TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 184 – Mary Hasson On The Person And Identity Project & Teresa Collett Talks Pontifical Academy For Life As Mary Hasson and Ryan Anderson take on the transgender movement, Dr. Grazie Christie talks with Mary about the Person and Identity Project as the Biden administration doubles down on their LGBT lobbying efforts. Law professor Teresa Collett also joins to discuss the Pontifical Academy for Life–and why are so many members pro-abortion? Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily to prepare us for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Amid the Pandemic, Progress in Catholic Schools, By Kathleen Porter-Magee, The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2022, Pg. A19, Opinion The Nation’s Report Card is out, and it is dismal. The 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress, released Monday found that achievement in reading and math among fourth- and eighth-graders has dropped since 2019 in nearly every state. To the extent that anyone could deny it before, the results settle the debate: America’s response to the pandemic set a generation of students back. But amid the bad news, Catholic schools were a bright spot, reflecting how these schools are making a difference in students’ lives. From the beginning of the pandemic, American Catholic schools have shown how community focused, mission-driven leadership can benefit children. In March 2020, Catholic schools were among the first to close as Covid hit. In the fall of 2020, after we had learned more about curbing superspreader events and as it became clear that children were the least vulnerable to the virus, more than 92% of Catholic schools across the country re-opened for in-person learning, compared with 43% of traditional public schools and 34% of charters. This week’s NAEP data show how important reopening was for learning. Today, the divergence between Catholic schools and public ones is so great that if all U.S. Catholic schools were a state, their 1.6 million students would rank first in the nation across the NAEP reading and math tests for fourth and eighth graders. Catholic-school students now boast the nation’s highest scale scores on all four NAEP tests.  Catholic schools lead the nation for Hispanic achievement on each of the four tests, and lead the nation in black student achievement on three of the four. They also rank first in eighth-grade reading and third in both fourth-grade reading and fourth-grade math for students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch.  While many political leaders called the learning losses inevitable, the performance of Catholic schools in this difficult time shows that they weren’t. During the pandemic, we didn’t lower our standards or accept falling enrollment as inevitable. What we needed then and need now is to empower all parents to choose the best school for their children, and to have leaders who set the bar high and insist we reach it for all our kids. Ms. Porter-Magee is superintendent of Partnership Schools, a management organization that runs 11 Catholic schools in New York City and Cleveland, and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. 2. Getting Educated on Roe, The timing and content of President Joe Biden’s response to our correspondent’s query about abortion was telling in many ways., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, October 28, 2022, Opinion On Oct. 20, President Joe Biden engaged in an exceptionally revealing exchange with EWTN News Nightly White House Correspondent Owen Jensen, highlighting where he stands regarding abortion rights. “Mr. President, should there be any restrictions on abortion at all?” Jensen asked, immediately before the president boarded his helicopter. “Yes, there should be,” Biden responded. When Jensen pressed further, the president blustered, “It’s Roe v. Wade. Read it, man. You’ll get educated,” before striding away without additional elaboration. Biden apparently thought he was “schooling” Jensen, with his curt and deliberately misleading response. The question was straightforward and necessary from a Catholic White House correspondent to the Catholic politician who holds the nation’s highest political office to clarify what limits — if any — he is willing to support when it comes to the killing of unborn babies in their mothers’ wombs.  Joe Biden’s comments to EWTN’s Owen Jensen reflect the fundamental dishonesty of the abortion lobby. Roe allowed for no fixed exceptions to the constitutional right of abortion, and anyone who has supported abortion for so long would know that. To state the obvious, Biden should be the one to reread Roe — and afterward educate other Americans about how it was used for so long to resist sensible limitations and restrictions.  Biden’s abortion views on the campaign trail have been so extreme that the U.S. bishops publicly rebuked him via a strongly worded Oct. 25 public statement, released only two weeks before the Nov. 8 midterm voting.  “The president is gravely wrong to continue to seek every possible avenue to facilitate abortion, instead of using his power to increase support and care to mothers in challenging situations,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, declared in the statement. “This single-minded extremism must end, and we implore President Biden to recognize the humanity in preborn children and the genuine life-giving care needed by women in this country.”  As faithful Catholics, we must continue to pray for a change of heart in the Oval Office. If Biden doesn’t abandon his current abortion extremism, the president will be communicating once again that, for him, accommodating the all-powerful abortion lobby for political profit takes precedence over living out his own faith by standing in defense of unborn lives. No sadder legacy than this is conceivable for a Catholic politician.  