TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 255 – The Oscars, Popcorn With The Pope & Cabrini TCA heads to the movies ahead of the Oscars this weekend! With the long-awaited film Cabrini in theaters Friday, we talk with director Alejandro Monteverde about the life of this great saint who reminds us: ‘You can serve your weaknesses or you can serve your purpose.’ We also chat with film critic David Baird all about his book, Popcorn with the Pope, that fleshes out every movie on the 1995 Vatican film list–full of timeless classics that are ever so relevant today! Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for Laetare Sunday. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Ireland’s Constitution says a woman’s place is in the home. Voters are being asked to change that, By Michael Kealy and Jill Lawless, Associated Press, March 8, 2024, 8:03 AM According to Ireland’s Constitution, a woman’s place is in the home. Irish voters will decide Friday — International Women’s Day — whether to change the 87-year-old document to remove passages the government says are outdated and sexist. The twin referendums are on deleting a reference to women’s domestic duties and broadening the definition of the family. The first vote deals with a part of the constitution that pledges to protect the family as the primary unit of society. Voters are being asked to remove a reference to marriage as the basis “on which the family is founded” and replace it with a clause that says families can be founded “on marriage or on other durable relationships.” If passed, it will be the 39th amendment to Ireland’s Constitution. The second change — a proposed 40th amendment — would remove a reference to women’s role in the home as a key support to the state, and delete a statement that “mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labor to the neglect of their duties in the home.” It would add a clause saying the state will strive to support “the provision of care by members of a family to one another.” Ireland’s Constitution dates from 1937, when the country became a republic. Ireland has changed enormously since then, transforming from a conservative, overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country in which divorce and abortion were illegal, to an increasingly diverse and socially liberal society. The proportion of residents who are Catholic fell from 94.9% in 1961 to 69% in 2022, according to the Central Statistics Office. The social transformation has been reflected in a series of constitutional changes. Irish voters legalized divorce in a 1995 referendum, backed same-sex marriage in a 2015 vote and repealed a ban on abortions in 2018. 2. Pope meets with child protection board as events outside Vatican show abuse scandal isn’t going away, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, March 7, 2024, 12:25 PM Pope Francis sought to encourage his child protection board on Thursday to continue helping victims, as new developments outside the Vatican underscored that the Catholic Church’s clergy sex abuse scandal isn’t going away anytime soon. Francis met with his Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which is expected to soon release the first-ever audit of safeguarding procedures and policies church-wide. But as that report is being compiled, church officials in Switzerland reported a surge in victims coming forward since the September publication of a bombshell report that found over 1,000 cases of abuse since the mid-20th century in a country with a relatively small Catholic population.  Closer to home, a criminal court in Sicily handed down an important verdict this week against a priest whom the Vatican apparently exonerated on a technicality even after one of his victims wrote to Francis, begging for him to intervene. The case was being closely watched since Italy’s Catholic hierarchy has only recently and reluctantly begun confronting its legacy of abuse in a country where the issue is still somewhat taboo. 3. Florida public schools could make use of chaplains under bill going to DeSantis, By Brendan Farrington, Associated Press, March 7, 2024, 7:55 PM Florida school districts could opt to allow volunteer chaplains in schools under a bill the Legislature sent to Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis over the objections of opponents who argued that religion should be kept out of schools. Supporters argued the legislation will provide another resource for children and pointed to chaplains who serve in other government roles, such as police or military chaplains. The Legislature also hosts a chaplain of the day when it’s in session and there’s a non-denominational chapel in the state Capitol.  The only requirements of a chaplain participating in a school program would be a background check and having their name and religious affiliation listed on the school website. The chaplains would “provide support, services, and programs to students as assigned by the district school board,” the bill reads. Schools would have to publish online the names and religions of chaplains picked to participate in the program, and parents would have to give permission before children could meet with them. 4. Democrats walk out of Kentucky hearing on legislation dealing with support for nonviable pregnancies, By Bruce Schreiner, Associated Press, March 7, 2024, 5:09 PM Democratic lawmakers walked out of a Kentucky committee hearing Thursday when the GOP-led panel took up a bill to expand access to prebirth and newborn services for pregnant women carrying nonviable fetuses that are expected to die before or soon after birth, in a state that bans abortion in such cases. The three Democrats didn’t return to the committee room until after Republicans on the House Health Services Committee approved the bill dealing with perinatal palliative care.  