TCA Radio Podcast – “Conversations With Consequences”

Episode 21: Mary Eberstadt on “Primal Screams” and identity politics

The sexual revolution has created a crisis of identity – leading people to cling to identity politics in their primal quest to answer the question “who am I?” This week’s amazing guest is Mary Eberstadt, senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. She is a writer and essayist whose work has appeared in Quillette, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, First Things, The Weekly Standard, and more. She writes extensively about religious freedom, sexuality, and the family, and is the author of the brand-new book “Primal Screams: How the Sexual Revolution Created Identity Politics.”

1. A bishop’s lavish life at church expense, Top Catholic in W.Va. spent millions on private jets and luxury hotels.

By Shawn Boburg and Robert O’Harrow Jr., The Washington Post, September 13, 2019, Pg. A1

It was billed as a holy journey, a pilgrimage with West Virginia Bishop Michael J. Bransfield to “pray, sing and worship” at the National Shrine in Washington.

He hired a private jet and, after a 33-minute flight, took a limousine from the airport. The church picked up his $6,769 travel bill.

That trip in September 2017 was emblematic of the secret history of Bransfield’s lavish travel. He spent millions of dollars from his diocese on trips in the United States and abroad, records show, while many of his parishioners struggled to find work, feed their families and educate their children.

Pope Francis has said bishops should live modestly. During his 13 years as the leader of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, Bransfield took nearly 150 trips on private jets and some 200 limousine rides, a Washington Post investigation found. He stayed at exclusive hotels in Washington, Rome, Paris, London and the Caribbean.

Bransfield was barred from public ministry in July after an internal church investigation found he had engaged in financial abuses and sexually harassed young priests, allegations Bransfield has denied. The Post previously obtained the investigative report and revealed its major findings, including that he spent $2.4 million of church funds on travel and gave $350,000 in cash gifts to other clerics.

2. Pope Francis to visit Thailand, Japan in November.

By Nannapat Purod, The Associated Press, September 13, 2019

Pope Francis will visit Thailand and Japan in November in a visit expected to highlight his call for complete nuclear disarmament and honor the small Catholic communities in each country.

The Vatican confirmed the Nov. 19-26 trip, and its diplomatic representative in Thailand, Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, announced the Thai stop on Friday. Francis will be in Thailand on Nov. 20-23 before heading to Japan, where government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the pope would meet with the emperor and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

It will be Francis’ fourth trip to Asia, where he has already visited South Korea, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

3. New Vatican law on abuse cover-up has a hit-and-miss week.

By Charles Collins, Crux, September 13, 2019

When the Vatican announced new procedures to hold bishops accountable in May, the main question was: Will it work?

The legislation – called Vos Estis Lux Mundi – enacted what is known as the Metropolitan Model, in which archbishops would play a prominent role in policing those bishops in their ecclesiastical province.

This week, the first investigation into misconduct being carried out under the procedures set out in the new law was announced: Archbishop Bernard A. Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis will look into allegations that Bishop Michael J. Hoeppner of Crookston “carried out acts or omissions intended to interfere with or avoid civil or canonical investigations of clerical sexual misconduct.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the archdiocese said law enforcement had also been notified of the allegations.

4. Pope Francis to visit Thailand and Japan in November.

By Courtney Mares, Catholic News Agency, September 13, 2019, 3:40 AM

The Vatican confirmed Friday that Pope Francis will travel to Thailand and Japan in November with stops scheduled in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Pope Francis will visit Thailand Nov. 20-23 in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Vatican Mission to Siam in 1669. The pope will then travel Nov. 23-26 to Japan, where the theme of his visit is “Protect all life.”

5. Catholic diocese in upstate New York files for bankruptcy.

By Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press, September 12, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester in upstate New York filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday amid a wave of lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse of children, becoming the first of the state’s eight dioceses to do so and the 20th nationwide.

New York passed a law this year giving victims of childhood sexual abuse one year to file lawsuits that had previously been barred because the allegations were too old. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against churches and other institutions since the law took effect last month.

6. The abortion lobby’s frightening new goal.

By Grazie Pozo Christie, The Catholic Herald (UK), September 12, 2019
Grazie Pozo Christie MD is a policy adviser for The Catholic Association.

Prior to Roe v Wade, perhaps the most popular argument for legalising abortion was that women’s safety demanded avoiding the dreaded “back alley abortion”. In untrained hands, the unregulated procedure was just too dangerous for women.

Now, as non-surgical, chemical abortion becomes more common, abortion rights activists hunger for a future where women and girls self-administer and self-manage their own abortions – without any medical assistance or oversight.

In their rush to sweep away every obstacle between a pregnant woman and a termination, Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion lobby now seek to do away with the safety regulations of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which would open the door to online black-market pill networks that operate illegally but with near impunity. Their new goal? In the words of a recent New York Times opinion piece, “Abortion Pills Should Be Everywhere”.

Is the pro-abortion side correct? Are medical abortions so safe and easy that they can and should be done without medical supervision? The answer is an emphatic no, especially when using illegal online marketplaces.

7. Church must seek new paths in Amazon, synod secretaries say.

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service, September 12, 2019, 9:18 AM

The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon will help the Catholic Church make its presence felt and voice heard in a region that is dangerously approaching “a point of no return,” said the special secretaries of the synod.

“It is a great and continuing challenge for the Catholic Church to make the original Amazonian peoples feel part of it and contribute to it with the light of Christ and the spiritual richness that shines in their cultures,” Cardinal-designate Michael Czerny and Bishop David Martinez De Aguirre Guinea wrote in an article published Sept. 12 in La Civilta Cattolica, the Jesuit journal.

Cardinal-designate Czerny, undersecretary of the Migrants and Refugee Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, and Bishop Martinez, apostolic vicar of Puerto Maldonado, Peru, said the synod will take place at a time when “both human and natural life are suffering serious and perhaps irreversible destruction.”

The synod, scheduled for Oct. 6-27, will focus on “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.”

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