God bless you! 3. Is the Synod Building a Big Tent — or a House on Sand?, By failing to ground the ‘diversity of opinions’ it presents in a foundation of sound doctrine, the process risks unmooring itself from Christ and his Church., By National Catholic Register, October 28, 2022, Editorial The Synod on Synodality has released a “working document” for the continental stage of the multiyear Church process. For the theme of the document, a synthesis of the texts produced at the regional stage, the synod organizers chose an image taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Enlarge the space of your tent.” The text goes on to interpret this verse as a guide for the Church “on its synodal journey.” Like the cloth of Isaiah’s tent, the Church is called “to stretch out … but also to move” as it journeys with the People of God. The pegs that ensure the tent’s hold, the fundamentals of faith, do not change, but “can be moved and planted in ever new ground, so that the tent can accompany the people as they walk through history.” Finally, like the ropes of a tent, the structures of the Church must be adjusted to prevent sagging, balancing “the different forces and tensions” within. “Enlarging the tent requires welcoming others into it, making room for diversity,” reads the working document. Interpreting Isaiah’s tent as an image of the Church is nothing new. After all, the passage is embedded in a larger prophetic text that speaks of God’s restoration and expansion of Israel to all the nations, which he does, of course, through Jesus Christ and the establishment of his Church, the New Israel. Interpreting Isaiah’s tent as an image of the Church is nothing new. After all, the passage is embedded in a larger prophetic text that speaks of God’s restoration and expansion of Israel to all the nations, which he does, of course, through Jesus Christ and the establishment of his Church, the New Israel. But in many ways, what the Synod on Synodality is proposing for the Church seems less like Isaiah’s expanding tent and more like a different structural image taken from Scripture: the house built on sand. Like that house, described in the Gospel according to Matthew, the synod’s ecclesiology continues to show signs of being built on a faulty foundation. Because although the synod’s working document references the “fundamentals of faith,” it exhibits little clear understanding of what those fundamentals are and how they should guide the ongoing discernment of how the Church can become more authentically synodal. This is clear in the document’s presentation of the various “tensions” that have emerged in the diocesan and regional stages. For instance, the document speaks of a great “diversity of opinion” that “was expressed on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports call for, while others consider a closed issue.” No additional guidance — such as the fact that St. John Paul II taught definitively in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that the Church “has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women,” a teaching that Pope Francis has made clear is final — is provided. It is as if settled Church teaching is irrelevant to or superseded by the synodal process and its bald-faced assertion of the sensus fidei (sense of the faith), wherever it might lead.   The desire to expand the Church like Isaiah’s tent is laudable, but, of course, it has already been done. The Church is already for all people — because Christ lived, died and was raised to new life for all. The Church has failed and continues to fail to adequately invite those who are outside into this communion, but the solution is not to trade solid ground for shifting sand. It’s to recommit ourselves to the Church that Christ gave us, trusting that his grace and his life — not our own ideas and plans — will renew the face of the earth. 4. Survey: Majority of Catholic voters disapprove of Biden, Economic woes, high inflation, interest fuels dissatisfaction, By Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times, October 28, 2022, Pg. A3 President Biden isn’t feeling the love ahead of the Nov. 8 election from his fellow Catholics. Not only do Catholic voters disapprove of the president’s job performance, they support 11 of the 12 Republicans running for Senate and governor in six key swing states, according to a poll conducted by Trafalgar Group for EWTN/RealClear Opinion Research. 5. Nearly half of Americans think U.S. should be ‘Christian nation,’ poll finds, But Pew respondents differed widely in describing what that term might mean, By Jack Jenkins, The Washington Post, October 27, 2022, 4:09 PM Close to half of Americans say the United States should be a “Christian nation,” one of several striking findings from a sweeping new Pew Research Center survey examining Christian nationalism. But researchers say respondents differed greatly when it came to outlining what a Christian nation should look like, suggesting a wide spectrum of beliefs. “There are a lot of Americans — 45 percent — who tell us they think the United States should be a Christian nation. That is a lot of people,” Greg Smith, one of the lead authors of the survey, said in an interview. But “what people mean when they say they think the U.S. should be a Christian nation is really quite nuanced.” 6. Arizona agrees not to enforce total abortion ban until 2023, By Bob Christie, Associated Press, October 27, 2022, 11:19 PM Arizona’s attorney general has agreed not to enforce a near total ban on abortions at least until next year, a move that Planned Parenthood Arizona credited Thursday with allowing the group to restart abortion care across the state. The state’s largest provider of abortions restarted services at only their Tucson clinics after an appeals court blocked enforcement of the old law on Oct. 7. A lower court had allowed enforcement of that law on Sept. 23, halting all abortions statewide. 7. Why Are So Many New Pontifical Academy for Life Members at Odds With Church Teaching on Life and Sexuality?, Four recent appointees to the academy have broken with the Church on the immorality of abortion and/or artificial contraception., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, October 27, 2022 So far it has emerged that two academics recently appointed full members of the Pontifical Academy for Life have expressed their public support for legalized abortion, another has advocated universal abortion access and use of artificial contraception among the poor, and a fourth new member, a Jesuit moral theology professor, has made it clear he supports artificial contraception in some cases.  Pope Francis also appointed to the academy’s governing council a French theologian and head of the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences, who has appeared to similarly promote contraception and approved of liturgical blessings for same-sex couples under certain conditions.  