TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 233 – Dr. Ray’s Prescription for Happy and Healthy Marriages! The doctors are in! Dr. Grazie Christie chats with Dr. Ray Guarendi about simple steps spouses can take to make their marriage happy and stronger. Not only does his recent book help struggling marriages heal, but it also offers words of wisdom for couples who already have a solid foundation build and grow even deeper. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1.  Consumers Are Less Interested in Brands Taking Stances on Sociopolitical Issues, Survey Finds, People expect companies to take action on pay equity, healthcare and climate change, according to an annual Gallup survey on business in society, but have decreased interest in sociopolitical stands, By Patrick Coffee, The Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2023, 6:00 AM Consumers’ desire for companies to weigh in on current events and sociopolitical topics has fallen as brands such as Bud Light increasingly find themselves caught in the culture war crossfire, according to new research conducted by Gallup and Bentley University. Forty-one percent of Americans say businesses in general should take stances on current events, down from 48% last year, with declines found across age and ethnic groups, according to the survey.  Religion, abortion, political candidates and international conflict were particularly verboten, on the other hand, with fewer than 30% saying brands should address these topics. 2. Vatican defends wartime Pope Pius XII as conference honors Israeli victims of Hamas incursion, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 9, 2023, 2:08 PM The Vatican secretary of state on Monday strongly defended World War II-era Pope Pius XII as a friend of the Jews as he opened an historic conference on newly opened archives that featured even Holy See historians acknowledging that anti-Jewish prejudice informed Pius’ silence in the face of the Holocaust. Cardinal Pietro Parolin’s defensive remarks were delivered before the conference observed a minute of silence to honor victims of the Hamas incursion in Israel. Standing alongside the chief rabbi of Rome, Parolin expressed solidarity with the Israeli victims and “to those who are missing and kidnapped and now in grave danger.” He said the Vatican was following the war with grave concern, and noted that many Palestinians in Gaza were also losing their lives. 3. Okla. board moves forward with nation’s first religious charter school, The board signed off on a contract with St. Isidore of Seville, a proposed virtual Catholic charter school, By Moriah Balingit, The Washington Post, October 9, 2023, 9:20 PM A state board in Oklahoma on Monday approved a contract with St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School, bringing the institution one step closer to becoming the first publicly-funded religious charter school in the nation. The Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 for the contract, despite opposition from the state’s attorney general and a lawsuit that seeks to stop the school from opening. The school is set to open in the fall of 2024. If it happens, it would represent a new model in education: a tuition-free school with a religious curriculum that is funded largely with taxpayer dollars. 4. As Pope appeals for peace, Israel warns Vatican against false ‘parallelisms’, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, October 9, 2023 A massive and deadly surprise offensive from Hamas in recent days has prompted Israel to declare war, drawing appeals from Pope Francis and church leaders in the Holy Land for calm, and for international intervention to prevent further bloodshed. At the same time, Israel’s embassy to the Holy See has warned the Vatican to avoid what it described as “linguistic ambiguities” and “parallelisms” that would equate the aggressors in the conflict with its victims. Speaking to faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Oct. 8 Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis said, “I am following with apprehension and pain what is happening in Israel, where violence has exploded even more ferociously, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries.” “I express my closeness to the families of the victims. I pray for them and for all those who are experiencing hours of terror and of anguish,” he said. He begged both sides to “please stop the attacks and weapons and understand that terrorism and war do not lead to any solution, but only to the death and suffering of many innocent people.”  “The response of Israel cannot be described as anything other than the right of legitimate self-defense,” the statement said. “To suggest parallelisms where they don’t exist isn’t diplomatic pragmatism, it’s just wrong.” 