TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 236 – Into The Breach Video Series & Ashley McGuire Talks Britney Spears And Abortion Pressure Ashley McGuire joins to discuss pop icon Britney Spears as she shared the news of the abortion she had at 19, a decision she said she felt forced into, calling it “one of the most agonizing things” she has experienced in her entire life. McGuire points to the reality that even wealth and fame don’t save women from abortion pressure. With marriage in a decline, the Knights of Columbus are out with a new video series called Into the Breach. We learn all about it with Damien O’Connor! Father Roger Landry also offers an insiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Pope orders Vatican to reopen case of priest accused of adult abuse but allowed to keep ministering, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 27, 2023, 8:20 AM Pope Francis has ordered the Vatican to reopen the case of a well-known priest-artist accused of sexually, psychologically and spiritually abusing adult women, and removed the statute of limitations on their claims, the Vatican said Friday. The announcement marked a major turnaround for the Holy See and followed an outcry among victims and their advocates over the handling of the case of the Rev. Marko Ivan Rupnik, a former Jesuit whose mosaics grace churches and basilicas around the world. The scandal has been a headache for the Jesuits, the Vatican and Francis himself due to suspicions that Rupnik received favorable treatment from the Holy See, where a Jesuit is pope and other Jesuits head the sex crimes office that investigated Rupnik and declined to prosecute him because the claims against him were deemed too old.  The outcry only grew this week when a diocese in Rupnik’s native Slovenia announced it had welcomed him in after the Jesuits threw him out. The diocese of Koper said it had done so because it had received no documentation about any conviction against him, and that he was presumed innocent. 2. European court rejects appeal to stop hospital death of baby girl, By Charles Collins, Crux, October 27, 2023 A baby has been denied a transfer from an English hospital, which has decided to remove her life-support treatment. Indi Gregory is being treated at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, and the city’s NHS Trust argued his life support should end. The eight-month-old girl has a rare mitochondrial disease and her parents have maintained that despite her disability, she is a happy baby who responds to their touch. Her parents sent their request to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Oct. 26, but it said the decision “cannot be appealed against to the Grand Chamber or any other body.” Indi’s parents Dean Gregory and Claire Staniforth are being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), whose chief executive Andrea Williams said, “Indi’s family have given their all to contend for her life, as has the Christian Legal Centre. It is disturbing and sad that they have had to go through such trauma. We stand with them.” 3. Abortion rights supporters far outraise opponents and rake in out-of-state money in Ohio election, By Ali Swenson, Associated Press, October 26, 2023, 7:53 PM Supporters of a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights in the Ohio Constitution far outraised their anti-abortion opponents in the months leading up to the November election, bringing in nearly $29 million from donors since Sept. 8, the campaign’s latest filings show. The effort against Issue 1, which would amend the constitution to protect abortion rights, raised just under $10 million in the same period, according to Thursday’s filings. The largest donations backing the amendment since Sept. 8 came from out-of-state groups, including three gifts totaling $5.3 million from the progressive Sixteen Thirty Fund, based in Washington, D.C. The Sixteen Thirty Fund counts among its funders Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire who has given the group more than $200 million since 2016. The campaign, known as Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, also received $3.5 million from the New York-based Open Society Policy Center, a lobbying group associated with the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, and $2 million from the American Civil Liberties Union, also based in New York. Billionaires Michael Bloomberg of New York and Abigail Wexner, the Ohio-based wife of retired Limited Brands founder Les Wexner, each gave $1 million.  The campaign against Issue 1, called Protect Women Ohio, accepted more than half its donations in the final months of the race from Protect Women Ohio Action Inc., a committee associated with the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Protect Women Ohio’s other high-dollar donors included the Ohio-based Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, and the Diocese of Columbus. 