long prosecutors have to file charges against suspects for any of a dozen violent sexual offenses against children, including indecent liberties, aggravated human trafficking and internet trading in child pornography. It also would give abuse survivors more time to file lawsuits seeking monetary damages.  Eighteen states have eliminated their statute of limitations for child sex crimes, according to Child USA, a Philadelphia think tank that focuses on laws dealing with child abuse. The group says 15 states have no statute of limitations for filing at least some abuse-related lawsuits.  But the Kansas Catholic Conference said in a statement that the bill appears to give survivors “more tools in seeking justice.” “There is no time limitation on when the Catholic Church will offer services and support to clergy abuse victims,” the statement said. 6. Maryland voters to decide abortion constitutional amendment, By Brian Witte, Associated Press, March 30, 2023 Maryland voters will decide next year whether to enshrine the right to abortion in the Maryland Constitution, after the House of Delegates voted Thursday to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot. The House voted 98-38 for a bill that already has cleared the state Senate by the three-fifths margin needed to bring the question before voters in 2024. A simple majority would be needed by voters to approve it. 7. U.S. and Canadian bishops join Vatican’s condemnation of colonialist ‘doctrine of discovery’, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, March 30, 2023, 2:00 PM The U.S. and Canadian bishops released statements Thursday praising the Vatican’s repudiation of the “doctrine of discovery,” which has been used in the past to justify European colonialism in the Americas and throughout the world. The doctrine of discovery is a philosophical, political, and legal theory that posits that European colonizers have the right to expropriate indigenous lands and property. The theory has been said to have its origin in certain 15th-century papal bulls including Dum Diversas, Romanus Pontifex, and Inter Caetera, and has been invoked by many, including the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1823 case Johnson v. McIntosh. 8. Vatican’s liturgy czar rejects German Church’s plans for laity to preach homilies, conduct baptisms, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, March 30, 2023, 1:30 PM The Vatican’s liturgy czar has intervened against the implementation of resolutions of the German Synodal Way that demand laypeople should be able to regularly baptize and preach the homily at Mass in churches across Germany.  In a letter to the German Bishops’ Conference president dated March 29, Cardinal Arthur Roche said neither was possible — despite at least one German diocese already announcing both practices. The written intervention by the Vatican’s prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments was addressed to Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg, reported CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner, which has obtained a copy of the document.  Apart from covering the question of homilies and baptisms by laypeople, the seven-page letter also reminded the German bishops that liturgical translations must be confirmed and approved by the Vatican. 9. Cardinal O’Malley ‘surprised, disappointed’ by abuse expert’s criticism of Vatican commission, By Hannah Brockhaus, Catholic News Agency, March 30, 2023, 7:30 AM Cardinal Sean O’Malley said Thursday he strongly disagrees with a critique of the Vatican’s safeguarding commission by abuse expert and recently resigned member Father Hans Zollner. In a new statement March 30, O’Malley, who heads the commission, said: “I am surprised, disappointed, and strongly disagree with [Zollner’s] publicly-issued assertions challenging the commission’s effectiveness.” The 56-year-old Zollner, a founding member of the Vatican’s Commission for the Protection of Minors, said in a statement March 29 that “structural and practical issues” within the commission had led him “to disassociate” from it. A statement from commission president O’Malley issued a few hours earlier had characterized the Jesuit priest’s departure as an effort to reduce his already significant administrative responsibilities, including “his recent appointment as consultant for safeguarding to the Diocese of Rome.”

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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