5. German Christian home-schooling family reportedly given stay of deportation, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, October 9, 2023, 11:45 AM A family of German Christians who has lived in the United States for years in order to continue home-schooling their children has received a stay of deportation for one year after fears that they would be forced to leave the country, a U.S. senator says. CNA reported last month that the Romeike family was facing potential deportation by the Biden administration after having spent over a decade in the United States. Parents Uwe and Hannelore had brought their children to Tennessee after fleeing Germany in 2009 due to that country’s effectively outlawing home schooling for nearly every family living there. A group of U.S. representatives had urged the Department of Justice last week to refrain from deporting the family. A U.S. senator, meanwhile, released a statement saying they received a stay of deportation by immigration officials this month.  Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn said in a post on her Senate website on Friday that her office had “received news that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)” was “‘approving a Stay of Removal for one year’ for the Romeike family.” 6. Belgian bishop: ‘Euthanasia is not necessarily an evil as such’, By Jonah McKeown, Catholic News Agency, October 9, 2023, 8:53 AM Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp, Belgium, appeared to reject the Catholic Church’s teaching on euthanasia in a recent interview, saying he does not believe the practice, in contrast to the Church’s teaching, to be “evil as such.” In a Sept. 28 interview given to the Belgian newspaper La Libre, Bonny said the Church’s teaching that euthanasia is an intrinsic evil is “too simple an answer that leaves no room for discernment.” “Philosophy has taught me to never be satisfied with generic black-and-white answers. All questions deserve answers adapted to a situation: a moral judgment must always be pronounced according to the concrete situation, the culture, the circumstances, the context,” Bonny is quoted as saying.  Bonny continued by saying: “We must learn to better define concepts and better distinguish situations.” 7. US Bishops Call for Prayers for Peace in Holy Land Amid Escalating WarThe international justice committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for peace after incursion by Hamas into Israel resulted in war declared by Israel., By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, October 9, 2023 The international justice committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is calling for peace in the embattled Holy Land after incursion by Hamas into Israel resulted in war declared by Israel. In a statement on Sunday, Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee on International Justice and Peace, lamented the “mounting casualties and hostilities unfolding on all sides,” as well as the “increased threats to the status quo of the holy places among Jews, Muslims, and Christians.” “I join with Pope Francis in his call for peace and his condemnation of this widespread outbreak of violence,” Bishop Malloy said. 8. The Champion of Marian shrines, By Pillar, October 9, 2023, 4:26 PM Apparitions of the Virgin Mary have inspired saints and marked places of special devotion and pilgrimage for centuries.  Shrines at Lourdes, Fatima, Częstochowa, and Tepayac are spiritual centers of Catholic life and faith, not just for their own countries, but worldwide. Other places of purported but disputed Marian appearances, like Međugorje, have become points of controversy as well as prayer.  American Catholics, too, are always on the lookout for Our Lady, should she happen to appear in an office building windowa tree, or a pizza pan But there is only one Church-approved apparition of the Virgin Mary in the United States, and it happened on October 9, more than 160 years ago. This year, 2024, is the first time that the apparition of Our Lady of Champion, Wisconsin, will be celebrated as a solemnity, marking an autumn day in 1859, when a young Belgian immigrant woman encountered a lady in a brilliant white dress as she walked in the woods. But who was that young woman, what did the lady in white tell her, and how did that meeting become a solemnity? The Pillar explains. 9. Pope Francis’s synod is radical – but not in the way his critics think, By E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post, October 8, 2023, 7:00 AM, Opinion The assembly that Pope Francis opened in Rome last week is radical, though not in the sense that his right-wing critics have in mind. Its purpose is downright revolutionary for our era: He’s trying to get the Catholic Church’s warring camps to listen to each other.  In the short term, the synod is unlikely to meet liberal hopes or justify conservative fears. But this will not reassure Francis’s critics, because his definition of the church’s central task differs from the prescriptions of his predecessors, Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II.  