TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 108 – Elizabeth Kirk On Beauty Of Adoption & Penn’s Newman Center Talks Outreach!

In the midst of cancel culture and a languishing lockdown, Dr. Grazie Christie discusses what issues young adults are facing with consecrated layman Patrick Travers and chaplain Fr. Remi Morales both serving at Penn’s Newman Center. Marking National Foster Care month, TCA colleague Leigh Snead also joins along with adoptive mother of 4 Elizabeth Kirk, professor at CUA’s Columbus School of Law, discussing the soft stigma surrounding adoption–and what we might expect from the Supreme Court next month regarding faith-based adoption. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily. Catch the show on EWTN radio at 7am ET and 5pm ET every Saturday!

1. St. Junipero Serra, Founding Father, The now-vilified friar offered a vision to overcome American acrimony, By James Matthew Wilson, The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2021, Pg. A13, Opinion

The San Gabriel, Calif., Fire Department and Archdiocese of Los Angeles recently confirmed what many had long suspected: The fire that almost destroyed Mission San Gabriel Arcángel last year was arson. John David Corey Jr. , 57, was charged with the crime last week and faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

Founded in 1771 by St. Junipero Serra, Mission San Gabriel is a historic icon and a living community of Catholic faithful.

This is what the arsonist attacked: a physical manifestation of a centuries-long tradition, a rare achievement in sacred architecture, a monument to California’s Hispanic history, a vital contemporary place of worship, and a powerful testimony to the unity of all human beings made possible in Christ. The hope of achieving that unity brought St. Junipero Serra to California more than two centuries ago.

But over the past decade Serra has been caught in the crossfire of the divisive iconoclasm overtaking American culture. At least seven statues of him have been smashed or defaced since 2016. With the exception of those caught on tape trespassing onto Mission San Rafael Arcángel—in which case San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone pressed charges—none have been prosecuted.

Vandals are seeking to destroy what Serra and his Franciscan brothers built to honor God and protect indigenous Americans. They have smashed what generations of Californians donated time and treasure to rebuild as a symbol of unity. Catholics, Protestants and others came together to cherish our flawed, magnificent history, the same way we cherish our flawed but beloved family connections.

Mr. Wilson is the Benedict XVI Institute’s poet-in-residence and director of the MFA in creative writing at the University of Saint Thomas, Houston.

2. Pope raises alarm about Italy’s precariously low birthrate, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 14, 2021, 5:23 AM

Pope Francis added his voice Friday to the chorus of alarm about Italy’s falling population, calling for government policies that provide the necessary financial stability to encourage young people to stay in Italy and have families.

Francis joined Premier Mario Draghi at a conference to draw attention to Italy’s precariously low birth rate, which Draghi warned was slowly making the country “cease to exist.”

With the spike in COVID-19-related deaths in 2020, the deficit between births and deaths last year hit 342,000 — the biggest gap since the 1918 Spanish Flu and the equivalent of having lost a city the size of Florence.

3. Despite success, charter schools face increasingly hostile political climate, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, May 14, 2021, Pg. A1

Charter schools have been praised as some of the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic, but don’t expect them to win any awards from Democratic governors or the Biden administration.

The publicly funded independent schools, which marked their 30th anniversary during National Charter Schools Week, face an increasingly hostile political climate as previously friendly Democrats line up with teachers’ unions calling for more accountability and less funding.

Ironically, the pivot on the left comes with charter schools enjoying an unprecedented surge in popularity over their ability to react nimbly and reopen safely during the pandemic, even without many of the must-haves demands by teachers’ unions.

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf announced in February an initiative to “fix our charter school law” by reworking the state funding formula, which would cut an estimated $229 million annually from charter programs while adding $1.8 billion to the school district budgets.

Other legislative battles are playing out in California, Colorado and Rhode Island in what Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, described as “a war on charter schooling” by Democrats in some areas.

Mr. Biden also has been critical of charters, calling during the campaign to ban federal funding for any charter schools, which are typically nonprofit, set up by for-profit corporations.

4. New Vermont law waives time limit for physical abuse suits, By Associated Press, May 14, 2021

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law a measure that lifts the statute of limitations in civil cases of childhood physical abuse.

Scott signed the bill on Wednesday.

The new law builds on legislation passed two years ago that ended the statute of limitations for civil cases of past childhood sexual abuse. The proposal was pushed by a group of people who say they suffered physical abuse while living at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, which closed in 1974.

