As I was collecting Wisdom Wednesday items and articles on Tuesday morning, I glanced up at a digital clock: It was nine-eleven. We can’t get away from it, reminders of the attacks 20 years ago, what they meant and what they mean. But once again I was brought up short by a personal reflection by Christina MacCorkle at the News Decoder website.
“My generation was born after 9/11,” she writes. “Twenty years after that day, the attacks resonate with us, but we need historical context to grasp why they occurred.”
To add some context, we include this week the thoughts of Susan Ruel, a seasoned journalist who worked on the international desks of the Associated Press and United Press International and reported for UPI from Shanghai, San Francisco and Washington.
“New Yorkers will never forget the attack on our city of 20 years ago. But will Americans remember the lessons of 9/11 and of the war in Afghanistan?”
We will follow that link to Afghanistan shortly, but first the high school senior and the veteran journalist.
A brief but informative roundup of news from Afghanistan:
- Faith-based refugee resettlement groups are mobilizing to help Afghans as they arrive. Religion News Service reports on their efforts.
- The activist group, Justice for Immigrants, reports on the crisis response from the U.S. Catholic bishops.
- National Catholic Reporter says Afghanistan war veterans are depressed about the U.S. withdrawal and worried about Afghans.
In a quick reference to the first two articles this week, we note that both the high school student and the veteran reporter are women. What would it be like to tell the Good News through the stories of women who are often on the margins of scripture and often set up to represent bad news? How would a lectionary centering women’s stories, chosen with womanist and feminist commitments in mind, frame the presentation of the scriptures for proclamation and teaching? Here’s a provocative piece from NCR.
A Catholic Call for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination
New Ways Ministry issued the document, “A Home for All: A Catholic Call for LGBTQ Non-Discrimination,” on August 9 alongside a press release detailing its contents. A number of Black Catholics have appended their name to the statement, including Fr. Bryan Massingale, a gay priest who was recently named Pax Christ’s 2021 Teacher of Peace Award recipient and whose work on LGBT issues has become renowned within progressive Catholic circles.
The magisterial authority of Vatican II
Always at the heart of the AUSCP is the life-giving event that was – and continues to be – Vatican II. From La Croix:
Pope Francis made it clear recently that unless one accepts the magisterial authority of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), one is not “with the Church.” He was speaking to the catechists of Italy, but that part of his message was clearly addressed to a wider audience. The media understood this and gave it widespread coverage. The pope said there could be “no concessions” or “selectivity” and that “we must be demanding and strict on this point.” His uncharacteristically stern call for acceptance prompts speculation as to where he has encountered resistance to the Council. It is not among the laity.
AUSCP membership includes a subscription to La Croix International with full readership rights. Contact our national office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are not already a subscriber.
Priests are navigating Catholics’ fears and consciences in vaccine exemption pleas. Religion News Service reports: “it is unclear how many Catholics are seeking vaccine religious exemptions, but more and more of their bishops are urging their priests to decline such requests.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports some religious leaders are coaching parents on how to escape the vaccine rules.
Pew Research Center provides an interesting report on the government’s role in curtailingng false information online.
Amid rising concerns over misinformation online – including surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, especially vaccines – Americans are now a bit more open to the idea of the U.S. government taking steps to restrict false information online. And a majority of the public continues to favor technology companies taking such action, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Vaccine skeptic Cardinal Raymond Burke has been taken off the ventilator and released from intensive care, as COVID treatment continues. Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. (You may be asked to subscribe or sign up.)
Jesse Jackson and his wife Jacqueline were hospitalized with COVID-19 recently. “The civil rights activist, who was vaccinated in January, has been a fixture at voting rights demonstrations in recent months,” according to Religion News Service.
Climate Crisis: Actions needed now
As part of the implementation of the Laudato Si’ Action Platform in the U.S., Catholic Climate Covenant and it partners have developed TWO critical advocacy initiatives that call on President Biden and the U.S. Congress to support science-based climate policies that dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prioritize poor, vulnerable, and marginalized people.
You can sign the petition, and recruit church leaders to sign the letter.
- The Catholic Climate Action Petition for Individuals
- The Climate Action Letter for Catholic Institutions
The Climate Action Letter is for Catholic institutions and signed by their authorized leaders or representatives to be delivered to the Administration and members of Congress.
Here’s another approach to Climate matters. Doug Girardot, in America, writes:
I saw a tweet from Alessandra Harris, a Catholic author, encouraging Catholics to give up meat on Fridays. I thought this was a great idea — a healthy blend of spiritual rigor and environmental action. Meat consumption, particularly beef, was responsible for fully one-tenth of the greenhouse gases emitted in 2019. He says it’s time for Catholics to go back to no meat on every Friday (not just during Lent).
The declining share of White people in America
Census data reports that the U.S. is diversifying and the white population is shrinking. According to Pew Research Center, most Americans say the declining share of White people in the U.S. is neither good nor bad for society.
Just to prove that there are things to read that are not about COVID, conflict or crisis, we offer these thoughtful items.
Many priests and parish leaders in Chicago and throughout the country have come to value the insights and wisdom of Andrew and Terri Lyke. On August 15, the renowned Chicago author, speaker, and activist Andrew Lyke—co-founder with his wife of Arusi Network and Lyke & Lyke, LLC—announced his resignation from ministry, which he termed a “stepping back so that others may step in.”
The Arusi Network is a national apostolate for Black Catholic marriage. He is the former director of the Office for Black Catholics and the former coordinator of Marriage Ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In October, he and Terri will celebrate 46 years of marriage. The Black Catholic Messenger provided the text of a letter Andrew Lyke sent to supporters.
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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