The pope’s approach to LGBTQ+ issues fits this model. “He’s made a critique of theology that isn’t sufficiently rooted in pastoral concerns,” said the Rev. David Hollenbach, a moral theologian at Georgetown University (where I teach), meaning thinking about how people are treated. As Francis wrote in his reply to the conservative cardinals, “we cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.” The synod will meet until the end of the month, and there will be another session next year. A lot could happen, or people might just keep talking. In his sermon opening the synod, Francis urged participants to be “open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit.” Given the stresses the pope is trying to ease, the Holy Spirit has a lot of work to do. 10. How the Extraordinary Became Normal in Catholicism, By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, October 7, 2023, Opinion The Francis era in Roman Catholicism is a good example of how the abnormal and even extraordinary can come to feel, with enough repetition, old hat and status quo. The wildness of the last decade is undeniable: the first papal resignation in centuries, the elevation of a new pope who began casting about for the means to alter Catholic teaching, the attempted rebellions by that pope’s own cardinals, the growing threats of schism from both the traditional and progressive wings of the church. For a long time there was grab-you-by-the-lapels urgency to writing about all this. Wherever the reader stood, Catholic or non-Catholic, it was important to convey the sheer drama enveloping the world’s largest religious institution. Yet as the latest act unfolds in Rome, with the gathering of bishops and laypeople called the Synod on Synodality, the feeling now is more one of repetition and familiarity. Once again, as he did with previous synods, Pope Francis has convened a discussion that is supposedly open-ended, dialogic, the Holy Spirit blowing where it wills — but in practice seems intended to provide cover for the pope himself, the only real decider, to bring the church more into alignment with the culture of the post-sexual-revolution West.  The intended balancing act is to frame liberalization as exceptional and case by case, so that the church’s progressives get the innovations that they want in practice while conservatives reassure themselves that the formal theory of the church is still intact. This is plainly a balancing act only for the short term rather than a vision for the long-term unity of the church. In Catholicism’s more liberal precincts, in Germany and elsewhere, it’s clear that case-by-case exceptions will be welcomed only as a means to further change on the entire array of contested points. On the conservative side nobody is actually fooled by what the Vatican is doing (or reassured by the sententious invocations of the Holy Spirit), and alienation will deepen the longer the papacy pursues its current strategy, with rupture remaining impossible only until it suddenly is not. But at 86, Francis isn’t likely to be pope for the long term, and it seems unlikely that he will break from his approach if he lives to this synod’s end in 2024. Rather the safe bet is a continuation of the drama that we’ve watched thus far, in which the gyre widens a bit more, a bit more — but the culmination, be it transformation or disaster, awaits his successor. 11. Judge’s order cancels event that would have blocked sole entrance to a Kansas abortion clinic, By Associated Press, October 7, 2023, 4:29 PM A demonstration planned by a Roman Catholic diocese in Kansas that would have blocked the only entrance to a Wichita abortion clinic on Saturday was canceled after a judge put a hold on the city permit that would have allowed it. Earlier this year, the Catholic Diocese of Wichita was granted a permit through the city’s Parks and Recreation and police departments to close the street in front of the Trust Women clinic, the Wichita Eagle reported. The diocese had planned to hold a “Mass for Life” demonstration Saturday morning that would have blocked the entrance to the clinic while leaving open the entrance to another clinic on the street that seeks to dissuade people from getting abortions. A judge on Friday granted a request for a temporary restraining order until the Wichita City Council holds a hearing to address objections to the street closure from the Trust Women clinic and another nearby business. The clinic is normally closed for business on Saturdays but sometimes opens for appointments on weekends, as well as works on administrative and cleaning tasks on Saturdays, the Eagle reported. 