Wisdom Wednesday | April 10th

April 10AUSCP NewsRoundup

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday with a warning: Some strong opinions are expressed today. In identifying opinion as opinion, we also identify who is offering the opinion.

Did you watch the eclipse? We have photos and a commentary.

Political reports include items that will also migrate to another page of the AUSCP website dedicated to political news from a Catholic perspective.

A story from Wisconsin began when four Ojibwe women dressed in traditional garb and did a choreographed dance in the sanctuary. What happened next is an ugly fact of church dis-unity.

A cautionary note: An accurate observation is not an opinion. We lead off with a disturbingly accurate report that Catholic hospitals and health facilities are closing labor and delivery units, even as the U.S. bishops emphasize pro-life support for mothers and babies.

Maternity care

It’s a blunt headline: “Catholic bishops silent as Ascension hospital system shrinks maternity care.” Religion News Service reports that the U.S. bishops have urged more support for mothers and families, even as Ascension, one of the largest Catholic health care providers in the US, has been closing labor and delivery units at its hospitals

Catholic bishops silent as Ascension hospital system shrinks maternity care


In praise of Bishop Thomas Gumbleton.

The Detroit prelate who for many American Catholics defined faith-based social justice activism in the post-Vatican II church, died April 4. He was 94.

OPINION: Texas AG hates migrants more than he loves religious liberty

Last month, Ken Paxton, Texas attorney general by the grace of God and his state Senate, launched a campaign to shut down a Catholic nonprofit that operates several shelters for migrants and refugees in the El Paso area. As an exercise in hypocrisy, Paxton’s campaign is pretty special. (Writer of this opinion is Mark Silk, a contributing editor of the Relligion News Service.)

Texas attorney general hates migrants more than he loves religious liberty

OPINION: Broadcasting the Eucharist should be banned

Streaming the Eucharist online is akin to showing video of people eating a meal to starving people. It is the ecclesial equivalent of substituting a cooking channel for a dinner with family or friends, says Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, writing for Religions News Service. (Reese will be a keynoter at the AUSCP Assembly in June.)

Streaming the Eucharist should be banned

Your Conscience, your vote

Following are reports and commentaries as electioneering accelerates in 2024.

OPINION: What that Bible Trump is selling says about truth

Jim Wallis is a writer, teacher, preacher and justice advocate who believes the gospel of Jesus must be emancipated from its cultural and political captivities. He is a New York Times bestselling author, public theologian, preacher and commentator on ethics and public life. Wallis says, “Take a look inside that ‘God Bless the USA’ Bible and you’ll find that in the truth lies real freedom.

OPINION: Christian supremacists are plotting the end of America as we know it.

(Matthew D. Taylor is the author of this commentary.)

The peril radicalizing some evangelicals goes beyond Christian nationalism

OBSERVATION: Catholic support growing for Trump

As the U.S. barrels toward yet another presidential election featuring Trump, most attention has been paid to Protestant forms of evangelicalism that have become increasingly vocal about a desire to create a particular kind of Christian America. But the movement’s Catholic cousins have also quietly continued to grow. (The writer is Jack Jenkins.)

The strange world of Catholic ‘integralism’ — and Christian nationalism


REPORT: What is Trump’s religion

In an exclusive interview with Religion News Service, Donald Trump said in a written statement that he no longer identifies as a Presbyterian and now sees himself as a non-denominational Christian.

Trump, confirmed a Presbyterian, now identifies as ‘non-denominational Christian’


OPINION: Trump rallies fascistic, not religious

Michael Sean Winters says the problem with Trump’s religiously inflected rallies is that they are fascistic and idolatrous, not that they are religious. Why is reporting on religion and politics so lousy?

Biden, Trump, on abortion

President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign accused the presumptive Republican nominee and former president Donald Trump of “scrambling” on the issue of abortion after Trump announced that he supports states making their own abortion laws. “He’s worried that since he’s the one responsible for overturning Roe, the voters will hold him accountable in 2024.”

News reports in recent days dealt with same-sex opinions, a new Vatican statement on the dignity of every person, and Bibles burned in reaction to a minister’s book burning.

OBSERVATION: Same-sex viewpoint reversed

A scholarly writer favored by conservative Christians has changed his mind about same-sex relationships. The reversal comes at a bad time for those who oppose accepting LGBTQ Christians. A new book expected in September, “The Widening of God’s Mercy: Sexuality Within the Biblical Story,” will demonstrate the change of heart. (The writer of this article is Jonathan Merritt, one of America’s most popular writers on issues of faith and culture.)

Conservative Christians just lost their scholarly trump card on same-sex relationships


Prefect insists: Every single person has dignity

The Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández, presented the Dicastery’s just-published declaration “Dignitas Infinita” in the Holy See Press Office, calling it a document “fundamental” for remembering that “everyone has their inalienable dignity.”

Toward objectivity: Three reports on Dignitas Infinita

“New Vatican Document on Human Dignity Condemns Gender Transition, Surrogacy, Abortion,” says the headline for National Catholic Register.

“Vatican condemns surrogacy, gender-affirming surgery, gender theory in new doctrinal note,” says the National Catholic Reporter.

The report from Vatican News lists grave violations of human dignity and builds on teachings “from war to poverty, from violence against migrants to violence against women, from abortion to surrogate motherhood to euthanasia, from gender theory to digital violence.”

Pope meets hostage relatives

Pope Francis meets with relatives of hostages held by Hamas since the start of the Israeli war against the organization. The private audience on Monday morning in the Vatican was confirmed by the Holy See Press Office.

Australian bishops release code of conduct

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference released “Integrity in Our Common Mission“: a national code of conduct ensuring safety and zero tolerance for clerical abuse.

Mother Who Chose Life Over Treatment, Dies After Cancer Battle

Jessica Hanna, whose doctor offered her an abortion, chose to continue pregnancy. She leaves behind her husband and their four children.

Turnabout: Bibles burned at church of book-burning pastor

A Tennessee pastor known for burning books, casting out demons and creating outrage says someone burned 200 Bibles outside his church on Easter Sunday. The pastor, Greg Locke, says Bible burning is a sign that Christianity is under attack in America.

Greg Locke says Easter Bible burning a sign that Christianity is under attack in America 

Survey on discrimination

The share of U.S. adults who say there is a lot of discrimination against Jews in our society has doubled in the last three years, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, jumping from 20% in 2021 to 40% today. A somewhat larger share – 44% – say Muslims face a lot of discrimination, up 5 percentage points since 2021.

Bishop vs. Archbishop

Bishop James P. Powers of Superior, Wisconsin, released a strongly worded statement April 5, responding to a March 22 post from the X (formerly Twitter) account of Archbishop Viganó, which sharply criticized a Native American ritual preceding this year’s diocesan chrism Mass in March. Powers accuses Viganó of defamation, and also a potential illicit ordination.

OBSERVATION: Workaholism is not virtue

A dominant funeral conversation: What will you remember? That the deceased had “worked hard.” What a startling departure this is from what our scriptures offer us. The gift of sabbath in Genesis. The gift of jubilee in Leviticus. The gift of easy yokes and light burdens in the Gospel of Matthew.

Total Eclipse

If you were struck by the grandeur of the eclipse Monday, or wished you could have experienced it, here are exquisite photographs collected by WIRED Magazine. Meanwhile, Father Raymond J. de Souza, writing for the National Catholic Register finds “a spiritual lesson to be drawn, one that reflects our experience of the shadow of sin in our lives.”

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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.

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