TCA Podcast, – “Conversations with Consequences,” Episode 179 – David Naglieri Talks Mother Teresa: No Greater Love & Edward Pentin On Cardinal ZenAs a beautiful documentary comes to theaters next month, director David Naglieri joins to discuss Mother Teresa: No Greater Love. Anchored by personal stories of people who were transformed by Mother Teresa, the moving film showcases not only the radical love of this amazing saint, but also the unwavering work of the Missionaries of Charity who serve the poorest of the poor in every community across the globe. Rome correspondent Edward Pentin also joins talking not only the dire situation in China as Cardinal Zen awaits trial, but also the end of an era with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. 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. Counterfeit Catholicism, Left and Right, By Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2022, Pg. A13, Opinion How should American Catholics think about their faith and public life? Take abortion. Two of the nation’s most prominent Catholic politicians, President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have unequivocally abandoned the church’s teaching on the dignity of human life from conception onward. Meanwhile, despite the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, a group of Catholic hard-liners in the academy and media have written off American institutions as hopelessly compromised and demand that all public life be radically reoriented along strictly Catholic lines. Neither offering is distinctly Catholic, yet both are given national airing. What are ordinary Catholics to do?  Instead, in a misguided attempt to reconcile Catholicism with modernity, many American Catholics have begun to embrace progressive ideologies that Archbishop José Gómez of Los Angeles calls “profoundly atheistic.” From critical race theory to gender ideology, these ideas “deny the soul the spiritual, transcendent dimension of human nature; or they think that it is irrelevant to human happiness,” Archbishop Gómez has said.  But they aren’t the only ones departing from church teaching. A prominent group of Catholics on the political right who go by the name of “integralists,” “common-good constitutionalists” or “postliberals” is another. Their central contention is that contemporary American culture is actively corrosive to Catholic teaching, practice and virtue. Some even reject our nation’s founding principles. In practice, they take advantage of widespread economic anxiety to play up the valuable tradition of Catholic critiques of market-worship, while ignoring Catholic teaching on exchange, the danger of socialism and the importance of subsidiarity. Such thinkers want our laws to reflect their own controversial understanding of Catholic teaching, which apparently seeks to create a powerful state that superintends people’s lives.  What’s needed is a framework for faith in public life that rejects both secularism and sectarianism.  That’s the mission of the Institute for Human Ecology—a new initiative at Catholic University, which will convene a group of scholars to share insights drawn from Catholic resources with our fellow citizens to advance the common goods of the church and our country.  The antidote to problems fracturing our country won’t be found in counterfeit Catholic teaching that sows yet more division. It will be found in engagement with authentic, American witnesses of the faith, with whom we can do what Leo XIII advised on the occasion of the founding of Catholic University in 1887—“give the Republic her best citizens.” Ms. Picciotti-Bayer is director of strategy for the Catholic University of America’s Institute for Human Ecology. 2. Every Tomboy Is Tagged ‘Transgender’, By Colin Wright, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2022, Pg. A15, Opinion The number of young Americans who describe themselves as “transgender” has exploded over the past decade, increasing by a factor of 20 to 40, according to gender clinic referral data and a recent Williams Institute report based on surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why? Jody Herman, author of the report, calls that a “bewildering question.” Clinical psychologist Erica Anderson tweeted that the surge “defies explanation. . . . Something is going on that we don’t yet understand.” The two leading explanations are greater social acceptance and social contagion. Both are likely contributing factors, but I think the main reason is simpler. It comes down to a change in terminology. Until recently, the term “transsexual” referred to people with a cross-sex identity, a desire to be the opposite sex or even a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. “Transgender,” the favored term now, is far broader. It encompasses mere nonconformity with rigid traditional sex roles. If you’re a tomboy or a feminine boy—if your expression or behavior is different from what is “typically associated” with your sex based on “traditional expectations”—you’re transgender. No wonder so many young people think they need medical help to “correct” their sex.  