TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 178 – Pro-Life Americans Under Attack & Walking With Moms In NeedNathaniel Hurd of Religious Freedom Institute joins to discuss a shocking report released this month on the countless attacks against pro-life Americans including pregnancy centers and Catholic churches. Despite the ongoing attacks, pro-life work continues in our post-Roe world including the USCCB’s Walking with Moms in Need! Kat Talalas and Chelsy Gomez join sharing all the work being done to help and support vulnerable moms choose life. Father Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET on EWTN radio! 1. Congress can’t legislate abortion rights. Schumer and Graham are both wrong., By John Yoo, The Washington Post, September 16, 2022, Pg. A21 Last spring, as the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade loomed, congressional Democrats made the mistake of attempting to federally impose abortion rights nationwide. Now, some Republicans want to return the favor by seeking to ban all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Both abortion rights and antiabortion proposals assault the constitutional structure, which protects the right of the states to decide fundamental moral issues. In its Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling, the Supreme Court reversed Roe’s discovery of a woman’s right to an abortion in the 14th Amendment, which prohibits the state from depriving anyone of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The court concluded in June that Roe had fundamentally erred because it nationalized a right neither established by the constitutional text, as originally understood, nor developed over the course of American history and tradition. When the Constitution is thus silent, the court held, the political process in the states will decide abortion, just as it does the death penalty and euthanasia.  Congress does have indirect means to influence abortion policies through its power of the purse. … But these measures would affect abortion rights only at the margins. As Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote in a concurrence that provided the crucial fifth vote to overrule Roe, “The Constitution is neutral and leaves the issue for the people and their elected representatives to resolve through the democratic process in the states or Congress — like the numerous other difficult questions of American social and economic policy that the Constitution does not address.” Graham’s bill, like Schumer’s, simply seeks to avoid the hard political work of making good-faith arguments, with the goal of persuading Americans on the fundamental moral question of abortion. John Yoo is a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. 2. Senators Will Delay Same-Sex Marriage Vote, By Natalie Andrews, The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2022, Pg. A5 Senators said they would put off a much-anticipated vote to codify same-sex marriage into law until after the midterm elections, with advocates hoping that the delay will give them a better chance to build the bipartisan support needed to pass. 3. European Parliament condemns growing repression of Catholic Church in Nicaragua, calls for release of bishop, By AC Wimmer, Catholic News Agency, September 16, 2022, 5:08 AM By a broad majority, members of the European Parliament on Thursday condemned the escalating repression against the Catholic Church and others in Nicaragua.  The resolution, passed Sept. 15., criticized the arbitrary “arrest of Bishop Rolando Álvarez” of Matagalpa and called “for his and others’ immediate and unconditional release and the annulment of all legal proceedings against them.” The European Parliament’s text recognized Álvarez as playing “an important role as a mediator in the 2018 National Dialogue” and having constantly called “for peaceful and reasoned dialogue in Nicaragua.” The resolution also drew attention to the expulsion of the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Waldemar Stanislaw Sommertag, and numerous other repressions against members of the Catholic Church. These include the detention of Father Manuel Salvador García, the expulsion of 18 Missionaries of Charity, and the silencing of Catholic media. 4. Vatican Takes ‘Good Faith’ Stance With China, On the surface, it’s difficult to find many observers who support the Holy See’s assumption of the Chinese government’s good faith., By National Catholic Register, September 16, 2022, Editorial The controversial provisional agreement between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China on the appointment of bishops that was first signed in September 2018 is up for renewal again this fall, and questions abound about the wisdom of Rome’s willingness to proceed. Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state and the point man on dialogue with China, defended the accord with China’s atheistic and authoritarian communist regime earlier this month. In an interview with an Italian news channel, the cardinal acknowledged concerns have been raised about the merits of the deal. But he insisted that it was necessary to recognize “good faith” on China’s part and to proceed with another two-year renewal of the provisional agreement to allow the “seeds” that have been planted as a result to sprout.  