TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 231 – Holly Ordway Talks Tolkien’s Faith On Hobbit Day & Emily Malloy On Arranging The Seasons! As we mark the 50th anniversary of JRR Tolkien’s death this month, we discuss the author’s great Catholic faith with Holly Ordway of Word on Fire. We also discuss the beauty of the divine as witnessed through the seasons with Emily Malloy out with a new Theology of Home book called Arranging the SeasonsFather Roger Landry also offers an inspiring homily for this Sunday’s Gospel. Catch the show every Saturday at 7amET/5pmET radio! 1. On recent abuse scandals, Vatican talk is both too much and too little, By Chris Altieri, Crux, September 22, 2023 Both [events] set in relief the ironic reality of the Vatican’s addiction to talk, which is at once too much and too little to control the spiraling narrative of disastrous failure to deal effectively with entrenched problems. The first was the frankly bizarre statement that came on Monday from the Diocese of Rome regarding its “investigation” into Rome’s Centro Aletti – better known as the base of operations for the disgraced former celebrity Jesuit, Marko Rupnik, credibly accused of serial sexual, psychological, and spiritual abuse perpetrated against nearly twenty women over three decades – which drew a clean bill of health from the probe. The Centro Aletti has been a “public association of the faithful” under the aegis of the Rome vicariate since 2019. Cardinal Angelo De Donatis – the Cardinal Vicar of Rome – has gone out of his way to make it clear that neither he nor the pope’s diocesan governing apparatus had knowledge until “very recent times” of the allegations against Rupnik, and never had any authority to do anything about Rupnik or the allegations against him. That’s tough to credit, quite frankly, not least since the churchman who first brought victims’ testimony to Rome was none other than Bishop Daniele Libanori, an auxiliary of the Rome diocese under De Donatis and a Jesuit, who conducted a fact-finding mission to the Loyola Community of women religious that Rupnik had helped to start in his native Slovenia several decades ago.  The second story involves an Australian prelate, Christopher Saunders, the former bishop of Broome – a sprawling diocese in the Australian outback that covers an area roughly the size of France and is home to only 50,000 people – who led the diocese from 1996 until 2020, and who resigned in 2021 after police investigations into alleged sex crimes and intense media scrutiny. Prosecutors declined to bring charges against Saunders then, but police in Western Australia have reportedly asked to see a new dossier detailing the findings of an independent probe conducted at the behest of the Church in Australia after Pope Francis ordered an investigation under Vos estis lux mundi, his 2019 apostolic letter outlining an accountability mechanism for prelates accused of abuse or cover-up. Mandated by Pope Francis a year ago this month, and directed by Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, the Church-ordered probe reportedly found that Saunders likely abused at least four boys from Aboriginal communities. The investigation concluded that Saunders likely groomed nearly seventy other Aboriginal boys and men, and may have abused at least some of them.  In the Rupnik case, the vicar protests too much. In the Saunders case, Church leaders are saying far too little. In both cases, observers may be readily forgiven the impression that interests other than justice are being served. 2. Head of Europe’s Largest Archdiocese Criticized for Remarks on ‘Experience of Love’ and Homosexual Attraction, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan has alarmed some observers with the approach he set forth in a new pastoral document, released shortly before the start of the global Synod on Synodality., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, September 21, 2023 The archbishop of the world’s largest archdiocese in terms of number of Catholic faithful has been criticized for releasing pastoral guidelines that appear to define homosexual attraction as love, and equating them to heterosexual relationships with respect to pastoral care.  In a pastoral proposal for 2023-2024, Archbishop Mario Delpini of Milan wrote that “particularly delicate attention given modern-day sensibilities must be devoted to accompanying and understanding the experience of love and the different nuances of attraction, both to people of different genders and to people of the same gender.”The archbishop’s words are made in the context of assigning great importance to “accompaniment,” a term that figures prominently throughout the document, and he underlined that the Christian community must “assume the responsibility of teaching about love” in all its “sexual dimensions.”  