4. EWTN News In Depth: Bishop Barron Interview in Rome, Hosted by Montse Alvarado, EWTN, October 26, 2023, Show Bishop Robert Barron has almost 150 million views on Youtube, making him one of the most influential and widely-watched Catholic voices in the world. His ministry ‘Word on Fire’ uses social media to spread the Gospel message. While in Rome for the Synod on Synodality, EWTN reporter Colm Flynn sat down with Bishop Barron for an exclusive one-on-one interview where he talks about his vocation growing up, his view on Catholicism today, and what he thinks the atheists argument is “nonsense.” 5. Tennessee sues Biden administration, says HHS diverted health funds to Planned Parenthood, By Tyler Arnold, Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2023, 9:45 AM Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is suing the Biden administration in response to a federal decision to redirect millions of dollars of federal family planning funding toward Planned Parenthood in the state. Skrmetti said in a Wednesday statement that the state was “suing to stop the federal government from playing politics with the health of Tennessee women.”  “Just last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services praised Tennessee’s Department of Health as ‘the only agency with the capacity, staff, and expertise to administer Title X funds with integrity and without a gap in services in the state,’” Skrmetti said in the statement.  “This year, the federal government illegally diverted those funds to Planned Parenthood,” he said. 6. U.S. bishops mark 25th anniversary of International Religious Freedom Act, By Joe Bukuras, Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2023, 12:34 PM The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) this week acknowledged the 25th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), what the bishops called a “landmark” piece of legislation meant to protect the “essential and inviolable” principle of religious freedom. The act, passed in 1998 and signed by then-President Bill Clinton on Oct. 27 of that year, was drafted to prioritize religious freedom in U.S. foreign policy.  The IRFA sought to “elevate religious freedom as a foreign policy goal of the United States, promote religious freedom in countries that violate this basic human right, and strengthen advocacy on behalf of individuals persecuted in other countries on the basis of religion,” the USCCB said in a press release on Wednesday. In a joint statement, New York archbishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who chairs the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, along with Rockford bishop and Committee on International Justice and Peace chairman David Malloy, noted that the Catholic Church “has long recognized the essential and inviolable nature of religious freedom.” 7. Religious persecution is threat to U.S. national security, experts tell Congress, By Peter Pinedo, Catholic News Agency, October 26, 2023, 5:20 PM In testimony to the House Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, experts said that religious persecution across the world poses a serious threat to American citizens and U.S. national security. The hearing, which was chaired by Wisconsin Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman, was held just days before the 25th anniversary of the passage of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that elevated religious freedom to a U.S. foreign policy goal. David Curry, president of Global Christian Relief, testified that “faith really is under fire” and that Christians are especially impacted. According to Curry, there are approximately 360 million Christians globally “experiencing high levels of persecution or discrimination just for their belief.” 8. Vatican okays sainthood cause for victims of 2008 anti-Christian pogroms in India, By Nirmala Carvalho, Crux, October 26, 2023 An Indian archdiocese that was the site of one of the worst outbreaks of anti-Christian violence in the early 21st century has announced Vatican approval to open a sainthood cause for one of the victims who died in the assaults and 34 of his companions. The sainthood cause is linked to Kanteswar Digal, a Catholic catechist who was killed during a series of anti-Christians riots in the eastern Indian district of Kandhamal in 2008, which were led by radical Hindus and which left over 100 people dead, thousands injured, 300 churches and 6,000 homes destroyed, and 50,000 people displaced, many forced to hide in nearby forests where more died of hunger and snakebites. The mobs had been incensed by rumors that Christians had killed a local Hindu holy man. (It later emerged that the holy man had actually been assassinated by Maoist guerillas in the area.) 9. Abortion Billboards Are a Travesty Built on Tragedy, To sell abortion as part of ‘God’s plan’ is to lie about the beautiful truth of God’s plan for humanity, By Maureen Ferguson, National Catholic Register, October 25, 2023, Opinion There is a new twist in the marketing of abortion. “God’s plan includes abortion” declares a new billboard campaign along Interstate 55 running through the Midwest. The activist group “Shout Your Abortion” is sponsoring these billboards that claim God’s stamp of approval.    