TCA Podcast – “Conversations with Consequences”

Episode 24: Carrie Gress and Mallory Millett on feminism and the loss of beauty

Your hosts Dr. Grazie Christie and Andrea Picciotti-Bayer sit down with Mallory Millett, a former actress and widely published author whose sister, Kate, was instrumental in the feminist movement of the 1960s. Also joining is Dr. Carrie Gress, whose new book “The Anti-Mary Exposed” is a fascinating look at what feminism has wrought on our society— not least of which, our guests say, is a loss of true beauty.

1. Francis Is Reshaping the Church With Cardinals in His Likeness.

By Jason Horowitz, October 4, 2019, The New York Times, October 4, 2019, Pg. A11

In a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica on Saturday, Francis will create 13 new cardinals who reflect his pastoral style and priorities on a range of issues, including migration, climate change, the inclusion of gay Catholics, interreligious dialogue and shifting church power away from Rome to bishops in Africa, Asia and South America.

The appointments are a landmark for Francis, who now reaches a tipping point of influence to shape the future church in his image. After Saturday, Francis will have named more than half of the voters within the College of Cardinals, where a two-thirds majority of those under the age of 80 are required to elect his successor.

2. Police probe abuse claim against bishop. B

y Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr., The Washington Post, October 4, 2019, Pg. A3

Police in Washington are investigating an allegation that former West Virginia bishop Michael J. Bransfield inappropriately touched a 9-year-old girl during a church trip to the nation’s capital in 2012, according to a subpoena and a person familiar with the matter.

The subpoena, delivered Tuesday to church officials in West Virginia, seeks any abuse complaints against Bransfield as well as documents related to the September 2012 pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, a copy reviewed by The Washington Post shows. The trip was led by Bransfield and attended by parishioners from across West Virginia, church documents show.

Lisa Manning, an attorney for Bransfield, said: “The allegations against him are not true. Bishop Bransfield has full faith that the investigation will conclude that the claim against him is unfounded.”

3. Canada’s leaders dislike new ban on religious symbols but balk at acting.

By Amanda Coletta, The Washington Post, October 4, 2019, Pg. A14

Here’s one thing the leaders of Canada’s major political parties agree on: They oppose Quebec’s new ban on public employees wearing hijabs, turbans or yarmulkes on the job.

Here’s another: They’ve got no plans to do anything about it.

With an election for Parliament less than three weeks away, Quebec’s Bill 21 has become an increasingly uncomfortable topic for the candidates for prime minister.

Quebec Premier François Legault has described Bill 21 as another step in the lengthy process of secularizing the province in which the Catholic Church long wielded outsize influence. Police officers, teachers and other public employees hold positions of authority in their communities, he says, and shouldn’t be wearing symbols that might promote their faith while they serve the public.

Critics see the legislation as an assault on the practices of Muslims, Sikhs and other religious minorities, many of them relative newcomers to the province. Politicians and activists across Canada and beyond have condemned it; local leaders in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta have passed resolutions opposing it.

4. Christians making comeback from strife in Kurdish enclave.

By Seth J. Frantzman, The Washington Times, October 4, 2019, Pg. A1

Alqosh, an enclave with a large and ancient Christian population, reflects all the complexities of the country in microcosm.

Iraq has one of the oldest continuous Christian communities in the world, but the population has shrunk dramatically in the sectarian fighting and political uncertainty that followed the U.S. invasion in 2003 and the sudden emergence of the radical Islamist ISIS a decade later. But there are signs of a comeback for those who have held on throughout the turmoil.

In Irbil, churches are being built and a Christian has been appointed minister of transportation and communications. Ano Jawhar Abdulmaseeh is a proud and jovial member of the community. His office is decorated with images of Christian history of the region that dates back almost 2,000 years.

He explained that Christianity came to the region with St. Thomas the Apostle but that Christians have faced many persecutions in the past century. These include pogroms against Chaldeans, Syriacs and Assyrians, the diverse communities in this area. More than 300 Christian villages were destroyed during the rule of Saddam Hussein, he recalled.

The number of Christians in Iraq today is estimated at 200,000 to 350,000, and Mr. Abdulmaseeh said 90% of them live in Kurdistan and the Nineveh plains that border the region. Many have relocated from other parts of Iraq since 2003. Mr. Abdulmaseeh and Ms. Zara talked about links to the large Iraqi Christian population in Michigan.

For those trying to rebuild their lives and community in the wake of the ISIS menace, there is hope that the tensions will blow over and give the region time to recuperate.

5. Pro-life, pro-choice doctors spar over medical necessity of abortion.

By Christopher Vondracek, The Washington Times, October 4, 2019, Pg. A6

Pro-choice and pro-life gynecologists are arguing over whether abortion is ever necessary to save a pregnant person’s life.