5. Biden inauguration priest resigns California university post, By Associated Press, May 14, 2021

The Jesuit priest who presided over an inaugural Mass for President Joe Biden has resigned his position as president of Santa Clara University in Northern California, college officials said, after an investigation found he engaged in inappropriate, alcohol-fueled conversations with graduate students.

O’Brien has known the Bidens for about 15 years; they met when he was serving at Georgetown University, another Jesuit college.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, on Wednesday called for the Jesuits to broaden the investigation to other places O’Brien previously worked, including Georgetown University, to see if other students would come forward.

6. Texas lawmakers approve abortion ban as early as 6 weeks, By Jim Vertuno, Associated Press, May 13, 2021, 4:48 PM

Texas would ban abortions after as early as six weeks — before many women even know they are pregnant — and allow private citizens to enforce the rule through civil lawsuits against doctors and others under a measure given final approval by state lawmakers Thursday.

The Senate vote sends the bill to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is expected to sign it into law. That would bring Texas in line with about a dozen other GOP-led states that have passed so-called “heartbeat bills” that federal courts have mostly blocked. The Texas measure is also likely to draw a swift legal challenge from abortion rights groups.

7. Pope meets Argentine president months after abortion law, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, May 13, 2021

Pope Francis met Thursday with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, months after Argentina legalized abortion despite a personal appeal from the pontiff and opposition from the Catholic Church.

In a break with usual practice, the Vatican communique about Fernandez’s visit omitted any reference to issues discussed between the president and pope. The brief statement provided only a rundown of topics Fernandez discussed with the Vatican secretary of state and foreign minister: The pandemic, Argentina’s financial crisis and its fight against poverty.

8. Pelosi says she’s ‘pleased’ with Vatican letter to U.S. bishops on Communion, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, May 13, 2021, 4:00 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday said she was “pleased” with the Vatican’s recent letter to U.S. bishops on Communion for pro-abortion politicians.

Pelosi, who is Catholic, was asked by EWTN News Nightly correspondent Erik Rosales about the topic of Communion on Thursday.

“I think I can use my own judgment on that,” Pelosi said of receiving Holy Communion.

The Speaker has long supported legal abortion and has advocated for taxpayer-funded abortion by repealing the Hyde Amendment. She has also supported the Equality Act, legislation that the U.S. bishops’ conference (USCCB) has warned would “punish” religious groups opposed to the redefinition of marriage and transgender ideology

Pelosi added that she was “pleased with what the Vatican put out on that subject” of Communion for pro-abortion Catholic politicians, claiming that the Vatican’s statement “basically said ‘don’t be divisive on the subject’.”

9. ‘You don’t negotiate with evil’: Former ambassador hopes Vatican reconsiders deal with China, By Matt Hadro, Catholic News Agency, May 13, 2021, 3:00 PM

The former U.S. religious freedom ambassador hopes that a new report documenting abuses by the Chinese Communist Party will prompt the Vatican to rethink its agreement with China on the ordination of bishops.

“We really pressed the Vatican not to enter in to extending their agreement with the Chinese government on the appointment of bishops, and I hope they would look at this report and say ‘this is not a regime we should be negotiating with’,” Sam Brownback, who served as U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom from 2018 to 2021, told CNA on Wednesday.

Brownback spoke with CNA on the release of the U.S. State Department’s annual report on international religious freedom. The former religious freedom ambassador said he hoped the section on China’s persecution of religion would reach the attention of the Vatican.

“The moral authority of the Vatican is significant,” he added. “You don’t negotiate with evil. You kick it out.”

10. Senior Biden Administration Officials Participating in High-Level Vatican Conference on Friday, By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, May 13, 2021

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, President Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry, and the heads of the IMF, World Bank, and African Union will be taking part in a high-level Vatican conference on Friday on the theme “Dreaming of a Better Restart.”

Hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences, the one-day meeting, which includes the participation of finance ministers from the US, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Argentina, aims to build on recent inter-governmental efforts to combat inequality, climate change, and hunger following the COVID crisis.

The conference, which will take place online and in-person, takes its inspiration from Pope Francis’ 2020 social encyclical Fratelli Tutti. It will cover two main topics: “Financial and Tax Solidarity,” which will focus on a G20 debt restructuring program for the world’s poorest countries, and “Integral Ecological Sustainability,” which will examine climate change in the context of a “sustainable and fair” transformation of the energy and food system.

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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