Looking back at last week is a common theme among several news sources, as we begin Wisdom Wednesday for this week, July 19. We have a report from the Associated Press on the past months of the war in Ukraine, the New York Times reports “excess deaths” have fallen to near-zero, a milestone for Covid’s impact; and the AP and Religion News Service both offer a look at the photos of last week.
We also find some advice about avoiding despair over the Climate Crisis, and perhaps some inspiration from birds that have turned anti-nesting items into the structure of their nests. Is this the avian version of “turning swords into plowshares”?
The Associated Press sees Ukraine biding its time in its counteroffensive, trying to stretch Russian forces before a strike.
During Covid’s worst phases, the total number of Americans dying each day was more than 30 percent higher than normal, a shocking increase. For long stretches of the past three years, the excess was above 10 percent. But during the past few months, excess deaths have fallen almost to zero. The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal.
Recent days ring alarm bells for DeSantis as Pence falls behind and Biden stays frugal: Takeaways from latest campaign finance reports.
Last week’s best pictures
Also in the news
Pew Research examines American feelings toward NATO and Ukraine, finding that a growing share of Republicans want to focus more on concerns at home; a federal death penalty ban is reintroduced in the U.S. Congress; Nigeria is home to another blasphemy killing, a father of six who made an off-hand remark; and Evangelicals rejoice over the Church of England’s fossil fuel divestment.
Abuse report from global Catholic group Focolare leaves many questions unanswered. The report come from National Catholic Reporter.
Big oil walks back on pledges
Energy firms have made record profits by increasing production of oil and gas, far from their promises of rolling back emissions.
Phyllis Zagano writes: “During the high Middle Ages, the diaconate became increasingly ceremonial, and by the twelfth century the order was primarily a step on the way to priesthood. Coincidentally, the charitable works of the Church faded, even as the need for them increased. What will the Synod do now? ”
The next conclave
Bob Mickens examines the pope’s latest selection of cardinals and the next conclave. He says Pope Francis is putting twenty-one more men in the College of Cardinals, but it’s unlikely that any of them is a serious candidate to succeed him.
Shanghai Bishop accepted
Pope Francis recognizes Beijing’s appointment of Joseph Shen Bin as bishop of Shanghai, even though the communist authorities did not first consult the Holy See.
Where will SCOTUS draw the line on religious liberty?
A Religion News Service report suggests, “At this point it’s impossible to say.”
Pentecostals seeking their place in Christianity
Maggie Phillips, writing in the Tablet, says Pentecostals are trying to find their place in the Christian world. A TV docuseries has presented a tale that is all too familiar in a fallen, post-Tammy Faye Bakker world: At Hillsong, a New York City megachurch, a charismatic rock-star celebrity pastor falls from grace as he succumbs to the worldly temptations of sex, money, influence, and power.
Hollywood goes to Lourdes with ‘The Miracle Club’
The film purports that miracles aren’t lightning strikes from God, but rather moments in which ordinary men and women summon supernatural amounts of grace and courage. In short, “The Miracle Club” forgoes the salt of Christianity for the sugar of humanism.
If you have not paid attention to television programs last year, here is a list of all the Emmy Nominations for 2023.
Love, Sex and Dorothy Day
From America: Dorothy Day was a woman committed to a “both/and” mentality, synthesizing seemingly contradictory values with insight and nuance. Perhaps the most perplexing of her beliefs were those on sexuality and romantic love.
Confronting despair about coming climate change
“It may be impossible to seriously consider the reality of climate change for longer than ninety seconds without feeling depressed, angry, guilty, grief-stricken, or simply insane.” That’s the beginning of a new report in NCR.
Crows and magpies using anti-bird spikes to build nests
A Dutch study identifies several examples of corvids’ ‘amazing’ ability to adapt to the urban environment.
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