Wisdom Wednesday | July 10th

AUSCP NewsJuly 10RoundupWisdom Wednesdays

Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday. It is the day after a big Tuesday – when the Vatican published the Instrumentum laboris for the Second Session of the Sixteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. At the heart of the Synod “is a call to joy and to the renewal of the People of God in following the Lord and in their commitment to serving His mission.” It is a call to all the baptised, without exception: “The whole People of God is an agent of the proclamation of the Gospel.”

We have some strong opinions this week, worth reading whether you agree or disagree. Opinions are the views of the writers — presented without endorsement or condemnation.

Instrumentum laboris

  • The document emphasizes “Communion, participation, mission.” We have several sources in our search for wisdom, beginning with Vatican News and the text of the document just released. The emphasis is clear: Every baptized person is called to be a protagonist of the mission since we are all missionary disciples.
  • The document states that the call to be missionary disciples is based on our common baptismal identity and is rooted in the diversity of the contexts in which the Church is present and finds its unity in the one Father, the one Lord, and the one Spirit. It is a call to all the baptized, without exception: “The whole People of God is an agent of the proclamation of the Gospel.” The initial report in the National Catholic Reporter notes that the agenda “focuses on participation and inclusion, not hot button issues.
  • The National Catholic Register sees the document focused “on how to implement certain of the synod’s aims, while laying aside some of the more controversial topics from last year’s gathering, like women’s admission to the diaconate.”
  • New Ways Ministry says the Synod document “Opens Door for Greater LGBTQ+ Inclusion.”

The Eucharistic Congress

Peace activist Martha Hennessy, granddaughter to Servant of God Dorothy Day, was recently invited to the landmark event after months of rejection. (The AUSCP was rejected and excluded.) Black Catholic Messenger finds a “peculiar crew” on the speakers’ list: a U.S. military general and “more than a dozen bishops, priests, and laypeople known for invectives against a certain form of social justice,” including “At least a handful [who] have also endorsed condemnations of Pope Francis’ ongoing Synod on Synodality, if not dismissing it directly themselves.” Nate Tinner-Williams writes the story.

An opinion article in U.S.Catholic comes with the headline, “Any eucharistic revival must include nonpracticing Catholics,” and continues, “Eucharistic hospitality is an ethical act of liturgical solidarity.” Tracing the beginning of the three-year revival, the writer notes the initial Pew poll may have poorly worded the question about the Real Presence – the answers to which  prompted the bishops’ planning.

Two published articles feature a bit of what happened along the way to Indianapolis. The National Catholic Register reports that “Notre Dame’s Eucharistic Pilgrimage Weekend [was] Marked by Theology, Theater and Prayers for Renewal.” Black Catholic Messenger reports on “a Perpetual Pilgrim on his way to the National Eucharistic Congress,” during a stop in St. Louis.

Justice and Peace programs

  • “I am very disappointed,” said Archbishop Christopher Coyne of Hartford, Connecticut. He said he was surprised that less than two weeks after the U.S. bishops’ met for their annual spring assembly that the conference’s leadership decided to move forward with major layoffs in its social justice department.
  • In an unusually pointed, public criticism of conference leadership, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Archbishop John Wester published an opinion articlein the Jesuit magazine America, writing, “Unfortunately, with all due respect to the leadership, I believe the U.S.C.C.B. is quietly taking extraordinary actions that curtail our sacred social mission,” the archbishop wrote, citing Luke 4and Matthew 25. National Catholic Reporter has the story.
  • We are hoping that there is some kind of alternative plan to keep the church going, to keep the justice and peace programs going, to keep our advocacy work going,” said Steven Nabieu Rogers, executive director of the Africa Faith and Justice Network. From Religion News Service.

SBC cuts staff in California

The California Southern Baptist Convention, one of 41 regional groups that make up the Southern Baptist Convention, announced this week that it had cut six staff jobs, citing an ongoing decline in giving. Donations to the state’s Cooperative Program fell short by $170,000 in the current fiscal year. From Religion News Service.

At the border

“The record before this Court makes clear that the Texas Attorney General’s use of the request to examine documents from Annunciation House was a pretext to justify its harassment of Annunciation House employees and the persons seeking refuge,” the judge, Francisco Dominguez, wrote. He ruled July 2 that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had violated the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment.