Hospitals don’t even hide that they are medicalizing nonconformity.   The equating of sex nonconformity with transgenderism arose incrementally, through a complicated regulatory process involving court decisions and bureaucratic guidelines that were presided over by transgender interest groups. Borrowed from the women’s legal movement, the nonconformity framing was designed in the early 2000s and solidified during the Obama era to empower judges and bureaucrats at the federal Office for Civil Rights to bypass rulemaking procedures and force schools, on penalty of violating Title IX, to defer to their students’ gender self-identification. We should treat children who are different with compassion and acceptance. Transgender ideology does the opposite. When children say they’re transgender, that frequently prompts a visit to a gender clinic where a “gender-affirming” therapist may prescribe puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and even surgery to “fix” this perceived misalignment between “gender identity” (i.e., social roles and stereotypes) and the child’s biological sex. As an ideological matter alone, this is regressive in the extreme. It repudiates decades of work by women’s-rights activists who rightfully gauged such notions as sexist and oppressive and fought to free nonconformists from social stigma. Subjecting children to body-altering surgery and drugs is a medical scandal of horrifying proportions. Mr. Wright, an evolutionary biologist, is founding editor of Reality’s Last Stand. 3. Justice Dept. to defend VA medical workers in abortion cases, By Perry Stein, The Wahington Post, September 23, 2022, Pg. A2 The Justice Department said Thursday that it will provide legal defense if necessary to Veterans Affairs medical workers who perform abortions to save a patient’s life, protect the mother’s health or in instances when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest — even if performed in a state where the procedure is illegal in those circumstances. In an internal government opinion, Justice Department lawyers said that a recently adopted Department of Veterans Affairs policy permitting employees to provide abortion services to veterans and their eligible relatives is legally sound and can continue. The Veterans Affairs agency started offering abortions at its federal facilities earlier this month in the wake of a June Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, upending the right to terminate a pregnancy that had been enshrined in federal law for nearly 50 years. 4. Pope Francis’ Embrace of Lay Governance Stirs Alarm, Influential voices in the Church have interpreted Pope Francis’ reformed apostolic constitution to support lay governance at the highest levels of the Church, and some prelates and canonists warn that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council could be upended., By Joan Frawley Desmond, National Catholic Register, September 23, 2022 When Pope Francis promulgated his long-awaited reform of the Roman Curia, Praedicate Evangelium, in March of this year, a number of U.S. canonists were stunned by a passage in the apostolic constitution that appeared to dismiss the Second Vatican Council’s affirmation of the relationship between Church governance and holy orders. Lumen Gentium, the dogmatic constitution of the Church, proclaims that “episcopal consecration, together with the office of sanctifying, also confers the office of teaching and of governing … exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head and the members of the college.” Many canonists have long understood this to mean that the law requires offices of Church governance to be led by bishops.  However, the new apostolic constitution states that “any member of the faithful” could lead a dicastery if the pope granted them that authority. This assertion is modified by additional language noting that qualifications for high Church office also depend “on the power of governance and the specific competence and function of the Dicastery or Office in question.”  Some speculated that the recent reforms’ allowance for lay Catholics to serve as prefects of dicasteries could soon give non-clergy the power to reverse the decisions of a local bishop, upending the principle of sacramental hierarchy. Others feared that such a change would challenge conciliar teachings that promoted the decentralization of Church authority with unpredictable consequences. Any separation of Church governance from holy orders “would amount to a fairly radical break from the vision put forth by the Second Vatican Council,” said Dominican Father Pius Pietrzyk, adjunct professor of canon law at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington. He also noted a lack of clarity regarding the precise impact of the reform and Pope Francis’ own intentions. 