Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday where we observe a moment between the week that is past and the weeks rushing on their way. We observed the Feast of Mary’s Assumption Monday (without obligation this year), and we have some reports about what people said in previous months at synodal gatherings. (You won’t be surprised at their concerns.)
We also have a disturbing report: Catholic clergy and lay people in leaderships say they aren’t adequately prepared to wield the power they exercise and they need more education on questions of sex and gender.
Today’s reports include the fears of Oklahoma librarians, a bishop who wants to ordain married men to the priesthood, and aboriginal faith in living water: “I am the river and the river is me.”
We begin with a look ahead to the rapidly approaching Season of Creation.
Season of Creation
First of all, what is the Season of Creation?
Catholics are still in the battle for climate action, and have issued “The Catholic Climate Declaration as a public expression of support by the Catholic community in the United States for action to address climate change.”
This year’s program focuses on Ecological Spirituality, one of the seven goals of the Vatican’s Laudato Si’ Action Platform (LSAP). The 90-minute program contains prayers, readings, reflection/discussion questions, a short video, a Franciscan contemplation exercise and suggested activities.
The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is also a time to bless animals.
On September 11, 2001, Franciscan Fr. Mychal Judge sacrificed his life while ministering at the World Trade Center. But long before his death, Fr. Judge was a beloved priest known for his compassion and faith, including towards LGBTQ people and those living with HIV/AIDS. He was also a gay man himself. This September, New Ways Ministry will honor Fr. Judge’s legacy and invoke his intercession with a virtual prayer service ahead of 9/11 commemorations. This 60-minute program over Zoom will include remarks from New Ways Ministry’s Francis DeBernardo, the author of Mychal Judge: ‘Take Me Where You Want Me to Go’. The deadline to register is Sunday, September 4th.
Synod comments back up AUSCP positions
The AUSCP has been a supporter of climate action, increasing the role of women in our church and welcoming the marginalized. Synodal gatherings this past year support those concerns. National Catholic Reporter provides the story:
Many Americans want a more welcoming church that reaches out to the marginalized, especially the LGBTQ community, and that allows women to serve in leadership positions, including ordained ministry.”
At the same time, lay Catholics who have heard, embraced and worked to live out church teachings on the Christian responsibility to safeguard God’s creation feel little to no support from clergy, bishops and dioceses, and in some cases direct opposition.
The power but not the Glory: Clericalism and Sex Abuse
A new report based on interviews with some 300 Catholic priests, nuns and laypeople concludes that clergy aren’t adequately prepared to wield the power they exercise and need more education on questions of sex and gender.
The report, “Beyond Bad Apples: Understanding Clericalism as a Structural Problem & Cultivating Strategies for Change,” released Monday (Aug. 15), explores the links between clericalism — clergy’s focus on its authority — and clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse.
Other significant developments
The Department of Justice will investigate Southern Baptist sexual abuse.
News of the federal investigations comes several months after the nation’s largest denomination passed new reforms aimed at addressing abuse.
In Oklahoma, clergy and social workers – and even librarians — fear fallout from new abortion laws.
Clergy members, social workers and even librarians have raised concerns about being exposed to criminal or civil liability for just discussing the topic.
Each year, the Catholic Church in the United States designates the third Sunday in September as “Catechetical Sunday”— a day on which to celebrate and pray for the Church’s mission to teach the Gospel to all people.
AUSCP and Anti-Racism
The AUSCP Anti-racism Working Group has new information on the AUSCP website, regarding strategic plans to guide the association for the next three years.
For the immediate future, the working group has developed a four week study program for September 2022 which will be offered on two different days and times to accomodate people’s schedules. The Monday series will be 7:30-9:00 pm; the Wednesday series will be 2:00-3:30 pm. Many resources are suggested for each session. One of the resources for each week is cited below with the link for viewing. The series will cover the following:
- Week 1 – How did racism start? (September 5 & 7) The Lie that invented racism (18:13)
- Week 2 – America’s role (September 12 & 14), In the White Man’s Image (56:26)
- Week 3 – Slavery in America (September 19 & 21), The Atlantic slave trade: What too few textbooks told you (5:38)
- Week 4 – Racism now (September 26 & 28 ), Implicit Bias (6:19)
A South African bishop supports ordaining married men to the priesthood. According to the story from NCR, the bishop sees the need to increase access to the sacraments.
I am the river and the river is me.”
In the Book of Revelation, the central architectural feature of the new Jerusalem is a river of living water flowing out from the throne. In the Didache, instructions for Baptism include the preferred method of using living water. In New Zealand, a groundbreaking law granted personhood status to the Whanganui River, part of a settlement with the Whanganui Iwi, comprising Māori from a number of tribes who have long viewed the river as a living force. Whanganui Māori have a saying: Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au: I am the river, and the river is me.
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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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