We’ll start this week with some news from the church.
As the impeachment trial moves into its second day in the deeply divided U.S. Senate, some observers of the national political world see a glimmer of hope for unity.
For instance, the Wall Street Journal asks an intriguing (intriguing at least to the AUSCP audience): “Can Catholic Social Teaching Unite a Divided America?”
Meanwhile, at America Magazine, there is concern over the division within the Catholic Church. An article concludes that the same Catholics who condemn a “culture of death” have in fact built a deadly, post-truth world. It’s not pleasant reading. Is a Catholic alliance with evangelical Protestants and the Republican party making a mockery of the Gospel?
Pope Francis has decried a “crisis of democratic values” in his annual speech to ambassadors accredited to the Holy See. The pope expressed alarm at a worldwide “political crisis” evidenced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here on Wednesday morning we don’t yet have new Catholic writing about the impeachment — but here’s a quick review of commentary in mid-January.
National Catholic Reporter editorialized bluntly, “After attempted coup, impeaching Trump is a moral obligation.”
At the lobbying organization, Network, Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, said, “let me tell you what my Catholic faith teaches about reconciliation. Reconciliation and absolution requires contrition, confession, and penance.” In short, it requires impeachment.
A quick thought about Biden
Anybody note just a bit of irony here? At the civil ceremony that was his inauguration, Joe Biden quoted St. Augustine. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he quoted the Danish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard. The Tablet published the story.
What Biden said at the breakfast:
For so many in our nation, this is a dark, dark time. So where do we turn? Faith. Kirkegaard wrote: ‘Faith sees best in the dark.’ I believe that to be true.”
Immigration and other AUSCP initiatives
Some mixed signals have come from the U.S. bishops since the inauguration, but some clear support was voiced over immigration policies.
There’s an awful lot of work to be done for groups trying to help settle immigrants and refugees. Religion News Service summarizes the efforts underway, and what still needs to be done.
Next, some optimism. At the Christian Science Monitor, a commentary examines how the Covid crisis may have helped build community.
Many churches learned that locking the doors didn’t have to mean pulling up the welcome mat. By pivoting to virtual programming, religious leaders were able to not only engage their congregations, but also grow their ranks.
Finally, an interview with one of the AUSCP’s favorite keynoters, Massimo Faggioli, in Religion News Service.
“The Vatican may be breathing a sigh of relief on Joe Biden’s election. But the second Catholic president faces significant headwinds from American bishops, writes Massimo Faggioli in a new book.”
RNS talked to Faggioli about his new book and how Biden might overcome the USCCB’s early hostility and cooperate with Pope Francis. Faggioli said:
. . . Biden has had to deal with a U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that is in the midst of what Faggioli calls a “reactionary” revolt. A number of the American bishops and cardinals supported what is described by some as an attempted coup of Pope Francis by former U.S. nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano in 2018. Others want to undo the reforms of the Second Vatican Council or notch a victory in the culture war by denying Biden Communion for his support of legal abortion.
We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
Until next week, please follow us on social media with the buttons below to make sure you don’t miss the latest news from the AUSCP!