Wisdom Wednesday | August 18th

August 18AUSCP NewsRoundup

It was a song of 1970 by the Temptations: “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World is Today).” In part it was about “Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation.” Today the world again seems to be a ball of confusion as we seek to find wisdom amid COVID-19 and vaccination, Climate Crisis and race relations, Afghanistan and the Biden administration.


But first, we offer some new perspectives – one from Black Catholics, another from the viewpoint of millennials.

New Perspectives

But first, we offer some new perspectives – one from Black Catholics, another from the viewpoint of millennials.

Black Catholic Messenger

In the Fall 2020, the Black Catholic Messenger was formed among a group of Black Catholic laypeople and allies who agreed that the Catholic media landscape was missing something: an online publication for Black Catholics. You are invited to take a look at their website to learn about their history and vision.


Featured articles in the Black Catholic Messenger include:


Inverse is an online magazine from Bustle Digital Group, covering topics such as technology, science, and culture for a millennial audience. What caught recent attention is a feature on cults – including some thoughts on virtual isolation, de-programming and how to talk with QAnon members. The article begins with a woman who grew up in a cult where she says, “Our chores were referred to as ‘Jesus Job Time’ or JJT. It was never, ‘Go do your chores,’ it was ‘Okay, JJT.’”

The Significance of Church Buildings

At a time of virtual worship, here are two articles on the brick-and-mortar church – in Haiti where the recent earthquake has destroyed many structures, and in the United States where there are many buildings looking for new purposes.

The Church in Haiti is a mainstay of support. “We are the only thing here,” said a cleric in Les Cayes, one of the cities worst hit by the quake. In some towns, not a church was left standing.

(Here’s a plea for help for Haiti from Catholic Relief Services)

US Catholic tackles a pressing question:

with the proliferation of churches that have fewer and fewer people attending, the expenses of maintaining large and aging church buildings, burgeoning homeless populations, the reality of migration, housing limitations, and concern for working towards a sustainable future, what should be done with old churches that dioceses can no longer afford to keep?

Read the full article here.

Inside a church building in Seattle, the stained glass image of Jesus was deemed “just too white” – so a local artist covered it up with a new image. The story comes from the Christian Century.

COVID and Catholics

Catholics have no grounds to claim exemption from COVID vaccine mandates. That’s the opinion published in National Catholic Reporter.

Similarly, San Diego Bishop McElroy tells priests to decline vaccine exemption requests.

In other news, Cardinal Burke was put on ventilator days after testing positive for coronavirus.

Since June 2020, an ecumenical group has offered guidance for “Care-filled Worship and Sacramental Life in a Lingering Pandemic.” Here is a link to the multi-page guide book from United Methodist, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal and Roman Catholic leaders as well as representatives from other traditions.


We offer a collection of news, opinions, and calls to action regarding Afghanistan.

Refugee aid groups are criticizing President Biden for stumbles in evacuating ‘desperate’ Afghans.

The organization, Faith in Action, is seeking signatures on a petition to President Biden to take immediate action to expand access to the U.S. resettlement program to provide refuge for Afghans fleeing violence and persecution.

A photojournalist who has covered Afghanistan for two decades says the Taliban’s return is catastrophic for women. Lynsey Addario writes in the Atlantic,

I’ve seen how hard the country’s women have fought for their freedom, and how much they have gained. Now they stand to lose everything.”

From the Associated Press:

Following a lightning offensive across Afghanistan that saw many cities fall to the insurgents without a fight, the Taliban have sought to portray themselves as more moderate than when they imposed a strict form of Islamic rule in the late 1990s. But many Afghans remain skeptical — and thousands have raced to the airport, desperate to flee the country.

Read the full article here.

AUSCP Picks of the Week

Climate Crisis – and what you can do

There are large promises being made about a live training session coming soon to a computer screen near you: Learn more about the Climate Action Letter for Catholic Institutions (open to Catholic institutions, organizations, religious communities to sign); learn step by step how you can faithfully and positively engage your bishop and other leaders to spark bold creation care and climate action. Organizers promise that you will walk away with key skills, simple engagement resources and handouts to begin using this Season of Creation and beyond. Registration is required. Register here.

Commitment in an ‘Age of Infinite Browsing’

Here is another invitation to a webinar. This one, on Wednesday, September 1, at 7 p.m. Eastern Time, offers a conversation with author and civic activist Pete Davis and writer and publisher Elias Crim on the relationship between Catholicism and civic life. The webinar will take a look at Pete’s new book, Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing, and see how its themes of rootedness, “long-haul” commitments to particular causes, and robust civic participation might correspond with our faith tradition. How should we think about the relationship between private charity and public policy? What are some ways that Catholic Social Teaching can inform our civic life while remaining respectful of a pluralistic democracy? Can we imagine new ways of parish participation in local communities and more democratic, lay-inclusive forms of church governance? This event is co-sponsored by Today’s American Catholic and Solidarity Hall. Registration is required. Register here.

Are we fishers of men or just keepers of the aquarium?

We forward to you an invitation to support Vagabond Missions, published in Black Catholic Messenger.

The saint who opened doors

Last this week, after all the tumult of the week’s news, we offer a reflection on André Bessette, the patron saint of the rejected. The “Miracle Man of Montreal” persevered through every obstacle, with miraculous results.

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!


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