Welcome to a New Year’s edition of Wisdom Wednesday, prepared in advance for distribution today, January 3, 2024. Wisdom Wednesday will continue in the year ahead, seeking to reflect on the work and ministry of our Church, along with observations drawn from culture and society.
Leading off with a secular report, including in part our faith-based concern for the environment, an Ipsos Predictions survey finds global optimism on the rise as more think next year will be better. However, people expect climate change to worsen in 2024. (Ipsos Group S.A. is a multinational market research and consulting firm with headquarters in Paris, France.)
The God Gap
Politico reports that one of the most significant shifts in American politics and religion just took place over the past decade and it barely got any notice: the share of Americans who associate with religion dropped by 11 points. (Politico, known originally as The Politico, is a Washington metropolitan area, U.S., based politics-focused digital newspaper company.)
Politico says this shift is a development of tremendous impact, one that will ripple across the political landscape at every level — and especially in presidential politics. Why? Because of what it means for the God Gap — the idea that the Republican Party is the one that fights for the rights of religious individuals (primarily Christians), while Democrats have become increasingly secular over time.
A trusted source
Many religious organizations and institutions have a newsletter or website or another media offering to provide information and commentary to their constituents. With no tie to a particular denomination or faith tradition, Religion News Service is a news agency covering religion, ethics, spirituality and moral issues. It publishes news, information, and commentaries on faiths and religious movements to newspapers, magazines, broadcast organizations and religious publications. (It is continually updated, always a fresh and trusted guide.)
Vatican News offers some guidance on events between now and October. In Preparing for Synod 2024: Towards a synodal and missionary Church, Vatican News reports on Cardinals Grech and Hollerich who wrote to bishops across the world explaining the next stages of the synodal process.
Towards October 2024
From the Vatican’s website: Gathered below are the directions, developed and approved by the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod, on the steps to be taken in the months between now and the Second Session of the Synodal Assembly (October 2024), enabling us to continue the journey initiated by the Holy Father on 9 October 2021: For a Synodal Church. Communion, participation, mission.
The Vatican’s Synod Website
With complete summaries, reports, the continental syntheses of 2023 and plans for 2024, the Vatican offers a wealth of synodal information.