TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 76 – Senator Marsha Blackburn on Amy Coney Barrett & Sen. Roger Wicker on International Adoption!
On a new episode of Conversations with Consequences, Dr. Grazie Christie and TCA colleague Maureen Ferguson talk with Senator Marsha Blackburn of the Senate Judiciary Committee about President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, and what we might expect from the upcoming nomination hearings. We also speak with Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi about some alarming numbers when it comes to international adoption rates.
1. Budget Deficit Cut Before Pandemic, By Francis X. Rocca, The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2020, Pg. A8
The Holy See cut its budget deficit for 2019, reducing the financial pressures from previous investment losses, but the pandemic and its economic fallout pose new challenges for the headquarters of the Catholic Church.
The Holy See, in a summary statement on its finances published on Thursday, said its deficit last year was €11 million, equivalent to $12.9 million, on a budget with €318 million of expenses. The improved performance of financial investments helped reduce the shortfall from €75 million in 2018, a level that prompted Pope Francis last year to demand urgent corrective measures.
However, 2020 is set to be another financially challenging year for the Holy See, because of reduced income from tourism, donations and commercial real estate. One Vatican official familiar with the matter estimates the budget deficit in 2020 will be at least €40 million.
2. The ACLU used to defend religious freedom. Now, they target Catholic adoption agencies, The ACLU once fought for the rights of those who disagree. But now, they’re helping Philadelphia officials try to shut down Catholic Social Services, By Montse Alvarado, USA Today, October 2, 2020, 7:01 AM, Opinion
When protecting the freedom to worship, speak, and live out one’s faith, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has often found itself side by side with the American Civil Liberties Union. During my tenure at Becket we defended, for example, Abdul Muhammad’s right to exercise his faith in prison. But in recent history, we often seem to end up on opposite sides of the courtroom.  
The ACLU built its reputation on championing the rights of those who disagree.

The ACLU ought to take its own advice to heart.  
The morning after the election this November, Becket will be arguing on behalf of Catholic Social Services at the Supreme Court. The charitable arm of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Catholic Social Services, is the first choice of heroic foster moms like Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Busch — single women of color who between them have fostered more than 40 children. They chose to partner with Catholic Social Services because of its stellar reputation and because if affirms their own religious beliefs.

But now, with the ACLU’s help, Philadelphia officials are trying to shut down Catholic Social Services unless it violates its religious beliefs and endorses the relationships of both same-sex and unmarried couples by partnering with them.

But this isn’t the only case where the ACLU isn’t living up to its historical commitment to civil liberties.
The ACLU is also sitting on the sidelines while three American Muslim men (Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah, and Naveed Shinwari) are defending their own religious freedom before the Supreme Court. Perhaps it’s because that case relies on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a federal statute passed almost unanimously in Congress over 25 years ago and signed by President Bill Clinton — which the ACLU (originally a proponent) no longer supports.

We at Becket continue to hold these beliefs and wish we could — just like old times — fight for freedom alongside the ACLU. In these divided times, standing up for our freedoms matters more than ever, for American Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Christians, Catholics, and everyone else.  And I invite the ACLU to — just like old times — fight alongside us for the freedom of all.
Montse Alvarado is the executive director of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
3. Camden diocese becomes latest to file for bankruptcy, By Associated Press, October 2, 2020
The Diocese of Camden has filed for bankruptcy, citing revenue losses because of the millions it paid out to clergy abuse victims and the pandemic.
The filing on Thursday comes after New Jersey eased its civil statute of limitations in 2019 to make it easier for victims of alleged sexual abuse at the hands of clergy to sue for damages.
In addition to the expanded statute of limitations, the outbreak of the coronavirus has only made things harder for churches, who rely on in-person donations from Mass goers.
4. People of Praise Deserves Ours, America has a lot to learn from Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘covenant community.’, By Mary Hallan FioRito, The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2020, Pg. A13, Opinion
Most Americans had never heard of People of Praise before President Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Thanks to the media and the Democratic Party, many have been led to believe this community of faith-filled people is somehow sinister. It isn’t.