12. ‘Queens of a Fallen World’ Review: St. Augustine‘s Women, Four of the most important influences on one of the shapers of early Christianity—and Western culture—were female., By Bronwen McShea, The Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2023, 11:20 AM, Opinion In the year 391, a brilliant 36-year-old professor who was on track to become a senator of the Roman Empire was instead ordained a Catholic priest in a provincial city. Four years later, he was a bishop, even though he had been a believing and baptized Christian for less than a decade.  He then recorded his confusion and pain over these matters in one of the world’s earliest autobiographies, explaining how crucial women had been in his path to God. In his writings he would furthermore consider the views and experiences of women—treating them more as men’s equals than was remotely conventional then—in ways that would indelibly mark Christian civilization. This is Saint Augustine of Hippo as historian Kate Cooper portrays him in her highly readable, well-researched and imaginative book, “Queens of a Fallen World: The Lost Women of Augustine’s Confessions.” An expert on Christian women and social and cultural developments in late antiquity, Ms. Cooper manages to offer fresh takes on one of the most analyzed thinkers of all time. Putting his writings into conversation with numerous contemporary sources, she spotlights—as much on their own terms as possible—the four most important women in Augustine’s life. These were his mother, St. Monica, or “Monnica,” as Ms. Cooper unconventionally spells it; his long-term concubine, whom she calls “Una” where existing sources do not provide a name; his spurned adolescent fiancée, whom she names “Tacita”; and the Roman empress Justina, mother of Valentinian II.  To those of us who thought we knew Augustine well, “Queens of a Fallen World” opens new vistas on his world and legacy. Ms. Cooper shows how his life and thought were imprinted by women from diverse strata with whom he had real and complicated relationships. Her treatments of all figures in her book demonstrate sympathy and respect not only for their complex humanity and circumstances, but also for their religious beliefs and spiritual factors at work among them. With a graceful hand, Ms. Cooper illustrates how faith grounded her subjects’ experiences while calling them all toward something higher and more satisfying than the world around them could ever offer on its own. Ms. McShea teaches Church history for the Augustine Institute and is the author of “La Duchesse: The Life of Marie de Vignerot—Cardinal Richelieu’s Forgotten Heiress Who Shaped the Fate of France.” 13. Letters From The Synod – 2023: #3, Reports And Commentary, From Rome And Elsewhere, On The Synod On Synodality: “For A Synodal Church – Communion, Participation, Mission”, Edited by Xavier Rynne II, First Things, October 6, 2023, Opinion [Xavier Rynne II:] Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.,served as Archbishop of Philadelphia from 2011 until his retirement in 2020, having previously served as Archbishop of Denver from 1997 until 2011 and before that as Bishop of Rapid City (1988–1997). A veteran of several Synods, his distinguished service to the Church during his episcopates in South Dakota, Colorado, and Pennsylvania effectively combined dynamic orthodoxy, pastoral charity, and the empowerment of the entire Church for mission. Asked by LETTERS FROM THE SYNOD-2023 what he might say to those in Rome this month, Archbishop Chaput kindly provided these reflections on communion, participation, and mission. [Charles J. Chaput:] I’ve been asked to offer these thoughts as if I were addressing you in person. Having served as a Synod delegate three times previously, I respect the need for brevity. Simply put, as delegates you have the privilege and duty, in all of your Synod work, of fidelity; fidelity to Jesus Christ, to the Church, and to the Holy Father—in that order of priority. Fidelity to Jesus Christ implies obedience to his witness and Word. Fidelity to the Church implies heartfelt support for her teaching. Fidelity to the Holy Father implies speaking the truth in love to each other and to him (Eph. 4:11–16), in all of your synodal discussions. For the Christian, there can be no genuine love ungrounded in the truth of God’s Word as recorded in the New Testament and preserved by the Church through time.   We begin with the witness and Word that Jesus Christ has given us, and then move forward, being led by him in the context of his mission.  