Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Today on "Kresta in the Afternoon" - November 12, 2013

Talking About the “Things that Matter Most” on Nov. 12, 2013


4:00 – USCCB Conference Elects New Leaders – An Overview of the Week
The annual fall General Assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is meeting here in Baltimore this week hearing reports from the committees on The New Evangelization: Faith, Worship, Witness, the Committee on Catholic Education, , the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Catholic Relief Services and more. The outgoing President of the body, Cardinal Dolan gave and opening address that stirred some media outlets and a new President and Vice-President have been elected. We talk to Russell Shaw, journalist and former spokesman for the USCCB.

4:20 – Kresta Comments

4:40 – Papal Teaching Warns Against Excessive Government
As we continue to see the disturbing roll-out of Obamacare, Stephen Krason is here to give us an overview of papal teaching on bloated government. He argues that faithful Catholics should be careful about falling into the trap that government action and new public policies are the ready solution to all social problems. The Church’s social reaching suggests otherwise and, contrary to the prevailing view, in the nature of things government is often not capable of handling them. Dr. Krason makes his case.

5:00 – An Overview of Challenges to Religious Liberty in America
Three chairmen of U.S. bishops’ committees expressed their opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 (ENDA) as passed last week by the U.S. Senate. Not because they are for discrimination against gays in the workplace, but because of the many religious liberty problems it creates. They are asking for further language in the bill, but the Senate denied that. We talk with Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore who is head of the USCCB committee on religious liberty.

5:20 – Kresta Comments

5:40 – Vatican outlines plans for 'urgent' Synod discussion of family
Pope Francis has decided to devote the next Synod of Bishops to family pastoral issues, setting the stage for a far-ranging discussion that is likely to touch on questions concerning divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitation and annulments. The synod will take place in October of 2014. Last week the Vatican unveiled the preparatory document for the synod which created a lot of misreporting. The document included a series of questions sent to bishops’ conferences throughout the world aimed to solicit information about pastoral practices and public attitudes in different societies. Media outlets reported that the Pope is asking all Catholics to weigh in on whether they want gay “marriage,” the end of annulments, etc. Dr Greg Popcak is here to help us with this story and to answer the questions posed in the preparatory document.


  1. The Bishops never tire of repeating, as Al did today, that it opposes unjust discrimination against gays. But it seems that there is no discrimination against gays that is unjust. Let's imagine this: a restaurant fires a server on learning that he is in a long-term relationship with a person of the same sex. The owner of the restaurant is Catholic and claims that everything he does, including his restaurant hiring practices, must be consistent with his religious beliefs. Is the firing of the server unjust according to the Catholic Bishops?

  2. Dear Peter,
    Good question. Yes, that would be an example of injustice. Sin doesn't usually disqualify an employee from properly carrying out his duties. If he was employed as a church organist and worship leader I think it would disqualify him just as a man living in adultery would be disqualified from serving the church in a public position.

    I question, however, how often homosexuals are discriminated against in our day. Homosexual chic is quite common. In some circles, boasting that one has homosexual friends elevates one's "street creds", silly as that sounds.

    Peace upon you,

  3. Al, thank you. I agree with you on the two points you make--although the church organist is an easy case--and that it's increasingly rare for gays to be targets of discrimination.

    Where are the limits of religious freedom exactly when it comes to regulation of business practices (Hobby Lobby, etc)? I know that's a difficult question, but how are we to draw the line?

    I always listen to your show. It's rare to find thoughtful moral content on the radio. I always learn something, and when I don't agree I still benefit.

    All best, PD

  4. To follow up and state it more clearly using the well know example of Hobby Lobby : you're saying that it would be unjust and therefore appropriately made illegal for Hobby Lobby (or a similarly situated business) to be forbidden to fire a worker in a same sex marriage but it is unjust to require Hobby Lobby to provide insurance including contraception (and the whole range of contraceptive drugs, some of which are abortifacients). What is the principle on which you or the Cathlic Bishops would decide the issues differently--the first being unjust against the employee and the second being unjust against the employer?