Wisdom Wednesday | February 28th

AUSCP NewsFebruary 28Roundup

Have you registered for the 2024 Assembly in Lexington? You won’t want to miss Dr. Kim Harris, who will give a keynote address, “You can tell the world! Testimony as a gift we share from our Eucharistic Encounter.”

Speaking of liturgical celebration, Jesuit Father Thomas Reese insists that “The Catholic Church needs married priests now.” That’s one of two Reese’s pieces this week.

Wisdom Wednesday leans heavily on opinion pieces this week, as columnists and writers tackle the lack of Catholic emphasis on the environment in the United States, how the pope has confronted clergy sexual abuse, the war in Gaza and the Texas lawsuit against a Catholic ministry. Opinions of course are from the writers, not from the AUSCP.

2024 AUSCP Assembly

This week’s featured keynoter Dr. Kim R. Harris, PhD is the Assistant Professor of African American Religious Thought and Practice in the Department of Theological Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In addition to teaching courses on Black liberation and Womanist theologies, Harris leads music in a variety of liturgical and academic settings. She is a liturgist, composer and recording artist, presenting lectures on the music of the Black Catholic experience, the historic Negro Spirituals, and the freedom song of modern Civil Rights Movement.

Jesuit Father Thomas Reese, also a keynoter, has recently written about the need for liturgical language to be “more accessible to the faithful and more embodied in the diversity of cultures.” (AUSCP veterans will remember that liturgical translation was one of the prime concerns as the association was being established.)

Reese also offers a strong and straightforward opinion, “The Catholic Church needs married priests now.” He says, “At the Last Supper, Jesus said, ‘Do this in memory of me.’ He did not say, ‘Be celibate.’”

Environmental ‘failure of the U.S. church’

Nearly a decade after Pope Francis released his landmark encyclical Laudato Si’, calling for urgent action to combat global climate change, some 80 bishops, theologians and Catholic leaders gathered for a two-day conference to reckon with what was described as the failure of the U.S. church to implement the pope’s environmental teachings. One archbishop said that it was long overdue for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to make the issue a national priority. At present, environmental concerns are not a part of the conference’s current strategic plan.


Opinion reported in The Guardian: Israel is “intentionally starving” Palestinians, says UN special rapporteur Michael Fakhri who says denial of food is war crime and constitutes “a situation of genocide.”

At Religion News Service, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin offers a thoughtful column on what he sees as misguided anti-semitism. You don’t have to agree with him but you ought to read what he has to say.

A cease-fire deal could come before Ramadan, says President Joe Biden, reported by the Associated Press. Biden signaled that a cease-fire in Gaza could be at hand but both Israel and Hamas downplayed on Tuesday the idea that a breakthrough was imminent.

At The Guardian, writer Jeff Melnick says the relentless siege of Gaza in the past few months, which has most recently taken shape as a brutal attack on the civilians of Rafah, has influenced all manner of conversations about identity in the United States. He says the “Black-Jewish alliance” is a myth and not a real thing.

At the border

Writing for The Tablet, Michael Sean Winters reports that Texas is being accused of filing an “anti-faith” lawsuit against migrant ministry. After Annunciation House refused to turn over records about the people being served. The El Paso ministry was founded in 1976 by Ruben Garcia after a visit from Mother Teresa, who suggested naming the ministry for the Annunciation.

How Pope Francis wants to feminize the Church

The pope has engaged his Council of Cardinals in discussions on the role of women in the Church as the Synod assembly next October is poised to look at female deacons. “The Church as woman, the Church as a bride. And this is a task that I ask of you, please. Demasculinize the Church,” he said, as reported by La Croix International.

Ukraine and the Church

The Moscow Patriarchate is imploding, says a Russia expert, reported by Alice d’Oléon in La Croix International. The conclusion is that Patriarch Kirill risks leaving behind a greatly weakened and widely discredited Church, both abroad and at home, due to his support of the Ukraine invasion.

‘Aversion to clericalism’

In his Letter from Rome, Bob Mickens says it seems that the younger generation of Catholic clerics are not fond of Pope Francis, which could hinder implementation of his reforms going forward. He says Francis has denounced clericalism over and over again in his eleven years as Bishop of Rome, identifying it as a “scourge” and “plague” that wounds the Church and its members. Railing against clericalism has been a mantra throughout his entire pontificate.

Why the negativity?

Massimo Faggioli examines “cynical Catholics and the negativity towards Pope Francis.” He concludes, “Fear of change, a superior sense of already knowing what it means to be Catholic, and a changing cultural context, have helped fuel opposition and bad faith towards the current pope.

Opinion: A bad law with religious filigree

The Alabama Supreme Court decided last week that an embryo is a person. Religion News Service offers the view that the decision “was not actually based on the law — at least not according to the “public meaning” of the word “based.” As the dissent by Justice Greg Cook makes abundantly clear, it ignored existing law and the court’s long-standing rules of interpretation to achieve a desired result.

ICYMI In case you missed it

A recent article from the AUSCP Mutual Support Group referenced the comments of Dr. Elizabeth Johnson CSJ regarding the Bible and homosexuality. It’s a matter of interpretation.

Horses, lost teeth, and wild faith

Jane McCaffetry writes in US Catholic a profile of a Maryknoll priest who “inspires faith in a truly inclusive church.” Take a trip with her to Bolivia.

Success of a parish book club

AUSCP Friend Bob Stewart convenes a weekly book discussion group on Zoom, facilitated by Georgetown professor emeritus Dr. Tony Tambasco. It is from Holy Trinity Parish in Washington, D.C., and includes members from several states. AUSCP members are welcome to sample the discussion, join in, or use it as a model for their home parishes. Coming soon but not yet scheduled is a Zoom meeting with James Alison, Catholic priest and author of Knowing Jesus. Email Bob, grobertstewart1@mac.com

Coming soon to auscp.org

An Election 2024 focus is in the works, tentatively entitled “Your Conscience, Your Vote.” Here is one of the entries you will find there, an “Equally Sacred Checklist,” from NETWORK, when the page is launched in March.

Scripture commentaries

Are you looking for a variety of comments and reflections on the Scripture readings? AUSCP Friend Bob Stewart has compiled the following links, including:

Support Wisdom Wednesday

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.

If you’d like to support our continued work to bring you wisdom each week, please consider making a donation. Your support provides the breath that makes our voice heard in the U.S. and beyond.

The AUSCP is a 501c3 organization and your donation is tax-deductible.

You may also be interested in…