TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 266 – Harrison Butker’s Graduation Speech & Our Lady Of Charity, Pray For Cuba!
With millions discussing Harrison Butker’s powerful commencement speech for Benedictine College, TCA’s Ashley McGuire examines whether the Kansas City Chiefs kicker’s message demeans women or elevates their God-given role in society. She also shares her take on why it shouldn’t be controversial to say, “taking care of your children, family, and home matters more than what you do to earn a living.”
We are joined by William Christie who just returned from Cuba, where a priest’s silent protest was shut down this week in the communist country where people of faith are persecuted. Christie talks with us about the dire situation on the ground as well as the beautiful devotion to Our Lady of Charity that still flourishes despite religious oppression.
Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily as he makes his way along the Seton Route of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, telling us about the trinitarian dimension of the Holy Eucharist for Trinity Sunday. The historic pilgrimage will culminate this July in Indianapolis as thousands gather for the National Eucharistic Congress 2024 – the first of its kind in 83 years!
1. How Florida’s abortion law is affecting East Coast abortion clinics, Survey offers first-of-its-kind look at practical impact of Florida law that banned most abortions on May 1., By Caitlin Gilbert, Caroline Kitchener and Janice Kai Chen, The Washington Post, May 24, 2024, 7:50 AM
Clinics up the East Coast have seen a surge in patient traffic since a law banning most abortions in Florida went into effect on May 1 — but so far they have not experienced the collapse in care that many providers had feared before the new restrictions began in the country’s third most populous state, according to new data collected by a research team at Middlebury College.
Wait times for abortion appointments have increased at approximately 30 percent of clinics across North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., the areas closest to Florida where abortion remains legal after six weeks of pregnancy, according to the data, which is based on a survey of clinics before and after the law went into effect. North Carolina experienced the sharpest increases, with wait times rising in half of the state’s 16 clinics.
The average Florida resident now lives about 590 miles from the nearest clinic that offers abortions after six weeks and will need to wait nearly 14 days to end her pregnancy past that point — up from an average 20-mile drive and five-day wait before the ban, the data shows.
Many said fewer Florida women appeared to be leaving the state for abortion care than was widely expected — a finding they largely attributed to increasing availability of telemedicine and abortion pills, in addition to long driving distances that may leave some women feeling they have no choice but to carry their unwanted pregnancy. At least 8,000 women every month are now obtaining abortion pills through the mail in states with strict abortion bans or significant restrictions in place, according to a recent study by the Society of Family Planning.
2. Italian teenage computer wizard set to become the first saint of the Millennial generation, Pope Francis has paved the way for the canonization of the first saint of the millennial generation, attributing a second miracle to a 15-year-old Italian computer whiz who died of leukemia in 2006, By Associated Press, May 24, 2024, 10:49 AM
Pope Francis paved the way for the canonization of the first saint of the millennial generation on Thursday, attributing a second miracle to a 15-year-old Italian computer whiz who died of leukemia in 2006.
Carlo Acutis, born on May 3, 1991, in London and then moved with his Italian parents to Milan as a child, was the youngest contemporary person to be beatified by Francis in Assisi in 2020.
The approval of a second miracle for Acutis was notified by the Pontiff on Thursday during a meeting with the head of the Vatican’s saint-making department, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, a Vatican statement said.
Pope Francis announced he will convene a Consistory of Cardinals to deliberate the canonization of Acutis, as well as other three Blessed.
Touted as the “patron saint of the internet,” Acutis used his natural tech talent to create a website to catalog miracles and took care of websites for some local Catholic organizations.
3. Vatican reinstates Carmelite nun after bishop’s dismissal in Texas over affair with priest, By Daniel Payne, The Catholic News Agency, May 24, 2024
The Holy See has reinstated a Carmelite mother superior nearly a year after the bishop of Fort Worth, Texas, dismissed her after alleged inappropriate conduct with a priest. 
Bishop Michael Olson issued a decree on June 1, 2023, dismissing Reverend Mother Teresa Agnes Gerlach from religious life following a nearly six-week-long investigation into the affair. 
Gerlach had previously served as the prioress of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington. Olson said at the time of the dismissal that the investigation had found her “guilty of having violated the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue and her vow of chastity with a priest from outside the Diocese of Fort Worth.”

Though it reversed the decision dismissing Gerlach from her role at the monastery, the dicastery “upheld the decisions I made last year” regarding the larger investigation, Olson said on Wednesday. 
“All decisions were made for the good of Mother Teresa Agnes and the Arlington Carmel and its sisters,” Olson said on Wednesday, “in accordance with my obligation under canon law and the rule and constitutions of the Arlington Carmelites as the local bishop.”