People of Praise members build up communities in a time when so many are being torn down. They strive to promote the common good while working toward understanding among those with differing views. As a Supreme Court justice, Amy Coney Barrett wouldn’t try to make the U.S. a theocratic dystopia. But she might help bring civility and unity to America’s much-degraded public discourse.
Ms. FioRito is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
5. Parolin: There is ‘no connection’ between Pell arrival, Becciu ouster, By Elise Ann Allen, Crux, October 2, 2020
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said there is no connection between the timing of the return of Australian Cardinal George Pell to Rome and the recent resignation of Italian Cardinal Angelo Becciu, who are known rivals in the bid to reform the finances of the Holy See.
“There is no connection between the two things,” Parolin said Oct. 1, speaking to press on the margins of an event organized for the release of the book, Tunic and Cassock by Franciscan Father Enzo Fortunato, who oversees the communications department for the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
According to Parolin, after his release from prison Pell “asked to return to Rome. There was no summoning of Pell by the pope. It was he who asked to come to Rome to end his stay here, because he still has his apartment, so he came here to close it up.”
6. Trump, Biden appeal to Catholics at virtual charity dinner, By Kevin Freking and Bill Barrow, Associated Press, October 1, 2020, 8:57 PM
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden appealed to the nation’s Roman Catholic voters on Thursday during a charity dinner that traditionally has been used to promote collegiality and good humor.
But in the face of a pandemic and economic woes for millions of Americans, there was no joking at this year’s Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, which went virtual because of the coronavirus. The event comes as Biden and Trump make fierce plays for Catholic voters, a large swath of the electorate that spans the U.S. political spectrum, including a significant slice of swing voters in battleground states.
7. Report finds flaws in Catholic Church abuse-prevention plans, By David Crary, Associated Press, October 1, 2020, 9:18 AM
Child-protection policies adopted by Roman Catholic leaders to curb clergy sex abuse in the United States are inconsistent and often worryingly incomplete, according to a think tank’s two-year investigation encompassing all 32 of the country’s archdioceses.
The analysis by Philadelphia-based CHILD USA said the inconsistencies and gaps suggest a need for more detailed mandatory standards for addressing sexual abuse of children by priests and other church personnel, a problem that has beset the church for decades and resulted in many criminal investigations, thousands of lawsuits and bankruptcy filings by numerous dioceses.
8. Doctors ask Supreme Court to strike down Trump abortion rule, By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, October 1, 2020, 1:05 PM
The nation’s largest doctors’ group on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to strike down a Trump administration rule that’s had a far-reaching impact on family planning by prohibiting taxpayer-funded clinics from referring women for abortions.
The American Medical Association acted after two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of the Trump administration restrictions, which apply to clinics that mainly serve low-income women.
9. Pompeo and top Vatican diplomats have ‘respectful’ exchange of views on China, By Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2020, 8:10 AM
The U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Holy See’s top diplomats had a “respectful” exchange of views on China, the Vatican said Thursday.
Responding to questions from journalists, Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See press office, said that Pompeo discussed China with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, and Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with States, Oct. 1.
10. Economy prefect says Vatican must be ‘a house of glass’ as 2019 figures released, By Hannah Brockhaus, October 1, 2020, 7:00 AM
The Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy released the 2019 balance sheet for the Roman Curia Thursday.
Fr. Juan A. Guerrero, S.J., the department’s prefect, told Vatican News Oct. 1 “the economy of the Holy See should be a house of glass.”
“We want the budget to explain how the Holy See uses its resources to carry out its mission,” he said.
The report comes a week after the resignation of Cardinal Angelo Becciu from the Roman Curia, which followed more than a year of reporting by CNA and other news outlets on various financial scandals involving Becciu and the Holy See’s Secretariat of State.
Guerrero told Vatican News he “reads the newspapers” and that “it is possible that, in some cases, the Holy See was not only badly advised but also cheated.”
11. US bishops blast exclusion of Catholic schools in coronavirus aid bill, By Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2020, 9:30 AM
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has condemned a proposed COVID-19 relief bill that excludes support for children and families enrolled in non-public schools.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all Americans, including those whose children are enrolled in Catholic and non-public schools,” said Bishop Michael Barber, SJ of Oakland in a statement released on Thursday, October 1. Barber leads the USCCB’s Committee on Catholic Education.
“It is unconscionable that this latest aid proposal would exclude these American children and the schools they attend from emergency aid that would ease the financial burdens they have borne as a result of the pandemic,” said Barber.
12. Judge upholds Colorado’s coronavirus limits on religious gatherings, By Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2020, 12:01 PM
A federal judge on Tuesday denied an injunction sought by a Protestant ministry against Colorado’s coronavirus health orders, which limit religious gatherings to 175 persons.
Christine Arguello, a judge of the US District Court for the District of Colorado, wrote Sept. 29 that “numerous courts have considered, and persuasively rejected,” arguments similar to those made by the plaintiff, Andrew Wommack Ministries, and that the suit was thus unlikely to succeed.
13. Dolan says Barrett is ‘best candidate’ for SCOTUS seat, By Catholic News Agency, October 1, 2020, 2:00 PM
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York called Judge Amy Coney Barrett the “best candidate” for the Supreme Court vacancy, and said she, like her potential predecessor, faces biases due to her sex, family, and faith.
Speaking on his Sirius XM show “Conversations with Cardinal Dolan” on The Catholic Channel September 29, Dolan praised Barrett, a mother of seven and a professor at Notre Dame Law School prior to her appointment to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, as someone “who takes her faith seriously.” But, Dolan said, that was not why she was nominated to the Supreme Court. 
“I think she is nominated because she is the best candidate around,” said Dolan. “I hope so. And from what I hear, she is. So, let’s hope for the best.”

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.