Supporters of the bill said it would increase access to compassionate, comprehensive care and support services for families dealing with the devastation of a life-limiting diagnosis for their unborn child. When an infant is expected to live only a short time after birth, it gives parents precious moments to spend time with the child, said Addia Wuchner, executive director of Kentucky Right to Life. 5. Democrats’ State of the Union guests put reproductive rights in spotlight, A recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling that threw IVF treatments into limbo also expanded the fight over protecting reproductive care ahead of the 2024 election, By Maegan Vazquez, The Washington Post, March 7, 2024, 1:44 PM The first child born via in vitro fertilization. A doctor who came forward to say she provided an abortion to a 10-year-old girl who had been raped and denied care in Ohio. Two women who fled their home states seeking to terminate their pregnancies after learning that the fetuses they carried had fatal abnormalities. Democrats invited these women and several others to be guests at President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, showcasing the lives of Americans who have, often unwittingly, become entangled in the politics of reproductive-care restrictions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade almost two years ago. The party is putting access to reproductive care — an issue that has been largely successful for Democrats at the ballot box — front and center in an election year. And the appearances will come after a state court ruling that expanded the fight to protecting access to fertility treatments. 6. How We Think About Hell, Has the old idea, fire and brimstone through all eternity, gone out of business?, By Lance Morrow, The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2024, 12:10 PM, Opinion Pope Francis was asked earlier this year what he thinks about hell. “It’s difficult to imagine it,” he replied. “What I would say is not a dogma of faith, but my personal thought: I like to think hell is empty. I hope it is.” It was a pastoral pleasantry, kindly meant but theologically sloppy. It raised interesting questions: Has the traditional hell—fire and brimstone through all eternity—gone out of business, either because, as the pope hopes, there are no longer enough customers, or because hell has become an atavism: medieval, lurid, and not credible to the 21st-century mind? Is the eternal fire a metaphor? If so, what does it mean? Is hell a physical place or a state of mind? Is there such a thing as eternal life—and if God’s verdict goes against you, does that mean a life of everlasting torment? Is it possible to believe in hell if you don’t believe in God, or is hell the terrible solitude of living without God?  Hell expanded centuries ago from theology into literature. Great writers have had a crack at it. Dante set the standard. Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is magnificent, although, as Samuel Johnson remarked, “no one wished it longer.” Milton’s fallen Lucifer sounds unexpectedly modern when he cries, “Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell.” Is it the case that we make our own hell?  In our time, the sense of sin—sin being the reason hell is necessary—has been diminished by the notion that human behavior and even an individual’s fate are predetermined, written in the genes. This is Calvinism without Calvinism’s saving paradox—that you must act as if. But if a man’s behavior is out of his hands, he won’t be capable of sinning. Wouldn’t it be an injustice to sentence him to eternal damnation?  Plenty of people, of course, still believe in such a place—literally or metaphorically or in some vague, ingenious fusion of the two: an intuition that, despite its reductive crudity, harbors a basic truth about human nature and its sense of justice. Mr. Morrow is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of “The Noise of Typewriters: Remembering Journalism.” 7. Iowa House OKs bill to criminalize death of an “unborn person” despite IVF concerns, By Hannah Fingerhut, Associated Press, March 7, 2024, 4:59 PM Republicans in Iowa’s House of Representatives approved a bill Thursday that would criminalize the death of an “unborn person” — over Democrats’ concerns about how it might apply to in vitro fertilization, after an Alabama court found frozen embryos can be considered children. Iowa’s law currently outlines penalties for termination or serious injury to a “human pregnancy,” but the proposed bill would amend the language to pertain to “causing of death of, or serious injury to, an unborn person,” defined as “an individual organism … from fertilization to live birth.” It’s one of many bills being considered by state Legislatures around the country that would expand legal and constitutional protections for embryos and fetuses, a long-time goal of the anti-abortion movement. The bill still would need to pass the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds to become law.

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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