4. Louisiana Legislature approves bill classifying abortion pills as controlled dangerous substances, By Sara Cline, Associated Press, May 23, 2024
Two abortion-inducing drugs could soon be reclassified as controlled and dangerous substances in Louisiana under a first-of-its-kind bill that received final legislative passage Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by the governor.
Supporters of the reclassification of mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly known as “abortion pills,” say it would protect expectant mothers from coerced abortions, though they cited only one example of that happening, in the state of Texas. Numerous doctors, meanwhile, have said it will make it harder for them to prescribe the medicines, which they also use for other important reproductive health care needs.
Passage of the bill comes as both abortion rights advocates and abortion opponents await a final decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on an effort to restrict access to mifepristone. The justices did not appear ready to limit access to the drug on the day they heard arguments.
5. Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom, Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, By Adam Beam, Associated Press, May 23, 2024, 9:46 PM
Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
California’s law is meant to give Arizonans an option to receive legal abortions from their doctor over the next several months. The move was a reaction to a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision to reinstate a law — first passed in 1864, but not enforced for decades — that bans nearly all abortions in Arizona, without exceptions for rape or incest.
The Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022 allowed states to set their own abortion laws. More than 20 states have since enforced abortion bans of varying degrees. In Arizona, it is still unclear exactly when — or if — the Civil War-era ban will be instituted. But the Democrats who control California’s Legislature didn’t want to take chances.
6. Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese will cut parishes as attendance falls and infrastructure ages, The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore will cut the number of parishes in the city and nearby suburbs by about two-thirds, By Associated Press, May 23, 2024, 2:40 PM
Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese, the nation’s oldest, will cut the number of parishes in the city and nearby suburbs by about two-thirds as part of a realignment plan responding to falling attendance and aging infrastructure.
Under the final plan released Wednesday, the number of parishes will drop from 61 to 23 with 30 worship and ministry sites.
Archbishop William E. Lori said feedback from four town hall meetings on a draft plan was crucial, The Baltimore Sun reported. The initial proposal shared with parishioners in April suggested reducing the number of parishes to 21 and the number of worship sites from 59 to 26, and parishioners’ arguments led to some changes.
7. Michigan attorney general releases third report on alleged diocesan abuse, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, May 23, 2024, 1:38 PM
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has released the third of seven reports on alleged sexual abuse in dioceses throughout the state. 
The report details “allegations of abuse that took place in the Diocese of Kalamazoo,” one of seven in the state of Michigan. Previous reports focused on the Dioceses of Gaylord and Marquette.
As with the prior reports, the Kalamazoo investigation details abuse allegations that stretch back decades. The review includes allegations of misconduct “by priests who are current or former clergy for the Diocese of Kalamazoo that occurred in the diocese from Jan. 1, 1950, to the present.”
8. The FACE Act Is a Fiasco, The FACE Act is fatally, irreparably flawed and ought to be repealed, as Republicans in Congress are trying to do., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, May 23, 2024, Opinion
Two years ago, when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland vowed that the Biden Justice Department would “use every tool at our disposal to protect reproductive freedom.”
As tools go, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act — better known as the FACE Act — is more in the vein of a bulldozer than a screwdriver. The Biden administration, outraged over the 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe, has been especially zealous in using it to ride roughshod over nonviolent pro-life activists.
The latest to suffer the wrath of what is, by far, the single most radical pro-abortion administration in U.S. history are participants in a pair of peaceful protests at abortion facilities in Washington, D.C., and Tennessee.
In the D.C. case, a group of pro-life activists were convicted last year of violating the FACE Act when they used chains, locks and their bodies to blockade the Washington Surgi-Clinic in 2020. During the incident, a nurse stumbled and sprained her ankle. The defendants were recently sentenced to federal prison terms ranging from 10 months to nearly five years.
The second group of now-convicted felons is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2. Their crime? Three years ago, they sang hymns and prayed in the hallways of an abortion facility outside Nashville. One of these prayerful singers, Paul Vaughn, was arrested at his house days later by the FBI in front of his wife and 11 children — as happened to Catholic sidewalk counselor Mark Houck in 2022.

The descriptors “weaponized” and “threat to democracy” are overused these days, but they aptly describe what a fiasco the FACE Act is. Its ideological underpinning is made obvious by the fact that its use waxes and wanes depending on which party is in power (the number of cases has tripled under Biden, compared to the Trump years, according to the DOJ). With rare exceptions over the past 30 years, it has been applied almost exclusively in cases against pro-life defendants, despite scores of violent pro-abortion attacks against Catholic churches and pro-life pregnancy centers under Biden’s watch. As the act’s critics rightly note, failure to enforce a law is itself unlawful.