5. Cycling’s Holiest Roller: The Vatican Enters the Sports World on Two Wheels, Rien Schuurhuis is set to represent the tiniest country in the peloton in the men’s world championship road race in Wollongong, Australia, By Joshua Robinson, The Wall Street Journal, September 23, 2022, 6:00 AM He knows he isn’t exactly the holy roller you might expect the Holy See to put on a bike. For one thing, Schuurhuis is a 40-year-old Dutchman. But in one sense at least, he is among the rarest representatives the Holy See has ever sent out into the world. Pope Francis has canonized more than 90 individual saints during his pontificate. He has given his blessing to just one Vatican bike racer.  How Schuurhuis came to become the Vatican’s first representative at the cycling world championships is quite literally a matter of international diplomacy. And in this case, the diplomat is his wife. Schuurhuis is married to Chiara Porro, Australia’s ambassador to the Holy See, which qualified him for consideration under the rules of the Vatican’s sports association, an Athletica Vaticana official said.  The Vatican’s recent interest in cycling is also set against the campaign for the beatification of Gino Bartali, one the sport’s all-time greats. Not only was he a two-time Tour de France champion and three-time winner of the Giro d’Italia—Bartali was also a devout Catholic who helped Jews escape Italy during World War II by secretly transporting counterfeit documents in the seatpost of his bike.  For cycling worlds, it’s playing with the big boys. Schuurhuis will be in the same peloton as Tour de France champions and the winners of one-day classics. The reality is that Schuurhuis will simply be happy to complete an elite race whose very scale dwarfs the country he is representing. At 165.8 miles, Sunday’s world championship course is the equivalent of pedaling around the entire Vatican 78.5 times. 6. Indiana abortion clinics reopening after judge blocks ban, By Tom Davies and Arleigh Rodgers, Associated Press, September 22, 2022 After an Indiana judge on Thursday blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, phones starting ringing across Indiana abortion clinics, which are preparing to resume the procedure a week after the ban had gone into effect.  Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction against the ban, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue in a lawsuit that it violates the state constitution.Indiana’s seven abortion clinics were to lose their state licenses under the ban — which only permits abortions within its narrow exceptions to take place in hospitals or outpatient surgical centers. 7. White House: GOP abortion ban would mean a nationwide crisis, By Colleen Long, Associated Press, September 22, 2022, 6:18 PM The White House and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said Thursday that a Republican-led proposal to ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks would endanger the health of women and have severe consequences for physicians.  President Joe Biden himself said at a fundraiser that some GOP efforts to ban abortion were more extreme than his own Catholic faith. “I happen to be a practicing Roman Catholic. My church doesn’t even make that argument,” he said, referring to abortion bans that leave “no exceptions. Rape, incest. No exceptions.” 8. Maine OKs 1st religious school for tuition reimbursement, By David Sharp, Associated Press, September 22, 2022, 9:14 PM Maine is ready to fund tuition for some religious school students for the first time since a Supreme Court ruling in June ordered the state to treat those schools the same as other private schools regarding tuition reimbursement. Cheverus High School, a Jesuit college preparatory school in Portland, was the only religious school to apply for participation in the state’s tuition reimbursement plan and its application was approved by the state, a state official said Thursday.  Despite the victory, religious schools are taking a cautious approach after Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey said all schools accepting public funds must abide by the Maine Human Rights Act. The act bans discrimination on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or disability. That would include accepting gay and transgender teachers and students, which could conflict with some religious schools’ beliefs. 9. Leading German bishop to stay in post despite damning report, The deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference acknowledged that he had ‘acted negligently in some cases.’, By Luke Coppen, The Pillar, September 22, 2022, 9:53 AM A leading German bishop said on Thursday that he will remain in office despite a damning report on the handling of abuse cases in his diocese. Bishop Franz-Josef Bode told journalists at a press conference on Sept. 22 that he had discussed whether to resign as bishop of Osnabrück, northwestern Germany, with the safeguarding expert Fr. Hans Zollner, S.J. Zollner is a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and the founding president of Rome’s Centre for Child Protection.  Bode was elected deputy chairman of the German bishops’ conference in 2017 and is one of four members of a committee overseeing the country’s controversial “synodal way,” which is presented as a response to a devastating clerical abuse crisis in Germany. The bishop has gained international attention for his support of female deacons and blessings for same-sex couples. 