TCA Podcast – “Conversations with Consequences”

Episode 46 –  Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review on the fate of foster care!

Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor-at-Large of the National Review, joins the Catholic Association’s Dr. Grazie Christie and Andrea Picciotti-Bayer in a new episode of Conversations with Consequences.

Foster care advocate and adoptive mother of 4 children Kelly Rosati also joins in this special edition on foster care within the United States. We look at the Christian ethos of adoption, the role the opioid crisis is having on the system, and we discuss the fate of faith-based adoption agencies with many having to shutter their doors–this–and much more!

1. Marriage Is Becoming More Like a Luxury Good in U.S.: Affluent Americans still say ‘I do.’ More in the middle class, amid financial insecurity, are forsaking the institution and its benefits.

By Janet Adamy and Paul Overberg, The Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2020, Pg. A1

Middle-class Americans are forsaking marriage amid financial insecurity, effectively making the institution more of a luxury good enjoyed by prosperous Americans.

The middle three-fifths of U.S. earners have experienced the sharpest declines in marriage rates over the past four decades compared with people at the bottom of the income ladder and those at the top, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of census data from 1980 to 2018, the most recent available. These households earned from $25,000 to $125,000 in 2018.

2. Coronavirus aside, sooner or later the Vatican’s epic HR flip-flop will be noticed.

By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, March 8, 2020

Though it’s impolitic to say so out loud, probably no institutions on earth are benefitting more from the coronavirus panic right now than manufacturers and retailers of hand sanitizers, medical masks, facial tissues, and so on. Costco just reported a 3 percent sales spike in February alone due to off-the-chart demand for such products.

A close second in terms of a coronavirus bump, however, might well be the Vatican.

Perhaps even more telling, the Vatican just committed one of the most flabbergasting PR gaffes in recent memory – which, by the way, is saying a fair bit – yet due to the coronoavirus, so far it’s been virtually ignored.

Here’s what happened.

In its Friday daily news bulletin, the Vatican hailed the creation of a new “General Directorate for Personnel” within the general affairs section of the Secretariat of State, responsible for internal ecclesiastical governance, describing the new office as “a step of great importance in the path of reform initiated by Pope Francis.”

Yet the very next day – 25 and a half hours later, to be precise – the Vatican announced in a separate statement that, whoops, there actually is no new directorate after all.

“To be precise, at the actual state of things it’s a proposal advanced to the Holy Father by Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the Council for the Economy, and Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, President of the Council of Cardinals, to institute such a structure,” the statement said.

“The Holy Father will study the proposal, and, if he thinks it’s opportune, at the right time he’ll institute the structure in the way he decides with a Motu Proprio,” it said.

Really, the Vatican could have saved itself the grief and just put out one consolidated statement as follows: “Right now we’re in disarray, rife with power struggles, and one of the things we’re fighting over is control of human resources.”

Because make no mistake, that’s precisely what the flip-flop on a “General Directorate for Personnel” reveals.

3. Chief Argentine prelate comes out swinging against abortion on UN women’s day.

By Inés San Martín, Crux, March 8, 2020

At a Mass celebrated Sunday at Argentina’s largest Marian shrine, a day recognized by the UN as dedicated to women, the head of the national bishops’ conference said that in a country with 4,500 illegal settlements, it’s necessary to “discern priorities” and that abortion cannot be one of them.

4. Pope limits public blessings to help against virus spread.

By Colleen Barry, Associated Press, March 7, 2020, 11:41 AM

Pope Francis is further limiting his public appearances to prevent crowds from gathering as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus, which by Saturday had reached the tiny Mediterranean island nation of Malta.

5. New president of German bishops says he is following the ‘big footsteps’ of Cardinal Marx.

By Catholic News Agency, March 7, 2020, 6:00 AM

The new president of the German bishops’ conference has emphasized his support for the ongoing synodal process of German bishops and laity, and for a paper supporting intercommunion with Lutherans.

Speaking at the closing of the plenary assembly of the German bishops in Mainz on Thursday, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg also affirmed he is following in “the big footsteps” of Cardinal Reinhard Marx in continuing along the “synodal path” currently underway in Germany.

6. Pope Francis announces a 2022 synod on synodality.

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, March 7, 2020, 5:00 AM

The next ordinary Synod of Bishops will be a synod on synodality, the Vatican announced March 7.

In October 2022, bishops from around the world will meet in Rome to discuss the theme: “For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.”

7. Vatican halts Mexico abuse prevention mission, cites virus.

By Maria Verza, Nicole Winfield and Christopher Sherman, Associated Press, March 6, 2020, 1:43 PM

Mexico’s bishops said Friday the Vatican had suspended a clerical sex abuse fact-finding and assistance mission to Mexico due to the spreading coronavirus in Italy and now the Vatican.

The Mexican Episcopal Conference said in a statement the Holy See had suspended all foreign activities after registering its first positive test Thursday.

8. Nun, hospital employee charged with conversion in India.

By Catholic News Service, March 6, 2020

Police have arrested an employee of a Catholic hospital and slapped conversion charges on him and a Catholic nun for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of Hindus in southern India’s Karnataka state. reported the charges came after Hindu activists barged into Sanjo Hospital in Mandya district and beat up its public relations officer, Solomon George, said Father Josekutty Kalayil, who is helping the hospital deal with the case.

George and Sister Nirmal Jose, hospital administer, were accused of denigrating Hindu gods and attempting to convert Hindus, Kalayil told March 4

Kalayil told the case started with an elderly man being admitted to the hospital with a complaint of high blood pressure March 1. The next day, he sought to leave the hospital against medical advice.

“He saw a Bible in his room and asked about it when George visited him as part of routine work. George explained about the Bible and said he could read it if interested, and left the room,” the priest explained.

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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