The Pope’s appointments, announced Oct. 15, have caused consternation among moral theologians, lawyers and Catholic doctors who have firmly reproved the choices as antithetical to the academy’s primary purpose. Pope St. John Paul II set up the institution in 1994 in “defense and promotion of the value of human life and of the dignity of the person.” Critics have also argued that choosing such members runs contrary to the academy’s own statutes, revised in 2016, which mandate that each ordinary member (the highest rank of academy member) be chosen for, among other attributes, their “faithful service in the defense and promotion of the right to life of every human person.” New academicians, the statutes add, must also “commit themselves to promoting and defending the principles regarding the value of life and the dignity of the human person, interpreted in a way consonant with the Church’s magisterium.” However, a requirement for new members to sign a statement promising to defend life in conformity with the Church’s magisterium was removed in 2017.  Moral theologian Father George Woodall, a former coordinating secretary at the Pontifical Academy for Life, told the Register Oct. 26 that by appointing these new members, including a lecturer at a Pontifical University who seems to represent the proportionalist school of moral theology that sees choosing between the lesser of two evils as morally acceptable, the appointments had “provoked anxiety and dismay.” “The intrinsic immorality, not of all killing of human life, but of the deliberate, direct killing of innocent human life, as taught across the centuries, was expressed authoritatively in [Pope St. John Paul II’s] 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae,” Father Woodall said. “That point of departure and of constant reference seems to be in danger of being undermined by these appointments.”    The academy has defended its choice of new members, approved by Pope Francis for five-year terms, saying their backgrounds will help provide “a constant and fruitful interdisciplinary, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue.”   In his reflections on the recent appointments to the Register, Father Woodall noted that the academy has “contributed enormously” to presentations of the Church’s moral doctrine in the past, especially in documents “on human cloning and stem cells over many years.” He also agreed that the academy needs to attend to new scientific developments not always limited to Catholic circles, and that the contributions of “renowned scientists, doctors, philosophers and theologians” have been “a great strength” over the years. But he said experts without the faith could be brought in only as long as they “did not deny, attack or undermine key tenets of moral doctrine in bioethics and related areas.” And he stressed that given the weight of moral teaching of the pope, of the college of bishops, of the authentic magisterium, what is deemed “intrinsically immoral” (always sinful) such as abortion, contraception and same-sex acts, “cannot be objectively justified under any circumstances or for any good intention.” This “centuries-old doctrine,” Father Woodall said, was plainly laid out in Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae. 8. Living Among the Dead in Manhattan, Cemeteries, especially on Halloween, remind us of our mortality and roots in the past., By Faith Bottum, The Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2022, 6:13 PM, Opinion Halloween is a memento mori, a reminder of death. It’s also an occasion for neighbors to give candy to children and for college kids to dress up and drink. But the tradition started as the hallowed eve before All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days: the disturbing moment we remember that in the midst of life, we are in death. And good thing, too. A life lived among the dead is both thicker and deeper.  Among all the rest, Halloween can be a somber yet useful occasion. The quiet breaths of New York’s cemeteries serve as reminders of the past: murmurs that tell us we must die, and that the dead are still among us. Graveyards are “a good reminder,” Father Murray notes. “People nowadays would say, ‘No, that real estate is too valuable for a graveyard.’ ” We should say instead, “No, money can wait.” Ms. Bottum is an assistant editorial features editor at the Journal. 9. Canada census shows 2 million fewer Catholics, as disaffiliation grows, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, October 27, 2022, 7:00 PM The Catholic population in Canada has declined by almost 2 million people in the last 10 years, the Canadian census has found in a report that indicates the religiously unaffiliated now outnumber Catholics. The latest census figures, compiled in 2021, show the Catholic Canadian population has declined to 10.9 million. Catholics now make up about 29.9% of the country’s people. According to the 2011 census, the Catholic population that year was 12.8 million. Just 53.3% of Canadians, 19.3 million people, now identify as Christian, a decline from 67.3% in 2011 and 77.1% in 2001. Statistics Canada, Canada’s national statistical office, presented the latest figures in an Oct. 26 report. 10. Report details decades of alleged clergy sex abuse in Michigan diocese, By Jonah McKeown and Shannon Mullen, Catholic News Agency, October 27, 2022, 11:46 PM Michigan attorney general Dana Nessel on Thursday released a report compiling allegations of sexual abuse directed at priests in the Diocese of Marquette, stretching back to the 1940s.  Nessel said the Oct. 27 document is the first of seven from her office on sexual abuse allegations against priests in each of Michigan’s Catholic dioceses.  “Since the very start of my term, I pledged to use the resources of my department to ensure that every case of sexual abuse and assault is thoroughly reviewed, and that whenever we are able to pursue justice, we do so relentlessly and aggressively,” Nessel, a Democrat who is running for re-election, said in a video statement accompanying the report.  “In the end, we hope this report provides a voice to those who have suffered in silence for so long and shines a light on those alleged offenders who escaped punishment for their crimes by hiding in the shadows.”

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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