It is Ash Wednesday, even though many among us feel like we have been living in Lent for the past year already. What are you doing for Lent?
Selections for this special Lenten Wisdom Wednesday include caring for creation and putting a stop to calling each other names. Our collection includes items from Washington D.C. regarding the usual topics — and items from Paris and Rome. Pope Francis has appointed two new people — a nun and a priest — to positions with the Synod of Bishops. Guess which one of the two won’t be ordained to the episcopate.
But first, as they say on TV, it’s Black History Month. We start with Shannen Dee Williams and “Black History is Catholic History.” (Williams will be a keynoter at our AUSCP June 2021 Assembly.) The story comes to us from the Catholic Review in Baltimore, and is a great read to start a Lenten journey of reflection.
In his Lenten message provided by America Magazine, Pope Francis says, “[L]et us renew our faith, draw from the ‘living water’ of hope, and receive with open hearts the love of God, who makes us brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Religion News Service also examines the role of Evangelicals in politics and suggests that Lent is “time for evangelicalism to embrace the act of confession.”
NCR reports that Father Emmet Farrell, director of creation care ministry in San Diego, wants us to think about climate change during Lent.
Also at NCR, Heidi Schlumpf invites us to “give up culture war fighting.”
Impeachment Updates and Other Politics
Speaking of culture wars, the U.S. bishops three months ago formed a controversial working group to deal with President Joe Biden, which provoked a public rupture among U.S. hierarchy. Christopher White at NCR reports the bishops have now disbanded the group and plan to focus on Communion.
Religion News Service reports that President Biden is bringing Melissa Rogers back to the White House (from Obama years), reestablishing the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Had enough impeachment yet? It’s almost over, we promise. Here is an angle from Religion News Service on “When religion was present — and notably absent — at the impeachment trial.”
Church News Around the World
Here’s a respite from politics, with a deep dive into interfaith relationships. It’s tough enough to bring Catholics together, but in Berlin, there is an effort to bring Christians, Jews, and Muslims together — at least in a common site for worship services. It’s called “The House of One.”
Sad news from the City of Lights where the archbishop is shutting off the lights of an experimental “Vatican II” parish. It seems the parishioners keep rejecting the priests appointed to Saint-Merry Pastoral Center. The center was established in 1975 as a place of welcome for people on the margins of the Church, according to a story from La Croix International.
Now finally, for a history lesson from Bob Mickens, English editor of La Croix International, beginning with the historic appointment by Pope Francis of a woman to a prominent position. Xaverian Sister Nathalie Becquart was named one of two co-undersecretaries at the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops — a truly historic moment for the Catholic Church.
It’s a spot most recently held by a bishop — and the other co-undersecretary (a Spanish priest) will be ordained a bishop. What about Sister Becquart? You already know the answer!
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!