On the first Wednesday in January, Wisdom Wednesday can’t avoid referring to the Roman god of gates and doors, Janus, whose two faces could look ahead and back at the same time.
Pope Francis offers look-ahead encouragement. Pew Research looks back at how things changed last year. We look back to an essay penned last January by Father John Heagle, AUSCP leader of our Gospel Nonviolence Working Group, and Franciscan Sister Fran Ferder, on “How Catholics got conned by Donald Trump.”
Learning from past experience, authors call for a Catholic future with a national database of accused clergy and a plan to support women with real alternatives to abortion. Other authors look ahead and ask questions: is it time for Catholics to give up eating meat? Will the synod on synodality renew or disappoint?
From the immediate past, we note the passing of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but this week we begin with a challenge for the immediate future: End the torture of Guantanamo. On January 11, Witness Against Torture will stand with the 39 Muslim men still locked in Guantanamo, and members will stand from coast to coast.
Witness Against Terror (WAT) is encouraging fasting Friday through Monday and has scheduled Zoom meetings on Friday and on Monday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “Fast Jan 2022” to get more information and the Zoom link.
Also seeking a more peaceful world is Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe, who wants to end the threat of atomic war. Wester quotes Pope Francis: “The possession of nuclear arms is immoral.”
You may have already seen the work of the Members of the AUSCP Working Group on Nonviolence, who have composed the Eucharist of Gospel Nonviolence. Learn more about their good work HERE.
Amanda Gorman has released a poem for the new year. Entitled, “New Day’s Lyric,” the 48-line poem evokes the struggles of the year 2021 as well as hopeful notes for the future, alluding to topics ranging from COVID-19 to politics to national unity. You can read the poem in the Black Catholic Messenger.
In his New Year’s wishes to the world, Pope Francis encouraged people to focus on the good which unites them and decried violence against women while acknowledging that the coronavirus pandemic has left many scared and struggling amid economic inequality. “We are still living in uncertain and difficult times due to the pandemic,” Francis said.
(Focusing on the good part, we note that Cardinal Wilton Gregory has no symptoms but he has tested positive for COVID-19.)
Michael Sean Winters says the principal political story of 2021 was President Biden’s attempt, mostly unsuccessful, to get the U.S. back to normal. The real test is coming in 2022.
Franciscan Sr. Fran Ferder, a clinical psychologist, and Fr. John Heagle, chair of the Gospel Nonviolence Working Group for AUSCP, penned a commentary last January, saying that President Donald Trump conned many Americans, including Catholics, into voting for him because of his so-called “pro-life” stance. But, in 2017, a team of 27 mental health professionals wrote a book outlining the danger that Trump posed to the U.S. and to the world. You can read more by clicking on this title: How Catholics got conned by Donald Trump.
The Associated Press reports that the remains of Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, were interred early Sunday during a private family service at the city’s Anglican cathedral.
Archbishop Thabo Makgoba suggested that to honor the late Nobel laureate, Cape Town’s airport should be renamed Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu International Airport.
Also in passing, we note from Religion News Service that the last parent of a child killed in the 1963 church bombing died on Sunday. Maxine McNair was the last living parent of any of the four Black girls killed in a 1963 Alabama church bombing, 11-year-old Denise McNair.
20 years after Boston Globe’s “Spotlight”, Barbara Thorp in NCR says we need a national database of accused clergy.
If or when the U.S. Supreme Court ends Roe v. Wade, M.T. Dávila, also in NCR, sees “Four ways the church can get ready for a post-Roe world,” including providing women with real alternatives to abortion.
Father Louis J. Cameli, a Chicago priest known to the AUSCP as an excellent retreat leader, asks some blunt questions about Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality. Is it bound to disappoint—or will it renew the church? His thoughts are published in America Magazine.
Since we are posing questions, here is another one: Is it time for Catholics to stop eating meat? Asking the question, also in America, is John W. Miller, a Pittsbugh-based former Wall Street Journal staff reporter and co-director of the PBS film “Moundsville.”
Does this make sense? Pew Research last year found a growing share of childless Americans who say it is unlikely they will ever have children; more Americans are neither married or living with a partner. Even so, globally more people mention family as a source of meaning in their lives.
One last question: Will you be among participants at the 2022 Assembly of the AUSCP? Here’s how to find more information and sign up.
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!