Outside of the Vatican’s walls, however, it’s hard to find many observers who support this assumption of the Chinese government’s good faith.   The deal’s central rationale, publicly at least, was that it would help heal the breach between China’s so-called “underground” Catholic Church, whose bishops pledge their communion with Rome, and the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.  [S]ince the Vatican-China deal was initially signed in 2018, the official “Sinicization” of the CPCA has notably increased. Further, Beijing has refused to offer even the slightest of olive branches to the underground Church. Some of its bishops continue to be jailed as a consequence of their refusal to acknowledge the supremacy of the Chinese government’s religious authorities; and in July, state authorities demolished one of its churches because its pastor refused to join the CPCA.  And as Cardinal Parolin put it, it is hoped that this accommodation will be the seed for more tangible fruit down the road. Maybe someday it will.  But given what has happened over the last four years, it’s highly understandable that many informed Catholics continue to question whether there’s any corresponding “good faith” on the Chinese side when it comes to its deal with the Vatican. 5. The German Problem, The naked pressure tactics on display at the most recent gathering of the German ‘Synodal Path’ are completely alien to the healthy functioning of a collegial and fraternal Church — essentially, they betray the concept of synodality itself., By Michael Warsaw, National Catholic Register, September 16, 2022, Opinion The latest developments with respect to Germany’s increasingly disastrous “Synodal Path” are way beyond troubling. In fact, the local Church in Western Europe’s most populous and economically powerful nation has now veered to the brink of formal schism. Consider what has happened this month: Germany’s Catholic bishops, and the lay Catholic delegates who are participating on an equal footing with them in the Synodal Path process, approved documents that called for endorsement of homosexuality and transgenderism and advocated for the ordination of women — in blatant contradiction to what the Church teaches regarding these matters of morals and faith.  The delegates also formally approved the creation of a permanent Synodal Council that would supersede episcopal authority over some of the most fundamental aspects of the Church’s life in every diocese in Germany — in blatant contradiction to Catholic ecclesiology. And when pushback came from a minority of the country’s Catholic bishops, who voted in sufficient numbers to prevent approval of another document that openly and sweepingly dissented from Church teachings on sexuality, the progressivist majority reacted with outrage.  After the losing vote, the Synodal Path broke its own rules in order to dispense with the provision for secret ballots when voting on documents. The intent of this procedural manipulation was obvious: Going forward, the dominant progressives intend to “name and shame” any orthodox bishops and lay delegates who remain brave enough to stand up against the tidal wave of dissent in Germany. The maneuver had its hoped-for chilling effect. Only a small minority of delegates were willing to cast their ballots against the other controversial documents when they subsequently came up for votes. Such naked pressure tactics are completely alien to the healthy functioning of a collegial and fraternal Church. Equally alien is the new so-called Synodal Council, as it breaks decisively with the Church’s episcopal structure that was instituted by Jesus himself. Indeed, the proposed council has been denounced as anti-Christian by German Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, who warned in June that it resembled the communist government structures in the Soviet Union.  Cardinal Kasper can’t be dismissed by Synodal Path supporters as a “knee-jerk traditionalist,” given that he was the cardinal who floated the possibility of reception of Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics in early 2014, following the election of Pope Francis.  While we do not know what private discussions may now be taking place between the Holy See and the leaders of the Church in Germany, it is hard to see how this perilous situation can be resolved without the direct intervention of Pope Francis. In light of all this, we should renew our prayers that the eyes of Bishop Bätzing and the other wayward leaders of the German Synodal Path will be opened to God’s truth before they do irreparable damage to German Catholics by breaking definitively from communion with the rest of the Church. And we can also pray that the Holy Spirit continues to fortify the resolve of the Holy Father and our other shepherds to keep the Church centered on its fundamental mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. 