Pro-life doctors say that “errors and assumptions” have distorted a recent statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists about the medical need for some abortions.

“We state unequivocally that there is a difference between elective abortion — a procedure done to ensure that a baby is born dead — and the separation of the mother and the baby in order to save the life of the mother,” Drs. Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Mike Chupp, CEO of Christian Medical Dental Association; and Michelle Cretella, executive director of American College of Pediatricians said Wednesday in a statement.

The statement comes a week after officials with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Physicians for Reproductive Health — both supporters of abortion rights — declared in a Sept. 25 statement that abortions “can be medically necessary,” citing complications such as renal and cardiac failure that necessitate terminating a pregnancy.

The medical conflict erupted after Facebook this summer removed two videos posted by Live Action, saying the pro-life advocacy group’s claim that abortion is never necessary was misleading.

Facebook also notified Live Action President Lila Rose that her page and any of her links would have “reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news,” according to a message from Facebook officials to Live Action posted online.

6. 100s of accused priests living under radar with no oversight.

By Claudia Lauer and Meghan Hoyer, The Associated Press, October 4, 2019, 4:27 AM

Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.

The review found hundreds of priests held positions of trust, many with access to children. More than 160 continued working or volunteering in churches, including dozens in Catholic dioceses overseas and some in other denominations. Roughly 190 obtained professional licenses to work in education, medicine, social work and counseling _ including 76 who, as of August, still had valid credentials in those fields.

If priests choose to leave their dioceses or religious orders _ or if the church decides to permanently defrock them in a process known as laicization _ leaders say the church no longer has authority to monitor where they go.

After the Dallas Charter came a rush to laicize, resulting in more than 220 of the priests researched by the AP being laicized between 2004 and 2010. Roughly 40% of all the living credibly accused clergy members had either been laicized or had voluntarily left the church.

David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said reports of abuse in the church have decreased and that all indications are that fresh allegations are being properly reported.

7. From the Shadows into the Light.

By Fr. Roger J. Landry, The Anchor, October 4, 2019
Fr. Roger J. Landry is a priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts and the National Chaplain of Catholic Voices USA.

On October 13, Newman will become the first Englishman since the 1600s to be canonized. Even though there are four others being raised to the altars with him — religious sisters from India, Brazil and Italy and a third-order Franciscan from Switzerland — the focus of the Catholic world will be mainly on Newman because of his enormous impact on the Church during his lifetime and since.

There are many, especially in the Catholic intellectual tradition, who have long had a deep devotion to Newman, who have found his poetry and prose among the most eloquent in the history of the English language, and his spiritual insight and depth the makings of a future doctor of the Church.

But I’ve also found that the former Oxford don is not as well-known to the Catholic masses as he should be. While saints like Padre Pio, Therese Lisieux, and Teresa of Calcutta have devotees in every culture and class, Newman is more like fine classical music, appreciated by those of classical training but generally abstruse and unappealing for those who prefer rock, pop or country.

As a small attempt to remedy that situation, as we prepare for his feast and canonization, I would like to share ten reasons why I think Newman should be relatable, loved and invoked by all Catholics.

The canonization of Newman is a celebration that is meant to echo not merely in Rome, or England and Ireland, or scholarly circles, or the English-speaking Catholic world, but throughout the Church and, hopefully, in every aspect of the Church, because Newman is one of the most influential Christians of modern times, whose life and writings continue to be a reflection of the kind Light that leads us, as he inscribed on his tombstone, from “shadows and images into the truth.”

8. Catholic bishops consider married priests, face opposition.

By Manuel Rueda, The Associated Press, October 3, 2019, 1:13 PM

More than 100 bishops from South America will convene at the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. The meeting will discuss social and environmental problems faced by the inhabitants of the Amazon but bishops are also looking at ways to introduce changes to official ministries to better serve Catholics in this part of the world.

One item on the agenda is a proposal to study priestly ordination for older men who have good standing in their communities and are preferably of indigenous origin, “even if they have an established and stable family.”

While the proposal would be novel for the Latin Rite church, there are already married priests in Eastern Rite Catholic churches and in cases where married Anglican priests have converted.

Nevertheless, the proposal has set off a firestorm of criticism of Pope Francis, with opponents accusing synod organizers of heresy for even introducing debate on the centuries-old tradition of a celibate priesthood in the Latin Rite church.

9. Vatican defends married priest proposal on Amazon agenda.

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press, October 3, 2019, 8:38 AM

Organizers of a Vatican meeting on the Amazon defended plans to introduce debate on married priests, saying Thursday the proposal represents the “the voice of the local church” and isn’t an official proposal of the pope.

