Kids, Kenosis, and More!
We welcome Leah Libresco Sargeant on the newest episode of the podcast, where she talks about kids, parents, and their radical dependence on God. Later that episode, Kara joins for a chat about the very odd 2019 film Weathering with You.

Find previous episodes of the podcast here and share it with your friends!
Wedding Planning
This year is set to be the busiest wedding year in decades, according to a survey by The Knot. Wedding planner Catherine Boizelle joined us for episode 85 of the podcast to offer some guidance to Catholic couples entering the fray of planning.

Pastoral Framework for Marriage and Family Life
This national pastoral framework from the USCCB will assist dioceses as local pastoral planning and implementation continue to take place since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. "Called to the Joy of Love" provides guidelines for the pastoral accompaniment of married couples and families in every phase of life, drawing upon the teachings and recommendations contained in the apostolic exhortation.

You can buy a hard copy or download the PDF.
Legal/Policy Updates
Promoting a Culture of Life - Chairman Archbishop Cordileone joined USCCB President Archbishop Gomez and other bishop chairmen in issuing a life-affirming statement on March 21st, in advance of the Supreme Court's anticipated decision in the Dobbs case, which could overturn or significantly diminish Roe v. Wade. The bishops stressed the importance of assistance to families in need.

HHS Mandates - On March 11th, bishop chairmen Cordileone, Lori, Coakley, and Dolan sent a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, addressing one of several anticipated hostile regulations. In particular, the bishops spoke to proposed rules under the Affordable Care Act's "nondiscrimination" provision, Sec. 1557, which will likely attempt to impose a mandate on the health care profession to provide so-called "gender confirmation" medical procedures, but might also involve abortion, contraception, sterilization, or assisted reproductive technologies.

Domestic Violence and Government Funding Package - In early March, Congress inserted a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act into the "omnibus" government funding package. On March 9th, USCCB chairmen sent a letter laying out its views on the former, which strengthens grants to address domestic violence through law enforcement and victims' services, yet continues to proliferate problematic gender ideology terminology and pose related risks to women and service providers. The rest of the omnibus avoided a number of originally proposed problems, such as attacks on faith-based foster care and redefining "sex," and restored abstinence education funding. But it did contain, among other questionable items, $200 million for the problematic Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund in the State Dept.  

Foster Care Victory - Catholic Charities West Michigan won a favorable settlement with the state of Michigan on March 21st, as the latter recognized that it would likely lose the legal battle over the ability of Charities to continue serving children without being forced to place them with same-sex couples.

Messing with Texas - On March 2nd, the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services issued a notice implicitly targeted against Texas’s recent order to investigate "gender affirming" medical interventions for children as "child abuse," claiming that federal law prevents restriction of such “care.” A week later, on March 9th, Texas amended an existing lawsuit against the federal government, Texas v. EEOC, to add a challenge to that HHS notice. Then, on March 11th, a state judge temporarily blocked the governor’s order, signaling that she would likely rule against it in her final decision.

School Sports - States' bills to protect women's and girls' school sports continue to work their way through the legislative process, to varying ends. For example, Indiana's bill was vetoed on March 21st. Utah's legislature, however, overrode their governor's veto to pass the law on March 25th. Meanwhile, on the 22nd, Florida's governor made a statement that resident Emma Weyant was the true winner of the NCAA championship event for women's 500-yard freestyle swimming, which "transgender" male Lia Thomas had won.

Christian Shelter Employment Case - On March 21st, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review, for now, in Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission v. Woods. The case involves a lawyer in a same-sex relationship who was denied a job at a Christian homeless shelter. The Washington state supreme court had ruled against the shelter's freedom to hire people who conduct themselves in accord with its beliefs. The case could return at a later procedural stage.

Speech in Schools - Kansas middle school math teacher Pamela Ricard sued Geary County Schools on religious freedom grounds, on March 7th, after being disciplined multiple times for refusing to use “transgender” students’ preferred names and pronouns. The school had rejected her proposal to use their registered names. A Florida bill seeking to limit schools' imposition of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in early elementary students' instruction, widely mischaracterized as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was signed into law on March 28th. President Biden strongly condemned the law as “hateful."

Local Trouble - In March, another school district in Wisconsin, Eau Claire, was exposed for concealing students’ “sexual identities” from parents, with training saying that parents do not have a right to knowledge of their children’s identities. Also this past month, Edmonds School District in Washington state was spotted giving first-graders materials on how they can choose their "gender" (or neither or both genders) and corresponding pronouns.