Wisdom Wednesday | April 17th

April 17AUSCP NewsRoundup

As we search for wisdom this Wednesday, no common theme emerges. An octopus with a mini-brain in each tentacle could be nature’s metaphor for our Church – as each arm gathers sensory information to drive its own movements without consulting major brain regions. We offer a wide range of items, opinions, features and statistics from a range of publications and sources.

This week our tentacles reach into international developments, reasons for Catholic conversions, Dignitas Infinita, Latino churches, a call to destroy the artwork of an accused priest-abuser, election trauma and more. (If you really want to learn about the octopus and its tentacles, here it is, according to Scientific American.)

International developments

The National Catholic Register says Vatican support for a two-state solution began long before Pope Francis – especially during the reign of Pope St. John Paul II. The National Catholic Reporter sees the Vatican’s top diplomat visiting Vietnam as a sign of papal planning for a visit by Pope Francis.

Dozens of Christians were arrested after shutting down the U.S. Senate lunchroom in protest of the Gaza famine. The protest, organized by Christians for a Free Palestine, followed a Communion service held on Capitol grounds.

What’s next?

The Vatican condemns surrogacy and gender-affirming surgery in Dignitas Infinita” while also inserting poverty, immigration and human trafficking, according to the National Catholic Reporter. An item in US Catholic asks, Can the church with its strengths and weaknesses reclaim its gospel mission?

Vatican News reports on the ongoing sessions of the Council of Cardinal advisors, following inclusion of three women last month. There is also an ongoing call in the United States for expanding inclusive liturgy and language, with an opinion expressed in US Catholic.

Catholic supporter compounds money problems for Episcopal Seminary

A group of seven New York-area bishops have objected to a long-term lease for General Episcopal Seminary, saying the lessee, a Catholic school, has a donor that does not support rights for gay, transgender and queer people. From Religion News Service.

Attracting converts

What Attracts Converts to the Catholic Church? The answer: Eucharist, unity, clarity. Some dioceses report huge increases of converts this year over last year.

Latino churches are social service hubs

A feature article in the Christian Century finds the extensive efforts of Latino churches go largely unseen outside their communities.

In praise of Bishop Gumbleton

Bishop Gumbleton was a founding member of both Pax Christi USA, the national arm of the international Catholic peace movement, and Bread for the World, an advocacy organization seeking to end world hunger.

EDITORIAL from National Catholic Register

It’s Time to Remove Father Rupnik’s Art. The former Jesuit priest is entitled to due process. His art is not.

World Religion

New Year celebrations unite religious groups across the South Asian diaspora. This week, people of all South Asian backgrounds celebrated the Hindu Solar New Year in their unique, regional ways. But common threads between the holidays, many say, have the power to unite those living in the diaspora. From Religion News Service.

ELECTION SECTION – Your Conscience, Your Vote

It’s an election year. What role should bishops play in politics? Michael Sean Winters offers his opinion. He says, “This question is complicated, and will require several columns in the weeks ahead, but today, let’s start by focusing on the role of bishops and on some basic points of orientation.”

The contours of the 2024 political landscape are the result of long-standing patterns of partisanship, combined with the profound demographic changes that have reshaped the United States over the past three decades.

At Yale, some Christian pastors signed a declaration opposing religious nationalism. It is a commitment of the Christian leaders to preach on moral issues and reject a political movement it says is exploiting traditional values to undermine democracy.

For Christians raised in ‘high-control’ settings, elections may trigger religious trauma. “Our bodies recognize that we’re being activated and pushed into trauma responses and that the same abusive techniques are being used on us,” said author Tia Levings. From Religion News Service.

Books, film and monuments

National Catholic Reporter features a book review, about a rabbi who finds hope, comfort in a new book by his friend, Pope Francis.

Black Catholic Messenger says a new documentary on Venerable Augustus Tolton features personal letters from the pioneering Black Catholic priest, to be shared publicly for the first time upon the film’s release in June.

Black Catholic Messenger also reports on a recent event commemorating the life and legacy of Sister Mary Antona Ebo, one of America’s most prominent Black Catholic nuns.

New park tells story of slavery

How should the story of slavery in the United States be told? In Montgomery, Alabama – once a major trafficking port for enslaved people – a new 17-acre park with a focus on art is attracting thousands of visitors. Freedom Monument Sculpture Park, which opened in late March, features bronze sculptures and historical artifacts that highlight what life was like for enslaved people. From Christian Science Monitor.

A monk who loves the blues

They say that if you don’t like the blues, you have a hole in your soul. From their African American roots, blues originated in the Deep South in the 1870s. The spirituals, work songs, field hollers, chants, and ballads all emanated from the newly acquired freedom of former slaves, reflecting all too often the racial discrimination they had faced. Gerard Gerhard, a Benedictine monk-poet in the American Midwest, has long been drawn to this genre of music. Feature from Today’s American Catholic.

Pew Research: Nine facts about Catholics

Catholics are one of the largest religious groups in the United States, outnumbering any single Protestant denomination. The U.S. has more Catholics than all but three other countries – Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines – according to the Vatican’s Statistical Yearbook of the Church. Here are nine key facts about the U.S. Catholic population.

Climate Crisis

The pope is concerned about climate change. How do U.S. Catholics feel about it? 71% of Hispanic Catholics see climate change as an extremely or very serious problem, compared with 49% of White, non-Hispanic Catholics.

Rolheiser reflects

What does the exuberance in the energy of young children say about our creator? What does their playfulness suggest about what must also lie inside of sacred energy? What does the energy of a young puppy tell us about what’s sacred? What do laughter, wit, and irony tell us about God? Check out the recent reflections offered by Ronald Rolheiser.

Support Wisdom Wednesday

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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