TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 212 – Mother’s Day: Miracle of Baby Mary Elizabeth & Mary Pat Jahner’s Maternity Home! A special Mother’s Day show featuring Jenna Bauer sharing an amazing story of a mother’s love–with the tremendous survival of her daughter Mary Elizabeth–born with several heart defects–the parents of 7 took their worries to the foot of the cross only to be showered with Divine Mercy. An amazing maternity home is thriving in a tiny North Dakota town that has a particular charism for adoption–we talk with Mary Pat Jahner all about the St. Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity HomeFather Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily ahead of this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Pope joins Meloni in urging Italians to have more kids, not pets, By Nicole Winfield and Paolo Santalucia, Associated Press, May 12, 2023, 5:27 AM Pope Francis joined Italy’s conservative premier on Friday in encouraging Italians to have more children, denouncing the financial precariousness facing young couples and “selfish, egotistical” choices that have led to a record low birth rate that is threatening the country’s economic future. Francis urged concrete political action to invert the “demographic winter,” which in population terms resulted in the disappearance of a city the size of Bari last year. Blasting couples who have pets instead of children, Francis called for resources to be dedicated to helping couples grow their families, saying it was necessary to “plant the future” with hope. “Let us not resign ourselves to sterile dullness and pessimism,” Francis told an annual gathering of pro-family organizations. “Let us not believe that history is already marked, that nothing can be done to reverse the trend.” 2. Vatican seeks to assure Caritas that papal firings were necessary, not a criticism of work, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 12, 2023, 6:43 AM A top Vatican cardinal defended Pope Francis’ “drastic” leadership firings at the Holy See’s preeminent charity, saying Friday they were necessary for the wellbeing of staff at Caritas Internationalis and not a condemnation of its work. Cardinal Michael Czerny, whose development office is responsible for Caritas, sought to explain Francis’ extraordinary decision in November to fire the elected Caritas leadership, appoint a temporary administrator and overhaul the Caritas statutes. The move shocked Caritas, which is one of the most visible aid groups around the world, and was the latest display of Francis’ willingness to wield the absolute power of the papacy when he feels it’s necessary. 3. Wave of anti-transgender bills in Republican-led states divides US faith leaders, By David Crary, Associated Press, May 12, 2023, 8:10 AM As Republican-governed states across the nation advance myriad bills targeting transgender young people, America’s faith leaders are starkly divided in their assessment. Some view the legislation as reflecting God’s will; others voice outrage that Christianity is being invoked to justify laws they view as cruel and hateful. In one camp are many legislators who have cited their conservative religious beliefs while promoting these bills, as well as leaders of America’s two largest denominations — the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. U.S. Catholic bishops have rejected the concept of gender transition; they issued guidelines in March to stop Catholic hospitals from assisting in such transitions.  As for U.S. Catholics, there are diverse views among church personnel. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has told Catholic hospitals they must not perform “interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex.”  In March, several thousand Catholic nuns, representing orders across the U.S., signed a statement urging people to oppose anti-transgender legislation in their states. 4. Unpacking how history changed yesterday with recognition of Coptic martyrs, By John L. Allen Jr., Crux, May 12, 2023, Opinion For those with ears to hear, every so often it’s actually possible to detect the sound of history’s tectonic plates as they shift. Such was the case Thursday, with a remarkable gesture by Pope Francis of inscribing a group of Coptic Christian martyrs into the Roman Martyrology, Catholicism’s official compendium of saints. The move was not quite completely unprecedented, since, as Vatican News pointed out, the martyrology was updated in 2001 with certain Orthodox saints who date from the period after the historical separation between Eastern and Western Christianity. Still, this was the first time the martyrology was revised with the explicit approval of a non-Catholic cleric, in this case Coptic Pope Tawadros II – suggesting, in some sense, that non-Catholics can have a say in whom the Catholic Church chooses to venerate. It was also the first time the newly inscribed martyrs are contemporaries, as these 21 martyrs (20 Egyptian Copts and one Ghanian Christian) were beheaded by ISIS in 2015. The full implications of the act will become clear only with time. For now, four immediate observations suggest themselves. 1. It’s a rare case in which a papal act is likely to play well with both the Catholic left and right. 2. For a pope often accused of breaking with his immediate predecessors, this decision places Francis squarely in continuity with Pope John Paul II. 3. The decision may increase pressure on Francis to beatify and canonize his own new martyrs from the Middle East. 4. It also upends the saying, “Sometimes the only way around is through.” With regard to ecumenical progress, Francis seems to be suggesting that sometimes the best way through is around. 5. Pope could meet with Ukrainian president Zelenskyy on Saturday at Vatican, officials say, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 11, 2023, 2:57 PM Pope Francis could meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Vatican this weekend, a Vatican official said Thursday. Francis has repeatedly called for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine and expressed solidarity with the “martyred” Ukrainian people. Recently he revealed a secret peace “mission” was underway but provided no details. Word of the possible meeting Saturday in Rome followed news, confirmed last week by Berlin police, that Zelenskyy was expected in Germany starting Saturday evening. Italian media, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday that Zelenskyy might be in Rome earlier that day to meet with Premier Giorgia Meloni and the pope. 6. Vatican formally recognizes 21 Coptic Orthodox killed in Libya as martyrs, gives them feast day, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 11, 2023, 9:06 AM The Vatican is formally recognizing 21 Coptic Orthodox workers who were beheaded by Islamic militants in Libya as martyrs with their own feast day, in a significant new ecumenical gesture aimed at forging unity between Catholic and Orthodox churches. Pope Francis announced the inscription of the 21 workers, most of them Egyptians, in the Roman Martyrology, the compendium of saints celebrated liturgically in the Catholic Church, during an audience Thursday with the Coptic Orthodox pope. During the audience, Francis kissed relics of the 21 young men that Tawadros II offered him as a gift. 7. How much progress is the Vatican financial watchdog making?, By Ed. Condon, The Pillar, May 11, 2023, 2:33 PM The Vatican’s financial watchdog published its annual report May 10, touting increased international cooperation and the implementation of new regulatory laws issued by Pope Francis. The report, issued by the Financial Supervisory and Information Authority (ASIF), painted a broadly positive picture of its work to combat money laundering and financial crimes in the Vatican.  But given that ASIF’s two former leaders are currently on trial for financial crimes in Vatican City, how much progress has the watchdog really made? While opening with a standard acknowledgement of the global financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the risks posed by the war in Ukraine, ASIF president Carmello Barbagallo sounded a broadly bullish note introducing the 2022 report.  But an interesting omission from Barbagallo’s introduction, and from the report itself, is specific mention of internal financial corruption in the Vatican.  That omission is even more curious, given that the ASIF president specifically boasted of the “implementation of the recommendations received from Moneyval two years ago” and the “residual vulnerabilities found” by onsite inspection conducted by the Council of Europe’s financial watchdog. While the ASIF’s chief mission is usually framed as combating international money laundering and terrorist financing, Moneyval issued a broadly favorable verdict on that work in its own report in 2021.   That ASIF appears to be working well with its international counterparts is, for the agency’s credibility, good in itself. And if that work is proving practical, allowing the agency to track suspicious activity starting in the Vatican across borders, it will be taken as evidence that the watchdog is being proactive in its work, and not just shuffling paper from the IOR to the POJ’s office. But, longer term, the real test of ASIF’s effectiveness will be in the number of prosecutions and convictions which result from its work. In its last report on the Vatican’s financial health, Moneyval Moneyval highlighted the “under-resourcing on both prosecutorial and law enforcement sides, and insufficient specialization of financial investigators until comparatively recently.”

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.