Wisdom Wednesday | April 20th

April 20AUSCP NewsRoundup

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, with a big push toward Friday for Earth Day and a never-ending call to Care for Creation! (Due to travel plans, this edition was edited on Monday, so please check your trusted news sources for up-to-date developments.)

Earth Day and Our Common Home

The obligation to care for our common home is endless. If you are in ministry, Susan Vogt offers resources you can use with those you serve. Or maybe you can use these Eco-Tips yourself – for example, to calculate your own carbon footprint and then accept the challenge to reduce your carbon footprint by five percent.

Vogt, a writer and family life minister, says her own Catholic faith tradition and the teaching of Pope Francis in Laudato Si’ inspired her, but caring for creation transcends religions. It is a universal undertaking. It cannot be done alone. Among her Eco-Tips for the month of May, Vogt offers links to two free ways to calculate your carbon footprint:

Sign up HERE for her monthly tips, to use for yourself and in your bulletins, newsletters or on websites, free, with the credit line, “By Susan Vogt, www.SusanVogt.net”

AUSCP member Bob Bonnot, a former executive director, offers a webinar today – the second of two intended “to re-awaken us and energize us to understand that we are all earthlings entrusted with care for Mother Earth.”

If you’re looking to learn more, abundant resources are available to engage your heart and mind, and to provoke your action. Thanks to Marilyn Antonik for compiling this collection.

Synodality (in two languages!)

You may know that the AUSCP and the Catholic Committee of the South are jointly reaching out to seek more voices for the Synod on Synodality. Cathy Harmon-Christian coordinates the ministry and recently added a Spanish version of the Google Form survey to gather in more voices. Find the form here in Spanish or in English.

Some American bishops are among critics of the synodal efforts of German bishops. At the February Synodal Path meetings of German Catholics, the synodal body publicly voted for a document calling for women deacons, involving lay people in the selection of bishops, a relaxation on the rule of celibacy for clergy and some kind of blessing for same-sex unions, according to reports by the National Catholic Reporter.

Last week, 74 bishops signed a letter to the German bishops warning of the “potential for schism.” The German Synodal Path is part of the universal process of synodality happening in the church, reminds NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters.

Other News from This Week

Do you remember the story about a Texas man on death row who wanted his minister with him at his execution? He won judicial approval for the minister’s presence, but now there might not be an execution – because the prosecutor now believes that the death penalty in unethical. You may need to subscribe to the New York Times to read this story.

On Thursday, April 7, history was made. The U.S. Senate voted to confirm the first Black woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court. Writing in the Black Catholic Messenger, Gunnar B. Gundersen suggests “This is yet another step toward equality and the dismantling of White Supremacy in America” but he views the opposition to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as an example of “misogynoir.”

Millions of Americans experienced the power of poetry when Amanda Gorman presented “The Hill We Climb” at the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden last January. Gorman has published more powerful poetry in her collection, “Call Us What We Carry.” In her poem, “Fury and Faith,” Gorman undertakes the rage that many Black people feel and how that might be channeled:

“Our goal is never revenge, just restoration. / Not dominance, just dignity. / Not fear, just freedom. / Just justice.”

There is new polling data from Pew Research, concluding that “Race is central to identity for Black Americans.” While they have varying backgrounds and experiences, a majority of Black Americans (76%) say being Black is extremely or very important to how they think about themselves.

Also, according to Pew Research, Most Black Catholic churchgoers are racial minorities in their congregations, unlike White and Hispanic Catholics – and Black Protestants.

The AUSCP congratulates the lobby group, NETWORK, on decades of efforts “to make the United States a better place.” More than 50 years ago, 47 sisters met at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. Dan Stockman writes in Global Sisters Report:

Women religious across the nation had embraced the Second Vatican Council’s call for renewal and reform a decade earlier by joining the civil rights and women’s rights movements as well as anti-war efforts. But they knew change needed to happen at the policy level, so those 47 sisters voted to form a lobbying organization to push for social justice in the nation’s laws. That organization, the Catholic social justice lobby Network, became reality on April 17, 1972. Today, the nonprofit has more than two dozen staffers and volunteers, 100,000 members and supporters, and national stature. The nonprofit will celebrate its golden anniversary with a gala April 22.

Pope Francis lamented the ‘Easter of war’ in Ukraine and warned of nuclear destruction – a sobering message at Easter, reported as one of a series of features in NCR.

Despite the continuing fighting, “peace is possible” said Pope Francis in his Urbi et Orbi message, urging leaders to demand peace “from our balconies and in our streets.”

Pew Research find increasingly positive American views of NATO, and seven in ten who see Russia as an Enemy

Oh, and this…

There’s a new malady (at least it is new to me) called the Sunday Scaries. (No, it is not about bad preaching or divisive church positions.) The Sunday Scaries are the heavy sense of anxiety and dread that sets in on Sunday afternoon or evening as you look toward the workweek ahead. It’s a term that has become popular in recent years.

We close this week’s search for wisdom with two items, first from a series on Sunday Scaries, about Burnout not as a personal failing but a response to chronic job stressors. The other is about a “Therapy Bunny” – not the Easter Bunny but rather a source of comfort after a pandemic-related job loss.

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