TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 230 – Jessica Hooten Wilson on Flannery O’Connor & Father Dave Pivonka! As schools are now back in session across the country, we check in with Jessica Hooten Wilson examining the lives of great saints as she reminds us: “When we read stories of holiness, we live vicariously through those stories, and then we body them forth in our reality.”With the Diocese of Cleveland’s new policy on gender identity released this week, Father Dave Pivonka joins to discuss steps he’s taken at Franciscan University to protect students when playing collegiate sports in this era of ‘transgenderism.’ 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. The Great Dechurching looks at why people are leaving churches, By Bob Smietana, The Washington Post, September 15, 2023, 6:00 AM Jim Davis and Michael Graham knew something was up in their hometown of Orlando.But they couldn’t put their finger on it. At the time, both were pastors at Orlando Grace Church, an evangelical congregation, and saw a study showing that their community had the same percentage of evangelicals as less traditionally Christian cities like New York and Seattle. Their city also ranked low on a list of “Bible-minded cities” — with a profile more akin to cities with secular reputations than Bible Belt communities like Birmingham, Ala., or Nashville.  With the help of friends, they raised about $100,000 and enlisted the help of two political scientists who survey religious trends in the U.S. — Ryan Burge at Eastern Illinois University and Paul Djupe of Denison University — to create what they think is the largest-ever study of folks who stopped going to church. That study, combined with other data about America’s changing religious landscape, led them to a sobering conclusion. “More people have left the church in the last 25 years than all the new people who became Christians from the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and Billy Graham crusades combined,” Davis and Graham write in their book, “The Great Dechurching: Who’s Leaving, Why Are They Going, and What Will It Take to Bring Them Back?”   Despite the sobering statistics, Davis and Graham remain hopeful about the future and end their book with a set of exhortations for church leaders. Part of their advice: Be patient. The Great Dechurching didn’t happen overnight and won’t be reversed quickly. Congregations will need what the authors call “relationship wisdom” and a “quiet, calm and curious demeanor” where leaders are quick to listen and slow to speak. 2. Vatican, China discuss reboot of grain deal as part of path to peace for Ukraine, By Crux, September 15, 2023 Pope Francis’s personal envoy for the Ukraine conflict met a senior official of the Chinese government in Beijing Thursday, discussing not only the broader question of a path to peace but also how to restart a deal to allow the exportation of grain which Russia abandoned in July. The meeting between Italian Cardinal Matteo Zuppi and Li Hui, China’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Affairs, was considered remarkable not merely for the issues discussed but for the mere fact it happened at all, given that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China do not enjoy diplomatic relations. The encounter between Zuppi and Li amounted to the first-ever meeting between a Vatican envoy and a representative of the Chinese government in Beijing. China’s capital. British Archbishop Paul Gallagher, the Vatican’s foreign minister, met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in 2020, but that encounter took place in Munich. 3. The abortion bot will see you now, A team of abortion advocates is launching an automated abortion finder. Here’s what you need to know., By Tatum Hunter, The Washington Post, September 15, 2023, 6:00 AMFor abortion seekers, deciding whom to trust is important. Now there’s an online chatbot that purports to help. Starting this week, an abortion bot called Charley from the team behind major abortion organizations Planned Parenthood, IneedanA and Plan C is rolling out across the United States — even in states with abortion bans — to help people find accessible health care. Users answer a series of questions such as the date of their last period, their Zip code and the type of procedure they’re looking for. Along the way, the bot points them toward vetted clinics, telehealth providers or support resources.  __________________________________________________________ 4. Planned Parenthood to resume offering abortions next week in Wisconsin, citing court ruling, By Scott Bauer, Associated Press, September 14, 2023, 1:42 PM Planned Parenthood announced Thursday that it will resume offering abortions in Wisconsin next week after a judge ruled that an 1849 law that seemingly banned the procedure actually didn’t apply to abortions. The resumption of abortions Monday at clinics in Milwaukee and Madison comes as the lawsuit challenging the state law continues in county court. It is expected to eventually reach the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which flipped to liberal control on Aug. 1. __________________________________________________________ 5. Archbishop Fernández Outlines His Vision as the Vatican’s New Doctrinal Chief, By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, September 14, 2023 In an extensive new interview published Thursday, Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández has outlined his vision as prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, one that places an emphasis on engaging contemporary culture and real-life experiences, and stressing the importance of charity in both moral theology and theological reflection. Speaking to La Civilta Cattolica’s outgoing director Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, the Argentine theologian and Cardinal-elect made a number of bold statements, accusing some Churchmen who profess to guard the faith as being only concerned about power, not reason, and that morality should “absolutely not” be reduced to mere fulfillment of the Ten Commandments. Archbishop Fernández also said the Lord’s mercy “must not be denied by theological reasoning” and reiterated what he said in earlier interviews: that rather than condemn erring theologians, he wants to try to understand them, be enriched by their thinking, and accompany them. __________________________________________________________ 6. Pope Francis appoints Father Spadaro to culture and education post, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, September 14, 2023, 9:36 AM                                                          Pope Francis on Thursday announced the appointment of Father Antonio Spadaro as the undersecretary for the Dicastery for Culture and Education, a position the Jesuit priest will take after over a decade leading an influential Catholic journal in Rome.  Spadaro, known popularly as “the pope’s mouthpiece” for his regular outspoken defense of the Holy Father, had announced early on Thursday that he was leaving La Civiltà, a decision he said came about from his “Jesuit superiors” that had been “agreed upon one year ago.” __________________________________________________________ 7. Court Rules California District Can’t Bar Christian Athletic Club From Schools, By Tyler Arnold, National Catholic Register, September 14, 2023 A panel of judges ruled that a California school district must allow a Christian athletic club to return to public schools after the district banned the group over its adherence to Christian teachings on sexuality. In 2019, the San Jose Unified School District rescinded its recognition of student groups affiliated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes because the clubs require members to affirm a statement of faith that declares sexual activity is only permissible between a man and a woman within a marriage. The district claimed this mandatory affirmation discriminated against LGBTQ people.  The opinion found that the district failed to treat Fellowship of Christian Athletes “like comparable secular student groups whose membership was limited based on criteria including sex, race, ethnicity, and gender identity.” The opinion found that “the Constitution prohibits such a double standard.”  The fellowship received representation from Becket, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in religious-freedom cases. Daniel Blomberg, a vice president and senior counsel at Becket, said in a statement that the ruling ensures equal treatment for religious students.  “This is a huge win for these brave kids, who persevered through adversity and never took their eye off the ball: equal access with integrity,” Blomberg said. “Today’s ruling ensures religious students are again treated fairly in San Jose and throughout California.” __________________________________________________________ 8. Pope Francis, former President Clinton to have ‘special conversation’ at foundation meeting, By Daniel Payne, Catholic News Agency, September 14, 2023, 9:56 AM Pope Francis and former President Bill Clinton will discuss pressing issues facing the world next week at the annual meeting of the Clinton Foundation’s global humanitarian effort, the Clinton Foundation revealed on Thursday.  The foundation said in a press release that the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2023 meeting would open on Monday, Sept. 18, with “a special conversation between President Clinton and His Holiness Pope Francis” via remote link. The discussion is expected to focus on “what it takes to keep going on the most pressing global challenges of our time,” the release said, including “climate change, the refugee crisis, the welfare of children, and the mission and projects of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital.” 9. Catholic schools must be faithful and welcoming on gender identity, Cleveland Diocese says, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, September 14, 2023, 6:41 PM The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland has issued a policy on gender identity and related LGBT issues for its Catholic schools, stressing the need to accompany and welcome people with gender dysphoria while also showing consistency with Catholic teaching and respect for God’s creation.  The three-page policy document, dated Aug. 31, largely formalizes existing policy and practice, according to the diocese’s website. The policy applies to diocesan offices, parishes, parish schools, and diocesan schools.  “All are welcome,” says the policy, adding that by being a part of a Catholic community a person accepts the responsibility of acting in a way “consistent with moral teachings” and in a way that upholds “the rules and expectations of that community … designed to reflect the fullness of the Church’s teachings.” __________________________________________________________

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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