‘Fastest growing crime today’

The Union of Catholic Asian News reports that “Human trafficking entraps men and women and even boys and girls in a form of slavery that is a transnational scourge. People are objects of trade for forced labor, sexual slavery, forced sexual exploitation, “organ harvesting” for transplant surgery, and being “mules” to carry illegal drugs. It has even been reported that men are being trafficked to Ukraine to fight and die for Russia.” Human trafficking is only outdone by drug- and arms trafficking, and is the fastest-growing crime today.

Pastor praises DoorDash

“If it wasn’t for DoorDash really partnering with us, a lot of things that we desire to do for the community probably wouldn’t come to pass,” a Chicago pastor said. Religion News Service reports that DoorDash delivers 100 million charity meals, partnering with religious and other nonprofits.

‘Why Diversity in Medicine Matters’

A pair of panels last Friday during the ESSENCE Festival promoted the importance of diversity in the healthcare field. The panels were hosted by the Xavier Ochsner College of Medicine (XOCOM), soon to be the first Black Catholic medical school in the country. ESSENCE Fest, now in its 30th year, annually draws thousands of Black Americans to New Orleans for summer celebrations of Black culture and excellence.

‘Fights between faiths’

Bills to enhance religion in schools are spurring fights between faiths, according to Religion News Service. As lawmakers push faith-focused education bills, the statutes are facing pushback from an unexpected source: other religious people.

Israeli army attacks Sacred Family School

The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem is monitoring, with grave concern, the news of the raids, apparently launched by the Israeli army against the Sacred Family School in Gaza. Footage and media reports from the place include scenes of civilian casualties and of destruction in the compound.

Trump: No federal abortion ban

The Republican National Committee moved Monday to adopt a party platform that reflects former President Donald Trump’s position opposing a federal abortion ban and ceding limits to states, omitting the explicit basis for a national ban for the first time in 40 years.

Would Thomas Aquinas be a Thomist?

The “Angelic Doctor” has become an icon for conservative Catholics. But are his biggest fans misrepresenting his legacy? U.S.Catholic poses the question.

Signs of the Times

Americans idolize youth, observes Jesuit columnist Thomas Reese. We want something new, fresh and beautiful. Wrinkles are not badges of wisdom and maturity. They are ugly and need to be stopped with Botox. Today, we have an elderly pope in Rome, an elderly president and an elderly Republican candidate for president.

How a Christian Nationalist seeks power

Washington insiders are helping Sean Feucht spread Christian nationalism in Congress. “It is time in America that we take back territory,” Sean Feucht said in a video promoting his efforts to build a base on Capitol Hill. From Religion News Service.

Commentary: The Latin Mass

Archbishop Salvatore of San Francisco pens a commentary for National Catholic Register. He argues that the “objective beauty of the traditional Latin Mass” evangelizes, with a curiously inclusive appeal.

Catholic Travel

The National Catholic Register offers a summertime feature: Seven places for catholic travel in the US.  A writer for the Christian Century says “churches have filled me with wonder [but] Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia brought tears to my eyes.”

UCAN: Union of Catholic Asian News

What do you know about our one, holy, catholic and apostolic activities in Asia? You can travel there through the medium of the Union of Catholic Asian News. The Union of Catholic Asian News is a news agency that covers issues and matters of interest for the Catholic Church on the Asian continent. It was launched in Hong Kong in 1979. Since its foundation, it has become one of the largest Catholic news agencies in the world, as well as the largest in Asia.

Teilhard de Chardin documentary

Many assembly attendees saw a new documentary, Teilhard: Visionary Scientist, and met for discussion with the producers, Frank and Mary Frost. The two-hour documentary premiered in May on Maryland Public Television and is now available to the general public. The Frosts hope you will encourage groups to gather and discuss the film.

U.S. Bishops cut social justice staff

The AUSCP has taken a reluctant step, seeking an explanation from the U.S. bishops of how and why staffing was cut by half at the bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development – the department that is focused on social justice. Religion News Service provides the details in a news report, and the AUSCP has issued a news release.

Eucharistic Congress

As many thousands of clergy and lay faithful plan to attend the Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis, you deserve an explanation of why the AUSCP will not be present.

Catholic pilgrims are in the middle of a two-month journey on four routes across the United States. They’re planning to converge on Indianapolis in mid-July for a climactic stadium gathering called the National Eucharistic Congress, the first such event in more than 80 years.