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri acknowledged the Oct. 6-27 synod on the Amazon has generated criticism, including from cardinals who have accused organizers of making “heretical” proposals in the working document.

The most controversial proposal in the synod’s working document calls for Amazonian bishops to study whether older married men who are respected by their communities might be ordained to help address a shortage of priests that is so acute that the faithful can go months without having a proper Mass.

While such a proposal to ordain “viri probati,” or “men of proven virtue” has been around for decades, the Amazon meeting has brought it to the fore given Francis has said he is open to studying an exception to priestly celibacy for a particular location out of “pastoral necessity.”

10. Pope names anti-Mafia prosecutor to court as scandal swirls.

By Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press, October 3, 2019, 4:15 PM

Pope Francis on Thursday named one of Italy’s leading anti-Mafia prosecutors as president of the Vatican’s criminal tribunal, just as a new scandal erupted over alleged financial wrongdoing in the heart of the Holy See.

The appointment of Giuseppe Pignatone came two days after Vatican police raided the Apostolic Palace and seized documents and computers from the secretariat of state. Also searched were the offices of the Vatican’s financial watchdog agency, which is tasked with flagging possible money laundering and other suspicious financial transactions.

11. Catholic schools break the cycle of poverty. Why are they being targeted?

By Maureen Malloy Ferguson, The Catholic Herlad (UK), October 3, 2019
Maureen Malloy Ferguson is a Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association

This year, however, the Supreme Court docket is full of cases that threaten traditions such as the Red Mass, cases that could severely diminish religious expression in our public life. Clashing visions of the role of religion will be hotly debated in what court-watchers predict will be a blockbuster year for religious liberty cases.

Is the public expression of religion a force for division, repression and intolerance? Or is the free exercise of religion a force for good in our pluralistic society? In particular, what role does the Catholic tradition play in contributing to the public good of our nation and her people?

In one of the upcoming term’s high-profile cases, Espinoza vs Montana, the Court will consider whether a state can prohibit school-choice scholarships for low-income students enrolled in religiously affiliated – overwhelmingly Catholic – schools. At issue are the so-called Blaine amendments that were originally designed to discriminate against Catholic “sectarian” schools.

Catholic schools provide myriad quantifiable and unquantifiable benefits to our nation. Almost two million children, Catholic and non-Catholic, attend Catholic schools. A staggering 99 per cent of these students graduate and, of those graduates, 88 per cent go on to college. And the per-pupil cost at Catholic schools is half that of public schools: better educational outcomes at half the cost.

Catholic schools provide the faith and character education that are essential to a child’s ability to thrive. In fact, a recent Harvard study showed that children brought up with faith become happier and healthier adults.

Catholic schools also have the intangible benefit of helping families break the cycle of poverty; they educate 42 per cent of all non-public school children in under-served urban areas. Again, many of these kids are not Catholic.

The court will also consider taking up a case that involves Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services. The city refused to renew its foster care contract unless the agency disregarded Church teaching on marriage. Catholic Social Services had been placing needy children with loving families for 100 years. It’s known for finding “forever homes” for hard-to-place sibling groups and special needs children. Similar hostility to faith-based charities has already harmed children by shutting down Catholic adoption agencies in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Washington.

At a time when the opioid and immigration crises are increasing the need for foster and adoptive parents, the Church’s contribution to the public good should be encouraged. The Supreme Court will have a chance to decide whether governments should tell Catholic social service organisations that they need not apply to meet this crisis.

12. Brooklyn bishop tapped to head probe into troubled Buffalo diocese.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, October 3, 2019

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn has been appointed by the Vatican to conduct an investigation of the troubled Buffalo diocese in New York, where Bishop Richard Malone faces accusations of covering up sexual abuse by priests.

The announcement was made late Thursday by the Brooklyn diocese, following a request from the papal embassy in the U.S. A communique from the embassy stated that DiMarzio would conduct an apostolic visitation, which it described as “a non-judicial and non-administrative process that requires confidentiality.”

The communique from the papal embassy also said the investigation would not be subject to the recent papal decree Vos Estis, which established new legal norms to hold bishops and other superiors accountable for their handling of abuse complaints.

Malone has been under fire for more than a year and has rejected calls for his resignation. A recent poll by the Buffalo News claimed 86 percent of residents of the diocese want him to go, and the “Movement to Restore Trust,” the leading lay reform group in the diocese, has asked for his resignation despite previously pledging to work with Malone to implement reforms.

Nevertheless, Malone said in mid-September he would be “very open” to a Vatican review to “let all the truth come out.”

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