In the long run, accommodation has never worked for the Church. It did not work in Europe. It does not work in my country. It will not work in China. The Church is finally about conversion; patience and understanding in that work, yes, but not accommodation. And when we begin by walking with the world, we’re inevitably tempted to conform ourselves to it rather than work for its conversion. Jesus was crucified precisely because he did not conform or accommodate, but rather bore witness to his Father. We need to remember, urgently, that Jesus led us even as he accompanied us. When he accompanied the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he directed them to the Scriptures and the truth . . . and it was only then that they recognized him. What’s the lesson in this for a Synod on Synodality? The most difficult problems facing the Church today are not matters of ecclesial structure and process. They’re tied intimately to Psalm 8 and the question of who and what a human being really is. Do humans have a created nature? Are our bodies merely the disposable instruments of our appetites and will? A synodality that would ignore these issues, that might subordinate Christian faith to ambiguous social science and “paradigm shifts” that focus away from the Church’s redemptive, supernatural mission, cannot serve her needs or her Lord. At a minimum, synodality must never further divide her faithful at a time of internal confusion and grave external pressures. May God give you the wisdom and the courage to serve him faithfully in your work at the Synod.—2023-3__________________________________________________________ 14. French president wants right to abortion added to constitution, By Eduardo Berdejo, Catholic News Agency, October 6, 2023, 6:20 PM In his speech for the 65th anniversary of the French Constitution, President Emmanuel Macron called for abortion to be included “as soon as possible” in the country’s Magna Carta. In his words before the Constitutional Council, the French president on Wednesday ruled out the possibility of adopting a new constitution, as called for by several political groups, especially on the left, but said he is in favor of introducing some changes, such as abortion. France decriminalized abortion in 1975 and in 2022 the gestational stage was extended to 14 weeks of pregnancy. However, the president’s intention is for abortion to be protected by the Magna Carta, as expressed on March 8 during a speech for International Women’s Day. 15. Pope Francis Gives a ‘Yes and No’ Answer Regarding Blessings for Same-Sex Couples, This kind of ambiguity has been seen before, in the case of allowing divorced and remarried couples to receive Communion, By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, October 6, 2023, Opinion The big news — measured in newspaper headlines — of a very newsy Vatican week was that the Holy Father was in favor of blessings for same-sex couples. Indeed, that would be news, especially because in 2021 Pope Francis personally approved an official reply by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF, now “Dicastery” or DDF) that said such blessings were impossible. A “dubium,” or question, had been put to the CDF about blessing same-sex unions, and the reply was clear: “God does not and cannot bless sin: he blesses sinful man, so that he may recognize that he is part of his plan of love and allow himself to be changed by him.” The CDF reply — again, approved by the Holy Father and so carrying his authority — was detailed.  “Discerning” whether there are “forms of blessing” that could be offered to same-sex couples set off a global media storm to the effect that Pope Francis was open to blessing same-sex unions. Is he? Yes and no. And the ambiguity might be, from the Holy Father’s point of view, a feature and not a bug. It has been seen before. What Pope Francis wrote was not very different than what the CDF replied in 2021. If a same-sex couple asks for a blessing upon their illicit conjugal union, it cannot be granted — it would be blessing sin, as would also be the case with a heterosexual (unmarried) couple.  The world’s media reported the Holy Father allowing something he did not explicitly permit. That reflects the expectation that ambiguity and artifice will advance what appears to be a contrived blessing of a sexual union which is not a marriage. Will the synod of 2023 follow that line? Those who think so remember that the synods of 2014 and 2015 led to the ambiguity and artifice of Amoris Laetitia. 16. Trump, once ‘most pro-life president,’ riles antiabortion activists, By Jack Jenkins, Associated Press, October 6, 2023, 11:46 AM President Donald Trump, who has touted himself as the “most pro-life president ever” and whose Supreme Court appointments clinched the majority that would overturn Roe v. Wade, has pivoted away from more strident antiabortion rhetoric and railed against a six-week abortion ban, signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, as a “terrible thing and a terrible mistake.” Earlier this year, Trump blamed the “abortion issue” for the GOP’s lackluster results in the 2022 midterm elections. And during a Sept. 18 appearance on “Meet the Press,” he pledged to work with Democrats to pass national abortion legislation if elected. His stance is raising frustration among antiabortion activists and spurring his Republican primary opponents to try to peel away conservative religious voters from the former president.

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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