The Eucharistic pilgrimage to Indianapolis brings to mind a pilgrimage continuing over more than a thousand years to Santiago in Spain. While it’s traditionally a Catholic pilgrimage, ending at the shrine of the apostle James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, secular pilgrims today embark on the Camino for all kinds of motivations beyond. A report, from Religion News Service.

Two weeks ago (June 16) in Saudi Arabia, masses of pilgrims embarked on a symbolic stoning of the devil in Saudi Arabia under the soaring summer heat. The ritual marks the final days of the Hajj, or Islamic pilgrimage, and the start of the Eid al-Adha celebrations for Muslims around the world. A look back with Religion News Service.

Slavery in Catholic St. Louis

An assembly participant, in a private conversation, said he just discovered that two schools he attended in St. Louis – DuBourg High School and Kenrick Seminary – were named in honor of slaveholders. A new report details slavery in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Nate Tinner-Williams reports from Black Catholic Messenger.

National Park Service provides an article, “The Slave Trade in St. Louis.”

St. Louis Bishop DuBourg, about a family he “owned” – in a letter to his co-adjutor: “. . . you should always regard [the family of Harry and Jenny Nesbit] as the property of the bishop; but I see in some time to come though the marriage of the children, that this would provide prolific descendants to provide enough workers for the estate of the Bishop of St. Louis and for the seminary.” The story was published in the archdiocesan newspaper.

Reparations: Descendants of slaves that were forced to build St. Louis University say the Jesuit school owes them more than $70 billion in reparations. The figure was calculated by economists, based on 70 people identified as slaves of the Jesuits earning a low wage of $0.05 an hour between 1823 and 1865, and adjusted for inflation, according to a PBS article posted on the website of Descendants of the St. Louis University Enslaved last week (mid-February 2024.] The report is from the New York Post.

Election section – Your Conscience, Your Vote

In the opinion of Michael Sean Winters at National Catholic Reporter, Biden’s debate disaster leaves democracy in peril.

MAGA evangelicals grab all the headlines. But it’s swing state faith voters — Catholics, mainliners and Black Protestants — who will likely decide the election. The report comes from analysis at Religion News Service.

Let’s Slow the Rush to Dump Joe,” says a writer in Vanity Fair. “Tune out the West Wing fan fiction. Swapping out the president at this stage in the race would be a political—and logistical—nightmare.” Vanity Fair limits free access to its articles.

Viganò in schism

This is not just schismatic; it is bizarre, says Michael Sean Winters about the behavior of the former U.S. Nuncio. “It is one thing to wrestle with this or that teaching of the church, to like or dislike this pope or that. But to so question and undermine the authority of the church itself such that you find yourself charged formally with schism, this is a grave thing.”


Bishop Sean Rowe of the Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Diocese of Western New York has been named the next presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, succeeding Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, who concludes a nine-year term later this year.

Mother Mary P. Patterson, who was the widow of a Church of God in Christ presiding bishop and became known for her efforts to preserve the history of the historically Black Pentecostal denomination, died on Monday (June 24).

Meet the Crop of New Leaders in Catholic Higher Education: A report by the National Catholic Register.

According to the official statistics released by the German Bishops’ Conference on Thursday, more than 400,000 people officially left the Church in 2023.

‘Climate catastrophe is here’

The editors of Christian Century conclude, without a doubt, that the Climate Crisis is upon us. Swaths of US land are becoming uninsurable, even uninhabitable. Climate catastrophe is here. Not coming, already here. Not just in the hotter parts of the developing world—though they are certainly bearing the worst of it—but here in the United States. Not just in low-lying coastal areas, but all over. And not just according to scientists and activists, but according to decision makers in the corporate world.

Sports notes

Simone Biles leads Black Catholics headed to the 2024 Paris Olympics. The U.S. Olympic qualifiers for gymnastics and track and field took place this month in Minneapolis and Eugene, Oregon, respectively. The report in Black Catholic Messenger.

The Vatican cricket team takes on England Seniors.

In two matches at the stupendous Wormsley Estate, the Vatican faced off against the England Over 60s. The Vatican batted first in the initial match, and started strongly, but struggled to capitalize on this early success. In the second match, the Vatican gave up a few early wickets, but recovered exceptionally, but England came through near the end. Details from Vatican News.

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.

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