10. China Analysts Say Vatican’s Agreement With the Chinese Communist Party Ignores Negative Realities, Pope Francis and his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, support the deal’s renewal despite the absence of tangible benefits for the local faithful., By Edward Pentin, National Catholic Register, September 22, 2022 As the Holy See prepares to renew its provisional agreement with the People’s Republic of China, recent remarks by Pope Francis and his secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, have been criticized by China-watchers and experts as naïve and out of touch with the reality facing Catholics in China and Hong Kong.  The Pope told reporters on his way back from Kazakhstan last week that the Vatican’s bilateral dialogue with China’s communist government was  “going well” but “slowly because the Chinese pace is slow, they have an eternity to move forward,” and because they are a people of “infinite patience.” The Pope also said he “didn’t feel like” characterizing China as “antidemocratic because it is such a complex country, with its own rhythms.”   The Holy Father discussed the case 90-year old Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who was put on trial this week in Hong Kong, accused with others of failing to register a pro-democracy support fund. The Pope ambiguously commented that Cardinal Zen “says what he feels, and you can see there are limitations there.” And the Holy Father notably failed to offered any words of encouragement or empathy for the cardinal, who has pleaded not guilty,  and stressed that he himself tries to “support the path of dialogue.” China experts and others expressed bewilderment over the Pope’s remarks. On his comment that China moves slowly and his call for patience, Benedict Rogers, the founder of Hong Kong Watch, a charity promoting human rights, freedoms and the rule of law in the China-administered territory, pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party “can move fast when it wishes to.”   “The speed and intensity of the genocide of the Uyghurs, and the crackdown in Hong Kong, show that it can act remarkably quickly when it decides on a particular course of action,” said Rogers, who was himself barred from entering the country in 2017 on account of his human rights work.   The British Catholic peer Lord David Alton interpreted the appeal for patience as “appeasement” and recalled the consequences of such an approach in the lead up to the Second World War and the post-war Vatican policy towards Soviet Communism of Ostpolitik.   “We know to what appalling consequences appeasement led,” he said. 11. President Biden fundraiser remarks muddle Catholic teaching on abortion, By Kevin J. Jones, Catholic News Agency, September 22, 2022, 8:22 PM President Joe Biden on Thursday appeared to suggest — erroneously — that the Catholic Church makes exceptions for rape and incest in its condemnation of abortion.  “Talk about, what, no exceptions. Rape, incest, no exceptions,” Biden continued, according to Bloomberg. “Now, I’m gonna deal with my generic point. I happen to be a practicing Roman Catholic, my Church doesn’t even make that argument.”  “Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church states. “This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed as an ends or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law” (No. 2271).  The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also has addressed the difficult situation of a pregnancy conceived in rape. “(A)ny woman subjected to sexual assault needs our compassionate and understanding care, including psychological and spiritual as well as medical support,” Richard Doerflinger, the then-associate director of the pro-life secretariat, said in a July 2013 commentary on the U.S. bishops’ website. “(A)ny child conceived in rape is, like his or her mother, an innocent victim. That child, too, has a right to life, and destroying the child does not punish the rapist or end the woman’s trauma,” he added. 12. U.S. abortion restrictions absolutely do not align with European law, By Leah Hoctor, The Washington Post, September 22, 2022, 1:26 PM, Opinion Apart from the very few European nations that retain highly restrictive laws on abortion — Andorra, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco and Poland — no other European country “bans” abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Instead, almost all European countries allow abortion throughout pregnancy on a range of grounds, including where there are risks to a patient’s physical or mental health, and in situations involving severe or fatal fetal impairment. Elective abortion is only one of the grounds on which abortion is legal in most of Europe, and time limits for this differ per country. When these time limits end, abortion almost always remains legal for a much longer period on other grounds, such as broadly framed socioeconomic or health grounds, or grounds of severe or fatal fetal impairment.

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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