Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday! And thanks to Sister Jackie Doepker for filling in the past two weeks. Topics today include the pope’s search for reconciliation among First Peoples in Canada, Catholic conflict over abortion in the United States, and the impact of the Black Death on sacramental theology. (Yes, the Black Death. Could a comparison be drawn to how we “go to confession” (or not) today. Also, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe (and our AUSCP link to the U.S. bishops) calls for the Catholic Church to baptize the children of same sex couples. Same-sex issues are troubling the Anglican and Methodist churches, too.
First, congratulations to Pax Christi!
Pax Christi USA, a branch of the international Catholic peace movement, will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a conference Aug. 5-7 just outside Washington.
Retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Gumbleton has been a member of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, since the group’s founding in 1972. Gumbleton spoke to NCR about Pax Christi’s impact, and his hopes for its future.
Now, a rare headline seldom seen since 2002: A Maine priest is being returned to active ministry. The decision in the Portland Diocese, dismissed by SNAP, found allegations of abuse to be unfounded.
Related: The U.S. bishops’ annual report on compliance with the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” shows that 2,930 victim survivors came forward with 3,103 allegations during the audit year of July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.
Is it ‘A violation of religious freedom and bad medicine’?
That’s the claim of bishops in U.S. leadership regarding Health and Human Services proposals for abortion, health insurance and transgender surgeries.
Two Kansas nuns are voicing opposition to a proposed abortion-related amendment in their state’s constitution, despite its support by a local archbishop. The nuns argue the measure, if approved, would have negative repercussions for women and allow politicians to “impose religious beliefs on all Kansans” by passing restrictive abortion bans.
Archbishop Wester: ‘The Catholic Church should baptize children of same-sex couples.’ Wester’s commentary is in America Magazine.
A Catholic hospital system operating 15 hospitals and another 132 facilities in Illinois and Michigan has adopted a policy to cover fertility treatment only for workers in opposite-sex marriages.
Anglican bishops from the Global South announced during a recent meeting of leaders of the Anglican Communion that they will refuse Holy Communion from bishops with gay partners and from those who support same-sex marriage.
The announcement came on Friday morning (July 29) at the Lambeth Conference, being held in Canterbury.
More than 100 churches are suing the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to immediately disaffiliate from the denomination.
The lawsuit comes amid a slow-moving schism in the United Methodist Church largely over the ordination and marriage of its LGBTQ members.
Pope Francis in Canada
Francis has heard the call for reconciliation, according to NCR. This is one of many articles for your selection.
The pontiff set an example for all Christians, Catholic and otherwise, in his journey of penance for the sins of many of our spiritual ancestors, who were taught that discipleship and colonizing were compatible. Pope Francis’ apology to Indigenous Canadians opened door to reconciliation.
Pope Francis told Catholics in Quebec that the Church must accept its own past and move forward with humility in order for true healing to happen.
The Canadian government suggests that reconciliation over the fraught history is still very much a work in progress.
Survivors of Canada’s residential school system who were present for Pope Francis’s apology on Monday described the moment as historic and “bittersweet,” but said that the highly anticipated mea culpa will only be meaningful if it’s followed by concrete action.
Beyond the apology, Indigenous peoples have called on Francis to formally rescind the 15th century papal bulls, or decrees, that provided the Portuguese and Spanish kingdoms the religious backing to expand their territories in Africa and the Americas for the sake of spreading Christianity. Those decrees underpin the Doctrine of Discovery, a legal concept coined in a 1823 U.S. Supreme Court decision that has come to be understood as meaning that ownership and sovereignty over land passed to Europeans because they “discovered” it. It was cited as recently as a 2005 Supreme Court decision involving the Oneida Indian Nation.
Pope Francis acknowledged Saturday that he can no longer travel like he used to because of his strained knee ligaments, saying his week-long pilgrimage was “a bit of a test” that showed he needs to slow down and one day possibly retire.
America Magazine provides an exclusive interview with Mandy Gull-Masty, the grand chief of the Cree Nation and the first woman to hold that post, about Pope Francis’ visit to Canada and the future of the reconciliation process.
‘A chaotic approach’
New York’s Catholic Charities has spoken out against Texas officials who are sending asylum seekers to cities around the nation.
Care for Creation
You are invited to Join Catholic Support for Congressional Climate Action: Sign your Catholic institution onto this open letter to all members of Congress!
- View the Open Letter to Congress from Catholic Institutions
- Sign the Open Letter on Behalf of Your Catholic Institution
Pope Francis and many Catholic Church leaders support legislative efforts that reflect our moral call to care for creation and desire to address climate change, for the common good and our common future. As people of hope, we continue to pray and ask in faith, that the U.S. Congress will still act for our climate.
Summer in the (hottest) City
Heat and homelessness are a deadly combination. A pioneering team created amid pressure from faith groups and others seeks to make Phoenix more livable. The story by Nina Lakhani, photography by Caitlin O’Hara, comes from the Guardian.
Pope Francis will attend a meeting of religious leaders in Kazakhstan in September, the Vatican said on Monday, a gathering where he has said previously he hoped to meet with the Russian Orthodox patriarch, who backs the war in Ukraine.
Living at home
If you minister to youth and young adults (or you are a young adult) Pew Research points toward more and more multigenerational living. To cope with rising student debt and housing costs, multigenerational living is increasingly providing a respite from the storm.
A Global tilt of cardinals
Pope Francis’ additions to the College of Cardinals since his election in 2013 have tilted the leadership structure of the Roman Catholic Church away from its historic European base and toward developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Get out the Vote
Christian leaders in Georgia recently announced efforts to get more Black people to vote. The effort comes with grants to congregations.
Penance and the Plague
Writing for Religion News Service, Nicole Archambeau says Martin Luther’s challenges to the papacy were not ultimately about money, but theology. She examines how the Black Death and the frequent European wars made an ideal confession impossible.
The AUSCP Gospel Nonviolence Working Group has adopted a Ban & Buy Back program, which was proposed to us by Fr. John Forliti of the Archdiocese of St. Paul – Minneapolis. This program, along with several other national movements to ban all assault-style weapons (AR-15s and others) along with the binding offer to buy them back.
Although this proposal will be difficult to pass in our current senate, if the faith communities mobilize around this issue and bring pressure to bear on congress and the voting public, it might finally bring more safety to our children and society.
The working group members have asked the Leadership Team to adopt this as a full AUSCP proposal and, in turn, use this to launch further advocacy with bishops, priests, lay leaders, social concerns committees in parishes, and other faith communities.
You will find further details and the rationale for this project on this website. https://auscp.wpengine.com/initiatives/gospel-non-violence/ Please join us in this effort.
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