The archdiocese also caused alarm about its approach to such issues earlier this year. In May, the head of a pro-life group accused the archdiocese of endorsing gender ideology after it allowed a vigil against “homo-transphobia” to be held in a Milan church during the city’s Pride event. 3. Book-Burning Bans Are the Wrong Way to Fight Religious HatredA Danish proposal to criminalize burning the Quran and other sacred objects would curtail free expression and advance the aims of extremists., By Suzanne Nossel, The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2023, 12:00 PM, Opinion There are few sights as alarming as a book set alight. Igniting the printed word in order to destroy the ideas contained therein runs counter to our notions of enlightenment, deliberation and reason. It can also carry a message of contempt for those who consider the burned book sacred. But while there’s no need to condone book burning and plenty of reasons to condemn it, it shouldn’t be punished by law. That principle is now in jeopardy in Denmark, which has witnessed more than 170 anti-Muslim demonstrations in recent years, including a number of public Quran burnings. In response, lawmakers have introduced a bill to criminalize “improper treatment of objects of significant religious importance.” Offenders would face up to two years in prison. In announcing the proposed law, the Danish government cited the problem of being “seen in large parts of the world as a country that facilitates insulting and denigrating actions against other countries and religions.”  There are many ways that countries can combat religious intolerance without trampling rights. When the Organization of Islamic Cooperation sought to enact an international ban on insults to religion, the EU, the U.S. and dozens of other countries resisted, citing freedom of speech. But in 2011 the two sides of the debate came together, recognizing that combating religious prejudice need not come at the expense of free expression. The compromise agenda became known as the Istanbul Process. It centers on eight specific obligations that nations undertake to counter religious hatred. They include interfaith dialogue, education to counter stereotyping, more aggressive tracking and prosecution of hate crimes, and messaging from governments themselves to firmly reject religious hostility. The process was informed by case studies of approaches that have worked around the world to foster religious coexistence.  The impulse to outlaw expression that creates unease, offense and uproar is not unique to Denmark. Censors around the world designate speech as dangerous and subversive in order to silence it. Denmark needs to reassure Muslims that it is committed to keeping them safe, protected and respected. It should do that by upholding rather than betraying the country’s core commitment to free expression and human rights. Suzanne Nossel is the CEO of PEN America and the author of “Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All.” 4. AG Garland unsure if FBI agent was fired for memo on ‘radical-traditionalist Catholics’, By Ryan Foley, Christian Post, September 21, 2023 U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland has come under fire from Republican lawmakers and advocacy groups for what they have deemed as unsatisfactory answers about an FBI memo on radical-traditionalist Catholics. The Republican-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Wednesday titled “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice.”  When Van Drew asked if there was “anyone fired for drafting and circulating the anti-Catholic memo,” Garland told him he didn’t know the answer to that question. “There is a disciplinary process that the Attorney General is not permitted to intervene in.”  The FBI document stated that radical-traditional Catholics are “characterized by the rejection of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) as a valid church council; disdain for most of the popes elected since Vatican II, particularly Pope Francis and Pope John Paul II; and frequent adherence to anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, and white supremacist ideology.”  Tom McClusky, director of government affairs for the advocacy group CatholicVote, released a statement reacting to Garland’s testimony. “Merrick Garland has proved himself to either be a very bad liar or totally incompetent,” McClusky said. “Either way the answer is the same: he needs to resign or be removed from office.”  Earlier this year, CatholicVote filed a lawsuit against bot FBI and the DOJ for failing to provide internal communications containing a series of terms related to the Catholic Church that it requested under the Freedom of Information Act. That litigation remains ongoing. 