6. Pope keeps Moscow dialogue open even if it’s uncomfortable, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 15, 2022, 3:26 PM The Vatican plans to keep open paths of dialogue with Russia, even if doing so “smells,” Pope Francis said Thursday, reaffirming Ukraine’s right to defend itself. Francis spoke at length about Russia’s war in Ukraine and the need for peace during a press conference while traveling home from Kazakhstan. Francis had visited the former Soviet republic to participate in an interfaith peace conference that, in its final communique, called on all political leaders to stop conflict and bloodshed “in all corners of our world.” Francis has long touted the need for dialogue, even with antagonists and countries that are hostile to the Catholic Church. He reaffirmed that policy in comments about Russia, China and even Nicaragua, where the government has been cracking down on the church. 7. Pope laments missed chance to improve ties with China, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 15, 2022, 3:39 PM Pope Francis said Thursday that he didn’t understand China but respected it, as another opportunity to improve ties came and went when the pope and Chinese president were within a few miles (kilometers) of one another in Kazakhstan but didn’t meet.  With another lost opportunity, Francis was asked to assess the state of religious freedom in China, amid a crackdown on religious minorities and continued strained relations with the Catholic Church.  “It’s not easy to understand the Chinese mentality, but it must be respected. I respect it,” Francis said. He declined to weigh in on the upcoming trial of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen, saying he didn’t feel qualified to determine if China was democratic or not. Zen, a staunch critic of China’s Communist Party, was arrested in May as part of a crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. “Yes it’s true, there are things that to us seem undemocratic,” Francis said. But he said the Vatican was intent on pursuing a path of dialogue with Beijing and was committed to a bilateral commission that is overseeing a 2018 accord on bishop nominations. 8. Pope: Vatican seeks talks on Nicaragua’s Catholic crackdown, By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, September 15, 2022, 3:09 PM Pope Francis said Thursday the Vatican was in contact with the Nicaraguan government about its crackdown on the Catholic Church and hoped “at the very least” that nuns from Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity religious order would be allowed to return to operations in the country. Francis said he didn’t understand the government’s actions: it has forced out the Vatican ambassador, closed the Sisters of Charity local operation and placed a bishop under house arrest. But Francis stressed that the Vatican was not prepared to sever contact or relations with the Nicaraguan government. “There is dialogue. That doesn’t mean we approve of everything the government is doing, or disapprove of it. There is dialogue,” he said. “When there’s dialogue it means we must resolve problems. In this moment, there are problems.” 9. NOLA bankruptcy judge says accused clerics can’t be paid. Is order ‘credible?’, A federal bankruptcy judge ordered the Archdiocese of New Orleans to stop stipend payments to priests accused of sexual abuse, but not listed on the archdiocesan “credibly accused clergy” roster, By JD Flynn and Ed. Condon, The Pillar, September 15, 2022, 1:11 PM A federal bankruptcy judge ordered the Archdiocese of New Orleans to stop stipend payments to priests accused of sexual abuse, but not listed on the archdiocesan “credibly accused clergy” roster. While it is not clear whether the New Orleans archdiocese will push back on the court’s decision, the order raises significant questions related to the First Amendment, about due process for accused clergymen, and the residual fallout of the Church’s sexual abuse crises of recent decades. Judge Meredith Grabill ordered Aug. 31 that the archdiocese must stop making stipend and other maintenance payment to five priests who are not in ministry, but who not included on the archdiocesan list of clerics credibly accused of sexual abuse. The order came in federal bankruptcy court, where the Archdiocese of New Orleans has filed for Chapter 11 protection 10. California ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill for Minors Seeking to Transition Genders Raises National Parental Rights’ Concerns, The bill authorizes the state to override parents if they oppose ‘gender-affirming care.’, By Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register, September 15, 2022 Legal experts and parental-rights groups are raising major concerns about a bill in California that would permit the removal of a minor from a parent or legal guardian so the minor is able to access “gender-affirming health care,” including puberty blockers and cross-sex hormone injections. The bill, which has passed the state Legislature and is awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature by Sept. 30, would grant the state “temporary emergency jurisdiction” in the case of a minor seeking “gender-affirming care.” Many observers are concerned that the measure would not only take away parental rights on the issue, but also interfere with custody determinations made by courts in other states.

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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