In short, the FACE Act is fatally, irreparably flawed and ought to be repealed, as Republicans in Congress are trying to do. What’s more, it was never necessary in the first place. Abortion proponents will argue that it’s needed now more than ever, but why continue to grant the federal government such sweeping powers when abortion is no longer a federally protected constitutional “right”?
Those who threaten, assault, trespass and damage private property anywhere, including at abortion facilities, ought to be held accountable. But we don’t need the federal government and heavy-handed laws like the FACE Act to do that, subject to the whims and ideology of the current administration. In the spirit of Dobbs, these cases should be left to state and local governments to adjudicate.
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.
9. Pope Francis vs. Cardinal Hollerich, The Pope’s comments regarding women’s ordination in his interview with CBS put a damper on the movement to alter the Church’s teaching on the priesthood and diaconate., By National Catholic Register, May 24, 2024, Editorial
In his interview with 60 Minutes that aired this week on CBS, Pope Francis made one thing crystal clear: There is zero chance he will ever approve the ordination of women as priests or deacons.
This in turn makes something else equally evident: With respect to the needlessly contentious issue of ordaining women, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich — the relator general of the Church’s global Synod on Synodality — is substantially out of step with the Holy Father.
Asked by CBS interviewer Norah O’Donnell if a woman could ever become “a deacon and participate as a clergy member of the Church,” Francis tersely replied, “No.” Pressed further by O’Donnell, who noted that he had authorized continuing investigations of the possibility of female deacons even though he had earlier ruled out the possibility of female priests, the Pope explained, “If it is deacons in holy orders, no.”
You can’t get more straightforward than that.
Contrast this concise response with what Cardinal Hollerich had to say in an interview of his own, published only a few days before CBS aired its papal interview. Speaking with Jacqueline Straub, an employee of the online portal for the Church in Switzerland who describes herself as being “called to be a Roman Catholic priest,” the cardinal insisted the ban on ordaining women is “not an infallible doctrinal decision.”
Therefore, he told Straub, while women’s ordination is not likely to happen during the papacy of Pope Francis, given his stated opposition, it could happen further down the road. “It needs arguments and time,” he explained.
To refute Cardinal Hollerich’s specious comments, we need to understand why Francis was so blunt and unequivocal in his remarks to CBS. As the Holy Father has pointed out previously, the ordination of female priests was precluded by St. John Paul II in his definitive 1994 apostolic declaration Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
“I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful,” John Paul stated at the conclusion of that document.

The cardinal’s comments are standard talking points for high-level prelates whenever they seek to undermine settled Catholic doctrine and practices in pursuit of secularizing agendas, without seeming to be openly challenging what the Church teaches. And as such, they would be of relatively little significance had they been proffered by, say, an obscure European theologian participating in Germany’s heterodox Synodal Way.
But it’s an entirely different matter when these arguments emanate from the Synod on Synodality’s relator general, who has been assigned the lead role in its overall orientation.
Right from the outset of that synodal process, there have been widespread concerns that a shell game is underway in Rome, with progressives seeking to misuse it as an instrument to advance acceptance of dissenting agendas such as the ordination of women and the approval of homosexual acts.
In fact, proponents of women’s ordination wasted no time in accusing the Pope of having violated the principle of synodality by making his comments to CBS in advance of the synod’s final session in October. Such accusations provide further proof that so far as they are concerned, this process very specifically exists to push forward their controversial agendas.
At the synod’s first session last fall, delegates from outside of Europe — particularly those from Africa — pushed back powerfully against these agendas. This resistance seems certain to continue at this year’s session. But even if that results in a final outcome that doesn’t contradict existing Church doctrines and practices, as seems likely, discussion of these matters is guaranteed to continue afterward, courtesy of the 10 “working groups” that were set up in March to discuss women’s ordination and the other issues that have generated significant controversy during the synodal process. So no immediate end is in sight to the progressives’ push at the Vatican for the ordination of women priests and deacons.
But there is now one very welcome development: Courtesy of the CBS interview, they won’t be able to claim that Pope Francis supports them in any way on this issue.
10. Taiwan watches Vatican-China ties, says China violated deal on bishops, By Ben Blanchard, Reuters, May 21, 2024, 10:08 PM
Taiwan is paying close attention to interactions between the Vatican and China, the island’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday, adding that China had “repeatedly violated” a 2018 agreement on the appointment of bishops.