5. Bishops from mainland China to attend synod, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, September 21, 2023, 11:46 AMThe Vatican announced Thursday that two bishops from mainland China will attend next month’s synod on synodality. Bishop Anthony Yao Shun and Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang were listed as papal nominees on an updated list of synod delegates published Sept. 21. Bishop Luis Marín de San Martín, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, told journalists at a Holy See press office briefing that Pope Francis had selected the two bishops from a list approved by the Chinese authorities.  Yao is the 57-year-old leader of the Diocese of Jining in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He studied liturgy at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, in the 1990s. After returning to China, he played prominent roles in the country’s liturgical commission, which is overseen by the state-managed Catholic Patriotic Association and the Council of Chinese Bishops, which is not recognized by the Vatican.  Yongqiang is the 53-year-old Bishop of Zhoucun in China’s eastern Shandong province. He was ordained coadjutor bishop of the diocese in 2010 with Vatican approval and took up the leadership of the diocese in 2013. He was reportedly elected vice-president of the Catholic Patriotic Association in 2016. 6. Can Trump Thread the Needle on Abortion?, By Jake Bevan, Real Clear Politics, September 21, 2023, Opinion In the first of five newly scheduled visits to the Hawkeye State, Donald Trump arrived in northeast Iowa with a warning. “In order to win in 2024, Republicans must learn how to properly talk about abortion,” he told an audience of some 2,000 potential voters, packed into a ballroom here. “This issue cost us unnecessarily but dearly in the midterms. It cost us dearly, really, and unnecessarily.” Amid his customary MAGA slogans and jokes at the expense of Ron DeSantis, the moment stood in stark relief as a rare attempt at clear-eyed, political sobriety on Trump’s part. It’s also the latest in a week-long saga in which Trump, the self-described “most pro-life president in history,” has sought to loudly position himself as the GOP’s resident moderate on abortion. It began with a bang on Sunday, when the former president denounced the idea of a six-week “fetal heartbeat” ban on abortion as a “terrible mistake,” and pledged to negotiate a compromise with Democrats on the issue.  Is the pro-life right forever doomed to moderation, then? Not necessarily. In a statement to RCP, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the advocacy group SBA Pro-Life America, provided an alternate telling of 2022’s Red Wave That Wasn’t. Republican governors who exceeded expectations that year – Georgia’s Brian Kemp, Texas’ Greg Abbott, and, yes, Florida’s Ron DeSantis – were all unabashedly pro-life in their campaigns. “Life is a winning issue for those that speak clearly and confidently,” Dannenfelser explained. “Republicans need to stand firm in serving mothers and protecting the most innocent among us. And when they do, they see great success. Governors who boldly spoke on pro-life won by double-digit margins in the midterms against pro-abortion candidates.” Ashley McGuire, a senior fellow at the Catholic Association, amplified this point, saying that successful candidates in 2022 were not only pro-life, but were able to “clearly define their opponent’s unpopular no-limits extremism” as well. “Pro-choice extremists are playing dangerous rhetorical games with voters and using deceptive language in their ballot initiative efforts, and so it’s more important than ever that pro-life politicians clarify their positions and clearly define those of their opponents,” McGuire said. __________________________________________________________ 7. Pope goes to Marseille to talk migration, but will Europe listen as it scrambles to stem an influx?, By Nicole Winfield, Trisha Thomas And Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press, September 20, 2023, 1:50 AM Ten years after Pope Francis made a landmark visit to the Italian island of Lampedusa to show solidarity with migrants, he is joining Catholic bishops from the Mediterranean this weekend in France to make the call more united. The question is whether anyone in European corridors of power will listen, as they scramble to stem a new tide of would-be refugees setting off from Africa. Francis’ overnight visit Friday to the French port city of Marseille to close out a meeting of Mediterranean bishops was scheduled months ago. But it comes as Europe’s migrant problem is once again making headlines, given the nearly 7,000 migrants who came ashore on Lampedusa within a day last week, briefly outnumbering the resident population.

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.
Subscribe to the TCA podcast!
“Conversations with Consequences” is a new audio program from The Catholic Association. We’ll bring you thoughtful dialogue with the leading thinkers of our time on the most consequential issues of our day. Subscribe today or listen online and enjoy our entertaining and informative weekly episodes.