The co-opting of religion to justify abortion is popping up elsewhere too, including in Ohio, where there is a referendum on the ballot this November known as Issue 1, which would enshrine abortion into the state constitution and prohibit any protections for the unborn. Ads running across Ohio are promoting abortion as a tenet of faith. One from the group behind Issue 1 begins with a montage of video clips that include a man kneeling in a Catholic church with his hands folded in prayer. “When we face personal medical decisions,” the female narrator says, “we depend on our doctors, our faith, our family …” The shot of the prayerful man in a pew flashes on the words “our faith.” And because political ads are never known for their subtlety, an image of the Divine Mercy of Christ is in the background.   This bold attempt to enlist religion in defense of abortion is a far cry from previous, more humble, abortion slogans. Once upon a time, the pro-choice mantra was that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Regrettable perhaps, but having the choice was said to be necessary. This more nuanced refrain gave way over time to the notion of abortion as a positive good, an exercise in freedom, even an act of empowerment. But now the abortion lobby is peddling the nonsensical notion that abortion — not just abortion rights, mind you, but abortion itself — is actually part of God’s plan.   The Church accompanies women through the beauty, love and mercy of the Gospel of Life. It is a gospel that comes to life not just in the Church’s opposition to abortion, but in myriad other ways — in supporting mothers and children through pregnancy resource centers, pre- and post-natal care, in providing housing, clothing, job training, babysitting and education for mothers (Walking with Moms in Need) — on a daily, year-in-year-out basis.   It also comes to life in post-abortion healing and counseling for women who suffer after abortion. A news report on the billboard campaign includes a quotation from a woman who said it caused her to break down in tears, recalling the abortion she had as a college student over 40 years ago. Nobody weeps decades later over the loss of an appendix, but it is tragically common for women to carry a heaviness of heart and feelings of loss even decades after an abortion. Catholic ministries like Project Rachel and the Sisters of Life offer counseling, healing and reconciliation after abortion. This new abortion marketing campaign is presumptuous at best. Consider the actual words God gave us in Scripture: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). And the Psalmist, who says to God: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139, 13-124).  Maureen Ferguson is a senior fellow for The Catholic Association and co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show Conversations with Consequences. 10. Prayer and Fasting, Just as European Christians prayed the Rosary and fasted to be freed from the repressive Ottoman Empire, we need to employ the same strategy for peace in the Middle East and elsewhere., By National Catholic Register, October 25, 2023, Editorial Oct. 7 was a pivotal day long before 2023. More than 450 years earlier, it was the day Christian forces turned the tide of a 500-year conflict in Europe against the Ottoman Empire. On Oct. 7, 1571, at the Battle of Lepanto, soldiers of the Holy League finally succeeded in defeating the Muslim Turks that had invaded their territory, killing and enslaving their peoples. Military force was not the power that broke the enemy. It was the Rosary — and all of Europe joined together in prayer at Pope St. Pius V’s request. The evil unleashed in the Holy Land Oct. 7, 2023 — on the Catholic Church’s calendar, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, in memory of the Battle of Lepanto — demands an equally urgent response from Catholics throughout the world. Aside from the Vatican’s diplomatic efforts, Pope Francis seized the moment to draw on a power higher than politics. He called for two days of prayer and fasting: Oct. 17 and again on Oct. 27 for an end to the Israel-Hamas war. For us as Catholics, the Holy Father’s urgent call to turn to Our Lord with a plea for peace signaled the gravity of the crisis we see unfolding in the Middle East, which threatens to engulf much more than a small 150-square-mile swath of land near Jerusalem. It’s a reminder that all of us have a stake in this conflict.  Believers who joined the Pope centuries ago to beg the Blessed Mother to intercede on behalf of the Christian fleet at Lepanto saw their great faith rewarded with a miraculous victory. We need to do the same, daring to hope that somehow, through God’s mercy, Hamas can be brought to justice, their captives freed and peace established in the Holy Land without a long and more terrible war.

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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