The Vatican, which only has formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, would like to establish a permanent office in China, its top diplomat, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said on Tuesday, in what would be a major upgrade of diplomatic relations.
The Vatican is one of only a dozen countries to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan and Taipei has watched nervously as Pope Francis seeks to improve ties with Beijing.
Responding to Parolin’s comments, Taiwan’s foreign ministry said it continued to promote co-operation with the Vatican and the Catholic Church in fields such as humanitarian assistance, and jointly defend the core values of religious freedom.
“We understand that the Holy See hopes to promote the freedom of belief and rights of Chinese Catholics, and has publicly expressed its desire to send representatives to China many times,” it said in a statement.
In the 100 years since the first Chinese synod was held in 1924, China has “clamped down on religious freedom”, the ministry added, and has “repeatedly violated” a 2018 agreement on appointing bishops.
11. Mother’s Day, Fruitful Femininity and Infertility, The day you and your husband say ‘I do’ you are a family. A complete family, By Leigh Snead, National Catholic Register, May 9, 2024, Opinion
I once read a (secular) infertility blog, and in the inaugural post the author made a thoughtless joke, something like “I just flew back from maternity leave, and boy are my arms tired.”
Well, virtual crickets swiftly followed by an angry mob of infertile women descending upon the comm box. It won’t come as a surprise that the blog in question did not live beyond the first few (apologetic) posts.
See, the mistake the author made was thinking that because she had, at one time, trouble getting pregnant, it didn’t matter that she had ultimately been successful in her efforts and given birth to two (TWO!) healthy babies. She still thought hers was the voice the infertile women searching the internet for comfort wanted to hear, insensitive jokes included. It. Was. Not.
I bring up this story now, as we approach Mother’s Day 2024, because when addressing infertility and childlessness, I never want to be guilty of committing a similar error in judgment.
My dear husband and I have been married for almost 26 years and I’ve never once been pregnant, and not for lack of trying. I’m assured in my “Infertile Woman” bona fides. However, my vocation to motherhood was in time realized through the adoptions of my four sons.
I know and recognize that for some, even parenthood through adoption is elusive. Others, for many good and valid reasons, do not feel called to adopt. I can and do remember the painful Mother’s Days before my sons’ arrivals, but now that I’m about to mark two decades as a mother myself, both the pain and memories have faded into pale scars.
A couple of years ago I became aware of a wonderful Catholic Infertility Ministry called Springs in the Desert. In the website’s own words, “Springs in the Desert is more than just a ministry, we are a place of respite, solidarity, and encouragement…” Oh, how I wish I’d had this resource years ago!
I recently had the great pleasure to be a guest on the Springs in the Desert podcast where Jillian Kubik and I talked about what fruitful femininity means, and what it can mean within the context of infertility. It’s hard to feel fruitful while experiencing infertility. Everywhere you look there seems to be a reminder that you somehow might be falling short of the very things your femininity was designed for, the things that we think define it, define us.
Living a Catholic life is a constant exercise in awareness of children and round pregnant bellies all around us. Mother’s Day aside, the entire month of May honors Mary, Mother of God. Mary is our mother, too, and we seek to emulate her in our lives as Catholic women. Natural creation is awake and alive with new life. Birds are building nests, bees buzz from flower to flower. Everything is green, blooming, fertile. And here you are.
While children are perhaps the most obvious fruits of marriage — if they’re anything like my boys, they’re hard to miss — their absence does not make a marriage any less fruitful in God’s eyes. For example, the witness you and your husband provide the world through your steadfast faith and abiding love of Christ and his Church while carrying the cross of infertility bears a cornucopia of spiritual fruits that can inspire the faithfulness of others feeling the weight of their own crosses.
The day you and your husband say “I do” you are a family. A complete family. Your family may grow with children, and what a blessing they are. But sometimes children do not come. The love you share within your marriage, the life you live together every day trying to help the other get to Heaven, and the gifts your family brings to the world through your friendship, prayers, and hospitality are such good and holy fruits. Offering up your own suffering to the prayers of those who still long for marriage can also serve to remind yourself of the great gift you have received in your loving husband and happy marriage.
This Mother’s Day, it’s okay to feel sad, to sit in your suffering. (And more practically speaking, maybe attend the Saturday Vigil Mass instead of Sunday morning, if your arms are feeling especially empty). But please do not despair. You are loved, and so worthy of the Father’s love. The fruits you bear you may never see, but he sees them, and they are abundant. I’ll be praying for you and your husband — your family — this Mother’s Day and every day.
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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